About this episode
Welcome to POPCAST, Episode 14! This is part two of Jeff and Travis walking through a Patterns of Wonder lesson with Whitney La Rocca. If you are just tuning in, listen to episode 13 for part one.
Meet Jeff and Travis
For over thirty years, Jeff Anderson has inspired writers and teachers of grades K-8 with the power and joy of writing and grammar. He has written eight books for Stenhouse Publishers. He also writes middle-grade novels. Travis Leech is currently a middle school instructional coach in Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, TX. He has thirteen years of experience in education, including teaching middle school English Language Arts and as a gifted and talented specialist. Follow Jeff and Travis on Twitter.
Read the transcript
Travis: Welcome to POPCast.
Jeff: A Patterns of Power Podcast.
Travis: Discussing grammar in the context of the reading and writing connections.
Jeff: I'm Jeff Anderson.
Travis: And I'm Travis Leech and we're today's host for episode 14. And today we are going to be looking at, this is part two of walking through a lesson in the Patterns of Wonder process with our wonderful guest, Whitney La Rocca who we're just going to try to keep her for as many episodes as we can keep.
Jeff: Yeah. Just keep going.
Whitney: Sounds great to me.
Travis: Plus we got, we've got other kinds of power books we can talk about. So we'll have to do that.
Jeff: In our last episode, we got started talking about a lesson on nouns and we looked at the Invitation to Wonder, and we looked at the Invitation to Compare and Contrast and the Invitation Invitation to Imitate. So we're going to just continue where we left off.
Travis: If you didn't listen to this episode before this go back and listen to the episode before this. So you'll have a context for where we're going.
Jeff: Yeah. Otherwise it'll be weird, but still fun.
Whitney: Still fun though, because today we get to get into the next step, which is my favorite step, the invitation to play. And you know, the subtitle of Patterns of Wonder is inviting emergent writers to play with the conventions of language. And.
Travis: That's what we need. We need play.
Whitney: We do need play.
Travis: Especially when we're young
Whitney: And we need, and we need time built into our schedules in all grade levels, really. But these early childhood schedules I'm finding are becoming more and more academic.
Jeff: More college ready.
Travis: Whatever the heck that means.
Whitney: But play has been taken away in so many of them. And so it's my hope that we can still find time for play. And if we're following the Patterns of Wonder process and we're spending 10 minutes a day.
Jeff: So it's 10 minutes a day, just like the Patterns of Power process.
Whitney: Just like Patterns of Power.
Jeff: Let's play for 10 minutes a day rule.
Whitney: Right? So, Invitation to.
Travis: 10 minutes a day. Let's play.
Whitney: Invitation to Wonder is your first day, so that's 10 minutes. And then you move on the next day with Compare and Contrast and 10 minutes. And then the next day, your Interactive Writing around 10 minutes. So then the Invitation to Play can actually span across several days. So if you don't have time in your schedule built for play, if you have Patterns of wonder time built into your schedule, you're building that time in for this play as well.
Travis: Because you can do dramatic play.
Travis: Stations or centers.
Whitney: Yes. And that's what this play time is for in this step is to move this idea of making meaning in both of our pictures and our words into other things that we do. So dramatic play, choice time, centers, reading the room, writing the room, all of those are things that you can do. And you can also do Invitation like you would in Patterns of power as well. You can do a whole class invitation. They each have a piece of paper and then now they draw their own and create their own Invitation. So in the lesson itself, we actually list several different ways that you can build this play for this lesson, into your schedule, into your.
Travis: Right there in the lesson, just like the lesson plans are done for you. And you've got pictures for the visuals.
Whitney: We actually have three and built into this lesson. So during the Patterns of Wonder time, they can go around the room and sticky note, all of the nouns that they find, right?
Jeff: How many sticky notes can they have?
Whitney: They're labeling what they're finding around the room of people, places and things. They can also, can create a new piece of writing. Like I had said, maybe during choice time, they create something, whether they're drawing or painting or building with blocks.
Whitney: And this one classroom, they built in, they wrote in like pudding, they were pretending to write in mud and they wrote in pudding. And so they drew their pictures in pudding. This little boy here that I'm looking at right now, he built with blocks. It's my hut in the jungle. Me and my brother lived there. So you have jungle, you have hut, you have him and his brother.
Whitney: He has those people, places and things that was through oral language, that he was using people, places and things, as he was talking about the things that he was building.
Travis: He was showing and telling.
Whitney: Showing and telling. During writing workshop, when we're conferring with our students, invite them to share how they're using that focus phrase in their writing. Right? So, "Oh our focus phrases, show and tell about people, places and things." Show me where you are showing and telling about people, places and things in your own writing. And so just really bringing, its practical application, but through the sense of play.
Travis: I imagine a lot of smiles on kids' faces.
Whitney: They love it.
Travis: When they're doing this.
Whitney: Well, and this is the authentic learning going on here. Children learn through play.
Jeff: And exploration and experimentation [crosstalk] and trial and error, which all happens with play.
Travis: For sure.
Whitney: And we really get to build on their oral language through this as well when we're walking around and talking to them. And I think that's important when they are in engaged in play. We still want to go around and have conversations with them as well and pay attention to how they're composing that language in their place.
Jeff: I love the word engaged, cause how can they not be engaged?
Whitney: Right? Right? [crosstalk] And then after a few days of this play, we can choose, have them choose what it is they want to celebrate. So if they want to take a picture of whatever they built and tell about that, or if they, if you decide, we're all going to share that piece of writing that we created it's up to you, but give them some choice within that as well. They come back and we have a celebration.
Whitney: YouTube is awesome when it comes to just fun songs and videos around all of these different things. There's so many for the young, young children about people, places and things and categorizing. And so you can kick it off.
Jeff: Do a little dance party.
Whitney: Yeah. Kick it off with a little brain break dance video, and then begin the share of the celebration much like how you would share in Patterns of Power as well. They can come put it under the document camera and, and share that way point. And what it is, it is going to be important that we see a document camera. If you have one, that is what you're going to want to use, right? Because it's pictures that we're looking at with letter strings and letters and symbols. So we do want to see the entire piece of writing rather than just the written.
Jeff: What I love is the writers make choices. That's our whole big thing.
Jeff: Writers make choices.
Jeff: All the choices affect meaning and everything else about that piece of writing. And here we are, instead of just doing the invitation, it could be an invitation, but it's any of this play that I've done, I can bring to and present and share and think about how great that is for the oral language and making choices and decisions about determining what they want to share. I mean, I love all the thinking that's going on to make this analytic.
Whitney: Right. Think about how much of that will come into their writing later as well.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Whitney: Yes, and just creating that oral language to move into their written language when they get there. So that is the entire lesson of the Patterns of Wonder, [crosstalk]. Sure. So we have Invitation to Wonder using a picture, a page spread from a picture book and then Invitation to Compare and Contrast. In this lesson, we use another page from that same picture book, but it could be a page from another picture book or even something that we [crosstalk] teacher created. And then we have the Invitation to Imitate and that is done together, either through shared writing or interactive writing. And then we move into this invitation to play for a few days and then bring it back for a celebration.
Whitney: When I did this lesson with this kindergarten class or pre-K class that I keep referring to, we actually started the lesson on a Tuesday. So we did the Invitation to Wonder on a
Tuesday, the compare contrast on a Wednesday, the imitate together on a Thursday. And then they played Friday, Monday, Tuesday, and we actually came Wednesday. We came back together on Thursday to celebrate. So it doesn't have to be a Monday through Friday thing, right.
Jeff: Thank you, Whitney.
Whitney: It really, and it doesn't have to be lockstep as day one, day two, day three. It's really meant to give the students time to dive deep into this and in play with it and get to know it really well.
Travis: And I'm sure, [crosstalk] and I'm sure they also probably have conversations with each other and are discussing their learning with each other, not just the teacher throughout this, this play process.
Whitney: Oh yes.
Travis: Even more and more opportunities to continue.
Jeff: I've heard dramatic play that kids are actually doing the Invitation process, going through the process, the Patterns of Power process with their little brothers and sisters in the backseat of a car while they're driving. Because they're so excited about playing it because it's playing.
Travis: Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: Because now they're imitating the teacher. Because we all, everything we learned about language comes through Invitation. So here we are, we're feeding and nourishing in these picture books and these where they are and then accepting where they are and allowing them to play and discover. And when we do that it takes them to their growing edge. They just keep accelerating and accelerating because they feel competent and confident. What a beautiful thing to give children about writing, instead of there's one way to do it. Here's the answer it's right or wrong. Avoid this, don't do this, do this, write complete sentences, talk in abstractions that make no sense to kids. Even if they're in their standards, they make no sense we can play in other ways.
Whitney: Well, there's so many times where I have heard too, "Well, my kids aren't writing yet, so I can't teach grammar. I have to wait until they can write sentences. They can't even write a word, let alone a sentence. So I can't teach grammar yet."
Jeff: They don't see it as the vehicle.
Whitney: Right. And grammar is what we use to make meaning. And so we absolutely can teach it. It's just in a very different way. Right. But it's still through this idea of exploring of wondering of noticing, comparing, contrasting that the process that we have in Patterns of Power.
Travis: Can I just say how much I appreciate that you are showing teachers how as well through this, through this book?
Whitney: Oh sure.
Travis: I'm super excited.
Jeff: People are going to love this book.
Whitney: And I it's, yes. It can definitely be a precursor to Patterns of Power, but I think it's going to be a great standalone resource as well. If your school happens to not be using Patterns of Power, which I don't know why that would be, but sometimes that's the case. This can still be used for all emergent classrooms. So I think that's, it can definitely be used to help teach writing. Also, this lesson was designed specifically for writers that are in that symbol and letter phase. But remember there's a nouns lesson for the scribble phase. There's a nouns lesson for the transitional phase. And there's also a couple nouns lessons because they get a little bit more specific in the conventional phase of writing. And as teachers, we don't need to teach all of those lessons. We just, at the time of year that we're going to teach nouns, let's figure out where our kids are in their own writing development and choose that one lesson to do.
Jeff: Well, it's so obviously connected just again, it's reading and writing connected. That's the whole Patterns of Power idea that its meaning is activated through the conventions. I noticed that you have a lot of stuff about concepts of print. Tell us a little more about the concepts of print.
Whitney: Well, concepts about print is looking at writing about print and what it means to us. So the late Marie Clay was the, she tagged the line concepts about print and kind of created this idea about it. And it's using spaces to make sentences. So really letters, make words, words make sentences, right. And going back to, and then punctuation helps in all of that too. Capitalization helps in all of that too. And so we have to go and really tap into concepts about print as well when we're teaching students to write and to use grammar and conventions. And so we have a lot of lessons that really focus in on like spaces between words and I use, I write in both pictures and words and I use words. I use letters to make words. I use words to make sentences. So we have lessons on all of those as well.
Jeff: So the focus phrases are about the concept of print.
Jeff: So I'm teaching concepts of print.
Jeff: Along with this. So, so much more is happening than just quote unquote grammar.
Whitney: So we have a focus for each lesson. And so it might be a grammar focus, or it might be a concepts about print focus. We have both. [crosstalk] And so you're going to find that, especially in like the scribbles phase and the symbol and letter phase, those they're going to have, they're going to begin each phase with some concepts about print lessons before moving into grammar lessons. So we definitely have both just a different focus for each. And the focus phrase will match that focus.
Jeff: If you ever get a chance to listen to Whitney La Rocca talk in person, take it, they offer some stuff on stenhouse.com. They offer some staff development. There are other staff film that you can find, but definitely you want to see her and talk about this even more and even probably have the visuals and stuff, but we're definitely, if you teach pre-K, K, or 1 are going to be buying Patterns of Wonder, hashtag Patterns of Wonder, look on social media, hashtag Patterns of Wonder and see what she's got to offer us because I think, is there anything else you wanted to ask Whitney before we go? Travis?
Whitney: I would say it's just my passion. This right here is my passion. [crosstalk] And you guys can tell just by the way that I talk about it, I just absolutely love it. And just listening to children, talk about their writing, just energizes me even more because I see so much within their writing when they get to talk about it. And so.
Travis: It's just been a real joy to be around you and hear you talk about Patterns of Wonder and just to hang out.
Whitney: It's been fun. I like hanging out with you two.
Jeff: We'll have you back. We're definitely going to have you back, Whitney.
Jeff: Thank you. All right. Well thank you to our sponsor. Stenhouse Publishers.
Travis: That's S-T-E-N-H-O-U-S-E.com. If you're looking to find them online.
Jeff: And remember Patterns of Wonder, doesn't come out until fall of 2021.
Whitney: It's soon now.
Jeff: It is soon and it maybe has some pre-orders this summer. So look for it late, summer late summer.
Whitney: And with those pre-orders I believe there'll be like a sample lesson on the website.
Jeff: In the table of contents, and all that kind of stuff.
Whitney: Possibly a sample lesson from each of the phases of writings.
Jeff: The book is getting beautifuller and beautifuller, or is that a word?
Whitney: Could be.
Jeff: Comparative or superlatives are not required? Goodbye.