The Curriculum Chronicle

December 2018

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Winter MAP Testing (Middle Schools)

Reminder that the winter MAP window is 12/3-1/11. This second glance at our student growth should be seen as an opportunity to reflect on the last 3 months of instruction. I urge you to discuss with your students the purpose of this test, why we give it, and what it can tell them about their own progress. Students will rise to the challenge if they understand why they are engaging in the work.

As a PLC, have you considered the following?

  • Why do we give MAP?
  • What do we do with the data MAP provides us?
  • How can MAP data impact our instructional decisions and curriculum design?

If you have concerns over any testing conditions or technology, please speak with your building test coordinator now to ensure everything is ready when the test window opens.

Long-term Sub needs (immediate need)

We have more need for suggestions for great long-term subs. If you have had a student teacher or know of a great ELA certified sub, please send me their name ASAP. We have multiple needs opening that we want filled with high-quality subs.

Curriculum Revision & Program Taskforces

English III

English III is looking to split the current curriculum to create two separate semester classes: Rhetoric & Argumentation and American Literature. To ensure that we have strong alignment with best practice, any English III or AP Lang teacher who is interested in participating in the the conversation about the design of these new(ish) courses is encouraged to attend.

Lit & Comp

In an effort to ensure that electives that confer English credit hold the same level of rigor and analysis as their English IV counterpart, I believe some attention needs to be paid to the Lit. and Comp. series of the course catalog. How can we maintain creativity and freedom these courses currently offer while holding students accountable for grammar, vocabulary, and upper-level analysis? Any English IV or Lit. & Comp teacher is encouraged to attend.

Sign up here: Curriculum Revision Taskforce.docx

Vocabulary Scales (middle and high school)

Multiple questions have arisen around our current vocabulary scales. As those who have implemented the work with students, I ask for your input on how to clarify, refine, and better articulate our expectations in this area. This would include a discussion of the Study of Word Families materials that are currently available to all grades.

Sign up here: Vocab (1) (1).docx Assistant

I know many teachers have used the free version of for grammar practice and instruction. A few schools are piloting the pro account with building funds and seeing some great success. We have all had access to Revision Assistant, also with varying levels of use and success. I would like to gather a group of middle and high school teachers to discuss our on-going needs for programs that serve both grammar and writing instruction/practice and our vision moving forward.

Sign up here: Noredink RA taskforce.docx

You will be paid for your off-contract time. We will arrange times to meet with those interested early second semester. & Revision Assistant Task Force

Haven't used noredink before? Give the free version a try! I'd love to know your thoughts on how this can support our comprehensive grammar instruction throughout the district.

District PD

The next District PLC will be held January 23 from 2:45-3:45 @ Lincoln Main.

2600 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315

DMPS & Drake M.S.E. in Culturally Responsive Leadership and Instruction

See the attached PDF for information on the next cohort of the DMPS/Drake Masters partnership!

State and Local Outreach Opportunities:

Inaugural DSM Book Festival

In an effort to constantly engage ourselves as well as our students in the culture of reading and the reading of culture, I wanted to share an upcoming opportunity to engage with local, regional, and best-selling authors. There sounds like a wealth of opportunities for our students to participate and may be a way to capture the attention of some reluctant readers.

Sounds like a real-world way to engage students in online book clubs (or mirror this in your classroom), contests, poetry slams and more!

I encourage you to check out the article and link below for more information! I'll be following this for updates as well!

Iowa Reading Association Creative Writing Contest

The Iowa Reading Association is sponsoring our annual Young Authors Short Story & Poetry Contest for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade during the 2018-19 school year. Entries must be submitted by February 14, 2019. Please see the attached link and PDF for more information and how to engage your students in this great opportunity.