Teacher leaders met in K-5 and 6-12 teams to participate in Instructional Rounds and explore the Next Generation ELA Standards. Elementary teachers engaged in a press called, Instructional Rounds, which are inter-class or school visitations with a specific focus on collecting information that is non-judgmental about the types of activities students are engaged in, the conversations they are having about their work, and the level of independence and choice embedded into the curriculum. Some of the highlights from the elementary rounds that focused specifically on writing were celebrating the accomplishments of our writers through conversation prompts and looking at student work. Visiting teachers collecting data about the writer’s (student’s) purpose and audience, development of common language, use of self-assessment checklists, paper choice, anchor charts, and mentor texts. Students are using different tools and resources to assist and strengthen their writing such as mentor texts and exemplar pieces of writing as models to improve their own writing. Teachers found it helpful to have opportunities to see how spiraling lessons are taught at various grade levels.
Secondary teachers met to begin a curriculum walk using the new New York State Next Generation ELA Standards. Teacher leaders began by reading “Adolescence and the Transition to Middle School” and “How do college freshmen view the academic differences between high school and college?” This led to a rich discussion about the transition from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to college or careers. We had conversations connected to the district’s goal of ensuring that our students graduate “college and career ready” and how curriculum and instruction impacts those transitions. We discussed text complexity, choice, grit, and a variety of other English-specific and interdisciplinary topics. We then began the curriculum crosswalk to identify any potential gaps that exist in our curriculum. While this will be an ongoing process, it sparked a conversations about the specific changes made to the standards and the necessary scaffolding that is included therein. We finished the morning with a discussion of what “college and career ready” means and what traits a “college and career ready” student might possess at different points of middle school and high school.
Blog Post by:
Mark Stanford, Joe Onativia, and Brian Culot