The "To Do" List
Summer is going be over before we know it, With 47 days of summer behind me and 6 left ahead, I am racing to cross more items off of my “to do” list. I am excited to share with you in this post a little about my summer project that was at the top of my summer “to do” list. Yay!- I just crossed it of my “to do” list.
As I head back to work next week, I am preparing to support our newly hired teachers in staff development about Comprehensive Literacy and what balanced literacy instruction might look like in their classrooms. One of the tips I plan to share with them is the value of collaborative yearlong planning.
Our focus on collaborative planning immerged when our district began its Comprehensive Literacy Journey over six years ago. During that time, collaborative planning and professional development focused on balanced literacy instruction beginning with a Reading Workshop instructional model. Over the course of the past six years, collaborative planning and professional development has included interactive read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, formative and summative reading assessment practices including running records, comprehension conversations, observational notes and checklists.
Last summer, collaborative planning and professional development grew to include the Writing Workshop instructional model as a way to implement Common Core Standards. Staff developers from the Reading and Writing Project provided professional development to our elementary teachers in best practice writing instruction to include the three text types of Common Core Writing: Opinion/Argument; Information and Narrative. Throughout the year, our team of instructional coaches and myself supported this work in nine of our elementary schools.
As district literacy coach, my role was to help teachers plan literacy instruction that included the Common Core Standards. After much research, the decision was reached to implement the Common Core Standards through writing instruction- specifically writing workshop. We used the best practices and proven frameworks from the original Units of Study for Teaching Writing series by Lucy Calkins. Our lessons were taken, primarily, from the 2011-2012 electronic version of Curricular Plans For The Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop, Grades K-6, 2011–2012, © 2011 by Lucy Calkins, Firsthand, Heinemann.
Teachers implemented Common Core writing standards by providing instruction in each of the Common Core text types of writing during the year. Our ambitious goal was to strategically implement at least one text type of writing per trimester. Every elementary classroom began writing workshop instruction using narrative writing CCSS writing standard 3. From there, grade levels cycled through additional units of study in the two other CCSS writing text types. Each unit of study lasted approximately 4-6 weeks. Many teachers revisited each of the text types of writing using additional units of study throughout the year. During each trimester, district grade level team meetings were offered to provide more professional development and planning opportunities.
To ensure we had a common framework for articulation, I created grade level specific English Language Arts Common Core Curricular maps that articulated when ELA Common Core Standards were taught during the year using the Calkins grade level reading and writing frameworks. This was helpful for district and site collaborative planning conversations, assessment, and professional development and coaching.
This summer, I have rewritten the curricular maps to reflect not only the California Common Core Standards but also the National Common Core Standards. My goal was to create a planning tool for teachers across the nation who were using the 2011-2012 electronic version of the Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Workshop Curricular plans. These grade Common Core aligned English Language Arts Curricular Maps are available by grade level as well as a K-6 bundle. Included in the bundle and in the grade level specific Curricular Map packets is a yearlong unit planning template as well as a weekly reading and writing workshop-planning template to assist in planning. I hope it might be useful to those of you who are using the Lucy Calkins 2011-2012 electronic curricular plans.
I am excited to share these with you at my Teachers Pay Teachers store