Literacy Unit Project, Session 3

Third through fifth grade teachers continued to make progress on developing literacy units, mapped to essential understandings, that stretch across all three grades. Those EUs have been finalized and include:

  • How does conflict and compromise shape culture?
  • How does setting influences the culture?
  • Why do some values, points of view and ideas change over time?
  • How do recurring patterns of interactions help to make predictions and understanding our world?

Session 3 focused on professional learning from Robert Pondiscio (video here and here) who emphasizes building knowledge coherently to increase reading comprehension. This was followed by exploring the finalized Literacy Unit Template and populating it with vetted resources. You can review all of the session materials in the links below.

Session 3 PowerPoint

Literacy Design Template

Science Statement

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‘How and How Not to Prepare Students for the New Tests’

A popular question, since Nevada officially adopted the SBAC Test for the 2014-2015, is how to best prepare students for the coming assessments. I certainly have an opinion and have consistently noted that if you take full advantage of well-vetted resources, including the Basal Alignment Project, Close Read Exemplars, Core Knowledge, We the People curriculum, Document Based Questions, and the resources at www.63000resources and, you can feel confident that you are headed in the right direction. Yet, some vendors and national consultants outline a different strategy in which you diagnose skill deficits and remediate. Dr. Timothy Shanahan, the former President of the International Reading Association and work team member on the Common Core State Standards, challenges this strategy in a piece for The Reading Teacher. He writes:

Already, new test prep materials are starting to appear on the Internet, and teachers ask me all the time how they can best prepare students to respond to these new items. Many educators assume that, since these tests will be aligned to the CCSS, they will detect which standards the students are meeting: Johnny meets Reading Standard 4 but is still not getting Standard 7.

The problem is that it doesn’t work that way. It hasn’t in the past, and it won’t with these new tests, either.

Dr. Shanahan follows this claim with the research to buttress his assertion and suggestions for how best to prepare for the coming assessments. You can gain access to the full article here.

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Session 3 Materials from DC CTP

Educators in Washington, D.C. gathered for the third session of the DC Core Task Project. Session three focused on text complexity, text-dependent questions, and crafting questions to the Malcolm Xs speech, Message to the Grass Roots You can access all of the session materials from the links below.

Session 3 PowerPoint

Text Complexity Qualitative Measures Rubric

Practice with High Quality Texts

Brief Guide to Writing Text Dependent Questions

Practice with Text Dependency

Teacher Reflection Form

What are Kids Reading?

Message to the Grass Roots Text with line numbering

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Dr. P. David Pearson: Implementing the CCSS: Comprehension, Close Reading, and the Common Core

Although Pearson acknowledges he’s had reservations about the implementation of the CCSS, he takes the time to outline specifically what he likes about the standards. You can see the list in the image below and by viewing the video presentation beginning at minute 5:54. He notes that part of the value of teaching with complex texts is that all students will end up with skills and strategies to navigate “Waterloo” texts.

At minute 10:29, Pearson demonstrates what it means to comprehend. He pauses on how words in a text “compel” us to access background knowledge; that unfamiliarity with ideas and words in a text make links to prior knowledge more challenging; and that we make “plausible” links to things we associate with a word or idea.

At minute 27:51, Pearson outlines his concerns about how close reading is being misused and misinterpreted—specifically that text-dependent questions will be reduced to literal recall questions. He also adds his concern that literal recall questions will be seen as a “prerequisite” for inferential and critical comprehension. Finally, he emphasizes the importance of readers attaching text to schema.

Pearson does an historical overview of close reading at minute 34:40 and at minute 40:00 maps elements of close reading onto the standards themselves. At minute 40:30 Pearson shares his definition of close reading and explains the two questions we should be routinely asking of text: What do you think you know and what in the text makes you think so?

You can view the presentation here.


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November 4th Presentation Materials–with Pondiscio Video Links

As part of the November 4th Professional Learning Day, K-3 educators from 18 different sites gathered for a Core Knowledge Rendezvous. The day focused on a taped presentation by Robert Pondiscio (part 1 here and part 2 here) followed by opportunities to share student and teacher artifacts. Teachers were also afforded time to plan with educators from other schools. You can download the session materials from the links below.

November 4th PowerPoint presentation

Pondiscio slides and notetaker

Pondiscio Prezi—57 Most Important Words

You can review some of the great things happening in our classrooms by visiting the Twitter hashtag #TeachNV

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Every Child Reading–Dr. Margie Gillis Presentation

In case you missed it, you can access an October 28th presentation by Dr. Margie B. Gillis on helping Kindergarten through 3rd grade students with reading. Dr. Gillis is the president of Literacy How, Inc. and research affiliate, Haskins Laboratories and Fairfield University. Gillis describes the evidence for what teachers need to know to teach reading—specifically, that it has to be systematic and deliberate. Regretfully, I cannot mark minutes from the webinar but highlights include:

  • In K-3, the priority should be on promoting literacy and governance needs to be reflective on what grant efforts assist with this and what efforts do not.
  • The brain is not wired to learn to read. A system has to be developed.
  • The acquisition of the skills of reading and writing requires the interplay of several components (see image below).

Gillis Components

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Presentation Materials from Bay Area CCSS Summit

As part of the Third Annual San Francisco Bay Area Common Core State Standards Summit, convened by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, educators worked through research and materials match to the CCSS and vetted through Washoe’s Core Task Project. In the session titled A Closer Look at the CCSS ‘Core Actions’ for K-8 Teachers, participants worked through video and print material from Dr. Timothy Shanahan, MetaMetrics, Robert Pondiscio, Debra Meiers, and Dr. Daniel Willingham. These materials were further matched to the Core Actions in the Instructional Practice Guides.

You can download the session materials in the links below.

Bay Area CCSS Summit PowerPoint

Cohrent Body of Knowledge Notetaker

Grades K-2 Instructional Practice Guide Daily

Grades K-2 Instructional Practice Guide Yearly

Grades 3-5 Instructional Practice Guide Daily

Grades 3-5 Instructional Practice Guide Yearly

Grades 6-12 Instructional Practice Guide Daily

Grades 6-12 Instructional Practice Guide Yearly

Practice High Quality Texts

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