What's the Word?

Literacy Team Newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 4 May, 2016

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Intro Here

Wrapping up the end of the year...

We hope you find these helpful and encourage you to get in touch if you have any questions.

Pre-K & K-3 Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy

If you have not seen the Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy, please take time to review the attached documents. These documents are intended to identify ten research supported practices recommended for use every day in every classroom.

The purpose of the literacy essentials is to increase Michigan’s capacity to improve children’s literacy by identifying a small set of research-supported literacy instructional practices that could be a focus of professional development throughout the state. The focus of the document is on classroom practices, rather than on school- or systems-level practices. The practices can be used within a variety of overall approaches to literacy instruction and within many different structures of the school day; the document does not specify one particular program or approach to literacy instruction.

SAT Statewide Task Force

In June of 2015 a statewide collaborative was formed consisting of ISD consultants, MAISA General Education Leadership Network, Math and Science Center consultants, and College Board. Across this year, the group has been working to curate and develop useful resources for educators. Many resources are currently available on the GELN website. Additional resources will be available in upcoming months so we encourage you to re-visit the website often. Questions can also be directed to Literacy Consultant Susan Golab

Is M-STEP/SAT in or out for 2017?

On December 10, 2015 President Obama signed the ESSA, making it federal law. As the regulatory agency for ESSA, the U.S. Department of Education is currently in the rulemaking process that will lead to the adoption of federal regulations. State and local agencies also make their own “rules” regarding how the law will be implemented at the state and local levels. Much is still evolving around how the law will be interpreted into our state and local contexts. For a deeper dig on what ESSA could mean to statewide assessments, go to (link to Lit. Cons. Resource page).

LITERACY: Conventional Foundations for Significant Disabilities

Date: October 21, 2016

The focus is on instruction for Conventional literacy learners – students who know most of their letter names and sounds most of the time.
Click here to learn more.

LITERACY: Emergent Foundations for Significant Disabilities

Date: October 20, 2016

This session will cover the characteristics of emergent literacy learners of all ages, the conditions necessary for learning, and instructional strategies targeting shared reading, writing, and the development of phonemic awareness and alphabet knowledge.

Click here to learn more.

Enbrighten: Scaffolding Student Thinking (Series)

As featured in Ron Ritchhart’s latest book, Creating Cultures of Thinking, Enbrighten is a framework for scaffolding student thinking and dialogue in any classroom environment using narrative and informational text in grades 2-12. Learn how to develop student engagement, reading comprehension, critical thinking, listening and speaking skills in a collaborative culture of thinking. August 10, 2016 (11:00 am – 3:15 pm), October 24, 2016 (4:30-7:30 pm), December 1, 2016 (4:30-7:30 pm) and March 21, 2017 (4:30-7:30 pm)


Presenters: Erika Lusky and Julie Rains

Contacts: Diane Katakowski and Angela Emig

Reading Strategies for Special Educators

Learn the foundations of reading development for each of the five big ideas of beginning reading (phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension). Practice with strategies and interventions for each of the big ideas are incorporated into each session. This course is offered as a face-to-face series and a web-based course.

Web-Based Course: July 1, 2016 – May 1, 2017

Series: August 16 – 18, 2016 (all day), September 28, 2016 (evening), and November 9, 2016 (evening)


Presenter: Lara MacQuarrie

Contact: Lara MacQuarrie and Angela Emig

Literacy Summer Academy- Emergent Literacy for Significant Disabilities

This week long course focuses on emergent literacy development for students with significant cognitive disabilities. It will expose participants to how students, including those with significant disabilities, become emergent readers and writers. The scope of the week will include early symbolic communication, core vocabulary, as well as emergent reading and writing strategies. Teachers will learn to draw on student experiences to expand vocabulary. One and a half days will be devoted to conventional literacy content. Teachers will learn about resources and strategies that they can begin to implement immediately in their classrooms. A one-day follow up for all those that have attended any summer literacy academy will be offered in October, 2016. Participants must register separately for the follow up day. Appropriate for teachers of students with IEPs taking the MI Alternate Assessment.

August 1-5, 2016


Presenters: Dr. Karen Erickson and Dr. David Koppenhaver

Contacts: Colleen Meszler and Diane Fekete

Teaching AAC and Language: One-Day Foundational Training

This is a one-day foundational learning opportunity for educators supporting the language and literacy skills of students with complex communication needs who require Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC). The focus is building shared knowledge in AAC and language and topics include: Communication Mindset, Core Vocabulary, Aided Language Input, Vocabulary Instruction and Communication Opportunities.

August 22, 2016


Presenters: Oakland Schools AAC Team

Contact: Angela Emig

Writing Essentials: Grades 3-5 & K-2

This series introduces teachers to the classroom cultures and instructional practices that research suggests are critical to nurturing and developing thoughtful, motivated, and proficient writers.The series will be an in-depth study designed to increase teacher’s pedagogical content knowledge of teaching writing to K-5th grade students. This offering will help you be prepared to incorporate the new Common Core Standards into your Language Arts program.

Grades K-2 (July 26-29, 2016) Grades 3-5 ( August 15-18, 2016)

Presenter: Dr. Sandy Biondo

Writing Pathways: K-5

This two day series introduces teachers to Lucy Calkins’ book, Writing Pathways, Grades K-8 Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions. “Designed as an instructional tool, Writing Pathways will help you provide your students with continuous assessment, timely feedback, and clear goals. Organized around a K-8 continuum of learning progressions for opinion/argument, information, and narrative writing, this practical guide includes performance assessments, student checklists, rubrics, and leveled writing exemplars that help you (and your students) evaluate their work and establish where they are at in their writing development.” (Heineman Website)

The book Writing Pathways, Grades K-8 Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions is required for this course.

Intended Audience: ELA Teachers, Grades K-5

Date & Time: 2 Sessions, Grades K-2 and Grades 3-5: Au


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Recommended by ?, Special Education Consultant

Training by Repetition Actually Prevents Learning for Those with Autism

This article challenges literacy programs that focus on repetition and drills because they do not teach students with ASD to generalize and apply the knowledge to learn in other contexts. The findings support the practice of offering meaningful, daily, comprehensive literacy instruction that provides students with lots of repetition with variety to teach generalization.

Oakland Schools' Early Childhood Guide to Summer Services

Do you know about the Oakland Schools Early Childhood Guide to Summer Services? If you have parents asking you for community resources, summer camps and recreational activities to support their young children, this is a wonderful resource. Many of the resources are appropriate for children beyond preschool and early elementary age.

Contact: Jean Jocque

Camp ALEC- AAC Literacy Education Communication

If you are a special educator working with students with significant disabilities who are struggling to read, parents of your students may be interested in a week-long sleepover camp that is geared toward children with physical disabilities who use augmentative/ alternative communication (AAC). Camp ALEC- AAC Literacy Education Communication runs August 14-20, 2016 in Grand Rapids, MI.

Contact: Colleen Meszler

AARI Summer Institute

AARI is an accelerated expository reading initiative focused on academic literacy and critical thinking, designed as a short term intervention to drastically improve academic outcomes in students in grades 3-12. Educators new to AARI must attend the Summer Institute.

August 1-5, 8, 9, 2016 9am-3pm


For more information, contact: Jill Jessen-Maneice, Dalyce DePauw-Beegle

Join us for Advanced AARI

Learn what's new in the AARI professional community and continue growing your practice with Advanced AARI Edcamp. For educators who have already attended the AARI Summer Institute.

August 10-11, 2016 9am-3pm


For more information, contact: Jill Jessen-Maneice, Dalyce DePauw-Beegle

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Oakland Writing Project Book Study

May 7th the Oakland Writing Project launched it’s first ever blended learning book study. A group will be focusing on Geneva Gays’ Culturally Responsive Teaching book. For more details about the OWP and Book Study, please visit our website.


Dalyce Beegle,Special Education Consultant

Delia DeCourcy, Secondary Literacy Consultant

Michele Farah, Elementary Literacy Consultant

Susan Golab, Secondary Literacy Consultant

Les Howard, Elementary Literacy Consultant

Diane Katakowski, Speech and Language Consultant

Jill Jessen-Maneice, AARI Consultant

Colleen Meszler, Special Education Consultant

Deb O'Neill, Special Education Supervisor

Suzanne Toohey, ESL Consultant