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March Slice of Life No. 28.

This morning, I was searching my PD journals for… Hmmm? What was I searching for?  At this very moment, I don’t recall what I was searching for, and since it isn’t pertinent to what I am now thinking about, I  won’t spend any time or effort to remember what it was.

Anyway, all that searching made me decide to share a slice about my PD Journals, the notebooks I create when preparing and reflecting on professional development workshops I conduct. Most of these workshops are one-day events, some are more — as much as five days, and they are ELA workshops. My PD Journals are composition notebooks I compile before, during, and after conducting a workshop.

One PD Journal contains my preparations — copies of the workshop description from brochures and emails I sent out announcing the event or the description that was filed with my contract, the agenda, and participant handouts. It also contains my teaching notes in detail. Some of the pages are created to look like pages might look in a student notebook. Some pages contain copies of actual student work. Other pages contain my teaching points, extending thoughts, research, and strategies. I use sticky notes and foldables.

During the workshop, I create another Journal along with workshop participants.  It is a record of our experiences, of our learning, of our thinking from that day. Not only do we record notes and do mock activities in it, but we also purposefully leave blank pages and make pocket-pages. I tell teachers those are open spaces for them to add information at a later date when they use that lesson, strategy, or routine with their students.

During the workshop, I save all artifacts of my instruction, i.e., bits and pieces of paper I use as manipulatives under the document camera and clipboard notes from role playing a lesson. I snap pictures of our work–on the board, in the pocket chart, on chart paper, and under the document camera. And with permission, I snap pictures of participants’ work. During reflective times, I capture both my own thinking and what teachers are saying on sticky notes.

That evening, in my hotel* room, I spread these artifacts on the bed. I sort them. I add more notes and reflections from my memory.  And I put them into the PD Journal that I started during the workshop — on the blank pages or in the pockets. If I have a picture to add, I leave space and put a note so l can add it after I am home where I can print a copy. Sometimes, I email the photo to myself that evening; then, I print a black and white copy in the hotel business center. I literally capture the workshop in that PD Journal.


The following pages are from my two PD Journals from my workshop Crafting Sentences.

Pages from my PD Journal
Crafting Sentences PD Journal

(This is my planning journal, created prior to the workshop.)

These two pages (snapshots 1 and 2) were prepared before the workshop for an anchor lesson on the power of three (pitchforks). In fact, on the one page, I taped my notes made on beige scrap paper when I didn’t have my PD Journal handy. And then I added more information to them when I taped them into the Journal. Later I did more planning, adding more thoughts to them. They contain detailed notes of what I plan to present during the workshop, during a time when teachers will do the work as students.

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I prepared these two pages prior to the workshop. They contain my detailed analysis of two mentor sentences. In the workshop, we examine and discuss these as teachers (not as students) in light of the model lesson. We discuss how we can use these to notice, map, and imitate (three routines that I use with mentor text). This is an extension of the anchor lesson for the power of three.

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I prepared these two pages (snapshots 3 and 4) prior to the workshop. They contain my detailed analysis of the mentor text (Christmas Cricket by Eve Bunting) that we examine in the workshop, first in small groups and then as a whole group. We notice and map; we talk about classroom application, about student learning.

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Pages from my PD Journal
Crafting Sentences, El Paso, December 6, 2017

(This is the notebook that contains the “record of my teaching.”)

This page (snapshot 9) contains artifacts of the model lesson — a snapshot of the board with sentence strips we used during the anchor lesson and the two sentences we created (we used the document camera) during guided practice.

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This page (snapshot 8) contains my recapture of the model lesson after the workshop. I wrote it during the evening after the workshop.

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Power of Three Tip
In the photo gallery above, I share pages from my anchor lesson on the power of three, aka pitchforks. It is not the purpose of this slice to go into the power of three. However, I want to share a tip. The power of three derives its power from two very important characteristics. One, it has three connected items or elements. Two, the three items or elements are parallel in structure. If this second characteristic is not present, you do not have the power of three. For example, notice the three elements in the following sentence:

In the summer, I sat in our swing, eating fresh tomatoes and singing.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with this sentence. There are three things happening; however, they are not expressed in parallel. This sentence is not using the power of three. Here is the original sentence with the verbs expressed in parallel, all in the same tense –simple past tense. It is a good example of the power of three.

In the summer, I sat in our swing and ate fresh tomatoes and sang.
-Cynthia Rylant, Christmas in the Country

Check out these two posts about the power of three–

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Would you like to see more pages from my PD Journals? 
Come by tomorrow; I will be sharing about pages for small craft moves modeled with student writing.


*Traveling note: Travel to most of my workshops involves hours of flying, driving, or a combination of flying and driving.  I have found that early morning flights are usually on time and if there are delays or cancellations, I have enough time and options in the day to still make my destination the same day. However, evening flights are more frequently delayed, and when they are, missed connections result in unplanned overnight stays in connecting cities.


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