Inside the ELA Classroom

February 2019

Lexile Measures

Regardless whether a student aspires to postsecondary education, a job, the military, or just to be an informed citizen, the reading ability required is likely to be higher than what is typically required in high school based on texts that are widely used in this country (Williamson, 2004)


Williamson, G.L. (2004). Student readiness for postsecondary options. Durham, NC: MetaMetrics

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The Lexile® Framework for Reading is an educational tool that links text complexity and readers’ ability on a common metric known as the Lexile scale. A student receives a Lexile reader measure as a score from a reading test; the Lexile measure describes the student’s reading ability. Books and other texts also have a Lexile measure associated with them, and this Lexile text measure describes the book's reading demand or difficulty. When used together, these measures can help match a reader with reading material that is at an appropriate level of difficulty, or suggest how well a reader will comprehend a text.

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Click on the graphic above for more information on Renaissance STAR.

Renaissance STAR - SLDS

Teachers can access the Georgia SLDS through Infinite Campus. The Navigation Tool Bar includes quick links to move through the teacher dashboard and search features to find students. Any of the images, charts, or graphs that you see in SLDS can be exported to another application. These files can be created in multiple user friendly formats including Excel, Word, and PDF. The Student Search Bar is located at the bottom of every page of the SLDS dashboard. The search bar allows you to go directly to a student’s profile page using the student’s name or Georgia Testing Identifier (GTID) number, without going through the student rosters.

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Proposed Blueprint for English Language Arts

Update from the ELA Advisory Council Quarterly Meeting


Click the graphic above or HERE to access the ELA webinar. The topics of discussion include:

Proposed Blueprint: English Language Arts 2019-2020 (forward to 5:00)

*Potential changes are under consideration.

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It's a Book Tasting

What:

ELA-GSE8W10: Write routinely over extended or short time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

ELA-GSE8RL10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature (stories, dramas, poems) independently and proficiently at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity.


Why:

These are ongoing learning opportunities that expose students to various genres and allow students an opportunity to analyze/synthesize their understanding of written text. Students become engaged as they create products of choice via choice boards/menus and a Book Synopsis. As we continue to foster in our students, a love for reading and writing, students will connect to real world experiences to make sense of the text.


Phase One: A Book Tasting: 8 stations were set, grouped with sets of four books; each station with a different title.. The book features included historical fiction, young adult fiction, science fiction, and adventure. Students were given 7 minutes at each station. Through analyzing the book covers (front/back) and reading the first few pages, students made predictions of the book’s focus allowing them to determine individual interest. Students then rated the book (1. Not a “just right” book for me; 2. Probably not my “just right” book; 3. Maybe a “just right” book; 4. Probably a “just right” book; 5. A “just right” book for me) Book Rating Tasting Notes Document


Phase Two: Students will read their “just right” book selection


Phase Three: Students will identify real life experiences as they connect with their book and demonstrate and outline their comprehension providing various details/illustrations. A choice board/menu is provided allowing students to select a product that most appeals to them in demonstrating their comprehension.


How: This activity spans a period of 2 weeks-month.


Physical Environment: Classroom resembles Restaurant Atmosphere (Tablecloth & Music)


Current Products - Student choice:

  • Interview w/ the Author - Essay - Bloom’s Ball


Technology:

Phase Four: A Book Club (Speed Dating) will be established among the students. After reading selected text, in cooperative groups of 5, the group of students will respond to the “Book Club Synopsis” according to the established roles within the groups and develop a Book Trailer for the book they took out on a second date according to the established rubric.

Book Club Synopsis Book Trailer Rubric



Dee Mack, ELA Department Chair

Arnall Middle School

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KidLit TV

KidLit TV, winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy, is available in over 600,000 schools worldwide via the website and video distribution partners.



KidLit TV Shows

  • STORYMAKERS, our flagship series, is an entertaining talk show highlighting bestselling kid lit authors and illustrators. The series is hosted by Rocco Staino, Contributing Editor at School Library Journal, a contributing writer at The Huffington Post, and Director of Empire State Center for the Book, affiliate of the U.S. Library of Congress.
  • READ OUT LOUD – Enjoy story time with authors at KLTV HQ!
  • READY SET DRAW! – Get inspired to draw with talented illustrators from children’s literature.
  • YOUNG AT ART with James Ransome – On this series, kids learn basic and intermediate art skills used in children’s book illustrations!
  • IN STUDIO – Join the KLTV film crew as we visit artists’ studios around the world!
  • PAST PRESENT: GIVING PAST STORIES NEW LIFE with Lesa Cline-Ransome – Explore non-fiction story writing, share how we can learn about ourselves and find common bonds with people from the past.
  • PHIL’S FAST FIVE – A fun, fast-paced Q&A hosted by author Phil Bildner.
  • THE TRUTH ABOUT LIBRARIES – Find out what REALLY happens in the library!
  • WHAT BECOMES A CLASSIC? with Leonard Marcus digs into the historical and cultural context around the creation of a children’s classic.
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Click the link above or HERE to access a free self-reflection from Jennifer Serravallo through Heinemann tool to jump start conferences with students.

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Writing Across the Curriculum

The GSE require content area teachers reinforce the benchmarks that ELA teachers traditionally cover in the classroom. The responsibility of literacy is now shared by the entire teacher staff. Learning to write well is a crucial life skill that is vital to success. Research has shown that writing boosts students' achievement across the content because it actively engages students.


Writing requires students to take information, organize their thoughts, sort through the knowledge and appropriately process it. Writing is an extensive brain workout! See below activities to pull writing into the classroom.


  1. Journal Writing: Journal writing is a great way to create confident writers. Journals are an informal place for students to summarize their thoughts and think about class content, no matter what the subject. You can give the children writing prompts or just let them write freely!
  2. Think-Pair-Share: After a lecture or presentation, invite the children to record their thoughts. Then pair them up with another student and have them discuss the topic. Finally, open the discussion up to the whole class. You’ll find that by organizing and writing their thoughts before the discussion, the kids will have much more insightful things to add to the conversation!
  3. Quick-Writes: Quick-writes are great ways to get students to practice writing and critical thinking skills. They’re designed to focus the student’s thinking. Set a timer for 10 minutes and give the children a writing prompt. You can show them an historical picture, read a quote from your favorite scientist or ask them to write about how they’d use a math theory in real life. Anything that gets them thinking…and writing! Not only are quick-writes quick to write, they’re incredibly quick to review as well. Short writing is going to be as important as long writing with the Common Core Standards. All children will have to express coherent thoughts in both short and long time periods.
  4. Self-Assessments: Throughout the year invite the students to write about how they think they’re doing in class! Ask them what the most difficult part of the class has been or what they’ve loved learning. Not only will they get practice writing, you’ll get valuable insight into how your students are learning and what you can do to help them even more!
  5. Real World Writing: Think about the type of writing most often done in your discipline and have the students do it! For example, mathematicians write theorems and textbook problems. Scientists write lab reports. Journalists in all fields write articles. Have the kids create a website or a pamphlet for some real world writing experience. This not only gives the students hands-on experience in the discipline, but fulfills the Common Core requirement that students produce not only short writing assignments, but longer, more involved assignments too.
  6. Note Taking: There isn’t a ton of writing development in scribbling notes as a teacher is talking. But you can use note taking to flex your students’ writing skills if you tweak things a bit. Mr. Peha loves using “summary note taking” as a writing exercise. He suggests breaking your lectures down into 5 to 10-minute chunks and inviting the students to summarize what you spoke about at the end of each block. They’ll get to flex both their writing and retention skills and you’ll get a break to catch your breath!
  7. Research Projects: The Common Core Standards require all students to be able to research a topic in any discipline and write about it. So ask your students to write research-based arguments, not just persuasive arguments. The goal is for all children to become self-directed learners that are adept at researching (and writing about!) a wide variety of subjects.

Taken from We Are Teachers, June 25, 2013

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Using ALDs as Writing Rubrics

Ms. Rembert developed the ALD rubrics in order to foster a partnership with students in the feedback process. To ensure the effectiveness of this process, she develops a classroom culture where collaboration and peer review are common processes for learning, The students are valued as co-assessors in the classroom. Because of this, they needed a tool and firm understanding of a standard process for being effective scorers. Additionally, the standard requires students to use feedback from teachers and peers to revise writing, The ALD Rubrics provide a transparent assessment of writing that the ensure the students understood how their answers are scored and what would make the writing stronger.


By using the constructed response rubrics, Ms. Rembert is able to familiarize students with the language of the standards and what the achievement levels indicate, as well as teach students to assess themselves and their peers, and develop meaningful exemplars. As students work through the assessment process, they identify the work as proficient and distinguished exemplars instead of using readily available examples. They focus only on the highest level of achievement because all students are taught from the distinguished status. Ms. Rembert believes, "If we shoot for the moon, at the very least we’ll land among the stars."


As a result of having used the rubrics, students report gaining a better of what constitutes good writing, so their revisions are more focused and personal. The students see their classmates’ work as mentor texts to guide them through the writing process. In addition, students develop the vocabulary necessary to have effective conversations about their writing. The best thing is that students learn to value each other’s opinions and trust each other as assessors. The students see writing as a process and gain an appreciation for the revision step. It has also made the grading process easier and increased the sense of community.


Angela Rembert

8th Grade Gifted and ELA Department Chair

Madras Middle School

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Exit Slips to Foster Writing

Writing , even in brief formats, can help students reflect on what they have learned. (Marzano, 2012). Exit slips are a quick and easy way for students to maintain involvement with a lesson even as it ends. It only takes a few minutes to engage students in a summarizing activity where they jot down their thoughts, re-frame their learning, and formulate areas to review.


Step-By-Step


1. The first step is to determine the type of information needed to check students' understanding. Three most common types of exit slips are:


Prompts that document learning

  • The three most important things I learned today are...
  • Today I changed my mind about....
  • What I would like to tell someone else about what I learned today is...


Prompts that emphasize the process of learning


  • Two questions I have about what we did in class today are...
  • I am confused about...
  • What I would like to learn next is...


Prompts to evaluate the effectiveness of the instruction


  • The thing that helped me pay attention most today was...
  • The thing that helped me understand the most today was...
  • Something that did not help me today was.....
  • One thing that really confused me today was...


2. Make sure to leave enough time at the end of the class session (or lesson) for students to respond to the prompt.


3. Collect students' writing as they leave the classroom or you transition to another content of study or activity. This will provide direction for you as you make instructional decisions (remediation and enrichment). Do not worry about editing and returning the slips. The primary focus is for teachers to understand how the students think.

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Leslie Walker Writers of Promise Contest (3rd - 12th grade students)

Teachers are invited to submit up to 20 of their students’ most interesting pieces to our contest.


Entries are judged in three categories:


Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12


Submission Dates: February 10 - April 14


Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project

Leslie Walker Writers of Promise

Promising Young Writers Program (8th grade students)

2019 Themed Writing Prompt



Welcoming Unexpected Guests

The poet Rumi writes that being human is like being a “guest-house”: joy, depression, or meanness may arrive like “an unexpected visitor,” but we should welcome them all with grateful hospitality, for they are there to guide us to deeper understanding. Writing is a powerful tool for welcoming that which might otherwise seem overwhelming. This year, we invite you to we invite you to write about instances in your life when you made a conscious choice to welcome or show hospitality to an experience, feeling, or person. Follow this link for more details.


DEADLINE for All Submissions: February 15, 2019*

2019 Poet Laureate's Prize (9th - 12th grade students)

The Poet Laureate’s Prize contest is open to all Georgia high school students, grades 9 through 12. A winner and four finalists will be selected by the Poet Laureate and announced in early April 2019. The winning poet and finalists will meet the Governor and the Poet Laureate when they are honored at the Georgia State Capitol in the spring.


The winning and finalist poems will be published by Atlanta Magazine.


2019 Poet Laureate's Prize Entry Form

Guidelines

Achievement Awards in Writing (11th grade students)

2019 AAW Prompt: The Human Chorus (#humanchorus)


Student and teacher invitation from the Achievement Awards in Writing Advisory Committee



Purpose: To encourage high school juniors to write and to publicly recognize the best student writers.

  • Schools in the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands and American Schools Abroad are eligible to nominate juniors. Nominating schools must be US accredited.
  • Participating students submit two types of writing: themed writing and best writing.
  • Electronic submissions only. Deadline February 15, 2019
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Professional Learning Series - Multi-Sensory Instructional Strategies

If you would be comfortable sharing your best practices in multi-sensory instructional strategies please add your information to the list provided HERE. I am looking for elements to be redelivered for elementary and secondary-remediation professional learning sessions.

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ELA Professional Learning Sessions

ELEMENTARY


Monday, February 11, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m., Werz

NBC Learning

This professional learning sessions will guide participants through NBC Learning. NBC Learn is an online video library with 90 years of news footage, award-winning featured series, and current events. Register here. Participants should be Chromebook.


Tuesday, February 12, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m., Werz

4th Grade ELA Teacher: Assesslet Data Dig

In this professional learning sessions select school representatives will begin a review of the Assesslet data from the November 2018 administration. Participants are asked to bring technology and ensure they have GCA login credentials.


Wednesday, February 13, 9:00 - 3:00pm, West GA RESA

Model ELA Classroom for Educators and Administrators 1st - 5th

In this professional learning session, teachers will experience a model English Language Arts classroom. The learning opportunity will focus on evidence-based strategies in grade bands in order to allow teachers to see balanced literacy in action. Lunch will be provided. Register here. Registration costs will be covered at the school level.


Monday, February 25th, Werz

The Writing Revolution Book Study

In this professional learning session participants will read and discuss The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades as it relates to the district SMART Goal and ELA Writing initiative. Participants will discuss theoretical and pedagogical frameworks and best practices to enhance writing instruction. - Chapter I - Sentences: The Basic Building Blocks of Writing


Feb 28, 2019 - Werz - PLC, 4:00 - 5:00

STAR Reports Training: Instructional Technology Training

Training session on using the STAR data to see where your students are and how to use it to adjust and target instruction. Join us on Feb 28th. Please bring a charged chromebook.

Register here.


Tuesday, March 5, Werz

Strategies to Inform Writing Instruction

Teachers will explore research-based strategies and graphic organizers to strengthen writing skills across the curriculum. Participants will learn and implement ideas to improve student achievement in reading and writing.



MIDDLE


Wednesday, February 6, 9:00 - 3:00pm, West GA RESA

Model ELA Classroom for Educators and Administrators 7th - 12th

In this professional learning session, teachers will experience a model English Language Arts classroom. The learning opportunity will focus on evidence-based strategies teachers can implement immediately to support students in the rigor of GMAS constructed response. Lunch will be provided. Register here. Registration costs will be covered at the school level.


Monday, February 11, 4:00 - 5:00pm

NBC Learning

This professional learning sessions will guide participants through NBC Learning. NBC Learn is an online video library with 90 years of news footage, award-winning featured series, and current events. Register here.


Monday, February 25th, Werz

The Writing Revolution Book Study

In this professional learning session participants will read and discuss The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades as it relates to the district SMART Goal and ELA Writing initiative. Participants will discuss theoretical and pedagogical frameworks and best practices to enhance writing instruction. -Chapter I - Sentences: The Basic Building Blocks of Writing


Wednesday, February 27, 4:00 p.m., Smokey Road Middle School

Middle Grades ELA Department Meeting

All middle grades ELA teachers are invited to participate in the middle grades department meeting. This month participants will share best practices, ideas, and lessons. Participants are asked to bring an idea to share.


Feb 28, 2019 - Werz - PLC, 4:00 - 5:00

STAR Reports Training: Instructional Technology Training

Training session on using the STAR data to see where your students are and how to use it to adjust and target instruction. Join us on Feb 28th. Please bring a charged chromebook.

Register here.


HIGH


Wednesday, February 6, 9:00 - 3:00pm, West GA RESA

Model ELA Classroom for Educators and Administrators 7th - 12th

In this professional learning session, teachers will experience a model English Language Arts classroom. The learning opportunity will focus on evidence-based strategies teachers can implement immediately to support students in the rigor of GMAS constructed response. Lunch will be provided. Register here. Registration costs will be covered at the school level.


Monday, February 11, 4:00 - 5:00pm

NBC Learning

This professional learning sessions will guide participants through NBC Learning. NBC Learn is an online video library with 90 years of news footage, award-winning featured series, and current events. Register here.


Monday, February 25th, Werz

The Writing Revolution Book Study

In this professional learning session participants will read and discuss The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades as it relates to the district SMART Goal and ELA Writing initiative. Participants will discuss theoretical and pedagogical frameworks and best practices to enhance writing instruction.

Chapter I - Sentences: The Basic Building Blocks of Writing.


Feb 28, 2019 - Werz - PLC, 4:00 - 5:00

STAR Reports Training: Instructional Technology Training

Training session on using the STAR data to see where your students are and how to use it to adjust and target instruction. Join us on Feb 28th. Please bring a charged chromebook.

Register here.

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College Board update regarding Advanced Placement

January 2019

  • The GaDOE will follow up with tips and tools for you and your colleagues in the state department of education.
  • The AP Program will provide free resources – including an online toolkit – to help schools prepare.


Click on the graphic below or here to view a short video that outlines the upcoming changes to the Advanced Placement Program.

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February Activities

February 1 National Freedom Day

February 1 Langston Hughes (born 1902)

February 1 Dr. Carter G. Woodson, creator of African American History

February 2 Groundhog Day

February 4 Facebook first launched in 2004

February 4 Rosa Parks born (1913)

February 5 Weatherman's Day

February 4 Hank Aaron born (1934)

February 6 Babe Ruth born (1895)

February 6 Monopoly Board Game first sold in stores

February 7 Charles Dickens born (1812)

February 7 Laura Ingalls Wilder born (1867)

February 9 Hershey's Chocolate founded (1894)

February 11 National Inventors' Day

February 12 Judy Blume born (1938)

February 12 Abraham Lincoln born (1809)

February 12 Barbie Doll first sold in stories (1959)

February 13 First public school established (1636)

February 14 George Washington Gale Ferris born (1859)

February 14 Ferris Wheel Day

February 14 Valentine's Day

February 15 Susan B. Anthony born (1820)

February 18 President's Day

February 25 First African-American elected to US Senate (1870)

February 26 Tell a Fairy Tale Day

February 27 Polar Bear Day

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Research based instructional strategies positively impact student learning. Each month new strategies will be featured. Remember to share the strategies with your colleagues in other content areas. We are all in this together!


When using any strategy, teachers should (1) ensure students understand why the strategy is useful, and (2) describe explicitly how the strategy should be used. Demonstrate, model, and follow-up with independent practice opportunities.

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Because, But, and So

This sentence expansion exercise found in The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades (Hochman & Wexler, 2017) forces students to think critically, strategically and deeply about the content. Within the power of writing, students not only become more familiar with syntactic forms, they must recall facts in order to complete the task.


Click on the picture to see the Because, But and So sentence expansion activity in a 5th grade classroom.


This activity comes from Judith Hochman and The Writing Revolution.

Implementation ideas: Because, But, So

The sentence expansion exercise was presented as a Strategy of the Month in January. See below for implementation ideas from Ms. Angela Rembert (Madras Middle) and Ms. Kathryn Bott (East Coweta Middle).

Because, But, So - Ms. Rembert (Madras Middle)

After hearing much on the radio about the government shutdown and how workers weren't being paid, I decided to find some texts for my students so that they could voice their ideas on the issues in a scholarly manner. Initially, I copied some news snippets from CNN onto a doc and gave them a NewsELA link. They took longer than I wanted to skim the texts (good formative data for something I should probably work with them on). By the third class, I'd gotten rid of the texts and given them only a CNN slideshow instead. It worked like a charm!!! They were faster but no less insightful. And I had them cite the photos to support each of their responses.



Because, But, So - Ms. Bott (East Coweta Middle)

Here is a copy of some discussion starters I used with my students regarding MLK, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. I used Hochman's "Because, But, So" technique to build sentence starters. It sparked students to develop their own questions and build upon the sentence starters provided. We then used to starters to develop our discussion in a Socratic seminar, and I began to see my students ask each other questions because students would leave off the "because," "but," or "so" when explaining their opinion or response. Please feel free to make a copy and adjust the document to meet the needs of your students

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Input Skill: Fiction Reading Organizer/Sorter

1.28 effect size


Summarizing and sorting information identifies gaps in the information. To effectively summarize fiction, students will remember the characters, beginning, and end [plot development], te setting, and problem and/orgoal. Graphic organizers that assist with this process strengthen comprehension.


Story structure / Story Maps


Graphic Organizers for Reading Comprehension


Plot Diagram

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Titles Can be Telling

Encourage students to reread the title of a book and think about what is included in the title. Make predictions about the text based on the title and prior knowledge. Does the title connect multiple aspects of the story? Does it provide insight into the characters, setting, and theme? Stop during the reading and reflect on the title and prior knowledge to make connections with understanding. Have students provide an idea that threads throughout the book that is reflected in the title.


The Reading Strategies Book

Jennifer Serravallo

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JANUARY STRATEGIES

Syntax Surgery

Because, But, and So

activating Prior Knowledge

Compensating for Missing Prior Knowledge


DECEMBER STRATEGIES

Probably Passage

Building Stamina

It Says - I Say


NOVEMBER - REVIEW MONTH


OCTOBER STRATEGIES

Reciprocal Teaching

UR TOPS

The Whole and Teeny Tiny Details


SEPTEMBER STRATEGIES

Add up facts to determine the main idea

Read, Cover, Remember, Tell

V.I.P. Comprehension Strategy

Scan & Plan

Sticky Notes


AUGUST STRATEGIES

Plan & Label Non-fiction Strategy

Questioning

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Contact Dr. Paula Baker, ELA/Literacy Content Specialist with any questions, comments, or concerns.


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

~Nelson Mandela

Cooperative Comprehension

As more classrooms are engaging in cooperative learning structures, students work together to solve problems. Use this strategy to encourage students to work cooperatively to understand complex text.