3-5 RLA Newsletter

January 29, 2016

Hi 3-5 RLA Team,

We know that you are all actively working with an eye towards TNReady testing which is quickly approaching! We look forward to seeing the writing mini-unit in action starting next week for 4th/5th and the following week for 3rd grade. If you have any questions about implementation, let Krysten know. See below with clarification regarding best practices for balancing test preparation and high quality instruction. Let us know if you need any support!

Tamlah and Krysten

Guided Reading Tip of the Week

One component of the transitional lesson plan is word study. Are you struggling with what your focus should be during this portion of the lesson? If so, use the word study inventory on page 48 of your Next Steps text to assist in focusing on student areas of need. Administer the words as a spelling test to your transitional groups and then analyze for patterns of need. You can also use your STEP tests and review the spelling portion for word study focus areas. Need help doing this or analyzing data? See Krysten!

C&I Team Walk-thru Data

Tamlah, Blake, and I enjoyed completing our C&I walk-thru on January 26th! We wanted to share the notes from our walk-thru with all of you. Remember that the goal of these walk-thrus is to identify trends across schools and classrooms, not individual feedback.


1. 5th grade classrooms are on-pace and there is consistent evidence of curriculum implementation across classrooms

Areas of Growth:

1. There are a lot of supplemental resources in use that aren't rigorous and/or aren't aligned to the work students should be completing.

2. We are seeing time wasted on do nows and transitions. We need to maximize instructional time.

3. There is a lack of variety of instructional strategies. We are seeing a lot of student to teacher discussion, but very little student to student discussion or time for students to do the work.

Balancing Instruction and Test Prep

We've had some questions about balancing test prep and instruction. The key to remember: the best way to prepare students for TNReady is through high-quality reading instruction and opportunities for students to do authentic reading and writing every day in class. As such, here are some tips to remember as we continue to move forward:

1. Short texts with multiple choice questions to practice testing skills should NEVER replace ENY instruction.

2. Guided Reading groups should be happening daily as before in order to ensure all students are becoming better readers. Small groups should not be test-prep.

3. Using MICA, MIST or ANet resources as a workstation is a great use of workstation time.

4. Students need feedback on their work daily- anytime students are working you should actively be working alongside students.

We should never walk through your classrooms and see students engaged in large packets of work during the core block of instruction. We should see students reading, writing, and discussing texts. This will best prepare students for testing, and more importantly, a life of reading.

Writing Item Release

Shout out to Yolanda at GHAES for sharing released writing assessments from TCAP last year. You'll find them on SharePoint at the link below. Use these resources to support your students as you see fit as a workstation, as an additional practice outside of the writing unit, as homework, or in another way that meets the needs of your students.

Krysten Wendell

Director of Curriculum and Instruction