How to Balance Common Core Shifts and ELA Instruction

Having the Common Core Standards led me to modify instruction in a number of ways. I’ll discuss the major changes based on the instructional shifts outlined for the Common Core ELA standards: Shift 1: Balancing (how cute is that elephant?) Informational & Literary Text Shift 2: Knowledge in the Disciplines These requires students to learn about the world through many different varieties of text, rather than through teachers and literature. They are encouraged to explore the world through a rich combination of fiction and non-fiction. To accomplish this, I recommend constructing text sets that allow students to examine a different

What’s the Role of a Literacy Coach?

Many districts are lucky enough to have literacy coaches, but what is the best model to utilize these talented individuals? I reviewed the research on literacy coaching and summarized information from various sources to help define the role of literacy coaches in our schools. The roles of coaches are organized into the four Literacy Coaching standards outlined in The International Reading Association (IRA) report, created in collaboration with NCTE, NCTM, NSTA, and NCSS, that outlines the ideal of what a literacy coach should know and be able to do. Roles under each standard are summarized from the IRA report, A Study

UDL isn’t a Diet. It’s a Lifestyle Change

The ultimate goal of UDL implementation is to systematically align all aspects of an organization with UDL.  UDL does not only influence instruction; it affects physical space, capitol planning, and all other strategic goals in a district. District policies like hiring protocols, parent involvement strategies, and professional development should all be universally designed along with teacher instruction. When you look at UDL as a framework that is a canvas where all other initiates are painted, you realize that it’s more of a lifestyle change than a diet. It’s about changing the way you think about education and how you interact

Visualize the CCSS as an Integrated Whole

When you’re planning lessons using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), it’s beneficial to visualize them as an integrated whole. Gone are the days where lessons focus on one standard. Instead, the Core allows teachers to delve deep into literacy by teaching the four strands in an integrated way. When reading a text, write about the text in a narrative, informative, or argument piece, discuss the text, and learn about the use of language from closely reading and writing. Repeated close reads provide additional opportunities to read through different lenses and revise writing. Below is an image I created that

Want Meaningful PD? Get Teachers Involved

Recently, I attended the National Teacher Voice Convening in DC, and while I was there, I realized how great my own district’s PD model is. Why? Because it’s run by teachers and it’s totally aligned to the UDL philosophy (for more info on the UDL Guidelines, click here). I would love for this model to catch on nationwide, so if it sounds good to you, please share! Our model was the brainchild of Dr. Kristan Rodriguez, Chelmsford Public Schools assistant superintendent, and her PD committee. It goes like this: At the end of each school year, an electronic survey is