Inside the ELA Classroom

November 2019

Discipline Specific Literacy Skills

Poetry penned by Maya Angelou is not read in the same way as a historical medical report of Dr. Charles R. Drew or a student's chemistry lab report. It is important to frame the pedagogy of reading, writing, and speaking skills for the subject area used. Reading like a historian, mathematician, or scientist involved distinct knowledge. John DePasquale (Scholastic) shared a blog where he looked at the district literacy skills necessary for different disciplines.



    Reading Like a Historian

    • Historians read primary and secondary source documents that include letters, photographs, maps, and timelines.

    • Historians evaluate an author’s perspective, the context and audience of a text, and determine author’s bias as they read.

    • Historians analyze and draw conclusions from texts that often include multiple and conflicting perspectives or viewpoints.

    Reading Like a Mathematician

    • Mathematicians read texts that include words, numeric symbols, graphic representations, and other illustrations.

    • Mathematicians use logical reasoning to evaluate the soundness of an argument or claim.

    • Mathematicians visualize the context of a problem as they read and apply reasonable strategies they think will guide them to a solution.

    Reading Like a Scientist

    • Scientists read a variety of texts that include evidence-based research studies, scientific textbooks, ecological field guides, lab reports, journal articles, and information from data sets organized into graphs and tables.

    • Scientists evaluate the soundness of arguments as they read by considering empirical evidence that is used to support a written claim.

    • Scientists identify patterns, make predictions based on evidence, interpret data, and analyze cause and effect relationships.


The above lists taken from DePasquale's Scholastic blog is not comprehensive, but serves to highlight some of the specific literacy skills.


If you are interested in research based reading strategies, take time to review the monthly Reading Strategies feature found in the ELA newsletters published August 2018 to June 2019.

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Evidence-Based Argumentation Tools and Resources

Boston Debate League Teacher Resources - an instructional tool developed by the Boston Debate League in conjunction with Boston Public Schools to equip teachers in all content areas.


Think CERCA - digital lessons that promote close reading and argumentative writing for Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science for grades 4-12.


The DBQ Project - DBQs and Mini-Qs are shot units of study that promote document -analysis and evidence-based writing. The CCS Social Studies Department maintains a library of DBQ binders.

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Writing improves students communication skills and provides a method for expression. No matter the age, grade level or ability of students, consistent writing practice boosts the students' skills and comfort level. It helps cement new concepts by directing students to describe learning in their own words. Through writing students are forced to organize their thoughts, sequence ideas into a story, and record important moments.


The ELA Assesslets and Georgia Milestone provided data to develop the Targeted Writing Plan. Student data is the driving force to adjust instructional practices in writing.


Elementary Plan

Secondary Plan


It is my hope that your students will enjoy the 2nd installment of our Writing Initiative.

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Content Area Vocabulary Learning

What better was to teach non-fiction reading strategies than through interesting and relevant resources found in the social studies curriculum. The best social studies instruction is a balance of content instruction and reading strategy instruction.


Vocabulary lies at the heart of content learning. The demand on vocabulary knowledge intensifies as students matriculate through school. Vocabulary instruction could be leveraged through the interactions between the teacher, student, and text.

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Discussion, Deliberation, and Debate Strategies

3-2-1 - a rationale structure that helps structure students' responses to an activity, a text, or a film.


Alphabet Brainstorm - structure students' brainstorming by asking them to generate ideas based on the alphabet.


Anticipation Guides - guides students to express an opinion about ideas before they encounter them in a text or unit. This activity prepares students to recognize and connect to themes as they surface in their study.


Four Corners - the four corner debate requires students to show their position on a specific statement (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree) by standing in a particular corner of the room.


Socratic Seminar - students help one another understand the ideas, issues, and values reflected in a specific text. Students are responsible for facilitating the discussion.

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Read for the Record

On November 7th, we will celebrate Read for the Record® and the power of reading! Jumpstart’s Read for the Record brings together millions of people each year in classrooms, libraries, community centers, and homes across the US. Coweta County School System elementary and select middle and high school students will participate in this national reading campaign.


This year’s book selection, Thank You, Omu!, by Oge Mora, tells the story of a generous elderly woman who makes a fantastic pot of thick red stew.

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Click on the graphic above or HERE to access some step-by-step processes to help maneuver the new platform.


Don’t forget, we have the online support of Renaissance

  • Live Chat: The link for the live chat is in the upper right-hand corner of your Renaissance home page when you are logged in.
  • Email Support: Email us at answers@renaissance.com.
  • Renaissance Refresher: Subscribe to the bi-weekly E-Newsletter and stay informed about key updates. The newsletter includes tips and resources.

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Georgia Milestones EOG and EOC Measures

The test blueprints were updated August 2019. These documents are designed to communicate the structure of the Georgia MIlestones measure. The blueprints outline the types of items students will see on each grade level and content area/course test as well as the number of items and points possible.
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Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition

Each school is invited to submit one entry per grade level (K-12) for the district level competition. Students may write from a genre of their choice. This link will direct you to the landing page to see 2019 winning entries and honorable mention entries. The revised Official Rules Booklet is available HERE. At the district level we will follow all guidelines provided in the booklet. Entries may include: Short Stories, Poetry, Essays/Literary Criticism/Analysis, Journalism, Academic/Research Reports, Personal Narratives, or any other original student work.


School level winning entries must be received by Thursday, February 6, 2020, 5:00pm. Please send four copies of each winning entry, the original piece, and the completed 2019-2020 Entry Form with parent signature.


A panel of reviewers will select the Coweta County School System grade level winning entries. District winners will be announced by February 28th.

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NaNoWriMo

Sign up for NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program.


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, empowering approach to creative writing. The challenge: draft an entire novel in just one month.
Why do it? For 30 wild, exciting, surprising days, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

Participants in our flagship NaNoWriMo event begin writing November 1 and must finish by 11:59 PM on November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable-but-challenging individual word-count goals.

The YWP also helps K–12 educators facilitate NaNoWriMo in schools, libraries, and community centers around the world. We provide virtual classroom spaces on our site, as well as student workbooks, Common Core-aligned curricula, and free motivational materials.

NaNoWriMo can last all year! Writers can edit their novels on site, create new personal writing challenges, or participate in mini-events like Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. Educators can create classroom-wide writing challenges outside of November.

In 2017, over 100,000 young writers and educators in over 9,000 classrooms took on the NaNoWriMo challenge. Learn more about our program and impact.


Be sure to register as an “Educator” and remember your password and security questions. Choose your grade level: Lower Elementary (K-2), Upper Elementary (3-5), MIddlel (6-8) or High (6-12). Student workbooks, aligned lesson plans, and a free classroom kit helps to inspire students before, during, and after the November activity. Join the challenge on November 1st!

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Georgia Milestones Writer's Checklists

There are two sets of checklists available to students when completing the Georgia Milestones English Language ARts assessment, one for narrative writing an done for reading and evidence based writing. The checklists serve students as quick guides to monitor individual writing effort and to verify essential aspects are clearly addressed.These documents can be used by teachers as instructional tools for everyday classroom writing.
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Quick Writes - Narrative Practice in Google Classroom

This quick write activity can be adapted for use at any grade level. Each week students have a specific writing focus.This practice can be used for many grade levels.


Mrs. Sheila Chaves

7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher

Madras Middle School

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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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Writing Ideas for November

1. What puts you in the mood for the holiday season?

2. Describe three things that you are thankful to have in your life.

3. How can you practice gratitude?

4. What are your favorite sights, smells and sounds of autumn?

5. What does it feel like when someone thanks you for a gift?

6. Would you rather give or receive a gift? Explain why.

7. What does it mean to be thankful?

8. The weather is starting to get colder. What are some things you love about cold weather?

9. As the leaves change on the trees, we see many beautiful colors. Close your eyes. How many colors do you see? Describe the picture in your mind.

10. Persuade your parent to get you a pet turkey.

11. What are some ways to stay warm in the fall and winter months?

12. Imagine that you had a conversation with a turkey. What would you talk about?

13. Because it is cold the giant swimming pool is being filled up for the winter. What would you fill your swimming pool with and why?

14. Write a story titled "The Thanksgiving Day Disaster!"

15. Write about the most interesting person in your family.

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Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project

Leslie Walker - Writers of Promise Contest


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

  • Open to All Content Areas
  • Entries are judged in three groups GRADES 3-5 GRADES 6-8 GRADES 9-12
  • Submission Dates February 10 to April 14
  • Entries may be submitted digitally via kmwp.org or e-mail

53-Word Story Contest

It's free, it's fun, and the winner gets published in Prime Number Magazine and receives a free book from Press 53.


Open for entries the first day of each month.

Deadline for entries is the 21st day of each month.


Winner will be announced on the first day of each month along with our new prompt.

Email your 53-word story to 53wordstory@gmail.com

Engineer Girl Annual Essay Contest

Engineer Girl sponsors an essay contest with topics centered on the impact of engineering on the world. Students can win up to $500 in prize money. This contest is a nice bridge between ELA and STEM and allows teachers to incorporate an interdisciplinary project into the curriculum. The new contest prompt is published in October. Check out the educator’s page for more information about how to support this contest at your school.


Age Groups: 3rd–5th grades; 6th–8th grades; 9th–12th grades

Essays must be submitted by February 2020


How to Enter: Students submit their work electronically. Word limit varies by grade level. Check out the full list of rules and requirements here.

Promising Young Writers Program

1) To stimulate and recognize the writing talents of eighth-grade students and 2) to emphasize the importance of writing skills among eighth-grade students.


This year’s theme invites eighth-grade writers to explore their life in Nature. We hope that this year’s theme will support teachers’ efforts to facilitate both eighth-grade writers’ inquiries into their values and their experiments with embodying those values in social interactions with others, particularly those interactions mediated by reading and writing. In this way, this year’s theme promotes literacy education for social action and civic responsibility.



2020 Themed Writing Prompt


My Nature

If we will have the wisdom to survive

to stand like slow growing trees

on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it

then a long time after we are dead

the lives our lives prepare

will live here.

—Wendell Berry


Much of the suffering in the world arises from human beings’ tendency to forget, deny, or misunderstand our primary bond with Nature, our dependence on Life for life. This year, we invite you to write about your relationship with Nature.


Timeline:

November 11-December 15: Encourage your students to write, edit, revise, and finalize their submissions.

December 15: Awards link will open to accept submissions.

DEADLINE for All Submissions: February 15, 2020*

Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud helps students improve public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn great poetry in literature.


High schools get involved now in Poetry Out Loud, a local, state, and national poetry recitation competition.


Registration is now open for the 2019-2020 school year.

IMPORTANT DATES AND DEADLINES

Friday July 26, 2019 – Saturday December 20, 2019 Registration

Saturday(s) January 25 and February 1, 2020 Regional Competitions Workshops, free and open to teachers and students

February 9, 15, 22, and March 1, 2020 – Regional Competitions for school champions

Sunday, March 15, 2020 – State Finals Competition

Monday (April 27) through Wednesday (April 29, 2020) – POL National Finals in Washington, D. C.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. Through the Scholastic Awards, teens in grades 7–12 (ages 13 and up) from public, private, or home schools can apply in 29 categories of art and writing for their chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited and published. Beyond the Awards, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers produces a number of programs to support creative students and their educators, including the Art.Write.Now.Tour, the National Student Poets Program, the Scholastic Awards Summer Workshops and Scholastic Awards Summer Scholarships programs, the Golden Educators Residency, and much more.


For the 2019 competition, students submitted nearly 340,000 works of visual art and writing to the Scholastic Awards; nearly 90,000 works were recognized at the regional level and celebrated in local exhibitions and ceremonies. The top art and writing at the regional level were moved onto the national stage, where more than 2,700 students earned National Medals.


Students may begin submitting work in September by uploading it to an online account.

American Foreign Service High School Essay Contest

The American Foreign Service Association’s national high school essay contest completed its twenty-first year with nearly 700 submissions from 41 states and five countries.


Age Group: 9th–12th grades

Deadline for submission: April 6, 2020


How to Enter: Each year a new prompt is published in September. Stay tuned to the contest web page so you can find it when school begins. Winners receive full tuition to the Semester at Sea program as well as a trip to Washington, DC, to meet with a leader at the Department of State.

The Ocean Awareness Contest

This competition invites students to use their creativity to make a difference for our planet. As the creators share on their website, “Our contest is a call for young artists, thinkers, and activists who are concerned about the future of our human and natural communities to use their creative voices to explore, express, and advocate for issues related to climate change and our oceans.” Students are eligible for a wide range of monetary prizes.


Age Groups: Ages 11–14 (Jr. Division); Ages 15–18 (Sr. Division)

Contest deadline: June 15, 2020


How to Enter: Students may submit work in the categories of art, poetry, prose, film, or music which must always be accompanied by a reflection. Check out the contest details for a set of educator resources as well as the new contest prompt coming out in September.

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Description: This annual contest invites students to write about a political official’s act of political courage that occurred after Kennedy’s birth. The winner receives $10,000 as well as a trip to Boston to accept the award.


Age Group: 9th–12th grades


How to Enter: Students must submit 700–1000 word essays by January 18, 2019. The essays must feature more than five sources and a full bibliography. Read the requirements and find the link for submission here.


Requirements

  • The contest deadline is January 17, 2020 at 11:59 PM (EST).
  • Essays can be no more than 1,000 words but must be a minimum of 700 words. Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count.
  • Essays must be the original work of the student.
  • John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Edward M. Kennedy are not eligible subjects for essays.
  • Essays must describe an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born. The official may have addressed an issue at the local, state, or national level. See Contest Topic and Information and Helpful Tips for Writing Your Essay for more information.
  • Essays about past recipients of the Profile in Courage Award will be disqualified unless they describe an act of political courage other than the act for which the award was given.
  • Essays about the senators in Profiles in Courage will be disqualified.
  • Essays must have a minimum of five sources.
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ELA Professional Learning Sessions

ELEMENTARY


Tuesday, November 5th, 2:45 - 3:45pm

Webinar

Using Raz Plus to Support differentiated Instruction

Participants learn effect strategies to plan differentiated instruction and integrated lessons within Raz Plus. Goals include: Exploring tools to align resources across levels of instruction; Gaining ideas to build comprehension and vocabulary with short non-fiction science and social studies texts, Exploring tutoring lessons and activities; Monitoring progress and assessing skills. Use this link to register/participate.


Tuesday, November 5th, 9:00 - 3:30pm

West GA RESA

Inside the Reader's Workshop, K-6

In this professional learning experience, teachers learn effective instructional practices for teaching reading comprehension and vocabulary. Participants will explore and experience culturally responsive approaches that build student independence, encourage inquiry and collaboration, and support all learners Complete the district and RESA registration process. Use this link to register.


Tuesday, November 19th, 9:00 - 3:30pm

West GA RESA

Inside the Writer's Workshop, K-6

In this professional learning experience, teachers learn effective instructional practices for teaching writing. Participants will explore and experience culturally responsive approaches in which teachers use high-quality literature to guide students through the writing process. Through video demonstrations and conversations, participants also examine the role of authentic feedback in helping students develop a sense of audience, purpose, and the writer’s craft. Complete the district and RESA registration process. Use this link to register.


Please review your Professional Learning Schedule for a complete list of opportunities.


MIDDLE


Tuesday, November 5th, 9:00 - 3:30pm

West GA RESA

Inside the Reader's Workshop, K-6

In this professional learning experience, teachers learn effective instructional practices for teaching reading comprehension and vocabulary. Participants will explore and experience culturally responsive approaches that build student independence, encourage inquiry and collaboration, and support all learners Complete the district and RESA registration process. Use this link to register.


Monday, November 18th, 4:00 - 5:00pm

Werz

ELA Secondary Remediation Meeting (Narrative Writing Redelivery - Day 3)

All middle and high school ELA teachers are invited to participate in the continuation of the redelivery of Scoring Institute for Georgia Milestones Narrative Writing. Participants are asked to bring a Chromebook and handouts from September and October.


Wednesday, November 20th, 4:00 - 5:00pm

Werz

Secondary District ELA Meeting

All secondary ELA teachers are invited to participate in the monthly ELA department meeting. Discussion topics will include strategies to support instruction and inform pedagogy based on district trends found through the Assesslet Data Digs. Participants are asked to bring a Chromebook.


Tuesday, November 19th, 9:00 - 3:30pm

West GA RESA

Inside the Writer's Workshop, K-6

In this professional learning experience, teachers learn effective instructional practices for teaching writing. Participants will explore and experience culturally responsive approaches in which teachers use high-quality literature to guide students through the writing process. Through video demonstrations and conversations, participants also examine the role of authentic feedback in helping students develop a sense of audience, purpose, and the writer’s craft. Complete the district and RESA registration process. Use this link to register.


Please review your Professional Learning Schedule for a complete list.



HIGH


Friday, November 1st, 8:30 - 3:30pm

Werz, PLC

Participants will engage in work with Dr. Melissa Fincher that will improve instructional practice in the areas of literacy and informational writing.
Deconstruction of the Georgia Standards of Excellence and writing rubrics will ensure teachers are providing quality feedback for students. Implementation of this training provides educators with the opportunity to support the whole child through exceptional literacy practices. Contact your school administrator if interested in participating.


Monday, November 18th, 4:00 - 5:00pm

Werz

ELA Secondary Remediation Meeting (Narrative Writing Redelivery - Day 3)

All middle and high school ELA teachers are invited to participate in the continuation of the redelivery of Scoring Institute for Georgia Milestones Narrative Writing. Participants are asked to bring a Chromebook and handouts from September and October.


Wednesday, November 20th, 4:00 - 5:00pm

Werz

Secondary District ELA Meeting

All secondary ELA teachers are invited to participate in the monthly ELA department meeting. Discussion topics will include strategies to support instruction and inform pedagogy based on district trends found through the Assesslet Data Digs. Participants are asked to bring a Chromebook.


Please review your Professional Learning Schedule. Dates are TBD based on submissions from your Department Chairs.

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Have you heard of "blank page syndrome?" This happens when students stare at a blank screen or paper. The cursor blinks, the pencil swings, or the pen twiddles without any words appearing on the page. Some research says that writing with fluency and volume is unnatural. Through the use of writing strategies, our objective will be to ease the stress of writing for our students.


Research based instructional strategies positively impact student learning. Each month check back for different writing strategies. When using any strategy, teachers should (1) ensure students understand why the strategy is useful, and (2) describe explicitly how the strategy could be used. Demonstrate, model , and follow-up with independent practice opportunities. Remember to share these writing strategies with your colleagues in other content areas. We are in this together!

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Quick Writes

Quick writes build fluency, voice, and provide students with opportunities to practice writing spontaneously from a prompt. The quick write can be used to reinforce specific areas of writing instruction. Quick Writes are a good way to start writing instruction each day.


Starting a quick write can be a simple as calling our one- , two, or three - words for the prompt (e.g. snow, football, bubble bath). At the designated time students begin to write. Say "STOP" at the end of the timed period. Allow students to finish the sentence they are writing. Occasionally use the quick write to move students through the entire writing process.

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TAPE

On January 15, 2018, Terry Heick published his pre-writing strategy in Teacher Thought. He states that "In writing, TAPE is simply a way of clarifying what you're doing before you do it - or a way to help writers


In writing, TAPE is simply a way of clarifying what you’re doing before you do it—or a way to help writers." What do you think?

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What's the Writing Rule

Give students a passage and have them search for and list the “writing rules” they find in the text. Students can underline, circle, or number the rules as they review the passage. Once located, students can elaborate the rule that is demonstrated.


Remember these sites for FREE nonfiction reading material.

DOGO News

Highlights for Kids

Kids Discover

National Geographic for Kids

ReadWorks

Smithsonian

Sports Illustrated for Kids

TweenTribune

Wonderopolis

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OCTOBER

Show, Don't Tell: Using Senses

Show, Don't Tell: Emotions


SEPTEMBER STRATEGIES

Transition Words

Word Mapping

Color Coding


AUGUST STRATEGIES

Making a List

Quick Writes

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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


Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.

~Anatole France


The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.