Literacy Day 3 #MTBoSBlaugust Post 11

Literacy Day 3 #MTBoSBlaugust Post 11

Day 3 – my brain was on overload.  This was definitely the heavier writing of the 3 days of training.  I am honest in saying, I struggled to see how to use several of todays tasks in my own classroom when compared to Days 1 & 2…

What has been most affirming to me this week – I have been searching for literacy strategies close to 10 years now.  From Kagan, to our current Springboard to all of the articles, books I have read.  And for 3 days I have seen so many things I have already implemented into my teaching.

But these 3 days have also challenged me.  I have see ways of doing some things better.  I have become very aware of how much more intentional I should be in my planning.  I have realized the real benefits and goals of specific strategies.  It has been good.

LETTER (I would call it PEN PAL)

As I was pulling out my INB, an index card fell out from Day 2.  After a particular reading, we had 3 reflection questions to write in our workbooks.  We were then asked to lock eyes with a person in the room, but not at our table.  Our task- to write that person a letter, sharing from our reflections.  When time was up, we exchanged letters, read them and replied back in letter form as well.

Our focus for this task was how we use writing – in our personal lives, but also how it can help us when learning  / trying to understand text we read.  It was fun getting to hear from a former student, now colleague who is rocking the ELA classroom!


We began our Day 3, asked to choose a text from our Literary Timelines the day before.

On an index card, describe a literary memory from the text you chose.

Go to a table, filled with postcards and choose a postcard that somehow connects, symbolizes your memory.

Now, pair up with someone and share your memory, postcard and how it represents your memory.   (great conversation).

We then talked about ways we could get many postcards collected in order to use the metaphor/analogy in class.

  • order online
  • ask family & friends to send when they visit museums, etc.
  • tweet a group of online colleagues and ask them to send
  • pair up with another class and do an exchange/penpal
  • Let students cut out pictures from old magazines and create their own postcards, laminate
  • Cut apart old calendars


We were given a copied version, but you could very easily ask students to draw a line and split notebook paper into 2 columns.

From the text – can be concepts, facts, information, quotes

From the reader – questions, ideas, opinions (in response to the reading)

In our groups we were asked to highlight one thing, then share out from the text and from the reader for that highlight.


We had 3 tables we rotated through.  Each table had chart paper with a prompt reflecting on our reading.  Only using visuals/drawings, we had to respond to the prompt.

After time was called, we rotated to the next table and repeated.

  • prompt
  • respond
  • rotate
  • repeat
  • back to original
  • observe / sythesize

When we returned to our initial table, it was interesting to see what people had added to it.  We were given time to ask questions/clarifications of pictures.

Observe / Synthesize – 1 sentence to synthesize the big idea to answer and respond to the initial prompt.

There was discussion about how to ensure all students were participating.  One teacher suggested allowing students to go to one of their pictures and claim it by writing their name next to it.

Another then said to Claim & Explain.  Which made me think – have them claim their picture on the poster paper, but then use their exit slip to explain their thinking.  As far as that goes, you could allow them to claim anyones pictures then infer what they thought as the exit slip.

Thinking on how I could use the @seesaw app I have learned about this summer – Have them snap a picture with the prompt and submit, then share their thinking in written or video.



Our presenters were very good about modeling what they thought we may not be familiar with.  Ashley used one of the charts from the previous task to model STW.  We were then asked to use pictures they had shared of student sample work and practice STW.  When we completed the task, we had to move to another table and find someone with the same sample work and compare our STW.

What I appreciate about this task – See is to look and simply state facts.  Think is when you get to give your opinion of what you think might be happening.  Wonder is your chance to ask clarifying questions or infer more into what you are seeing.


At this point we had seen many, many strategies and asked to consider a few that might be doable and productive in our units of study.  The planning sheet offered space for 2 options on ways to implement the task.  The WHY? HOW? WHEN? WHO? were all addressed in the planning.

This piece helped me realized the value of our text/workbook.  Each strategy is outline with intentions and what information can be derived from its use.

This was more or less a moment to begin brainstorming, thinking about which tasks we might commit to implementing this fall.


Our final reading prior to lunch break was to read text and code simply with Q – a quote that resonated with us.

We shared the quote on construction paper and taped to the walls around the room.

WE were given post-its and asked to GALLERY WALK responding by placing notes on the quotes with agree/disagree including our evidence and reasoning.

Finally, we used a whole group share.  There were many quotes repeated – which said it seemed to be something important to consider or a point of further discussion.  Some of the BIG ideas from our walk:

  • Sharing learning intentions / rubric / expectations up front with students
  • Having student sample work as models
  • offering feedback
  • Tough to write good, quality prompts
  • Should extended writing projects be in every classroom, in every unit?


Following lunch we were asked to think about our classrooms this past year.  We had a poster we divided into three columns – Argumentative, Informational/Explanatory, Narrative.

We were asked to share the writing to demonstrate learning we had actually used in class – making sure we included the form, purpose and audience of the piece.  As you looked around the tables (by subject areas) – it was somewhat obvious where the gaps were in our writing.

We tended to struggle just a bit in our math and science table, as most of our writing falls into the writing to learn category.  However we had at least one item in each of the categories.

The big take away for me was to ensure the assignments I am making have these key components considered before asking students to do them.

Marshmallow Towers

As I mentioned, our presenters were very intune with their audience.  They strategically had interactive, brain break like tasks planned for afternoon dips.  After completing the challenge, we were then asked to outline what parts of the literacy model we had actually used to complete the task.  Read Write Speak Listen…

Next we completed a similar reflection after watching a viral music video utilizing Rube-Goldberg Machines.

Our day ended with more planning / reflection documents as we thought about our next steps…

I will wait a couple of days, then do an actual reflection of our training.  I simply wanted to get down the big ideas from it – so I would have a quick go to of tools when I need them.

It was 3 days full of tools.  For me, my biggest take-a-way was that I need to continue what I am currently doing.  There is value in the several years of research and reading…  the ALM confirms I am moving in the right direction.

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