In Touch, In Tune

ELA/Reading Reminders, Opportunities, and Inspiration

Thanks for Tuning In!

May 2015


We’re glad you could join us this month! Sometimes we forget the impact we have as teachers. Schools are busy places, so it’s not surprising that we sometimes forget to pause and reflect upon the influence we have on our students. May 4th - 8th is Teacher Appreciation Week, so please take a minute to celebrate the impact you have made on others and know that, while it isn't stated often enough, you are appreciated!


An oldie, but a goodie… "What Teachers Make" by Taylor Mali

In the Spotlight

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (But Mostly Good!)

Summer Curriculum Writing


Applications Due by May 1


  • ELA Grades 6-11: Revise and Create Formative & Summative Assessments – June 22-25, June 29-30, July 1-2 (8a)


  • ELA Grades 6-11: Infuse ELL Resources into Curriculum Maps – June 22-25, June 29-30, July 1-2 (8b)

  • ELA Grades 6-8: Infuse Collection Series Resources into Curriculum Maps – June 22-25, June 29-30, July 1-2 (8c)

  • HAL/ELA Grades 6-8: Revise/Update/Expand Resources – June 29-30, July 1-2, July 6-9 (15c)

  • ELA Intervention Grades 6-8: Develop Training Modules and Resource Materials for Read 180 Implementation – July 20-23 (17b)

  • ELA Intervention Grades 9-10: Develop Training Modules and Resource Materials for Read 180 Implementation – July 20-23 (17c)

  • STEM Grade 6 ELA & Science: Revise and Finalize 6th Grade ELA/Science PBL Units. Language Arts teachers will work June 24, 25, 29 and 30 (20a)

  • STEM Grade 7 ELA & Science: Develop 7th Grade ELA/Science PBL Units - June 29-30, July 1-2, July 6-7 (20b)

Read 180 News

Upcoming Assessment Window: May 6- May 15

All students enrolled in Read 180 and System 44 must take the SRI. Additionally, students enrolled in System 44 must take the SPI. The Items to Remind Students About Prior to Testing document may be helpful in preparing for the assessments.

Read 180 Tips of the Month: Spotted in FCPS Classrooms

Food for Thought from Kelly Gallagher

Kelly Gallagher is a renowned teacher, author, speaker and coach dedicated to helping students become better readers and writers. He presented two sessions at the 2015 SoMIRAC conference. Some of his noteworthy ideas are below, but you can read even more from his sessions here.


Developing Bi-Literate Readers

Paper or screen? The more we read on screens, the more our brain adapts to "non-linear" reading... Our eyes dart around; we stop halfway through to click a link. When we go back to paper, it can be harder to concentrate. We have to help students develop a bi-literate brain if we want them to switch from the scattered skimming typical of screen reading to the deeper, slow reading that we associate with texts on paper.


Track Thinking Over Time

To get students away from "one-and-done" readings, teach them to track their thinking over time. Students can use this form to track their thinking over the course of a book, or better yet, they can use it to follow a news story as it develops over time. Students can track their thinking about characters, ideas, the author's techniques, or their own confusion. By the end, students should be able to articulate how their thinking changed as they continued to read.


Argument Starts with Data, Not a Claim

Instead of giving students a question to research, let them first gather data and develop an argument of their own. For example, have students first "swim" through texts to learn about a person or topic. Then have students identify an argument that can be made about something they read. Once students choose their own topic to argue, the real research begins. Consider using the these prompts from the NY Times not as the research questions themselves, but as a starting point for the "swim" before a topic is formed.

ELA Assessment Windows

Summative Research Simulation Task

  • Middle School - Window closed on 4/17 (Please enter scores into TAC by 5/1.)

  • High School - Window is open 4/7-5/8 (Please enter scores into TAC by 5/22.)


Summative EBSR

  • Middle & High School - Window is open 4/7-6/18 (There's no need to enter scores into TAC.)


Click here for full ELA Assessment Windows Chart.

Instructional Technology Tips

Leadership and Professional Learning Opportunities

Help Us Help You!

Complete this form to let us know your immediate and long-term ELA and Reading Intervention needs. (The link to this form is also located on the ELA website.)

Don't Be Shy!

Is there something you'd like to share in next month's In Touch, In Tune publication? Email Kristi.Schmidt@fcps.org (English Language Arts) or Susan.Verdi@fcps.org (Reading Intervention) with the details!