ACE Literacy Newsletter

Middle School Literacy | OCT 2017 YEAR 3: VOL. 2

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In this Edition:

Balanced Literacy Focus: Guided reading

Writing: Using mentor sentences

Instructional Resources: 3rd Six Weeks Instructional Calendars

Upcoming PD: ACE Writing Academy

Celebrations: Classroom contest winner & Independent Reading Launch

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This month’s instructional focus in balanced literacy is guided reading. Click the link above for tips towards guided reading success:)


As we accelerate student learning, we know that we must address grade level student expectations while also targeting students' individual reading needs to close gaps. Guided reading is the best practice tool in the ACE 2x4 to address specific reading needs based on data and raise reading levels at an accelerated pace.

Listed below are our 3 goals for Guided Reading, let's spend the next few weeks perfecting this time in our block.

Step 1- Management

Teachers thoughtfully consider the systems and roll out for successful transitions and independent work so that the teacher can focus on the students at the table.


Independent Work Task Idea: Language to Literacy Charts!


One idea for independent work tasks are to have students complete language to literacy charts on grade level or "right fit" texts on their own!

Step 2 - Data

Using isip data, teachers group students with other like-readers to address skills at their level. The teacher maintains an updated list of student data and may move students in and out of groups occasionally depending on their reading progress.
Helpful tools:


isip correlation chart

Step 3- Planning for Success

Use the prompting guides (narrative or informational) to select a skill for students at that particular level. Select a leveled text from your campus leveled library that will allow students to practiced the identified skill at their instructional level. Plan for unfamiliar words and select the prompts you will use from the prompting guide.
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Step 4- The Lesson

Pre- Reading- provide a quick word study drill for key vocabulary, word endings, etc.(as needed) using flash cards. Use concise language to set the reading focus and how to apply it (from the prompting guide topic you selected in your planning).


During reading- Students read the text softly or silently on their own. This does not have to be in unison. Avoid 'Round Robin' reading. The teacher listens in to individual students reading and assists with problem solving and difficult words when appropriate. Students that finish before others may reread a portion of the text. The teacher makes notes about student reading as she listens in.


After reading- Teacher facilitates a discussion with students about what they have read. The teacher asks questions to assess the student understanding of the text. Teacher may ask students to talk with a partner about what they have read or have students take the book to continue reading independently after the lesson.

Step 5- Watch your students grow

Watch those reading levels move up, up, up! Give your kids a high five and yourself a pat on the back :)
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Writing- Using Mentor Sentences

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Why use mentor sentences?

There is a lot to learn from an interesting, well-written sentence! By analyzing and thinking about great writing, our students can pick up on the crafts and skills of great writers and emulate those skills in their own practice. Rather than giving kids incorrect sentences to correct- think about how much they can learn by looking at a sentence that is already great. By using mentor sentences in your daily writing routine, students can learn multiple grammar skills as well as analyze different types of sentences that make writing engaging.


As students compile a collection of mentor sentences, they can continue to study and imitate them as they write their own compositions.

Check out this amazing display from Ms. Zeller's class. After a week of quick daily analysis of the same mentor sentence, they applied that sentence format to their own writing.
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A mentor sentence routine

Monday: Introduce the mentor sentence, “What do you notice about this sentence? You might see exciting words, figurative language, the type of sentence, or even special parts of speech. In your journal, write down what you notice.”


Tuesday: Identify parts of speech, “In your journal, rewrite the mentor sentence exactly as it is written, but skip lines in between. Label all of the parts of speech that you know in this sentence!”


Wednesday: Revise the sentence, “Revise the mentor sentence by making it more descriptive or exciting. Try adding or changing adjectives, verbs, or specific nouns. Remember to keep the meaning of the sentence the same.”


Thursday: Rewrite the sentence, “Imitate the mentor sentence by keeping the style and structure the same, but making it your own. You should create a brand new sentence.”

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Resource Spotlight

Hot off the press: 3rd Six Weeks curriculum calendars

When reviewing these calendars, pay close attention to the genre for the week. Select a great mentor text in line with the genre for the week and practice the SE’s listed for each day with that model text. Also- use the STAAR aligned question stems in the document to write your DOLs and plan your questions during your lesson!

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Upcoming PD:

ACE Writing Academy #2

Saturday, Nov. 11th, 9am-12pm

5555 Maple Avenue

Dallas, TX

Register using the link here!


Please come with your student writing samples from CA2.

Announcements: Classroom Contest Winner!

Congratulations to our Classroom Contest Winner: Ms. Cofer, Zumwalt Middle School!

Ms. Cofer your room is truly a middle school model room! You have captured the joy of reading while also creating clear spaces that are organized for students to learn and grow as life-long readers....or should we say detectives!


We look forward to delivering your prize of classroom library books and supplies:)


Thank you to all of the middle school literacy teachers for making this a tough competition, we had so many classrooms to choose from that embody the vision of growing life-long readers!

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Celebrations: Independent Reading in Action!

We have had a busy month launching independent reading!


As we continue to perfect this time in our block, let's take time out to celebrate what we have accomplished thus far...

Each Student Matched with a "Just Right" Book and able to articulate their reading level and goals!

Teachers Conferring!

Let's keep this ball rolling....be sure to give each student a specific teaching point as you confer using CAFE or our guided reading prompting guides!


We are on our way!

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ACE Website: www.acedallasisd.com

Click the link below to browse the site....don't forget to access our ACE resources in the Learning Lounge-use the password "ACE".
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