Links to Literacy

LINKING EDUCATORS TO LITERACY - HSSD 2015-16 - Vol. 9

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Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites

Dr. Marcia L. Tate, author of Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites, identifies 20 instructional strategies to engage the brain. Check out her article which further explains each strategy.


As you move away from worksheets, here are some practical ways to give students voice and responsibility in their learning and ideas to assist you in holding them accountable.



  • Book trailers (i.e., iMovie) to demonstrate understanding of a concept or book - example
  • Graphic organizers for organizing thinking vs. a right/wrong answer on a worksheet
  • Book recommendation system/routine to spread a passion for reading (i.e., written recommendation, five star rating, book trailer)
  • Book Clubs - discussion groups based on a common text (just like we discuss movies/books with our friends)
  • Comprehension Conversations - guided reflections within, about, and beyond the text in small groups
  • Generic activities (i.e., a letter to a character, dramatization, etc.) - fun response activities that apply to any book
  • Questioning stems - open ended questions that may be used with any book

Prompts for Text Dependent Questions (Author's Craft)

Questioning Stems (based on F&P)


***Using the strategies above (instead of worksheets) fosters a love of reading, allows us to grow readers, and addresses the skills of the Common Core State Standards.

Units of Study: FAQ

Where can I access the Units of Study resources?


Writing samples are available on Reading and Writing Project webpage.


In addition, all resources from the grade level discs are available in Schoology and accessible to everyone. The group code is N2BBJ-W5B2K


Can students use their checklist when they are writing the on-demand prompt at the end of the unit?


Yes, students may use the resources/materials that they are accustomed to using in the classroom.


Is there a district expectation to follow the order of the Units of Study?


It is recommended that you follow the units in order since the materials spiral and the lessons refer to skills taught in previous units. However, you may use your professional judgement for making the units meaningful with your curriculum.

If you would like to submit your own questions, use the link below!

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2015-16 Units of Study Expectations

Rubrics: All grade levels will use Lucy Calkins' rubrics to score all areas (e.g., conventions, structure, genre).


Grading: Each unit will be taught and assessed at least one time this year. Use post on-demand assessment data and consider other important aspects of student writing to inform grading decisions (e.g., notebook entries, drafts and publications).


Report Cards: Writing standards can be aligned to follow Units of Study program.


*This is year 1 of a 3 year implementation.

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Upcoming Literacy Events

  • December Professional Learning (K-4): Balanced Literacy... It's Personal!
  • Casual Conversation Topic: What's on your mind?! (Second Unit of Study)

Casual Conversations

We will be hosting monthly informal conversations on various literacy topics. Join us for collaborative conversations about topics relating to best practices in literacy.

Topic: What's on your mind?! (Second Unit of Study)


Forest Glen Room 19: December 14, 3:30

Howard Room 8: December 18 @ 7:45

Suamico TBD

Bay Harbor TBD

Meadowbrook Room 124: Dec. 10 @ 7:45

Lineville Literacy Lounge: Dec. 7 @ 3:15

Feel free to attend any session.

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