Monday, July 22, 2013

Webinars with Lucy Calkins

YIKES-  Slow down, summer!
As the days of summer pass (and they still seem like they're racing!) I feel like I just caught my breath from the school year being over and we’re already half way through July. How can that be possible? I realize many of you are on summer vacation like myself and you are probably feeling, like me, where did the summer go?
Summer Sand Castle Fun July 4th

Webinar with Lucy Calkins 

Since my whirlwind trip to North Carolina, I have had a great good fortune of receiving a personal invitation from Teachers College to participate in two webinars with my mentor Lucy Calkins!  I was able to ask Lucy my burning questions about her new Common Core aligned writing curriculum. So you ask- what are some of my burning questions?     

How are your new Units of Study different from the first Units of Study in Writing?

  1. The new units are grade level specific and are aligned to the Common Core (CCSS)providing spiraled instruction in the three major CCSS areas of writing: Opinion- Writing Standard 1; Information- Writing Standard 2 and Narrative Writing Standard 3.
  2. The new units of study differ from the original units of study structure by making the connections  portion of the mini lesson briefer hence making it easier for children to stay engaged.
  3. The new units focus on a progression of skill development across grades. 
  4. Rubrics and checklists are provided to help students assess their own writing and set  clear goals to work toward. 
  5. The new units include grade level benchmark pieces are included  to show what students should be able to do by the end of the year.
  6. The new units include formative assessments for each of the three Common Core writing types which support responsive teaching and provide actionable feedback to students. 
  7. The new units include exemplar pieces of student writing that identify what is essential to help lift the students' level of learning.
  8. Each of the new units are comprised of about 20 sessions and go about six weeks.
  9. The new units have an "If-Then" curriculum that supports differentiation.
  10. The new units are written to provide teachers with a lot of support not a lot of work.
At Teachers College with Lucy

 To top it off Lucy sent me a personal email expressing her gratitude for my participation. I am eternally grateful for the honor to participate in the webinars and am completely humbled by her email.

For those of you interested in finding out more about this Common Core Aligned Writing Curriculum Lucy will be leading one day seminars across the nation in the upcoming months.  I was fortunate enough to participate this past Winter in Chicago and would highly recommend it. 

Also, since my last post, I have been busy trying to learn the in's and outs of blogging, TpT, and re-introducing a Mac platform to my PC brain. It's been a pretty steep learning curve for sure, but what a wonderful challenge to embrace. Wowza, so much to learn! I am grateful for the many wonderful people who have reached out to support me in this endeavor. 

Along this summer sogjourn, I've realized how the lessons I'm learning about building a blog are the same lessons I need to apply in my coaching: 
  • Relationships
  • Responsive
  • Reflect
  • Read
  • Resource 

What's On Your Mind?

I am constantly in awe of how passionate teachers are in terms of lifelong learning. So many of you are a testimony to that by spending your precious summer days researching blogs for instructional tips and tools as you prepare for the year ahead.  I am eager to hear what interests you and what you would like me to post about. Please help me out by sending me a literacy topic or two that interests you. I would love to hear from you. 

While summer is such a wonderful time, my mind has turned to school preparation. I feel the excitement, as I prepare for staff development in the new year ahead. I will be back at work in just about a week preparing for district-wide staff development and coaching as well as for a New Teacher Academy designed to support newly hired elementary teachers in our district learn the Comprehensive Literacy Model. Look for future posts about that. Also, I hope to post soon about my current project which is a Common Core Aligned English Language Arts curricular calendar that compliments Lucy Calkin's Common Core Reading and Writing Workshop curriculum. I hope you continue to read, relax and rejuvenate across the last few weeks of summer. 


  1. I just happened on your blog today while browsing pinterest. I've been desperately looking for literacy coaches' classrooms because I want to try something different with my room this year! Any ideas?!

    New follower!
    Buzzing with Ms. B