Vol. 11

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow...

Welcome back! Hopefully you are refreshed, relaxed, and ready to tackle another semester. This is a wonderful time to bring new energy into your classroom as you re-establish routines and prepare students to learn and explore.

Janelle Cox from TeachHUB has shared these strategies for getting students back on track and engaged after the holidays:

1. Set End-of-Year Goals: Just like we set new year's goals for ourselves, our students can too! There are many ways to involve students in setting a few realistic goals and creating rewards when goals are met.

2. Embrace Technology: Instead of taking a break from technology, have students embrace it to remain focused and indulge their impulse to use technology.

3. Divert Students with a Brain Break: Help students get back into routine slowly by allowing time for quick brain breaks. For elementary educators, check out GoNoodle or Youtube's The Learning Station. Secondary educators may consider doing Yoga, letting students walk the track, or giving students a few moments to socialize.

4. Give Students Time to Share: Carve out time for students to share about their winter break, so they can refocus on learning. Try turning this holiday enthusiasm into an educational experience involving writing.

5. Re-Establish Rules and Routines: Review or even amend rules and routines depending on what your class needs. Now is a great time!

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need guidance, have questions, or would like support in any way. Your IDOE Literacy Team is dedicated to working for you and all Indiana students.

Literacy Framework Phase II

In phase I of the Literacy Framework, Hoosier educators created and developed I can statements, question stems, and academic vocabulary. In phase II, we will be working on creating and developing practical examples for each literacy standard.


K-2 Educators/Coaches: Thursday, January 17, 2019

3-5 Educators/Coaches: Friday, January 18, 2019

6-8 Educators/Coaches: Thursday, January 31, 2019

9-12 Educators/Coaches: Friday, February 1, 2019


Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP)

11025 E 25th St, Indianapolis, IN 46229

What Time

8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

If you are interested and available in participating in these Phase II work groups, please complete this form.

Ideas & Insight

Are "Just Right" Books Benefiting our Students?

Let all kids read the good stuff.

EdWeek reporter Susan Pimentel shares research that shows matching kids to books does not guarantee big learning gains. Placing students into reading groups according to their "just right" books means often times students are receiving below grade-level texts that do not require students to decipher unfamiliar vocabulary, confront challenging concepts, or parse new and complicated language.

Noted literacy researcher Timothy Shanahan has written extensively about why this is the wrong approach, documenting that “after 70 years there still isn’t any research supporting the idea of matching kids to just-right texts” after 1st grade—yet still the practice persists. This, despite research showing that the ability to handle complex text is the distinguishing characteristic between students who go on to do well in college and work and those who don’t.

Shanahan suggests:

1. To place students with different levels of books when practicing paired reading.

2. Place students in different books when their reading levels lag far behind.

3. Don't fractionate your class with so many different levels that you cannot provide much instruction. Groups are necessary, but the fewer the better.

IDOE guidance on text complexity found here.

Book Recommendations

Community Spotlight

Nominated Educator: Renee Bowman

"Renee is an incredible librarian and Title I Intervention Specialist at one of our elementary buildings in Danville Community Schools. She plans lessons for instructional assistants to utilize, leads data team meetings with our staff, and runs the ReadUP program through United Way to give our students additional reading time. She is so passionate about reading she has recently developed a website, Raising Real Readers, this year along with her sister to share some of the knowledge she has gained in her school roles and as a mother as she raises readers of her own. Our students absolutely love coming to the library as she inspires them with new text and encourages them to find books they will love. During stressful times of the year, her library is open to students that need a calming spot to sit and read. She has made the library a central hub of the building! She is passionate, positive, and knowledgeable!"

-Anonymous Colleague

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

Indiana Literacy Early Intervention Grant (EIG) Reminders

All allocations have been sent out for the 2018-2019 EIG. Please see below for important dates:

Cash Request Deadline: June 1, 2019

Encumber Deadline: September 30, 2019

Liquidate Deadline: December 5, 2019

Final Report of Expenditures Deadline: January 21, 2020

All EIG forms and more information can be found on the IDOE EIG webpage.

Textbook Adoption: What does this mean for your school?

With so many curricula and programs, how do you know which one is right for your educators and students? Ed Reports shares how to Build Capacity and Consensus Through a Teacher-led Materials Adoption and Selecting Great Materials is Not Enough.

For research-based reviews and comparisons, check out:


What Works Clearinghouse

Literacy & Tech: Thought of the Month!

This is the perfect time of year to engage students in book creating, book reviews, or book snaps. Book Creator (both online program and app) allows students to create and share their stories with peers, teachers, and families.

Book Snaps are a fantastic way to engage students in using the Book Creator program. Watch educator Tara Martin's how-to 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!

Big picture