Taking the Show on the Road

Packed Suitcase

I’m taking a bit of a departure from the usual blog fare this week to share news about some departures of my own—that is, places where I’ll be presenting and working over the next several weeks (and where I’d love to see a blog reader or two, as well as reconnect with some Reggio friends who might also find themselves in Boston).

Durham MapFirst up is New Hampshire on October 25, where I’ll be facilitating the annual fall workshop for the Learning through Teaching program at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. I tend to think of UNH as the birthplace of Writing Workshop; it’s where Donald Murray and Don Graves both taught and where the brilliant Tom Newkirk, author of The Art of Slow Readingnow presides. And all of that means that I’m both thrilled and a little star-struck to be going there. We’ll spend part of the day getting in touch with our own inner reader in order to develop a deeper vision of what it means to read deeply. And we’ll look at some of the structures, scaffolds and practices that can help students read deeply, too, in ways that are in keeping with the key beliefs of the Learning through Teaching program, such as the following, which I hold to be true as well:

“There are no magic solutions for all classrooms, all situations. Our best guidance comes from careful observation of our students and ourselves, and from professional conversation with colleagues.”

Colorado MapFrom November 4-6, I’ll be in Colorado, where Dorothy Barnhouse and I have both had the privilege of working with the Aurora Public Schools for several years. It’s a district that has committed itself to building capacity around authentic reading and writing, creating frameworks for literacy instruction that combine the best thinking in the field with the best practice of their own teachers and developing a phenomenal core of district coaches. I’ll be spending some time with the coaches this visit as well as working in classrooms and sharing some ideas about setting up book clubs for middle schoolers. And I’m particularly looking forward to reconnecting with some of the teachers who attended the institute Dorothy and I facilitated over the summer on “Bringing Reading Workshop into the Age of the Common Core.”

Boston MapFinally, I’ll be in Boston November 21 through 24 for NCTE’s annual convention, where on Friday, the 22nd, I’ll be part of a panel in a session that will look at the amazing work being done by the Opal School in Portland, Oregon, which is the charter school of the Portland Children’s Museum. The session, which is titled “Playful Literacy through Story Workshop and Literacy Studio,” will share what children and educators have discovered as they’ve explored the question “What is the connection between literacy, play and the arts?” The question is directly tied to the school’s mission, which is,

“to strengthen education by provoking fresh ideas concerning environments where creativity, imagination and the wonder of learning thrive.”

As the panel’s respondent, my job will be to connect their work to new ideas and thinking about how children best learn. And I’m anticipating that the session will give me tons of new ideas and lots of inspiration.

And now, while I don’t have to pack quite yet, I do have some planning to do . . . .

Time to Plan

12 thoughts on “Taking the Show on the Road

  1. Hi, Vicki!
    How lucky all those people are to work with you – what great new thinking will be generated. I’m most excited, of course, to hear about what comes from Boston: Though I won’t be there, the group from Opal School will be sure to share the stories with me.
    Your readers who are intrigued by the session description might be interested in our blog, which might be better fit to link to: It’s http://opalschoolblog.typepad.com.
    Bon voyage!

    • I wondered if you’d be in Boston, Matt, but I imagine you’ll be with all of us in spirit. And I just changed the link to the school’s blog, which was a great idea, with an utterly great post up this week about paying attention, which is no simple thing. Just yesterday I was in a city school that was using two of the new packaged reading programs and my job was to demo ways of opening them up to more authentic conversation. The results? In the two ICT classes I was in the teachers and AP were blown away by how much the special ed & struggling students had to say. Why? Because I asked them what they thought.

    • In the name of full disclosure, Cathe, I have to admit that the photos aren’t mine. All the banner photos and a few in the posts are by my partner David, who’s a professional photographer (www.dawagner.com). The rest I buy for about a dollar a piece from stock agencies, which is where the picture of the suitcase came from. Hope you’re not disillusioned!

  2. We hope you come out to California someday!
    Maribeth Rodriguez
    Teacher on Special Assignment
    Evergreen Elementary School District, San Jose CA

    • I would love to do that, Maribeth! With so many NYC schools using packaged programs this year, I seem to be doing more out of town work. So please feel free to have someone contact me if you think your district might actually be interested in having me come and work. And if not, I’ll try to keep you posted if I’m in the vicinity. Right now the closest I think I’ll be is Salt Lake City in March.

  3. Pingback: Learning vs. Training: The Power of Real Professional Development | To Make a Prairie

  4. Hi Vicki!

    You may or may not remember me. I was in the Region 9 Coach group that you facilitated with Mary Ehrenworth many moons ago. I have been basking in your blog for almost a year now and wondering how to reconnect with you. NCTE is a huge event, but I will be there for the first time and if possible would love to say hi.


    Deborah Sadok
    formerly of School of the Future
    currently of CFN 103

    • Hello Deb! Of course, I remember you both from the coaches group and a day I think we did together with Shira in New Jersey–yes? I will be at NCTE and would love to connect. I’ll be on a panel for a session Friday morning with people from an amazing school in Portland, Oregon, but I haven’t had time yet to look at the program to begin to plan out a schedule. Can we try to be in touch a little later in the month and see what time we might both have? In the meantime, hope you’re well and managing in this challenging times.

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