Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sessions 3 and 4 day 1 KATIE Wood Ray
While I was rocking out to the knowledge of my idols, Donnie and Hadley were exploring the Warsaw area. They found a villiage, lakes (one with a diving board), parks, a black squirrel, and a really great place for us to eat lunch. They picked me up for lunch at the front door, and while I was thrilled to hear about their discoveries they were not as interested in mine "it's summer mom." So I've saved all my new found knowledge for you, my blogging buddies-and I'd better not read any comments about it being summer! lol
Katie (I feel we know each other well enough now to be on a first name basis....ok she doesn't know me at all, but if she did..) is energetic, sincere, calm, amazing, knowledgable, and engaging. She's Jeff Anderson and Ann Marie Corgill rolled into one. She shared ideas and thoughts and rexamined herself (in video) along with us. She's like your favorite teacher, best teaching buddy, and mentor all tied up in a perfect package. She presented two sessions and although the second one was a hard choice because Ruth Ayers was presenting at the same time; I stuck with Katie. I felt her session was geared more toward my grade level. I'm sure I missed a great session with Ruth, but Katie was well worth it.
Katie began our conversation (no really it was just her and I...ok us and about 200 others) discussing literature. She asked; "What literature do you know well?" "Everything you can say about how it is written is what you can teach about writing." I wanted to run to Barnes and Noble that instant. She warned we need a deep knowledge base of genre, and reminded that nonfiction is what the common core is rooted in. Nonfiction is more than books, it is articles, how to's, profiles, and advice. To teach it well she explains, you must have a broader understanding than that of a typical nonfiction book (opening my Ah-Ha bag already).
Katie goes on to say we also need a knowledge base for text structure, the craft of writing, and a vision of length to "teach writing well." We should notice something in the authors' writing and then teach it to children. We need an even deeper knowledge base for convictions and usage, and what we teach should be embedded in real world writing. She relates that "we should find someone that writes the way we want to teach" (opening bag and leaving it open).
She shared with us videos of herself conferring with children. This is where I really became engrossed because this is where I feel I lack in my work shop. What I discovered was a conversation. A conversation about what they had written, or what they will be writing about, where they will be going in their writing and how they planned on getting there. The mentor text is key and should be preplanned and something we are very familar with so that we can "zoom in" on what we want to teach and what they are writing.
In Katie's session for Primary writers she begins by warning us to be careful what we call a book. She explains "not all books are stoires" (yep into the bag). We need to undersand and teach the difference between an "about" and a story. An about gives information. A story flows and has a beginning, middle and end. She showed examlpes of both in video.
When conferring with young children about the books they make we should repeat what they tell us, tell them what you noticed, and relate it to mentor text. Share with them what you think their next book may look like. Finally have them explain to you what they think their next book will look like. This gives them a plan, a place to begin (yep bag again).
Katie tells us at this age (kindergarten, 1st, 2nd) children should be learning what what it means to be a writer, have a sense of self, and how to own their writing. Rivising for young children simply means 1 of 5 things: take something out, add something, change something, move something, or start over.
She left us with this message and although not an Ah-Ha for me (already believed this) it could be for some. "Copying is not writing, it is handwriting. If you understand writing you understand it is more complex than that. But it can be made simple for younger children. You have to be willing to turn loose of the control."
Is your Ah-Ha bag open?