Teachers Enhance their Reading and Writing Instruction
Summer Literacy Series Aligns Reading Instruction with the CPS Framework for Teaching
During the month of July, eight dedicated teachers participated in the Quest Center’s professional development course “Summer Literacy Series” to enhance their reading and writing instruction. Throughout this course, each teacher created a new literacy unit or updated an existing one using the principles of Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. By utilizing Understanding by Design, or UbD, effectively, teachers easily align their practice to Domain 1 of the CPS Framework for teaching.
Teachers began by identifying the end goals for their students — standards and overarching objectives. In order to do this, they used their Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy (1a), Knowledge of their Students (1b), and their ability to Select Learning Objectives (1c). As we continued with our new learning, teachers created a performance task for their students, a project-based task in which the students will demonstrate their mastery of the standards and objectives selected for the unit. The tasks were effective examples of Designing Student Assessment (1e).
Here are some examples of performance tasks and the units to which they align:
- A first-grade teacher is going to have her students create a book showcasing the meaning of beauty after studying a unit entitled “What is Beautiful?”
- A fourth/fifth -grade resource teacher is going to have his students be weather reporters and report on the causes and effects of severe weather storms after studying an interdisciplinary unit in which students will learn cause and effect, weather, and regions of the U.S.
- A third-grade teacher is going to have her students write biographies about famous Hispanics who made an impact on the community after engaging in their unit “Hispanic Heritage”
- A high school Spanish teacher is going to have her students create skits of mishaps in a restaurant after their study of the unit “Celebrando con Comida”.
In order to create effective lessons that lead to mastery of the unit goals, teachers learned how to effectively engage students in learning (3c) by implementing a multitude of discussion strategies (3b) that enhance understanding of the text, increase vocabulary, improve speaking and listening skills, all while maintaining high expectations for ALL students.
Many hours were dedicated to learning effective strategies for teaching English Learners (ELs). The highlights include:
- A deep dive into theories of language acquisition
- Participating in strategies to engage ELs before, during, and after reading
- Implementing culturally relevant texts
Perhaps the most thoughtful and engaging discussion was had as we pondered grading and how to assign letter grades to differentiated assignments. Participants shared their opinions, listened to their colleagues, and learned new strategies from one another and our professional readings.