Thursday, March 13, 2014

SOLSC #13: IRC Funnies from Steph Harvey

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

I'm at the Illinois Reading Council Conference in Springfield, IL this week! I'm having a great time and feeling refreshed and inspired! I actually signed up for a twitter after listening to Steph Harvey! You can find me @BigTimeLiteracy! (This is the same username as my Instagram that I opened up a few weeks ago!)

Anyways, I love when presenters are down to earth - they share stories of their students and the cards they give them, they show how passionate they are for education, and of course, share funny stories! Today, I heard Stephanie Harvey speak twice, and she's great....I'm sharing a pic of her with three of the coaches from my district even though it's not my fave...but we're with a Literacy Celeb!

Today during sessions I found myself just laughing - a lot. I began to write notes about these jokes, and just now I realized that all of them were from Stephanie Harvey. She's the one who wrote Strategies that Work. She said today - we've been doing close reading for years - if you're doing strategic reading - you're *already* doing close reading! The little people in my head were dancing and cheering and celebrating with streamers and confetti at hearing this! (Although, I kinda thought this all along...!)

She is a very engaging presenter...I found myself engaged because she was inspiring and funny! Here are a few of her funnies from today's sessions...

This one was particularly entertaining, because the same thing happened to me....

"So there you are on your way to work. You've stopped at Starbucks and are cruising into school with your vanilla latte in your hand and it's a normal day. Then you overhear someone say something about close reading. An hour or two later, it's in an email you receive. Then at lunch, again! Yesterday it's nothing, and then today I hear it 14 times. And now it's like you can't even open your car door without bumping into close reading!"

So true! I had hardly heard of it, and then all of a sudden there it was, and next thing I know I was presenting on it! Out of no where - boom! Anyways, so good to be at the IRC because I'm getting different interpretations of it - one today from Sunday refreshing, but more to come on that later!

Later, Steph was talking about how knowledge changes. Like Pluto. Was a planet, now isn't...and she says, "Yeah, it's so great when those big publishers (like Pearson) get nailed like that." 

Pearson, of course, is just one company that produces textbooks. So, when content like this changes, they need to revise their textbooks, only to have to re-revise it if it happens again. I'm not sure if I've ever talked about my feelings about the big box publishers of textbooks...but, not my favorite. That's a conversation for another day though! all of my followers who are literacy experts - Steph was discussing the problem about how our neediest readers get the least amount of time to read - you know, because we give them extra groups where they meet with more teachers, and so that takes up their independent time to read. She then said, "This problem, of having our neediest kids not reading hardly at all - this isn't rocket science. Teaching literacy is rocket science but not the problem we find ourselves in..."

I mean, if you think about it, you really do have to know lots about literacy instruction to drill down and give kids what they need. I know lots about middle school aged kids, but I've been learning so much about primary instruction this year. I don't think I could ever know it all, just keep refining my practice and growing. I love working with people who really consider themselves life long learners - that really means something to me!

Oh, and last one. Steph was talking about NCLB - and saying how that's out and now Race to the Top is in. And then she's all, "Yeah, so at least NCLB didn't want to leave anyone out! RTTT? Yeah, let's have everyone fail!" To which she followed up, "I'm 65, I don't care anymore what people think about what I say!"

hahahhaaaaa! So liberating!

Anyways, feeling so good to be inspired here and surrounded by tons of people who have the same passion for literacy that I do!

Here's a picture of all the coaches in my district...we're all here together!

More to come tomorrow. I can't share anything overly stimulating tonight...I'm still coming down from the information overload going on in my head right now!

Happy Thursday!


  1. Glad you are having fun and learning lots at the conference. Stephanie is from Denver, where I live, and I have had the privilege of hearing her speak many times. She is very, very funny (in real life too!) but also so very, very smart! And I totally agree with all of her comments (and yours!) on close reading!

  2. You are so lucky your district allows all of your coaches to go together. I am not there this year because my district wouldn't allow more than one person to go:( One of our teachers is presenting on Dyslexia.
    I love how you said, "I don't think I could ever know it all, just keep refining my practice and growing. I love working with people who really consider themselves life long learners - that really means something to me!" I can really connect to that. One day I receive a fortune from a cookie that said, " the best teacher is also a student" and I haven't forgotten that. I never consider myself an expert and love learning new strategies and refining what I teach.
    Enjoy the rest of the conference!

  3. I heard Steph Harvey speak at TC last summer. She was a great presenter! How lucky you were to hear her speak at the conference.

    Speaking of which, I've heard the IL Reading Association's conference is among the best out there. I hope to get there some day!


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