Friday, April 15, 2011

MRA Conference- Sharing our Learning (A WORK IN PROGRESS)

Teachers who attended the MRA Conference in March are sharing information from sessions in the form of handouts or slideshows. I am pleased to be able to use our Literacy Newsletter in this collaborative way! I will add to it as information comes in.

Facilitating Meetings as an Educational Leader:

Steve Seward i
s an educational consultant. His MRA session focused on how educational leaders can facilitate effective meetings. See his website on resources for charting and instructional techniques.


Sessions on Technology and Literacy:

Using iPads and Mobile Technology to Support Literacy Skills
-See the documents on this session, shared by Jennifer Wright, on the Companion Wikispace.


Sessions on Common Core State Standards:


Future of Literacy- Jim Burke

Reading Instruction
Rethinking the whole class novel
View more documents from Donalynm

Building Deeper Readers and Writers
Kelly Gallagher’s message targeted teaching deeper reading and writing, more specifically; there are steps we can take to avoid “readicide” in our classrooms.
Student Engagement

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Literacy in the Content Areas- Professional Development Sessions

On March 29th I visited teachers at MMS to provide follow up material from our Feburary 22nd professional development session. I'll do the same follow up with HS staff on April 19th.

See handouts on the Companion Wiki

On April 12th, I visited teachers of Whitehills and Glencairn to share and discuss reading comprehension strategies.

See handouts on the Companion Wiki

Monday, April 11, 2011


Lists for Students

Looking for something for your students to read? Marianne Forman asked me to provide some booklists for students and parents. These lists come from either the American Library Association (ALA), the International Reading Association (IRA) or from library systems including the Capital Area District Library and the Detroit Public Libraries. You can find all of theses lists to download and print on our Companion Wiki. There are suggestions for students K-12 and cover topics requested by teachers and parents, including:

*reluctant readers
*science fiction
*books that you just can't put down
*Newberry Award Winners
*books that would appeal to African American readers (parent requests)
*books that would appeal to Hispanic readers (parent requests)
*popular YA historical fiction
*books that are retellings of classic literature

Useful Websites

If you haven't already checked out following websites, I'll list them here for you to do so!

Tag Galaxy-

Looking for images to go along with reading and vocabulary instruction? This site pulls all photos from Flickr that fit the "tag" you are searching.

Florida Center for Reading Research:

  • To conduct basic research on reading, reading growth, reading assessment, and reading instruction that will contribute to the scientific knowledge of reading and benefit students in Florida and throughout the nation.

  • To disseminate information about research-based practices related to literacy instruction and assessment for children in pre-school through 12th grade.

  • To conduct applied research that will have an immediate impact on policy and practices related to literacy instruction in Florida.

  • To provide technical assistance to Florida’s schools and to the State Department of Education for the improvement of literacy outcomes in students from pre-K through 12th grade.


This site is a collaboration by National Council Teachers of English and the International Reading Association.

It includes:
  • lessons for all grade levels and content areas
  • professional development
  • student and parent resources

IES What Works Clearinghouse: Practice Guides

Practice guides provide practical recommendations for educators to help them address the everyday challenges they face in their classrooms and schools. Developed by a panel of nationally recognized experts, practice guides consist of actionable recommendations, strategies for overcoming potential roadblocks, and an indication of the strength of evidence supporting each recommendation. IES practice guides are subjected to rigorous external peer review.

ELA Units for the Common Core State Standards

Common Core’s Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts translate the new Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten through 12th grade into unit maps that teachers can use to plan their year, craft their own more detailed curriculum, and create lesson plans. They were were written by public school teachers for public school teachers and are available free of charge to anyone who would like to use them. The maps are flexible and adaptable, yet they address every standard in the CCSS. Any teacher, school, or district that chooses to follow the Common Core maps can be confident that they are adhering to the standards. The maps are undergoing revision based on suggestions received during a month-long public comment period conducted in the Fall of 2010. A 2011 edition of the maps will be released soon.


Vocabulary Instruction

Explicit vocabulary instruction is key to getting students to understand what they are reading. Watch Anita Archers' lesson and take note of her instructional process:

1) Introduce the pronunciation of the word.
In order to attachment meaning to the vocabulary term and to retrieve that meaning, students must pronounce the word correctly. If the word is one that students have neither heard or said OR is difficult to pronounce, have the students pronounce the word a number of times.

2) Provide a student-friendly explanation of the word’s meaning. The next step is to present the meaning of the word using a definition/explanation that is easy to understand and only includes known words. Presentation of the definition within a sentence makes it easier to process the definition. See sites below for online dictionaries.

3) Illustrate with examples.
Dr. Archer presented a number of examples to illustrate the vocabulary term/concept. Some of the examples related to the students’ own experiences while other examples related directly to the use of the word in the passage, thus bridging vocabulary instruction and passage comprehension.


Longman's Dictionary


And see Tag Galaxy for pictures to aide in vocabulary instruction!

4) Check understanding by asking questions.
Dr. Archer asked students questions to determine their understanding. In this lesson, students were asked to discern between examples and non-examples of ‘elude’ and later examples and non-examples of ‘intention.’