Humanities Highlights

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

This past week, we were struck by a picture of Rocketeers at RDP. During indoor launch in the winter months, RDP has moved to a silent arrival procedure in the Learning Lab. Each day as students arrive, one school leader runs a threshold to greet students, check uniforms and direct students to the Learning Lab. Then a second leader circulates among students to check for either books, HFW/phonics flashcards or in the case of a completed book, student book reports. Once these materials have been accounted for, RDP's Rocketeers will read silently until launch begins.

There are a couple of things that most stood out to us about this picture. Above all, you can see how clear the expectations are for every student to have a book to read during the mornings and throughout the day. When Rocketeers don't have a book with them at school, immediate follow up takes place from school leaders and staff. Second, it is extremely evident that students know how they should sit, even with how close they are sitting to one another. These students are laser focused while reading independently, and they know just what to do because they've rehearsed this routine over and over again.

The level of structure and systems for accountability that the team at RDP has been able to provide is undoubtedly creating the type of habits that make sure Rocketeers are working hard, maximizing every minute, and growing as college-ready readers! Way to go, team RDP!


Effective "We Do" in RA/RC

The "We Do" can arguably be considered one of the most critical components of the RA/RC block across all grades because we are giving all students the opportunity to practice meeting the vision of excellence for a comprehension skill under a teacher's guidance.

As a helpful recap, the We Do consists of this cycle, below, being repeated multiple times:

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One distinguishing factor that we are noticing amongst our most effective RA/RC lessons is that teachers are planning and expecting from students an exemplar response that embeds the "how" key points. An example of this looks like this:
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A "less than excellent" answer may appear to be an excellent answer because students either state a half-correct response or state their response in a complete sentence. However, a truly "excellent answer" makes sure that students prove HOW they arrived at an answer.

When we plan for an expect a truly excellent level of response from our Rocketeers, we not only have the best possible data to understand where their thinking may be breaking down, but we also are making sure that our Rocketeers have the necessary knowledge to apply these key points to any similar question!

Strong Before Reading for Guided Reading

Previewing the text, stating your objective, and reviewing clear key points with your students are all necessities to drive towards a strong "Before Reading" in your guided reading lesson. In a guided reading lesson, your objective should be correlated to a STEP bottom line AND students' data. And, similar to your read aloud and reading comprehension lessons, guided reading lessons need to have clear what and how key points that tie back to your objective.

In order to master the "Before Reading" portion of Guided Reading lessons, the Humanities Team will be sending out a tool later this week to support you as you plan out your key points in each lesson. Inspired by tools that RMS and ROMO teams are using, this tool will state correlated objectives and key points for Word Solving bottom lines.

Be on the lookout for updates this week as well as in the next Humanities Highlights as we add key points for the comprehension-aligned bottom lines.

Finally, check out the the following videos to see how teachers at two different STEP levels introduce their word solving key points in their "Before Reading" of Guided Reading.

Guided Reading Videos:



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Phonics Planning at RBM

Check out how Kim Stevenson, TK teacher, at RBM plans for her phonics block (picture below)! Kim has incorporated the various elements that comprise a rigorous phonics block and makes sure that she has generated strategic words in advance for students to blend and write. Great job, Kim!
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Spanish Retell Anchor Charts

An amazing parent at RFZ translated these Guided Reading retell charts. This is an extremely helpful resource to review with families at upcoming community meetings or family events so that they can practice STEP-aligned retells at home. Find these resources here!
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Phonics Videos for Families

As a follow up to Lauren Berry's videos from last week, here’s a link to Lauren's YouTube channel. She's shared this with my families to practice sight words and phonics drills at home! Lauren currently has 2 sight word videos, 1 blends video, and 1 letter names and sounds video. She is also planning on doing a list 6-10 video and chunk video (-ake, -oke, etc.) in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to bookmark her page!

Exemplar Open-Ended Responses for Unit Assessments in G2-G5

Here is a resource that you can use to view exemplar responses for each open response question on upcoming unit assessments in G2-G5 -- Exemplar Unit RACE Responses. During your VoE/UP meetings, use this to cross-check the responses you and your coach are coming up with!


Non-fiction Guided Reading

This past week, the Humanities Team offered an optional PD around planning and executing a non-fiction Guided Reading lesson for teachers in G3-G5. Below, you'll be able to see some of the tools and resources we covered -- from reading a STEP intermediate data set, a document listing key demands for each STEP intermediate level, to two critical non-fiction Guided Reading planning templates. Your school leaders will have an opportunity to partake in this training this coming Monday. Reach out to them if you'd like to get this content and access to these resources!

Access to G1 Double Plans

G1 teachers: your double plans are accessible only by Google Docs in order to preserve formatting in the documents. While you can find earlier plans on Box, later plans are only accessible via this link. Please reach out to Brooke if you have any questions.

16-17 RA/RC Working Group

Wednesday, Feb. 10th, 5:15pm

2001 Gateway Place

San Jose, CA

Join this working group to see our curricular revisions to both the non-fiction and narrative plans for next year! For this specific meeting, we will be going over our non-fiction long term plans as well as sharing how this will fit within our science/social studies vision for next year.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Rocketship Humanities

We are a team that is dedicated to ensuring that all students receive an excellent literacy instruction. We believe that this can be achieved through high quality professional development, strategic coaching and support, dedicated school staff, and an unyielding belief that every child can succeed.