ELA Weekly:

February 22 - February 26

Curriculum Manager Announcements

ELA Webinars this Week!

Please note, there will be ELA Webinars for all grade levels on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 from 4 pm to 4:45 pm. If you have any specific questions regarding the webinar, please reach out to your designated Course Leader as soon as possible.

Writing, Photography & Poster Contest Opportunity!

Area students are invited to participate in the Hidalgo County Bar Foundation Law Day Contests and statewide Law Day Contest. Entries are being accepted for the Editorial Contest, Photography Contest and Poster Contest. All entries must reflect the student's interpretation of the 2016 Law Day theme, “Why should all people be treated fairly even if they are suspected of wrong doing?" The deadline to submit entries is Tuesday, March 22nd. The winners of the HCBF contest will be submitted to the statewide contest. The criteria and prizes are detailed below:

Editorial Contest (Local Prize: $250; Statewide Prize: 1st Place - $1,000; 2nd Place - $500; 3rd Place - $250)

Original editorial must be no longer than 500 words and must be typewritten and double-spaced. It must show critical analysis and historical evidence. Please title the editorial and include an electronic version of the entry.

Photography Contest 6th - 12th Grade Students (Local Prize: $150; Statewide Prize: 1st Place - $400; 2nd Place - $200; 3rd Place - $100)

The color or black and white photograph must be the student's original unpublished work and should have been taken after June 1, 2015. Photographs must not be larger than 8 x 10 with two duplicates.

Poster Contest K - 12th Grade Students (Local Prize: $100; Statewide Prize: 1st Place - $150; 2nd Place - $75; 3rd Place - $50 and a $10 gift certificate)

The poster must be a two-dimensional drawing, painting or collage. No computer-generate work will be eligible and must not be larger than 25 x 32 inches.

Click this link for the 2016 Law Day Awards Entry and Release Form

Course Specific

6th Grade ELA

Webinar: This week’s webinar will focus on resources for the persuasive mini-unit that will finish out Quarter 3. Teachers will look at the persuasive text on IA3, share ideas for resources for persuasive media, and discuss key skills that should be addressed through a close analysis of persuasive media.


Content: Students will complete SpringBoard Unit 3 this week with a character analysis essay, exploring character change in the novel, Holes. The webinar on February 10th focused on the importance of the character analysis essay and how it is specifically tied to the reading skills on the STAAR, and ultimately, AP-level courses and college-readiness. If students are effectively writing a character analysis essay, they are exploring character and plot thoroughly and deeply. The analysis essay will require specific guidance, as outlined in the TE, because students have not written this type of essay before. However, the sequence of activities throughout Unit 3 have prepared students to analyze a character, and students should use the various graphic organizers and reflections/letters as resources for this essay.


Do-Nows: In Quarter 3, teachers will choose the focus TEKS for the Do-Nows that meet the needs of individual classrooms. Teachers should continue to use the template for the Do-Nows, located on the Hub in the Quarter 3 folder. The curriculum Unit Map outlines which TEKS teachers should focus on each week, and teachers should use this list to choose from as they decide which skills to reteach during the Do-Nows. This week’s focus should include one of the following TEKS: (EDITING): 6.20A (capitalization); 6.20B (punctuation); 6.19A (verb tenses and subject/verb agreement); 6.14D (homophones, pronoun usage); 6.21A (commonly confused words)


Assessments: There are no more BWAs this quarter. Students will take IA3 on March 8th.


Archived Webinars: Please visit the links below to view previous webinars.

7th Grade ELA

Teachers received the STAAR Success Guide at Course Collaboration 4A, and it is also posted on the Hub. This guide provides key information about the Writing STAAR, including a frequency distribution chart for all SEs that have been assessed since 2012, guidelines for skills that should be the focus of expository essay instruction, as well as key revising & editing skills and suggestions to address student skill gaps. The guide is located within the 7th grade ELA folder on the Hub.

  • Expository Essay:

    • Teachers identified skill gaps from a district-wide assessment administered on February 5th and graded on February 12th.

    • Teachers collaborated around ideas for instruction to address skill gaps on February 12th at CC4A.

    • Teachers plan to use a chunk of time each day to address writing gaps, utilizing the lessons gathered from peers at CC4.A.

    • Teachers use the expository prompts that are tied to the Tangerine novel unit they are teaching in class. Teachers spend a lot of time on all of the components of the essay, with more time dedicated to students’ weakest writing skills (identified at CC4.A), through a Writing Workshop model of instruction. The message here is “quality over quantity.” Between now and the Writing STAAR, I suggest that students write no more than two full essays, from start to finish. Instead, teachers should give students lots of opportunities to revise the same essay, focusing on one or two skills at a time. The majority of the writing experience should be spent on generating strong supporting ideas, and revising to make sure ideas are tight, controlled, and organized. Once students have mastered the 3 big skills (controlling idea, supporting ideas, and a clearly organized structure), teachers should focus their coaching on the higher-level skills of precise word choice and sentence variety.

  • Revising & Editing:

    • Teachers identified skill gaps from a district-wide essay and BWAs.

    • Teachers continue to use the Do-Nows on the Hub, which address the skills on the Writing STAAR, focusing on the skills that students are still most struggling to master

    • Teachers focus revision practice on the skills students are still most struggling to master, as they spend time writing and revising during class (using the prompts discussed above) in authentic writing and revising exercises.

Webinar: This week’s webinar will focus on resources for the drama mini-unit that will finish out Quarter 3. Teachers will look at the drama text on IA3, share ideas for resources for drama texts, and discuss key skills that should be addressed through a close analysis of drama. Teachers will also share ideas for their review units for the STAAR Success weeks leading up to the Writing STAAR on March 29th. Teachers should use the STAAR Success Guide as a reference for priority TEKS and focus skills for the expository essay.


Content: The three expository prompts that are connected to big ideas discussed in the study of Tangerine have been emailed to all teachers and posted on the Hub. Teachers can use these prompts to focus essay writing instruction while continuing to study the big ideas presented in the novel. This week begins the drama mini-unit, which is the students’ first exposure to explicit study of the genre. Students should understand how character is conveyed through dialogue, and how stage directions contribute to meaning and plot. Teachers should follow the sequence of skills presented on the Drama Lesson Plans that are posted on the Hub, first reading a short play with students in a guided reading format. Students should then read plays in small groups, analyzing dialogue and stage directions for meaning. Teachers can embed STAAR-formatted questions into the guided reading and small-group reading of plays, by chunking the text and asking questions that analyze the playwright’s use of dialogue and stage directions. Teachers can also create reading guides for students to complete as they read, if students are reading independently or in a group. Students will also need to understand the meaning of key vocabulary: playwright, stage directions, and dialogue.


Do-Nows: In Quarter 3, teachers will choose the focus TEKS for the Do-Nows that meet the needs of individual classrooms. Teachers should continue to use the template for the Do-Nows, located on the Hub in the Quarter 3 folder. The curriculum Unit Map outlines which TEKS teachers should focus on each week, and teachers should use this list to choose from as they decide which skills to reteach during the Do-Nows. This week’s focus should include one of the following TEKS: (REVISING): 7.14C (transitions/precise word choice/supporting details/coherence/combining sentences); 7.17A (sentence structure/transitions).


Assessments: The next BWA (Revising & Editing) is scheduled for Friday, February 26th. The scanning deadline is the same day.


Archived Webinars:

8th Grade ELA

Upcoming Webinar: There will be an ELA 8 Webinar on Wednesday, February 24 from 4 pm to 4:45 pm. Please make arrangements to attend.

  • If you have any specific questions regarding dates and/or login information, please refer to the ELA Webinar Schedule tab on The Hub to download BlueJeans information and dates.


SpringBoard: Completing the Embedded Assessment is this week's critical activity.

  • The Unit Road Map provides specific instructions on TE Steps and what should be covered on each given day. Please refer to this resource on The Hub.
  • Monday, February 22 should cover EA Steps 6-10. Do not hesitate to use Tuesday's Embedded Assessment Flex Day to work with students and/or create stations to ensure a strong and polished final product.


Teacher Flex Days (STAAR Prep): Wednesday, February 24 marks the beginning of STAAR ELA 8 Teacher Flex Days. You should use the plan created at Course Collaboration 4A as well as the resources provided on the The Hub and your colleagues.

  • Note: Refer to the six step process for creating effective reviews. Coverage of the content and skill is critical to ensuring student success.
  • Remember, passages and questions, along with whole group instruction, is not going to provide drastic changes in student performance. Look and reflect on your individual data, make meaningful lessons that connect the content and skill to meaningful texts, and challenges students in the same manner they are going to be challenged on the STAAR assessment.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on sentence revision/addition. (8.17A). When preparing for the GF/DN, think of this process as an entire lesson cycle.

  • Note: The GF/DN should take no more than 10 minutes.
  • 2 minute: Assign Yourself/Take-Out Materials/Attendance
  • 2 minute: Teacher direct teach
  • 2 minute: Teacher model
  • 2 minute: Student practice (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)
  • 2 minute: Student create/explain (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)


Additional STAAR Guidance: Conducting a whole class review of each question on the IA or BWA is not going to increase student understanding or their performance. Think about the following process when planning to spiral in purposeful-skill-specific review of material.

  1. What is the question did students struggle with on the exam?
  2. What was the skill being assessed in this question?
  3. What did the question sound like? What was the question stem used?
  4. What are your upcoming lessons?
  5. Where can you spiral in the question stem into your instruction to allow students a purposeful "at bat" with the skill.
  6. How will students demonstrate their new understanding based off of your purposeful review of the skill?


Follow this process when planning and stronger, skill specific lessons that are beneficial for students and their instruction will be the result.


Archived Webinars: Please visit the links below to view previous webinars:

English I Pre-AP

Upcoming Webinar: There will be an ELA 9 Webinar on Wednesday, February 24 from 4 pm to 4:45 pm. Please make arrangements to attend.

  • If you have any specific questions regarding dates and/or login information, please refer to the ELA Webinar Schedule tab on The Hub to download BlueJeans information and dates.


SpringBoard: SB Activity 4.22 and the EA Overview are this week's critical lesson.

  • SB Activity 4.22 is a strong opportunity to reinforce analysis of a character's voice as well as allow students time to develop and plan their performance.
  • A clear EA Overview is critical to ensure student success on the EA. As the teacher, you can decide whether you want to use part of your Teacher Flex Days to view student performances or challenges students to use a media outlet to create and score their performance. This is a teacher decision. Consult your Campus Manager to decide which avenue would be best for your specific campus.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on sentence revision/addition (9.15A). When preparing for the GF/DN, think of this process as an entire lesson cycle.

  • Note: The GF/DN should take no more than 10 minutes.
  • 2 minute: Assign Yourself/Take-Out Materials/Attendance
  • 2 minute: Teacher direct teach
  • 2 minute: Teacher model
  • 2 minute: Student practice (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)
  • 2 minute: Student create/explain (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)


Additional STAAR Guidance: Conducting a whole class review of each question on the IA or BWA is not going to increase student understanding or their performance. Think about the following process when planning to spiral in purposeful-skill-specific review of material.

  1. What is the question did students struggle with on the exam?
  2. What was the skill being assessed in this question?
  3. What did the question sound like? What was the question stem used?
  4. What are your upcoming lessons?
  5. Where can you spiral in the question stem into your instruction to allow students a purposeful "at bat" with the skill.
  6. How will students demonstrate their new understanding based off of your purposeful review of the skill?


Follow this process when planning and stronger, skill specific lessons that are beneficial for students and their instruction will be the result.


Additional STAAR Resources: Two additional resources have been provided to ensure success on IA3 and STAAR. They include the following: 1) STAAR Question Stem Resource and 2) IA2 Data Reflection. Both of these documents provide information to help with planning and execution. Refer to these documents frequently to ensure effective action


Archived Webinars: Please visit the links below to view previous webinars.

English II Pre-AP

Upcoming Webinar: There will be an ELA 10 Webinar on Wednesday, February 24 from 4 pm to 4:45 pm. Please make arrangements to attend.

  • If you have any specific questions regarding dates and/or login information, please refer to the ELA Webinar Schedule tab on The Hub to download BlueJeans information and dates.


SpringBoard: SB Activty 4.11 and the Embedded Assessment are this week's critical lesson.

  • SB Activity 4.11 is broken up over a two days. Part A is covered on Day One and covers TE Steps 1-10. Part B is covered on Day Two and covers TE Steps 11-13.
  • The OPTIC strategy is used during Part A. A breakdown of the strategy is provided below: O (Overview), P (Parts), T (Title), I (Interrelationships), and C (Conclusion).
  • Note: This lesson allows for multiple opportunities for student "at bats." Think about incorporating multiple Think-Ink, Pair, Shares/Stop and Jots/IOP Prep to ensure student understanding.
  • The Embedded Assessment begins this Friday, February 26 with students walking away with their completed outline. Reinforce the importance of creating an outline for any piece of writing as it serves as the road map for the entire paper.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on sentence revision/addition (10.15A). When preparing for the GF/DN, think of this process as an entire lesson cycle.

  • Note: The GF/DN should take no more than 10 minutes.
  • 2 minute: Assign Yourself/Take-Out Materials/Attendance
  • 2 minute: Teacher direct teach
  • 2 minute: Teacher model
  • 2 minute: Student practice (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)
  • 2 minute: Student create/explain (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)


Additional STAAR Guidance: Conducting a whole class review of each question on the IA or BWA is not going to increase student understanding or their performance. Think about the following process when planning to spiral in purposeful-skill-specific review of material.

  1. What is the question did students struggle with on the exam?
  2. What was the skill being assessed in this question?
  3. What did the question sound like? What was the question stem used?
  4. What are your upcoming lessons?
  5. Where can you spiral in the question stem into your instruction to allow students a purposeful "at bat" with the skill.
  6. How will students demonstrate their new understanding based off of your purposeful review of the skill?


Follow this process when planning and stronger, skill specific lessons that are beneficial for students and their instruction will be the result.


Additional STAAR Resources: Two additional resources have been provided to ensure success on IA3 and STAAR. They include the following: 1) STAAR Question Stem Resource and 2) IA2 Data Reflection. Both of these documents provide information to help with planning and execution. Refer to these documents frequently to ensure effective action


Archived Webinars: Please visit the links below to view previous webinars.

AP Language

Content: Teachers will begin review of the multiple choice and the rhetorical analysis and argument essays from the Mock Exam over the next few weeks. Teachers will review the multiple choice using NMSI-provide materials. They will then deconstruct the prompts and go through the writing task with students for each of the essays. All resources for these lessons are located on the Hub, within the Quarter 3 documents.


Mock Exam: The NMSI spreadsheet, located on the Hub, provides an overall score for each student, based on all components of the Mock Exam. This spreadsheet should serve as the talking point for the data meetings around the Mock Exam. Teachers will also need to scan in their essay scores (scale of 1-9) or manually enter them in SchoolNet by close of business on Wednesday, February 24th.


Assessments: The next BWA will be a Rhetorical Analysis essay on March 4th. The scanning deadline is the following Friday, March 11th at close of business. NOTE: There is not an IA3 for this course. The Mock Exam took the place of the IA3.


Archived Webinars: Please use the links below to view previous webinars:

AP Literature

Content: Teachers will begin review of the multiple choice and the prose analysis and poetry analysis essays from the Mock Exam this week. Teachers will review the multiple choice using NMSI-provide materials. They will then deconstruct the prompts and go through the writing task with students for each of the essays.


Mock Exam: The NMSI spreadsheet, located on the Hub, provides an overall score for each student, based on all components of the Mock Exam. This spreadsheet should serve as the talking point for the data meetings around the Mock Exam. Teachers will also need to scan in their essay scores (scale of 1-9) or manually enter them in SchoolNet by close of business on Wednesday, February 24th.


Assessments: The next BWA will be an Open-Ended essay on March 4th. The scanning deadline is the following Friday, March 11th at close of business.


Archived Webinars: Please use the links below to view previous webinars: