ELA Weekly:

February 8 - February 12

Curriculum Manager Announcements

Course Collaboration 4A

Course Collaboration 4A will take place at IDEA College Preparatory Donna on Friday, February 12 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Please make arrangements to arrive on time and leave no earlier than 4:30 pm. If you have made arrangements for travel, please note the official end time of Course Collaboration. CC4A will focus on the following grade levels:
  • ELA 7
  • ELA 8
  • English I
  • English II

Course Specific

6th Grade ELA

Webinar: This week’s webinar on 2/10 will focus on the Literary Analysis essay students will write for the EA at the end of the Holes novel unit. Teachers will receive strategies for scaffolding student writing, as well as specific lessons to build student analysis skills in preparation for the composition. If students can write a deep literary analysis, they are demonstrating key analytical skills for the Reading STAAR. They are also learning foundational analytical skills that will carry them into and through AP ELA courses and college. Do not skip this Embedded Assessment! It is time well-spent on fiction analysis that will ultimately prepare students for success in May on the STAAR!


SpringBoard: Students will continue to explore character changes and point of view through their study of the novel, Holes. This week’s lessons also provide fantastic opportunities to incorporate expository texts. The Bundle 6 Unit Map provides specific examples of the kinds of texts that could be seamlessly incorporated into lessons. Also, make sure to check out the Hub! There are several expository texts, poems, and STAAR-formatted questions that teachers can use to reinforce expository skills. ELA-6th Grade-Quarter 3-Expository and Poetry Resources. Remember, the BWA on February 11th is an expository passage and a poem, so students should be reading these genres in class!


Do-Nows: In Quarter 3, teachers will choose the focus TEKS for the Do-Nows that meet the needs of individual classrooms. Teachers should continue to use the template for the Do-Nows, located on the Hub in the Quarter 3 folder. The curriculum Unit Map outlines which TEKS teachers should focus on each week, and teachers should use this list to choose from as they decide which skills to reteach during the Do-Nows. This week’s focus should include one of the following TEKS: (EDITING): 6.20A (capitalization); 6.20B (punctuation); 6.19A (verb tenses and subject/verb agreement); 6.14D (homophones, pronoun usage); 6.21A (commonly confused words)


Assessments: The next Bi-Weekly Assessment will be Thursday, February 11th. This reading assessment will contain an expository text and a poem. Teachers should be using suggested expository texts and poems to prepare students for this BWA. The scanning deadline is by the end of the day on February 11th.


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

7th Grade ELA

7th Grade Writing STAAR is right around the corner on March 29th! Please read the information below regarding the IDEA ELA approach to preparing students for this assessment over the next six weeks:


Training & Support: Teachers have administered an expository essay prompt to students, and we will use Course Collaboration 4.A on February 12th to norm on the scoring; teachers will score essays; teachers will identify individual student gaps and whole-class trends; teachers will receive specific lesson ideas around the four major writing areas they will focus on for daily instruction; and teachers will identify how to embed expository writing practice into the established Scope & Sequence throughout the remainder of Quarter 3. The objective of CC4.A is that teachers will identify student writing gaps, receive lessons that include best practices to address those gaps, and plan for time for instruction around those gaps.


Scope & Sequence: The Scope & Sequence for Quarter 3 includes a novel unit and an introduction to Drama (which are essential skills for 7th grade Reading) through March 1st. The January 27th webinar focused on embedding expository reading and writing within the novel unit. Teachers should continue to stick with the curriculum as it is written for Quarter 3, because they will cover foundational reading skills through the novel unit and drama unit, with ample opportunity to embed expository writing most days. The Course Leader and I will share strategies for embedding daily expository writing within these two units at CC4 on February 12th. I will also provide a few expository essay prompts that can be embedded within the rest of the novel unit, as teachers see fit to use them, which will make the daily expository writing tie closely to the students’ reading. Also, there continues to be bi-weekly Revising & Editing assessments throughout Quarter 3, and teachers have developed their daily Do-Nows around the skills on the Revising & Editing BWAs. There is one week in Quarter 4 (March 21-24) prior to the 7th STAAR Writing. This week should be spent reviewing Revising & Editing skills and possibly crafting one essay with a focus on development of ideas, text organization, cohesion, and a strong controlling idea.

  • Expository Essay:

    • Teachers identify skill gaps from district-wide assessment administered on February 5th and graded on February 12th.

    • Teachers collaborate around ideas for instruction to address skill gaps on February 12th.

    • Teachers plan to use a chunk of time each day to address writing gaps, utilizing the lessons gathered from peers at CC4.A.

    • Teachers use the expository prompts that are tied to the Tangerine novel unit they are teaching in class. Teachers spend a lot of time on all of the components of the essay, with more time dedicated to students’ weakest writing skills (identified at CC4.A), through a Writing Workshop model of instruction. The message here is “quality over quantity.” Over the course of the next 5 weeks, I would not craft more than 2 full essays. The majority of the time should be spend on generating strong supporting ideas, and revising to make sure ideas are tight, controlled, and organized.

  • Revising & Editing:

    • Teachers identify skill gaps from district-wide essay and BWAs.

    • Teachers continue to use the Do-Nows on the Hub, which address the skills on the Writing STAAR, focusing on the skills that students are still most struggling to master

    • Teachers focus revision practice on the skills students are still most struggling to master, as they spend time writing and revising during class (using the prompts discussed above) in authentic writing and revising exercises


Checkpoint Assessments: There have already been two Revising & Editing BWAs this quarter, and there will be one more on February 26th. After this BWA, there are 13 days of instruction before the 7th grade Writing STAAR. Therefore, I do not plan on creating another BWA around the Revising & Editing skills, as these 13 days of instruction are precious for quality instruction, focused specifically on student gaps (which teachers have already identified with the three BWAs and the formal essay written on February 5th). Also, I do not recommend that campuses plan a Writing IA 3 at the end of Quarter 3, as there are only 5 days of instruction prior to the 7th grade Writing STAAR after the end of Quarter 3.


Review Resources: I am putting together a comprehensive guide around the components of the 7th grade Writing STAAR, which teachers will receive at Course Collaboration 4.A. This guide, in conjunction with data around the students’ essays that are being graded at CC4.A, will focus each teacher’s individual instruction for the following 5 weeks. Teachers will identify what they need to cover during the morning of CC4.A; teachers will receive lots of ideas about how to cover that content during the afternoon.


Archived Webinars:

8th Grade ELA

Webinar Update: The 2.10.16 ELA Webinar has been cancelled due to IA testing and Course Collaboration 4A. Please make note of the adjustment. Please visit the ELA Webinar Schedule tab provided in the Quarter 3 folder on The Hub for a complete list of dates for the remainder of the 2015-2016 academic year.


SpringBoard: SpringBoard 5.13 and 5.15 are critical lessons for this week.

  • SB 5.13 is a strong lesson to challenge student understanding and analysis of author's craft and language. This lesson provides an excerpt which provides multiple opportunities to spiral in purposeful skill focused questions.
  • Suggestion: Within this lesson, conducting a strategic Stop and Jot that follows the elements used at Course Collaboration will allow students to have opportunities "at bat" with the specific skill they are struggling with.
  • SB 5.15 is broken up over a two day period. TE Steps 1-3 should be covered on Part A and TE Steps 4-7 should be covered on Part B. Refer to the Unit Road Map and the Instructional Notes provided to ensure strong planning and instruction is taking place over this two-day lesson.
  • Suggestion: Remember, putting the heavy lifting in the hands of students is key. If you as the teacher are doing the talking and explanation, you are robbing students of the opportunity to think and share their responses.
  • Note: Before you begin to cold-call on students, ask yourself the following: 1) Have students had time to think about the questions? 2) Have students had time to write their thoughts? 3) Have students had time to share their responses and hear their peers perspectives?


Upcoming Course Collaboration Dates: Note, ELA 8 is required to attend Course Collaboration 4A on Friday, February 12 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at IDEA College Prep Donna. Please make arrangements to arrive on time and leave no earlier than 4:30 pm.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on pronoun usage (8.14D). When preparing for the GF/DN, think of this process as an entire lesson cycle.

  • Note: The GF/DN should take no more than 10 minutes.
  • 2 minute: Assign Yourself/Take-Out Materials/Attendance
  • 2 minute: Teacher direct teach
  • 2 minute: Teacher model
  • 2 minute: Student practice (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)
  • 2 minute: Student create/explain (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)


Additional STAAR Guidance: Conducting a whole class review of each question on the IA or BWA is not going to increase student understanding or their performance. Think about the following process when planning to spiral in purposeful-skill-specific review of material.


  1. What is the question did students struggle with on the exam?
  2. What was the skill being assessed in this question?
  3. What did the question sound like? What was the question stem used?
  4. What are your upcoming lessons?
  5. Where can you spiral in the question stem into your instruction to allow students a purposeful "at bat" with the skill.
  6. How will students demonstrate their new understanding based off of your purposeful review of the skill?


Follow this process when planning and stronger, skill specific lessons that are beneficial for students and their instruction will be the result.


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

English I Pre-AP

Webinar Update: The 2.10.16 ELA Webinar has been cancelled due to IA testing and Course Collaboration 4A. Please make note of the adjustment. The 2.10.16 ELA Webinar has been cancelled due to IA testing and Course Collaboration 4A. Please make note of the adjustment. Please visit the ELA Webinar Schedule tab provided in the Quarter 3 folder on The Hub for a complete list of dates for the remainder of the 2015-2016 academic year.


Upcoming Course Collaboration Dates: Note, ELA 9 is required to attend Course Collaboration 4A on Friday, February 12 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at IDEA College Prep Donna. Please make arrangements to arrive on time and leave no earlier than 4:30 pm.


Upcoming Assessments: Note, IA3 is a full STAAR Release exam. All testing schedules should have been finalized last week. If you have specific questions regarding testing, please reach to your Academic Counselor or Campus Manager. Remember, IA3 is a testing window that begins on Monday, February 8 and closes Wednesday, February 10.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on pronoun usage (9.13C). When preparing for the GF/DN, think of this process as an entire lesson cycle.

  • Note: The GF/DN should take no more than 10 minutes.
  • 2 minute: Assign Yourself/Take-Out Materials/Attendance
  • 2 minute: Teacher direct teach
  • 2 minute: Teacher model
  • 2 minute: Student practice (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)
  • 2 minute: Student create/explain (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)


Additional STAAR Guidance: Conducting a whole class review of each question on the IA or BWA is not going to increase student understanding or their performance. Think about the following process when planning to spiral in purposeful-skill-specific review of material.


  1. What is the question did students struggle with on the exam?
  2. What was the skill being assessed in this question?
  3. What did the question sound like? What was the question stem used?
  4. What are your upcoming lessons?
  5. Where can you spiral in the question stem into your instruction to allow students a purposeful "at bat" with the skill.
  6. How will students demonstrate their new understanding based off of your purposeful review of the skill?


Follow this process when planning and stronger, skill specific lessons that are beneficial for students and their instruction will be the result.


Additional STAAR Resources: Two additional resources have been provided to ensure success on IA3 and STAAR. They include the following: 1) STAAR Question Stem Resource and 2) IA2 Data Reflection. Both of these documents provide information to help with planning and execution. Refer to these documents frequently to ensure effective action


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

English II Pre-AP

Webinar Update: The 2.10.16 ELA Webinar has been cancelled due to IA testing and Course Collaboration 4A. Please make note of the adjustment. The 2.10.16 ELA Webinar has been cancelled due to IA testing and Course Collaboration 4A. Please make note of the adjustment. Please visit the ELA Webinar Schedule tab provided in the Quarter 3 folder on The Hub for a complete list of dates for the remainder of the 2015-2016 academic year.


Upcoming Course Collaboration Dates: Note, ELA 10 is required to attend Course Collaboration 4A on Friday, February 12 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at IDEA College Prep Donna. Please make arrangements to arrive on time and leave no earlier than 4:30 pm.


Upcoming Assessments: Note, IA3 is a full STAAR Release exam. All testing schedules should have been finalized last week. If you have specific questions regarding testing, please reach to your Academic Counselor or Campus Manager. Remember, IA3 is a testing window that begins on Monday, February 8 and closes Wednesday, February 10.


Grammar Focus/Do Now: This week's GF/DN focuses on pronoun usage (10.13C). When preparing for the GF/DN, think of this process as an entire lesson cycle.

  • Note: The GF/DN should take no more than 10 minutes.
  • 2 minute: Assign Yourself/Take-Out Materials/Attendance
  • 2 minute: Teacher direct teach
  • 2 minute: Teacher model
  • 2 minute: Student practice (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)
  • 2 minute: Student create/explain (ensure students share responses with a partner before whole group)


Additional STAAR Guidance: Conducting a whole class review of each question on the IA or BWA is not going to increase student understanding or their performance. Think about the following process when planning to spiral in purposeful-skill-specific review of material.


  1. What is the question did students struggle with on the exam?
  2. What was the skill being assessed in this question?
  3. What did the question sound like? What was the question stem used?
  4. What are your upcoming lessons?
  5. Where can you spiral in the question stem into your instruction to allow students a purposeful "at bat" with the skill.
  6. How will students demonstrate their new understanding based off of your purposeful review of the skill?


Follow this process when planning and stronger, skill specific lessons that are beneficial for students and their instruction will be the result.


Additional STAAR Resources: Two additional resources have been provided to ensure success on IA3 and STAAR. They include the following: 1) STAAR Question Stem Resource and 2) IA2 Data Reflection. Both of these documents provide information to help with planning and execution. Refer to these documents frequently to ensure effective action


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

AP Language

Webinar: This week’s webinar will focus on norming around the synthesis essay that students are writing for the Mock Exam.


Mock Exam Information: The Mock Exam window is February 8-10th. The scanning deadline for the multiple choice is 24 hours after test administration. All information for the Mock Exam can be found on the Hub: ELA_Mock Exam Information_AP Language and Comp


Content: This week’s lessons focus on an analysis of tone, and an understanding of how tone contributes to the meaning of a work. Students will read several pieces and conduct a thorough analysis of the tone in order to arrive at meaning. Teachers can incorporate any poetry or prose they deem appropriate, and there are several resources/lessons located on the Hub: ELAàAP LangàQuarter 3àNMSI ResourcesàBundle 6àRhetorical Analysis_Tone Lessons Poetry.


Assessments: Mock Exam window is February 8-10. The mock grading will be on February 19th. Teachers are responsible for grading the Multiple Choice (in SchoolNet) and the Synthesis essay. The Argument and Rhetorical Analysis essay will be graded at the Mock Reading on February 19th.


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

AP Literature

Webinar: This week’s webinar will focus on norming around the open-ended essay that students are writing for the Mock Exam.


Mock Exam Information: The Mock Exam window is February 8-10th. The scanning deadline for the multiple choice is 24 hours after test administration. All information for the Mock Exam can be found on the Hub: ELA_Mock Exam Information_AP Literature and Comp


Content: Students will closely analyze scenes from Othello, focusing on the plot and character development, as well as the interpretations of these scenes in various film adaptations. Students will continue to close read with a critical perspective, and begin to plan their own interpretation of a scene from the play.


Assessments: Mock Exam window is February 8-10. The mock grading will be on February 19th. Teachers are responsible for grading the Multiple Choice (in SchoolNet) and the Open-Ended essay. The Poetry Analysis and Prose Analysis essay will be graded at the Mock Reading on February 19th.


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