Blogging Through the Day


I am lucky enough to be visiting Warsaw, IN today for the ALL WRITE!!! conference. It is one of the best conferences I’ve been to and I’ve been coming for the past few years. Will I see you? If you will be here today or tomorrow let me know in the comments below and maybe we can say hi!

Now, here is where this post gets interesting. I am, for the first time, using the WordPress App to blog through my day of sessions and share my learning. This is the first time I’ve done this and though it sounds really cool, it is a bit terrifying if it doesn’t work. Bear with me as I attempt to share all the fun here in Warsaw and send my learning your way!

Get ready for my stream of ideas!

Starting the day with breakfast and Dana Murphy!


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Listening to keynote speaker Greg Tang on THE ART OF SMART!

“Math is a platform for developing people’s minds.” ~Tang

What does it mean to be smart?

  • They know a lot about a lot of things.
  • They see connections.
  • They love analogies.

Look for connections in your teaching to find the one thing that makes sense to the kid that can’t make sense of what you are teaching. This applies to everything!

Greg Tang is stretching us to think in smart groups and break problems apart.

Listening to Jen Serravallo talk about GOAL-DIRECTED INSTRUCTION, based on her new book!

Jen started by talking about how her 5 year-old daughter is learning to tie shoes and she needed a list of step-by-step strategies. She also explained that even though she watches her tie her shoes following these steps, she’s still looking for the skill. Can she tie her shoes yet? Can she do it quickly? And maybe someday, can she tie them without looking?

Strategies should be a recipe of steps, but students should outgrow these steps and have easy access to the skill after becoming anchored to the strategies and steps.

“You’ve got to connect the new information to the known information.” ~Serravallo

Jen shared some great prompts for readers (I could use these for writers too).

  • Compliment–Name exactly what they did well
  • Directive–A command
  • Re-Direction–Don’t do this, do this instead
  • Question
  • Sentence Starter–Give them some language to use and repeat


I’m staying with Jen to hear about small group work with readers!

“Before teaching…know what to teach.” ~Serravallo

Make sure everything you teach connects back to your overall goal for what you want the child to take away.

Compliment conferences build trust and motivations with the reader. When you do a compliment conference, it is 90 seconds at most and you are quickly researching the reader, deciding what to compliment and then clearly and explicitly complimenting the skill or strategy they used. You can also collect a lot of information and follow up with a more formal conference or a small group if you notice trends among students.

Make the kid their own model instead of always demonstrating what you want them to do.


Lunch at Cerulean!

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Back from lunch and ready to go!

Learning with Mary Helen Gensch and Tammy Shultz about THE TOP TEN PICKS FOR MINI-LESSONS AND READ ALOUDS, with a few more thrown in!

Here’s the list:

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

I’m a Shark by Bob Shea

Pitter Patter by Martha Sullivan

Build, Dogs, Build: a Tall Tail by James Horvath

Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Christianne Jones

Old Elm Speaks by Kristine O’Connel George

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre (I recently got this book and love it. It is absolutely gorgeous)!

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Robin

Turtles by Grace Hansen

Sizing Up Winter by Lizann Flatt

Born in the Wild by Lita Judge

Bang by Leo Timmers

Spike: Ugliest Dog in the Universe by Debra Frasier

Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack

You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! by Jonah Winter and Terry Widener

Laugh Out-Loud Baby by Tony Johnston

Ending the day with a trip to the vendors to pick up two books by the amazing Jen Serravallo and then Dana and I are grabbing coffee! Long day of learning.

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