DIY Literacy Reflection 1 #cyberPD

DIY Literacy Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor and Independence Chapters 1-Bonus
By Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts



I am constantly looking for the things I use in my classroom as tools.  I grew up in a house full of tools and I was taught how to use most of them.  There were special tools for every project.  You don't use the band saw to cut a 2x4 in half and you can't use the circular saw to cut the intricate designs of a rocking horse.  Needle-nosed pliers are great for getting in tight spaces and a ratchet will  save you a lot of time and effort when making a bolt extra tight.   I think it's very important as educators to carry around as many tools as we can to help kids learn.  These tools are constantly changing as we learn more about learning and as times change in education.  Some tools we use all of the time, they are versatile and work in most situations but some tools get dusty in the bottom of the box.  You don't pull them out often but when you do you are sure glad you had them.

Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts talk about several different tools you can use to help learning stick and reminders to keep them visible and available for students throughout the year.

The first tool they talk about is "teaching charts" or anchor charts.  I feel very comfortable with this way of making learning visible and organized for students.  In first grade grand gestures like these charts help create a memory for the kids to refer to later.

The second tool is called a "Demonstration Notebook".  I've already read this section twice (by the way I'm typing this on June 7, so that number will be much higher by the time I publish) because I have never thought of anything like this.  I make the charts and teach the mini lessons but after a while some of the examples I needs are long gone or misplaced when I am looking for them.  The demonstration notebook is a great way to have quick access to the examples you need for a conference or small group learning.  I often find myself sitting next to a student who has forgotten a strategy from earlier in the year and I'm trying to make up and show examples on the fly.  If I keep track of these things as I'm teaching then I will always have them ready for every learner.  Holy cow what an easy way to meet the needs of every student!  I'm seriously blown away by the concept!
Some things I've thought of so far for 1st grade:

  • making spaces between words
  • punctuation
    • periods
    • quotation marks
    • question marks
    • commas 
  • capital letters
    • names
    • beginning of sentencesp
    • sound boxes
The third tool is called micro-progressions.  I'll be really honest...I don't understand this concept.  I plan on spending some time with Kate and Maggie's video to see if I can figure this one out.  If you have some ideas of how this will work in a primary grade, please let me know. (I read on and this makes more sense now!  More on that later)

The Bonus chapter of this book is about ways to find the strategies that you are trying to teach.  Kate and Maggie give practical ideas for ways to find lists of strategies.  They caution us to be careful and critical when looking things up on the internet.  There are lots of cute things out there but cute does not equal good. I find this a lot when I'm looking at Pinterest.  I LOVE Pinterest for organizing recipes.  I plan our weekly meals from there and make my grocery list from there.  I've not had as much luck with school ideas.  It seems to me that there's a lot of cute and not a lot of substance.

I can't wait to continue reading the next chapters of this book.  I hope to dig deeper into micro-progressions and learn more about demonstration notebooks.

Thanks to CathyLaura and Michelle for hosting this summer #cyberPD, 


  • Week of July 3rd—Chapters 1- 2 & Bonus
  • Week of July 10th—Chapters 3-4
  • Week of July 17—Chapters 5-6
  • Week of July 24—Final Twitter Chat





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