Literacy Office Hours with David Liben of Student Achievement Partners pt. 3

Get tips on how to implement Common Core ELA in your classroom.

In this webinar, David Liben of Student Achievement Partners shares his insights about bringing exceptional literacy instruction to k-12 classrooms. David is the Senior ELA/literacy Specialist at Student Achievement Partners, an organization founded by the authors of the Common Core. A principal and teacher with more than 20 years experience in the classroom, David was one of the educators closely involved in the writing of the Common Core Standards, including synthesizing the research behind Appendix A.

Implementing the Common Core: Literacy

This is the third of our series of three literacy office hours (view part 1 and part two).

You won’t want to miss his explanation of the best way to share vocabulary at minute 6:10, how literacy coaches can bridge the gap between explicitly teaching comprehension strategies (inference, visualization), and Common Core’s emphasis on close reading at minute 14:25.

 

Additional Common Core Implementation Resources:

David also shared a plethora of resources that you can access below:

 

Vocabulary

COMING SOON to the Student Achievement Partners site:  The Significance of Vocabulary in the Common Core State Standards, article by David Liben. Includes research findings about vocabulary instruction and practical exercises to help teachers learn to select and teach vocabulary.

Word Nerds: mostly geared towards elementary school but works for middle school. Great book for vocabulary. Describes how to build a culture of loving and using words in your school.

Wordly Wise: Books to support targeted direct vocabulary instruction; has Greek and Latin Roots from the same publisher.

Zaner Bloser’s Word Study Programs: Word study methods to help students understand word structure and learn new vocabulary context.

 

Text dependent questions

Student Achievement Partners: Text-Dependent Question Resources – Collection of tools to help learn to write and use text-dependent questions.  Includes short and long guides and examples.

Student Achievement Partners: Featured Lessons – 20 lessons that focus on text dependent questions to support close reading (mentioned at minute 15:40).

“Scaffolded Reading Instruction of Content Area Texts” by Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey, shows how to create text dependent questions that are aligned to the standards.

 

Text complexity

Student Achievement Partners: Text complexity resources– Collection of tools and guides to help teacher analyze the complexity of texts. Includes both quantitative and qualitative measures.

Student Achievement Partners: free webinar done along with Metametrics on how people can find texts at different levels of text complexity.

 

Curriculum evaluation

Student Achievement Partners: Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool gives a step by step description on how to evaluate materials.

Engage NY is a comprehensive site from NY State with a free Common Core aligned curriculum as well as a variety of tools and resources to help teachers and districts with Common Core. It has lessons, units etc.  In particular their elementary school literacy resources are useful. Also check out EngageNY’s Pre-K Through Second Grade ELA (mentioned at minute 25:15).

 

Parent resources

Greatschools.org terrific resources for parents. Click your grade band here (Elementary School, Middle School, High School) It is a website just for parents.

 

Science and Social Studies

Student Achievement Partners: Science and Technical Subject Lessons + History and Social Studies Lessons (mentioned at minute 12:00).

 

Additional

Structured Journals – Structured journals are a great strategy for helping kids to hold students accountable for learning from their reading. Check out these resources: Essay on use of structured journals by Meredith Liben and Example of a close reading lesson that uses the structured journal technique (mentioned in minute 13:40).

 

Lily Wong-Fillmore’s “Juicy Sentences” approach – Teaching syntax is crucially important, but often ignored.  Lily Wong-Fillmore’s “Juicy Sentences” approach represents one good approach to teaching syntax. Check out this presentation on Fillmore’s approach. Also, here is a blog post by a teacher who succeeded with her (ELL) students by using the approach.

 

Ready for more?

Check out our Writing Office hours with Joey Hawkins of Student Achievement Partners, as well as David’s first two office hours (#1) and (#2).

The Power of Delaware TeachFest

We are honored to be working with the State of Delaware to recruit and develop a Delaware Dream Team to create high-quality Common Core formative assessment items that will be shared with teachers throughout the state.

The video below gives you a quick view into the spirit and impact of working with teachers in this rigorous, collaborative way — a spirit that is shared by our own national Dream Team.

It is truly an honor to help develop the teachers that, in turn, make a difference for students every day.

STATE NAMES 97 TALENTED TEACHERS TO ‘CONNECTICUT DREAM TEAM’

We’re delighted to share that the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) has announced that 97 teachers from 86 schools across Connecticut will take part in TeachFest Connecticut, an intensive professional learning session on the Common Core State Standards, where they will develop high-quality resources to be shared with fellow teachers. The ‘Connecticut Dream Team’ will continue working with their peers in the weeks following TeachFest and later serve as teacher leaders at a larger event for Connecticut educators this summer. Participants teach a wide spectrum of different grade levels, with 60 specializing in English language arts and 37 in mathematics.

State names 97 teachers to the CT Dream Team

Commissioner Stefan Pryor announces members of the 2014 Connecticut Dream Team

“TeachFest will provide teachers with the opportunity to collaborate and innovate as they develop high-quality Common Core resources to be shared with their colleagues. Participants will also serve as teacher leaders in future Common Core-related events and activities. We thank and congratulate the teachers who have volunteered and been selected for the Connecticut Dream Team,” State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said. “This is a new and exciting element of our growing array of Common Core supports for teachers and school leaders. We are grateful to Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for providing the resources that enable us to provide these critical supports for educators.”  

TeachFest Connecticut represents one of the professional development opportunities supported by the State Department of Education regarding the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.The Connecticut Dream Team will first convene in Hartford from April 25-27 for TeachFest Connecticut, a celebration of teaching and an intensive, structured working session facilitated by LearnZillion. A provider of digital curriculum and professional development for the Common Core, LearnZillion developed this innovative model for their national Dream Team.

“Connecticut teachers’ response to this opportunity has been wonderful,” said Eric Westendorf, CEO of LearnZillion. “We’re excited to support the SDE’s commitment to teachers by sharing our high-energy, rigorous and practical approach to developing exceptional instructional practice with the Connecticut Dream Team.”

Following TeachFest, the Connecticut Dream Team members will return to their 86 elementary, middle and high schools to continue working with peers and content coaches in facilitated online professional learning communities (PLCs). During this process, the Dream Team members will translate their proven teaching methods and classroom expertise into high-quality Common Core resources for use by teachers in Connecticut and will be available on CTCoreStandards.org. These resources will also be made available to teachers across the country, through a free Common Core resource library.

“We applaud all of the teachers who stepped up and volunteered to serve in this important role. Their firsthand classroom experience will be invaluable in helping their colleagues effectively implement Common Core — an effort that has been a significant challenge for so many of our state’s schools,” AFT Connecticut President Melodie Peters said. “Classroom educators were among the first to speak out and urge that their voices be heard in making new teaching standards work when they were adopted four years ago. This effort reflects a major step forward for implementing the core set of standards because it empowers teachers to train teachers.”

The Connecticut Dream Team will later serve as teacher leaders for a “Common Core Fest” to be held for hundreds of teachers across the state on July 29, 2014.   In addition to the LearnZillion experience, the State Department of Education is already sponsoring a series of professional development opportunities for educators across Connecticut. Since the beginning of the school year, school and district leaders have taken part in “communities of practice”— gatherings which focus on implementing the new standards and sharing best practices already in place.

Also, the SDE has convened over 1,500 teachers from 163 districts as Common Core Coaches to develop expertise in the new standards through a series of trainings and webinars. Common Core training opportunities are also being designed for 600 new teachers, student teachers and their mentors, as well as the faculty of teacher-preparation programs.   The K-12 educators selected for the Connecticut Dream Team were chosen through a competitive statewide application on the basis of their content knowledge, grit, and understanding of the Common Core State Standards. Each educator demonstrated the commitment and ability to “scale their impact” beyond their classroom.

 Teachers named to the 2014 Connecticut Dream Team

 Name School District
Aaron Ribchinsky Mary Morrison Elementary and Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School Groton Public Schools
Alicia Loesche East Haven High School East Haven School District
Alicia Wetherbee Edna C. Stevens Elementary School Cromwell School District
Amanda Ashley Peterson Danbury High School Danbury School District
Amanda Johnson Danbury High School Danbury School District
Amy DiNoia Chippens Hill Middle School Bristol School District
Amy Inzero Elizabeth Green Newington School District
Andrew D. Deacon Colebrook Consolidated School Colebrook School District
Andrew Hill Brookfield High School Brookfield School District
Andrew Hutchinson Meriden Elementary Schools Meriden School District
Anna Capobianco Hall High School West Hartford School District
Barbara McLean Hubbell Elementary School Bristol School District
Barbette Warren CREC Public Safety Academy Enfield School District
Briana Visone Bloomfield High School Bloomfield School District
Catherine Freeman Sage Park Middle School Windsor School District
Cheryl R. Kerison Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School New Haven School District
Christine Turcotte-White Henry Barnard Elementary School Enfield School District
Christopher Affie Ansonia High School Ansonia School District
Clinton McLeod Anna H. Rockwell School Bethel School District
Colm Duffin New Britain High School New Britain School District
Corey Nagle Chippens Hill Middle School Bristol School District
Courtney Warner Cook Hill Elementary School Wallingford School District
Craig Wisniewski Martin Kellogg Middle School Newington School District
Danielle Durso Crosby High School Waterbury School District
David P Daigneault Robert E Fitch High School Groton Public Schools
Debra Parker New Fairfield Middle School New Fairfield School District
Diana Kloskowski Slade Middle School New Britain School District
Dr. Brian Moore Bullard Havens Technical High School Connecticut Technical High School System
Elizabeth Porter Chippens Hill Middle School Bristol School District
Ellen Meyer Broadview Middle School Danbury School District
Erin Birden Washington Primary School Regional School District 12
Eugenie George Achievement First Bridgeport Elementary Achievement First Bridgeport
Fallon Wagner Meriden Elementary Schools Meriden School District
Heather DeLaurentis Polson Middle School Madison School District
Hillary Singer Roger’s Park Middle School Danbury School District
Jacqueline Kremer Integrated Day Charter School, Norwich; Juliet W. Long, Ledyard Integrated Day Charter School
Jane Giresi Miller-Driscoll School Wilton School District
Jane Martellino Warren School, James Morris School, and Goshen Center School Regional School District 06
Jane S Potts Mary Morrisson Elementary Groton Public Schools
Jennifer DeRagon Coventry High School Coventry Public School District
Jennifer Lizee-Hammer Pleasant Valley South Windsor School District
Jennifer McDougall Captain Nathan Hale Middle School Coventry Public School District
Jennifer Murrihy Frank T. Wheeler Elementary Plainville School District
Jessica Szafran A Ward Spaulding Elementary School Suffield School District
Josh Egan Washington Middle School Meriden School District
Kara levenduski Robert J. O’Brien STEM Elementary School East Hartford School District
Karen Ciarleglio Montowese Elementary North Haven School District
Kari Baransky Roger Sherman Elementary Meriden School District
Katherine Brodaski New London High School New London Public Schools
Katherine Jesmonth William J. Johnston Middle School Colchester Public Schools
Kelly Bouchard Ellen P. Hubbell School Bristol School District
Kelly Palaia International Magnet School for Global Citizenship Capital Region Education Council
Kevin Stevenson The Friendship School Waterford Public Schools
Kristen Grabowski Tolland Intermediate School Tolland School District
Kristin LaLima Griswold Middle School Griswold Public Schools
Laurie LaBossiere Griswold Middle School Griswold Public Schools
Laury LaMarche C.B. Jennings New London Public Schools
Lisa Handfield Andover Elementary School Andover School District
Marika Heughins Pawcatuck Middle School Stonington Public Schools
Mariliz Fitzpatrick Chippens Hill Middle School Bristol School District
Mary Kay Rendock Carmen Arace Intermediate School Bloomfield School District
Mary Lou Woods Meriden Elementary Schools Meriden School District
Mary Strout Griswold Elementary School Griswold Public Schools
MaryJean Giannetti Meriden Elementary Schools Meriden School District
Matthew Taber Coginchaug Regional HS Regional School District 13
Melissa Potamianos Orchard Hill South Windsor School District
Michelle Bartlett Sunnyside School Shelton School District
Michelle Combs Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School New London Public Schools
Monica Lloyd Toquam Magnet Elementary School Stamford School District
Nadine Keane Griswold High School Griswold Public Schools
Natasha Domina North Haven Middle School North Haven School District
Paul Jeffrey Laedke New Fairfield Middle School New Fairfield School District
Randy Ewart Windsor High School Windsor School District
Rita Gregory Booth Free School Regional School District 12
Robin Greenwald Leonard J. Tyl Middle School Montville Public Schools
Robin Moore James Morris School Regional School District 06
Rosanne Field Batcheller Early Learning Center Winchester School District
Ryan Howard Classical Studies Academy Bridgeport School District
Sarah Forler Hartland School Hartland School District
Sarah Worley Discovery Academy Capital Region Education Council
Shannon VanderMale Essex Elementary School Essex School District
Sharon Campolo Greene-Hills School Bristol School District
Sherri Hall Sarah J. Rawson Hartford School District
Stacey Albertson Dunbar Hill Elementary School Hamden School District
Stephanie McKenna Wethersfield High School Wethersfield School District
Steven Gionfriddo John C. Mead School Ansonia School District
Steven St. Onge Cromwell Middle School Cromwell School District
Susan Coyle Bullard Havens Technical High School Connecticut Technical High School System
Tawana Graham-Douglas Plainville Elementary Schools Plainville School District
Tiffany Deitelbaum City Hill Middle School Naugatuck School District
Tim Shortt Worthington Hooker School New Haven School District
Tina Eisenbeis Pawcatuck Middle School Stonington Public Schools
Tina Manus Platt Tech High School & Bridgeport Adult Education Connecticut Technical High School System
Tomasa Raver Center School Ellington School District
Vannessa Jane Riggio Chester Elementary School Regional School District 04
Victoria Fox Captain Nathan Hale Middle School Coventry Public School District
William McKinney Wilbur Cross High School New Haven School District

Ways to help parents understand the Common Core

Many parents are eager to take a proactive and productive role in student learning.

To help you out, we hosted a conversation between Eric Westendorf, CEO and co-founder of LearnZillion and Greg Mullenholz, former teacher, coach, 2013 Dream Team member, and current principal in Montgomery County Public Schools, to discuss some practical actions teachers can take to engage parents. Highlights include 5 tips on how best to share resources and specific ways to support student learning in light of identified gaps or advanced student needs. We’ve summarized some of their main points in the blog post below.

VIDEO

How can LearnZillion help Parents?

  1. Help them understand the standards
  2. Help with homework
  3. Support struggling students
  4. Accelerate bored students

For more, check out this blog post: Parent Resources: 4 Ways to Support Your Child’s Learning with Instructional Videos.

 

What’s the best way to share?

 

1. Email:

Send parents the Common Core content their child needs to master via URL, Quick code, or use the assign feature.

On LearnZillion we’ve made resource-sharing easy. You can simply copy and paste the URL or quick code of a video lesson and email it to parents. You can also directly assign math content or ELA content to students to complete for homework; parents can help their child complete this work at home.

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2. Letter Home:

Tell parents HOW they can use the resources available on LearnZillion.com

Sometimes paper is still the best medium to communicate with parents. Simply download this letter, customize the yellow portion to the standards your students learned that day and voilà, your students’ parents are ready to access the content online.

Click this image to download the parent letter and customize it to your class

Click this image to download the parent letter

 

 

3. Text:

Use a service like Reminder 101 or Edmodo to text parents video lesson quick codes

Quick codes – short six digit number attached to each lesson – allow teachers and parents to easily access lesson content by typing the code into any search bar on LearnZillion.com. Remind 101 allows you to text these codes to parents with the click of a button. We’ve seen parents watch these videos on their phone while waiting to pick up their children at school, or during a quick 5-7 minute break in the middle of the day. It’s a great method to bring parents closer to their children’s education amidst their already busy schedules.

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4. Create a context:

Make it easy for parents to take action.

It’s not enough to just give parents resources. Ease of use matters; the directions you give to parents should be as bite-sized and targeted as possible. Give parents a specific lesson that will best help with homework. Suggest how they can use the video with their child. Creating context can give parents confidence that they are supporting their child in the right ways.

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5. Use as basis for math or ELA night:

Share this information with parents through an in-school educational session.

Consider using LearnZillion content as a basis for a math and ELA night. These nights – organized for parents, students and teachers for topic-specific support – are a great way to demonstrate effective practice of parent involvement. Model what it looks like to find a lesson, talk about a lesson, work on homework using the lesson, and take notes. You can kickstart a habit so that parents and students can feel comfortable using the resources without the teacher present.

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These are some good steps to consider the next time you try to engage parents. Have any other ideas? Leave a comment below. And thanks for forwarding this post along to your friends and colleagues.

5 minutes to powerful whole class instruction

Thousands of teachers use LearnZillion every day to help their students learn.  But how do they do it? How can a 5 minute math or ELA video lesson help to drive high quality Common Core instruction? These teachers think of LearnZillion lessons as orange juice concentrate: they’re short but if you add water – in the form of questions, practice problems, and tasks – they expand into an amazing whole lesson.  In other words, these lessons are a perfect starting point for their whole class planning and instruction.

How LearnZillion Works

Each lesson on LearnZillion has been created by a member of our Dream Team directly from the language of the Common Core State Standards. As a result, every lesson is grade-level appropriate, visual, and focused on explaining the concepts at the heart of a standard.  In other words, it’s dense with high-quality, easy-to-understand Common Core content.  It’s also practical – each lesson comes with a set of power point slides that can be downloaded and customized to your particular class.

Learn how to customize downloadable slides

Learn how to customize downloadable slides

 

Turning LearnZillion concentrate into juice

Here are a few tips from our community about how to turn our short videos into powerful whole class instruction:

  1. Add stopping points and questions to the video lesson.  For example, stop at the “Common Misunderstanding” part of the video lessons and ask, “why do you think students make that mistake?”
  2. Use the guided practice and extension activities at the end of many of our slides as a basis for in-class practice.
  3. Personalize and customize LearnZillion’s downloadable slides to create practice worksheets (see 5 ways to leverage LearnZillion’s Downloadable Slides for more ideas)

For more ideas, check out the lesson plans we’ve developed for the essential 3rd-8th grade math standards, or watch this engaging video discussion with Nick Pyzik, an elementary school teacher and math coach at Tuscarora Elementary School in Ballenger Creek, Maryland. Nick gives specific examples about how he uses LearnZillion to streamline his own planning, reflects on student reactions to using LearnZillion lessons in the classroom, and shares how he’s using LearnZillion as a coach.

Ways to use LearnZillion

 

What else can you do with the lessons?

When LearnZillion lessons are the building blocks for whole class instruction, it’s even easier to use them for differentiation, for homework, or for parent engagement. Students will benefit from that direct link to what happened in class, and parents can finally make sense of the standards-driven shifts. Administrators, too, are using LearnZillion Premium as the backbone of a digital Common Core curriculum, and to help drive high-quality professional development.

 

Stay in touch!

We like to help all our users benefit from ideas and discoveries, so thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and advice for using LearnZillion with us!