ELA Weekly:

January 11 - January 15

Curriculum Manager Announcements

Webinars This Wednesday!

ELA Webinars will be on Wednesday, January 13th. Teachers received calendar invites for all webinars throughout Quarters 3 and 4, and we encourage ELA Managers to attend as well. We look forward to the collaboration and professional development opportunities through bi-weekly webinars.

English III EOC Exam Information

All 11th grade students at all IDEA Public Schools College Prep campuses will take the English III End of Course (EOC) exam on May 10th. All students enrolling in a post-secondary Texas institution must pass the TSI exam or be TSI exempt in order to take college-level courses. The English III EOC exam can be used to exempt a student from the reading and/or writing TSI exam, as long as they meet the requirements for exemption. One of the ways a student can be TSI exempt is to earn a minimum score of 2000 on the reading portion of the exam, and/or a minimum score of 2000 for on the writing portion of the exam. Currently, students can also be TSI exempt from their performance on the English II EOC; however, it is the final phase-in standard so it is higher than the current passing standard.

The English III EOC will not count toward district or campus accountability ratings, and there are no implications for teachers’ Teacher Career Pathway placement. The focus for IDEA Public Schools’ 11th grade students is still AP Language and Composition, and all curriculum documents and assessments will reflect that focus.

However, I understand that many campuses will want to provide additional instructional support for students during Saturday School or tutoring to ensure they feel prepared for the English III EOC. In order to provide supplemental resources that teachers may want to use for Saturday School or tutoring, I have uploaded several documents to the Hub: ELAàAP LanguageàEnglish III EOC Exam Resources

  • English III EOC Exam Design Schematic & Blueprint: These documents outline the content of the exam, which includes:

    • 1 Analytical Essay

    • Multiple Choice (Writing): Revising (11 questions) & Editing (11 questions)

    • Multiple Choice (Reading): Analysis Across Genres (6 questions); Literary texts (11 questions); & Informational Texts (11 questions)

    • Short Answer: Single Selection (1 question) & Connecting Selections (1 question)

    • Total Questions: 50 multiple choice, 2 short-answer, 1 composition

  • Assessed Curriculum: Click on the link for this document. It outlines the TEKS that will be assessed on the English III EOC. Note: Readiness Standards are those that are critical for success in the current grade, support college and career readiness, require in-depth instruction, and address important content and concepts. Supporting Standards are those that are introduced in the current grade but emphasized in later grades, reinforced in the current grade but emphasized in a prior grade, prepare students for future grades, or address more narrowly defined content.

  • Rubrics:

    • Analytical Writing Rubric

    • Short-Answer Single Selection Rubric

    • Short-Answer Connecting Selections Rubric

  • Scoring Guides:

    • April 2013 Single Selection Scoring Guide (to use as a guide for what constitutes a 1, 2, or 3 on the short-answer single selection question)

    • April 2013 Connecting Selections Scoring Guide (to use as a guide for what constitutes a 1, 2, or 3 on the short-answer connecting selections question)

  • Released Test Questions: These are sample questions and example texts that will provide you with an idea of the types of question stems and level of texts that students will see on the English III EOC.

I want to reinforce my belief that if you are preparing your students for the AP Language & Comp exam (which all of you are!), then they will have adequate preparation for the English III EOC. For your whole-class instruction, I encourage you to continue with the AP Language curriculum and assessments. A few days prior to the English III EOC, it would be a good idea to discuss the exam content with students and show some of the sample questions. However, you do not need to alter your whole-class instruction to reflect the content of the English III EOC.

Additionally, we are exploring the option of moving the AP Language & Comp exam to later in May (as it currently stands, students will take the AP exam on May 11th). I will communicate with you as soon as I receive information around the administration date change for the AP exam.

Instructional Toolbox Added to the Hub

When you log on to the Curriculum Corner on the Hub, you'll notice a new folder in the ELA folder. We've added an Instructional Toolbox folder, which will house resources and explanations for instructional tools referenced throughout SpringBoard, as well as additional instructional strategies we'd like to incorporate into the ELA curriculum. Each instructional tool will have a "How to Use" explanation, as well as any additional resources associated with that tool (graphic organizers, assessment rubrics, etc.). Be sure to check it out and look for the references to this additional resource in future curriculum documents. As always, we appreciate any feedback and suggestions to improve our work.

Course Specific

6th Grade ELA


Quarter 3 Webinar Topics:


1/13/2016

Holes: Novel Study Expectations, Reading Endurance, & Key Lessons

Teachers will discuss how to introduce Holes to their students through anticipation activities. The Course Leader will share strategies for increasing student reading endurance while reading a longer piece. Key lessons in Unit 3 will be discussed, noting opportunities to embed additional practice opportunities for key standards.


1/27/2016

Expository Text Integration in Quarter 3

Teachers will receive support as they begin to integrate expository texts in the Holes novel unit. Strategies and key opportunities will be discussed, as well as examples of expository texts will be shared with teachers.


2/10/2016

EA 2: Preparing Students for Writing an Analysis Essay

Course Leader will share effective strategies for teaching analysis in preparation for the Embedded Assessment 2 at the end of the Holes novel unit.


2/24/2016

Persuasion Unit: Sharing Texts and Ideas

Teachers will prepare for the upcoming Persuasion mini-unit, sharing teaching strategies and possible texts to use in the classroom.



SpringBoard: Students will continue lessons from the previous week with a focus on point of view and character changes. Students will focus on the effect point of view has on the reader’s understand of a text, and will assume the roles of multiple points of view in order to fully understand how a text changes when the point of view changes. As the week progresses, students’ exploration of point of view becomes more analytical and complex. Students will learn about internal and external reflection as a way to understand and analyze a story. Finally, students will examine how setting influences the mood of a story. Several suggestions for scaffolding this content for students can be found in the Bundle 5 Unit Map, located on the Hub. Students will end the week with a preview of Holes, the novel unit that will begin next week. Teachers should develop a reading plan with students, using the curriculum documents to guide when certain chapters should be read independently prior to class, or during class.

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: The first BWA for Quarter 3 will be on Friday, January 15th. This BWA is a fiction reading passage with multiple choice questions. The scanning deadline for BWA 7 is also January 15th, and campus managers will receive a data analysis for this BWA on Tuesday, January 19th.




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

7th Grade ELA


Quarter 3 Webinar Topics:


1/13/2016

Question Stems Resource

Teachers will explore the Question Stems resource located on the Hub. This resource can be used to develop questions for assessments, additional practice during lessons, and while reading. Teachers will learn how to manipulate the excel document, targeting specific TEKS. They will also learn how to embed questions in lessons to provide additional opportunities for student practice.


1/27/2016

Integrating Expository Texts in Unit 3

Teachers will receive support as they begin to integrate expository texts in the Tangerine novel unit. Strategies and key opportunities will be discussed, as well as examples of expository texts will be shared with teachers.


2/10/2016

Text Structures in Reading and Writing

Teachers will review text structures that were introduced in Quarter 2, and discuss opportunities for review of text structures with students. Teachers will also discuss how to coach students away from formulaic writing and into authentic structured writing.


2/24/2016

Reading Review Strategies for IA 3

Teachers will discuss how to effectively use the Flex Days prior to IA 3 in order to review reading knowledge and skills.



SpringBoard: Students will preview Tangerine, the novel they will study throughout Quarter 3. Students will also focus on point of view, and how point of view impacts a reader’s understanding of a story. The key understanding around point of view: Students should understand WHY authors choose to tell a story in a particular POV; students should understand HOW the particular POV contributes to the readers’ understanding of plot and character. Students will begin to read the novel, analyzing elements of fiction (character, setting, plot, point of view, flashback) as they read. Teachers should have a reading plan developed for students, using the curriculum documents as a guide for which chapters need to be completed independently prior to class and in-class reading. A major plot element of focus throughout the Tangerine unit is setting, and how setting influences the development of the plot. Students will also complete analysis of character actions and the consequences of those actions.

Do-Nows: In Quarter 3, teachers will choose the focus TEKS for the Do-Nows that meet the needs of individual classrooms, based on IA2 data. 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): 7.20A (capitalization); 7.20B (punctuation); 7.19A (verb tenses and subject/verb agreement); 7.14D (homophones, pronoun usage); 7.21A (commonly confused words). During Course Collaboration, teachers created Do-Nows for Quarter 3, and all of them have been uploaded to the Hub. Teachers will need to go to ELAà7th gradeàQuarter 3àDo-Nows to download the power point for the skill they plan to teach, and adjust the Do-Nows (if needed). This sharing opportunity means that we now have a whole Quarter worth of Do-Nows after just a few hours of work from all of the 7th grade teachers! What awesome collaboration!

Assessments: The first BWA will be on January 15th (Revising & Editing). The scanning deadline for BWA 7 is also January 15th, and campus managers will receive a data analysis for this BWA on Tuesday, January 19th.



Archived Webinars:

8th Grade ELA

Bi-Weekly Assessment: BWA7 is a 13 question multiple choice reading passage and is scheduled for Friday, January 15. The scanning deadline for this BWA is Friday, January 15 by 5 pm.

  • Teacher Next Step: This exam has been shared on GradeCam. Please ensure you are able to see the shared exam. If you have any questions or cannot see the exam, please reach out to your Course Leader.


SpringBoard: 1) Unpacking the Assessment and 2) SpringBoard Activity 5.6.

  • Unpacking the Assessment: Effectively Unpacking the Assessment is key to ensuring student investment into the upcoming unit, as well as providing students with an understanding of expectations for each unit.
  • Note: Create a visual that displays the assignment, the knowledge (What students will need to know), and the skills (What students will have to do). This visual will continue to be a key look-out for Quarter 3. All visuals should be posted by Monday, January 11 by 5 pm. #noexcuses
  • SpringBoard Activity 5.6: This activity challenges students to read an excerpt and identify the author's purpose. This skill is key as it a guarantee to appear on the STAAR exam. When preparing for the activity, students should be able to identify the term and analyze textual evidence that supports the author's purpose.
  • Suggestion: Use the Stop and Jot strategy and the STAAR Question Stem Resource to create effective and frequent questioning in class that will challenge students at the rigor needed for AP/IB and STAAR.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on homophones (8.14D). 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 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 is taken each day during insruction.


Webinar: The first webinar of Quarter 3 is scheduled for Wednesday, January 13 from 4 pm to 4:45 pm. This will be a whole-group webinar that will cover updates to the curriculum and important information for Quarter 3.


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

English I Pre-AP

Bi-Weekly Assessment: BWA7 is a 12 question multiple choice reading/writing exam and is scheduled for Friday, January 15. The scanning deadline for this BWA is Friday, January 15 by 5 pm.

  • Teacher Next Step: This exam has been shared on GradeCam. Please ensure you are able to see the shared exam. If you have any questions or cannot see the exam, please reach out to your Course Leader.


SpringBoard: 1) Unpacking the Assessment and 2) SpringBoard Activity 4.4.

  • Unpacking the Assessment: Effectively Unpacking the Assessment is key to ensuring student investment into the upcoming unit, as well as providing students with an understanding of expectations for each unit.
  • Note: Create a visual that displays the assignment, the knowledge (What students will need to know), and the skills (What students will have to do). This visual will continue to be a key look-out for Quarter 3. All visuals should be posted by Monday, January 11 by 5 pm. #noexcuses
  • SpringBoard Activity 4.4: This activity challenges students to examine the Prologue of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Ensure students can identify the basic elements of a Shakespearean Sonnet. Refer to the Additional Instructional Notes located at the end of the Unit Road Map to see the criteria for success and a breakdown of the Prologue.
  • Note: Students were charged to complete a Shakespearean Sonnet as one section from their previous Embedded Assessment (Poetry Anthology). If students did not complete the expectation set in the curriculum, this will cause a greater crunch in the curriculum. Take time to plan this lesson to ensure students can easily identify the criteria for a Shakespearean Sonnet.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on homophones (9.13C). 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 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 is taken each day during insruction.


Webinar: The first webinar of Quarter 3 is scheduled for Wednesday, January 13 from 4 pm to 4:45 pm. This will be a whole-group webinar that will cover updates to the curriculum and important information for Quarter 3.


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

English II Pre-AP

Bi-Weekly Assessment: BWA7 is a 11 question multiple choice reading/writing exam and is scheduled for Friday, January 15. The scanning deadline for this BWA is Friday, January 15 by 5 pm.

  • Teacher Next Step: This exam has been shared on GradeCam. Please ensure you are able to see the shared exam. If you have any questions or cannot see the exam, please reach out to your Course Leader.


SpringBoard: 1) Unpacking the Assessment and 2) SpringBoard Activity

  • Unpacking the Assessment: Effectively Unpacking the Assessment is key to ensuring student investment into the upcoming unit, as well as providing students with an understanding of expectations for each unit.
  • Note: Create a visual that displays the assignment, the knowledge (What students will need to know), and the skills (What students will have to do). This visual will continue to be a key look-out for Quarter 3. All visuals should be posted by Monday, January 11 by 5 pm. #noexcuses
  • SpringBoard Activity 4.2: This activity challenges students to examine an excerpt from The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet and identify universal themes with the support of textual evidence. This practice is key to success on the STAAR and AP/IB exams.
  • Suggestion: Use the Stop and Jot strategy along with the STAAR Question Stem Resource to create multiple "at bats" for students where you can pause and challenge them with a specific section of text. Remember, this takes planning time and preparation for execution. Work to ensure both the Stop and Jot slide and student talk time are planned and ready for the highest delivery level possible.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on homophones (10.13C). 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 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 is taken each day during insruction.


Webinar: The first webinar of Quarter 3 is scheduled for Wednesday, January 13 from 4 pm to 4:45 pm. This will be a whole-group webinar that will cover updates to the curriculum and important information for Quarter 3.


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

AP Language


Quarter 3 Webinar Topics:


1/13/2016

NMSI Lessons: Unpacking the Multiple Choice

Teachers will share strategies for unpacking the multiple choice questions from AP exams. They will also explore several NMSI multiple choice resources to aid in classroom instruction.


1/27/2016

Reviewing for the Mock Exam

Teachers will share strategies for reviewing for the Mock Exam with students. The Course Leader will review curriculum documents that outline a review sequence that is designed to prepare students through a review of all three essays on the AP Language exam.


2/10/2016

Calibrating the Mock Exam Synthesis Essay

After students have completed the AP Language Mock Exam, teachers will calibrate their scoring to ensure accurate score points for the Synthesis essay.


2/24/2016

Follow-Up from the Mock Reading: What Now?

After teachers complete the essay scoring at the Mock Reading, they will develop “Next Steps” for instruction around the three AP Language essays: Synthesis, Argument, & Rhetorical Analysis.



Content: NMSI has provided a series of lessons, Deconstructing the Multiple Choice Questions on the AP Exam, which will be the focus for this week’s instruction. All of the lessons are uploaded on the Hub, within the Quarter 3 folder. As students prepare for the BWA 7 (multiple choice), the AP Language Mock Exam (Feb 8), and the AP Language Exam (tentatively May 11th), they will need to continue to focus on multiple choice questions and strategies to effectively answer these questions. This week’s lessons provide an explicit process that breaks down the questions and the thinking required for the questions. This process can be replicated as many times as teachers deem necessary in preparation for the AP exam.

Assessments The first BWA for Quarter 3 will be on Friday, January 15th, and will be a multiple choice exam. The scanning deadline for this BWA is also Friday, January 15th, and managers will receive a data analysis on Tuesday, January 19th.




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

AP Literature


Quarter 3 Webinar Topics:


1/13/2016

AP Push Plan

Teachers will discuss their plans for AP Push throughout the Spring Semester. The Course Leader will share a strategy to motivate students to attend Saturday School, with a focus on high-achieving students and pushing these students to move into high score points on the AP Exam.


1/27/2016

Key Lessons for Shakespeare Investment

The Course Leader will share key lessons that are designed to build student investment in Shakespearean plays. Teachers will discuss key lessons that should be emphasized during the Othello unit.


2/10/2016

Calibrating the Open-Ended Essay from the Mock Exam

After students have completed the AP Literature Mock Exam, teachers will calibrate their scoring to ensure accurate score points for the Open-Ended essay.


2/24/2016

Follow-Up from the Mock Reading: What Now?

After teachers complete the essay scoring at the Mock Reading, they will develop “Next Steps” for instruction around the three AP Literature essays: Prose analysis, Poetry analysis, & Open-ended.



Content: Students will spend this week focused on the Open-Ended question, with a series of NMSI lessons that are designed guide students as they break down the prompt, construct effective thesis statements, and write strong body paragraphs that will result in a highly-developed essay. All of the NMSI lessons have been uploaded to the Hub, in the Quarter 3 AP Literature folder. The Open-Ended essay will be the focus for the remainder of Quarter 3, so this mini-unit will prepare students to write effective essays for BWA 7, the EA 1 (which is taking the place of BWA 9), and the Mock Exam (Feb 8th).

Assessments: The first BWA for Quarter 3 will be on Friday, January 15th, and will be a multiple choice exam. The scanning deadline for this BWA is also Friday, January 15th, and managers will receive a data analysis on Tuesday, January 19th.




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