Monday, November 26, 2018


SOEL Searching for the Essentials in Action!

The November meetings of the Study of Early Literacy (SOEL) network were hosted by elementary schools in our community. We only need to look to our local schools to see exemplary literacy practices in action! 
Our experiences with and connections to teachers and students helps us to see the Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy in an authentic way: 

Ann Arbor Northside STEAM hosted our November 7th meeting of SOEL 1- Equity, Engagement and Motivation in Literacy to look at prime examples of Essential #1- Deliberate, research informed efforts to foster literacy motivation and engagement within and across lessons.   In our brief observations across several classrooms, we saw an abundance of bullet #2- provides daily opportunities for children to make choices in their reading and writing in what children read, where in the classroom they read it, how they read it, and their reading partners. 
Thanks to SOEL member Brooke Stidham and teachers at Northside STEAM for our day!

SOEL 2- Reading Instruction in Early Literacy met November 14th at EMU during the Responsive Teaching Institute hosted by the AI Team of WISD. Presentations by Dr. Ernest Morrell and Dr. Laura Jimenez (two of five speakers) highlighted the importance of culturally relevant literacy practices, connected to Essential #8- Abundant reading material and reading opportunities in the classroom, bullet 2, books and other materials connected to children's interests and that reflect children's backgrounds and cultural experiences. See Dr. Morrell's and other presentation slides here for a snapshot of sessions.
 **Save the date for the next Responsive Teaching Institute on January 17th!   

Paddock Elementary hosted the November 15th meeting of SOEL 3- Writing Instruction in Early Literacy.  In our observations of writing instruction, we clearly saw Essential #6- Research- and standards-aligned writing instruction,
bullets #1- Interactive Writing Experiences, #2, daily time for children to write,  and #3, instruction in writing processes and strategies.  
**Thank you to SOEL member Tracy Terris and Paddock staff for hosting!

Grades 4&5 and 6-12 Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy

 On December 5th at WISD there will be an overview of the Essential Instructional Practices for Literacy in Grades 4 & 5.  Register HERE by November 30th!  $25 

6-12 Essentials for Secondary Literacy-
The Inquiry into Disciplinary Literacy and Learning (IDLL) network will meet at Creekside Intermediate on December 13th to examine the bridges from Grades 4& 5 Essentials and shifts into the draft 6-12 Disciplinary Literacy Essentials for which we are a pilot group for the state of Michigan. 
Our experience in a grades 5 & 6 building will help us understand the progression from literacy instruction in upper elementary into Disciplinary Literacy in the secondary grades. 
*Thanks to IDLL member Melanie Dever and Creekside staff for hosting!

Online Professional Learning Links

Did you know that several SOEL teachers are featured in videos on the site?    This is more evidence of authentic examples of the Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy Instruction in our county classrooms! See Caroline Jacob in this video, modeling Essential #4, Bullet 5: Listening for sounds in words to estimate spelling.

 Picture Books and Read Alouds are for EVERYONE!

Dr. Ernest Morrell is the director for the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame.  In a recent two part blog post, his team at the CLE detailed how to use picture books at every age- also referencing the Essentials! 

See Part 1 for early and upper elementary grades and Part 2 for middle and high school grades. 
How do you use picture books and read alouds in your classroom?

Thursday, November 1, 2018


Teacher Planning & Implementation Day

Planning and Implementation Days were introduced this year to give teachers involved in an instructional or assessment network some intentional time to plan around their new learning in order to put it into classroom practice. 

On the first Planning and Implementation Day, October 18th, teachers had time with experts and consultants who frequently speak at our network meetings. Consultants were available on this day solely to support teacher's self identified professional learning needs.   

We were fortunate to have a plethora of expertise working with us that day:

Dr. Cathy Fleischer, EMU- Teacher Research and writing

Dr. Darin Stockdill, UM- Disciplinary Literacy

Dr. Gina Cervetti, UM- science units K-3

Heidi Roy-Borland, WLES, Coach-  K-3 reading instruction
Jenny Miller, AAPS, BLE - K-3 Writing instruction
Tonya Saragoza, MAS, Coach- Teacher Research, Reading Instruction 3-5
Tracy Terris, MAS, Coach- Reading and Writing Instruction K-3
Kate Rossetter, Coach, Howell-  PBL, Information in Action Kits
Members of the Achievement Initiatives Team at WISD - on literacy, assessment, responsive mathematics, & coaching.

Future Planning and Implementation days will be February 14th and April 18th.

Upcoming Professional Learning

Join us as we explore how educators can engage in culturally relevant pedagogy in literacy, mathematics, and science!

  • Decentering Whiteness Selecting Complex and Compelling Texts for your Classroom- Dr. Laura Jimenez
  • Mathequity - Dr. Aris Winger - Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Achieving the Goal of Leading for Equity - Dr. Richard Milner - University of Pittsburgh
FREE to all educators in Washtenaw & Livingston counties
$35 for all other attendees
Register HERE  


Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy- Grades 4 & 5 OVERVIEW for Literacy Coaches

The purpose of literacy essential instructional practices for grades 4 and 5 is to improve children’s literacy in Michigan. Professional development throughout the state can focus on this set of research-supported literacy instructional practices for daily use in the classroom. Expert research suggests that each of the 10 practices outlined in this document can have a positive impact on literacy development. The use of these practices in every Michigan classroom every day can make a measurable, positive difference in the state’s literacy achievement. Join us for a one-day overview of these practices. Cost is $25.00   Register HERE

*For questions regarding registration for any event, contact Jay Kirby at WISD.