Inside the ELA Classroom

September 2018

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Charles F. Kettering, an American inventor, engineer, businessman and holder of 186 patents says, "High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." We as Coweta County School System are committed to providing "high-level, engaging work for all learners."

The district has two SMART goals for this year's academic emphasis, and one of them relates to Enligh Language Arts (ELA)!

SMART Goal: During the 2018-19 school year, increase by 5% (48% to 53%) the percentage of students scoring proficient and distinguished on the ELA Milestones EOG and EOC (grades 3 - 12) assessments.

  • Elementary - 230
  • Middle - 239
  • High - 184
  • Total - approx. 636

Within the framework of high expectations in each classroom, this SMART goal can not only be reached, it can be exceeded. Use the Achievement Level Descriptors related to the standards being taught. Have students (1) examine the differences between levels of performance, self-evaluate where they are on the continuum, (2) set goals for where they want to perform, and then (3) re-assess their level after having an opportunity to learn.

The goal has been set. Let's get on target to reach it. How will your students measure up?


This blog originally appeared on The Reading Teacher's Top Ten Tools blog on February 6, 2018. Click here to access the original post. It was copied for this publication from Achieve the Core on August 22, 2018.


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A Writing Strategy That Works ...

On January 15, 2018, Terry Heick published his pre-writing strategy in Teacher Thought. He states that "In writing, TAPE is simply a way of clarifying what you're doing before you do it - or a way to help writers

In writing, TAPE is simply a way of clarifying what you’re doing before you do it—or a way to help writers." What do you think?

Writing Strategy that pulls in Reading

Give students a passage and have them search for and list the “writing rules” they find in the text. Students can underline, circle, or number the rules as they review the passage. Once located, students can elaborate the rule that is demonstrated.

Remember these sites for FREE nonfiction reading material.


Highlights for Kids

Kids Discover

National Geographic for Kids



Sports Illustrated for Kids





This article by David Liben and David D. Paire was published on 10/28/16 on Achieve the Core. It was copied for this publication on August 22, 2018.


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Learning never stops! Remember to join the Google Classroom designated for your grade band to interact with colleagues throughout the district.


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Research based instructional strategies positively impact student learning. Each month new strategies will be featured. Remember to share the strategies with your colleagues in other content areas. We are all in this together!

When using any strategy, teachers should (1) ensure students understand why the strategy is useful, and (2) describe explicitly how the strategy should be used. Demonstrate, model, and follow-up with independent practice opportunities.

Add Up Facts to Determine the Main Idea

STRATEGY Focus on one section. Read several paragraphs and list the facts that seem to connect. Explain in your own summary what was read. As students continue to read and collect facts - revise the main idea.


What did you learn after reading the paragraphs?

What are three facts that fit together?

How do they fit?

What do the facts have in common?

Go back and reread.

List three facts that fit together.

Put that into your own words.

That's the topic; what is the main idea?

*click on the graphic for video support

Serravallo, J. (2015). Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything guide to developing Skilled Readers . Heinemann.


Read, Cover, Remember, Retell

STRATEGY Read as much as you can cover with one hand (or a sticky note or index card). Cover the text read. Remember what you read. Say what you remember. Repeat.

According to the author, this strategy focus on summarizing/retelling, and monitoring for meaning. It works for students at any level. When researching students copy down information without understanding it. This strategy forces students to put what they read in their own words.


Read. Now Cover.

Share what you read.

Take a peek. What would you change.

Do you need help? Uncover the text and reread.

Think as you read. Make sure you "get" it.

*Click on the graphic for a video support

Serravallo, J. (2015). Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything guide to developing Skilled Readers . Heinemann.


V.I.P. Comprehension Strategy

Students use sticky notes or sticky flags. While reading the text, students mark the most important sections (sentences) on each page.


Scan and Plan


First have students scan the text and see how the information is organized. (Make sure they recognize the text features.) Develop a plan for how they will read the information. Read the information according to the plan.

Nonfiction text can appear busy and may overwhelm students. There are words in several places, surrounded by pictures, diagrams, maps, and timelines. It may help students to take a minute and scan the text and decide the order to attack the material. After students followed the plan they set, have them debrief to determine if the plan was successful to help them comprehend the material.


What is first? Why?

Did you look at all the visuals first? If so, why? If not, why not?

Read the text. Did you plan help?

Will you read other text in the same order?

Serravallo, J. (2015). Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything guide to developing Skilled Readers . Heinemann.
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Plan & Label Non-fiction Strategy



Contact Dr. Paula Baker, ELA/Literacy Content Specialist with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

~Nelson Mandela