Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 10: Cognitive Coaching and Interest Groups

Before I begin with my recap of today's events, I would like to first send some well wishes to everyone that has fallen prey to this stubborn summer bug: Jan, Maria (Mariana), Katrina, Lauren, and myself. If any of the aforementioned are still feeling under the weather next week please keep an arm lengths distance away from Madeline who has softball tournaments to attend. Cheer her on from a distance please. Get well soon.

On another note, we must also say farewell to Katrina. Her last day in the program was Thursday. Her light, joy, and presence will be missed. Have fun on vacation, never stop writing, and hope to see you again in October.

Our daily read alouds by fellow SLIs have been one of the many highlights for me at this workshop. Today I started the day with a very gripping read aloud of Sharon Draper's first historical fiction, Copper Sun. This novel tells the story of 15 year old Amari who witnesses the destruction of her village, slaughter of her family, and is then sold into slavery. This heart-wrenching story takes you on her journey of finding hope, inner peace, and freedom. 

Alex's read aloud lightened the mood as he read a total of four poems from two of Shel Silverstein's books. The messages are poignant and the versus are hilarious. Shel Silverstein's poems were a perfect way to wrap up a long week. Alex also brought an extra treat to share with us. An action chapter book he wrote in the eighth grade was sure to bring smiles and laughter to our group. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of this book out of respect for the author, but this is one action story that Jan can definitely get in to. 
Alex reading aloud
After the read alouds we got into the business of the day. If you borrowed any books from Jan, Amy, or Heinemann please return them this Monday. We will also have a tentative location for our celebration lunch this Tuesday. We will be having lunch at The Ogden pending Lauren's work schedule. We will come to a final decision on Monday. We also picked a day for our final meet up. We will meet Thursday October 6, 2016 in the evening for three hours. If this day does not work out, we will meet up on October 20, 2016 for the IWP Day of Writing.

Amy then gave a presentation on Cognitive Coaching. Cognitive Coaching is a process where teachers think deeply about their practice. Through the use of questioning this non-valuative process can help educators improve their craft. For more information please visit the following site

Video 11-1 Planning Conversation

After concluding this presentation, we were then divided into groups to discuss topics that we still had questions about. The three groups included assessment and evaluation of writing, mentor texts, and ELL writers. Below you will find a brief list of takeaways from each group. Our day finally ended with self directed writing time.
Group Notes
Assessment Group
Mentor Texts
  • Use mentor texts as a model teach any form of the writing craft
  • Think about the text broadly
  • Take notice of sentence structure, word choice, and organization
  • Grade the writing process not the actual writing
  • Have students evaluate themselves
  • Have students evaluate each other
  • Take notes during one on one conferences
  • Create a rubric for assessing the process
ELL Writers
  • Find out the mindset about the home language and English language for both the student and the parents.
  • It takes 5-6 years to learn a new language when taught in the home language
  • Use graphic organizers
  • Utilize Total Physical Response (TPR): connecting words with actions/movements
  • Teach academic language
  • ELLs think in their home language when trying to write in the new language
  • Sentence Starters are helpful to ELL writers

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