Showing posts sorted by relevance for query lehman. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query lehman. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

A Day With Chris Lehman: Falling in Love With Close Reading

On Saturday, I attended The Literacy Connection workshop with Chris Lehman. Wow! What an amazing day. I know I can't capture in words how amazing the day was but I wanted to share the highlights. If you have not had a chance to hear Chris Lehman or to read his books, I would highly recommend it. He is an important voice in literacy education and he shares his understandings generously. It was a great way to spend a Saturday in early October.

I am so lucky to teach in Central Ohio. Being part of the Literacy Connection and this group of teachers from Central Ohio who is passionate about literacy learning is such a gift. And so many of these teachers are Dublin colleagues. I feel lucky every day to learn with such an amazing group of people who care so much about what is right for kids. We always have a great time learning and thinking together.

I started my day picking up coffee at the brand new Starbucks that is only a mile or so from my house! I already love this Starbucks and the feel that I have when I walk in there. As busy as they were since they are newly opened, they didn't hesitate when I asked about providing coffee for the teachers. So happy to start all my days here, especially rainy Saturdays when it is still dark! Picking up the coffee here was the perfect way to start the day!

I always love the beginning of the day at these events.  Reconnecting with friends and colleagues and having a few minutes to chat over coffee before the session begins is always important.  Saturday morning there was so much energy in the  room as we knew what a great day we had ahead of us. Lots of people had some time to chat with Chris and to each other.

And if you missed my tweet--Dublin librarian, Marisa Saelzler found the perfect dress for the event. A Lularoe dress that perfectly matches the cover of Chris's book, Falling in Love with Close Reading! (You have to zoom in to see the perfect fabric!)

The day started off with Peggy Oxley welcoming the crowd and introducing Chris. If you don't know Peggy, she is the woman who has run this organization for years.  Her vision for teacher learning and how The Literacy Connection can support that is amazing.  

And of course there were books! Cover to Cover came with so many great new titles.  I showed some control and only bought a small stack. Some great new books that I am excited to share with my students soon.

I can't possibly summarize all that I learned on Saturday, but the day was exactly what I needed when I needed it. Chris's whole message was perfect for early October. Chris gave us so much to think about. Here are some of the quotes I kept throughout the day--quotes that I will revisit over the next few weeks:

"Joy is grounded in good literacy."

"Reading closely is a very natural thing for our kids to do."

"Close reading is about discovering new meaning through looking at details."

"For close reading to go well, reading needs to go well!"

"In close reading you are trying to discover things you didn't notice before."

"If we are asking kids to close read, it has to be a text kids can read successfully by themselves."

"Our kids need access to a lot of books that they can read with strength and that they are interested in reading."

"Nothing's magic in education except your relationship with your students."

"If we develop a structure, it will become a habit which will lead to independence."

"The purpose of the structure is that we can make it more sophisticated over time."

"Young readers need a lot of time to talk and develop the oral language to talk about their thinking around ideas."

"Ultimately, good reading work is good life work."

"It is so important that we are really good kid-watchers. We need to see what our kids do well and build on that."

"Effective literacy instruction requires knowledge of what book levels require readers to be able to do to gain meaning."

Chris Lehman will be back for another day with The Literacy Connection in March. I can't wait to learn more from him then!

**On a related note, if you haven't been keeping up with all of the great work Chris is doing with The Educator Collaborative, I would go check it out. Great Think Tanks and all of the session from the September Gathering are archived and free. Lots of great PD by amazing people.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Chris Lehman will be Speaker at 2015-2016 Literacy Connection Events

Mark your calendars now!

The Literacy  Connection is happy to host Chris Lehman as our 2015-2016 speaker. As we do every year, we'll host a yearlong study around a professional book. This year, the book will be Falling in Love With Close Reading.  The year will kick off on Saturday, October 3 (in Dublin, Ohio) with a full day session with Chris.  There will be 2 after school sessions offered for those wishing to participate in the yearlong study. Then we will end our year on Saturday, March 12 for another day with Chris Lehman.

I love these events because they start great conversations with colleagues and friends. I wasn't able to hear Chris speak at the Dublin Literacy Conference but everyone who heard him said that his work in close reading is great for all grades K-12.

So, save the date--you can pick and choose the days you want to attend, or like many teachers--attend all 4 for this yearlong study.

More info to come but as you are thinking about your own learning for the 2015-2016 school year, this might be one you want to add to your calendar!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016


#ISTE16 was a fabulous experience.  But one of my favorite things was the #ISTEKids session that was facilitated by Chris Lehman and Camilla Gagliolo.  Some third graders from our school were invited to be part of the Student Voices session--a session that focused on student voices and that had all student presenters.

Students from all over the world participated. Some were there live and others were there virtually.  It was an amazing session and the kids shared such powerful messages.  Kids ranged in age from 3rd grade to high school. They were from all over the world--California, Mexico, Wisconsin, Australia, Ohio.  They talked about things important to their learning--Maker projects, global connections because of Global Read Aloud, Project-Based Learning and more.  Our 4 third graders presented on #EdcampKids.

We were invited to participate late in our school year so the kids got together a few times to pull together what we wanted to say, to think about slides, and to make sure we could do it in the 7-8 minutes we were given.  Pulling this session together with the kids was amazing. Their insights about EdcampKids and what they thought others should know taught me so much.  We had fun and we experienced deadline stress but we were happy with what we put together. (Thank goodness for Google Slides and Google Docs!).

On the next to last day of school, Mr. Sweet, one of our Technology Support teachers came over to show the kids how the Skype would work and to test out sound and other features.  

Then the Friday before ISTE, we all met in the Tech House to do some final tech checks and a few dress rehearsals.  Mr. Sweet was such a huge help--we couldn't have done it without him!

Back in Denver, Chris Lehman was busy connecting with all the kids presenting from different places, checking sound and facilitating the technology for the session.

It was such an amazing session. So many great voices saying so many important things.  We were last on the agenda and this is what the screen looked like.  I was able to sit in the audience and watch their amazingness!  They were fabulous! 

Below are the slides that the kids shared.  I am not sure if they'll make sense without the kids' words but you can get a sense of their session.  (I blogged about #EdcampKids on our blog last spring if you would like to know more about it.)

I loved the power of the Student Voices and that Camilla and Chris had the inspiration to create a session like this.  A big message of #ISTE16 was the power of student voices--that they don't need to wait until they are adults to be leaders, that they are leaders now. This session was proof of that. I hope to see more of these.
Really this was one of the best experiences I have had as both a teacher and conference participant.  

(The Student Voices session was not the only place that student voices were heard. There were students presenting throughout the conference in sessions, at poster sessions and at playgrounds.  Below is a photo of me learning from some students from Mexico--ways they are using Skype to connect and understand the world.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Falling in Love with Close Reading by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts

WOW!  That was my first reaction to Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts--and Life as I started reading it this weekend. My husband and I went to Boston for the weekend, just for fun.  This was my airplane reading and within the first few minutes, I turned to my husband and said, "WOW! This book is amazing already!"  This is a book that so many of us have been waiting for and I was so happy to get mine just in time for a plane trip--what better way to dig into a great book than to be able to read uninterrupted for 2 hours straight?  I was able to read the first half of the book on the way to Boston and the rest of the book on the way home.  WOW! I so love this book!

I have been loving all of Chris Lehman's and Kate Roberts' work for a while and I  became even more interested when I heard them speak at NCTE last year.  I have read their books and followed both of their blogs ( and
I loved Kate's blogpost on The Nerdy Book Club Blog this summer. And I loved this Choice Literacy article by Chris Lehaman on research. I even did podcast on Close Reading with Chris and Kate for Choice Literacy  this summer.  I am an official fan, no doubt.  Needless to say, I have been anticipating this book for a while and ordered it the day it came out directly from Heienmann (as I didn't want to have to wait an extra day to get it from anywhere else.)

But even with all of that anticipation and all that I already knew of Chris's and Kate's work, I was still amazed at the brilliance.  Within the first few pages, I was totally hooked on the thinking that Chris and Kate share and I knew that this was a book that would have a huge impact on me and on my teaching.

First of all, the foreword by Donalyn Miller is incredible.  A great set up for the book and the context. In the foreword she states, "Students deserve instruction that moves them forward as readers and thinkers and values their unique experiences and needs."  For so long I've worried about the ways in which "close reading" in the Common Core is being interpreted and implemented but Donalyn's foreword reminds us that we can teach our students to read closely AND to fall in love with reading--that the two actually go hand-in-hand. She introduces the premise of the book and why this work is so important. I savored the foreword a little before I moved onto the book.

On the first page of this book, Chris and Kate state, "We know, in our bones, that loving something or someone involves knowing that thing or person very well.  Returning to it repeatedly, gazing at it for hours, considering each angle, each word, and thinking about its meaning.  Our connection to the written word can be as deep as a love affair."  So, the authors argue, teaching readers to look at texts closely, "is an opportunity to extend a love affair with reading."  Page 2 and I was hooked.

There are so many things I love about this book. First of all, the authors dig into the whole idea of Close Reading--its roots and what it has come to mean with the CCSS.  Then they move to sharing their vision of students developing habits of close reading--doing it without us in their own reading lives.

The rest of the book takes us into classrooms and the thinking behind Chris's and Kate's work with students around close reading. These chapters include actual language to use, texts that work, and insights into the purpose. For me, these chapters really changed my stance about how to work with kids around this complex idea. They teach us how to help students read with a lens and to find patterns in their discoveries--and then to develop new ideas because of the patterns they see.  They carry this ritual throughout the book as we hear their language as they work with kids around text evidence, structure, word choice and point of view. They also share their insights about helping students read closely across texts.

This book is packed and I have underlined, starred and noted so many things that I can't begin to share all of my thinking. I know it is a book that has already changed the way I will work with children and I know it is a book that I will dig into again and again as I play with some of the concepts they understand so well.

Really, this is a must-read professional book--one to put on the top of your pile immediately!

If you finish the book and need more of Chris's and Kate's thinking OR while you are waiting for your copy of the book to arrive, you can spend hours and hours and hours reading the amazing thinking that was part of the Close Reading Blog-A-Thon.

Don't forget to add their session to your NCTE13 Convention Planner!  Their session looks great!

And, of course, you'll want to follow Kate (@teachkate) and Chris (@iChrisLehman) on Twitter!
(Rumor has it that there is a Twitter Chat coming up soon about this book --check out #FILWCloseReading.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

December -- A Month of Nonfiction

When I looked over all of my fall assessments and I added that to observations of students over the last month or two, I knew that I needed to spend time on Nonfiction Reading. Even by 4th grade, my students have not really found nonfiction that they love. They read nonfiction only when they have to.  I have spent years building a decent collection of nonfiction books--books that are not connected to any content unit that we study, but just great nonfiction books. Even though I've tried to incorporate lots of nonfiction since August, I knew December would be the month that we really dug in.

Then I went to hear Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts at NCTE.  And I was reminded, as I was often at the convention, that I need to SLOW DOWN.  I have somehow pressured myself with a teaching pace this year that I know is not good for kids. So, in December, I am taking lots of time to help kids fall in love with nonfiction reading and to think about the kinds of writing that might go along with that.  Kate mentioned a yearlong study of notetaking and that idea was so freeing for me.  I am going to spend reading workshop minilesson time, writing workshop time and content time, really discovering all that nonfiction reading and writing has to offer.  A study on writing around nonfiction (notetaking and more without any finished product) will be part of this month's work.

Some goals for the month include:
-falling in love with nonfiction as a genre
-noticing different ways that authors approach nonfiction writing
-finding nonfiction authors and series to love
-developing tastes as nonfiction readers
-playing with notetaking with nonfiction--taking notes on thinking
-trying out various notetaking techniques and discovering how/when it makes sense to use them
-discovering nonfiction beyond text (websites, videos, slideshows, etc.)
-finding topics of interest (new and old)
-how we approach assigned reading differently from choice reading

As part of this study, I have decided to read aloud/think aloud a book from a series I love.  I love the Scientists in the Field series and I recently purchased The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity (Scientists in the Field Series) by Elizabeth Rusch.  I know almost nothing about the Mars Rovers but loved that this was the topic of a new book in this series.  So, I've decided to read aloud this book over the next week or two, without having really looked at it much at all.  I want my students to see my true thinking when reading a book that is interesting to me (a little) --one that I have very little background knowledge with.  This is a longer book so I am thinking my thinking, my notetaking, my questions, the resources I look to for more information will be authentic. This will be just one piece of our week but one that will be interesting for all of us, I think. This is also a longer nonfiction book so I am thinking the whole idea of stamina with a topic will come up---reading beyond short articles for more information. This is probably not the best place to start with my reading on a new topic.  So I may pull up some articles --Wonderopolis has a few related articles that might help.  (I'm also revisiting Chris Lehman's new book ENERGIZE RESEARCH READING AND WRITING--it is good to revisit it after I heard him speak at the convention.)

Another part of this week will be exploring lots of nonfiction books--getting their hands on books that have been sitting on the classroom shelves. I am hoping by the end of the week, they have discovered the genius of Steve Jenkins and Nic Bishop. I am hoping that a few kids have fallen in love with the Face to Face series.  I am hoping that we build some baskets around certain topics of interest.

This week is all about rediscovering nonfiction as readers.  I don't think it will be hard--there is lots of great nonfiction to fall in love with. I just need to give kids time to dig in with some minilesson support along the way.

Below are some tweets from Chris and Kate's session. Lots to think about.

: Chris is writing a nonfiction paragraph teaching about sharks... in his PBS voice   

Mentor text show how the author teaches. More options - but now about how to use those notes purposefully in writing. 
 &  doing an amazing job of helping us rethink the teaching needed for strong research reading and writing. 
Am anxious to revisit Energize Research Reading and Writing by  after hearing session at .
Am loving this idea on unit of notetaking outside of research project/units. So smart. Great way to end 
 is talking about ways to teach kids how to annotate drawings. 
Probably the most important skill my kids needs as notetakers, is to make a choice.  12 Expand
RT : "Do better things, not things better" says I like it.  
Across the ages, people have tracked their thinking and learning in notebooks.  
Think about doing a study of note taking in a unit outside of the research unit. Think about a yearlong study.  
If they've not taken notes before, they are not going to be very good at it.  
When am I going to teach my kids to be strong note taking in the midst of all of this?  
I like the idea of one person in mind when thinking about audience for research.  
What does your audience (individual person) need to know, or what is audience interested in knowing about the topic. 
It's important that a writer has a particular person in mind when thinking about audience.  
We have to help our kids deal with the texts they have for research. What's my first text (highly readable)? 
When we hand kids resources, we take away part of the process.  
We could just hand kids sources. Instead, we can think about how sources guide us.  
You start with what you know and help yourself finds slants or angles--what you want to work on.  
Instead of writing to PROVE that he read, let's have writing to teach.  
Right now, kids are taking notes from text. Instead, take notes from your learning.  
We're handing a lot us. Instead, let's start where research actually starts.  
We are trying to humanize research. Research can be as wonderful as it should be.