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).

Writing Office Hours with Joey Hawkins of Student Achievement Partners and The Vermont Writing Collaborative

Prepare for the Common Core writing standards. Webinar recorded 3/13/14.

Thousands of K-12 educators are working to implement the Common Core writing standards.

To help, we held a Q&A session with Joey Hawkins, one of the founders of the Vermont Writing Collaborative and co-author of Writing For Understanding: Using Backward Design To Help All Students Write Effectively.

A nationally recognized writing expert with more than 35 years teaching experience, Joey works closely with Student Achievement Partners to develop, curate, and review CCSS resources for teachers. With one foot still firmly in the middle school classroom, and as a founder of VWC, Joey has offered courses and school-based professional development in Writing for Understanding in Vermont and throughout the country. Watch the office hours here:

Joey’s suggested resources

  • In Common – check out the In Common protocols, specifically designed for coaches and literacy leaders to use to work with the student writing samples with teachers. In Common provides a range of examples of Common Core-aligned student work, drawn directly from K-12 classrooms across the country. These student writing samples demonstrate how a student’s writing skills can progress as they gain fluency across the three major types of Common Core writing: argument/opinion writing, informative/explanatory writing, and narrative writing. In Common PD activities are in the third section on this page (“Professional Development for In Common”).
  • Exemplar resources on Edmodo – check out the the Basil Alignment Project group and Anthology Alignment Project group.
  • EngageNY – look at the middle school modules in particular- all free.
  • Vermont Writing Collaborative site: check out the teacher made reading/writing instructional sequences, painted essay materials, study guide for the book – all free.
  • Writing for Understanding: Using Backward Design To Help All Students Write Effectively – Check out the book Joey wrote, along with other writing experts, to give teachers a good overall sense of how to design Common Core writing instruction, at all grade levels.
  • Sample Writing Tasks created by Student Achievement Partners: Check out these scaffolded analytical writing tasks. They provide examples for teaching Common Core writing and are designed for use with example lessons from the Basal Alignment Project (BAP).

Since we ran out of time and were unable to answer all the questions from our audience, Joey kindly agreed to share her thoughts on a few more, below:

Additional Questions

1. What are some of the best professional books to study for writing in the classroom?  Writing for children?

Joey: The book by the Vermont Writing Collaborative, Writing for Understanding: Using Backward Design to Help All Students Write Effectively is the book we wrote to give teachers a good overall sense of how to design Common Core writing instruction, at all grade levels. Another book I think is wonderful is Curriculum As Conversation by Applebee (written for college teachers, but deeply relevant to all teachers in the age of the Common Core)

2. Do you have any resources for helping kids elaborate more in their writing?

Joey: Struggling writers tend to be vague…even though we spend so much time with models, better answer formula, etc. The book above, Writing for Understanding, talks about this. As the question notes, models are very important, and so is cuing like  the “better answer” material. In addition, it’s helpful when teachers spend more time with students on making sure they have depth of understanding of what they’re writing – in our experience, the single biggest impediment to thoughtful, elaborated writing is a superficial understanding of the topic. For many / most kids, they also need built-in time for “oral processing” and even what we might call “oral rehearsal” of their thinking before they write. This really means that every student needs to “speak their ideas” before they write – the more challenging the thinking, the greater the need for this. All of this slows down the instruction time, making it take longer – on the other hand, the writing is much more likely to be strong and thoughtful as a result!

3. We’re making the shift to mini-research investigation and then writing a response and making a connection to the reading passage (story, novel, etc) we are currently reading.  Can you explain more about what “mini-research” should look like?  How often should this occur? 

Joey: Mini-research can look many ways. At the most fundamental level, kids are given a focusing question about a text or texts, and then guided to search for evidence in that text or texts that help develop the answer to the question. This “evidence hunting and gathering” is at the heart of writing about text – it involves re-reading, focused note-taking, careful selection, conversation  – and then ultimately, explaining that evidence. How often?  All the time. A week should not go by where kids aren’t doing this somewhere – not necessarily in every subject, but somewhere!

Joey: Overall, we find it’s most helpful for teachers to think in terms of “what important understanding do I want kids to get from this text? What could it look like in writing?” Then, try it yourself – what did it take YOU to write what you hope kids will write? Plan backward for that – how will I help kids read this text so they understand this? How will I help them gather evidence? How will I make sure they know how to build /structure the writing?

Important tip here: giving kids “choice” about that they write is sometimes a good idea, BUT when teachers and kids are learning how to do all of this super important work, student choice makes the task (for both teacher and kids) much harder, and makes opportunities for real oral processing (see above) almost impossible. Choose a (relatively short) and rich text that matters, and work with the class.

 

Like what you’ve seen? Check out these other useful resources:

Writing, aligning, and sequencing text-dependent questions

This webinar, the second in our “Close Reading” series, models a proven strategy for crafting text-dependent questions and follows up on our earlier “Text Talk” webinar and our 6 step guide to crafting great text-dependent questions. Enjoy!

Download the resources referenced in this webinar here, including:

Like what you see?

Sign Up for the next webinar in our series,

“Crafting effective text-based writing prompts”

on Mar 11th 2014 at 4p ET.

Literacy Office Hours with David Liben pt. 2

This is the second of three office hours hosted by David. View the first office hours here.

David Liben, of Student Achievement Partners, shares a wealth of tips and resources to help prepare your students for the Common Core ELA standards.

RESOURCES

Reading Strategies and Close Reading

  • “Rethinking Reading Comprehension Instruction,”  by McKeown, Beck, and Blake, is a study that compared the effects of content instruction (using text-dependent questions) to the effects of strategies instruction, and found that content focused instruction had greater benefits.
  • Cognitive Scientist Daniel Willingham’s Blog,  presents research and describes the danger of excessive focus on comprehension strategies.

Examples of Rich Complex Text

Examples of good questioning technique:

Using Basal Readers

  • This lesson bank offers Common Core-aligned replacement lessons for basals published before the Common Core (pre-2010).
  • To learn more about or join the group that created these lessons, the Basal Alignment Project (BAP), click here.
  • There are lots of new resources that say they’re Common Core-aligned.  Use the Publisher’s Criteria to evaluate whether they are really aligned to the Standards.   If IMET is on atc we could use that as well.

Read Alouds

  • Model Read Aloud lesson for K-2 classrooms, based on the poem, The Wind, available here.
  • K-2, teachers all over the country are also working to create Common Core-aligned Read Aloud lessons, through the Read Aloud Project.  Access the resources they create or join the group through Edmodo, using the group access code: pkx52i

Volume of Reading and Vocabulary

  • Long-term reading success depends on not just close reading, but also on volume of reading.
  • This article by Marilyn Jager Adams in American Educator explains how a series of texts on related topics is the fastest way to grow the vocabulary needed to access complex text.  She also cites research by Thomas Landauer showing the powerful relationship between volume of reading and vocabulary growth.

Guided Reading

Like what you’ve seen? Sign up here for our next Literacy Office Hours on April 9th, 2014.

Also, check out our post on 4 tips for aligning your ELA lessons to the Common Core and 3 tips for approaching close reading.