Links to Literacy

LINKING EDUCATORS TO LITERACY - HSSD 2017-18 Vol. 1

HSSD Literacy Professional Learning 2017-2018

This past fall, the HSSD Literacy Team has shared professional learning on the F&P Continuum, Running Record Inter-Rater Reliability with the Comprehension Conversations K-8, and the Six Levels of Reading Proficiency at the 5-12 level.


In December and January, our professional literacy learning will be via our Links to Literacy online platform. In year three of implementing the Writing Units of Study, we will focus on integrating writing with reading, as well as, personalizing writing instruction.

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Research Shows Writing Workshop Grows Writers

"More and more schools are realizing that the teaching of writing needs to be a priority. What does research say about the conditions that will accelerate students’ growth as writers, and how can school leaders help whole schools provide those conditions to every child?" ~ Lucy Calkins


HSSD has taken great steps toward the development of our writers with the adoption of the Units of Study for Teaching Writing which uses workshop model teaching. The article references John Hattie's work and the importance of effective feedback, in the form of Medals/compliments and Mission/next steps.


The Writing Units of Study allow for personalization. A few examples (but not limited to) are topic choice, goal setting, and conferring for growth. As a district, let's reflect:


Compliments (Medals):

  • Protect Daily Writing Time

  • Choice within topics

  • Responsive feedback

  • Explicit strategy instruction


Next Steps (Mission):

  • Create a shared vision of good writing instruction

    • Look at student writing with shared lenses

      • Within a grade

      • Within a school

      • Within a district

  • Observe teaching together

    • What worked?

    • What could we have done better?


To learn more, read the article, "Growing Extraordinary Writers: Leadership Decisions to Raise the Level of Writing Across a School and District" ~ Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth

Literacy in Every Classroom: Why Argue?

"Language arts, science, social studies, mathematics-the craft of argumentation belongs in every discipline." ~Ehrenworth


Defending your position is an important skill to develop through debate or opinion writing. The article, "Why Argue?", by Mary Ehrenworth, highlights the art of argumentation. To help students become great argumentative writers start with student talk. This can help students develop confidence through academic discourse. Using flash debates, which are quick one-on-one debates that can be on any topic, teachers can lift the level of students' argumentation skills. Repeated debate practice can be used strategically within existing curriculum.


Consider using the argument talk protocol in your class. Read the article to find out more and check out some sample topics. Remember we have a variety of resources to help students. HSSD 7-12 online resources, such as Points of View Reference Bank and Gale Opposing Viewpoints offer quick information on both sides of an issue.


"Argument can foster a learning atmosphere that encourages critique, reflection, and acknowledgment of multiple viewpoints." ~Ehrenworth

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HSSD Expectations for Writing Units of Study

Classrooms will continue to utilize the writer’s workshop structure

  • follow the mini-lesson format
  • mid-workshop teaching point and share

Continue to administer on-demand writing using the prompt provided in resources

  • before and after each unit
  • score using Units of Study rubric as a guideline

Use information to drive instruction and form small groups

Teach each spiral in the units of study at least once

Develop and refine conferring

  • student checklist
  • goal setting

Continue to explore creating your own Conferring Toolkit

Pathway to Access the HSSD WUoS Online Resources:

Schoology pathway is Groups:

  • HSSD Writing Units of Study

  • Resources (Left side menu bar)

  • HSSD Writing UoS Folder

  • Universal and Grade Level Resources

Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) Clarifications

In response to the BAS Running Record system update, all K-8 schools participated in an Inter-Rater Reliability training for the new comprehension rubric and scoring during the November Early Release. Below are points of clarification based on our feedback that day:


Be sure to consult the new Scoring at a Glance and Comprehension Rubric (yellow laminated papers) for updated criteria.


Comprehension Conversation:

  • Use conversational language to facilitate the discussion and give credit for acceptable responses any time during the comprehension conversation.

  • You do not need to ask a question if the student has already provided that information.

  • Use prompts for any information not given. You are able to rephrase prompts one time.


White Folder Expectations:

  • Protocol sheets

    • Only include the current year’s spring protocol sheets for all students. Additional sheets can be shredded.

  • Writing samples

    • Include the 4th UoS post On-Demand.

    • You may include an additional piece.

    • Any writing being removed from the folder should be sent home.

  • PALS (K-2)

    • Include the student summary form for the current year.


F&P Benchmark Assessment System Changes

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5-12 Early Release

Grades 5-12 participated in an online learning experience through Schoology. This early release consisted of looking at district data and the Six Levels of Reading Proficiency from the OECD data. Teachers engaged in a discussion about how these levels are represented in the learning experiences of their students and shared how they could further enhance the learning experience. You can view the full discussion in the HSSD Literacy Professional Learning Schoology Course (9S2M3-GGP2P). Check out a few of the comments from the discussion below:


"Sometimes as teachers, I think we just naturally read for understanding and apply strategies, but if we take the time to think out loud with our students hearing those thoughts it can be so beneficial. Modeling in my math classroom is imperative, because so many students don't know they are using their literacy skills on a daily basis even though it is math."


"Taking the Foundations of Literacy class gave me a lot of ideas on how to use different strategies in my Technology classes. When students are finding information for a project, we talk and discuss reading strategies they can use to find the information they need. I go through each step and model what it looks like."


“I need to continually work on individualizing my instruction so that all students can work on increasing their level of reading proficiency. It is easy to work with and find resources for students at the lowest levels, but I need to also make a conscious effort to challenge those who are at the higher levels.”

Twitter Chats

TCRWP host weekly Twitter Chats on Wednesdays at 6:30 #TCRWP


Upcoming topics:

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2017-2018 HSSD Literacy Team


  • Bay Harbor- Mandy DeQuaine
  • Forest Glen- Mary Huberty
  • Howard Elementary- April Padalino, Julie Ditty, Kathy Pludeman
  • Meadowbrook- Janice Huhtala, Mandy DeQuaine
  • Suamico- Susan Tegen, Kathy Pludeman
  • Lineville Intermediate- Tracy Coopmans, Sherry O’Neil, Katie Williams
  • Bay View Middle School- Danielle Bemmels, Katie Williams
Team Contact information