Monday, August 3, 2015

Lucy Calkins’ Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments & Learning Progressions, K-8

Part 1 Chapters 4-6: Highlights that jumped out at me… 

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Chapter 4 Using Early Results to Plan and Adapt Your Writing Curriculum
  •             Wow!  Doesn’t that title grab your interest?  Powerful stuff!
  •     Yes, levels early in the year may be disappointing.  Recalling the 1st day of school, "kinders" told me they’d like to learn how to tie shoes or button pants.  It was so disappointing that they didn’t instead  say, “I want to learn how to read and write!”
  •      Lucy’s basic levels of differentiation through coaching in mini lessons, conferring and small group instruction is doable and makes success reachable!  Wish this book was on my shelf "back in the day!"

Chapter 5 Self Assessment Checklists: The What, the Why, and the How
  •            Loved Lucy’s findings that checklists are more kid friendly than rubrics
  •      Also loved Lucy’s modeling on how to introduce, adapt when needed, and use the checklists

Chapter 6 Tracking Data: On-the-Run and Formally
  • Having students invent a record keeping system along with you is invaluable!
  • What did you take away? Can’t wait to hear from you!

CRA Past President Lynn Gurnee

1 comment:

  1. All of this was valuable and enlightening. As the beginning of the school year quickly approaches, I become more anxious about how to get it all done. Writing is such a huge challenge in kindergarten. At the beginning of the year, I always have some students that are not able to write their names, or letters. I just need to take a deep breath and remember baby steps. Does Lucy have any books out that a specific to kindergarten? I really like her approach and the support materials. It would be nice to read more that is directed at the beginners.
    In chapter 4, I liked the idea of providing students with individual mentor text. Giving them a copy to keep in their writing folder gives them a constant visual support and a reminder of what they are working towards. Most kindergarteners are visual learners to some degree, and need to see it before they understand what they are suppose to do. I think my biggest challenge is going to be time. Our school day keeps getting shorter, so I am trying to come up with the best way to give them quality writing instruction and practice in a small chunk of time. It’s the conferencing and small group instruction that I am worried about. I would love any suggestions anyone has to offer!
    I am hoping that the checklists will help make conferencing a little less challenging. I love the illustrations on the checklist! Once again, visual support for the kinders is so important. It is great that Lucy has this done already and I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I like the “I do, you do” model of teaching the checklist. I can see it being a fun interactive mini-lesson, and also good review for small group. I want them to be excited to use the checklist and monitor their progress and set goals to help them improve. In chapter 5, page 45, there is a reference to Carol Dweck and “growth mind-set”. I have attended some workshops based on her work, and it teaches students that it is good to challenge themselves. It explains how their brains grow when they make a mistake and that making a mistake can help them learn. They need to know that they are all capable of learning more and improving their skills. Celebrating their goals will get them excited about setting new ones. When they begin to see their growth and progress they will get excited to challenge themselves to learning more.
    I am excited to use the strategy cards with my students. A picture is worth a thousand words! I thinking that I might draw all of the cards, copy them on to card stock, laminate, and then keep them in a pocket chart to use during conferences. I am hoping that the pictures will help them see what they need to get to their next step, and they can take the card back to their table and use it to remind them while they work.
    I am thinking that these structure and development strategies will be a good way for me to organize a visual record keeping system. By using the same pictures and goals on a wall chart, the students and I will be able to see what they are working on. I am thinking about doing some sort of color-coding, so I can see if there are certain areas that need extra support, or what to focus on in small group instruction. I need to keep in mind what Lucy said about the intention being to see some sort of visible progress in all students and use it to direct my teaching. I need to keep a “growth mind-set" and not give up, but rethink my teaching strategies and try different things until I find something that works.