If you were in Chicago for IRA’s Annual Convention, please share your experience with other Community members who weren’t able to attend this year.
One of the advantages of the Thinkfinity Community is being able to share information. Help out your colleagues by sharing something you learned at IRA’s Convention that will benefit them too. Even the simplest of tips can be valuable to another teacher!
I was just viewing a PBS show this morning where the teacher was saying, you have to market your subject for students to buy in.
I was interested to hear more about the keynote speaker at the IRA Convention. Perhaps others will comment too.
In the meantime for those of us who are at home and wondering what a YA Cafe is, here is a document by Steven L. Layne himself on
What were some of the "hot reads" you heard about? Inquiring minds want to know
Jane and others,
There's an archive video of Dr. Steve Perry's keynote address at IRA's Convention. It's worth a watch.
For my first session of the conference, I was pleased to have attended a Pearson-sponsored meeting in which prominent literacy experts Donald Bear, Shane Templeton, Tim Morrison, Tom Gunning, Shane Templeton, and Jana Echevarria provided updates of the current projects they are working on. Those of you who use versions of Words Their Way by Bear, Templeton, Invernizzi, and Johnston may be pleased to know that they have created a new spelling inventory that focuses on the orthographic patterns of academic vocabulary words. As the presenters indicated, it will help teachers know strategies that students use, or do not yet use, when using morphemic analysis to acquire and interpret new vocabulary.
Tim Morrison, who co-authored Developing Literacy with Brad Wilcox shared some interactive word learning activities such as "I'm Thinking of a Word." This activity not only promotes students' thinking about attributes of words, but it also includes phonics/phonemic awareness as teachers/students create/brainstorm rhymes that describe word features.It is one that I will add as an interactive activity in some of the literacy courses that I teach. I think you can read more about this activity, and others, in his book.
Tom Gunning focused on "four little-known but highly effective techniques for developing comprehension of struggling readers" (IRA Panel Discussion pamphlet, p. 3). He also gave an additional round-table session at 11:00 Monday, but I was not able to attend. If you were there and have input about his session, please post a reply here.These strategies seemed useful for many teachers to use to improve students' comprehension. They appear to link well with the CCSS, too.
Shane Templeton spoke about the Common Core State Standards' Reading Foundational skills, and lastly, Jana Echevarria posed a narrative piece written in Spanish to help the attendees see how readers' knowledge of L1 can help (but, when not completely developed, can sometimes interfere) with understanding of second language text. This was a practical example to which nearly all teachers could relate.
I am curious to read any reactions to content presented during this panel session, regardless of whether or not you attended it. Do you have similar ideas that can be used? Other authors to recommend who write texts on similar topic? If you have used the "Words Their Way Academic Vocabulary Assessment," how did it work for you and your students? This was a wonderful way to begin my first full conference day at IRA, Chicago.
(Photo, left to right: Aurora Martinez, Shane Templeton, Jana Echevarria, Donald Bear, Thomas Gunnning, Timothy Morrison. - Thank you for posing for photos! My current and future students willl enjoy to see photos of some of the literacy experts I refer to in class.)
Looking forward to your input,
I'm attending convention this year with the goal of building understanding about content-area reading and writing, particularly as framed by the Common Core Standards. This morning I had the pleasure of hearing three writers of historical fiction--Ruta Sepetys, Tracy Barrett, & Rebecca Barnhouse--talk about their craft. Mary Ann Cappiello, a professor interested in YA literature framed their presentation with background about the genre of historical fiction and discussion about how the CCS relate to the act of constructing stories about the past. While all three authors offered insight into the way in which they use a combination of meticulous research and literary imagination to create stories, Sepetys' story of the Stalin's genocide in the Balkans, rooted in stories from her own family's past, was an excellent reminder that being "college and career ready" involves writing beyond sound argumentation.
That said, Elizabeth Birr Moje's afternoon talk about disciplinary literacy and the Common Core Standards, offered new ways to think about argumentation beyond the well-ingrained (and CCS endorsed) formula of claim, evidence, and discussion. I've long admired Moje's work, and getting to hear her in person is definitely a highlight of this convention. She complicated the notion of "generic literacy" vs "discipline specific literacy" by suggesting a framework that most disciplines work within, while acknowledging that the "doing" of the disciplines will look different within that framework. She pointed out, for example, that historians and scientists both compose arguments when they publish, but students may not notice the similarities. Historians typically frame their argument as narrative and they so fully integrate the various pieces of "data" that they become inseparable from the story as a whole. In contrast, scientific argument calls explicit attention to its data and discusses it overtly. A common premise undergirds both forms of argumentation, but the way in which that argumentative work is done varies significantly.
I'l take the learning from both of these sessions back to my work in thinking about how to implement the CCS critically and with caution. They're getting a lot of attention at Convention, which I don't think is a bad thing--I'm just glad to see them treated not as a ready-made template but rather as a point of continued conversation about what we hope for students to be able to understand and do across the content areas.
This morning, I had the wonderful fortune to attend 3 sessions in a row that were absolutley incredible. The second session I attended was Making Ourselves Heard: Using Web 2.0 to Engage Adolescents in Literacy Learning. This was Session 1609, 11:00-12:00, and the presenters were Kim Higdon and Candace Roberts, both are faculty members at Saint Leo University. I chose this session because I wanted to learn more about using these types of tools, and I certainly did! The presenters began the session by polling the audience using our cell phones and the use of polleverywhere.com.
From that point on, the presenters discussed FREE sites/tools that could be used to enhance literacy learning, providing us with specific examples that they and their students created.. Look for their handouts on the IRA main site (www.reading.org) to get their complete list (there are way too many to list here), but here are some that they spoke of that I plan to use for my future preservice teachers:
I am excited to put these new ideas into place for my fall semester. Thank you, Kimberly and Candee for sharing your ideas!
In a session on new literacies and the role of technology. It is amazing how reading is becoming multimodal with the advent of the ereader and digital texts. We now have to teach how to navigate these texts as well as the standard reading strategies. It is exciting to see how technology is creating a new hunger for reading as well as a new modes and techniques when reading a text. I particularly dig the ability to instantly look up unfamiliar words or allusions. The coolest idea is the multiplatform where there are websites and videos attached to the book. Imagine how this could motivate reluctant readers.
Emily Manning, host of ReadWriteThink's Chatting About Books podcast series, was in Chicago to interview book authors for upcoming episodes. One of the authors she interviewed was R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series. As a preteen, my personal library was full of R.L. Stine's books, which served as a steppingstone to many of the books I read as a young adult. Meeting him was the highlight of my convention!
Mr. Stine was kind enough to take a picture with me:
And with Emily:
Stay tuned for the hauntingly good episode featuring R.L. Stine!
Two great sessions for me this year. I came with the goal of learning more about Disciplinary Literacy and so a highlight was Elizabeth Moje's talk. (Scott Filkins has written about it on this site, too.) My favorite part of it was her renaming Disciplinary Literacies as Disciplinary Navigations--thinking about how students have to navigate between their out-of-school and school literacies and among the various conceptions and genres of literacy in distinct subject areas. Plus, she gave a wonderful "history" of Disciplinary Literacy. I have pages and pages of notes!
The other session I was intrigued by was the IRA research panel. Simply listening to the very thoughtful researchers and hearing them answer questions from the crowd about the connections between research and CCSS was thought-provoking. I look forward to hearing more from this group.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to present a session on ReadWriteThink.org at the IRA Convention in Chicago. The topic was “Using Tools from ReadWriteThink.org throughout the Day” and the session was on Tuesday, May 1 at 3 pm.
As an elementary teacher, I know that it is my job to teach every subject, every day. I wanted to share with attendees how they could use RWT all day as well – in their math class, during science, while working with pre-service teachers, etc. The room was full of teachers! I think there were over 80 of them. Like me, many were elementary teachers with a few middle school teachers and literacy coaches as well. There was also a nice representation of school library media specialists. I completely forgot to ask if there were any administrators in the room!
Each attendee got a lanyard with a Flash drive on it. Not only can the Flash drives be used to store and save work, but they also came pre-loaded with handouts and information from the session! There are also links to RWT materials online including a link to watch a taped version of the session. It should be up in a few weeks!
I look forward to my next formal presentations about ReadWriteThink.org at the ISTE Convention in San Diego in June. Will I see any of you there?
As a RWT staff member, my favorite part of the IRA and NCTE Conventions is always the opportunity to interact with our team members from Delaware, as well as our Advisory Board members from across the country. The things we discuss as a team and in our AB meetings always inspire me and help to guide my work at NCTE/RWT in a new or different direction. I always leave wishing that we could all meet in person more often!
Throughout the IRA Convention, I spent the majority of my time in the NCTE booth talking to attendees about our products and services, but I also was honored to attend the two RWT sessions--one on "gaming" in the classroom, put on by an excellent panel of educators, and another by our own Lisa Fink! Both sessions were well-attended and well-received, and reminded folks in the field of the excellent resources that RWT has to offer!
As a former classroom teacher, I sometimes miss the interaction with other educators, but RWT sessions and conversations with attendees always reinvigorate me and remind me of what good we do at ReadWriteThink. I'm refreshed and ready to go; I hope you all had a wonderful experience, as well! See you in Vegas!
The Literacy Research Panel session was very informative, and very full! Panel members from around the world answered questions about recent research and how to apply it to the classroom and to literacy program planning with administrators. This article talks more about the Panel and their work: http://www.reading.org/General/Publications/blog/BlogSinglePost/12-05-01/IRA_Literacy_Research_Panel_Draws_Overflow_Crowd.aspx
I only got to see two sessions, but they were both awesome! I'm a little bias in my opinion, though, being that both sessions where the ReadWriteThink sessions and I'm a ReadWriteThink editor. But hey, there it is!
I spent a good chunk of the rest of my time at IRA's Bookstore. If you were there, I was the one happily scampering about saying, "Can I help anyone find anything? Answer any questions for you? Make up completely false facts about Chicago?" Towards the end, that last one became, "Recite some poetry?"
Yes, that options was picked a couple times.
Yes, I did actually recite poetry for attendees.
I also got to visit with some of IRA's authors! Jan Miller Burkins and Valerie Ellery both had book signing sessions in the Bookstore this year while I was there.
Jan is the author of IRA's Prevented Misguided Reading, Coaching for Balance, and Coaching Individual Teachers, and she's one of ReadWriteThink's authors too, having done a few strategy guides for our site.
Valerie is the author of IRA's Creating Strategic Readers, which I had the pleasure of copyediting back when I was a Production Editor in the books department at IRA.
In case it wasn't completely obvious, I'm the one who appears both pics.
I do enjoy being able to catch up with authors at convention!