Thursday, August 7, 2014

Teacher's College @ Columbia University Week 1

This week has been both overwhelming and inspiring.  When I say overwhelming, I'm referencing the enormous amount of information, methodology, rationale, and passion for teaching  that has been shared with me this week.  AND it's not even over yet!!

I started my Fund for Teachers journey this week in New York City.  We have been attending Columbia University's Writing Project headed by Lucy Calkins.  It is obvious to me the #passion for teaching that everyone involved with this organization shares. I have had one amazing speaker after another, and this has been one of the most meaningful trainings I have ever attended in my 15 years of teaching.

The keynotes. #Amazeballs  That's the only appropriate word I can attach to the speakers and their messages this week.  We started with Lucy Calkins welcoming us, and sharing some stories of the beginnings of the projects, successes, and of course my new favorite word....#shittycasual .  So many other inspiring speakers, one of my favorite being Lester Laminak.  He reinforced the teaching we'd had all day, talking to us about the power of story telling.  Writing really gives kids a voice, and gives them a productive way to express themselves. Mr. Laminak's explanation was clearly more eloquent than I could ever be; made even more endearing to me with his thick Southern drawl.
by Lester Laminak

Today, I heard Seymour Simon talk extensively about non-fiction writing, and Carl Anderson gave us some new insights on mentor texts.  I had an #aha moment when he basically told us mentor texts should be quality, not quantity.  I've always used this technique, but I'd have a different text for each skill or move to be taught.  By using all those different books, the kids will focus on the read, instead of the outstanding writing you want them to soak in.  This whole week has basically been filled with these mini-epiphanies!

The classes. I haven't even touched on all we've learned in the classes.  I'm so thankful to be in a large group lecture and small group with @colleen_cruz .  #myhero  She's so knowledgeable about the writing project, and the best part...........she's hilarious!  I'm ok with being up at the butt-crack of dawn on  my summer vacation when I am starting the day listening to her!

More about my week tomorrow, but now....the fun random moments of the day.  We took th train down Broadway to get some coffee at Dean & Deluca (WHY does Houston not have these?!) My favorite, we hit the Scholastic Bookstore.  I seriously was like a fat kid in a candy store.  I controlled myself, when my person wanted nothing more than to buy every book in that store.  When I checked out, I was chatting up the cashier & she ended up giving me a 25% teacher discount!!  #winning  We wove our way through Little Italy, and ended up in Chinatown.  SoupDumplings.  Have you had these?!  Like a party in yo mouth!

That's all for tonight....waking up early to get a good spot for the morning keynote!!!



  1. I'm so jealous! I love the summer institutes at Teachers College. You learn so much, and it's all fabulous. While you are there, you should go to Georgetown Cupcakes-absolutely worth the subway ride!

    1. I am loving it here; there's so much expertise in one place...I never want to leave!

      Thanks for the recommendation Christie....I will definitely add that to our "hit" list for next week!