Friday, June 27, 2014

Title Talk Sunday Night - Writing About Reading

Sunday night I am excited to guest host the monthly chat, #titletalk, on Twitter with Colby Sharp (@colbysharp). Donalyn is out of town at the amazing ALA Annual Convention, so Colby kindly asked if I could join him. What I am even more excited about is that our topic is Writing About Reading.

Writing about reading is something I’ve struggled with for the past few years. When I was self-contained, it wasn’t an issue. My students wrote me letters each week, I wrote them back. My letters in return were thoughtful, lengthy, and really – in my opinion – beneficial to the students. Enter semi-departmentalization.

In teaching three reading classes a day, I assumed I would continue as I had begun. Trying to grade upwards of seventy-five notebooks per week was insane. Last year I bruised up the inside of both of my arms just trying to carry the notebooks home during the second week of school. It was a mess.

I’m also fascinated by a quote from Penny Kittle in a podcast on Choice Literacy with Franki Sibberson where she mentions that in English Language Arts we have the kids do entirely too much writing about books. I want to know more.

At any rate, this is one area I’ve felt the need to grow and push myself next year. My thinking is that my students’ “writing” might, indeed be writing in a notebook. It might also be blogging, podcasts, or creating videos. And what I keep coming back to is the word authentic – I am a reader, but I don’t write a letter when I’m done with every book. My thinking is evolving even as I type so please join us tomorrow night, I can’t wait to learn from all of you.

If you are new to Twitter chats, or #titletalk, here are a few pointers.

First, the way #titletalk works is that the first ½ of the chat is typically about something in our classrooms, Sunday our topic is: Writing About Reading. The second ½ is titles – and they do fly! We’re going to focus on titles we’ve read so far this summer that we highly recommend or titles we are dying to read before school begins.

Second, the chat is pretty fast. You will never keep up with all of it, and shouldn’t stress. I usually try to contribute to whatever the given question is at the time and then retweet when I see other folks type smart thinking.

Third, I use TweetChat to follow the chat. You can also follow it on Twitter. The reason I like TweetChat is that the Twitter stream you are looking at is only for our chat. It also adds the hashtag #titletalk automatically into your tweets. (If you are on Twitter, you have to do that yourself.) I wrote a blog post awhile ago with screen shots that will help you understand this:

Hope to see you Sunday night – 8pm EST/ 7 Central.