Reading by Example Newsletter, 10-13-18: Data-Informed Instruction

This week’s newsletter focuses on the use of data in the classroom to inform teaching and learning.

  1. What do you do when the data isn’t making any sense? Our instructional leadership team and I encountered this challenge in this post.
  2. One literacy assessment mentioned in the post is Fountas & Pinnell. This reference reminds me of an important blog post the two educators wrote, titled A Level is a Teacher’s Tool, NOT a Child’s Label.
  3. For a more authentic approach to evaluating student writing schoolwide, check out the Educational Leadership article Looking at Student Work for a practical assessment process. (ASCD membership required.)

To read the rest of the newsletter, click here and sign up for free today!

Read by Example Newsletter, 10-6-18: Work/Life Balance

Jon Kabat-Zinn (1).jpg

In this week’s newsletter, we explore the concept of work-life balance.

  1. Do checklists drain you? Consider an “un-checklist”, described in this post, in which you add daily experiences to a list that documents an interesting life.
  2. Commit30 is my favorite planner. My wife introduced it to me. Each month, you commit to one habit in an area you want to improve. (This month is reading widely.) I can integrate work and home instead of always trying to find balance.
  3. The concept of work/life integration vs. balance originates from the research by Dr. Ellen Langer, author of Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning. You can find links to both books on the blog’s Recommended Reading page.
  4. School/literacy leadership can be lonely. To combat isolation, I recommended five applications for creating a sense of connectedness in this post.
  5. The concept of connectedness can be explored in Parker Palmer’s article Thirteen Ways to Look at Community (Center for Courage and Renewal).
  6. Of all the applications, the most important one to me is Twitter. It’s what got me started on becoming a connected educator. Colleagues and I wrote an ASCD Express article on this topic, which includes several “edu-tweeps” to follow…

To read the rest of this newsletter, sign up here for free. Thanks for following!

-Matt

Read by Example Newsletter, 9-28-18: Courage and Fear

This will be the last time the newsletter will be reposted here in its entirety. You can sign up for the newsletter here for free. Thanks for reading, -Matt

My Post (1).jpg

In this week’s newsletter, we explore the themes of courage and fear.

  1. Ever wonder why we don’t change? The specific reasons may vary, but they all have roots in fear. I explore my own resistance to change in this post.
  2. The process I shared for overcoming our fears is from Beth Buelow’s book The Introverted Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms.
  3. I also referenced The Nerdy Book Club blog, one of the best online resources for finding great literature for the classroom and learning from other educators.
  4. When we say “That teacher has high expectations”, what are we really conveying? I briefly explore this idea and why we make excuses for poor performance in this post.
  5. When growing up, what did you read? Comics and (now) graphic novels are common fare for kids, even though they sometimes stoke concern with educators and parents. Check out my post on this topic.
  6. A website you must check out is Wisconsin DPI’s “Wisconsin Writes” project. This initiative, led by Marci Glaus, reveals the writing process of published authors and students (including my courageous son!).
  7. Regie Routman, respected educator and literacy guru, shared a video from Winnipeg Schools of how students wrote comics to communicate the importance of the environment for younger peers.
  8. In the comments section of the comics post, Jen Robinson shares her own story of letting her daughter read whatever she wanted on her way to becoming a reader.
  9. Neil Gaiman, esteemed author, gave an interview about the power of comics and why they are perceived as less than equal to other forms of literature.
  10. A favorite quote from Gaiman: “Comics, because of the capacity for offense that an image can give, will always have one foot in the gutter…pictures cannot be ignored.”

P.S. What do you think of the newsletter so far? Feel free to leave a comment about what you like, what you don’t like, and/or how it could be improved.

Read by Example Newsletter, 9-22-18: Professional Growth

This blog now has a newsletter! I’ll be reposting the first couple of lists here to build awareness for it. You can subscribe here for free. Thanks for reading, -Matt

My Post 2.jpg

This week I found personal growth to be a common thread in the posts and related resources.

  1. When we lead like a coach, we are more likely to see growth in our teachers. Check out my post on this topic.
  2. An excellent resource for leading like a coach is Coaching Conversations: Transforming Your School One Conversation at a Time by Linda M. Gross Cheliotes and Marceta F. Reilly.
  3. Can principals even be coaches? I wrote about this in a post from five years ago. I am not sure I currently agree with my thinking at that time.
  4. I questioned whether we are talking about what really matters when try to grow professionally in this post.
  5. The previous post references a recent ASCD Education Update article. The subject involves a teacher and a principal facilitate a mock conversation about the challenges with traditional teacher evaluation systems.
  6. Last summer, I wrote a post on how literacy leaders might release some of the responsibility of professional development to teachers via study groups.
  7. The previous post is in response to Jennifer Allen’s excellent resource Becoming a Literacy Leader. We (contributors and I) responded to this book in our own online study group; click here to check out all of our posts.
  8. I wrote a short response to the memoir I just read, Educated by Tara Westover.
  9. My wife and I plan to attend an author Skype visit with Tara Westover at a local library (we both read the book). Check out the author’s website for her schedule.
  10. Journaling is how Westover documented her upbringing. Related, I enjoyed this article by Benjamin Hardy for developing a habit and process regarding reflective journaling for professional and/or personal growth.

What’s going on in your world? Any themes you are noticing? Please share in the comments.

Read by Example Newsletter 9-8-18: Reading Clearly

This blog now has a newsletter! I’ll be reposting the first couple of lists here to build awareness for it. You can subscribe here for free. Thanks for reading, -Matt

My Post.jpg

This week’s theme is on deepening our understanding of our role as literacy leaders.

  1. How do you know if the task you agreeing to take on is worth your limited time and energies? Check out my post on the importance of staying in your lane when asked to take on additional responsibilities as a school leader.
  2. The post from #1 was an uptake of a previous post titled “What is your job with a capital J?”. I recommend school leaders conduct their own T-chart analysis of what tasks are and are not your responsibilities. The idea came from the helpful resource The Together Leader by Maia Heyck-Merlin.
  3. The “Capital J” question is lifted from a chapter title in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness guide Wherever You Go, There You Are – an excellent resource for improving one’s social/emotional well-being.
  4. Speaking of mindfulness and education, check out English teacher Mark Levine’s blog Mindful Literacy – he posts daily about his current thinking around cultivating awareness in the classroom.
  5. Should we be teaching reading differently when students are online? I explore this question in my post on deepening comprehension in digital spaces.
  6. Social networks such as WordPress and Twitter can be effective for highlighting our process as well as our products. Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon is a current reread for me. He has excellent ideas for engaging with an audience during all parts of the creative process (such as the template for this newsletter).
  7. Dr. Maryanne Wolf’s article on “bi-literacy” was a primary resource for the digital reading post. All educators should become familiar with her research.
  8. Kevin Hodgson, a 6th-grade teacher, shared in a comment how he and some of the teachers he works with are using a digital tool, Hypothesis, to closely read the Wolf article highlighted. Check it out!
  9. We do our students and ourselves a service by slowing down during these first days of school. A post I wrote on this topic describes a 4th-grade teacher’s classroom environment, especially her willingness to co-create the space with her students.
  10. What is a favorite picture book to read aloud on the first day? I chose School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex and Christian Robinson. Funny and reassuring.

Take care,

Matt

P.S. In case you missed this summer’s book study on Literacy Essentials by Regie Routman, you can read and respond to every post by clicking here. Many literacy leaders contributed to this online professional learning experience.