Inside the ELA Classroom

November 2018

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"Powerful, Passionate, Accomplished Teachers"


By John Hattie

Visible Learning for Teachers, 2012, pp. 19-20


The messages in Visible Learning are not another recipe for success, another quest for certainty, another masking of untruth. There is no recipe, no professional development set of worksheets, no new teaching method, and no band-aid remedy. It is a way of thinking: "My role, as teacher, is to evaluate the effect I have on my students." It is to "know thy impact", it is to understand this impact, and it is to act on this knowing and understanding. It requires that teachers gather defensible and dependable evidence from many sources, and hold collaborative discussions with colleagues and students about this evidence, this making the effect of their teaching visible to themselves and others.


Powerful, passionate, accomplished teachers are those who:


  • focus on students’ cognitive engagement with the content of what it is that is being taught;
  • focus on developing a way of thinking and reasoning that emphasises problem-solving and teaching strategies relating to the content that they wish students to learn;
  • focus on imparting new knowledge and understanding, and then monitor how students gain fluency and appreciation in this new knowledge;
  • focus on providing feedback in an appropriate and timely manner to help students to attain the worthwhile goals of the lesson;
  • seek feedback about their effect on the progress and proficiency of all their students;
  • have deep understanding about how we learn; and
  • focus on seeking learning through the eyes of students, appreciating their fits and starts in learning, and their often non-linear progressions to the goals, supporting their deliberate practice, providing feedback about their errors and misdirections, and caring that the students get to the goals and that the students share the teacher’s passion for the material being learnt.

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Takeaway from Visible Learning

#1: The impact of an intervention should be measured

Visible Learning for Literacy argues that teachers should be guided by research, and that interventions need to be measured in order to be considered significant and worthy of widespread adoption.


#2: Teachers are paramount

Visible Learning for Literacy affirms that teachers are a critical component to successful outcomes for students. Some of the most powerful instructional effects result from teachers setting expectations for students, creating clarity around instruction, demonstrating credibility, and giving effective feedback. The teacher-student relationship is a key ingredient for learning.


Dr. Natalie Saaris, November 8, 2016

The above information was pulled from Actively Learn

https://www.activelylearn.com/post/5-takeaways-from-visible-learning-for-literacy

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Using Photographs

Challenge students to search their family photos, and look through magazines, books, newspapers, or even the comics to find a little writing inspiration. Have them cut out all of the pictures that inspire them, and glue those pictures to their writing journal. When it’s time to write, all students have to do is look at one of their pictures for inspiration.


Audio Record It

Allow students to use audio recording technology to record their writing. This is a fun way for students speak what they want to say.



Audio Transcribe It

Encourage students to transcribe their thoughts. This becomes a fun and unique way for students to get the initial thoughts captured. Students print out the text and use it as their first draft.



Chunk It

Struggling writers may perform better when they have smaller segments to complete. Break the writing up into manageable chunks (i.e.. breaking a paper down into paragraphs; a paragraph into sentences) makes the task seem less daunting and more doable.


Model and Guide Writing

Before students begin a writing assignment, show them models (either teacher created, student exemplars from GaDOE or student examples from the past). Thinking aloud, demonstrates for the struggling students how they can approach the same situation. Allow students to turn-and-talk, this encourages students to share their samples. Additionally, this helps spark ideas in students who might be stuck.

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GaDOE Assessment Resources for Writing

The assessment guides, study guides, and item and scoring samplers were all updated and re-published this summer. Take note of the additional items included in all resources. The item and scoring samplers have also been augmented with more writing exemplars to reflect varying levels of student proficiency. There are now three papers representing each score-point aligned to the extended-writing item.


Elementary


Middle


High

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Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High Schools

By: LD OnLine


This report offers eleven recommendations to teachers on how they can instruct 4th to 12th grade students to write well. The recommendations are effective for all students. Specific information applies to low achieving writers, which includes students with learning disabilities.


The authors summarized a large-scale statistical review of research on the effects of specific types of instruction on the writing ability of adolescents. They used meta-analysis which allows researchers to determine the strength and consistency of particular teaching practices and highlights those that appear the most promising. Specific strategies are provided for the recommendations.


Eleven elements of writing instruction were found to improve writing skills of adolescents. Steve Graham, first author of the report, identified three elements which are particularly critical to improving the writing of students with learning disabilities.


They are:

  • Writing Strategies: Teaching students strategies for planning, revising, and editing their compositions
  • Specific Product Goals: Specific, reachable goals for the writing they are to complete
  • Word Processing: Using computers and word processors as instructional supports for writing assignments


The other eight recommendations are also helpful to students with learning disabilities.


They are:

  • Summarization: Explicitly and systematically teaching students how to summarize texts
  • Collaborative Writing: Instructional arrangements in which adolescents work together to plan, draft, revise, and edit their compositions
  • Sentence Combining: Teaching students to construct more complex, sophisticated sentences
  • Prewriting: Engaging students in activities designed to help them generate or organize ideas for their composition
  • Inquiry Activities: Engaging students in analyzing immediate, concrete data to help them develop ideas and content for a particular writing task
  • Process Writing Approach: Interweaving a number of writing instructional activities in a workshop environment that stresses extended writing opportunities, writing for authentic audiences, personalized instruction, and cycles of writing.
  • Study of Models: Providing students with opportunities to read, analyze, and emulate models of good writing
  • Writing for Content Learning: Using writing as a tool for learning content material.


Taken from: http://www.ldonline.org/article/13481/

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Beyond the Cold Read

What is Close Reading?

Close Reading is a skill that requires students to determine purpose and notice features and language used by the author in order to think methodically about the details in the text. Through the process, students careful analyze text while building critical thinking skills. Close reading requires critical analysis of a short but complex text. A successful close reading lesson will scaffold student learning and focus on text-dependent questioning and interpretation. Students read the text multiple times. Each reading of the text has a defined purpose, focuses on a different layer of understanding and level of inquiry.

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There has been interest in cumulative assessments for language arts. Within GCA, two optional assessments for grades 3-9 have been created. In addition, grades 3-5 have several mini-assessments built with one reading passage.


Teachers interested in using these resources to inform classroom instruction should communicate directly with your school's test coordinator.

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Click HERE or on the above graphic for step-by-step instructions.

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Log in to your A-Z account before clicking on the graphics below to access the landing pages.

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The Academic Word Finder produces a list of words. Note, there may be other academic vocabulary words the tool does not highlight (ones that that are either rare or common) that a teacher determines are important to the text. This tool doesn't replace teacher judgment; rather it helps to support the teacher in identifying which academic words to consider first. Teachers also must gauge what words are most effective for their students' current vocabulary levels.

Select and enter into the tool a passage from a complex text along with the grade level being taught. The tool then identifies the academic vocabulary for the selected grades, as well as words that fall into grade levels both above and below, and provides student-friendly definitions, parts of speech and sample sentences.


Achieve the Core, Retrieved on 9/24/18.

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ELA Professional Learning Sessions

ELEMENTARY

Thursday, November 1, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m., Werz, PLC

Grade 3 ELA Content Meeting

In this professional learning session teachers will discuss Renaissance STAR. Emphasis will be on several STAR reports to gather evidence in order to information instruction based on students results. Encourage teachers to register at https://goo.gl/forms/SQxyc4Mxon6ET9Zb2. Participants are asked to bring their Chromebooks.


Thursday, November 8, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m., SD#2

Grade 4 ELA Content Meeting

In this professional learning session teachers will discuss Renaissance STAR. Emphasis will be on several STAR reports to gather evidence in order to information instruction based on students results. Encourage teachers to register at https://goo.gl/forms/lmsVHNGtDLToTZW22 for the opportunity. Participants are asked to bring their Chromebooks.


Thursday, November 15, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m., PLC

Grade 5 ELA Content Meeting

In this professional learning session teachers will discuss Renaissance STAR. Emphasis will be on several STAR reports to gather evidence in order to information instruction based on students results. Encourage teachers to register at https://goo.gl/forms/svwr8OYoSDQdOC7g2 for the opportunity. Participants are asked to bring their Chromebooks.



MIDDLE

Monday, November 26 4:00 p.m., Werz, PLC

Secondary ELA Remediation Meeting

This professional learning sessions will provide support for teachers who incorporate remediation in the secondary ELA classroom. Participants will focus on strategies for increasing students’ comprehension, fluency and participation. Encourage teachers to register at https://goo.gl/forms/lI3xCsxRd6yvpt8I2 Participants are asked to bring a lesson and Chromebook.


Wednesday, November 28, 4:00 p.m., Lee Middle School

Middle Grades ELA Department Meeting

The District and School Connect is a comprehensive educational platform designed to meet instructional and assessment needs of our schools. In this professional learning sessions participants will continue the discussion on the GCA item bank and Assesslet data. Participants are asked to bring a Chromebook and lesson ideas.


HIGH

Monday, November 26 4:00 p.m., Werz, PLC

Secondary ELA Remediation Meeting

This professional learning sessions will provide support for teachers who incorporate remediation in the secondary ELA classroom. Participants will focus on strategies for increasing students’ comprehension, fluency and participation. Encourage teachers to register at https://goo.gl/forms/lI3xCsxRd6yvpt8I2 Participants are asked to bring a lesson and Chromebook.

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October 25, 2018 twenty-one schools in the Coweta County School System celebrated Jumpstart's Read for the Record by reading Maybe Something Beautiful (the 2018 book selection) in classrooms throughout the district.


This year's selection celebrated the magic that happens when a community comes together to create something beautiful and bring about change.

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Thank you for your enthusiasm and participation as we incorporate reading strategies across the content! To date 10 reading strategies have been introduced through the monthly newsletter.


We realize that problems in reading can affect performance across other academic content areas and functional skills used in everyday life. Good readers have a repertoire of comprehension strategies to help them construct meaning from text. Struggling readers know very few strategies. Through this initiative, we will introduce and model research based strategies in order to aid students in building their personal toolbox of strategies to understand text.


For November let's take the time to review the strategies featured in the August - October newsletter. It is imperative to provide opportunities for students to review previously learned strategies. In order for students to be successful using these strategies, it is important to spiral through the reading strategies.

OCTOBER STRATEGIES

Reciprocal Teaching

UR TOPS

The Whole and Teeny Tiny Details


SEPTEMBER STRATEGIES

Add up facts to determine the main idea

Read, Cover, Remember, Tell

V.I.P. Comprehension Strategy

Scan & Plan

Sticky Notes


AUGUST STRATEGIES

Plan & Label Non-fiction Strategy

Questioning

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Contact Dr. Paula Baker, ELA/Literacy Content Specialist with any questions, comments, or concerns.


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

~Nelson Mandela