Teacher Development Section Update

Spring 2020

"What are you writing?" - A Word From the Chair

Over a month has passed since we left Frisco, feeling that "conference high" that was an accumulation of both incredible, challenging sessions and the life-giving fellowship of being in the presence of true, like-minded community. If you're anything like me, life has a way of trying its best to punch tiny holes in that "high" until the balloon deflates slowly back to its starting point. I find myself so easily caught back up in the hustle and bustle of the job. By the time I attend the next conference, I'm reminded of all of the things I was inspired to do but didn't. Can anyone relate?

This year, however, there is one very constant thought that has been ever-present in my mind since January. In Rebekah O'Dell's session, she challenged all of us to see ourselves as writers, claiming that writing is a force that breathes life back into the work we do daily. I hear her voice, full of joy and encouragement, asking the question, "What are you writing?" and I remember her invitation into the edu-writing community.

Reader, I haven't published a book in the past couple of months, nor have I published the perfect academic journal. But I've been writing. During lunch, I take out my iPad and pen some reflections, thoughts, or ideas. I've written a few blog posts. I've submitted a piece to Texas Voices. I'm working on my first ever academic journal submission. And, I'll be honest...I'm loving it. Writing reminds me what I love about this content. Writing reminds me of the power of voice in the world, and the incredible opportunity/privilege we as teachers have to equip young people with such a powerful tool.

I'd love to hear what you're writing...and I'd love for this section to be yet another "O'Dell-ian" voice in your head and heart...your words matter, and you have something to say.


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Professional Development Resources

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Monthly Themes

March: Women's History Month

How are you celebrating Women's History Month in your districts? Here are some resources from NCTE that can help you promote women through your literacy work.

April: National Poetry Month

#NationalPoetryMonth kicks off on April 1, and you’re invited to celebrate with NCTE! Whether you teach poetry as a unit or interweave it into your lessons throughout the year, we know that poetry is powerful and speaks to both students and educators alike. Join NCTE members from across the country in NCTE Verse, a member-exclusive FREE professional learning opportunity aimed at providing ideas and inspiration around poets and poetry! Sign up here.
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Voices From the Section: Lois Marshall-Barker

Lois graduated from Midwestern State University with a B.A. in English and a minor in Journalism. She also possesses a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is currently working on her Ed. D in Organizational Leadership with a concentration on Learning with Emerging Technology. She is also certified in English Language Arts and Reading, 8-12, and English as a Second Language, 9-12. Lois serves on the TCTELA Teacher Development section as a regular contributor to the newsletter.

For six years, she served some of Dallas ISD’s neediest populations teaching Reading, English I-III, ESOL for Newcomers, and AP Language and Composition. She also served in leadership capacities as her campus’s LPAC and ELA department chair, Dyslexia Facilitator, and Lead AP teacher. After leading the work in turning her school around, Lois moved to Houston to become a Teacher Development and Professional Development Specialist. For the last seven years, Lois has worked with Houston’s striving campuses to improve ELA best practices, increase leader and teacher capacity, strategically integrate technology, revamp curriculum, and promote literacy across contents.

In addition to her work with Houston area campuses, she works to promote anti-racist curriculum, diversity in classroom libraries and flipped learning in the ELA classroom. She is an advocate for mobilizing teacher learning and virtual coaching. Her goal is to facilitate mindset shifts in how campus administrators and teachers approach literacy and English instruction, moving away from a traditional, standardized testing focus to a whole-child approach through the lens of anti-racism and sound research.

"Where I'm From" by Lois Marshall-Barker (based on the George Ella Lyon model)

I'm from sweet boiling cocoa tea and Bakes and Saltfish,
from Reggae and wine-yuh waist Soca.
I'm from the whitie-becays
and the red mongoose,
from Macko! and Gurl Hurry Up NAH!
I'm from the African Drum,
from Blessed Assurance
and Jah Rastafari.

I'm from the Spice Isle and the Country,
sulfur springs and white rum.
From the board house on stilts and galvanize roof that creaks at night,
the wet towel across my back and
the Silk-Cotton in the back-garden where Loupgarous have tea with the Devil.

On a shelf in my closet was an aged gift box,
spewing old photos,
a collage of bloodlines
to live for their dreams and mine.
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.
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TEA Updates for ELAR Leaders

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What will the STAAR/EOC tests look like during both the overlap years and the 2021-2022 school year?

  • The blueprints for STAAR/EOC during the overlap years will not change. Students will only be assessed on overlapping standards.
  • Currently, TEA has not yet released what this means for EOC writing, specifically persuasive/argumentative, which are not identified as overlapping standards.
  • Test design schematics for the overlap years can be found HERE.
  • It is currently unknown as to what the new test will look like in 2021-2022. However, law requires there to be somewhat of an integration of writing into all ELAR tests in the future. Several writing items will be field tested this year.

What standards are considered "overlapping"?

  • TEA has released the overlapping curriculum for reading, grades 3-8. You can find these documents HERE, alongside the vertical alignment documents.
  • We are still waiting for writing overlapping standards to be shared.
  • 9-12 documents have not yet been released.

Where can I find the most updated information on HB3 Reading Academies?

  • ESC Region 11 has been selected by TEA to develop the online content and facilitate the rollout of Reading Academies.
  • Their Reading Academies website has an FAQ page, links to TEA, and other information that is updated frequently.

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Tech Tool Highlight

Google Keep

Google Keep is a great way to keep a digital portfolio for teacher support! Integrating with the entire Google Suite system, you can take notes/pictures and sort them however you like, to be able to embed into notes or documents. Consider using Google Keep for coaching artifacts, documentation, or a way to celebrate great things going on in the classroom!
5 Ways to Get More Out of Google Keep (App Tips & Tricks)
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Filling Your Classroom Library Shelves

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ELAR TEKS Resources


PD2Teach is a project from TCTELA supporting teachers and curriculum leaders in the implementation of the new ELAR/SLAR TEKS for K-8 beginning in 2019-2020 and continuing with high school TEKS in 2020-2021.

This link will take you to a portfolio of videos that you can use in PLCs, department meetings, or in other professional learning contexts. The videos feature classroom teachers engaged in conversations about adapting instruction for the new TEKS.

Access these incredible resources HERE.

TEKS Resources for District Coordinators

TCTELA member Tosh McGaughy, Secondary ELAR Coordinator for McKinney ISD, has created a plethora of resources for teachers to use when planning, writing curriculum, and teaching the new ELAR standards. Check them out!

Elementary TEKS Resources

Secondary TEKS Resources

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Are You a Literacy Leader?

Fill out this form to be added to our section! You’ll be invited to attend our monthly Zoom meetings, contribute to the section newsletter, and recruit for the section. We’d love your input!
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Stay Connected with TCTELA

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Submit your proposal for the 2021 conference! Deadline is June 5, 2020.

High School Section Podcast: Conversations with Teacher Leaders

This podcast explores the passion of teacher leaders and lends them a microphone through which they can share their vision.
Texas Voices TCTELA Member Newsletter

TCTELA publishes a member newsletter four times a year with informative articles to support teacher in the field. Click above to read the most recent edition.

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TCTELA Teacher Development Chair: Caty Dearing

I am all things nerd culture --- Harry Potter fan (Ravenclaw, anyone?), TV show theorist, owner of a Star Wars ringtone. I love podcasts obsessively -- my favorites are true crime and radio drama. On any given day, you can find me on my Peloton bike, reading a psychological thriller in my big, comfy chair, or watching my daughter on the soccer field/in the dojo working on her latest tae kwon do moves. I love TCTELA and love the work that I get to do supporting the supporters, the leaders tirelessly pouring into hundreds of teachers each day.