Saturday, March 1, 2014

Literacy Celebrations and Serendipity - SOLC March 1

My slice for today is a precursor to the slices of the next few days.  Several events have dovetailed in my professional life lately that make me strongly believe in serendipity, and have allowed me to become a more thoughtful writing teacher.

The events in no particular order:

1) A week ago today, I attended the Dublin Literacy Conference.  This is always one of my favorite conferences of the year.  The committee gets amazing thinkers and authors to headline this special day.  Year after year, the lineup never disappoints.  There were many amazing speakers, but the one I could have listened to all day was Penny Kittle.  Whether talking about reading workshop or writing workshop in a high school setting, Penny was so passionate about her work with students, and helping them to see themselves as readers and writers.

2) During a recent Twitter #nctechat on formative assessment, Kristine Mraz shared a picture from her classroom about a very public way she stays on a schedule with her writing conferences and strategy groups.

3) About a month ago, we finished a study of opinion writing.  Our emphasis was twofold: write for your audience and make sure you are able to support your position with many logical arguments and facts.  Some students had written persuasive letters and had mailed them to the person/organization they thought could best affect the change they were seeking.

4) A week or so ago, I was at a language arts council meeting for our district.  While there, during our reflection on workshop practice in the classroom, we watched a video of Tony modeling for students the art of manipulating time in a piece; knowing how to both slow time down as well as speed up time in a narrative.  His mini-lesson was brilliant.

These great nuggets of information about writing have been swirling around in my brain.  Stay tuned for the next few slices to see how these events have helped our writing workshop refine and evolve into a better version of itself.

In the meantime, you really need to head over to Two Writing Teachers blog to read the amazing Slices that others are writing.  The challenge of writing each and every day in March can be quite daunting, but what a great group of people with whom to tackle this event!


  1. I'm looking forward to your next slices to learn more!

  2. I love hearing about the things that affect and inspire other teachers. Thanks for sharing these recent events from your professional life.

  3. Ooohhhh - I think I need these posts. No matter how important I know conferences are, no matter how I plan, I never get through them (a class) quickly enough. There are several issues, but I am excited to see what your posts teach me. And I love Kristine's photo!

  4. I am so looking forward to these slices, Karen - you have piqued my curiosity!

  5. So happy to see you here Karen, and what a lot you brought to us today! I like the chart & will print & share it, plus will keep your slice bookmarked so I can watch the video later-sounds very good! Thanks for all-looking forward to more!

  6. Great to read your post today, on my first day of my first "Slice of Life" challenge! Your "nuggets" are great, and I, too, am thinking of lots of things I've learned lately. I also enjoyed listening to Penny Kittle at the Lit Conference. She helped to assure me that aspects of workshop and conferring were truly powerful. Thanks for your post. Look forward to reading more!