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July 3, 2013 Dear Bethany, Thank you for your inspiring demonstration.

While we have considered the role of literacy in our lives before (we haven't actually done this a lot), this was an amazing reminder and important connection to our classrooms that we had not reflected on as much and as carefully before. Wow! This allowed us to make our thinking more transparent to students by sharing our thought processes and inviting students into that conversation. Affect: We were engaged as teachers and as our students. This lesson is a meaningful assignment for our future students to do, but also appealed to our teacher selves because of the meta cognitive reflective nature of the approach and assignment. We appreciated that you had us engaged in a companion piece to your lesson that met us where we are as teachers of writing. We also appreciated the applicable nature of this assignment, which allowed us to think about how we would put this into practice in our own lives. "Best Practice": We appreciated how you prompted us to analyze student work and then consider our audiences by examining what our students think about literacy in their lives. We appreciate the applicable outside of school, honoring all literacies, and authentic audiences and purposes for the assignment. Each part of Habits of Mind was addressed in your demonstration. A few that really stood out to us are noted below: Metacognition was present in the letter writing and we appreciated your directly mentioning it. Flexibility is important because even though we have ideas of what students could say, we still need to be flexible to their ideas. We also need to keep it open for students to share whatever they think and embrace and honest conversation about literacy.

Engagement - examples of letters and the discussions we had in pairs engaged us. Students take responsibility for their own thinking. This also prompts students to be persistent and trouble their thinking. This also helps them sustain interest in a topic they may not otherwise entertain. We were also engaged in critical thinking, writing processes, rhetorical knowledge with the role of letters and using MAPS. We also appreciate the study of models with the letters from Burke's book and your student letters. Policies/Regulations/Professional Dictates: CCSS: Reading Standards: 1 (close reading), 2, 6 (purpose and point of view), Writing Standards: 1, 2 (audience, persuade audience), 3, 4 Speaking and Listening: 1 Extensions/Adaptations: We were excited by the many ways we could and will use this lesson. Students could chart their literacy experiences in their lives in various genres. This may also explore what literacies students value, who sponsored their literacy, etc. This could extend into writing of a literacy autobiography and/or interviewing people in the community about their literacy experiences. This assignment was smartly connected to Animal Farm, but it could also relate to other texts and exploration of mentor texts related to literacy, such as Sherman Alexie's "Superman and Me" or the children's book Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type. Students could share their letters with one another. This is a powerful piece of writing to include in an anthology of why we read and write. Write a letter to your younger self about the children's books that has an important memory. Explore "Letters to your younger self". Literacy log throughout the year and possibly adding a journal component with a community member.

Create a book diary or reading to do list. We'd like to put this assignment on Eli or another form of peer response. See, we are already planning how we'll use this.

Questions Arisen: How did you respond to the students who said they did not read or write? Did you accept that or challenge them to read about it more? How did you refer back to this experience throughout the year? Did you respond to student letters? If so, how? Is this an assignment you would grade for mechanics, conventions, etc.? Why or why not?

Yours in reflecting, reading, and writing. Carpe diem! Alexa, Mandy, Dawn