Category Archives: English Language Arts

Strategies to Encourage Summer Reading

Summer. The word alone conjures images of the pool, beach, sand, sun, relaxing with a good book…

Unfortunately, summer break often means a vacation from reading for many students.

Summer Reading Loss Research

The importance of summer reading is well documented in educational research. Studies confirm that summer reading loss perpetuates the achievement gap between low-socioeconomic communities and more advantaged communities. However, Jimmy Kim (2004) found Continue reading Strategies to Encourage Summer Reading

Opportunity for Curriculum Networking and Resources

There are nearly 15,000 English Learners in Kent County schools.  Nationally, 1 in 4 students is an English Learner.

How are you supporting English Learners (EL) at your school in Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts?

EL Coaching Network (ELCN)

Last year participants from 20 districts came together to learn, discuss, and devise action plans to increase the achievement of their EL students. The 2016/2017 EL Coaching Network will focus on support for ELs in the K-12 content areas. EL teachers, EL staff, and content teachers are welcome to join.

Did you know that Kent ISD has other Curriculum focused networks?

Not only can your district participate in our EL Coaching Network, the Teaching and Learning department at Kent ISD has created the opportunity for all Kent County districts to network and obtain resources related to each specific content area. Continue reading Opportunity for Curriculum Networking and Resources

How to Read (and Enjoy) More Books

Several years ago, I got pretty into Goodreads, mostly because I like measuring stuff and Goodreads made it fun to set goals for and keep track of how many books I read. It was also a big thing on Twitter — people would share how many books they were reading, and they would set reading goals for the year.

But then I stopped keeping track of how many books I read — publicly and privately — and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I can’t tell you how many books I read in 2015 simply because I don’t keep count. That’s not a humble brag, either — no “I’ve lost count because there are so many” nonsense. Rather, I’ve found that not counting has given me exponentially more enjoyment and advantage out of reading than I ever realized during the counting days. This, in turn, has made me a more well-read reading teacher. Continue reading How to Read (and Enjoy) More Books

3 Unique Reading Strategies You’ll Want to Try!

Learning to read can be difficult for anyone.  Michigan’s proficiency on the NAEP is just over 30 percent for third-grade readers.  Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) Region Three superintendents are tackling this problem through the Reading Now Network, which is beginning to develop resources for the classroom.

This morning I watched a TedX talk that had some unique approaches to improve reading in ALL students.  When I say ALL students, I mean even those with learning disabilities.Chris Bugaj

The TedX talk was by Chris Bugaj, MA CCC-SLP the founding member of the Assistive Technology Team for Loudoun County Public Schools.

In Chris’ TedX talk, he shared three unique reading strategies. Continue reading 3 Unique Reading Strategies You’ll Want to Try!

Helping Students Become Active Thinkers, Part 2

Last week, Tim Hargis wrote about four areas of focus to help students become active thinkers and independent writers. He described purpose and craft in detail.  In part 2, he will go over the final two focus areas: genre and text structure and content.  To learn more about this subject, register for The Writing Diner 2: Creating Active Thinkers for Common Core Success (Elementary & Middle School) on August 6th at Kent ISD.

A Focus on Genre and Text Structures

Teaching the three different types of writing through genre and text structure units is another way to up the level of thinking for student writers. If students have to grapple with Continue reading Helping Students Become Active Thinkers, Part 2

Helping Students Become Active Thinkers, Part 1

The ultimate goal of all writing instruction has to be to help students become active thinkers while they are independently writing. This is the foundation of my writing beliefs. We need to teach writing in a way that will allow students, when they are sitting alone with a blank paper or computer screen in front of them, to have writing knowledge and skills inside of them that they can apply, on their own, in any situation.

If this is our goal for our writing instruction and we achieve it, then students will not only be successful in our classrooms, but they will be successful in grades, on standardized tests, writing in the content areas, and beyond.

The Common Core State Standards demand this of our student writers. The authors of The Standards outline seven characteristics of students who are “college and career ready.” At the top of the list is that students “demonstrate independence.” As teachers, we need to Continue reading Helping Students Become Active Thinkers, Part 1

Gallagher Builds a Lifelong Desire to Read and Write

What is in the best interest of our students? Is it teaching to the newest standards movement, like the Common Core? Teaching that prepares students to take a test? Or is it something more meaningful and authentic? Something more enduring?

Kelly Gallagher will be at Kent ISD on March 23rd  to present Core Values to secondary educators. He invites fellow educators to pause in the midst of the standards commotion and remind themselves to do right by their students – to ensure that Continue reading Gallagher Builds a Lifelong Desire to Read and Write

How to Build Complexity to Foster Critical Thinking

Teachers work tirelessly to help students achieve success. There are so many teachers that are dedicated to their profession.  We appreciate the determination and drive that teachers exhibit when working with our children.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the amazing teachers were recognized for their passion?

Unfortunately, there can only be one Continue reading How to Build Complexity to Foster Critical Thinking

Purposeful Annotation: A Close Reading Strategy that Makes Sense to My Students

Post- Purposeful Annotation Image
Mmm… tortilla chip crumbs. (It’ll make sense later.)

When I first started writing about close reading, I was doing what a lot of people did at the time, and still do: I essentially used the phrase “close reading” instead of the term annotation.

Unfortunately, it took me about a year to realize Continue reading Purposeful Annotation: A Close Reading Strategy that Makes Sense to My Students

Teachers Learn to Spark Pizzazz into Student Writing

biopicAnderson2010“When students talk about their ideas for writing, they often exhibit spark, personality, and pizzazz, expressing interesting ideas fearlessly and creatively. Yet the writing they submit lacks this same enthusiasm and originality. They have the ideas, but what happens between that talk and the written draft?” (Anderson, Jeff, and Deborah Dean. Revision Decisions: Talking through Sentences and beyond. Stenhouse Publishers, 2014. Print.)

Grammar had never been a topic we looked forward to teaching….until Jeff Anderson made it a topic we LOVE to teach Continue reading Teachers Learn to Spark Pizzazz into Student Writing