LearnZillion ELA Webinar Archive

This page is regularly updated with our webinars focused on implementing the Common Core ELA standards — be sure to create a free account on LearnZillion to receive invitations to future events.

 

Thumbnail.OfficeHoursJoeyHawkins.Webinar.2014Writing Office Hours with Joey Hawkins of the Vermont Writing Collaborative

Recorded 03/13/14 8:00pm EST Get tips on instruction and resources from a nationally acclaimed writing educator and expert. (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.EQuIPRubricIntro.Webinar.2014

An Introduction to the EQuIP Rubric

Recorded 03/13/14 5:00pm EST Learn how to identify high quality materials aligned to the Common Core (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.ELAEssentials.Webinar.2014 ELA Essentials: Understanding the structure and transitions of the ELA standards

Recorded 3/4/14, 4:30 PM EST focus your lessons and write meaningful teaching objectives aligned to the ELA standards. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.SkipJoanPrincipalAnxiety.Webinar.2014 How Principals Can Relieve Anxiety Around Common Core Implementation

Recorded 3/5/14 3:00pm EST A discussion with Dr. Skip Fennell and Joan Tellish about how principals can help teachers implement the Common Core. (All grades; Administrators)

 

Thumbnail.Streamlineprofessionaldevelopment.Webinar.2014

Save time, reduce stress. Streamline planning and supercharge your professional growth with LearnZillion.

Recorded 2/30/14 3:30pm EST Learn how to integrate LearnZillion into your lesson planning process. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.OfficeHoursDavidLiben.Webinar.2014Literacy Office Hours with David Liben of Student Achievement Partners pt 2.

Recorded 2/26/14 8:00pm EST Get tips and resources from David Liben, a nationally acclaimed ELA/literacy specialist. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.writingaligningsequencingtextdependentq.Webinar.2014Writing, aligning, and sequencing text dependent questions

Recorded 2/19/14 4:00pm EST Learn proven strategies for crafting text-dependent questions. (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.TextTalk.Webinar.2013Text Talks: A First Step in Planning for Close Reading

Recorded 1/30/14 4:00pm EST Get tips, ideas and an actionable format for launching successful text talks. (All grades)

 

 

Literacy Office Hours wiScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 1.37.55 PMth David Liben of Student Achievement Partners pt 1.

Recorded 1/8/14 4:00pm EST Get tips and resources from David Liben,a nationally acclaimed ELA/literacy specialist (All grades)

 

 

Ready for more? Click the button below to view our math webinars:

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 1.59.54 PM

 

Save time, reduce stress. Streamline planning and supercharge your professional growth with LearnZillion.

Learn how to integrate LearnZillion into your lesson planning process.

In this webinar we talked with Nick Pyzik, elementary school teacher and coach at Tuscarora Elementary School in Ballenger Creek, Maryland. Watch this recording to get Nick’s tips for using LearnZillion to streamline planning and developing classroom practice.

Here are some highlights:

(3:29) – Using one LearnZillion video as a basis for an entire class period of instruction.

(7:41) – Using the “Common Misunderstanding” part of the video lessons to engage student discussion.

(10:32) – Using guided practice and extension activities as a basis for in-class practice.

(12:00) – Personalizing and customizing LearnZillion’d downloadable powerpoint slides to create practice worksheets. Learn how you can do the same in this post: 5 ways to leverage LearnZillion’s Downloadable Slides 

(17:40) How planning and curriculum development can be imbedded in one’s own professional development.

(20:30) Using LearnZillion as a k-5 coach to help teachers transition to the Common Core.

(22:38) Using the LearnZillion math Lesson Plan resources to help teachers do all the planning components mentioned above and differentiate instruction. To learn more about lesson plans, check out this description, and this webinar recording about practical tips for using Lesson Plans.

(26:30) An invitation to viewers to share additional ideas about how they are using LearnZillion. Please email your ideas to feedback@learnzillion.com!

Practical tips for using LearnZillion Lesson Plans in the classroom

Learn how to use LearnZillion Lesson Plans in your classroom.

Teachers across the country are using our lesson plans to streamline their planning process.

In this recording Shana Lindeman, a 7th grade math teacher and 2013 Dream Teamer from North Dakota, shares how she uses LearnZillion Lesson plans for anchoring/structuring whole class instruction, providing students with opportunities for practice, and supporting differentiation for students who struggle with lesson content.

Give our lesson plans a try, and realize the benefits that one administrator articulated so beautifully,

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 5.03.31 PM

Continue reading

The secret to amazing Professional Development: The 3 P’s

When people ask me for the secret to great professional development, I share our 3 Ps.

Funnily enough, we discovered these 3 P’s by accident. In the summer of 2011, thanks to a Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant, we brought 20 teachers from around the country together to work on the first batch of LearnZillion lessons.  For two days we sat in a cramped room with math books, computers, and treats, working on lessons. At the end of the two days, several of the teachers said that it had been “the best professional development” of their career.

A year later it happened again.  This time we brought 123 teachers to Atlanta and called the event TeachFest.  On the second night, after a full day of working on lessons, we gave everyone an option.  They could go out on the town, watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on a large screen, or continue working on lessons in the basement.  At 11pm, half the teachers were still working in the basement.  Again, the feedback at the end of the event was, “this was the best professional development.”

It was a revelation that our content creation process was, in fact, the key to incredible professional growth, satisfaction and impact.  And when we analyzed why that was, it boiled down to 3 Ps: product, process, and people.

1. Product

DT quote 3 v2

The experience is focused on developing a final producta lesson.  The product is practical, meaningful, and challenging to create.  The teachers know they are going to use the lessons, and that other teachers and students are going to use them too.

Lesson on a computer

Most professional development focuses on professional development.  We have come to believe that professional development is most powerful when focused on creating something useful; professional development is the by-product of creating a product.

2.  Process

Focusing on a final product isn’t enough.  Teachers have to be set up for success.  There needs to be a roadmap that provides them with the guidance and resources they need to accomplish the goal – from initial research, to outlines, to drafting.  At TeachFest, we didn’t say, here’s a block of time to plan, go for it.  We thought through every step of the process and asked ourselves, “what does the teacher need to be successful now.  What about now?  What about now?”  And then we equipped them with those things.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.22.32 PM

Here, for example, is an overview of our TeachFest roadmap:

LearnZillion Process

LearnZillion lesson creation process

3.  People

The final P stands for people.  The 20 teachers at that initial convening helped each other out.  

DT quote 1

When one of them had a question about their lesson, they would talk it through with a colleague or a coach.  They had opportunities to get feedback and then make revisions to their work based on that feedback.  This happened in person and then continued on-line over the summer as teachers worked on their lessons.  As a result, most of the experience looked like this…

Teacher Collaboration

Dream Team teachers collaborating at TeachFest

…as opposed to looking like an expert standing in front of a large group of people.

Put them together and what have you got…

McDonald’s talks about its “secret sauce.”  When it comes to professional development we believe the sauce shouldn’t be secret.  Just remember the 3 Ps.  Put them together and you create amazing lessons, build the capacity of teachers, and have a lot of fun.

DT quote 4

Dream Team 2013 group shot

National LearnZillion 2013 Dream Team

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.

5 ways to leverage LearnZillion’s Downloadable Slides

Here are 5 tips for customizing LearnZillion’s lesson video slides in ways that serve your classroom needs.

Thousands of teachers across the country use our short instructional videos to help students learn. Many have found that customizing the associated downloadable slides are a great way to turn the 5-minute video into an instructional engine for their whole class period.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 12.19.15 PM

Read on to learn how to customize downloadable slides in ways to meet your classroom needs

These are the top five ways teachers are taking advantage of LearnZillion’s downloadable lesson slides:

1. Whole class instruction: use slides to help guide whole group instruction

Whole Class Instruction

Slides, presented to a class in Indiana

2. Practice: use slides to create practice problems and worksheets for students

Worksheets, created from practice problems on LearnZillion

Worksheets, created from practice problems on LearnZillion

3. Manipulatives: turn visuals into manipulatives for hands on work

A manipulative, created by a teacher in Maryland

Manipulative, created by a teacher in Maryland

4. Anchor Charts: turn visuals into posters to remind students what was taught

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 3.22.19 PM

Chart, turned into a poster for a third grade class

5. Google Presentations: turn slides into an online virtual discussion between students

Google Presentation

Presentation, created by an elementary teacher

Here’s a quick slideshow that walks you through the options, step by step.

Check out our library of thousands of video lessons today.

Do you have other ideas for how to customize slides? Leave a comment below.

Save time and streamline your planning with LearnZillion Lesson Plans

Hear from LearnZillion’s own Eric Westendorf (CEO) and Boaz Munro (Content Lead) about how the site’s newest feature can help math teachers ensure their students master the essential standards across grades 3-8.

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.

“Shouldn’t you have known?”, or “How I learned to value formative assessment the hard way”

Posie Wood, former 3rd grade teacher

Posie Wood, former 3rd grade teacher

There’s nothing quite like the heartbreak of administering a test to a group of eight and nine year olds that you have come to love dearly—and knowing instantly that you let them down.

As a first year teacher, it wasn’t that I didn’t believe my students were smart and capable, I did. But I also knew from the moment that I saw page 1 of the test booklet that I hadn’t done enough to prepare them for questions and tasks like the ones I saw on the test. As I circulated through my classroom on that humid April morning, I entered into a state of despair, panic, and most of all, shame that I had so failed my students.

Later that day, looking for sympathy from my father, I sobbed the whole story into the phone while sitting in the school parking lot.

“Hold on,” he said. “I don’t want to be a jerk, but shouldn’t you have known?”

“Known what?”

“That they were going to struggle on the test. Shouldn’t you have understood better than anyone else where your students were?

With those four words (“Shouldn’t you have known?”) my father (who, by the way, is not an educator) shifted my entire orientation as a teacher. Even though he didn’t know the name for it, my father had turned me on to formative assessment and forced me to see, with cruel clarity, just how powerful a tool it is.

Five lessons from a formative assessment failure

Here are the lessons I have since learned about formative assessment—while intellectually, many of these are things that I had known before I stepped into the classroom, it took a year of teaching to really recognize them:

1.  Formative assessment needs to be constant—and it’s more than paper-and-pencil

Formative assessment is more than an exit ticket at the close of a lesson or a set of “check in questions” at the end of the week. It’s really an action and a habit that should be occurring consistently in the classroom. Formative assessment takes many shapes and comes in many sizes: yes, my exit tickets and weekly question sets, were a type of formative assessment, but formative assessment can also be well-timed questions, monitoring of student discussion, observation checklists, interviews, notes pages, one-on-one check-ins, and more. Like learning how to balance on a surfboard, it requires time and practice to build up a teacher’s formative assessment muscle and make it a routine part of daily practice. By thinking about formative assessment as paper-and-pencil strategies only, I’d limited myself to examining only a tiny fraction of the actionable data coming from my students and therefore lost valuable opportunities to fill learning gaps.

2. Formative assessment demands follow up

Formative assessment by definition is meant to inform instructional choices and next steps. Formative assessment without follow-up therefore is not really formative assessment. All those well-meaning exit tickets I’d painstakingly prepared (but rarely had time to review) my first year teaching? All those thoughtful questions I added into my lesson plans? (but never strategically listened to student answers)?  I thought I was formatively assessing, but without the expertise that comes with experience (not to mention the time as a first year teacher) to examine my student work, bucket my class into groups based on their demonstrated understanding, and meet each student in the right place, providing the just-right interventions, redirection, questioning, and prompting—I was asking questions, but not following up. I was only doing half the battle.

3. Formative assessment takes planning, coordination, and pedagogical content knowledge

Great formative assessment is planned and backmapped from a larger learning goal. It’s not enough to just ask questions and redirect or reteach when necessary, great formative assessment drives towards an end understanding or challenge (such as adding fractions with like denominators) and provides insight into where understanding breaks down at critical moments, allowing you to adjust course as necessary. When I reviewed the questions and exit slips from my first year, I realized in horror that they were scattered, often uncoordinated with my lesson objective, my modeling, and my targeted state standard. Even when I did have time to review student work, because my formative probing wasn’t always thoughtfully aligned with my instruction or designed to unveil misunderstandings, it did me little good.

4. Formative assessment is an art—but we don’t like to think about it that way.

Looking back on my experience that first year, I realize that something else was at work as well. In both my training prior to entering the classroom and the ongoing professional development I received through my school, as well as classes I sought out on my own, formative assessment was treated as an afterthought, a secondary or supporting character that was constantly upstaged by the star of the show: the state test. In third grade, the first official testing year, this was especially true.

When formative assessment was mentioned at all, it was as an aside—a given, something that everyone MUST be doing, and something so elementary that it did not merit discussion or elaboration. The message that this sent to me as a new teacher was: “Formative assessment is easy, something you should just ‘know’ how to do, it shouldn’t take too much of your time, effort, or thought.” It took the state test, like a bucket of icy water, to wake me up.

The truth is that formative assessment is an art. To be done well, a teacher must exercise the pedagogical content knowledge to craft questions that will reveal and anticipate particular student misunderstandings, quickly interpret student work, responses, and data, rapidly take action—whether that be a follow up question or prompt, regrouping students, or re-teaching a particular concept with a different approach—and juggle all this with the time allotted for instruction and classroom management concerns. As a first year teacher, I was struggling to keep my head above water and blissfully ignorant of delicate balancing act that is formative assessment.

5. Formative assessment gets easier with practice—and support

Building up an approach to formative assessment that is reflexive, one that a teacher can instinctively fire at critical moments with the right questions, prompts, and follow-through takes time and practice. It also takes advice and modeling from veteran teachers, support and feedback from administrators, guidance and examples from curricular tools, and professional development that builds pedagogical content knowledge. This kind of support is made all the more important with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, which raise the bar and require students to flexibly attack challenging, real-life math tasks and deeply understand complex text. Without routine and thoughtful formative assessment that is anchored by strategic follow-up, students will struggle. Without these supports as a first year teacher, I grappled daily (even though I wasn’t fully aware of that until it was too late).

Scaling our impact

At LearnZillion, the academic team spends a lot of time thinking and talking about formative assessment. Sometimes, I leave these conversations wanting to go back in time to shake my first year teacher self into an earlier realization of the role that formative assessment should have been playing in my classroom all along. More often though, I leave with a sense of respect and awe of teachers and colleagues who have mastered this delicate art—and a desire to take their best practices, habits, and content knowledge and share it with others so that come spring time, there aren’t other first year teachers facing the question, “Shouldn’t you have known?”

—-

Editor’s note: For more on how to leverage some of the techniques Posie mentions in this post, check out:

For Math: http://blog.learnzillion.com/2014/01/16/backwards-mapping-from-parcc-and-sbac-math-items-to-formative-assessments-2/

For ELA: http://blog.learnzillion.com/2014/01/31/text-talks-a-first-step-in-planning-for-close-reading-2/

Google

Text Talks: A first step in planning for close reading

Conducting “text talks” with colleagues or your grade-level team is a fantastic start to planning for close reading. This webinar showcases proven strategies for launching successful text talks, including tips, ideas and an actionable format for diving into close reading. Enjoy!

You can also download our webinar resources here:

Like what you see?

View the next webinar in this series on Close Reading

“Writing, aligning, and sequencing text dependent questions”