ELA Weekly:

February 16 - February 19

Curriculum Manager Announcements

Curriculum Manager Office Hours

If you have questions, feedback, or just want to discuss upcoming units or assessments, please feel free to hop on BlueJeans via the links below. These are come-and-go "Office Hours" with no set agenda. All ELA Managers and Coaches are welcome!


For 6th/7th & AP Language & AP Lit

(Colleen): https://bluejeans.com/2872300923/browser


For 8th/9th/10th

(George): https://bluejeans.com/1026849362/browser

Course Specific

6th Grade ELA

SpringBoard: Students will complete the novel, Holes, this week. This week’s lessons focus on preparing students for the Embedded Assessment 2, which is a literary analysis essay. During last week’s webinar, the Course Leader discussed the importance of incorporating this literary analysis essay, as it requires students to do the kind of thinking that will prepare them for the STAAR, AP, and ultimately, college-level courses. Students will analyze character changes, using textual evidence to support their ideas. SpringBoard activities 3.24 and 3.25 begin the analysis essay writing process once students have completed the novel.


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.


SpringBoard: The BWA administered at the end of the week is comprised of two expository texts. Teachers should continue to embed expository texts into the Tangerine unit in order to review expository reading skills and emphasize text-connections skills that enable students to make text-to-text connections between supplemental articles and the fictional Tangerine. Students will also make connections between a poem and the events and characters in Tangerine, further practicing thinking about text-to-text connections. Students will finish the week by completing the novel study with a written analysis of the main character’s choices.


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 (Reading) is scheduled for Friday, February 19th. The scanning deadline is the same day. This Reading BWA assesses students’ knowledge of expository reading skills, so teachers will need to continue embedding expository texts into this week’s lessons.


Archived Webinars:

8th Grade ELA

Upcoming Assessments: Please note, Bi-Weekly Assessment 8 is scheduled for Friday, February 19, 2016. It is a multiple-choice exam that should be scanned into GradeCam by 5 pm on Friday, February 19.


SpringBoard: 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.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on clarifying meaning (8.14C). 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 Assessments: Please note, Bi-Weekly Assessment 8 is scheduled for Friday, February 19, 2016. It is a multiple-choice exam that should be scanned into GradeCam by 5 pm on Friday, February 19.


SpringBoard: SpringBoard Activity 4.17 is this week's critical lesson.

  • SB Activity 4.17 is broken-up over a two days. Part A is covered on Day One and covers TE Steps 1 to 5 (page 288 and 289). Part B is covered on Day Two. You should start with TE Step 6 (page 290).
  • 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.
  • Day Two challenges students to use the RAFT strategy - R (Role of the Writer), A (Audience), F (Format), and T (Topic). This strategy allows students to think about a topic from a different stand point. Students should be able to shift their perspective and speak from the view point of the author, a reader, and a character. This activity is key to ensuring they can adjust their viewpoint as needed.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on clarifying meaning (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 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 Assessments: Please note, Bi-Weekly Assessment 8 is scheduled for Friday, February 19, 2016. It is a multiple-choice exam that should be scanned into GradeCam by 5 pm on Friday, February 19.


SpringBoard: SpringBoard Activity 4.9 is this week's critical lesson.


  • SB Activity 4.9 is broken up over a two days. Part A is covered on Day One and covers TE Steps 1-5. Part B is covered on Day Two and covers TE Steps 6-8.
  • 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.



Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on clarifying meaning (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 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

Mock Reading: The Mock Reading will be Friday, February 19th at HQ, beginning at 8am. We look forward to a productive day with all of the AP Language teachers! All AP Language teachers should have received a calendar invite for the Mock Reading.


Content: Teachers will deconstruct the synthesis essays that students wrote for the Mock Exam last week, using the NMSI resources on the Hub. Students will deconstruct the prompt and ensure development of a position; revise their opening paragraph and conduct deep analysis of the sources; and revise concessions and rebuttals through guided writing activities. If teachers want to use the Simpsons episode (“YOLO”) that was shown during the NMSI Two-Day training, they will need to search and download or stream directly from a video sharing website because NMSI did not provide that clip in the Two-Day materials.


Assessments: The next BWA will be a Rhetorical Analysis essay on March 4th. 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

Mock Reading: The Mock Reading will be Friday, February 19th at HQ, beginning at 8am. We look forward to a productive day with all of the AP Literature teachers! All AP Literature teachers should have received a calendar invite for the Mock Reading.


Content: Students will continue analyzing a filmed stage production and a film production of Othello, which they began last week. As students apply different critical perspectives to a scene from the play, they should understand that different critical perspectives influence a critic’s critique of a work. Students will also apply the Marxist Critical Perspective to a character analysis of the characters in Othello.


Assessments: The next BWA will be an Open-Ended essay on March 4th.


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