My interview at Two Writing Teachers

I’m excited to share my interview at Two Writing Teachers: “An Interview with Educator and Author Chris Lehman.”

I was interviewed by TWTs’ Beth Moore, my friend, former colleague at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and TWT regular contributor.

We talked my passion-ish for writing and reading, tips for helping reluctant student writers, standards, heroes and so much more.  It was a blast to do and I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed having it!

Here’s the post. Thanks #TWTblog!

 

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Video: My Talk at UW-Madison

My talk from November at UW-Madison is now available on their YouTube page.  Close to 400 of you attended in person and online and the School of Education wanted to make the talk available to you to share.

In it I discuss two diverging decisions we can make in our schools about how to approach the ELA Common Core Standards, we can take the route of initiatives simply for initiative’s sake or we can take the route of our students, seeing their needs and responding to them.

I also take on the topic of CCSS “aligned” products, including exemplar modules and rubrics found online.  I discuss where the creation of those modules began and how they miss the mark of both good classroom practice and the standards themselves.

I then describe promises we must make to our students and ways of aligning your instruction to their strengths and needs.  Throughout I include the comments of our fellow educators and how they are navigating these challenging waters.

My sincerest hope is that you feel empowered to make the decisions that are best for you and your students.   I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your insights and ideas.

I’m speaking during UW-Madison’s American Education Week #AEW2013

I’m looking forward to my address this Wednesday at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s American Education Week!

I’ll be speaking about Common Core State Standards myths, meanings, and providing guidance on ways to support our schools  in moving forward.

Attend (Virtually): Webcast, Tweet

Registration for the in-person event has met capacity, but you are able to watch the live-stream online. Registration for the webcast is free: here.

You can use the hashtag #AEW2013 (American Education Week) while viewing, in order to connect, chat, and respond.  I’ll plan to read and respond to tweets at the end of the evening.

Giving Back: Funding Books for Educators

One aspect of this conversation will include research around the absolute necessity of providing access to books. With this in mind, I wrote to friends at Booksource and asked if they would consider funding some educators’ needs.  They graciously agreed and have committed to giving a total of $1,000 in book money to a few educators in attendance.

Here are the details from UW-Madison’s website and how Wisconsin educators attending in person or online can apply. Deadline is Monday afternoon:

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Virtual Book Study

UW-Madison will also be kicking off  a virtual book study of Pathways to the Common Core, more information is forth-coming. Pathways to the Common Core

I hope you will attend, tweet, and continue these essential conversations.

Thanks for everything you do!

11/11 #FILWCloseReading Twitter Chat

SEE UPDATED ARCHIVE FROM CHAT AT END OF THIS POST.

A few twitter friends organized a chat about our new book, Falling in Love With Close Reading, taking place tonight from 6-7pmET.  The chat is about the book, but if you have not read it (or have just started) you are still welcome to join in.

Fran McVeigh, Allison Jackson, and Laura Komos made this google drive document with questions and links for tonight’s chat.

by Tkgd2007 used under Creative Commons lic

If you are new to twitter chats you can check out my how-to post: So You Think You Want to TweetChat: From Lurker to Chatter 101 for tips.

Be sure to include the hashtag #FILWCloseReading in all of your tweets to join in.

See you tonight!

 

UPDATE: Archive from tonight’s chat!

http://storify.com/LauraKomos/filwclosereading-chat

Falling in Love With Close Reading cover

11/6 #LeadAndLearn chat “What’s Next for #CCSS & Our Schools?”

(time correction): November 6 at 11:15 CST join me as guest host of the #LeadAndLearn chat live from The Leadership and Learning Center’s “Common Core State Standards Summit 2.0: Getting Ready for the Next Generation Assessments” in New Orleans.

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The summit is on the Math and ELA CCSS and assessments, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards.  I’m excited to give the keynote on the first day and attend several sessions.

Topic: What’s Next for #CCSS and Our Schools?”

Draft questions are posted here and open to revisions, comments, and additions.

Use your twitter account and apps or websites like twitter app, tweetchat.com, or twubs.com to follow the hashtag #LeadAndLearn from 11:15 to 12:15 CST to participate.  Be sure to include that hashtag in every tweet you send so the entire group can see it.

by Tkgd2007 used under Creative Commons lic

On the Road

My blog has been a bit quieter than I like these past few weeks because I’ve been on the road.  I enjoyed working with a school district in Michigan, keynoting the Annual Reading Conference at Cleveland State University in Ohio.  I just got back from a weekend keynoting and presenting in Dubai at the MENA Common Core conference, and in a few hours I head to the airport again for The Leadership and Learning Center summit.

Join me in person or online at UW-Madison

I’d especially love to extend an invitation to you to join me in person or virtually for my evening talk on the Common Core State Standards at the University of Wisconsin Madison’s School of Education (go badgers!) on Wednesday, November 20 from 6-7:30PM CST.  The event is free in person or online, but both do require advanced registration which you can find here.

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I’m talking Common Core sanity. Hoping to balance out the extreme views on both sides and offer research based, practical advice to educators, parents, and leaders for moving forward.  There are also a few surprises in store that I’m very excited about.

What would you tell the world about the #CommonCore and your classroom?

by Kevin M. Gill used under Creative Commons lic

Your ears may have been ringing as I am find myself quoting posts from the blog-a-thon continuously, “…that Fran McVeigh post, wow it got me thinking….”.

All of this got me thinking, so I’m trying a little experiment here…

Whenever I present at speaking engagements I bring research, my firsthand experience in classrooms, and the ideas of fellow educators I talk and work alongside.  Over the next few weeks I have several large keynotes coming up (dates are at the end of this post) talking Common Core State Standards myths and opportunities.

In each of these I plan to bring what I always bring, but I am thinking I would love to bring bits of your experiences, too.

Educators in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa), for example, will largely attend from American curriculum schools. They are brand new to looking at the CCSS and also not held by the testing machine we have here. What would you tell them about the pitfalls to avoid or the joyful teaching you are doing?

At UW-Madison, anyone anywhere will tune in because it will be live and live-streamed. What do you want to tell the public about the changes in your school, both the overwhelming and the fascinating?

by One Way Stock used under Creative Commons lic

This is completely an experiment, usually everything I gather is from face-to-face with kids and educators, but twitter and our blog-a-thon has changed my sense of what is possible when educators are connected. I’d like to bring your knowledge and experiences to others.

So here’s my pitch:

With your permission, I’d love to include some of your voices in these upcoming speaking engagements.  Send your anecdotes, links, images, that you would like me to consider sharing in a few ways: as comments on this post, via my twitter handle, or to this email: iChrisLehman(at)gmail with the subject line “Talking Common Core”. For student work or photos you would like to send, I will send you a parent/guardian permission slip to be completed before use.

I’m especially collecting experiences around three themes:

  • “We are tired…” take this as either physically/emotionally tired because of X, Y, Z or action-oriented as “I am tired of being told…. when actually my students…. see look!”  These could be bashing or supportive or somewhere in the middle.  Such as “I am tired of everyone saying students can’t write, when my team and I studied the CCSS together and really made an effort to teach skills not just assign work we found…” or “I am tired of being told some texts are worthy and others are not, I find in my classroom that…”
  • “There is no one way…” I think it’s important to both critique those promising the “ANSWER TO EVERYTHING” comes from the CCSS and to critique those comparing it to “THE END OF DAYS.” One essential point I continue to raise is that everyone’s experience with “implementation” is not the same. Yes, there are classrooms that are forced into a one-size-fits-all approach (please share those stories) but there are equally classrooms and schools that are using the standards as a study while still holding onto the practices they love and work well for students (share those, too).
  • “Our students are our curriculum…” What are ways you are helping your students drive your instruction? This could be “data” in an overwhelming way, or inventions you and your colleagues are making to gather usable assessments, or ways you continue to reach beyond the standards, or anything else.
  • Your inspiration, challenges, solutions, and so on!

So again, if any ideas speak to you I’d love anecdotes, links, anything that you would share with other educators about your experiences. I’ll weave many into these upcoming speaking engagements.

It would be great to see you in person at any of these events as well. Also, the UW-Madison event is free and streamed-live, registration is at the link below.

 October 25, Cleveland, OH. Invited Keynote. Cleveland State University’s Annual Reading Conference: “Growing Literacy from the Core.” Register: here.

November 1-2, Dubai, UAE. “MENA Common Core Conference.” Invited Keynote and Session Speaker. Register:here.

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November 5-6, New Orleans, LA. The Leadership and Learning Center’s “Common Core State Standards Summit 2.0: Getting Ready for the Next Generation Assessments,” Invited Keynote and Panelist. Register:here.

November 20, Madison, WI. Evening Invited Keynote during the University Wisconsin-Madison’s American Educators Week. FREE registration to attend live or online: here.

Upcoming Event: UW-Madison American Education Week 2013 Featured Address

I am honored to be a featured speaker at my alma mater, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, at the UW-Madison School of Education’s “American Education Week 2013.”  I will be speaking on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 from 6-7PM CST with a Q&A to follow.

The event is free to attend in person or virtually through a live-stream. Both options require advanced registration.

For more information and to register click here or the image below.

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I’m looking forward to a great event! Go Badgers!

New Choice Literacy Podcast: Chris Lehman on Student Research

My new Choice Literacy podcast with educator, author, and friend Franki Sibberson is live!

In it, Franki and I discuss saving the teaching of research and informational reading/writing from the boredom inducing 8-week long card-catalog projects of our own youth to teaching in ways that support student learning, energy, and interest. The podcast draws on thinking from my book Energize Research Reading and Writing (sample chapters here).  And is also the subject of my upcoming October 3-part webinar series with Heinemann PD (more on that and registration in yesterday’s post).

Listen to the podcast by clicking the image below (or this link):

Click to be taken to “Chris Lehman on Student Research (PODCAST)”

Happy re-thinking research!

Archive of this Week’s @LeadAndLearn Webinar – And Upcoming Events

I’ll be totally honest: I speak at public events all the time–I should be used to this–but nothing still gives me more butterflies than the hour before a webinar goes live. I always find myself sorting through things that need not be sorted and texting people that need not be texted.

I will also tell you: the second we start and I get to connect with fellow educators, it feels just like home.

In this post, I’d like to:

I’m looking forward to sharing all of this with you (butterflies and all)!

Archived Webinar: A Conversation About the Common Core State Standards

Thanks to all of you who attended my live webinar with The Leadership and Learning Center.  It was a blast, Tony Flach was a terrific host and Cathy and crew from the center made it very enjoyable.  In case you missed it, it is now archived! Here’s the link or click the image below.

click to be taken to archived video
click to be taken to archived video

I’m also looking forward to providing the first day keynote and joining panel discussions at The Leadership and Learning Center’s conference on the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Assessments in New Orleans, November 5-6. More here.

Upcoming Webinar Series:  Energize Your Classroom: Informational Reading, Writing And Research Are Way More Interesting Than You Think! 

Beginning October 2, I am leading a three-session, live, interactive webinar series on best practices for informational reading, writing and research.

I led a similar series this past winter, and it was so much fun that Heinemann has decided to offer two separate time slots, giving you more opportunities to attend.  Both series will run for the first three Wednesdays in October, select the time slot that works best for you (or perhaps even your team for day-time learning):

Morning 11:00AM-12:15PM ET  (8:00AM-9:15 PT)

Afternoon 5:00-6:15PM ET (2:00-3:15 PT)

For information on group rates call Heinemann PD at 800-541-2086, ext. 1151.

The webinar involves my live video stream, an on-going real time chat box for all attendees to communicate, and options for credits. All sessions are archived for participants.

click for registration page
click for registration page

As always, thanks for all you do for your students and fellow educators. I’m honored to be a small part of your big journey.

Want to talk? How about Thursday at 11?

Join me this Thursday (9/19) for a live interview and conversation led by Tony Flach of The Leadership and Learning Center.  The format of this free webinar will give you a chance to ask questions as well!

This webinar is scheduled from 11AM-11:45AM ET to offer you and your PLN time to join in during a professional period.

Information and free registration here or clicking the image below.

Leadership and Learning Center

I’m looking forward to connecting!

Upcoming events, Fall 2013

Let’s work together! I have several speaking engagements coming up over the next few months, with more being added soon.   Bookmark my Speaking Engagements page for continual updates.

On-line

Energize Research Reading and WritingWork together online in my 3-Part Webinar Series: Energize Your Classroom: Informational Reading, Writing and Research are Way More Interesting Thane You Think!

Heinemann is offering two different LIVE series times, during the day for in-school professional development or in the afternoon for end-of-day learning.   PLNs are encouraged to apply and can call 800-541-2086, ext. 1151 for information on reduced group rates. Links to register:

October 15, 2013. Online session with Albany Area Reading Council, NY. “Energize Your Research Reading and Writing Instruction.” More information on membership and events here.

In Person

September

Over 500 educators are already registered!  September 17, 2013. Upstate Schools Consortium at Furman University, Greenville, S.C.  “Pathways to the ELA Common Core.” Info: Upstate Schools Consortium

October

On-line live Webinars, see above.

November

 November 1-2, 2013. Dubai, UAE. “MENA Common Core Conference.” Invited Keynote and Speaker. Register here: MENAcommoncore.com

November 5-6, 2013. New Orleans, LA. Leadership and Learning Center’s “Common Core State Standards Summit 2.0: Getting Ready for the Next Generation Assessments.” Keynote and Panelist. Register here: Leadership and Learning Center.

November 20, 2013. University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI. Evening Keynote during “American Education Week.” Registration information coming soon.

November 21-24, 2013. NCTE Annual Convention. Closer Reading: Close Reading Texts, Close ReadingScreen Shot 2013-06-25 at 1.20.43 PM Lives (with Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts). Boston, MA. Info:NCTE

November 25-26, 2013. NCTE CEL (Conference on English Leadership) Convention. Info: CEL

December

Falling in Love With Close Reading coverRegistration is open now for my Heinemann One-Day Workshops, Fall In Love With Close Reading.  Early-bird discount through September 13.

December 5, 2013 Evening with the Madison Area Reading Council, WI. Information on membership and events here.

December 7, 2013. Workshop with the Waukesha County Reading Council, WI. “Kids Want to Write!: Develop a Powerful Culture of Writing, Growth, and Community” WCRC facebook page or membership information at WRSA.

New Choice Literacy Podcast: Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts on #CloseReading

A big thanks to Choice Literacy and educator, author, and friend Franki Sibberson for inviting us to record an interview for their “Choice Literacy Podcasts” series.

Kate and I talk about our learning while researching and writing our upcoming book, Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts–and Life.  

We didn’t know when the podcast would go live, so Kate and I just finished a flurry of “HEY LOOK!” texts back and forth to each other.  We’re happy to share this with our blog-a-thon community and welcome your insights, reflections, and revisions to our current ideas.

Listen to the podcast by clicking the image below (or here):

Click to be taken to “Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts on Close Reading (PODCAST)”

It has been a blast writing and reading posts and comments during this first week of the blog-a-thon. We look forward to the continued conversation about close reading over the next several weeks. Click the button below to see the current page of Contributor posts.

close reading button

Thanks, everyone, for being so awesome. Your awesome becomes your students’ awesome.

Upcoming Event: “MENA Common Core Conference,” Dubai, UAE

I am honored to be invited to give the keynote and lead sessions for the 1st Annual MENA Common Core Conference in Dubai, UAE, November 1 and 2, 2013.

The conference is aimed at supporting educators in the MENA region (“Middle East and North Africa”), or anyone interested in joining, who either work for American schools that are currently studying the Common Core Math and ELA standards or educators in general interested in studying the standards and best practices.

The Common Core Standards alone do not impact schools, it is instead dedicated educators teaching with purpose and a deep focus on students that lead to more rigorous and engaged learning. Educators of MENA schools have a unique opportunity to learn from the triumphs and troubles of implementation in the United States and take the best of what’s possible back to their classrooms.

Call for Proposals

There is also a current call for proposals of educators interested in presenting at the conference.  Presenters have their conference fee waived. The conference organizers have more information and are accepting proposals at their website (here). Proposals are due by Sept 15th.

I am looking forward to an exciting, intensive–and no doubt inspirational–conference!

Chris

________

Follow Chris: TwitterBlog, Pinterest, LinkedIn.

Have Chris work with your school or organization.

Upcoming Event: “Pathways to the ELA Common Core,” Upstate Schools Consortium, SC

I have truly loved every opportunity to work with the educators of South Carolina, from the SC Department of Education researchers to administrators and teachers.  At each heart has been a strong belief in teaching and learning and seeing through the noise to look for what is best for each child.

I was delighted, then, to be invited to speak at one of the Upstate Schools Consortium at Furman University‘s annual conferences. This year the theme is “Rethinking Teaching.”

On September 17, I’ll present on the ELA CCSS, supporting educators in understanding their expectations, seeing ways our literacy instruction already supports these expectations and ways to adjust our instruction to support each child’s development and independence. We will think specifically about ways to not simply follow often conflicting-mandates, but instead make children the heart of our curriculum and teaching.

I’m looking forward to a great event!

 

________

Follow Chris: TwitterBlog, Pinterest, LinkedIn.

Have Chris work with your school or organization.

 

 

Dear NYS, What to Do When Your Scores Come Out Tomorrow

Schools have started hearing preliminary score reporting today and tomorrow is the official release of the results of the latest round of NYS ELA standardized testing.  These tests were, as you know, full of controversy (I wrote about some of the fray and one educator’s experience on SmartBlog on Education: “Testing: Are Percentage of Students Crying Valuable Data?”).

by Pink Sherbet Photography used under Creative Commons Lic

So what should you do when you find out your scores?

First.

Know that this “drop” was expected. It was spoken about months ago and now again the state Commissioner and the US Secretary of Education reportedly spoke today about the drop in scores. Your school is not alone, your classroom is not alone, this is everyone.

Second.

Don’t plan your year in response to one exam, one score. Anyone with basic statistical skills will remind you that trends are far more important that blips. And blips (and trends) live within a larger system. You are not a one-year island.

Do triangulate scores with your own data. The conversations you study, the student writing and reading you look over, the daily artifacts you collect. As educators we want to know what are kids can do, what their strengths are, what their next steps could be. Seeing a trend in data – all data, not just one test – is useful to reflective practitioners.

Then, in the advice of Michael Fullan – aim to build on strengths, not take on hundreds of initiatives no human could ever fully implement all at once.  Between scores and student work you notice great things happening in terms of essay writing? Study it. Build on it.  Between scores and student work you notice a positive trend in how students think about literature? Study it. Build on it. Success breeds success.

Third.

Feel what you authentically feel. Today I felt shocked. And pissed off. And really, really sad. And angry again. And sad again. And resolute to speak out. And sad again. And angry.  For a variety of reasons:

  • I know many great teachers through this process are becoming disenchanted with our local system.
  • I know your job could be effected by these results and that is scary.
  • I know kids often feel defined by numbers and scores.
  • I know many parents are feeling angry and confused.
  • I know more and more instructional time is going towards test preparation for tests that are getting harder and harder to see any pay off to this prep. Yet in many schools the prep grows.
  • I know in many schools budgets are going toward “fix-it” curriculums and textbooks and technology stamped with the claim to “raise scores” or be “common core aligned”, money that would be better spent going to books, and arts, and real technology, and teachers, and and and.
  • I know the story of a failed system is not all that it seems.

I also know

Fourth.

Connect. Join twitter, blogs, wikis, nings, conventions, local reading councils, open your classroom doors. Tests don’t develop instructional practices, practitioners develop instructional practices together.

Fifth.

Remember why you joined this amazing, vibrant, challenging, inspiring, life-altering profession.

You are some child’s most important adult.

You are some child’s inspiration.

You are some child’s life path.

You are some child’s joy.

We need you–when it feels impossible, when it feels wonderful–We need you.