October 21, 2016

A Trickle of Output!

So, the saying that a “flood of input precedes a trickle of output” is dear to my heart.  But output is fun, and motivating, and people like to see it.  I had a debrief with my principal this morning and she informed me that here in my new school (last year was my first year), there is a perception that kids are just sitting around in class not learning anything.  Well, we are not really LEARNING anything, we are ACQUIRING.  So, I need to work on that perception.  So, today, a week ahead of schedule, I took the kids to the library to write for ten minutes.  Two reasons we went to the library:  1.  There are tables and we have only chairs in the classroom and 2. I wanted to see what they can do with no recourse to word walls and such.

The mood in the library was wondrous.  The students were amazed that after just sitting and listening and reading along, after not picking up a pencil and writing a single note all year, ever, that they could write!  Here are some examples of their work!  I was so proud of them.   We are making portfolios for Parent Conferences.  I look forward to seeing if the kids get stronger by next week.  I suspect they will because they will have more sessions of input but also because they will be familiar with the task and also more confident.

Spanish One:





French Two, who have had a year of input:






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About Lanny Ball

For more than 23 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy and reading consultant in Northwestern Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops, twowritingteachers.org.

One thought on “October 21, 2016

  1. agarcita

    ¡Fenomenal! Great idea with getting them out of the classroom. Planning on the same thing! The output was fabulous and comprehensible for sure. Way to go!

    I wonder who the HECK started the “They’re not doing anything but sitting” rumor? Must be some of those kids who think that doing five nights’ of homework and getting piles of vocabulary lists are how they learn best! AND their parents, of course! What a shame.

    After having done a One -Word Image for our Back-to-School night, Shawna and I both saw understanding and appreciation shining in the eyes of the parents who were there. Now THAT was gratifying and validating. I was super happy that I chose to do this as one of my students’ fathers happens to be the principal of Wilson High School! Hurray!

    Also love the idea of building up a portfolio for conferences. With only a few more days to go before those conferences, I gotta get on this! I’m also going to have all my Invisible characters available and any kid fortunate (or unfortunate from the kid’s POV!) to be there are going to be asked to say a few sentences about that story – a mini re-tell in one minute!

    Great post!



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