Category Archives: #NCTEChat

#NCTEchat Preview: Why Writing Workshop?

This post is written by NCTE member Betsy Hubbard. 

#NCTETwitterChatBetsyHubbardintro“Writers do not write with words and conventions alone; writers write above all with meaning.”

~Lucy Calkins, A Guide to the Writing Workshop Grades 3-5

When I began using the writing workshop model in my classroom, I started to truly understand the importance of meaning within writing. I began to appreciate that my students had stories and ideas that were greater than any topic I could assign. As a teacher, I really began to reflect on my practices, noticing that my students had an investment in their own learning when using this framework. Before using this model, my focus was on the product and appearance of the writing. Growing as an educator forced me to find something better as I watched my students’ writing fail to flourish. Are you a teacher using the writing workshop model? Are you a teacher who is thinking about taking a leap and trying it this fall?

Join us, the co-authors of Two Writing Teachers, on Sunday, August 21st as we tackle the topic, “Why Writing Workshop?” Questions will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET using #NCTEchat.

Here is a preview of the questions:

#NCTETwitterChatBetsyHubbard

Betsy loves collaborating with teachers Prek-12 sharing ideas and celebrations of all things related to writing instruction and best practice. As a co-author of Two Writing Teachers, Betsy is able to share this learning with readers across the globe.

Betsy can be found at Two Writing Teachers [http://twowritingteachers.org] and on Twitter @Betsy_writes 

June #nctechat preview: Books That Changed My Life

June #nctechat

We hope you’ll join us on Twitter Sunday June 19 at 8 PM ET for #nctechat: Books That Changed My Life.  Read more about the inspiration for the chat from this post earlier in June.

Here is a preview of the questions to guide the chat:

  • Tell us about the book(s) that changed your life.
  • How did you discover that life changing book?
  • Is there a book you can pinpoint that turned you into a reader?
  • Have you ever given someone else a book that changed them?
  • Was there ever a book you assigned as a teacher or read as a student that changed a whole class?
  • What are some life-changing books you’ve heard other people talk about that you haven’t had an opportunity to read yet? (Perhaps a summer reading goal?)

What Books Have Changed Your Life?

June #nctechatLast year during Independent Bookstore Day, a local bookstore in Ann Arbor where I live set up a photo booth and asked patrons to take a picture with a “Book That Changed My Life.” I didn’t actually participate in this photo booth experience because I didn’t know about it until I read the store’s blog post about it afterwards, but even with the ephemeral nature of the Internet and social media, that idea has continued to stick with me all these months later. What books have changed my life? My colleagues’ lives? And more importantly, my students’ lives?

When I was tasked with the job of planning this month’s #nctechat to revolve around summer reading, I thought about how we could use this as an opportunity to remind educational stakeholders that reading can be more than just for learning and for leisure. The right book in the right hands at the right time can be a life-transforming experience.

But so often students are presented summer reading as a job. An assignment. A way to extend the school year and turn it into yet another dreaded task to carry out with as little joy as possible. And in our effort to prevent the “summer slide” we lose sight of those other reasons for which we read: not just to learn, but to find joy and be transformed.

On Sunday June 19 at 8 PM ET, we invite you to join our #nctechat on Twitter to discuss all those life-changing books and writers in your life. But let’s also extend this conversation to the people who matter the most: our students. Invite any and all stakeholders to be a part of the discussion: students, parents, colleagues, and even the authors of the life-changing books themselves. By the end of this month’s chat, we hope you will be reminded not just of those books that changed your life, but how you can help your students find their own path to life-changing reading experiences.

Questions for the chat:

  1. Let’s begin by introducing ourselves. Are you here to share your love of reading as a teacher, student, parent, author?
  2. Let’s get to what we’re here for: Tell us about the book(s) that changed your life.
  3. How did you discover that life changing book?
  4. Is there a book you can pinpoint that turned you into a reader?
  5. Have you ever given someone else a book that changed them?
  6. Was there ever a book you assigned as a teacher or read as a student that changed a whole class?
  7. What are some life-changing books you’ve heard other people talk about that you haven’t had an opportunity to read yet? (Perhaps a summer reading goal?)

 

May #nctechat: The Power of Vulnerability

The Power of Vulnerability in Our Schools and Classrooms May #nctechat“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In the book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown uses this quote by Theodore Roosevelt as the basis for her argument on why we need to cultivate vulnerability in our lives.  In this fast-paced world of “get more done in less time” and in school cultures where the guise of professionalism trumps forming any sort of meaningful relationships with students and colleagues, vulnerability can often be seen as a liability.

But in reality, vulnerability is showing up. It’s accepting accountability. And it’s stepping up to the plate after striking out (paraphrased from Daring Greatly). Aren’t those qualities we all want to see in our students, colleagues, and administrators?

Join us on Sunday at 8 PM ET for #nctechat on Twitter where we will discuss The Power of Vulnerability in Our Schools and Classrooms. Here is a preview of the questions we will discuss:

  1. Let’s talk about what we think vulnerability is and what it isn’t.
  2. Why does vulnerability so often feel like a liability in work and in life?
  3. What impact can avoiding vulnerability have on students, colleagues, and school culture?
  4. How do you or have you shown vulnerability in front of your students or colleagues
  5. How have you encouraged or seen vulnerability in your students?
  6. What are the ways kids avoid vulnerability and how can we help them see its benefits?
  7. What are the ways colleagues avoid vulnerability and how can we help them see its benefits?
  8. How can we cultivate discomfort and help our students dig out of perfectionism as a form of shielding?

Reflections on #nctechat

April #nctechat archiveLast weekend, a spirited discussion ensued during #nctechat on Twitter. With a topic like Politics and Language: Critical Literacy During an Election Year, people are bound to show up and see what others are talking about (you can access the Storify archive here).

From the news media to our own dinner tables, the fear and vitriol that the 2016 election has already churned up has left teachers wondering how they can have productive discussions with their students about the important issues facing our country. But teachers also know that the classroom is where we have a big opportunity to help nurture engaged, responsible citizens. The question is, how do we invite those discussions into our learning community without also inviting resentment and malice towards those with differing viewpoints?

What I saw overwhelmingly in our chat last Sunday was that teachers understand the need to embrace the uncomfortable. That we need to go beyond just  holding mock elections and offering students extra credit to stay up late and watch presidential debates. Instead, we need to look at the ways can critically examine our role as citizens in a democracy – with our students. It’s difficult to do that without discussing controversial and uncomfortable topics.

If you want to see some of the resources and important thoughts that were shared last Sunday, I created my own Storify of takeaways from the chat. I hope you will find some of them both useful and inspiring.