Category Archives: ELA
In our last segment on Infographics for STEM, we looked at:
- what infographics are,
- why they are so popular now,
- and what they look like in a classroom.
In this segment, we will look at:
What does an infographic look like in a classroom?
What is an interactive infographic?
- Take a moment to look around the infographic. It helps if you look in a clockwise motion, starting with the top left corner. What information will this infographic give you?
- Scan your eyes to the top right corner. What is pictured there?
- Continue to the bottom right corner. What picture is there? What information will be there?
- Follow this pattern to the bottom left corner. What can you expect to see there?
- Finally, direct your eyes to the middle of the infographic. What does it say to do next?
- What happened when you clicked one of the circles?
How do I teach my students to “read” infographics?
Students don’t have to “read” infographics on a computer. You can print them. In fact, by printing them and placing them in a page protector, your students can interact with the infographic even more. I LOVE the ideas presented in this article on IdeasForEducators.com.
As students become more adept at reading infographics, you can prompt to respond to 6 common questions in a journal or online text:
Where can I learn more about this?
As the Tech Ready Team has been working on building STEM projects this year, I’ve had a chance to see how these projects are working in the classroom and the great opportunities that these projects are opening up across our district.
The slideshow below is part description, part reflection on the ways they’ve been successful, and part vision of how they could be expanded. Take a look at it.
Common Core, or as Arizona calls it, Arizona’s College and Career Readiness Standards, states,
To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must read widely and deeply from among a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts….By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas.
Some school districts are purchasing “common-core aligned” curriculum to help their teachers find those complex texts in other disciplines. However, many school districts do not have funds for this. Teachers are left to search endlessly on the internet to find informational texts at their students’ reading levels. Until now…..
ReadWorks.org is a non-profit website which offers high-interest passages and comprehension questions. The passages are fully-searchable. Teachers need only type in a keyword, select the reading level, and search.
The site is free and sign-up is quick. There are hundreds of high-quality passages for grades Kindergarten through 6th grade.
Go to ReadWorks.org to start searching now. You can search in the box in the top right corner.
When you have created a profile, you may save passages to “My Binder”.
If you don’t know exactly what you want to read about, you can search by standard. Click on “My Standars Alignment” at the top. If you already have a profile, it will direct you to your state standards. If the pacing guide (curriculum map) for the week says “Cause and Effect” you can select that standard. **Make sure you select the correct grade level.
Lesson plans are designed with the Gradual Release of Responsibility framework of “I do, We do, You do”. Most lesson plans also include:
- learning objectives
- a vocabulary routine
- guided practice
- graphic organizers to scaffold understanding
- student engagement strategies (Turn and Talk, Buddy Buzz, etc.)
- independent practice with multiple choice questions and constructed response prompts
- extension ideas
- novel studies (for 5th and 6th grades, however, I have used some of those novels in 4th grade)
- paired text
I want to take a minute to explain the paired text feature. Common Core asks for readers to make connections between texts. If your district-adopted curriculum does not provide paired texts, it can be very time consuming for teachers to find texts on the same subject and reading level. On ReadWorks.org, the work is done for you!
For a tutorial on finding specific texts, watch this video:
You might be surprised to learn that there is a direct connection between preparing your students for Common Core and the PARCC exam and using project-based learning in your classroom. Project-based learning is a great tool to have in your teacher toolkit as you make plans and efforts to prepare your students for the deeper thinking and higher difficulty of the Common Core Standards.
The new standards aim to prepare students for college and career readiness. Project-based learning (PBL) is a great way to prepare students for Common Core because it emphasizes significant content and real-world outcomes.
Consider the following quote from David Ross, director of professional development for the Buck Institute for Education.
Everyone knows that content is king and Common Core wears the crown. Signiﬁcant content is one of our eight Essential Elements of PBL. Make an easy connection: Signiﬁcant Content=Common Core. Now let’s use a shorter word. When designing a rigorous, relevant, and engaging project, Common Core is the “what.” But what about the “how?” In our minds the answer is obvious: PBL is the solution for Common Core implementation. PBL is the “how.”
Of course, we realize that PBL is not the only way to help students master these new standards. As states move toward implementation of the Common Core, however, more and more schools and districts are focusing on PBL as their go-to instructional strategy to prepare students for deeper thinking. Next-generation assessments aligned to the new standards (still in development at this writing) are expected to emphasize application of knowledge rather than recall of facts. Here, too, we ﬁnd common ground with PBL, in which students demonstrate and share what they know or can do through performance assessments. For PBL veterans, student demonstrations of learning are not new at all. They’re an essential element of every project.
Common Core Standards for English Language Arts include tasks that are very familiar to people who know PBL:
“Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions”
“Prepare for and participate eﬀectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners”
“Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others”
“Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question)”
Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practice also echo PBL best practices. The math standards set expectations for students to do real-world problem solving, use mathematical modeling, apply statistical analysis, and communicate their understanding. “Mathematically proﬁcient students can apply the mathematics they know Loading…to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace,” according to the Standards of Mathematical Practice. Such applications naturally have a place within high-quality projects that ask students to use mathematics concepts and procedures in authentic contexts. (Excerpted from the book PBL for 21st Century Success: Teaching Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity, published by the Buck Institute for Education, 2013)
These units are structured around Science, but also include Math and ELA Common Core standards as well as digital PARCC-type questions in the units. The Science and Technology elements of the units are used to engage students as well as fulfill the need for informational text required by the ELA standards.
These units are being developed to give WUSD teachers access to PBL units aligned to their curriculum and resources without having to develop them from scratch. Teachers will be given complete access to the units so that once they are implemented they will be able to make changes, extensions, and additions to the STEM units.
You can access the units that are being developed here.
Use the following login to explore the units:
(Username: wusdteacher password: pass123)
The first phase of the tablet deployment is underway. Many students have completed a required online technology orientation, in which they have learned the basic operations of the device, their responsibilities and digital citizenship.
Teachers have also received training and in class support. Many have already started using the devices to support instruction. During this second phase of deployment, we have learned a few lessons have caused trouble for teachers and students. The Tech Ready Team has created a troubleshooting guide to help with the most common technology glitches and difficulties. You can download the Tablet Troubleshooting Solutions guide for your convenience.
Teachers are not the only ones that are learning how find solutions to technology difficulties. Students are also learning to become excellent problem solvers and eager to help each other by showing off their troubleshooting skills.
Challenges and technical difficulties are inevitable, especially when using new technology, but providing teacher support and finding solutions is a critical factor for success. A BIG thank you to all the WUSD teachers for their participation and dedication!
Masteryconnect.com has released a new tool to help teachers find classroom activities that meet specific Common Core Standards. The new tool is called Resource Pins.
Resource Pins is a free service that allows teachers to post and view activities tied to specific Common Core Standards. If you’re familiar with pinterest the layout will be familiar. It has only been open to the public since the middle of November; however, there are already over 10,000 resources posted!
If you would like to try the service simply go to http://masteryconnect.com and click on the “JOIN FREE” button. Once you have set up your free account, you will be able to access the Resource Pins.
You will find the “Resource Pins” button on the top menu. Simply use the search boxes to choose the Subject, Core, Class, and Standard categories. If you wish to add Resources use the “Add Resource Pin” button on the top right.
The White Mountain Tribal Fair and Rodeo has arrived, your classroom roster is set, and September is here. If you have a Glencoe or McGraw-Hill textbook it’s also time to get your online resources set up through the ConnectEd website.
Not sure if you have online textbook resources for your classroom?
WUSD #20 has online textbook resources for Reading and Literature from 2nd to 8th grade. Social Studies textbooks for 7th and 8th grade have also been added this year.
If you’re new to ConnectED, there is a great resource entitled, “Intervention Tools: Treasures Connected” that has all the information you need to take you through the steps of setting up your class, adding students, and assigning work. This resource is set up as a class in Moodle, so you will have to enroll with your username and password.
However, you do not need to do the assignments- simply watch the videos and follow the 5 steps to setting up your class.
If you want to take the course for 301 credit, email me, and I’ll open up the course if there’s enough interest.
If you’ve used ConnectEd before you will only need to go set up your class. If you’ve switched grade levels you will need the mastercodes for your new textbook resources. To get the secret mastercodes click here. Yes, you will have to use your username and password to login. They wouldn’t be very secret if you didn’t.