Vol. 10

Happy December!

The countdown to Winter Break has commenced! Students are dreaming of snowball fights, no alarm clocks, and Christmas cookies. Teachers are dreaming of no papers to grade, no prep work, and drinking coffee while it's still hot. For some fun holiday ideas to keep your students motivated check out Education.com.

If you are looking for opportunities to give back during this holiday season, ask your school if you can help pay a student's lunch account.

If you are looking for gift ideas for loved ones, Santa thinks books make great gifts!

We hope this winter brings you relaxation and new energy going into the New Year. Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Literacy Framework Phase II

In early 2019, we will invite Hoosier educators to create and develop practical examples for every literacy standard. If you are interested in participating in Phase II work groups, please complete this form. Information to come!

Ideas & Insight

Want a fun, new way to engage students in building their prior knowledge? Check out Article of the Week.

Kelly Gallagher is a high-school educator, author, researcher, and consultant who uses Article of the Week (AOW) and has shared many resources such as this AOW list for each school year. To see his picks for AOW, click here.

ReadWorks.org is driven by cognitive science research and has free content, curriculum, and tools to power teaching and learning from kindergarten to 12th grade. Check out the Article of the Day for a 10 minute daily routine that can dramatically increase your students' background knowledge, vocabulary, and stamina.

Tawnie Martin, 11th and 12th Grade English Teacher at Pioneer Junior-Senior High School, on Article of the Week:

I have used AOW to ignite discussion with even my most reluctant "I'm not doing anything" students. We have learned to silently debate among the class on a collaborative document, as a springboard into the types of annotation my dual credit students will see in college, make connections. and as an opportunity for them to practice writing more in-depth reflective writing. To start out, I modeled the process of a read aloud and how I, as an experienced reader, would interact with the text “in my head” as I read. Along with this, I taught various text annotation strategies and ways to “think through” the text. From there, students have learned how to approach the articles independently each week once given instruction on which type of text interaction is expected that week.

I truly believe that, when implemented correctly, Article of the Week is a solid, researched-based activity that builds lifelong skills for students whether their plans are to move on to college, attend a trade school or go straight into the workforce.

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National Writing Contest for Grades 4-12

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech, and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally.

Important Dates:

  • January 11, 2019 – Deadline to submit entries for the Indiana competition
  • April 13th, 2019 – Ceremony

Indiana's First Place winner receives $100.00!

For more information about the National Writing Contest click here.

Book Recommendations

Community Spotlight

Dawn Alexander

I am a third grade teacher for Avon Community Schools at River Birch Elementary. I get the opportunity to work as a mentor, a digital innovator, a robotics coach, a colleague, and most of all I get to be a teacher to students who will grow up to be scientists, engineers, and cultural wave makers.

I believe when students can connect what they are learning to their family, their community, and to their culture, it opens the door to their own excitement of learning. This has been evident over the past few years with implementing six standards of effective pedagogy into the classroom. This pedagogy develops students to have ownership. They learn that they are capable of teaching others and to have a mindset that they can learn from their peers. Making sure students know that they are valued, is one of the best lessons that teachers can teach.

Last, I look at teaching as a gift. Each family sends to school every day their best gifts. Some gifts have a simple ribbon that can be opened easily. Others have a fancier bow, that takes a little more time getting it unwrapped. Then there are those delicate wrapped gifts that you must take off one piece of ribbon at a time and get all the massive amounts of tape off. The important part of all of this, is that I GET to open all the gifts. I GET to be a part of their educational path. It doesn't matter how long it takes to unwrap the gifts. What matters, is that I get them all unwrapped. Every child deserves an education that will someday become that student's own gift to the world.

We are looking for amazing educators who inspire through their teaching, collaboration, and leadership. Want to nominate an awesome educator at your school? Click here!

Dyslexia Update

A list of approved dyslexia training programs for educators has been published to the IDOE webpage. Successful completion of an IDOE approved training course makes an employee of a school corporation or charter school eligible to serve as “an authorized reading specialist trained in dyslexia” for their school corporation or charter school.

For more information: IDOE Dyslexia webpage found here and approved Dyslexia Training Programs found here.

Literacy & Tech: Thought of the Month!

OverDrive is an app allowing you access to thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, and video from your local library. Use on an iPad, Kindle, or Chromebook.

GoodReads offers personalized book recommendations and access to a vast community of like-minded readers. Students can keep a want-to-read list, read and write book reviews, and share book recommendations with others. We Are Teachers shares ideas on using GoodReads in the classroom here.

Connect on Twitter!

It's been reported that 4.2 million educators use Twitter for professional conversations. As educators, there is so much we can learn from each other. We invite you to connect with us and each other!

1. Tweet about what you are excited for this year using #INspirEDlit

2. Follow the hashtag and connect with other coaches and educators!

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