Pretend this was a posting for an ELA or Reading Teaching Position: Must love to read. Will read anything. Will read everything. Will share my passion for reading with anyone who will listen… This posting would define all the teaching specialists (K-12) that gathered for our ELA Leadership meeting this week. As an ice breaker, teacher and school leaders were asked to bring a book they were passionate about and share a quick summary with a fellow leader. Everyone had a minute to “sell their book” before moving on to talk with another colleague. This was the book version of Speed Dating! Check out a video clip below. Everyone was able to meet with many colleagues and gain a quick summary of the book. We learned how the reading becomes more sophisticated but Themes can carry over no matter what grade you teach. Some even found common themes in their books! It an engagement ! This was such a fun way to open up a leadership meeting and get to know the types of books we are using K-12.
After this activity, we had an open discussion about how things were going in our classrooms. seventh grade shared how much student growth the Post-Assessment (on-demand) showed from the Pre-Assessment (baseline) from the Teachers College (TC) writing unit on the Art of Argument. Writers then took their Final Writing piece and matched it up against the learning progression to self-assess their own growth! Sixth grade teachers taught the Teachers College Unit of Study on Literary Essay recently and shared how her students have published their best essays yet. Writers are providing more text evidence to back up their opinions. Third grade teachers shared how successful the new TC Research Unit of Study went and how it will support the way they teach their End of the Year Wax Museum Project. K-2 teachers shared how far they have come in three years since starting the TC Units of Study in Reading. They are happy to report how their classroom environments are well in place, expectations are through the roof, reading stamina is high and the level of independence has grown tremendously. High school teachers are focused on the Regents. They are starting providing strategies to use and handle different types of questions.
The final portion of our meeting had us revisiting our previous conversation about Text Bands. During the last session, we researched the different reading bands/levels. For this session, we took a look at the “breakthrough” or “big jumps” in text difficulty for students when moving up levels. TC Learning Consultant Allyse Bader says, “These are the hurdles students must jump to get to the next level, and become teaching points that, when mastered, will enable our students to breakthrough to the next level.” We found this to be a powerful learning tool to use in small groups when introducing a big jump to a breakthrough level or to use when conferring with readers. Teachers then marked up the Demonstration Texts from their Units of Study with Teaching Points to use as a tool when conferring with readers. Finally, teachers were brave enough to test out their hard work with a conference in front of the entire leadership team! Even Coach O and Dr. Culot got in on the action. These break through levels and text bands will really move our readers and push them to do some really big thinking.