Thursday, July 12, 2012

Opening Minds...Cyber PD

This is my first year joining Cyper Pd.  I am excited to experience what others have chosen to discuss, the connections that they have made, their interpretation of the text and the pieces of evidence that support or stimulate more thinking, and to read everyone's perspective.   This Cyper Pd event is sponsored by Cathy, Jill, and Laura.  Cathy at Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community has a blog post that connects all of our thinking.  Check it out!

"Sometimes a single word changes everything." (page 2)

Opening Minds
Words like "yet" and "already" can completely shift a child's thinking toward the idea that nothing is permanent about what is known and not known in our classrooms.  I think I want to add a third one..."next".  One of the most powerful questions I ask during inquiry what are you wondering next?  Now that you know this information in the present...where is it taking you next?  In reading workshop..."Where does this book take you next?" Our goal is not unknown information to new information.  Our goal is to take known information to new levels and that learning continues into new territories and goal setting.  These words fall into a past (already), present (next), and future (yet) sequence.  It is our "conversational jazz" (page 4) that provides us with opportunities to say something and make a choice to affect what happens next...making the most of the opportunities children offer us.

"In a dynamic world, when you run into difficulty it just means things are becoming more interesting.  Challenging activities present no threat, only the promise of learning something new." (page 12)

I keep thinking of the Common Core....reading words like rigor and text complexity over and over...

"The more you learn, the smarter you get, and though it can involve hard work, learning is the goal." (page 12).
At the beginning of the year I use the resource, You're Smarter Than You Think.  It has interest inventories in it that match the multiple intelligences.  It is a great activity to learn about our ourselves, our strengths, and the types of intelligences that we do not have much experience with YET.  I have the students then put their results on a pie graph.  Every intelligence gets at least a "slither" on the pie graph because we all have interests inside of us.  Some have just not been experienced YET.  I also use the book, How We Are Smart.  This book contains poems about 12 people in our world and encourages the reader to wonder if they see a little bit of themselves in that person.
How We Are Smart


  1. Thanks so much for adding to the CyberPD conversation! I was intrigued by your first paragraph. Adding the word "next" (along with "yet" and "already") makes so much sense! I'd love to know more about your "inquiry workshop."

    "Learning continues into new territories..." Wow. What a powerful statement! Isn't that one of our ultimate goals? Having kids take what they already know and mesh it with what they're learning... and apply it to new situations.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you!

    1. Thanks for visiting! My inquiry workshop is separate from my reading workshop. It is a nonfiction time that runs three days a week for us to take our wonders/curiosity and act on them. is a huge component at the beginning of the school year to get the ball rolling! Off to check out your post :)

    2. This is exactly what I have in mind for my first graders this year! Thanks for explaining it to me!

  2. Tracy,
    I'm so glad you joined the #cyberPD discussion of Opening Minds. I really enjoyed your conversation about what is NEXT. When I think of "yet" I do focus on learning that is already there I might need to know. For some reason, thinking about "next" does seem to be more open ended. It seems to be more natural in inquiry, goal setting, and discovery. It is a nice addition to Johnston's thinking.

    I enjoyed your positive spin on the book. I felt like you took what Johnston said, put in the hands of children, and said "What's next in our journey?".

    I'm so glad to have found your blog. I enjoyed its layout and content. As I said in a comment I left you on my blog, I am wondering if you are on Twitter. I tried to find a link on your blog, but didn't see it. (It might be here. I'm moving quickly from post to post trying to get everyone added. I got a little sidetracked by all of your smart posts.)


    P.S. I keep thinking your blog name is so familiar. I'm wondering if I have been here and perhaps you have changed the look of it? Hmmm.....

    1. Thanks for visiting! I am so excited that you are leading this CyberPD. I am not on Twitter yet, but if Maria at Teaching in 21st Century had her way I would have completed my summer goal and been on it yesterday :)

      I did just recently change the look of the blog...hope it is more user-friendly! :)

  3. "Our goal is to take known information to new levels and that learning continues into new territories and goal setting." Love this line and agree with Laura and Cathy that I love your thinking about asking kids what is next. This is so important for learners to continue to push themselves and set new learning goals. Great reflection:)

  4. Thank you for your insights. I highlighted some of the same sentences / phrases as you did. The page 2 quote is so powerful. I added your addition, next, to my notes.

  5. I agree with the comments above that using the word "next" could be very helpful to students. "Yet" is wonderful but it seems a little more in the distant future. "Next" might seem like a smaller step to take in order to work towards the goal. It might ease students along the path with more support.

  6. Like everyone else, I love your use of the words yet, next, and already. Such important words- it's amazing to me to think about how they can change the whole complexion of a classroom. Thanks, too, for sharing these two great book titles! I especiallywant to get hold of YOU ARE SMARTER THAN YOU THINK. That's a new title to me and it sounds great. Love your idea of graphing with it.