SMS Edcamp- Literacy Lab Cohort

Join us as we share out from our lab experiences!

SMS Edcamp

Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 7:45am

39 Gifford Farm Road

Stratham, NH

Our next staff meeting will be a mini Edcamp so the staff at SMS has the opportunity to share out with their colleagues. The Literacy Lab Cohort will be sharing out about our experiences with implementing Words Their Way, the sessions we attended at the NCTE Annual Convention, as well as sharing our experience observing the new reading and writing units being taught at Marston School in Hampton, NH.

***Please utilize this website for resources from each session. We know there are lots of great sessions to choose from, so if you are not able to make it to one of our sessions you can still access the resources from the session here!

Literacy Lab Cohort Edcamp Schedule

SESSION 1 (7:45-7:55)
  • Amy Riley- NCTE: Incorporating play in reading and writing workshop and how small groups look in each bend of the reading units

SESSION 2 (7:55-8:05)

  • Melissa Mastin- scheduling and managing Words Their Way
  • Cindy Fitzgerald- NCTE: Creating Communities of Primary Readers, Rallying a K–2 Classroom Around Giant Goals Lucy Calkins, Amanda Hartman and Shanna Schwarz

SESSION 3 (8:05-8:15)

  • Sara Donlon- Lit Lab Visit to Marston: how one Hampton 3rd grade teacher reads, interprets and plans using Lucy Calkins units of study
  • Cindy Fitzgerald- NCTE: Rethinking Revision: Georgie Heard, Ralph Fletcher, Dan Feigelson

NCTE: Incorporating Play in The School Day and Small Group Work Within The Calkins Bends

**Incorporating Play**

Kristine Mraz NCTE Presentation

  • Play is a mindset, not an action
  • We need to give students opportunities to build empathy through their play by teaching focus lessons to go with their play
  • To build responsibility, students need to have opportunities to be responsible. To be organized, students need to have opportunities to organize. To be empathetic, students need opportunities to practice empathy.
  • When students are able to truly understand others and their characters, they are able to collaborate and negotiate effectively
  • Glitch vs Bummer vs Disaster- A glitch is a minor error you are able to quickly overcome. A bummer is a slightly larger error, but you are still able to overcome it quickly over time.
  • Build a Growth Mindset
  • Stay in touch with your inner child--the tighter the empathy gap, the more progress children will make. Your best days of teaching come from when you can remember what it was like to be 6 years old again!
  • Bring playful tools or charts into lessons throughout the day to incorporate more play into your students' learning
  • Inquiry is rooted in a deep trust for kids. We believe kids learn best when they have choice
  • Let students make choices, experiment, replicate, interpret, and follow their lead

**Small Groups Within The Calkins Bends**

Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project NCTE Presentation

Novice -> Practitioner -> Expert

Bend 1: Novice

  • I am working towards a new goal. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it takes time and effort
  • I need a tool to know each step

Bend 2: Practitioner

  • I am practicing my goal all the time in all my reading/writing
  • I use my tool as a check-in

Bend 3: Expert

  • I can use my goal in lots of places
  • I can teach other people what my goal is and help them do it

Guide students towards choosing their own reading and writing goals:

  • "What goal could you set for yourself that would help you grow as a reader/writer?"
  • "You chose ___________ . That means you want to learn to ____________."
  • You know yourself so well! Put effort towards that goal will improve your reading/writing."

----> Give students a number of goals to choose from that would benefit them as readers and writers

----> Separate checklists or rubrics and color code each section so students can focus on one aspect of their work at a time

----> Once students have reached their goals, it is easier for them to name the things they did to be successful, so have them teach others

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Scheduling and Managing of Words Their Way

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NCTE: Creating Communities of Primary Readers--Rallying K-2 Classrooms Around Giant Goals

Creating Communities of Primary Readers, Rallying a K–2 Classroom Around Giant Goals

Lucy Calkins, Amanda Hartman and Shana Schwarz NCTE, November 2015

Reader’s and Writer’s workshop should be fun and magical in the early grades. At the same time, there is this sense that we are doing important (and super fun) work!

We rally our classroom community together to do important work. How each teacher does this is different. (Book Fairy, Secret book box etc.)

We invite kids to co-construct a richly literate world. Get kids to co-create! As they do this they end up building their identities.

What ideas do you have to make this room...this classroom... to make it the best possible room for reading. Give children ownership over decisions made at RW and WW. They know what they need because they understand themselves as a reader and a writer.

Our job is to help kids build classrooms for the reader they are going to become.

How can we make our teaching appropriate to children's social and emotional development. We draw a thin line between work and play. Because work is play and play is work!

These units move us in a direction of fun, joy and collaboration.

How can you do work and have it feel playful? Ask yourself this daily as you plan the lessons. It’s our job to make it feel playful.

Reading feels like a social and playful activity.

Think about being playful before, during and after we read.

Children love magic! Book fairies.... leave notes. Create magic!

Kids will connect to books when they have been magically given to them.

When we get to the classroom we need to be a teacher who gets the kids world. We need to live in their world. Not ask them to live in ours. Be playful, silly and fun but ask them to do the work.

Magic rallies kids toward the big cause.

Reading is something you do in the company of others. Have reading playdates

kids consider what does it mean to get through the hard stuff

The hard parts are the fun spots too. It helps us to keep going.

Play partner games with your partner. Act out a story.

What are we going to do on our playdate?

Kids need to learn how to play and be social in these meaningful ways.

Celebrate their work. People who have hard work in their lives are 30% less depressed.


  1. Rally community

  2. Co -construct what it means to have richly literate lives

  3. Draw a thin line between work and play

Amanda Hartman:

Our job is to foster independence especially in younger grades.

All readers and writers should have a goal chart out in front of them.

Kids can name what they are working on all on their own.

Students should be independent with making their own goals.

They reflect on their own reading and goals every day.

Give children a turn and talk card. We are trying to make our conversations long and strong.

Kids have notecards to help them at turn and talk and during interactive read aloud. Talking stems...

Teachers need to nurture a growth mindset so that motivation is internalized.

We want kids to know what it means to have a focus on growth rather than perfection.
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Visit to Marston School

A third grade teacher at the Marston School in Hampton discussed ways that she unpacks the Calkins units before teaching them. She reads the opening page in depth and then focuses on the teaching point and utilizes the other aspects of the lesson for mid-workshop teaching points and focal points for small group instruction. She then brain storms her own ideas of how to teach it and get the point across to the students.

With her knowledge of the units, she is able to know whether that meets the objectives, where newer teachers or teachers becoming familiar with the units would then reread through the lesson in it's entirety making sure their individual ideas meet the needs of the lesson.

Key points taken from this lesson:

  • connect to your daily life (make it real for students)
  • use visuals (hand signs, anchor charts, sample writing, mentor text)
  • foster effective turn and talks (with partner roles and hard copy of prompts)
  • use a mid teaching point to guide students while they are already working independently

Other ideas that could be easily used in your classroom were seen in this observation such as a "high five and a goal" that is given to each student during conferring time

NCTE: Rethinking Revision

Georgie Heard, Ralph Fletcher, Dan Feigelson NCTE, November 2015

Georgia Heard;

Revision is everywhere in the world. It's part of our journey. Don't separate revision from writing. Revision is writing.

You don't have to be perfect the first time. This needs to be the message that kids receive.

Revision =to see again.

Writing IS revision.

  • What is revision? How do your students feel about revision?

  • Revision is about re-seeing the entire piece.

Your Goal needs to be: make students feel like they can't wait to revise.

1. Writers need to ache with caring about their writing Find a doorway into loving what they write about.

2. Writers shouldn't wait until they've finished their writing to revise.

3. Writers need to know revision is writing.

Georgia's writing process:









There is no writing ‘process’ All writers move around this ‘process’ in ways that work for them. We need to teach children the ways and then they can decide the ‘process’ that works for them.

Children need to write every day and Every Day in our classroom we need to:

Teach mini lessons: Some are on craft and revision: thin line between two

Children should have choice within a unit….Children know they are writing nonfiction but what nonfiction topic they do is their choice. What Civ war piece they write on is their choice. We can guide them but ultimately it needs to be their choice.

Confer with our writers. Teach the writer not the writing.

Use mentor texts

Give students ample opportunities to write. This means Writer’s workshop needs to be an hour!


Front end revision:

Don't wait until the kids are finished their writing to revise.

1. Rehearse writing

Narrative: Tell your story out loud

Dialogue: say it out loud as you write it. Only then will it sound like speech.

2. See your writing.

Sketch your writing

3. Plan your writing

Use Storyboards

4. Find the Heart of Your Story

Heart mapping

What's the heart of my story. Georgia does this not just in poetry and narrative writing now. Try it in nonfiction! Looks like this:

What I love about my nonfiction topic

Heart below that

The goal then becomes….Everything in his writing centered around the heart

5. Create a timeline and identify the heart of your story.

Then create a heart timeline

Help our students ache with writing... and revision will flow from that.

Ralph Fletcher: Vision and Revision: Twilight comes twice

Pre hab: Building vision..... reading these books. certain kind of rehearsal

Night in the Country Cynthia rylant

Shadow: Marcia Brown

Bitter bananas: Isaac Olaleye (out of print)

Grandpa never lies

We can open the door and nudge a writer but the the student has ultimate choice.

Pre hab (reading mentor texts and teaching craft) allows you to do the rehab (the revision). Helps writer be flexible

The teacher holds all the high cards - praise grades and book contracts teachers need to share this power with the writer!

Dan Feigelson: Revision in Reading: Allowing our thinking about text to grow and change

Comprehension at its best is a journey of thought.

Journey of thought is critical as we teach kids to think deeply about text.

Reconsidering and alter something in light of evidence.

Revision in reading:

  • Add on to your first idea

  • Change some part of what you were thinking

  • Discard ian dea completely

  • Put your idea on back burner because now there is something more interesting

to think about

Your idea should not be staying the same….they should be changing.

Interactive Read Aloud:

Model and teach this.

Students should have read aloud notebooks. They take notes on their thoughts at the end of each chapter.

Ask: What is the idea that you are tracking right now?

Read chapter

Ask: What are thinking now? Turn and Talk

Tell your students: Look for places in your books that changes your thinking... revises your thinking. These parts are parts that you really have to recognize. If you do you will be able to read more complicated texts.

Informal reading projects (student)

First, notice something in the text that you find interesting and talk about it!

Then keep track.

  • My 1st idea / How my idea changed and why/

  • T charts

  • Timeline of how your idea changes

Conference based reading projects are quick and dirty writing about reading.

Helps kids concretize their learning and thinking.

Give teachers a window into their students understanding.

Don't take too much time away from actual reading.

Regardless of where you get…. in the end it's the journey.

“Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there” Will Rogers