Tuesday, August 7, 2012

FREE Professional Development Opportunity

Hoʻokahi Wai o ka Like: Like Water We Flow as One 

What: 2012 Big Island P-20 Writing Symposium
When: September 8 9:15-3:30 pm
Where: UHH University Classroom Building (UCB)
Sponsored by: UHH Department of English and the Hawaiʻi P-20 Project
Registration: August 1 - August 27, space limited - contact Seri Luangphinith (seri@hawaii.edu) for registration

Blurb: This free event is open to Big Island public and private secondary teachers who are interested in learning more about trans-disciplinary Common Core writing standards. 

DOE teachers who register will be eligible to receive professional development credit for the work they initiate at this event. Contact Adele Wada (Adele_Wada/CIB/HIDOE@notes.k12.hi.us) for more information.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A New Way to View ESEA Reauthorization Efforts

ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) came up with a new chart (PDF) to help you make sense of pending legislative efforts to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The tool provides a detailed side-by-side comparison of the current law, the changes proposed by each of the bills passed by the respective Senate and House education committees, and the Obama administration's waiver plan.

It's organized into five major categories (standards/assessments, accountability, teacher and leader effectiveness, school improvement, and funding).

No one has time, especially is school is winding down, but that's not an excuse to be uninformed, so check out this handy chart from an education-minded organization.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hawaii Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute

Lehua Writing Project is no longer offering summer institutes, but if you know of a potential teacher leader who can stay with someone on Oahu, please encourage them to apply for the Hawaii Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute.

Below is a letter from the director, Dr. Ellen Spitler:

Dear Hawai‘i Writing Project Supporter,
Each year the Hawai‘i Writing Project (HWP), an affiliate of the National Writing Project and housed at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, works with educators on O'ahu and Maui, across grades and all disciplines to introduce them to writing practices and theories that will motivate teachers and students alike to take writing seriously and to help them discover—or rediscover—its joys.  Those who complete the Invitational Summer Institute become teacher consultants whose job it is to provide motivation and leadership in the teaching of writing within their communities. Together, we are dedicated to improving writing instruction in our nation’s schools and to promoting the use of writing as a tool for thinking and learning across disciplines.
As you may know, the federal government this year did not fund the National Writing Project and sadly many sites around the country do not have the monies to support a summer institute.  HWP is in a position to still offer the Invitational Summer Institute.
As the directors of HWP Invitational Summer Institutes, we hope you will participate or nominate an educator you feel would benefit from the excitement and learning experience the summer institute offers to our participants. We are interested in teachers from all disciplines—English, science, social studies, health, performing/visual arts, or math—and at all levels, kindergarten through college.  Committed to serving the needs of a particular geographic region, we are also interested in bilingual and ELL teachers and in those who understand the increasingly complex cultural diversity of Hawai‘i.  We also welcome administrators.
If you are an administrator, please take the time to nominate and share this invitation with strong educators on your faculty who would benefit from the program we offer. All you have to do is provide us with the name and email address for any teachers you want to nominate.  And, of course, we’d be delighted if you nominated more than one person.  We will contact all nominees to make sure they understand what the writing project is all about, how to complete the application process, and what to expect and prepare for if they are accepted.
Full tuition scholarships will be available for six credits of graduate work (English/CS 640) for up to twenty Invitational Summer Institute participants.  If you know teachers who are considering the pursuit of a master's degree, the Summer Institute offers a stimulating and supportive place to begin.  Completion of the institute also qualifies for salary increment/professional development [DOE] credit.  
DATES:    O‘ahu Invitational Summer Institute – June 18 – July 13, 2012
                 Monday –Thursday except the first week, which is Monday  - Friday

FEES:        Full tuition scholarships available for 6 credits of graduate work (English/CS 640) for all Invitational Summer Institute participants; some fees apply totaling approximately $100-$150         
DEADLINE:    May 15, 2012
Please find the Institute flyers attached. Be sure to register as soon as possible, or nominate someone you believe will benefit from what the Hawai‘i Writing Project has to offer. We look forward to hearing from you soon!  Please feel free to contact either of us for more information.
Mahalo nui loa,
Ellen Spitler, Ph.D.
Director, Hawai‘i Writing Project
Invitational Summer Institute (Oahu)

Monday, April 16, 2012


Wonderopolis (http://wonderopolis.org) is a website created by the National Center for Family Literacy. It can help parents and teachers draw elementary-age children into literacy-strengthening conversations and activities. 

Yesterdays Wonder of the Day was "Why are they called deadlines?" Each wonder includes:
  • an interesting video clip (the deadline one below with the cool post it stop motion animation)

  • several paragraphs of fairly student-friendly text that introduces the topic and content related to the question
  • learning activities that kids can do at home ("Once you have something in mind, grab a pencil and paper and do some planning. Break the task down into all its parts. Estimate how much time each part will take. Take a look at how much time you have left before your deadline, and decide how much work you will need to do each day until the deadline arrives.")
  • vocabulary featured in the text
  • a "still wondering" section that offers links to content on other sites
  • a comment section for kids

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Noteworthy Numbers

saw this in the March ASCD Educational Leadership




Does what we know reflect in what we do in the classroom?

Source: Scholastic & Harrison Group (2010). 2010 kids and family reading report: Turning the page in the digital age. Retrieved from Scholastic at www.scholastic.com/readingreport. Based on a nationally representative sample of 1,045 children ages 6-17. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

How Will You Celebrate April's Poetry Month?

• Poetry a Day Challenge - Join me in writing a poem a day - any length - long tomes or poems that fit in your pocket - just write. If you want to join the challenge, here's day 1's poem on my mana'o for educators blog. Leave a link to your blog on the comments and I'll link it back in on this blog.

• Go to the excellent Scholastic site to get ideas for your classroom, including a webcast with poet laureate Jack Prelutsky.

• NCTE's read.write.think site has more resources on writing poetry in class like shape poems and links

• My must see site Favorite Poem has citizens, both famous and not yet famous reciting their favorite poems.

• Poem in your pocket day (April 26, 2012) asks people to keep a poem in their pocket. This site has all the resources you need for this event.

Poems are safe in pockets
A hidden world
Carried around
Next to last week's lint
A secret treasure
A comfort from harsh words
An escape from mean stares
A lovely surprise for your mother
on washing day

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cisneros Talks About the Impact of Teachers on Young Writers

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros is my go-to writing "textbook" for multiple levels. If you're looking for models of good writing, this book of vignettes is a great place to start.

In "The Collegian," Cisneros talks about her growth as a writer and shares the power of a middle school teacher to inspire her to be a writer.

Cisneros told the attentive crowd that her artistry didn’t translate into writing until she was in middle school when a teacher inspired her.
Cisneros pointed to the value that a teacher can have in the development of their students.
“I thought she was being mistaken — so I better not disappoint her,” said Cisneros. “My grades went up because this teacher had faith and belief in me. That’s when I began writing poetry at that time.”

Friday, February 10, 2012

Write With Your Students

Books will soon be obsolete in the schools. Our school system will be completely changed in 10 years." -- Thomas Edison, 1913
Rebecca Alber in her Edutopia blog reminds us that almost a hundred years later, many are still echoing Edison's words.  But in the midst of the wave of educational technology geared to making our jobs "easier," we cannot forget that all the ed tech developments cannot and will not replace the "process of learning or the planning of teaching." 
Technology will never replace the need to be literate. Reading and writing continue to be essential, even with technology. 
A computer program, or a web 2.0 tool cannot have the lasting impact that a good teacher can have on the students.  To help our students become writers, we need to write side by side with them. 
I love this picture by Karla Pitts because it reminds me of my early writing memories. My mother was an English teacher so when she brought home essays, I remember bringing out my own paper and writing "comments" in the margins. Those early writing memories are just as important as the memories of our Saturday afternoon jaunts to the Manoa Public Library.

When I first started teaching, our technology consisted of an overhead projector and boxes of transparencies that we wrote on with our vis a vis pens. When it was writing time, I got my students writing because I wrote too. I became the queen of the one transparency draft. 

When it came time to do writer's group, I always used one of my drafts and the students would help me figure out where I stumbled, where I wandered off, what questions I needed to answer, where my piece should go. One of those transparency drafts, with several periods helping me revise, edit and even title the piece became my poem "Max Is Hea" published in Bamboo Ridge's Growing Up Local. When I got the acceptance letter, I of course read it to all of them. They were proud parents of that piece because they saw that piece grow up from that first initial draft on the transparency that was more like a bulleted mix of images. 

There is something soothing about grabbing a favorite pen or pencil and just feeling the energy and concentration transfer down your arm, to your fingers and onto the paper. Although most of my work is on the computer now, when I want to figure something out, I must get my Samurai #9 mechanical pencil and let the confusion and frustration work its way out of my fingers in a way that can't be accomplished by tapping on black and white squares. 

National Writing Project has been saying it for years. As writing project teachers, we see it in our classrooms all the time. Students who come from writing project teachers' classrooms are better writers. Fact. There's no magic pill, no program or curriculum to follow. My students have been published, their pieces have been used as prototypes for state writing samples, they have used their writing to win gold medals in competitions. 

Want to know the secret? 

Write when they write. Share first to show that you have the same struggles. Expect more, give more.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Online Journal Seeks Manuscripts and Issue Proposals

Online journal seeks manuscripts and issue proposals
WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom is the refereed journal of the Worlds of Words, an organization dedicated to creating an international network of people who share the vision of bringing books and children together, thereby opening windows on the world. WOW encourages thoughtful dialogue around literature so that children and adolescents can reflect on their own cultural experiences and connect to the experiences of others across the globe.
You can submit to the journal in two different formats.  We publish 1-2 issues a year that contain individual manuscripts and 2 issues a year that are submitted by a specific literacy community.

Submit an individual manuscript as a vignette/classroom story:
·       Describe classroom or library practice (K-12) that connects children and literature in ways that promote intercultural understanding.
·       Take the form of a story or vignette that one educator might tell to another to share the responses of students to literature.
·       Include student voices where appropriate through quotes of student talk, examples of student work, audio clips, or video clips.
·       Include charts, graphs, student artifacts, bulleted points, and/or figures wherever possible to vary the format and enhance the content of the article.
·       Be less than 2000 words.
·       These manuscripts will be sent out for review by our editorial board, with decisions made within four months.
·       Visit www.wowlit.org to see examples of individual manuscripts in Volume 2, WOW Stories

Submit a proposal as a literacy community for an issue of the journal:
·      A group of educators from a school, library, project, writing group, or university course can submit a proposal to put together an issue of the journal.
·      Determine a theme/topic from the community’s work together related to using multicultural or global literature with students to create intercultural understanding.
·      Submit a 2-3 page proposal that describes the topic and provides a schedule for developing the vignettes along with the names of the authors who will contribute and the name of the contact person.
·      Issue begins with a short introduction of the focus for the issue and introduces the literacy community,
·       Issue contains 5 or more vignettes around the theme.
·       Visit www.wowlit.org to see examples of a community-based journal issue in Volume 1, WOW Stories

Submit all manuscripts and proposals electronically to wow@email.arizona.edu. See wowlit.org for specific submission guidelines. 
Manuscripts and issue proposals are accepted at any time.
For specific questions or inquiries, contact Dr. Janine M. Schall at jschall@utpa.edu. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Free K-5 Literacy Workshop with Kathy Collins

Save the Date!
You are invited to a Literacy Workshop with Kathy Collins, author of Growing Readers: Units of Study in the Primary Classroom

When: Saturday, February 25, 2012
             9:00 AM - NOON

Where: UH Hilo, UCB 100
  • LWP Alum - FREE
  • Teachers - $35.00 [includes membership to BICTE]
  • Education students - $10.00
RSVP: by February 15, 2012 (limited to first 100 participants)
to Avis Masuda (ammasuda@hawaii.edu) OR Michele Ebersole (mebersol@hawaii.edu)

This workshop is sponsored by the Lehua Writing Project, the Big Island Council of Teachers of English and the UH Hilo education department.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January Continuity: Non-Fiction Writing and Reading Comprehension through Drama

Ha'uoli makahiki hou! Some LWP members spent a fabulous Saturday at Kealakehe with our gracious hostess Shawna Fischer.

SI 2011 alum Jessie Garcia and SI 2009 alum Cathy Riehle did the demo lessons and our hostess (SI 09) did the invitation to write.

Using Lucy Calkins' nonfiction writing book as a resource (from the Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum), Jessie went over the packet she uses with her primary students to get them to create nonfiction books.

With her young students, they start with topics that they already know about, like caring for a dog, but older students can use this same format to create non-fiction books based on their research.

Cathy warmed us up by having us use our bodies to exemplify certain vocabulary words like droop, stomp, etc.

She then read an excerpt to us from Chicken Soup for Little Souls: Best Night Out with Dad
Our groups were tasked with dramatizing certain key words/concepts - like loneliness and disdain as a way to kinesthetically understand the reading.
Did you miss something wonderful? Yes, but stay tuned. There's an opportunity for more professional development in February and it's manuahi for LWP alum.