Category Archives: Summer Reading

Summer Learning 2017 – Choices and VTR – here’s the data

In a previous post, Summer Learning 2017 – Flyer and Choices, I describe our summer learning plans and choices.  We make a commitment to read and learn every summer.  This year, in addition to books and a stream of TED talks, Voices of Diversity, we offer the opportunity to read children’s literature and design learning intentions around character and values.

Here’s the data on what we selected to learn:

Another way to consider the data:

Throughout the year, the Academic Leadership Team has been working with teacher-teams in many ways in support of our team goal shown below.

We can design and implement a differentiated action plan across our  divisions to meet all learners where they are.

Tier 1 Differentiation: Learner Choice and Voice

Our plan involves using the Visible Thinking Routine Sentence-Phrase-Word across all selections to notice and note important, thought-provoking ideas.

Tier 2 Differentiation: Level Up Pathway to Success

To meet our expectations, learners should read, view, or plan closely using the Visible Thinking Routine Sentence-Phrase-Word when engaging with their selection.  To exceed our expectations, learners again have choice.  They can use both Sentence-Phrase-Word and Connect-Extend-Challenge for deeper, connected thinking. Or, learners can learn and share publicly using #TrinityLearns, #TrinityReads or posting comments on the connected blog pages for reading a book, viewing the TED talks, or using children’s literature to build character foundation.

Be together, not the same. Learn and share. Level up when you can.

Goal work: learn more math, study the Practices

The math committee met this week to work on our goals. We agreed that, for the rest of this school year, we would spend half of our time on learning more math and the other half studying to learn more about the Standards For Mathematical Practice.

We met this week to learn more math and to discuss Chapter 1, Mathematical 1: Make Sense of Problems and Persevere in Solving Them in Beyond Answers: Exploring Mathematical Practices with Young Children by Mike Flynn.

Yearlong Goals:

  • We can learn more math.
  • We can share work with grade level teams to grow our whole community as teachers of math.
  • We can deepen our understanding of the Standards For Mathematical Practice.

Today’s Goals:

  • I can make sense of tasks and persevere in solving them.
  • I can reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • I can look for and make use of structure.


Learning Plan

3:05 5 min Quick scan of Jo’s YouCubed article (pp. 2, 11)
3:05 20 min Solving equations visually to make sense of the algebra
(Learn more math)

productive-struggle-4 productive-struggle-3

3:25 5 min Book Club warm-up

3:30 20 min Use Visible Thinking Routines to guide discussion of Chapter One: Make Sense and Persevere
(deepen our understanding of the SMPs.)

3:55 5 min Feedback – “I learned…, “I liked…,”I felt…

Read Chapter 2: Reason Abstractly and Quantitatively

Update on PD (Goal: Scale our work to our teams.)

When we set purposeful team goals, we help each other make progress, and we use our time intentionally.

Flynn, Michael. Beyond Answers: Exploring Mathematical Practices with Young Children. Portland, Maine.: Stenhouse, 2017. Print.

Van de Walle, John. Teaching Student-centered Mathematics: Developmentally Appropriate Instruction for Grades Pre-K-2. Boston: Pearson, 2014. Print.

Stepping-stones: deepen learning – The Talent Code VTR SPW

Small successes [are] not stopping points but stepping-stones. (Coyle, 188 pag.)

How might we listen on many levels? What if we change our focus to concentrate on the process of learning in addition to the products of learning?

“Great teachers focus on what the student is saying or doing,” he says, “and are able, by being so focused and by their deep knowledge of the subject matter, to see and recognize the inarticulate stumbling, fumbling effort of the student who’s reaching toward mastery, and then connect to them with a targeted message.” (Coyle, 177 pag.)


How might we deepen learning? What if flexibility, the ability to show what you know more than one way, is deemed essential?

Gallimore explains it this way: “A great teacher has the capacity to always take it deeper, to see the learning the student is capable of and to go there. It keeps going deeper and deeper because the teacher can think about the material in so many different ways, and because there’s an endless number of connections they can make.” (Coyle, 178 pag.)

What if we teach (and learn) that practice makes progress and celebrate growth over time?

“Do we have a better understanding? A better understanding?” Ms. Jackson said, summing up. “You don’t have a complete understanding of this, no way, we haven’t done it enough. But do we have a better understanding? YES!” (Coyle, 191 pag.)


Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
The Talent Code
Chapter 9: The Teaching Circuit: A Blueprint

A coach’s true skill consists not in some universally applicable wisdom that he can communicate to all, but rather in the supple ability to locate the sweet spot on the edge of each individual student’s ability, and to send the right signals to help the student reach toward the right goal, over and over. (Coyle, 178 pag.)

Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

It’s early…still growing – The Talent Code VTR SPW

Is it possible to look at two seedlings and tell which will grow taller? The only answer is It’s early and they’re both growing. (Coyle, 166 pag.)

How might we observe, listen, and question to learn? What if we offer alternate routes and pathways to “show what you know?”

As Bloom and his researchers realized, they are merely disguised as average because their crucial skill does not show up on conventional measures of teaching ability. (Coyle, 175 pag.)


Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
The Talent Code
Chapter 8: The Talent Whisperers

How might we change our vision of learning (and success) to highlight growth over time? What if we offer actionable feedback loops to offer opportunities for early (and often) mid-course corrections?

How might we defer judgement to be patient during growing seasons?

What you see is (not always) what you’ve got.

Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Contagious learning: lighting fires, deep practice – The Talent Code VTR SPW

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
—W. B. Yeats

How might we send the right signals? What if struggle is celebrated and encouraged until it just clicks?


Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
The Talent Code
Chapter 7: How to Ignite a Hotbed

Then it clicks. The kids get it, and when it starts, the rest of them get it, too. It’s contagious. (Coyle, 156 pag.)

Contagious…it’s a good word. How might we empower learners to take charge of learning? Hear from Kiran Sethi:

Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Confidence building and feedback – The Talent Code VTR SPW

As we continue to learn and act to deepen learning, empower learners, and work on the edge of capability, how might we ignite effort and confidence?

What skill-building really is, is confidence-building. First they got to earn it, then they got it. (Coyle, 134 pag.)

What if we use actionable feedback to embrace struggle, seize opportunity to learn, and celebrate success?

Now we’ll look more deeply into how it can be triggered by the signals we use most: words. (Coyle, 132 pag.)

How might we improve our feedback and choose words carefully to send a spark?

And according to theories developed by Dr. Carol Dweck, Engblom’s verbal cues, however minimal, are just the kind to send the right signal. Dweck is a social psychologist at Stanford who has spent the past thirty years studying motivation. She’s carved an impressively varied path across the field, starting with animal motivation and shifting to more complex creatures, chiefly elementary and high school students. Some of her most eye-opening research involves the relationship between motivation and language. “Left to our own devices, we go along in a pretty stable mindset,” she said. “But when we get a clear cue, a message that sends a spark, then boing, we respond.” (Coyle, 135 pag.)

What if the target the actions taken on a pathway to success? How might we highlight effort to ignite deep practice and serious effort?

Praising effort works because it reflects biological reality. The truth is, skill circuits are not easy to build; deep practice requires serious effort and passionate work. The truth is, when you are starting out, you do not “play” tennis; you struggle and fight and pay attention and slowly get better. The truth is, we learn in staggering-baby steps. Effort-based language works because it speaks directly to the core of the learning experience, and when it comes to ignition, there’s nothing more powerful. (Coyle, 137 pag.)


Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
The Talent Code
Chapter 6: The Curaçao Experiment

When we hear I can’t…, can we reframe it using yet? What if we insist on the use of yet any time we hear I can’t? 

I can’t yet _______.

I can’t ________, yet.

How might we spur more confidence, more I can… effort and learning?

You must have worked really hard.

Have you thought about trying this next?

I’m giving you this feedback because I believe in you.

Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Long-term-committment: identity, groups, belonging- The Talent Code VTR SPW

I wonder how perception of self is formed. Through experiences?Through feedback? Through stories we are told from generation to generation?

Progress was determined not by any measurable aptitude or trait, but by a tiny, powerful idea the child had before even starting lessons. The differences were staggering. With the same amount of practice, the long-term-commitment group outperformed the short-term-commitment group by 400 percent. (Coyle, 104 pag.)

What if we reframe struggle for learners? How might we use the power of YET to set up long-term-commitment?

Talent is spreading through this group in the same pattern that dandelions spread through suburban yards. One puff, given time, brings many flowers. (Coyle, 99 pag.)

How might we use learning progressions and pathways for success to highlight breakthrough successes? What if we celebrate and encourage massive blooms of talent?

The answer is, each has to do with identity and groups, and the links that form between them. Each signal is the motivational equivalent of a flashing red light: those people over there are doing something terrifically worthwhile. Each signal, in short, is about future belonging. Future belonging is a primal cue: a simple, direct signal that activates our built-in motivational triggers, funneling our energy and attention toward a goal. (Coyle, 108 pag.)


Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
The Talent Code
Chapter 5: Primal Cues

Identity and groups…future belonging…activate built-in motivation triggers…funnel energy and attention…

How might we…?

Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.