Showing posts from July, 2015

Summer Vacation? #SOL15

As I contemplated setting my alarm for 4 am to be able to write my Slice (I didn't- writing this at 5:20 am instead), I am thinking about what I've been doing so far on my "summer vacation":

I co-facilitated the Long Island Writing Project Summer Institute for 8 days (9am-4pm)Reading Jen Serravallo's Reading Strategies as part of a Voxer book club.Read A Handful of Stars as part of a writing about reading book club and participated in the Twitter chat.Rereading Fish in a Tree as a small group thinking about writing about reading for an upcoming Twitter chat.Read Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8 as part of #cyberPD and Twitter chat tonight.Trying to read a #bookaday to keep up with the blog I created for reading, my first post for our Two Writing Teachers blog series and thinking of ideas for the rest of the August posts I will need to write.Participating in a 4 day workshop this week at #LiLit15 …

Marvelous Magazines- a Donors Choose project

Every summer, I dream about my new class. I wonder what the students will be like and how I can design the classroom to create quality learning experiences. I read professional books to learn more about my craft, children's books so I can recommend them to my students, and I buy new bins to house all these books. I dream of ways to help each child become a reader for life- a person who chooses to read many different things for many different purposes.

I've heard of Donors Choose and this summer, as I dream of all the possibilities for my third grade students, I decided to give it a try.  My project is to add classroom magazines to our library so students can read from different genres and across content areas in real-world, engaging ways.  I've been a magazine reader since I was a young child and still love when one of my favorites gets delivered to my house! Due to financial issues, not every student is able to get magazines delivered to his home.  At school, we can level …

#cyberPD Digital Reading Ch 6 and 7

It has been so enlightening to read the book Digital Reading: What Really Matters Grades 3-8 as part of the #cyberPD community. Reading a book on your own but then using digital tools to connect your thinking to a broader community really epitomizes what the book is suggesting for educators! The ideas shared in this community have really inspired me and showed me new tools that I plan to use next year. For example:

Reading Cathy Mere's post about having a hub for the important sites your class visits made me inspired to create a new class site through Weebly. I currently have a teacher page on my school's webpage but I would love to update to a Weebly with more possibilities! I need to do a better job of organizing all our online places and make it easy for parents to access all the tools we are offering.
Megan Skogstad's reflection on Chapters 6 and 7 introduced me to the digital newsletter site, Smore. This looks like an incredible way to keep parents and others in the lo…

You Must Tell Them This #SOL15

Last week, I described the experience of listening to Dr. Linda Opyr read her poems and talk about the life of a teacher turned writer. This was part of a workshop through the Long Island Writing Project Summer Institute, which I was co-facilitating. We were also joined by the Long Island Writing Project Creative Writing Retreat for Teens. One of Dr. Opyr's poems was entitled, "You Must Tell Them This" which provided inspiration for my poem. I shared this piece with the teachers of the LIWP Summer Institute on our last day together it was my submission it into the publication we created.
You Must Tell Them This (Inspired by Linda Opyr) By Kathleen Sokolowski
You must tell them this: Teaching chose me. It's broken, expanded, and filled my heart, and I've learned more than I taught.
You must tell them why I became a teacher- to be the lantern lighting the way to literacy and learning to show students that your choices matter- your words and actions always count.
You must …

#cyberPD Digital Reading: Chapters 3-5

I am participating in an online book discussion of Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8 by Franki Sibberson and William Bass. Join us at #CyberPD!

Reflections on Chapters 3-5

Authentic. Intentional. Connected. 

To me, these chapters are about using technology in real ways, for specific reasons, and to form deeper communities around literacy. What struck me is how students who are in these authentic, intentional, and connected classrooms easily move between the digital and print worlds. 

Here are some ways I envision my third graders using digital tools in authentic, intentional, and connected ways:

*Participating in the Global Read Aloud Project. 
Reading Fish in a Tree and taking notes in a notebook, composing a blog post about a reaction to the book, skyping or Google Hangout with another third grade, collaborating on a Google Doc about the book with each other or other classes, tweeting our questions or comments to Lynda Mullaly Hunt, collaborating on a Padlet for keeping …

If We Are What We Remember #SOL15

Last Thursday, I had the chance to hear a poet and teacher, Dr. Linda Opyr, speak.  Teens who were participating in the Creative Writing Retreat, facilitated by Long Island Writing Project teachers, and the teachers I've been working with in the LIWP Summer Institute had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Opyr read her poems and talk to us about being a writer.  Her collection of poetry is called If We Are What We Remember and it is beautiful.  Hearing her read her poems was mesmerizing- she read with such heart and expression and voice. 

Dr. Opyr spoke with such passion: my pen could not go fast enough to keep up with her wise gems. "When you write, you have the opportunity to change people's lives," she said.  Your writing can send someone more deeply into their own life.  She said through writing, "what was lost was found again."  

She described writer's block through the metaphor of a field.  Whether something is blooming under the surface or if the fie…

#cyberPD Digital Reading Ch.1 and 2

I decided to do a double-entry journal for these chapters, where I write a quote from the book and my thoughts on the quote.  

page 3: "Students who are engaged and motivated readers read more often and read more diverse texts than students who are unmotivated by the reading task. 
This made me think of "The Matthew Effect" where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Kids who are already good at reading are the ones who keep getting better.  The gap gets wider each day between our proficient readers and those who are struggling.

page 4: "Digital reading experiences must be part of the opportunities we give students on a regular basis.  If not, we're discounting much of the reading they will engage with in the future."

This was such a good point I thought. I use digital reading and writing daily myself, so why wouldn't I incorporate those opportunities into instruction? Digital reading/writing is only going to grow- it's not going away.  Student…

Found in a Book (Found Poem) #SOL15

Today was the first day of the Long Island Writing Project's Summer Institute, which I have the pleasure of co-facilitating. As is our tradition, we started our day with a read aloud (or "shared reading" as we call it) and then free writing. Participants read their responses and it is always amazing how one text brings up so many different ideas for all of us. The book we shared today was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.The participants' responses were so beautiful and poignant. I took words, phrases and lines from each participants response to create this found poem.
“Found in a Book” By Kathleen Sokolowski
Found Poem Inspired by the Written Responses to The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore Words taken from the writings of Barbara, Lauren, Lillian, Nicolette, Gina, Sally, and Regina
Books connect us- Everyone’s story matters. Lost in a book? No! We’ve been found in a book.
Reading connects us all.   Taps into what makes us h…