A List of Ten Resources for Literacy Leaders

The Gift of Literacy

December 22, 2018

This week we examine the gift of literacy in our lives and gain some perspective.

  1. In Wednesday’s post, I explore ways of bridging the holidays with authentic literacy instruction.

  2. Teaching Tolerance offers a variety of ideas and information regarding the balance public education needs when teaching about the holidays. Click here to see search results within their website on this topic.

  3. Educator and attorney Scott McLeod has written articles on this topic. In this post for his blog Dangerously Irrelevant, he argues for inclusiveness when preparing for instruction the holiday season.

  4. One avenue for developing curriculum that could address these issues is place-based learning. Check out Place-based Curriculum Design: Exceeding Standards through Local Investigations by Amy Demarest for guidance.

  5. Educational Leadership published an article, “Home Grown Citizens”, that offered ideas for using place-based education as a framework for developing students’ abilities to take new perspectives and increase compassion. ($)

  6. In yesterday’s post, I encouraged educators at all levels to share their reading lives with those whom they work and learn with.

  7. Click here to view my newsletter to staff describing my reading life for 2018. What books would you recommend that you read this year? Please share in the comments.

  8. I mentioned that this year I am reading a poem before every staff meeting. The poetry and responses come from Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach.

  9. You can view my most recent staff meeting agenda, which includes one of the poems I read aloud, by clicking here.

  10. One of the books I recommended in my Reading Life newsletter is Upstream by Mary Oliver, a series of essays by the well-known American poet.

No newsletter next week; I’ll be taking time to relax, read and recharge. Happy holidays!


Celebration and Change

December 15, 2018

This week we focus on celebration and change.

  1. In my first post this week, I describe a process of reflection the staff and I facilitated based on our shared beliefs about literacy.

  2. The “Four Stages of a Learning Progression” document was a popular tool that readers could download; you can access it here.

  3. This work is heavily influenced by the Regie Routman in Residence professional development program. When other school leaders ask me “What program do you use?”, I recommend this one.

  4. Examining beliefs and practices is an effective way to ensure equity in schools. Regie Routman wrote about why equity matters in this article for CCIRA.

  5. Earlier this year, I wrote a post in which I shared a story of a student’s low expectations for himself and related the short experience to the importance of connecting beliefs and practices.

  6. Today, I wrote a post that offered three simple ways for celebrating our teachers. How do you recognize faculty members? Share in the comments!

  7. Celebration is an essential part of building trust schoolwide. Contributor Michelle Olson wrote a post this summer on the topic of trust in schools.

  8. This New York Times opinion piece by David Kirp addresses trust and relationships as essential for change vs. a business model used in schools.

  9. An Education Week article came to my attention also touching on the importance of supporting teachers as they do the best they know how in the classroom.

  10. I thought this short research article from Harvard Business Review offered a helpful strategy when guiding people through change.

A Leader's Presence

December 8, 2018

This week, we focus on the impact of a leader’s presence on teaching and learning.

  1. During an instructional walk, I describe in this post how I become a participant in a book discussion with 4th graders as they practiced their new roles.

  2. This post was a follow up to an initial response I shared around holding my assumptions at bay during a classroom visit.

  3. An explanation of instructional walks can be accessed at this blog post for Stenhouse.

  4. I followed up on the previous post by addressing tasks related to fostering professional relationships and improving home-school communication.

  5. When visiting classrooms, our first inclination should not be to evaluate instruction. In this post, I reflect on my own experience being observed.

  6. I am taking a course on instructional coaching and professional development. This resource was referenced today around leading adult learning.

  7. The previous resource summarizes the research of Robert Kagen, author of Immunity to Change.

  8. For an acolyte of Kagen’s work, explore Jennifer Garvey Berger’s website on simple habits for complex times.

  9. A book that sparked my reading interest during today’s instructional course session is Tell Me So I Can Hear You by Drago-Severson and Blum-DeStefano.

  10. If looking for a practical resource on making your leadership visible to specific staff members, check out Having Hard Conversations by Jennifer Abrams.


December 1, 2018

This week we understand the need to take multiple perspectives in education.

  1. In my first post this week, I explore the costs and benefits of integrating technology into instruction.

  2. That post was actually reblogged from my website, which you can access here.

  3. Even though a book is published, I still think and write about the topic. The opportunity cost post could be a companion to my first book through ASCD.

  4. A book on technology that expanded my perspective of the Internet is Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art by Virginia Heffernan.

  5. Heffernan shares in this Wisconsin Public Radio interview that she considers the Internet as “The Great Masterpiece of Civilization”.

  6. In today’s post, I share a brief scene from an instructional walk in which my assumption about whole class novels almost got in the way of my learning.

  7. Instructional walks are a learning leadership approach to classroom visits described in Regie Routman’s resource Read, Write, Lead: Breakthrough Strategies for Schoolwide Literacy Success.

  8. I describe my personal process for instructional walks in this Stenhouse Blog post.

  9. Although I have gone back to using paper and pen, an iPad app I liked using with the Apple Pencil for instructional walks is Notes Plus. It converted my handwriting to text, which I could email to the teacher.

  10. I was tempted to purchase a new technology, ReMarkable, for instructional walks. If you buy it and try it out, let me know what you think.

Most Memorable Blog Posts of the Year - 2018

November 24, 2018

This is a special newsletter, highlighting the ten most memorable blog posts I read this year. Thank you for sharing your ideas! (Photo credit: Simon Maage on Unsplash)

  1. Hattie Maguire (@TeacherHattie) at Moving Writers shares how she uses blogging to grow independent writers in her high school English classes.

  2. Christina Torres (@biblio_phile) at On Being writes about how teaching saves her life every single day at her middle school in Honolulu, Hawaii.

  3. Mary Beth Nicklaus (@MBethNicklaus) at Wisconsin English Journal reflects on guiding boys to stay true to their self-selected novels during reading intervention in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

  4. Benjamin Doxtdator (@doxdatorb) at Long View on Education questions whether innovation in education can be reduced to a mindset or a quality such as grit.

  5. Ariel Sacks (@arielsacks) at Education Week Blog makes a case that school librarians are the literacy leaders we need, especially in light of cuts to this area.

  6. Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) at My Island View points out the need for personalized professional development for teachers to make a shift to more modern instructional practices.

  7. Cathy Mere (@CathyMere) at Reflect & Refine gains some perspective about what’s important after a personal artifact broke in her home.

  8. Rachael George (@runnin26) at All We Do is Educate reflects on a hill she has avoided on her regular runs for years, until one day…

  9. Chris Kennedy (@chrkennedy) at Culture of Yes pauses to question the statement, “You must really miss the classroom”, as a school administrator.

  10. Stephanie Affinito (@affinitolit) at Dr. Stephanie Affinito is inspired by an airport vending machine to create a board and help teachers advocate for what they need regarding professional learning.

Don’t have a blog but want some motivation to start one? Check out my post on the many benefits that blogging about our work can bring for others and for ourselves.

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