Everything English

UCPS English Curriculum News and Events

April 2016

Dear English Teachers,

Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope that your break was refreshing, reinvigorating, and fun! I was beyond excited to have time to read for pleasure. With that in mind, I thought it might be nice to send out summer reading recommendations in the June newsletter. Let me know what you have enjoyed reading, whether old or new! Email me, text me, or tell me in person!

In this newsletter, I have provided information about how CEUs will be processed moving forward. It is critical information, so please be sure to read carefully. If you have questions, please let me know! This is a brand-new system, and we are all learning it. I am not yet an expert, but I will help you figure it out.

I have also included some resources and professional development opportunities, as well as the schedule for the English Curriculum Team. Please continue sending me your good news! You are also encouraged to brag on your colleagues!

Let me know how I can help you! Have a wonderful month.


ACT/SAT Writing Training and Follow-up Discussion

Thursday, April 21st, 4-6pm

721 Brewer Drive

Monroe, NC

I may be able to offer a brief overview of the changes to MLA as well.

Please RSVP to this workshop using this link.

CEUs: 0.3 (2 in-person hours plus a homework assignment)

English Curriculum Updates and Events

At our April meeting, the English Curriculum team will finish reviewing the second benchmarks for English I, English II, and English III. If you are planning to attend this meeting and have not RSVPed, please email me. The feedback form for the first benchmark is still open, so please submit your suggestions and questions there. I really appreciate the feedback from those of you who submitted it!

At our May meeting, the Curriculum Team will review the rubric and model assignments for the English IV Capstone (which will count as our English IV benchmark next year). We will also examine learning outcomes in Canvas and consider our use of this tool next year. If you would like to attend this meeting, please RSVP via email.

CEUs and You

CEUs will now be tracked in NCEES. You are able to access NCEES through your cloud.

If you participate in UCPS-organized professional development activities, someone in UCPS will be responsible for tracking your participation. You may have to register for sessions or courses through NCEES. I will be adding all of the PD opportunities I have organized this year in NCEES. I will let you all know as soon as it is updated there.

For non-UCPS professional development opportunities in your content area, you should plan to seek prior approval. I will be managing those CEUs for you. This link gives specific directions for securing credit for such PD. Please read through the instructions and secure approval BEFORE attending events.

If you have any more questions, please let me know. Keeping your license up to date is rather important; if you are unclear on anything or need helping negotiating NCEES, please reach out to me. I may not have all of the answers yet, but I will track them down.

Conference Proposals

There are two English-related conferences gearing up for the fall:

  • The University Writing Programs "Transcendent Literacies" conference will be held on October 28. Conference presentation proposals are due by April 22. Here is the link to submit a proposal.
  • The North Carolina English Teachers' Association Annual Conference will be held on October 7-8 in Durham. They have not yet posted a call for proposals or any more specific registration information. Even so, you can consider presentation possibilities.

If you'd like to join a team of teachers working on a presentation for either conference, please let me know! We already have two teams preparing presentations for the UNCC conference; there is still time for you to get involved! We have plenty of time to plan, if you will communicate your interest. I realize that the NCETA conference will require plenty of planning and advance notice for many of us, so start thinking now about whether that conference is of interest to you.

Shakespeare's Text Demystified

Professional development opportunity:

May 20-21, 2016, NC Museum of History, Raleigh

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” William Shakespeare

Four hundred years after his death, the words of William Shakespeare are still read, performed, and revered in many circles. Yet, for many K-12 educators, motivating student interest in and understanding of Shakespeare’s texts remains a challenge. Join the NC Museum of History and the NC Civic Education Consortium, in special collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library, for an exciting two-day exploration of Shakespeare’s works and how to unlock their rich language with your students.

Through interaction with Shakespeare scholars, theatre professionals, curriculum specialists, and other teachers from around the state, participants will delve into some of the most commonly taught Shakespearean texts in order to feel more familiar with the language, meanings and undertones, as well as explore various skills and resources for becoming more confident and capable teaching Shakespeare to high school students. From exploring some of the most dramatic aspects and hidden meanings in Shakespeare’s texts that students will most enjoy, to learning strategies for getting students on their feet and excited about these complex texts with performers from theRaleigh Little Theatre, teachers will leave with deeper knowledge and active, language-based techniques and instructional resources.

Participants will also have time to explore the NC Museum of History’s special exhibit First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The exhibit features the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare, on national tour for the first time with only 52 stops — one in each U.S. state, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. — and the only stop in North Carolina.

“We know what we are…” [great teachers] “but know not what we may be…” [even better teachers with new knowledge and strategies for making Shakespeare more engaging!] Don’t miss this exciting opportunity! Click here for details and registration information (see opportunity #2.) Space is limited, so register today!

What I'm reading (and listening to)

Mind/Shift: This webpage is a great collection of articles for teachers. I linked below to an article about how listening to podcasts improves reading skills!

Freakanomics Radio: This podcast is hosted by Stephen Dubner, who wrote the Freakanomics books. Podcast topics are generally everyday life issues explored through Dubner's lens. Enjoy!

"Small Changes in Teaching: The Last Five Minutes of Class": Although this article is published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, I thought that the advice about how to best use the final five minutes of class time was really useful. I know that I always find myself rushing through more material or shouting out reminders at the end of class; this article is right that there are better ways to improve student learning. I'd love to know what you think!