Monday, March 30, 2015

Q: What terrifies you?

Q: What terrifies you?
A: Teaching aerobics

I was recently deep in an amazing kind of professional conversation - the kind that gives you the strength and energy to continue doing difficult work - with a favorite and inspiring friend and colleague. 

We were talking about a school goal that, despite careful planning and support, has not yet been embraced by the entire school.

I tried a few different questions to better understand the situation:
  • What is keeping your colleagues from moving forward with this goal?
  • What do those who have moved forward with the goal have in common?
  • What might those who aren't moving forward not be telling you?
We arrived at fear as a thing that could be preventing people from moving forward - not just general fear of change, but fear related to this specific goal.

I started to think about something that is totally terrifying to me:
teaching aerobics 

If I was part of a school whose data demonstrated that teaching aerobics for five minutes at the beginning of class on a daily basis would increase student achievement, I'm not sure there is anything that could be done to get me to participate in implementing that goal.

It wouldn't matter how much I read about teaching aerobics or if I practiced in a small group or if I watched videos or if a coach came in and modeled for me or if I was offered a financial incentive to teach aerobics. This idea is something that makes me feel so insecure that I'm not sure I would ever be able to actually do it. Maybe I would put on a YouTube video of someone else teaching aerobics while I sat in the back of the room and graded papers. 

And, I don't think I would ever admit that my resistance had to do with fear. I would make a million excuses. I would have a bad attitude during meetings. I might lie. I might even say terrible things about the people asking me to implement the change.

Why is this important?

Imagining myself teaching a room full of kids to do aerobics helped me better understand the incredibly legitimate reasons our colleagues have for choosing not to do something. It helped me reframe what is sometimes called resistance as something much more complicated. It helped me develop some empathy.

It helped me think about all the things our colleagues choose to never say aloud. As a coach, I might ask, "What is holding you back?" or "What obstacles are you facing?". I never before considered that people probably don't answer questions like these entirely honestly. Time, supplies, or people to collaborate with are easy answers. Fear, insecurity, or anxiety might be honest answers.

So, next time you are wondering why your colleagues won't just __________________, think of yourself doing something that really, really terrifies you. What is causing that fear? What would it take for you to move past that fear? 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Materials from Face-to-Face Meeting


Part 1. Focus on Literacy Knowledge
Discussions using "Rule of Two Feet"
Questions for Table Discussions

Part 2. Focus on Coaching
Handout from guest, Cathy Toll

Use this survey to provide feedback about the face-to-face meeting and future Statewide Literacy Coach Network events and work

Collaborate with literacy coaches from throughout Wisconsin on our Google+ community.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Resource: Speaking & Listening

I'm super excited to tell you about a new professional learning resource about Wisconsin's standards for speaking and listening.

The module, designed to meet the needs of literacy and/or English teachers at all grade-levels, discusses

  • listening,
  • collaborative conversations and discussions, and 
  • presentation of knowledge and ideas.
Each topic includes an overview of research, exploration of what students know and should be able to do (Wisconsin's standards), and ready-to-use instructional and assessment strategies.

The materials definitely lead to a better understanding of standards; however, participants are also asked to really think about the ways in which speaking, listening, and discussion can lead to a better understanding of self and some of the skills needed to change the world. 

The module  includes a ready-to-use PowerPoint (including detailed speaker notes), all necessary handouts, and supplementary videos. The module could be used as-is for a very interactive day-long professional learning experience. It could also be broken into smaller sections for use in staff meetings or professional learning communities.

The materials are available on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's English language arts page.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Coaching Despite Differing Values

Barb Novak, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Literacy Consultant, contributed this post.

Recently, I found myself in the middle of a coaching session and incredibly offended. What the client shared with me was in direct conflict with some of my most deeply held beliefs, and I was really, really stuck about how to proceed with the session. 

In "real" conversation, I would have used "I-statements" to describe the behavior and why it was problematic for me. I would have politely but firmly walked away from the the conversation if the behavior continued.

That didn't seem like the best way to conduct myself during a coaching conversation.

I did manage to stop myself from doing a few things (and am still patting myself on the back for these choices):

  • Proposing a solution (my first instinct)
  • Selecting a line of questioning to help the client see what I perceived as the problem with the thinking
And, I ended the conversation as quickly as possible. The client seemed satisfied; the conversation ended with a solution the client seemed committed to from the very beginning of the session. 

I felt awful, though.

I jumped to conclusions about what was motivating the client's thoughts and words. I made judgments about the person based on what I heard. I didn't have the coaching skills I needed to navigate the situation.

So, I had a conversation with a colleague who is a masterful coach. 

She didn't coach me (I wasn't looking for coaching), but she did offer some techniques to apply in coaching situations where the client's values conflict with the coach's values.

First, recognize your triggers. As a coach, what types of language, attitudes, or beliefs are likely to make you feel conflicted (or uncomfortable or furious or enraged)? Negative assumptions about students (especially traditionally under-served students) and colleagues make my right eye twitch.

Second, have some techniques and questions in your repertoire for times when something the client says offends you:
  • Repeat the client's words and ask for clarification. I heard you describe students as "lazy and deceitful". Can you tell me more about why you chose those words?
  • Prompt the client to consider what data supports conclusions. You said _________ is in support of this decision. How do you know that? 
  • Use questioning to encourage the client to consider other points of view. What do you think is motivating ________'s actions and attitude? What else could it be?
  • Use questioning to encourage the client to consider other solutions. What else could you try?
I decided not to a specific follow-up with the client, who seemed satisfied with the outcome of the situation. The discomfort is mine. I'm dealing with that discomfort by reflecting on the conversation and committing to doing better the next time I find myself in this situation.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Writing in Process

Marci Glaus, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction consultant for English language arts, contributed this post.

Today, writing takes place in many modes and spaces. Whether individually or collaboratively, with pen and paper or online, writing is a complex process that takes time and thought. As a writer myself, I have been fortunate enough to share some of my writing processes with others, even though the spotlight is usually on the finished product. For many students, the finished product is also the main focus. However, pausing for a moment to take note of the amazingly sophisticated moves we make as writers before, during, and after a writing process, can be an effective way to reflect on instructional choices we make.

As a way to think through what takes place during a writing process, I created a video to capture the recursive nature of writing. The video provides an in-depth look into the principle-based definition of the writing process, a think-aloud of an actual writing process, and the research base to support teaching writing as a process:

While this example is from an adult perspective, it showcases the idea that writing is not a lockstep three-part model. As educators, sharing our own writing processes with students is a great way to teach and talk about planning, translating, and revising throughout an entire writing process in any genre. It is also an effective method for modeling ownership over writing and keeping an audience in mind.

So where do we begin when it comes to teaching writing as a process while addressing specific student needs? As educators and teacher leaders, there are several key questions we can ask to start the conversation:
      What do you already know about your students as writers?
      What supports do students need?
      How much time do students actually write?
      What is the required writing task?
      What is the purpose for the writing task?
      Who is the audience? Can the audience be authentic?

Based on the answers to some of these questions, we can address any gaps that may surface, and then, based on an actual writing task, plan for explicitly teaching the appropriate writing skills necessary. The first three questions above are really formative practice and directly connect to the rest of the questions regarding how particular writing lessons can take shape. They provide a built-in structure for reflecting on where students are, how to incorporate time for writing based on a particular task, and what it means to establish an audience for writing based on purpose.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What is Guided Reading? Really?

Jaimie Howe contributed today's post. More of Jaimie's thinking can be found here.

I’m not sure how many definitions or interpretations there are for guided reading; however, I do know that in most cases it is considered a small homogeneous group of students previewing, reading, and discussing a text.  It is pretty much the same thing with all students except using a different leveled text.  In many cases, there isn't a specific purpose or strategy being modeled, practiced, or taught. We fail to connect the guided reading lessons to the other components of a balanced literacy framework.  Students have hard time transferring the literacy knowledge they gain in one lesson to the next because skills are taught in isolation. The instruction in a guided reading format needs to be more intentional, purposeful, and connected to strategies and skills used during shared reading and writing -- even science and social studies. 

To me, the term “guided reading” encompasses so much more than just previewing, reading, and discussing a text with a homogeneous group of students.  Guided reading can and should include heterogeneous strategy grouping, individual conferring with students, and, most of all, have a purpose - a purpose that meets the needs of each individual student and that is connected to all other areas of literacy.  

Burkins and Croft say, in Misguided Reading, that, “Guided reading is not really about levels, benchmark texts, or offering the right prompts to students when they struggle with words.  Rather, guided reading is. . . about supporting students as they develop strategic approaches to meaning making.”

“Strategic approaches” is the phrase that catches me the most.  We need to be able to reflect on what we notice our students doing within their reading and modify our instruction to meet their needs. For many teachers this means going away from the consistent daily schedule of seeing 3-4 groups everyday.  It also means going away from the typical novel study or leveled reader and focusing on strategies.  Novels are not meant for guided reading. Novels are for book clubs or literature circles. 

In my coaching experiences over the past two years, I have found short text to be very beneficial for small group lessons. Short texts are great for modeling and then scaffolding because they are much more manageable.  Short texts are also typically paper copies and students have the ability to write right on the text, encouraging more “during reading” thinking. Ask yourself if all students really, truly need our support every day?  Are there some students that just do not fit into a group and would benefit more from one on one conferring sessions?  We need to be more reflective, strategic, and flexible in our teaching; our time with our students is too precious.

Another common trend I see happening is that when teachers get stuck in that schedule of seeing 3-4 groups every day, shared reading, read alouds, writing, and word work, fall by the wayside. Teachers are using their whole English language arts block for guided reading to be sure that they can meet with every student, every day. Guided reading is only one component of a balanced literacy framework, a very important one, but we need to continue to understand that our students are different every year and they change throughout the year.  At one point in the year we may be seeing several small groups everyday, but at other points in the year most of our time may be spent conferring. In any case, we have to be reflective and flexible enough to make these modifications when they are needed. We need to take a look at our own definitions of guided reading and determine if they truly meet the needs of all of our students.


Burkins, J. M., & Croft, M. M. (2010). Preventing misguided reading: New strategies for guided reading teachers. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Back to Basics: Building Roll-Out

Julie Schwartzbauer contributed today's post. Read Julie's previous posts to understand more about her district's Back to Basics plan.

Appleton has 16 elementary schools.  Each school has at least one literacy coach. Our larger schools have two.  Most of our coaches have a divided role; they are part interventionist and part coach. The focus of their coaching is not only the Back to Basics components, but also that of meeting the needs of individual teachers.

When we rolled out the first Back to Basics component to our coaches, we developed a shared beliefs document along with additional resources that coaches could share with their teachers.  As part of the Back to Basics plan, coaches were encouraged to visit classrooms to observe teachers implementing the component. These visits were meant to be seen as informative, not evaluative.  As I stated in my previous post, it was critical to have principal support.  

After the classroom visits, coaches would meet with their coaching PLC, concentrating their discussion on the following questions:
  • What made the instruction in the focus component good?
  • What did you notice about the teacher’s use of language, planning, instruction, etc.?
  • What did you notice about teacher/student interaction?
  • What did you notice about student engagement?

Coaches were then asked to develop a coaching plan for their building, focusing on the component.  Coaches were to use the Coaching Continuum to determine how they would support their teachers.  Would they offer support through planning, modeling, formative assessments, sharing of resources, analyzing data and student work, co-teaching, presentations, etc.?  As district coaches, we felt it was our job to “clear the path.”  We wanted to support building coaches throughout the building roll-out, and help them overcome any obstacles that might get in the way.

When coaches came back to the coaching PLC, we were disheartened to find that things did not go as smoothly as we had hoped.

In my next post, I will share the steps we took to improve our building roll-out plan.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lesson Study: Guided Practice

Bobbi Campbell contributed today's post. More of Bobbi's thinking can be found here.

Recently, our literacy team  developed a sample lesson plan including the dialogue and actions of the teacher as well as the dialogue and actions of the students.  Making the thinking visible within the lesson plan allows for an opportunity for educators to be involved in a lesson study. During a lesson study, school-based teams can identify the areas where guided practice is visible, as well as identify other areas where guided practice can be inserted. The videos found within the Tools and Resources: Guided Practice can be used to prompt further discussion and collaboration.

For this lesson, we highlighted guided practice during a lesson on the following content standard:
  • Use words, phrases, and clauses [ to link the major sections of the text], create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims. (CCSS ELA W.9-10.1.c)

Note:  While I typically work with middle schools, I have added one high school this year as evidenced by the grade 9 standard.  Please note the new learning in the standard which is indicated by the use of brackets [ ].

The strategies used are explicitly labeled and examples are provided within the lesson plan where you will see a lesson on using co-constructed anchor charts to improve student writing. Don’t be daunted by the length of the lesson, as it is 16 pages due to the fact that all Teacher Talk, Teacher Moves, Student Talk, and Student Moves are all included within the lesson.

Links to the Tools and Resources:
Tools and Resources: Guided Practice: This document includes research articles and videos.

Example Grade 9 ELA Lesson Plan : This lesson can be used for a lesson study.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Disciplinary Literacy: A Science Focus

Carrie Sand contributed today's post. Carrie's other posts about planning professional learning can be accessed here.

As a literacy coach who is housed in a high school building, I spend a lot of time thinking about and having conversations centered around disciplinary literacy. 

Recently, my principal asked me to incorporate one hour spotlight refreshers during our monthly inservice days on the topic of disciplinary literacy for content area teachers grades 6-12. Using a small group approach, I recently worked with the science department to incorporate some ideas and strategies from the Doug Buehl's book Developing Readers in the Academic Disciplines

When discussing disciplinary literacy, the elephant in the room tends to be, “How do I teach literacy on top of all of my other content requirements?” In order to address the issue, I like to begin all content area conversations with some sort of reflection on values and requirements. For this particular inservice, I had the science teachers begin by engaging in a free write activity reflecting on the questions: “What do you value teaching students about in your content area? In other words, what must students walk out of your classroom knowing and what skills do you give the kids to achieve this?” 

After writing, I encouraged the teachers to share ideas, and we noted patterns. After examining our beliefs as content area teachers, I lead teachers through a conversation of how these values do and possibly do not match with our requirements as teachers. In this particular conversation, I used the Wisconsin Foundations for Disciplinary Literacy to mark where our values are emphasized within the standards versus where there may be times when the standards conflict with the things we value. Typically, though, this conversation tends to empower teachers that the literacy standards for content areas support their goals in helping students become proficient readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers in their content field.
After establishing our values and requirements, we were finally ready to investigate some strategies to help us reach our goals. Within his book Buehl claims that students in our content areas often feel like “discourse outsiders.” This phrase refers to the idea that many students come into our classrooms without the vocabulary, concepts, or experiences to proficiently interact with the content of our curriculum. Therefore, as the classroom expert, teachers must find the strategies to help students engage in our curriculum by, what Buehl calls, “bridging the gap.” 

As a science team, we began an investigation of strategies in the book that would best help our students “bridge the gap” within our science classrooms. One strategy that I modeled for our teachers was a text marking protocol, utilizing text structure frames. Buehl provides a protocol for marking that requires students to first determine the structure of the text. By giving students skills to identify specific structure traits and guiding question stems, students are able to identify different text structures such as cause-effect or problem-solution. Once a structure is identified, students can mark using a coding strategy based on the structure. For example, in a cause and effect text, students may use a C or an E to identify key concepts within the text. By using the structure and then a specific protocol for marking, students no longer “guess” at what is important enough to highlight or mark. Using the strategy as a team, we created a model by using a piece of text from Buehl’s book:

Part of the tenuousness of our personal knowledge base in science is that science knowledge does not stay put. (P) Instead, as life-long learners, we, just like scientists, need to continuously evolve our understandings to reflect new evidence,new findings, new explanations, and new theories. (S1) Hence a critical role of complex texts in science is to present on-going evidence based alternatives to unschooled conceptions of the physical and biological world. (S2)

Together we created  a coding system that identified the problem with a P, one solution as S1, and a second solution as S2. After looking at our markings, we decided that we could take the strategy one step further by making some summarizing annotations in the margins of the text. Together we summarized the passage in our words by saying that Buehl is claiming that:
  • Science is always changing which can be a problem for students and teachers
  • Teachers need to keep developing their own understanding as well as provide opportunities for students to work with evidence to expand their conceptions (or misconceptions) as well.

After examining our values, looking at our requirements, and using a resource to help us identify a strategy, the science teachers left the inservice feeling empowered by their identified values, invigorated by collaborative approach, and a new strategy, with a model, ready to implement.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rocky Start

Lisa Weiss contributed today's post. For more information, read Lisa's other posts about her district's "laser-like focus on the intentional use of literacy in the service of our contents."

After the late August department head retreat, the start of the school year was here in a flash. The understanding was that two weeks into the year, at the first building-focused collaboration (September 10th), the principals, literacy coaches, and department heads would be sharing the district writing goal, and the vision I shared with them at the summer department head retreat. This would give people time to think about the plan, ask questions, and consider using the district goal as their SLO up until SLOs were due, at the end of October.

One thing I appreciated about the professional development plan for the year was the way the two high school principals and I allowed time for many of the new initiatives to be the focus of the professional development times through September and October. With the exception of September 10th, every Wednesday morning was devoted to new initiatives: Framework for Teaching, Infinite Campus, Smart Boards, and ACT Aspire and WKCE teacher preparation. We thought it would be wise to devote time to the initiatives that would be on teachers’ minds early in the year, so that teachers would be ready to think about instruction and literacy by the time we kicked off on November 5th. In retrospect, that was a great idea, one that I hope we will hang onto next year, but what made the road a rocky one was that the teachers were on initiative overload. We were not all in a place where we could focus on literacy by the time November 5th rolled around.

I pulled the department heads together on October 22nd for two purposes:
  • To get specific about SLOs, and how your department can engage kids in writing
  • To prepare for November 5th’s disciplinary literacy kickoff

We spent most of our time talking about SLOs and looking at examples from each content area, of how we could begin to purposefully and consistently build in writing. We talked about the questions department heads brought forward from their colleagues, we talked about the data coming from English and Social Studies, we talked about teachers from each department creating their own baseline assessments, we talked and talked and talked, until every last question was discussed, and department heads had the ability to back to their colleagues and share the discussion points. It was time well-spent, but truthfully, a concern of mine was how those messages would be shared with teachers.

We also  revisited the disciplinary literacy activity I engaged them in in August, and I clarified questions, and offered troubleshooting as I modeled the roles the department heads would have facilitating on November 5th. The week of November 3rd, I went to each building, to address any last minute November 5th kickoff preparation concerns, questions, and/or anxiety of department heads. At the middle schools, the literacy coaches were facilitating this professional learning, so I felt confident that they were ready, and, therefore, did not go to each middle school for a check-in.

The kickoff went well, perhaps better than I could have imagined! The literacy coaches were excited, the teachers were seeing how they use literacy, but more importantly, recognizing that assigning it is different from engaging our students in the six literacy processes; principals were pleased with the discussions that came as a result of this activity/kickoff. One of the middle school literacy coaches wrote to me, “You made me look like brilliant today!”

Although the road along the first two months of the year were bumpy, the disciplinary literacy kickoff went well, and I was even more excited about what was to come in December: Modeling writing, using the gradual release of responsibility, by content teachers who really model writing!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Comprehension Focus Groups: Deeper Thinking

Heather Zimmerman contributed today's post. More of Heather's posts about comprehension focus groups can be found here.

Donalyn Miller and Chris Lehman.   These are the two people I saw at Wisconsin State Reading Association's (WSRA) annual convention that got my mind rolling in a million different directions thinking about their ideas and how I was going to implement them.  Are you ever listening to a speaker and hear things that are so obvious, but yet you question if you do them or wonder why you never thought of that?  I had some of those moments.  And, I also had those moments where I was thinking, “Wow, that is brilliant!”

I could go on and on about my learning from the two of them, but in this blog, I am going to focus on some key take-aways from Chris Lehman’s session titled, “Making Reading Visible: Writing about Reading that Promotes Deep Thinking and Student Growth”.  The take-aways I am going to share, I plan on using in my Comprehension Focus Groups (CFGs).

Lehman focused on deepening thinking and pushing learned.  He talked about deepening conversations and also ways to deepen students' thinking in writing.  One idea he shared to help with this process is to think about leveled books and the characteristics of books at a certain level.  He encouraged teachers to think about this and also to see how this lines up with standards.  To show his thinking on this process, he asked, “What do different bands have kids do?”  Here is an example that he shared:

  • N, O, P, Q (P= Magic School Bus)
    • Main character (lots of times one, sometimes a few)
    • Characters don’t change (sometimes their feelings do, but not them)
    • Lots of support with setting

  • R, S, T (T= Diary of a Wimpy Kid)
    • Complex important setting
    • Secondary characters are important

  • U, V, W (U= Wonder V= Harry Potter)
    • Complex characters
    • Changing setting

(I included the title examples, so if you are not familiar with Fountas and Pinnell’s leveling system, you could still get a general idea with the titles.  Most levels I looked up on Scholastic’s website.)

Lehman points out that this thinking can tie back to the feedback teachers give students.  He shared that teachers can read student writing and think what level are the students writing towards. Sometimes their thinking shown through their writing might be lower than their text reading.  If this occurs, Lehman suggests saying, “Can I teach you something?  I know something about this book that…”

This was one of those moments when I was thinking how obvious this is, but how brilliant.  I have a general idea of what happens at different levels of texts, but never thought about it in this specific way.  I feel if I think about texts in regards to the leveled bands and then focus (when needed) on character and setting that will really help me push my students writing and thinking about the texts they are reading and writing about.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Teaching Teachers About Close Reading

Andrea Reichenberger contributed today's post. More of Andrea's thinking can be found here.

After reading fellow blogger, Carrie Sand’s post  Rethinking Professional Development Options  in January, I thought seriously about the professional development we have been designing for staff members in our district. Recently,we hired a new technology coach, my new office mate, whom I fondly refer to as “The Greg.”  In other words, I have been blessed with another great opportunity to learn. With his help, I decided to take a risk with a new approach.

One of our school wide goals is to work on close reading.  Close reading--not to be confused with reading closely-- is the teaching strategy that involves reading a complex text, annotating, having collaborative conversation, and re-reading based on increasing levels of text dependent questions created by the teachers.

Our first session was in January. We broke the PD down by first explaining why we were taking this approach.  The teachers had some time to dig into our school data as well as the standards and skills required of our students. We learned that we are not asking our students the right questions in our assessments nor are we creating the appropriate level of tasks. On this same day, we also spent some time reviewing the primary features of close reading as well as introducing its 4 phases using Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey’s Book Text Dependent Questions Grades 6-12.  

For February, our focus during our half day session was to dig into literal level (What does the text say?) and structural level (How does the text work?) questions. Our plan was to model activities and instruction we’d like to see implemented within our classrooms.  Teachers were arranged into small groups and then assigned readings from the text to investigate and discuss with their peers. They were then directed to apply what they learned about how to create these levels of questions to a complex text they planned on using as part of their instruction. All of the activities, texts, samples and instructions were placed on Google classroom and allowed the groups to work together at their own pace.   We also introduced Read & Write Google as a method for teachers to annotate a digital text.  

After some reflection on the day, this is what we noticed:

Monday, March 2, 2015

What Are You Reading: March 2015

  1. Lisa is reading Well Spoken: Teaching Speaking to All Students by Erik Palmer. She shares this quote: "Speaking well really is an art, though most of us have been speaking since we were young children. Carefully choosing our words, organizing our ideas so they are easy to follow, captivating an audience by employing effective gestures, or pacing our speech for emphasis--these are the building blocks of good public speaking. Every student can learn them, practice them, and perform them. But first, they need conscientious teachers who will show them how."
  2. Andrea is reading Best Practices in Literacy Instruction, 5th Edition. It is the required text for a course she is teaching.
  3. Jaimie says, "I am reading Jan Richardson's The Next Step in Guided Reading AGAIN (for like the third or fourth time) along with her new Next Step: Guided Reading in Action videos. We have several teachers that wanted to do a book study on this book. It offers some useful guidelines for planning small group lessons for children at different stages of reading. It also has many concrete strategies that students can use when retelling/summarizing text (one of the most complicated things for kids to do)."
  4. Julie is reading No More Independent Reading Without Support by Debbie Miller and Barbara Moss.
  5. Heather is reading Five Levers to Improve Learning by (Wisconsin's own!) Tony Frontier and James Rickabaugh. Heather says the book, ". . . discusses different initiatives through a discussion of different levels focusing on potentials and limitations."
  6. Carrie is reading Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel. Carrie says, "After reading an article published in the October edition of Educational Leadership, I was interested enough in the topic to pick up a book. A great resource for intervention ideas, especially the strategies for teaching students how to tackle information for long-term learning. One of the two most interesting ideas: frequent low-stakes assessment of material and getting rid of rereading to prep for tests!"
  7. Bobbi says, "I am reading  the blog post Two Writing Teachers recommended to me by Diane Sweeney.  This blog site has many useful articles and resources. Some examples of topics include the following:Curating Mentor Text Collections, Transitional Words and Phrases, and Developing Information Writing Muscles: Writing About Science."
  8. Barb is reading along with Read On Wisconsin and just finished Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black. She says, "Coldest Girl in Cold Town is a vampire story that would definitely appeal to readers of Twilight. Although the book wasn't really my style, it did raise some interesting questions about the influence of social media on teenagers."

Join the conversation by using the comments to tell us what you're reading.