ELA Weekly:

December 14 - December 18

Curriculum Manager Announcements

Course Collaboration 3

Please make arrangements to attend Course Collaboration 3 scheduled for Monday, January 4, 2016 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Everyone is expected to be present the full day. Make arrangements to not leave before 4:30 pm. #noexcuses.

Instructional Toolbox Added to the Hub

When you log on to the Curriculum Corner on the Hub, you'll notice a new folder in the ELA folder. We've added an Instructional Toolbox folder, which will house resources and explanations for instructional tools referenced throughout SpringBoard, as well as additional instructional strategies we'd like to incorporate into the ELA curriculum. Each instructional tool will have a "How to Use" explanation, as well as any additional resources associated with that tool (graphic organizers, assessment rubrics, etc.). Be sure to check it out and look for the references to this additional resource in future curriculum documents. As always, we appreciate any feedback and suggestions to improve our work.

Course Specific

6th Grade ELA

Students will take IA 2: Reading multiple choice on Monday, December 14th. The scanning deadline is Tuesday, December 15th. After teachers receive their data from IA 2, a focused data conversation is recommended. Please consider using the questions below to guide the conversation:


Exam Overview:

  • Released 2015 STAAR : 48 multiple choice Reading

Questions to Consider:

  • What trends do you notice across your whole group? Teachers should identify high-scoring TEKS and low-scoring TEKS and discuss why these are common among most students.

  • Who are your high priority students? Teachers should identify students for grouping purposes. This will be a focus at Course Collaboration 3, so if teachers already know which TEKS and which students need additional support with those TEKS, they will be ready to begin planning the instruction that will occur in pull-outs or small groups during Quarters 3 and 4.

  • Which TEKS will you embed or reteach throughout Unit 3 in Quarter 3, which focuses on fiction? How can you embed nonfiction TEKS in this unit? How can you embed additional cross-genre TEKS (vocabulary, making connections within and across texts)? Unit 3 is a novel-based unit that provides many opportunities for reinforcement/reteach of the TEKS from Reporting Category 2 (Literary texts). The more challenging part of this question is around the Reporting Categories 1 (cross-genre TEKS) and 3 (Informational texts). If students are struggling with Reporting Category 3, teachers should plan to incorporate additional informational texts into the classroom. These informational texts can be thematically connected to the novel, Holes, and/or provide background information to students about concepts related to the content of the book. Reporting Category 1 TEKS focus on vocabulary knowledge (utilizing context clues, knowledge of roots, and dictionary skills to decode word meaning). Teachers can incorporate practice with vocabulary skills and text connections within and across texts through the novel. Teachers will receive a Question Stems resource at Course Collaboration 3 that will help them plan appropriate questions for each of the focus TEKS.


Archived Webinars: Please visit the links below to view previous webinars.

7th Grade ELA

Students will take IA 2: Writing: multiple choice and Expository composition on Monday, December 14th. The scanning deadline for all multiple choice questions is Tuesday, December 15th, and the scanning deadline for the composition is Wednesday, January 6th. After teachers receive their data from IA 2, a focused data conversation is recommended. Please consider using the questions below to guide the conversation:


Exam Overview:

  • From the Released 2015 STAAR : 30 multiple choice Revising and Editing, 1 Expository essay

  • Multiple choice is worth 30/46 points; Essay is worth 16/46 points

NOTE: Students should be writing essays with a score point of 3 or 4 to be considered “on track” to pass the STAAR.

Questions to Consider:

  • What trends do you notice across your whole group with the Revising & Editing questions? Teachers should identify high-scoring TEKS and low-scoring TEKS and discuss why these are common among most students. They will also identify which TEKS to focus on during Quarter 3 for the Revising & Editing Do-Nows. During Course Collaboration 3, teachers will have time to plan the Do-Nows and share with other teachers who are reviewing the same skills.

  • What trends did you see when you were reading students’ essays? What skills should you focus on during whole-class instruction? There are three high-impact writing skills teachers need to make sure ALL students are doing well. Moving students from a score of a 2 to a 3 or 4 requires the following:

    • Clear organizational structure:

      • Identifiable structure (problem/solution, cause/effect, compare/contrast)

      • Students should not be writing formulaic essays that all sound the same with the same predictable structure

      • Teachers should not require students to stick to a line-count formula (4 lines for the introduction, 5 lines for paragraph 2, 5 lines for paragraph 3, etc.)

      • The structure should match the task. Students should identify which text structure they will use prior to drafting their essay. They should plan the essay using a graphic organizer appropriate to that organizational structure. Graphic organizers for each organizational structure can be found on the Hub.

    • Clear, specific controlling idea (thesis):

      • The controlling idea should answer the prompt. This is the main idea of the essay and should drive the content of every other sentence in the essay.

    • All supporting details are connected to the controlling idea

      • All supporting ideas, including explanation of ideas, should be connected to the essay’s controlling idea.

      • This is the area that requires the most revision. Students should draft their essays using their planning graphic organizer, then revise to make sure all supporting ideas contribute to the main idea. If ideas are extraneous or off-topic, they should be eliminated.

  • Who are your high priority students? Teachers should identify students for grouping purposes. This will be a focus at Course Collaboration 3, so if teachers already know which TEKS and which students need additional support with those TEKS, they will be ready to begin planning the instruction that will occur in pull-outs or small groups during Quarters 3 and 4.

  • Which students are already writing essays with clear organizational structures, clear controlling ideas, and connected supporting ideas? How will you continue to grow these students’ writing skills? After students have mastered the three high-impact skills, teachers should focus on providing feedback around editing essays (sentence variety, effective transitions, complex punctuation usage).

  • How will you use revision opportunities to improve student writing? Students should revise their written work at every opportunity, even revising short paragraphs they write for an Exit Ticket. Repeated revision gives students an opportunity to practice the skills they learned during the Do-Nows with their own writing in an authentic revision experience. Revision should be focused (“Today we are looking for opportunities to improve sentence variety by combining simple sentences to form compound and complex sentences.”), in order to prevent students from feeling overwhelmed with areas of focus, especially in shorter written pieces. As students master specific skills, teachers can add areas of focus. Remember, the STAAR essays do not have to be grammatically perfect. As long as the student is writing a coherent piece (with minimal mistakes that do not distract the reader), grammar is not going to make or break a student moving into a 3 or 4 score point.


Archived Webinars:

8th Grade ELA

ELA 8-10 Webinar: Please make arrangements to attend the ELA Webinar this Wednesday, December 16 from 4:00 pm to 4:45 pm. George Galindo will be leading the webinar. The logistics for the differentiated Course Collaboration 3 will be covered. If you are not present, you are still expected to view the recording. The BlueJeans link is provided below:


Interim Assessment 2: IA2 will be administered on Monday, December 14 and is 52 question multiple choice reading exam. The scanning deadline for IA2 is Monday, December 14 by 5 pm. After your scantrons have been scanned, please reach out to your manager and prepare for a data conversation.


Data Conversation Focus: Provided below are some questions to help guide the data conversation regarding the multiple choice section of the exam. Often times, we look at each question and over-align to the specific wording of the question instead of looking at the skill and moving forward.

  • Question 1: What question(s) did students struggle with the most on the exam? At this point, you look at the data by question and identify trends.
  • Question 2: What did the question look and sound like? You cannot just assume you know the error. Take time to look at the question and see what truly caused students to miss the question. Maybe students understand theme; however, did not understand the specific words used to describe theme. At first, it may look like theme was the issue, but upon further analysis, vocabulary and dictionary skills proved to be the root cause of the problem.
  • Question 3: What was the skill that the question was assessing? Identifying the skill will help ensure next steps are taken that help the student with the root cause of the problem and not just a symptom. For example, if a student misses a theme question, simply giving them multiple theme questions for practice is not going to solve the issue. The skill the student may be struggling with is understanding what theme actually means and how to read a text and identify specific evidence that helps him/her understand the theme of the selection.
  • Question 4: What are my specific next steps to address the skill of the question? The next steps should be grounded in the skill that students were lacking! For example, simply saying you will reteach theme does not solve the problem at hand. In order to truly solve the issue, you will have to look at read level, the skill of annotating the text for understanding, and covering the concept of theme (not just in isolation).
  • Note: Simply providing students with additional STAAR passages is not going to solve the issue and/or significantly increase your data. Identify the gap, narrowing in on the skill(s) needed to successfully answer the question, then building a plan around the skill(s) will help narrow in the focus and provide you with clear next steps moving into Quarter 3.


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

English I Pre-AP

ELA 8-10 Webinar: Please make arrangements to attend the ELA Webinar this Wednesday, December 16 from 4:00 pm to 4:45 pm. George Galindo will be leading the webinar. The logistics for the differentiated Course Collaboration 3 will be covered. If you are not present, you are still expected to view the recording. The BlueJeans link is provided below:


Interim Assessment 2: IA2 will be administered on Monday, December 14 and contains all of the components of the STAAR English I EOC. (28 Reading MC, 22 Writing MC, 2 OERs, and 1 Expository Essay). The MC scanning deadline for IA2 is Monday, December 14 by 5 pm and the OER/Essay scanning deadline is Tuesday, January 6 by 5 pm. After your scantrons have been scanned, please reach out to your manager and prepare for a data conversation. The conversation regarding students OER/Essay performance will not take place until after January 6.

  • Note: 2 scantrons will be provided (1 for the MC and 1 for the OER/Essay).


Data Conversation Focus: Provided below are some questions to help guide the data conversation regarding the multiple choice section of the exam. Often times, we look at each question and over-align to the specific wording of the question instead of looking at the skill and moving forward.

  • Question 1: What question(s) did students struggle with the most on the exam? At this point, you look at the data by question and identify trends.
  • Question 2: What did the question look and sound like? You cannot just assume you know the error. Take time to look at the question and see what truly caused students to miss the question. Maybe students understand theme; however, did not understand the specific words used to describe theme. At first, it may look like theme was the issue, but upon further analysis, vocabulary and dictionary skills proved to be the root cause of the problem.
  • Question 3: What was the skill that the question was assessing? Identifying the skill will help ensure next steps are taken that help the student with the root cause of the problem and not just a symptom. For example, if a student misses a theme question, simply giving them multiple theme questions for practice is not going to solve the issue. The skill the student may be struggling with is understanding what theme actually means and how to read a text and identify specific evidence that helps him/her understand the theme of the selection.
  • Question 4: What are my specific next steps to address the skill of the question? The next steps should be grounded in the skill that students were lacking! For example, simply saying you will reteach theme does not solve the problem at hand. In order to truly solve the issue, you will have to look at read level, the skill of annotating the text for understanding, and covering the concept of theme (not just in isolation).
  • Note: Simply providing students with additional STAAR passages is not going to solve the issue and/or significantly increase your data. Identify the gap, narrowing in on the skill(s) needed to successfully answer the question, then building a plan around the skill(s) will help narrow in the focus and provide you with clear next steps moving into Quarter 3.


Archived Webinars: Please visit the links below to view previous webinars.

English II Pre-AP

ELA 8-10 Webinar: Please make arrangements to attend the ELA Webinar this Wednesday, December 16 from 4:00 pm to 4:45 pm. George Galindo will be leading the webinar. The logistics for the differentiated Course Collaboration 3 will be covered. If you are not present, you are still expected to view the recording. The BlueJeans link is provided below:


Interim Assessment 2: IA2 will be administered on Monday, December 14 and contains all of the components of the STAAR English I EOC. (28 Reading MC, 22 Writing MC, 2 OERs, and 1 Persuasive Essay). The MC scanning deadline for IA2 is Monday, December 14 by 5 pm and the OER/Essay scanning deadline is Tuesday, January 6 by 5 pm. After your scantrons have been scanned, please reach out to your manager and prepare for a data conversation. The conversation regarding students OER/Essay performance will not take place until after January 6.

  • Note: 2 scantrons will be provided (1 for the MC and 1 for the OER/Essay).


Data Conversation Focus: Provided below are some questions to help guide the data conversation regarding the multiple choice section of the exam. Often times, we look at each question and over-align to the specific wording of the question instead of looking at the skill and moving forward.

  • Question 1: What question(s) did students struggle with the most on the exam? At this point, you look at the data by question and identify trends.
  • Question 2: What did the question look and sound like? You cannot just assume you know the error. Take time to look at the question and see what truly caused students to miss the question. Maybe students understand theme; however, did not understand the specific words used to describe theme. At first, it may look like theme was the issue, but upon further analysis, vocabulary and dictionary skills proved to be the root cause of the problem.
  • Question 3: What was the skill that the question was assessing? Identifying the skill will help ensure next steps are taken that help the student with the root cause of the problem and not just a symptom. For example, if a student misses a theme question, simply giving them multiple theme questions for practice is not going to solve the issue. The skill the student may be struggling with is understanding what theme actually means and how to read a text and identify specific evidence that helps him/her understand the theme of the selection.
  • Question 4: What are my specific next steps to address the skill of the question? The next steps should be grounded in the skill that students were lacking! For example, simply saying you will reteach theme does not solve the problem at hand. In order to truly solve the issue, you will have to look at read level, the skill of annotating the text for understanding, and covering the concept of theme (not just in isolation).
  • Note: Simply providing students with additional STAAR passages is not going to solve the issue and/or significantly increase your data. Identify the gap, narrowing in on the skill(s) needed to successfully answer the question, then building a plan around the skill(s) will help narrow in the focus and provide you with clear next steps moving into Quarter 3.


Archived Webinars: Please visit the links below to view previous webinars.

AP Language

Students will take IA 2 (Day 2): multiple choice and Synthesis FRQ on Monday, December 14th. Students took Day 1 (the Argument FRQ) last week. The scanning deadline for all multiple choice questions is Tuesday, December 15th, and the scanning deadline for both essays is Wednesday, January 6th. After teachers receive their data from IA 2, a focused data conversation is recommended. Please consider using the questions below to guide the conversation:


Exam Overview:

  • AP Language: 23 multiple choice, 1 Synthesis essay, 1 Argument essay


Questions to Consider:

  • How many students are on track to meet your goal?

  • What do you need to do to prepare students between now and the mock exam (February 8)?

  • What trends do you notice across the whole group, both with the multiple choice and writing skills? Teachers should identify where they can embed these skills in whole-class instruction throughout January. Since the essay focus for January is either Rhetorical Analysis (Language) or Open-Ended (Literature), teachers should look at specific writing skills they can reteach that will impact all essays.

  • Who are your high priority students? Teachers should identify students for grouping purposes. This will be a focus at Course Collaboration 3, so if teachers already know which skills and which students need additional support with those skills, they will be ready to begin planning the instruction that will occur in pull-outs or small groups during Quarters 3 and 4.

  • Identify students who are making scores “equivalent” to a 2. What do you need to focus on to move those students to a 3? Teachers should first identify which portion of the exam these students are struggling with (multiple choice, synthesis (poetry analysis) essay, or argument (prose analysis) essay—or any combination of these). They should then look at specific writing skills for each essay that will move students into writing “upper half” essays. Teachers should use NMSI lessons that are targeted for the specific essays to build students’ skills.


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

AP Literature

Students will take IA 2 (Day 2): multiple choice and Synthesis FRQ on Monday, December 14th. Students took Day 1 (the Argument FRQ) last week. The scanning deadline for all multiple choice questions is Tuesday, December 15th, and the scanning deadline for both essays is Wednesday, January 6th. After teachers receive their data from IA 2, a focused data conversation is recommended. Please consider using the questions below to guide the conversation:


Exam Overview:

AP Literature: 28 multiple choice, 1 Poetry Analysis essay, 1 Prose Analysis essay


Questions to Consider:

  • How many students are on track to meet your goal?

  • What do you need to do to prepare students between now and the mock exam (February 8)?

  • What trends do you notice across the whole group, both with the multiple choice and writing skills? Teachers should identify where they can embed these skills in whole-class instruction throughout January. Since the essay focus for January is either Rhetorical Analysis (Language) or Open-Ended (Literature), teachers should look at specific writing skills they can reteach that will impact all essays.

  • Who are your high priority students? Teachers should identify students for grouping purposes. This will be a focus at Course Collaboration 3, so if teachers already know which skills and which students need additional support with those skills, they will be ready to begin planning the instruction that will occur in pull-outs or small groups during Quarters 3 and 4.

  • Identify students who are making scores “equivalent” to a 2. What do you need to focus on to move those students to a 3? Teachers should first identify which portion of the exam these students are struggling with (multiple choice, synthesis (poetry analysis) essay, or argument (prose analysis) essay—or any combination of these). They should then look at specific writing skills for each essay that will move students into writing “upper half” essays. Teachers should use NMSI lessons that are targeted for the specific essays to build students’ skills.


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