Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Takeaways from Wayland Literacy Conference

I had the honor of being asked to present at the Wayland Literacy Institute this year by Karyn Saxon, K-5 Curriculum Director at Wayland Public Schools in MA.  The two day institute was held last week in Wayland, MA.  My workshop was on nonfiction reading and note-taking strategies for grades 3-6.  Stay tuned to hear about my workshop later this week.  :)

As a workshop presenter, I had the opportunity to attend the keynote by Aimee Buckner on notebook strategies to support informational writing.  If you have not read any of Aimee's professional books on writer's and reader's notebooks, click here to check them out on the Stenhouse site.  Her most recent book is titled Nonfiction Notebooks and I have that at the top of my TBR pile now.  She also contributes to the website Choice Literacy, which is a valuable resource to educators so definitely check out the website if you haven't already.  Aimee is currently working on a new book on grammar in notebooks, which I am looking forward to reading.

Here are some takeaways from Aimee Buckner's keynote on Notebook Strategies to Support Informational Writing:

  • Have students bring a glue stick with them to glue in a shrinked down chart at the minilesson so they don't have to waste time copying down charts, etc.  
  • Have students do any revision and grammar lesson work in the back of their writer's notebook - turn notebook over and around so the margin is still on the correct side.  
  • Read and evaluate students' writer's notebooks every 2-3 weeks using a rubric that you share with students so they know what is expected of them as notebook writers.  
  • I See What You Mean by Steve Moline is a great professional book about visual literacy and how to take notes in a different format than it is in the source.  For example, if the source uses words, then you can draw pictures, create a flow chart, or other visual instead of using words.  This strategy of taking notes in a different format will help prevent students from copying the information directly from the source.  It also helps increase their understanding of the information because they need to synthesize and internalize the information in order to put it into a different format and into their own words.  Aimee had us try this strategy out using the section "Honey Jars" from Exploding Ants: Amazing Facts About How Animals Adapt by Joanne Settel.  
  • Instead of having students use boxes and bullets to rehearse for drafting, they can also use post-its so they can easily rearrange the order. They can also check off the post-its as they include the information into their draft.  
  • The National Geographic article, "Lively Lizards" by Lana Costantini, is a good mentor to use to teach introductions in informational writing.  Below is the link to the article online.  

Stay tuned to hear more about the Wayland Literacy Conference later this week! :)

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