Sunday, April 17, 2011

Literacy Connection - Debbie Miller

If you live anywhere in the Central Ohio area and haven't attended one of the Literacy Connection's fall workshops or year-long author studies culminating in the author visiting in the spring, you are really missing something very special. I would strongly encourage you to try to attend if you can.

This year, the year-long study focused on Debbie Miller and her thinking in the book Teaching With Intention. For several months teachers have read this book, responded to it, and some have even done projects that involved some type of action research in their own classroom using the main premises of "Teaching With Intention."

Then, this weekend, Debbie visited Columbus, specifically Wickliffe Elementary in Upper Arlington. On Friday, she worked with a class of primary students in the morning and a class of intermediate students in the afternoon while visiting educators were viewing it in real time in another location in the school. Then, on Saturday, everyone reconvened at Wickliffe as Debbie shared some basic beliefs and processed what had happened the day before.

What's nice about these Literacy Connection offerings is that you have choice in how much you participate. This year, I was only able to attend the Saturday workshop, but even that one day still has my brain spinning 24 hours later.

First of all, Debbie Miller is such a kind, gentle person, and I could listen to her speak for hours. She has such a lovely voice. And she's so smart as well!! I chuckle as I read that last sentence, because just like Samantha Bennett said last year when she came for Literacy Connection, Debbie states that we shouldn't identify kids as "so smart", but rather NAME the behavior or thinking or product that shows why you might think that. So, in the interest of time, insead of waxing eloquently here about all the "smart" things Debbie believes and shared with us, I am linking to my GoogleDocs notes from yesterday. Hopefully, they will make sense. If you have a twitter account, several of us were tweeting throughout the session yesterday - look for #litconn11 .

I will say that after hearing Debbie speak, it continues to reinforce my beliefs in time for kids, making thinking visible, giving students choice, and teaching intentionally.

In addition to Debbie sharing her thinking with us, I also love these Literacy Connection Saturdays because Cover to Cover / Selections Book Fairs comes with the best and the brightest books for children. I actually controlled myself and only purchased 7 books (see my picture pile), but that's only because I wasn't shopping at the same time as some of my friends - it could have been much worse!!

And speaking of friends, yesterday was also a wonderful time for me to touch base with friends and colleagues from a variety of school districts, and meet new people as well. As I've thought a great deal about 21st century learning this past year, I realize how important the PLNs that I actively seek out are to me. I need the collaborative thinking of all these people. Yet another reason to love my Literacy Connection Saturday!

Literacy Connection is an organization worth both participating in and supporting. Thanks so much to this group for bringing the lovely Debbie Miller to our area, and a huge thanks to Debbie for so kindly sharing her thinking with us.

For more thinking about this day with Debbie, check out Mandy's post at Enjoy and Embrace Learning.


  1. How can we know about these in advance so we can be a part of them?

  2. Sounds like something I would love to be a part of.

  3. Hi Hesterbrarian!
    The best way would be to bookmark the Literacy Connection link that I put in the post and check back throughout the summer. I think they are coordinating with OSU this fall to bring in some writing people. I'm not sure who the person to study and visit in the spring is yet. The site is your best bet.
    Even now, you could go to that site and join the Literacy Connection and then all new materials would come to you automatically. It's a yearly fee of $10 or $20 - I can't remember which.
    Hope that helps!

  4. It was great to see you on Saturday and I have to agree just one day with Debbie Miller gives you something to think about for quite some time. Make some thinking visible this week.

  5. Mandy - It's also great to see you. Debbie was just the icing on the cake - she was truly fabulous! And yes, I will be making my thinking very visible this week and on... :)

  6. Karen~
    Lit. Connection has been an incrediable journey! I could listen to Debbie speak all day. Her voice and words are so comforting. It was nice to meet you outside of your blog (and thumbnail photo).
    My head is racing with ideas and I am already looking forward to next year!

  7. Deb - Loved meeting you as well. The fact that we both love queso dip was just a bonus! :)

  8. Karen~
    I have linked your post to my blog. Let's have a queso again soon! I enjoyed your college tips too! Might need a few million more!