Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer #CyberPD Reflection Weeks 2 and 3

This summer I am participating in my first #CyberPD session. This virtual book club is organized and facilitated by educators, Cathy MereLaura Komos and Michelle Nero.  This group started in 2011 and has grown every year. This summer, we are reading and discussing DIY Literacy: Tools for Differentiation, Rigor and Independence

This post serves as my reflection for weeks 2 and 3 since I never got to it last week. 

For me, chapters 3-5 were the really the "heart" of the book for me. It hit upon all of the reasons I need to use these tools:
*To help students remember what I have taught them.
*To help motivate students.
*To tailor my teaching to meet the needs of all of my students. 

Of all of these reasons, helping my students remember what I have taught them is probably one of my biggest issues in the classroom. On page 38 Kate and Maggie list all of the things our students must try to learn and attend to on a given day. No wonder our students can't remember what we teach them. 

I really love the idea of using anchor and repertoire charts and bookmarks for this purpose. I also like the list on page 42 of the ways to keep charts alive. I am very guilty of creating a chart and expecting the students to remember to refer to it. These tips such as interrupting the students' reading or writing during workshop to remind them to check a chart for a certain strategy for example are excellent ways to help students remember to use the tools. 

A Couple of Takeaways
*Just because I taught it, doesn't mean they learned it. It they actually learned something, they would remember it. So I already knew this but it is always a good reminder. 

*Tools can motivate students and give them confidence by providing them with a place to turn when they need help. It also helps with independence because the teacher can always refer the student to the tool before intervening.  

Now I Wonder...
*How can I let go of the fact that my handwriting looks like I wrote while riding a roller coaster? I know Kate and Maggie said it's ok, but I still hate my charts. 
*How can I share what I have learned with other staff members?
*Will I really be able to organize all the tools effectively? 

I have enjoyed participating in this #CyberPD summer session. I hope we can all continue to extend our learning as we apply what we have learned in the classroom. 
A BIG Thank you to Cathy, Laura and Michelle for hosting! 


  1. "Just because I taught it, doesn't mean the learned it" - that's essential for us to remember as teachers. We constantly have to check if students have learned it and we have to provide the tools that they need and give them time to practice so they do learn it. I hear you about the handwriting - my charts will never, ever be perfect, but Kate and Maggie did make me feel a little better about that.

  2. Hi, Gigi --
    We share the same wonderings. My bar is very low for my charts -- just to make it legible!. I also appreciated the suggestions for keeping charts alive!
    Since organization is a challenge, I plan to focus on slowly rolling out the tools. Start with what I know, teaching charts and bookmarks, then increase the level of difficulty (for me) :)

  3. I love your "wonder" questions for yourself! I am "borrowing" them! I take comfort in knowing that if my charts don't look "beautiful" then my students will feel more comfortable making their own tools (like bookmarks) that do not look "beautiful" either!