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TEAMS, K–6

“I would highly recommend this book for use in study groups as it allows teachers to really ‘see’ the examples and to understand how these strategies can look in their own classrooms.” —Julie Clapp, Reading Specialist, Literacy–Professional Development, Missouri “The material in this book is superb. I’ve told my academic teammates about it, and they cannot wait to get started. An absolute must for professional learning communities: organized, pertinent, succinct, and explicit. Anyone who wants to work with a colleague or team to improve student learning must own this book. A thousand thank-yous to Dr. McEwan-Adkins for its creation.” —Val Bresnahan, EdD, Sixth-Grade Language Arts Teacher, Franklin Middle School, Wheaton, Illinois

Tasked with teaching literacy skills to students, teachers face a variety of assessment instruments, hundreds of programs and curricula, a vast continuum of students’ needs, and a limited amount of time available for professional development to master this sizable body of knowledge and instructional expertise. With all these different components of literacy, planning and delivering effective literacy instruction can be quite overwhelming. Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K–6: Connecting Professional Growth to Student Achievement shows teachers how to work together in their grade-level teams to maximize their literacy learning and make the right instructional and curricular choices for the students in their classrooms. In this practical guide, author Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins outlines and explores the work of collaborative literacy teams, from their formation to the employment of successful, student-focused strategies. By understanding and applying McEwan-Adkins’s research-based exemplars, teams can achieve professional growth and increase their capacity for strong literacy instruction.

Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K–6

COLLABORATIVE TEACHER

Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K–6 features: • Sixty research-based exemplars of a comprehensive and balanced literacy program • Five categories of exemplars: instructional moves, teacher-managed instruction, teacher with-it-ness, student-managed instruction, and classroom artifacts Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download the reproducibles in this book.

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Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins

• Twenty professional growth units focused on student achievement

COLLABORATIVE TEACHER TEAMS K–6 Connecting Professional Growth to Student Achievement

Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins


COLLABORATIVE TEACHER TEAMS K–6 Connecting Professional Growth to Student Achievement

Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins


Copyright © 2012 by Solution Tree Press Materials appearing here are copyrighted. With one exception, all rights are reserved. Readers may reproduce only those pages marked “Reproducible.” Otherwise, no part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without prior written permission of the publisher. 555 North Morton Street Bloomington, IN 47404 800.733.6786 (toll free) / 812.336.7700 FAX: 812.336.7790 email: info@solution-tree.com solution-tree.com Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download the reproducibles in this book. Printed in the United States of America 16 15 14 13 12

1 2 3 4 5

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

McEwan-Adkins, Elaine K., 1941Collaborative teacher literacy teams, K-6 : connecting professional growth to student achievement / Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-935542-28-5 (perfect bound : alk. paper) -- ISBN 978-1-935542-26-1 (library edition : alk. paper) 1. Language arts (Elementary)--United States. 2. Teaching teams--United States. 3. Elementary school teachers--In-service training--United States. 4. Elementary school teachers--Professional relationships--United States. 5. School improvement programs. I. Title. LB1576.M194 2012 372.6--dc23 2011044442 _____________________________________________________ Solution Tree Jeffrey C. Jones, CEO Edmund M. Ackerman, President Solution Tree Press President: Douglas M. Rife Publisher: Robert D. Clouse Vice President of Production: Gretchen Knapp Managing Production Editor: Caroline Wise Senior Production Editor: Lesley Bolton Proofreader: Elisabeth Abrams Text Designer: Amy Shock Compositor: Raven Bongiani Cover Designer: Jenn Taylor


Acknowledgments Solution Tree Press would like to thank the following reviewers: Kathleen Douglas District Instructional Coach Fort Wayne Community Schools Fort Wayne, Indiana

Christine Hoffman Principal Inverness Elementary School Birmingham, Alabama

Sherrilyn Duquette Assistant Principal Conway Middle School Conway, South Carolina

Jane Moore Assistant Principal Jerry Junkins Elementary Dallas, Texas

Laurie Elish-Piper Presidential Teaching Professor, Department of Literacy Education Northern Illinois University DeKalb, Illinois

Maryann Mraz Associate Professor, Department of Reading and Elementary Education University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina

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Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download the reproducibles in this book.


Table of Contents About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii My Goals in Writing This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii What This Book Is . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiv What This Book Is Not . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiv The Audience for This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiv

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Step 1: Establish a Collaborative Grade-Level Team . . . . . . . . . . 1 What Activities Characterize Collaborative Teams? . . . . . . . . . 2 What Are the Benefits of Collaboration? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Step 2: Identify a Team Leader, and Hold an Organizational Meeting . 3 Responsibilities Before Each Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Responsibilities During Each Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Organizational Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Step 3: Assess the Team’s Capacity, and Agree on Core Values . . . . 4 Assess Your Team’s Alignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Collaboratively Develop a Set of Core Values About Literacy Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Step 4: Preview the Key Concepts and Exemplars of Effective K–6 Literacy Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Step 5: Preview the Professional Growth Units . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Step 6: Collaboratively Work Through Each Unit . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Step 7: Connect Team Learning to Student Achievement . . . . . . 12 How This Book Is Organized . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Chapter

1

Instructional Moves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Unit 1.1: The Big Idea of Instructional Moves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 v


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Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Unit 1.2: Unpacking Instructional Moves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Unit 1.3: Literacy Learning and Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Unit 1.4: Affirmation Versus Criticism: How to Motivate Your Students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Chapter

2

Teacher-Managed Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Unit 2.1: The Big Idea of Teacher-Managed Instruction . . . . . . . . 44 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Unit 2.2: Teacher-Managed Instruction: Choosing the Most Effective Instructional Moves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56


Table of Contents

Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Unit 2.3: The Meaning of Differentiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Unit 2.4: Comprehensive and Balanced Literacy: How to Achieve It . 67 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

Chapter

3

Teacher With-It-Ness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Unit 3.1: How to Become a With-It Grade-Level Team . . . . . . . . 79 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Unit 3.2: Routines That Raise Literacy Achievement . . . . . . . . . . 83 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Unit 3.3: Designing and Delivering Lessons to Teach Routines . . . . 93 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Unit 3.4: How With-It Teachers Engage Students . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

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Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

Chapter

4

Student-Managed Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Unit 4.1: The Big Idea of Student-Managed Learning . . . . . . . . 111 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 Unit 4.2: Teach Students the Six Key Concepts of Learning . . . . . 116 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Unit 4.3: Teach Students to Be Inquisitive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Unit 4.4: Teach the Ten Traits of Highly Successful Students . . . . 129 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132

Chapter

5

Classroom Artifacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Unit 5.1: The Big Idea of Classroom Artifacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139


Table of Contents

Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 Unit 5.2: Rubrics, Checklists, and Rating Scales: The Key to Setting High Expectations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 Unit 5.3: How to Choose and Use Graphic Organizers . . . . . . . . 149 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 Unit 5.4: How to Use Dream Boards and Goal Charts to Motivate Students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 Essential Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 Advance Organizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 Read to Understand and Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 Cognitive Processing Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 Achievement Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 Appendix

A

Appendix

B

The Exemplars and Nonexemplars of Effective K–6 Literacy Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

Table of Contents for the Twenty Units . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 References and Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209

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About the Author Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins, EdD, is a partner and educational consultant with the McEwan-Adkins Group, offering professional development in literacy and school leadership. A former teacher, librarian, principal, and assistant superintendent for instruc­ tion in several suburban Chicago school districts, Dr. McEwan-Adkins was honored by the Illinois Principals Association as an outstanding instructional leader, by the Illinois State Board of Education with an Award of Excellence in the Those Who Excel Program, and by the National Association of Elementary School Principals as the 1991 National Distinguished Principal from Illinois. Dr. McEwan-Adkins is the author of more than thirty-five books for parents and educators. Her most recent titles include 40 Reading Intervention Strategies for K–6 Students: Research-Based Support for RTI, Teach Them ALL to Read: Catching Kids Before They Fall Through the Cracks, Ten Traits of Highly Effective Schools: Raising the Achievement Bar for All Students, and Literacy Look-Fors: An Observation Protocol to Guide K–6 Classroom Walkthroughs. To learn more about Dr. McEwan-Adkins’ work, visit www.elainemcewan.com. She received an undergraduate degree in education from Wheaton College and a master’s degree in library science and a doctorate in educational administration from Northern Illinois University. To book Elaine McEwan-Adkins for professional development, contact pd@solution-tree.com.

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Preface Literacy is the foundation of learning and achievement at every educational level and in every stage of life thereafter. As students move through elementary school, ideally they are acquiring solid literacy skills that enable them to read increasingly more challenging texts and write in more advanced and sophisticated ways. In order to realize this goal for all students, teachers need research-based knowledge and competencies to do the following: assess students, determine their specific instructional and curricular needs, choose the materials and instructional approaches that meet those needs, design and deliver effective lessons, and then assess once more to determine if students did indeed learn what was taught. These steps sound simple enough to follow until you consider the different components of literacy instruction, the multiplicity of assessment instruments, the hundreds of programs and curricula, the vast continuum of students’ needs, and the limited amount of time available for professional development to master this sizable body of knowledge and instructional expertise. This book is designed to help you make the right instructional and curricular choices for every student in your classroom by maximizing your learning about literacy in the context of your collaborative grade-level team.

My Goals in Writing This Book I have written this book with the following goals in mind: ❑❑

To introduce you to the K–6 literacy instruction exemplars, a set of effectiveness indicators against which you can benchmark your team’s literacy instructional capacity

❑❑

To assist you in raising literacy levels in your classroom and school through the acquisition of research-based knowledge and instructional expertise in the context of your collaborative gradelevel team

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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

xiv

❑❑

To provide professional growth units that enable your team to boost the literacy achievement of students

What This Book Is This book is intended to provide K–6 grade-level teams with embedded professional growth units based on the sixty indicators that comprise the exemplars of effective K–6 literacy instruction. These research-based exemplars are designed to serve as benchmarks for K–6 teachers as they seek to become more knowledgeable and competent in literacy instruction. The power of the research-based knowledge and skills described and explained in this book to raise literacy levels in your classroom lies in the synergy of your collaborative grade-level team. You can choose to read the book from cover to cover on your own, but you will benefit more from reading, cognitively processing, and making connections to student learning with your teammates. This book was also designed to be used as a companion to Literacy LookFors: An Observation Protocol to Guide K–6 Classroom Walkthroughs (McEwanAdkins, 2011), a book for elementary school principals. Your teacher literacy team may choose to go on classroom walkthroughs as part of your study of the professional growth units in this book. If so, I highly recommend that you engage in those walkthroughs using the model found in the book for principals and ask your principal to collect frequency data before and after your implementation of a unit to evaluate your collective instructional capacity.

What This Book Is Not The exemplars are not intended to be and should never be used as a teacher evaluation instrument. The goal of this book is to assist educators in building capacity for research-based literacy instruction, not to serve as a classroom inspection tool or as a mandate to implement a particular set of teaching behaviors. Administrative practices such as these demean teachers and lead to a minimum level of compliance that rarely, if ever, results in meaningful change and sustained literacy achievement.

The Audience for This Book Individual teachers as members of collaborative grade-level teams at the K–6 level are the principal audience for this book. However, numerous K–6 educators could also benefit from the information found here:


Preface

❑❑

Principals, literacy coaches, and other literacy leaders will find the book to be informative and helpful as they work with grade-level teams to increase their instructional capacity.

❑❑

All K–6 literacy educators, to include classroom teachers, teacher evaluators, special education teachers, interventionists, diagnosticians, psychologists, speech pathologists, Title I reading and special education teachers, literacy coaches and specialists, building administrators, and central office administrators, could use this book to build their personal knowledge and skills about effective literacy instruction either in a self-study or in a small-group study with colleagues who share the same job role.

❑❑

Teams of specialized teachers, such as Title I teachers, interventionists, diagnosticians, literacy coaches, psychologists, or speech pathologists, could use this book as a way to notch up their collective instructional capacity and improve their services to teachers.

❑❑

Individual specialized teachers such as those just listed could use this book as a basis for tailoring presentations to and professional growth experiences for the classroom teachers with whom they work.

❑❑

In schools where grade-level teams do not meet regularly, this book could serve as both motivation and a foundation for the formation and implementation of a collaborative schoolwide grade-level team initiative.

❑❑

In schools where grade-level teams meet regularly but do not share a common goal or are not aligned instructionally, this book could serve to focus a schoolwide self-study and result in a commitment to increasing collective instructional capacity.

❑❑

In schools where a few teachers or a single team lack the knowledge and skills to teach all students to read and write, this book could help administrators and literacy coaches tailor a specific professional growth opportunity for those teachers in a mentor-mentee relationship or in a small group with a trained literacy leader.

❑❑

In schools with high teacher turnover, large numbers of novice or alternately certified teachers, or a critical mass of teachers with low confidence and knowledge levels, this book will help administrators and literacy coaches to assess instructional capacity and design an

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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

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in-house professional growth experience that is targeted to one of these high-needs groups. ❑❑

Special education, English learner, and Title I administrators who are charged with providing professional growth opportunities for their specialized staff members could use the book to help them structure meaningful professional growth experiences.

The collaborative work around the goal of literacy for all students will give you and your teammates more energy and synergy to tackle the difficult challenges than you ever believed possible. There will be roadblocks and detours, to be sure, but you do not have to teach all students to read and write on your own. You and your team can do it together.


Introduction All of the talk of reforming schooling must never lose sight of the ultimate goal: to create institutions where students can learn through interaction with teachers who are themselves always learning. The effective school must become an educative setting for its teachers if it aspires to become an educational environment for its students. —Shulman (2004, p. 331)

You hold in your hands a tool to help your collaborative grade-level team increase its instructional capacity by directly connecting what you do during team meetings to the literacy learning of your students. Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K–6: Connecting Professional Growth to Student Achievement contains professional growth units based on research-based best practices for literacy instruction. There are seven steps to a successful implementation of these professional growth units. The steps are graphically displayed in figure I.1 (page 2) and explained in detail just ahead.

Step 1: Establish a Collaborative Grade-Level Team Collaboration is one hallmark of highly effective schools (McEwan, 2009a) and can be defined as working with others to achieve a shared goal related to teaching and learning. Collaboration is powerful when the goal is challenging and calls for a variety of talents, essential when different points of view and thinking styles are needed to accomplish a task, and empowering when all group members can do their best work without fear of failure. Collaboration is the only way a diverse faculty with diverse students can hope to achieve the alignment of content standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment that is needed to teach all students to read and write to a grade-level standard.

1


2

COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

Figure I.1: Seven Steps to Successful Implementation 7. Connect team learning to student achievement. 6. Collaboratively work through each unit. 5. Preview the professional growth units. 4. Preview the key concepts and exemplars.

3. Assess the team’s capacity, and agree on core values.

2. Identify a team leader, and hold an organizational meeting.

1. Establish a collaborative grade-level team.

What Activities Characterize Collaborative Teams? Three activities characterize the work of collaborative teams: (1) reflective dialogue and problem solving among teachers about instructional practices and student learning, (2) peer observations of one another’s teaching, and (3) peer collaboration to create products to be used in the classroom, for example, lessons, rubrics, or common assessments. What Are the Benefits of Collaboration? An extensive body of research substantiates the benefits for both teachers and students when teachers collaborate in teams. For teachers, the following results have been documented: • Reduced teacher isolation • Increased commitment to the mission and goals of the school and increased vigor in working to strengthen the mission • Shared responsibility for the total development of students and collective responsibility for students’ success


Introduction

• Powerful learning that defines good teaching and classroom practice and that creates new knowledge and beliefs about teaching and learners • Increased meaning and understanding of the content that teachers teach and the roles they play in helping all students achieve expectations • Higher likelihood that teachers will be well informed, professionally renewed, and inspired to motivate their students • Increased teacher satisfaction, higher morale, and lower rates of absenteeism • Significant advances in adapting teaching to the students, accomplished more quickly than in traditional schools • Commitment to making significant and lasting changes • Higher likelihood of an understanding of the systemic change process (Hord, 1997, p. 27)

Step 2: Identify a Team Leader, and Hold an Organizational Meeting Identify a team leader in one of the following ways: ask for a volunteer, delegate the choice to an administrator, hold an informal election, or rotate the leader responsibilities from unit to unit. It is best if the role of team leader rotates so that most teachers at a grade level have the opportunity and responsibility to serve as team leader for at least two units of the book. The team leader keeps the team moving in a positive and productive direction by fulfilling the responsibilities as set forth just ahead. If the team gets stuck or is unable to work through any procedural or personal issues, the leader should seek counsel from the literacy coach or administrative team. Responsibilities Before Each Meeting The team leader is responsible for choosing a meeting place and sending emails before the team meeting that include a reminder of any assignments that must be completed before the meeting. If a team leader needs to be absent, he or she should secure a substitute team leader.

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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

Responsibilities During Each Meeting During the meeting, the team leader is responsible for beginning the meeting on time, keeping the meeting moving so that participants stay engaged and on task, and adjourning the meeting on time. He or she should remind the appointed timekeeper to keep each segment of the meeting on schedule. It is the leader’s responsibility to keep the discussion or decision making moving forward. Organizational Meeting Before your team begins to study its first unit, hold an organizational meeting using this agenda: 1. Select a leader if one has not already been selected or appointed. 2. Agree on meeting dates and times for studying the first unit, and select a recorder and timekeeper for subsequent meetings. 3. Complete the Grade-Level Literacy Program Alignment Assessment as described in step 3, which follows. 4. Preview the key concepts and exemplars of effective K–6 literacy instruction as described in step 4.

Step 3: Assess the Team’s Capacity, and Agree on Core Values All teams, whether they are newly formed or getting a little worn around the edges, can benefit from stepping back to assess their collective instructional capacity and determine the team’s commitment to a set of core beliefs about literacy instruction. Ideally, all of the teams in your school will have received some training regarding the organization and structure of collaborative teams. However, if collaboration around teaching and learning is a new activity for your grade level and you lack experience in teamwork, tap the expertise of an outsider, such as a literacy coach, the principal, or a central office administrator, to facilitate your team’s evaluation process. Assess Your Team’s Alignment The first activity in this step is the completion of the Grade-Level Literacy Program Alignment Assessment found in figure I.2. Once each team member has completed the form individually, collate the results to determine if there are alignment issues across the grade level that need to be addressed prior to beginning your implementation of the units.


Teaching routines and instructional approaches (for example, cognitive strategy instruction, graphic organizers, vocabulary instruction) are aligned at our grade level.

All teachers at our grade level are teaching at the level of cognition necessary for students to demonstrate mastery of specific standards as evidenced by the number of students scoring above average on summative assessments.

Instruction in all classrooms at our grade level supports the achievement of those specific standards as evidenced by summative assessments.

All teachers at our grade level are teaching the specified state, provincial, district, or common core standards.

Aspect of the Literacy Program

Consistent Implementation (5)

Approaching Consistent Implementation (4) Average Implementation (3)

Figure I.2: Grade-Level Literacy Program Alignment Assessment Sporadic or Inconsistent Implementation (2)

continued

Marginal to No Implementation (1)

Introduction 5

→


Consistent Implementation (5)

Approaching Consistent Implementation (4)

Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download and print this figure.

Teachers at our grade level are conversant with the sixty literacy exemplars and have acquired instructional moves and lesson designs for teaching those standards.

Students at our grade level are expected to write daily in response to reading, as appropriate to their instruction reading level.

Students at our grade level are given adequate opportunities to read various kinds of text (narrative or expository) as well as texts that are accessible to them. Students are expected to notch increasingly difficult levels of text as the school year progresses.

Aspect of the Literacy Program

Average Implementation (3)

Sporadic or Inconsistent Implementation (2) Marginal to No Implementation (1)

6 COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6


Introduction

Collaboratively Develop a Set of Core Values About Literacy Instruction The second activity in this step is designed to help your team develop a set of core values about literacy instruction to which it can adhere. It takes between sixty and ninety minutes, depending on the size of your team. Make copies of figure I.3, Sample Core Values, for each team member and one for the facilitator. Cut the facilitator’s copy into strips and place them in an envelope. One by one, the facilitator draws out a strip and reads the behavioral expectation aloud. After a brief discussion, the facilitator asks, “Do you want this expectation to be a part of the team’s core values about literacy instruction?” If the group accepts the statement as it is written, the facilitator tapes it on a piece of chart paper. If the group wants to revise or edit the statement, they do so before the facilitator tapes it on the chart paper. If the group does not want the statement as part of their core values, the facilitator lays it aside in a separate pile. After the facilitator has gone through all the items in the envelope, he or she asks team members if there are any additional behavioral expectations they want to add to the list. The team reviews the list, and the facilitator compiles the recommendations and prepares a final draft for the team to review. Figure I.3: Sample Core Values We are accountable for the literacy achievement of all students. The teaching of reading is the responsibility of every teacher. We can teach every student in our school how to read and write. Every student can learn, given appropriate opportunities to learn and sufficient practice to gain proficiency. The learner should be treated with respect, even if that learner is acting inappropriately. We make a difference in how, what, when, and why students learn. Good teaching involves creating as many opportunities as possible for successful learning—instructional tenacity, if you will.

We will support and encourage each other through mentoring, coaching, sharing, and collaborating. Effective two-way communication is the responsibility of every team member. Important decisions must be made collegially. Time to teach and learn must be protected. We believe that if students work hard, they will achieve. We have high expectations for every student. We have high expectations for ourselves as teachers. We respect, value, and welcome the ideas, input, and concerns of our fellow team members.

We must model and then teach our students how to comprehend what they read.

Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download and print this figure.

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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

There are at least three possible outcomes of your first meeting to develop a set of values: (1) the team has a high level of trust and quickly agrees on the statements to be included; (2) the team has a low level of trust, team members are unwilling to articulate what they are thinking, and the process goes very quickly with minimal discussion; (3) the team has one or more subgroups that will only talk about the process after the meeting has adjourned. Small schools with fewer than three teachers at a grade level may benefit from forming one whole-school team or two smaller teams of primary and intermediate teachers to engage in this process.

Step 4: Preview the Key Concepts and Exemplars of Effective K–6 Literacy Instruction There are two activities in step 4. Depending on your team’s background knowledge about literacy instruction, two meetings may be needed to adequately carry out these phases. During the first phase, you and your team members discuss and become familiar with the key concepts in this book, many of which may be unfamiliar. Figure I.4 provides definitions for the concepts as they are specifically used in this book. Figure I.4: Definitions of Key Concepts Concept

Definition

Comprehensive and Balanced Literacy

The implementation of targeted programs and instruction that results in on-grade-level literacy achievement for all students, irrespective of their demographics or categorical labels (comprehensive refers to the eight essential components of a literacy program [fig. 2.2, page 43], and balanced refers to ongrade-level achievement for all students)

Instructional Capacity

The collective abilities of the teachers in a given school or grade-level team to teach and get results for all students

Academic Capacity

The collective abilities of all students to learn—and demonstrate their learning—in relevant and rigorous work products (daily assignments, writing projects, problem-solving tasks, and group projects) as well as in the results of formative and summative assessments

Instructional Leadership Capacity

The collective abilities of administrators and teacher leaders to build and maintain a professional learning community and solve problems of teaching and learning to move toward the goal of success for all students


Introduction

Concept

9

Definition

Exemplars of Effective K–6 Literacy Instruction or Exemplars of Effective Literacy Instruction

Used interchangeably to refer to a set of sixty researchbased exemplars of effective literacy instruction for grades K–6

Exemplar or Indicator

Used interchangeably to refer to a research-based characteristic, action, or attitude of a teacher or student; a condition or climate in the classroom; or an artifact created by a teacher or student during literacy instruction that is critical to that instruction

Nonexemplar

The ineffective implementation of a literacy exemplar or the opposite of an exemplar

Collaborative Teacher Team

A teacher work group having the characteristics of trust, self-reflection, support, communication, shared mission, and conflict resolution skills

Professional Growth Unit

A set of learning activities designed to provide embedded professional development about a specific literacy topic

Collaborative Planning Time

The time dedicated to collaborative work around shared goals focused on teaching and learning in a grade-level team

Embedded Professional Development

Professional development that is directly related to the specific needs and goals of a grade-level team or a whole-school faculty and is carried out or acted upon in a collaborative team meeting

Intervention Lesson or Intervention Instruction

Used interchangeably to refer to teacher-managed instruction or teacher-managed instructional activities

Struggling Students or Students at Risk

Used interchangeably to refer to students who are having difficulty keeping up with the pace of instruction at which the teacher is moving with the whole group or even a subgroup of students

Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download and print this figure.

During the second phase, your team discusses and becomes familiar with the foundation of this book: the exemplars and nonexemplars of effective K–6 literacy instruction (see appendix A, page 171), sixty research-based indicators that describe the core knowledge and skills (curriculum and instruction) of a comprehensive and balanced literacy program. The exemplars are organized into five categories as illustrated in figure I.5 (page 10). Before reviewing the sixty exemplars, please remember that they are intended to be an instructional tool, not an evaluation instrument. There is sometimes a tendency to adopt a judgmental mindset about colleagues when the topic of instructional improvement is on the table. Suspend that mindset. The optimum use of this book requires a mindset that focuses on collective instructional improvement and growth through collaboration and self-reflection.


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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

Figure I.5: Categories of Exemplars of Effective Literacy Instruction Category

Description

Instructional Moves

Instructional moves are the positive and purposedriven actions, attitudes, and words that highly effective teachers use to communicate with students during literacy instruction.

Teacher-Managed Instructional Activities or Teacher-Managed Instruction*

Teacher-managed instructional activities are lessons in which teachers provide targeted, direct, explicit, systematic, supportive instruction to students in any of the eight curricular components of a balanced literacy program. Teacher-managed instruction refers to the broad category containing all instruction designed for and delivered to students at risk.

Teacher With-It-Ness

Teacher with-it-ness is the state of being on top of, tuned in to, aware of, and in complete control of the various organizational and management facets of classroom life. With-it-ness also includes the ability to preview, project, and predict the challenges and contingencies of an upcoming school year and the expertise to proactively design and teach a set of expectations (routines, rubrics, and rules).

Student-Managed Learning Activities or Student-Managed Learning*

Student-managed learning activities are those for which students have acquired the necessary skills and strategies to independently manage and complete a wide range of literacy tasks to include reading, writing, presenting, consulting, and teaching. Student-managed learning refers to the broad category containing all instances in which students are successfully directing and managing their own learning.

Classroom Artifacts

Classroom artifacts are: (1) physical objects in the classroom (posters, signs, agendas, assignment notebooks, vocabulary and reading logs, and rubrics); (2) teacher-developed written documents that enable teachers to use their walls and boards as “teaching assistants” and motivators; and (3) student-produced written documents such as work displayed in the classroom, homework assignments, and work produced during teacher-managed instruction or student-managed learning activities that give evidence of rigor and relevance.

*T he terms teacher-managed instructional activities and student-managed learning activities are

adapted from the work of Connor, Morrison, & Katch, 2004; and Connor, Morrison, & Petrella, 2004.

Notice as you read through the sixty exemplars that the statements refer to the team, not to individual teachers. Your team’s goal is to connect your collective professional growth to the academic growth of your students. If your school generally or your grade level specifically has never operated with an open-door, collective responsibility for the success of all students, shifting your paradigm will take time and patience on the part of everyone.


Introduction

11

Step 5: Preview the Professional Growth Units Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K–6 contains twenty professional growth units designed to build a team’s capacity for literacy instruction. Appendix B (page 183) displays a table of contents for the twenty units. You may wish to reproduce this figure and place it in your team folder to help you quickly locate a particular unit. (Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download the reproducibles in this book.) Although the professional growth units are self-contained, they are best completed in the order in which they appear. Having stated that, however, teams can skip around if they have a specific immediate need to dig in to a certain unit topic. Generally, the units will require about two forty-minute meetings.

Step 6: Collaboratively Work Through Each Unit Professional growth is most effective and leads to increased student learning when teachers have opportunities to become active learners who engage in reading, writing, reflecting, questioning, observing, and collaborating with their colleagues (Hord, 1997). Meeting as a team without specific assignments or clear goals rarely results in the desired increases in instructional capacity or improvement in student learning. Critical to the success of your team’s efforts to increase learning for all students is the provision of a protocol like the literacy instruction exemplars and a structure such as the professional growth units to focus your collaborative efforts (DuFour & Eaker, 1998; Saunders, Goldenberg, & Gallimore, 2009; Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2008). The components of each unit are flexible enough for team leaders to adapt them to their own preferences. Figure I.6 provides an annotated version of the components for team leaders who desire more direction. Figure I.6: Team Leader Notes for Professional Growth Unit Components Unit Component

Team Leader Notes

Essential Question

The essential questions in each unit are designed to generate thoughtful discussions. However, they may sometimes result in disagreement. Before you begin, agree to spend no more than three to five minutes discussing an essential question. Encourage participants to think about their responses to the essential questions before they come to the team meeting.

Advance Organizer

The advance organizer provides suggestions for engaging and energizing the team or to help them retrieve prior knowledge to connect to new learning.

continued →


COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

12

Unit Component

Team Leader Notes

Read to Understand and Remember

There are several options for reading the assigned text in each professional growth unit: (1) the section can be read by team members before the meeting with the expectation that they will develop one factual and one inferential question to be shared with and answered by teammates; (2) the reading can be done during the meeting using a jigsaw design—two to three groups read different sections of the assignment and then summarize it for their teammates; or (3) you can design an activity of your own. It is imperative that all team members read the text, understand it, and actively participate in the discussion. Use all of your student management tricks to bring all of your teammates on board. The reading assignments are short, but the information is essential. Note that understanding and remembering are two different cognitive processes. In order to remember (store away knowledge in long-term memory), you first need to understand what you have read.

Cognitive Processing Activity

The cognitive processing activity uses various instructional activities and organizers designed to help participants process new ideas and concepts. Many of these activities can be adapted for participants’ own classrooms. Remember that, as team leader, you always have the option to use an instructional activity of your own choosing or design, depending on the needs and instructional strengths of your team.

Achievement Connection

Build connections between what you and your team are learning together and your students’ learning. Be ready to suggest an alternative achievement connection if the one that is provided doesn’t fit your team or students.

Step 7: Connect Team Learning to Student Achievement Each unit contains an achievement connection—a way for you to operationalize the content and strategies from the unit into the daily instruction of your grade level. It is during this final step that you will realize the true power of collaboration for increasing the instructional capacity of your team and the academic capacity of your students.

How This Book Is Organized Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams is divided into five chapters, one for each category of the exemplars of effective K–6 literacy instruction: (1) instructional moves, (2) teacher-managed instruction, (3) teacher with-it-ness, (4) studentmanaged learning, and (5) classroom artifacts. Each chapter contains four professional growth units that will help you and your colleagues discuss, think about, reflect on, read about, and write about research-based literacy instruction. Each unit contains the following components: ❑❑

Essential Question—a reflective question to motivate deeper thinking about the big idea of the unit


Introduction

❑❑

Advance Organizer—a brief discussion to activate prior knowledge and engage participants

❑❑

Read to Understand and Remember—a reading assignment to build knowledge and understanding about the unit’s big idea

❑❑

Cognitive Processing Activity—an activity to help participants deepen their understanding of the content and foster team interaction

❑❑

Achievement Connection—a student or team goal that connects what is being learned by your team to your students’ achievement

Chapter 1 contains four professional growth units that introduce you to twenty-two instructional moves—positive and purpose-driven actions, attitudes, and words that highly effective teachers use to communicate with students during literacy instruction. Although these moves can be used to teach any kind of content, the focus in this book is how to most effectively employ them during literacy instruction. The professional growth units in chapter 2 focus on the second category of exemplars: teacher-managed instruction. The chapter describes the essential curricular components of literacy instruction and examines how you and your colleagues can work together to assess, group, scaffold, and differentiate to meet the needs of students at risk. In chapter 3, the four professional growth units deal with an aspect of instruction that is foundational to academic achievement in general and more specifically literacy achievement: teacher with-it-ness. Teacher with-it-ness is the state of being on top of, tuned in to, aware of, and in complete control of the various organizational and management facets of classroom life, including one of the most critical: student engagement. You will learn how organizational, academic, and social routines can help you find added time for literacy instruction and acquire a menu of ways to keep your students engaged and on task. Chapter 4 puts the spotlight on two groups of students who are sometimes overlooked as you deal with the pressures to meet the needs of struggling students: students who are above grade level and have the skills, strategies, and self-discipline to manage their own literacy learning, and those students who have the skills and knowledge to accomplish literacy tasks but lack the self-management skills to apply their literacy skills both in and out of the classroom. While chapter 2 supports instruction for struggling students, chapter

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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

4 provides a framework to boost the achievement of students who are at or above grade level but have the potential to go far beyond. Chapter 5 highlights the last category, classroom artifacts. The units in this chapter will help you turn your walls and boards into teaching assistants; design and teach rubrics that guide your students to evaluate and improve their reading, writing, work habits, and social skills; construct organizers and concept maps to ensure understanding and retention of content; and construct and use dream boards and goal sheets to motivate and engage even the most reluctant learners—all in the cause of literacy learning.


Chapter

1

In the same way that conducting looks like hand-waving to the uninitiated, teaching looks simple from the perspective of students [and untrained or inexperienced observers] who see a person talking and listening, handing out papers, and giving assignments. Invisible in both of these performances are the many kinds of knowledge, unseen plans, and backstage moves . . . that allow teachers to purposefully move a group of students from one set of understandings and skills to quite another over the space of many months. —Bransford, Darling-Hammond, & LePage (2005, p. 1)

In this chapter, you will explore the first category of literacy instruction exemplars: instructional moves. Instructional moves are positive and purpose-driven actions, attitudes, and words that highly effective teachers use to communicate with students during literacy instruction. Figure 1.1 contrasts the exemplars and nonexemplars of instructional moves. As you preview the exemplars and nonexemplars of these twenty-two moves, you will no doubt find that you and your team members already employ many of them in your classrooms. However, in the professional growth units in this and subsequent chapters of the book, you will discuss, think about, write about, and discover how to use these moves in deeper and more powerful ways to positively impact the literacy achievement of your students. Figure 1.1: Exemplars and Nonexemplars of Instructional Moves Instructional Move ActivatingConnecting

Exemplar Team members generate interest in learning, activate prior knowledge, and connect instruction to the real world or to the solution of real problems.

Nonexemplar Team members do not tap into the experiences and background knowledge of their students. Lessons are presented as they are found in the teachers’ manual with no observable modifications for the unique makeup of the class.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Instructional Moves

continued → 15


COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

16

Instructional Move

Nonexemplar

AffirmingAppreciating

Team members appreciate, encourage, praise, or reward students’ actions, attitudes, thinking processes, verbal statements, and work products. The praise is specific and focuses on excellent work products as well as improvements in students’ thinking and efforts.

Team members are seldom observed praising or affirming students, and many of their statements are negative, sarcastic, or punitive. Team members often articulate the opinion to students that they need to develop their own internal motivations and should not expect compliments.

Annotating

Team members add additional information while reading a text with students or during a group discussion—information that students do not have but need in order to make sense of the discussion or text. Team members build background and vocabulary knowledge as often as possible using relevant examples from students’ experiences.

Team members do not add information to that provided in the textbook, information that would enable struggling students to make connections to what is being taught. They simply assign the story, leaving struggling students confused about what the text means.

Assessing

Team members determine both formally (through testing) and informally (through questioning) what students have learned and where instruction needs to be differentiated for all students to achieve mastery.

Team members rarely use informal assessments during instruction and use formal assessments only to assign report card grades.

Attributing

Team members communicate in specific ways to students that their accomplishments are the result of effort, wise decision making, attending to the task, and exercising good judgment and perseverance, rather than their intelligence or ability.

Team members act surprised when students do well and generally attribute their success to either their ability levels or to good luck.

CoachingFacilitating

Team members think along with students and help them develop their own ideas, rather than directing their thinking and telling them what to do.

Team members give the right answers to students who ask questions so they can fill in the blank, turn in the worksheet, and get credit.

Constructing

Team members and their students work collaboratively to construct multiple meanings from conversations, discussions, and the reading of text.

Team members do not work collaboratively with their students to discuss the meaning of a story or article. They simply state their interpretation of the text.

Differentiating

Team members calibrate the difficulty of learning tasks so as to create the best match possible with students’ assessed skills and knowledge.

Team members do not provide additional opportunities for learning to students who are struggling. Instruction is based on the textbook and moves at a pace suited to the most advanced students.

Directly Instructing

Team members use a direct, explicit, systematic, and supportive approach to teaching.

Team members do not directly instruct students. All instruction is delivered in a whole-class setting and designed for average students.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Exemplar


Instructional Moves

Instructional Move

17

Nonexemplar

Explaining

Team members tell students what will happen in a lesson, what the goal is, why it’s being done, how it will help students, and what the roles of the teacher and students will be during the lesson.

Students seldom have an idea of the objective or purpose of a lesson. If asked by an observer what the lesson is about or what they are supposed to be learning, students are unable to respond.

Giving Directions

Team members give clear and concise verbal instructions (supported by written directions, picture cues, or modeling as needed) that help students see how they are going to get from where they are at the beginning of a lesson, task, or unit to the completion of the task or outcome.

Team members give only verbal directions for assignments and activities. They do not ask students if they have questions and do not provide visual cues, more detail, or a repetition of the instructions for struggling students.

Grouping

Team members use benchmark assessment results to group and re-group students according to their specific academic needs for scaffolded instruction, enrichment, or specialized interventions.

Team members use only one kind of grouping arrangement: wholegroup instruction. Students never have opportunities to work with a partner or complete a collaborative group project with classmates. Team members do not form small groups to provide extended teaching or more practice for struggling students.

Guiding Practice

Team members lead students through rehearsals of skills, processes, or routines to ensure understanding, accuracy, and automaticity.

Team members do not provide extra practice during class time for struggling students. Instead, they send worksheets to parents asking them to provide practice at home.

Modeling

Team members think aloud regarding the cognitive processing of text and physically represent that thinking by constructing graphic organizers or writing in response to reading while students observe.

Team members do not think aloud for students about their own reading comprehension and do not model how to construct organizers or write in response to reading. They give assignments, collect work, and give grades.

Motivating

Team members encourage, inspire, and stimulate their students to achieve both personal and group goals by scaffolding instruction, affirming academic efforts, and providing extrinsic rewards as needed to jump-start struggling students.

Team members use teaching behaviors that undermine student motivation. Examples of this are competing rather than cooperating; grading publicly; assigning very easy or boring tasks; giving negative feedback; highlighting students’ failures; attributing students’ successes and failures to luck, ability, or task difficulty; scapegoating students; and administering frequent reprimands.

continued →

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Exemplar


COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

18

Instructional Move

Exemplar

Nonexemplar

Team members communicate positive expectations and a caring attitude, and take a personal interest in the success of their students.

Team members use teaching behaviors that communicate low expectations, apathy regarding the success of their students, and a distant attitude toward students.

Questioning

Team members use a variety of questioning techniques and types of questions to stimulate students’ thinking, while also teaching students how to ask and answer their own questions.

Team members use one type of question, often questions to which they have a preconceived answer in mind. A small group of students in their classrooms answers almost all of the questions that are asked.

Recapping

Team members summarize what has been concluded, learned, or constructed during a given lesson or discussion; tell students why this new learning is important; and let them know where they can apply it in the future.

Lessons end abruptly with no closure, and team members rarely summarize what was accomplished or learned.

Redirecting

Team members monitor the level of student attention and engagement and use a variety of techniques, prompts, and signals to regain or redirect students’ attention to the learning task. They are able to transition students from one activity to another with minimal time loss.

Team members do not regularly pay attention to students who are off task. When they do, they have a limited repertoire of attentiongetting signals, with most of them being negative in tone.

Reminding

Team members cause students to remember or think more deeply about an idea or concept that has been previously taught, or restate something that has been previously taught in a novel way to ensure their remembering.

Team members do not consider that students might need reminding and do not help students make connections between the learning of today and prior learning.

Reteaching

Team members teach recursively by repeatedly coming back to important skills, concepts, outcomes, or standards, giving students multiple opportunities to achieve mastery.

Team members teach a concept or skill, test students, consider the concept taught, and move on without regard for the students who have not achieved mastery.

Scaffolding

Team members support students at their independent learning levels, enabling them to solve problems, carry out tasks, master content and skills, utilize appropriate cognitive strategies, and generally achieve goals that would otherwise be impossible for them.

Team members consistently respond to students as though they are totally responsible for their own learning. They do not scaffold difficult material for struggling students and frequently say to students and colleagues: “Well, we teachers had to get it on our own. Nobody ever explained it to us.”

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

NurturingMentoring


Instructional Moves

19

Your intentional and purposeful use of these moves as a grade-level team will impact the literacy learning of your students in countless ways. Figure 1.2 cites dozens of research studies showing how these moves affect student learning.

ActivatingConnecting

Afflerbach, 1990a, 1990b; Bransford, 1984; Brown, Smiley, Day, Townsend, & Lawton, 1977; Dole, Valencia, Greer, & Wardrop, 1991; Knapp, 1995; Neuman, 1988; Palincsar & Brown, 1984; Pearson, Roehler, Dole, & Duffy, 1992; Roberts, 1988; Tharp, 1982; Wood, Winne, & Pressley, 1988

AffirmingAppreciating

Aspy & Roebuck, 1977; Brophy, 1981; Pintrich & Schunk, 1996; Stipek, 1993

Annotating

Pressley, El-Dinary, & Brown, 1992

Assessing

Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall, & Wiliam, 2003; Bursuck & Blanks, 2010; Fuchs et al., 2007

Attributing

Covington, 1984; Dweck, 1975; Howard, 1990, 1995; Howard & Hammond, 1985; Resnick, 1995, 1999; Weiner, 1972

CoachingFacilitating

Collins, 1991; Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989; Mason, Roehler, & Duffy, 1984; Pearson & Gallagher, 1983; Pressley et al., 1992; Pressley, Wharton-McDonald, Allington, et al., 2001; Taylor, Pearson, Clark, & Walpole, 2000; Vygotsky, 1978

Constructing

Borokowski & Muthurkrishna, 1992; Brown & Campione, 1994; Fielding & Pearson, 1994; Pressley, El-Dinary, & Brown, 1992; Pressley, El-Dinary, Gaskins, et al., 1992; Pressley et al., 1995

Differentiating

Connor, Morrison, Fishman, Schatschneider, & Underwood, 2007; Connor, Morrison, & Katch, 2004; Connor, Morrison, & Petrella, 2004; Connor, Schatschneider, Fishman, & Morrison, 2008; Lalley & Gentile, 2009; Willingham, 2004

Directly Instructing

Adams & Carnine, 2003; Brophy & Good, 1986; Bursuck & Blanks, 2010; Bursuck & Damer, 2010; Rosenshine, 1986, 1997; Stockard & Engelmann, 2010

Explaining

Duffy, 2002; Duffy et al., 1987; Rosenshine, 1979

Giving Directions

Brophy & Good, 1986; Porter & Brophy, 1988

Grouping

Mosteller, Light, & Sachs, 1996; Vaughn, Hughes, Moody, & Elbaum, 2001

Guiding Practice

Good & Grouws, 1979; Rosenshine, 1997a; Willingham, 2004

Modeling

Afflerbach, 2002; Bereiter & Bird, 1985; Collins, Brown, & Holum, 1991; Davey, 1983; Herber & Herber, 1993; Pressley, El-Dinary, & Brown, 1992; Wade, 1990

Motivating

Bogner, Raphael, & Pressley, 2002; Brophy, 1981, 1985, 1987; Meichenbaum & Biemiller, 1998; Pressley, Raphael, Gallagher, & DiBella, 2004

continued →

Š 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Figure 1.2: Research Showing How Instructional Moves Impact Student Learning


COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

20

Aspy & Roebuck, 1977; Noddings, 1984; Pintrich & Schunk, 1996

Questioning

Davey & McBride, 1986; King, 1989, 1991, 1992; King, Biggs, & Lipsky, 1984; Nolte & Singer, 1985; Rosenshine, Meister, & Chapman, 1996; Singer & Dolan, 1982; Smolkin & Donovan, 2000; Wong, Wong, Perry, & Sawatsky, 1986

Recapping

Carr & Ogle, 1987; Pressley, El-Dinary, Gaskins, et al., 1992

Redirecting

Saphier & Gower, 1997

Reminding

Pressley, El-Dinary, Gaskins, et al., 1992

Reteaching

Block, 1971; Block & Anderson, 1975; Bloom, 1971, 1974; Carroll, 1989; Gentile & Lalley, 2003; Gentile, Monaco, Iheozor-Ejiofor, Ndu, & Ogbonaya, 1982; Gentile, Voelkl, Mt. Pleasant, & Monaco, 1995; see The Scholar’s Loop in Saphier & Gower, 1997, pp. 322–328

Scaffolding

Dickson, Collins, Simmons, & Kame’enui, 1998; Hogan & Pressley, 1997; Pressley et al., 2004; Rogoff, 1990; Vygotsky, 1978; Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976; Wood & Middleton, 1975

Instructional moves could be compared to the moves that professional athletes make while they are competing on the court or field or the moves that virtuoso musicians make as they play their instruments or sing. The moves of these experts are fluid, purposeful, and in almost all instances, automatic and accurate. They are so well rehearsed that those who watch and listen often attribute the success of these individuals solely to their natural talents and abilities. This may sometimes be the case. But, more likely than not, these “stars” still practice, rehearse, and are coached in the application of the critical moves they make. As teachers, you find yourselves in similar situations. You can benefit from practice, rehearsal, and coaching to become and remain highly effective. The most productive place in which to practice, rehearse, and coach effective instructional moves is in the context of collaborative team meetings. Figure 1.3 is a table of contents describing the units in this chapter. As you work through these four professional growth units with your teammates, you will not only improve and consolidate the moves you currently use, but also add some new ones to your instructional repertoire. Some say you can’t teach an old dog (or teacher) new tricks, but I personally have found that investigating and thinking more deeply about the purpose and underlying principles of the twenty-two instructional moves has improved my own instruction. I hope that as you delve into each unit your instruction will become more purposeful, to the end of increased literacy learning and achievement for all of your students.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

NurturingMentoring


Unpacking Instructional Moves

Literacy Learning and Behavior

Affirmation Versus Criticism: How to Motivate Your Students

1.2

1.3

1.4

This unit focuses on the moves that affirm and encourage your students and sensitizes you to the importance of doing far more affirming than correcting and criticizing.

In this unit, your team will explore the connection between student achievement and behavior and learn how to eliminate behavior problems that result from students not having mastered reading skills.

This unit leads you and your teammates through a process for digging deeper into a selected instructional move.

This unit introduces you to the twenty-two instructional moves and shows how using these purpose-driven moves either singly or in combination will enable you to meet the learning needs of all of your students.

Description

At what point does correctivenegative feedback destroy student motivation and undermine trust?

Does problem behavior result in poor achievement, or does the inability to achieve success academically cause problem behavior?

What benefits will you and your team members accrue as a result of unpacking a specific instructional move?

Why are the twenty-two purpose-driven moves so critical to literacy instruction?

Essential Question

Team members will identify one or more students who have ensnared them into a downward spiral of criticism and negative feedback. Team members will support each other in eliminating the criticism trap and establishing a motivating and affirming climate in all of the classrooms at their grade level.

Students at risk will become more academically successful and confident as team members purposefully use the following instructional moves to move their students from one step on the literacy continuum to the next: assessing, grouping, differentiating, directly instructing, guiding practice, and scaffolding.

As appropriate to their grade level and instructional reading level, students will learn how to use the unpacking strategy with content vocabulary or important academic terms.

As a result of the team’s intentional use (modeling) of the instructional move recapping (or any other instructional move the team chooses), students will acquire the skill of recapping and successfully apply it to a short story or article at their independent reading level.

Achievement Connection

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Supplementary resources for chapter 1: McEwan, 2002a; McEwan, 2002b; McEwan-Adkins, 2010.

The Big Idea of Instructional Moves

Unit Title

1.1

Unit #

Figure 1.3: Table of Contents for the Units in Chapter 1

Instructional Moves 21


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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

Unit 1.1: The Big Idea of Instructional Moves Unit 1.1 introduces you to the twenty-two instructional moves and shows how using these purpose-driven moves either singly or in combination will enable you to meet the learning needs of all of your students.

Why are the twenty-two purpose-driven moves so critical to literacy instruction? Advance Organizer Before you explore the Read to Understand and Remember section of this unit, place a sticky tab or note on the first page of figure 1.1 (page 15). You will return to this figure frequently until you master the instructional moves. Your goal for this first unit is not only to understand and remember the definitions and descriptions of the moves, but also to incorporate them into your lesson designs and delivery. To explore the moves with your team, first, individually select two that you believe are your strongest moves. Put a sticky flag next to your two strengths. As you scan the set of instructional moves once more, see if there are any moves that you seldom, if ever, intentionally employ in your teaching or may even employ in some unproductive ways. Flag those as well. Tally the team’s strongest moves as well as those that are seldom used. Determine any patterns that would suggest instructional goals for the team or achievement goals for the students. Take note of which team members might be able to coach and mentor others as you choose moves for the team to add to its instructional repertoire. Read to Understand and Remember The twenty-two instructional moves in figure 1.1 are essential for effective instruction at any grade level or for any subject. However, in this book, we will examine the moves exclusively in the context of elementary school literacy instruction. I first developed this category (McEwan, 2004) based on the findings of a qualitative classroom observation study focused on cognitive strategy instruction (Pressley, El-Dinary, Gaskins, Schuder, Bergman, et al., 1992). I have continued to add to and refine my early list, based on more recent qualitative classroom observation studies of literacy instruction (Bogner, Raphael, & Pressley, 2002; Foorman, Francis, Fletcher, Schatschneider, & Mehta, 1998; Kern & Clemens, 2007; McCutchen et al., 2002; Pressley et al.,

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Essential Question


Instructional Moves

23

2001; Stichter, Stormont, & Lewis, 2009; Taylor, Pearson, Clark, & Walpole, 2000; Wharton-McDonald, Pressley, & Hampston, 1998).

The opposite of purpose-driven instruction is unplanned or aimless instruction. During my early classroom walkthroughs as a novice elementary school principal, I discovered a wide range of teacher effectiveness—everything from A to Z. Teacher A was an exemplar of every instructional move in figure 1.1. She had a rationale for every statement she made, a reason for every example she selected, and an underlying principle behind every word of affirmation she gave to individual students. Even her decisions about where to stand during a specific point in a lesson were purpose-driven. Teacher Z was a nonexemplar. She was pleasantly marginal but largely ineffective. It was impossible to identify a single positive, purpose-driven instructional move in her meanderings through a lesson. Sometimes Teacher Z purposefully stopped “teaching” and assigned easy seatwork to her students while she shuffled papers at her desk, a clever ploy to make me go away and leave her alone. Sometimes, Teacher Z actually attempted to teach a lesson, but unfortunately, it was unrelated to any of the outcomes or content of her grade level. Only when we created a collaborative school team to assume the collective responsibility for all of the students did student learning in her classroom begin to increase, as did summative assessment scores.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

As you gain a deeper understanding about what skilled teachers do, say, and are as they employ these instructional moves, you will no doubt want to integrate some moves into your own teaching repertoire. Keep in mind that the key term in the definition of instructional moves is purpose-driven. Each instructional move when well executed accomplishes a specific goal. Consider, for example, the instructional move assessing. Assessing, either during instruction or after a lesson has been taught, enables you to determine the effectiveness of your instruction. Assessing prior to instruction enables you to gauge where your students are on the continuum to mastery and provides the information you need to target your lesson to the precise needs of your students. Assessing for grading is far less positive and purpose-driven, often signifying to students that you are finished teaching a skill or unit and are moving on, regardless of how many students you may be leaving behind. As you review the list of moves, reflect on the purpose of each, as well as on how often you choose to use it in a given day.


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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

Cognitive Processing Activity

For this cognitive processing activity, first, identify three to five categories into which you might logically group the instructional moves. For example, as I consider the moves, I see a number of them that are more affective in nature, relating to how teachers engage their students on an interpersonal level. I see other moves that are so important that they are part of almost every lesson. Come up with categories that are meaningful and memorable for you. Then place the twenty-two instructional moves into your categories using figure 1.4. Share and discuss with teammates how you each have categorized the moves and explain your underlying rationales. Be aware that there are no “right” answers for this activity. Categorizing various concepts or words is an excellent activity for morning bell-work or for recapping (one of the instructional moves) at the end of the school day. In the beginning of the school year, provide the categories into which to place various concepts. As the year progresses, expect students to select their own categories after you present them with a list of words. Achievement Connection As a result of the team’s intentional use (modeling) of the instructional move recapping (or any other instructional move the team chooses), students will acquire the skill of recapping and successfully apply it to a short story or article that is read aloud each week. If necessary, scaffold the recapping skill using this lesson model: I do it (teacher models recapping a short read-aloud); we do it (teacher and student volunteers recap a story together); you do it (student pairs recap a story using a set of prompts provided by the teacher). By setting a team goal and collaboratively developing a lesson to teach the recapping skill to students as well as using the same short story or article (accessible text at students’ independent reading level), you will be able to tease out which students are experiencing the most success.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

The instructional moves described in figure 1.1 are alphabetically arranged, which is helpful if you want to quickly find the exemplar of a specific move. However, if you were asked to remember the list and summarize it for a shortanswer test, organizing the moves into meaningful categories would more readily help you understand and remember the moves. Recall psychologist George Miller’s (1956) hypothesis that working memory can hold no more than seven plus or minus two things at one time without cognitive overload.


Instructional Moves

25

Figure 1.4: Categorize to Summarize

Category 1

Category 2

Category 3

Category 4

Category 5

Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download and print this figure.

Unit 1.2: Unpacking Instructional Moves Unit 1.2 leads you and your teammates through a process for digging deeper into a selected instructional move. Often I find myself using educational jargon that sounds good, but if asked to succinctly define it, I can’t come up with exactly what it means. When that is the case, I spend some time unpacking a term or a concept to understand all of its various meanings and classroom applications. You will do the same in this unit. Essential Question What benefits will you and your team members accrue as a result of unpacking a specific instructional move? Advance Organizer In the reading assignment for this unit, you will encounter a process called “unpacking.” Think of instances when you have unpacked something and were surprised by what you found. Perhaps it was a notice from the Transportation Security Administration letting you know that some thoughtful

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Directions: Read through figure 1.1, Exemplars and Nonexemplars of Instructional Moves (page 15), and think about how you might categorize the twenty-two instructional moves in order to better remember them. First, identify at least three, but no more than five, categories. Write the name of each category you have chosen in the first row of the table. Then write the name of each instructional move in the category in which it best fits.


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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

inspector went through the dirty laundry in your suitcase. Or perhaps you unpacked a box you received in the mail from a friend or family member without knowing what the contents were—an unexpected gift.

Read to Understand and Remember The unpacking process is not as mysterious as it may sound. Here is an example to help you understand what it looks like. Imagine that with very little notice you were offered a two-year teaching assignment in Egypt. You had no time to pack up your apartment, so friends and family members packed your belongings for you. Although they tried to keep things organized and labeled, as time grew short, they simply grabbed whatever was left, wrapped it in old towels or newsprint, and stuffed it in a box they labeled “miscellaneous.” Belongings that you once used on a daily basis were put into storage. Now, fast-forward to your return from Egypt. After a two-year separation from your stuff, it’s time to move it into a new apartment and get settled. The unpacking you do at that moment is most comparable to the conceptual unpacking of an instructional move. Let me further explain the similarities between the two processes. Unpacking an instructional move that seems easy to understand at first glance is like tearing open that box labeled “miscellaneous.” As you open this mystery box, you have no idea what you will find. You know that each item you unwrap belongs to you, but as you hold it in your hand, you may not even recognize it as yours. Perhaps the object you hold is only one part of a whole—a shoe without its mate or a tangle of cords and chargers separated from their appliances, computers, and cell phones. You have two years of exciting experiences behind you and now are wondering if the coffee mug, piece of art, and article of clothing that seemed so dear two years earlier are even worth saving. In the course of your unpacking, you will be discarding things that are no longer relevant since you are now reconstructing your life. The same is true of your team as you collectively unpack an instructional move. You and your colleagues may have fuzzy definitions or impressions of a move stored in your long-term memories, but as you share them with one another, you discover aspects of the instructional move that had never

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Just ahead, you will unpack an instructional move. Before you begin to read, select one instructional move that you and your team would like to explore in more depth—a move that may be missing from your team’s repertoire. As you read, reflect on how you might apply the steps in the unpacking process to this move.


Instructional Moves

27

Unpacking an instructional move can be a little messy because it is a cognitive processing exercise in which team members retrieve knowledge, experiences, feelings, and perceptions about teaching and learning from their cognitive and social-emotional memory systems, place this eclectic package on the desktops of their working memories, and then after some discussion, reassemble a new package of knowledge that they send back to their long-term memories for later retrieval. Your team is co-constructing knowledge, and you may find that your team’s conceptual thinking is shifting as you struggle with what implementing a specific move means to your students who are failing to survive and thrive in your classrooms. Cognitive Processing Activity The cognitive processing activity for this unit is the step-by-step unpacking of an instructional move. The steps are found in figure 1.5. This process requires that the team leader keep the questions, challenges, and new ideas flowing. Take the time to do a thorough job of unpacking the move you have chosen but keep moving. This process can be used throughout the units to dig deeper into a new concept. Or, you may even choose to unpack a second instructional move before you go on to the next unit. Figure 1.5: A Step-by-Step Approach to Unpacking an Instructional Move 1. Gather materials that relate to the chosen instructional move from a professional library or the Internet, or purchase materials if budgets permit.

Don’t think in terms of reading everything. Do more searching and selecting of interesting ideas, explanations, quotations, and so on. Divide up the reading and jigsaw it, with each team member reporting back on what was read.

2. Rewrite the description of the instructional move by putting it into language that is meaningful to you and your colleagues but retains the essence of the original researchbased definition.

Unpacking an instructional move requires thinking more deeply about an educational concept that is discussed and used with frequency but that is often not clearly understood by educators, particularly those who are new to the profession (for example, scaffolding, differentiating, directly instructing).

continued →

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

occurred to you before. You realize that a particular move needs to be combined with and supported by other instructional moves. As you listen to your teammates talk about how they employ various moves, you may discover that your previous understanding of the move will have to be discarded in favor of a new, comprehensive, and definitely more research-based version.


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COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

You might construct an outline with Roman numerals and subheadings. Or, if you are a more visually oriented team, make a large concept map and put it on the wall of one of the team’s classrooms. If you do not wish to post it, roll up the butcher paper on which you are constructing the map and bring it out for each meeting.

4. As you begin to develop an expanded definition of the instructional move with as many categories or subheadings as you can find, define all of the related terms and concepts so you and your teammates can achieve consensus about what each term or concept means in terms of becoming skilled at using them in your classrooms.

Always take time to nail down specific definitions and behaviors. Look for research that supports your findings, if needed, to show teammates who are having a hard time letting go of a paradigm that has no research to support it.

5. Brainstorm as many little moves as you can that could be used as subheadings in your outline.

Write down as many ideas as you can think of without regard for correctness. You can always trim the list later.

6. Begin to construct classroom examples and nonexamples of the little moves.

Start with the question, What does a good one look like? Think of your answer as the exemplar of teacher effectiveness on the far left of a continuum. Then move to the far right of the continuum and ask, What does an unacceptable version of the exemplar look like? That’s your nonexemplar.

7. Talk about how your classrooms would change if you implemented all of the little moves with automaticity and accuracy.

Focus on struggling students and imagine how your implementation would impact their learning.

8. Think about how you will intentionally use what you have learned about the instructional move in your classrooms.

Take notes about all of these suggestions so you can review them, or make a reminder poster to hang at the back of the classroom to scaffold your implementation.

9. Set an achievement goal for your students based on your implementation of the instructional move.

Student learning is the ultimate goal of embedded professional development. As you are learning about these instructional moves, constantly think about making connections to student learning.

Achievement Connection As appropriate to their grade level and instructional reading level, students will learn how to use the unpacking strategy with content vocabulary or important academic terms (for example, summarize, infer, and so on). They will unpack at least three new words per week using the graphic organizer in figure 1.6, Unpack Your Backpack Organizer, to scaffold their unpacking.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

3. Divide up the materials among the team members, and begin looking for ways in which the instructional move could be expanded into more specific teacher behaviors. You can call them “little moves” to distinguish them from the “big” move that is one of the exemplars of effective K–6 literacy instruction.


Instructional Moves

29

Figure 1.6: Unpack Your Backpack Organizer Antonyms

When you hear the word, you . . .

Sentences

_____________________________ Write the word you want to unpack on the line.

Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download and print this figure.

Unit 1.3: Literacy Learning and Behavior In this unit, your team will explore the connection between student achievement and behavior and learn how to eliminate behavior problems that result from students not having mastered reading skills.

Š 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Synonyms


30

COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

Essential Question Does problem behavior result in poor achievement, or does the inability to achieve success academically cause problem behavior?

Our first inclination as teachers when we encounter students with behavior problems is to tackle the behavior by talking to the child and the parents or designing some kind of behavior intervention plan. But have you ever considered that this misbehaving student might need an academic intervention? Read to Understand and Remember Experienced teachers have long recognized the correlation between student achievement and behavior. You will not be surprised to learn that researchers at the Educational Testing Service (1998) reported that students with discipline problems have lower test scores. After analyzing the discipline records and achievement test scores of 16,000 students surveyed between 1988 and 1994, researchers found that students who had committed minor or more serious offenses scored 10 percent lower on achievement tests in mathematics, reading, social science, and science than students who did not have such discipline problems (Educational Testing Service, 1998). A disturbing relationship also exists between low reading achievement specifically and the delinquency rate of our young people: Low reading levels tend to predict the likelihood of the onset of serious delinquency. Longitudinally, poor reading achievement and delinquency appear to mutually influence each other. Prior reading levels predicted later subsequent delinquency . . . [moreover] poor reading achievement increased the chances of serious delinquency persisting over time. (Huizinga, Loeber, & Thornberry, 1991, p. 17)

This correlation between students’ accuracy in completing literacy tasks and their behavior is captured in the 80% Commandment: Thou shall not expect your students to complete literacy tasks when they do not have the skills to complete the task with at least an 80% accuracy rate. If this commandment is broken, those students will either act out or tune out. Observe two or three first graders read a selection in which their accuracy is less than 80 percent. Watch their movements as they struggle to say the next word, sometimes guessing, sometimes trying in vain to decode. Within five minutes of working at this high frustration level, even good-natured and

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Advance Organizer


Instructional Moves

31

generally cooperative students will begin to squirm, shifting from side to side, rubbing their eyes, and looking away from the book.

Even though Kimberly could read predictable stories with accompanying illustrations, the first time she tried to read the words in the text without pictures she correctly decoded only 30% of them. When I observed her reading the story again, she appeared to have committed more words to memory, but her accuracy was only 40%. As Kimberly encountered words she did not know, I observed that her squirming increased and her attention decreased. She was trying to please me but was unable to do the work successfully. She may have memorized the sequential text of the stories, but the individual words were not in her long-term memory. (McEwan & Damer, 2000, p. 131)

Although the flip side of the 80% Commandment is a less frequent trigger for disruptive behavior, students who have already mastered the daily work in their classroom and who do not experience the challenge of learning new material will tune out or act out in much the same way as frustrated students do. Just as undue frustration with instruction can trigger problem behaviors, so too can class activities and assignments that the student can easily complete with 100 percent accuracy. Does problem behavior result in poor achievement, or does the inability to achieve success academically cause problem behavior? Experience suggests that with few exceptions, children begin school with an eagerness and desire to learn. Only when the system breaks down in meeting their needs (for example, ineffective teaching, overloaded classrooms, poorly defined objectives and curriculum, lack of research-based curriculum, or unattended problems such as learning difficulties with lack of intervention support) do students turn to making mischief as a cover-up for their academic failure. They become highly skilled at diverting our attention from their underlying problem: lack of success in literacy learning. Most students would prefer to be thought of as troublemakers than to be labeled “disabled,” “slow,” or “at risk.” The challenges are all too familiar to the average teacher. If the work is too difficult, the students are confused and grow frustrated. If the learning tasks are too easy, the students get bored and tune out. In either case, the potential for behavior problems looms just over the horizon.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

After observing Kimberly, a struggling second grader described by her teacher as noncompliant and persistently off task, the learning specialist who was evaluating her in advance of a study team meeting wrote the following:


COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

32

Resolving discipline problems may not require a behavior management program, but rather the systematic application of the following instructional moves: Assess your students’ mastery of the key skills needed to perform the tasks you have assigned.

❑❑

Group students who are struggling with the same learning gaps.

❑❑

Differentiate instruction by directly instructing a small group in just one or two of the missing skills.

❑❑

Provide scaffolding by having students respond chorally with the teacher before expecting them to respond individually.

❑❑

Guide the students to practice the newly acquired skill to the mastery level.

One of the most powerful ways to improve the behavior of challenging students is to find curricula and teaching methods to ensure success in literacy learning. With a strong literacy foundation, students who might have been tempted to act out to gain recognition, attention, and self-esteem will find their needs for affirmation met through genuine achievement. Cognitive Processing Activity Figure 1.7 graphically displays what is known as the zone of proximal development, sometimes abbreviated as ZPD (Vygotsky, 1978), and figure 1.8 defines the terms shown in the graphic. The ZPD is the intersection or overlap of the acquisition phase of learning, during which students need direct and systematic instruction along with teacher support and help (scaffolding), and the application phase of student learning, during which students are skilled enough to independently apply what they have learned. The ZPD is sometimes called the consolidation phase (Meichenbaum & Biemiller, 1998). Within the consolidation phase, scaffolding of the learning task is essential if struggling students are to realize their learning potential. Here’s another way to think of your instructional goal during the consolidation phase: provide instructional support within your students’ zone of proximal development (the difference between students’ independent performance levels on progressively more complex tasks and their potential performance level). Teaching in the ZPD requires accurate knowledge of precisely what your students can do independently so that you can notch up your expectations gradually to consolidate their learning and move them to the independent application of their skills and strategies as expeditiously as possible.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

❑❑


Instructional Moves

33

Figure 1.7: The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

Teacher-managed instructional activities

Z P D

Application Phase Student-managed learning activities

Figure 1.8: Definition of Terms in Figure 1.7 Concept

Description

ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development)

This is the phase of learning that occurs between the acquisition phase and the application phase, sometimes called the consolidation phase (Meichenbaum & Biemiller, 1998; Vygotsky, 1978).

Acquisition Phase

During this phase, teachers directly instruct and manage instruction. This phase is characterized by the “I do, you watch” lesson design in which teachers model and show students how to execute a specific skill or strategy while students watch.

Consolidation Phase

This phase is known as the zone of proximal development (ZPD), a crucial phase of instruction during which teachers release more responsibility to students for their learning but still provide solid support (scaffolding). This phase contains the “you do it, I help” lesson design. The teacher stands alongside the students as they are doing the task, or the teacher and students execute the skill together. Some students need many more “together” opportunities. If these students get those opportunities, they will realize their learning potential. If they don’t, they will fail.

Application Phase

In this phase, teachers release full responsibility to students to apply the skill or strategy independently in tasks or content at or slightly above their independent learning levels.

TeacherManaged Instructional Activities

This is the category of the exemplars of effective literacy instruction in which teachers provide differentiated, direct, explicit, systematic, and scaffolded instruction to students based on their assessed needs for the components of a balanced literacy program.

StudentManaged Learning Activities

This is the category of the exemplars of effective literacy instruction in which students have acquired the necessary skills and strategies to independently manage and complete a wide range of literacy tasks to include reading, writing, presenting, consulting, and teaching peers at or below their grade levels.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Acquisition Phase


34

COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

Figure 1.9: Who Is in the Zone? Directions: Choose a skill (for example, the ability to blend sounds to make words or the ability to decode grade-level text) or strategy (for example, orally retelling a short story after hearing it or writing a short summary of a story or article) and list the students according to their learning phase. Your ability to identify which students are in certain phases for the skills, strategies, and standards of your grade level is essential to bringing your students to mastery. Students in the Acquisition Phase

Students in the Zone of Proximal Development

Students in the Application Phase

Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download and print this figure.

Achievement Connection Students at risk will become more academically successful and confident as team members purposefully use the following instructional moves to move their students from one step on the literacy continuum to the next: assessing, grouping, differentiating, directly instructing, guiding practice, and scaffolding.

Unit 1.4: Affirmation Versus Criticism: How to Motivate Your Students This unit focuses on the moves that affirm and encourage your students and sensitizes you to the importance of doing far more affirming than correcting and

Š 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

In this cognitive processing activity, you will identify the students in your classroom who are currently in each of these phases for a particular skill or strategy chosen by the team and write their names on figure 1.9, Who Is in the Zone. Then brainstorm ways to move more students from acquisition to consolidation and likewise from consolidation to application. For instance, perhaps teachers could regroup some students to provide more support. Also explore how team members can reduce behavior problems by providing more instructional support (scaffolding) for these struggling students.


Instructional Moves

35

criticizing. However, keep in mind that affirming, appreciating, and motivating, absent research-based instruction, will not likely produce student learning. Essential Question

Advance Organizer Recall the discussion of the learning–behavior connection in the previous unit. Are you more aware of how the instructional moves you make during literacy instruction impact student learning? Read to Understand and Remember David Aspy and Flora Roebuck (1977) found that “students of teachers who are empathetic, genuine, and respectful make greater gains on academic achievement measures . . . and present fewer discipline problems” (p. 46). However, we have all encountered students who seem determined to draw their teachers into the criticism trap. Once caught, it’s difficult to extricate oneself without some support from colleagues. You can determine if you are caught in the criticism trap by asking a colleague, the literacy coach, or a behavior specialist in your district to collect frequency data on the corrective-negative feedback and positive-affirming feedback you give to single students you suspect may have drawn you into the trap or to the class as a whole. Figure 1.10 (page 36) is an example of a teacher who is not caught in the criticism trap, and figure 1.11 (page 37) shows a completed data analysis for a teacher who is caught in the criticism trap. The form contains definitions and examples of positive feedback (affirmative) and negative feedback (corrective-negative) along with directions for how to collect the data. The person collecting the data should sit on the sidelines of the classroom with a copy of the form, making a check mark each time the teacher affirms/praises or corrects/criticizes either the entire class or an individual student. If the person taking the data circles the check mark when comments or actions are directed exclusively to the student you have selected, then it is possible to differentiate your level of affirmation to the class from the level used with a particularly noncompliant student. For example, if Louie’s teacher says, “Katie’s group is doing a good job of being quiet,” the observer will put a check mark on the top half of the form. If the teacher later says, “Great answer, Louie,” the data taker will put another

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At what point does corrective-negative feedback destroy student motivation and undermine trust?


COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

36

Figure 1.10: The Effective Use of Affirmation and Praise in the Literacy Block Teacher: Ms. Munez Start Time: 1:30 Stop Time: 1:45

Directions: Each time the teacher exhibits the behavior, make a check mark in a square. Samples of specific feedback can be recorded underneath the appropriate section. ✓

A

Affirmative Feedback Teacher praises, gives a point or reward, physically shows approval for a correct response or appropriate behavior, or makes a positive comment in response to a correct answer, good effort, or appropriate behavior. In order to count a praise statement as reinforcing, the physical behavior of the teacher must be clearly positive: verbal approval should be accompanied by a change of either facial expression or voice. Good choice. Your hand was up so fast. Everyone answered all ten questions. Yes, you’ve got it. Excellent! Good example. You remembered the rule. Good sentence. Thumbs up. Your paper looks good. First day that everybody knew that answer. Nice work. Clever! ✓

CN

Corrective-Negative Feedback Teacher makes negative statements or disciplinary comments, punishes, points at the student, or otherwise shows disapproval for incorrect answers, responses, or inappropriate behaviors. This feedback includes any warning from the teacher after the student incorrectly answers, incorrectly responds, or inappropriately behaves. Warnings include verbal warnings, “shh” reminders, and check-mark warnings put on the board. If the teacher tells students the rules before they break them in order to avoid inappropriate behavior, this action does not count as corrective-negative feedback. For example, if the teacher says, “Remember to walk quietly in the hallway” before the students walk in the hallway, do not count a tally mark. Cherise, let’s get back to work. John, you don’t need to spend time doing that. Shh, remember to whisper when you talk to each other. # Positive feedback / minutes: 13 / 15 = .87 positive responses per minute Ratio of positive feedback to negative feedback: 13:3 or approximately 4:1

Source: McEwan & Damer, 2000.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Student: Entire class Date: 4/7 Setting: Literacy block Activity: Group work / discussion Observer: Marion Metzler


Instructional Moves

37

Figure 1.11: The Criticism Trap at Work During Literacy Instruction Teacher: Mr. Wright Start Time: 9:10 Stop Time: 9:30

Directions: Each time the teacher exhibits the behavior, make a check mark in a square. Samples of specific feedback can be recorded underneath the appropriate section. ✓

A

Affirmative Feedback Teacher praises, gives a point or reward, physically shows approval for a correct response or appropriate behavior, or makes a positive comment in response to a correct answer, good effort, or appropriate behavior. In order to count a praise statement as reinforcing, the physical behavior of the teacher must be clearly positive: verbal approval should be accompanied either by a change of facial expression or voice. Great answer. That was an excellent sentence. You showed you know the meaning of the word. I like the way row #1 is working. ✓

CN

Corrective-Negative Feedback Teacher makes negative statements or disciplinary comments, punishes, points at the student, or otherwise shows disapproval for incorrect answers, responses, or inappropriate behaviors. This feedback includes any warning from the teacher after the student incorrectly answers, incorrectly responds, or inappropriately behaves. Warnings include verbal warnings, “shh” reminders, and check-mark warnings put on the board. If the teacher tells the children the rules before they break them in order to avoid inappropriate behavior, this action does not count as corrective-negative feedback. For example, if the teacher says, “Remember to walk quietly in the hallway” before the students walk in the hallway, do not count a tally mark. Give yourself a warning check. Put that away; this is reading class. You just take care of Angie. Shh, quiet. You shouldn’t be talking. Jason, sit down right now. You need to turn around. You are out of your space. No (head shake). Shh, I can’t hear. People, this isn’t fourth-grade behavior. # Positive feedback / minutes: 3 / 20 = .15 positive responses per minute Ratio of positive feedback to negative feedback: 3:11 or approximately 1:4

Source: McEwan & Damer, 2000.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Student: Entire class Date: 5/4 Setting: Reading lesson class (large group) Activity: Discussion / board work / independent Observer: Lee Marino


38

COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

In order to count a praise statement as reinforcing, the physical behavior of the teacher must be clearly positive to the child. For example, if the teacher says OK or yes in a bland tone of voice and with no accompanying smile, this neutral feedback is not considered a positive stroke. Only one check mark is attributed to an uninterrupted string of several positive sentences such as, “Super job, Rachel. You’ve written a very interesting sentence. You have your thinking hat on today.” Negative feedback includes any time that the teacher admonishes, makes negative statements or disciplinary comments, punishes, points at a student, or otherwise verbally or nonverbally shows disapproval for incorrect answers, incorrect responses, or inappropriate behaviors. This feedback also includes any type of warning for incorrect answers, incorrect responses, or inappropriate behaviors. However, if the teacher reminds students about the rules before they break them in order to avoid inappropriate behavior, this does not count as correctivenegative feedback. For example, if the teacher says, “Remember to walk quietly in the hallway,” before the students walk in the hallway, the observer would not make a check mark. If, while the students are walking in the hallway, one child pushes another child and the teacher says, “Louie, don’t push. Come here,” the observer would make a check mark and circle it. If the teacher says, “This class is too noisy. I can’t think,” the observer would make another check mark. Once the data have been collected, count the total number of check marks recorded for the top half of the page, count the total number of check marks on the bottom half, and determine the ratio between the two. In a well-run classroom environment where optimal learning is occurring, the data will show that the teacher makes three or four positive statements for every negative statement. (The younger the students or the more difficult the work, the higher this ratio should be.) When this 3:1 ratio is reversed, the classroom teacher may be locked into a criticism trap. Such a teacher routinely shushes or corrects students’ behavior because that critical response seems to work. After the teacher gives the negative feedback, typically the student gets back to work or stops the misbehavior for a few moments. Although the teacher perceives the negative consequence as effective, he or she has been fooled; the misbehavior soon resumes.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

check mark on the top half of the form, circling the mark since it was directed to Louie. In contrast, if the teacher says, “Go back to your seat now. You are supposed to be working, Louie,” the observer will put a circled check mark on the bottom half of the form. If the teacher corrects a word that another child is reading and says, “No, that word is big,” the observer will put another check mark on the bottom half of the form. For the entire twenty or thirty minutes, the observer will note all of the positive and negative feedback.


Instructional Moves

Conditions are ripe for the criticism trap in your classroom when: ❑❑

Students are working at frustration levels, and their accuracy dips below 80 percent

❑❑

Students are seated in very close proximity to one another

❑❑

The classroom is chaotic, and the rules are not followed consistently

If your ratio of positive feedback to negative feedback is 1:3, your attention is increasingly diverted by the escalating misbehavior. When a criticism trap is occurring, the students’ behavior will predictably continue to deteriorate, unless the teacher changes his or her behavior and makes the necessary environmental changes. Any teacher of a student with unmanageable behaviors has compounded problems when a criticism trap with the entire classroom takes hold. Unless such a teacher can conduct the larger classroom with more effective management, the likelihood of helping resolve a single student’s unmanageable behaviors is slim. Cognitive Processing Activity Identify and share observations about any students who may have drawn individual team members into a criticism trap. See if there is anyone who wants to be observed during a lesson to determine what the positive to negative feedback ratio is in his or her classroom. Use figure 1.12 (page 40), The Ratio of Affirmation and Praise to Corrective-Negative Feedback. Note that in schools where the principal is using Literacy Look-Fors (McEwan-Adkins, 2011), there is a process for establishing classroom walkthroughs by teachers. Consult with your administrator before planning any walkthroughs. Achievement Connection Team members will identify one or more students who have ensnared them into a downward spiral of criticism and negative feedback. If applicable,

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

In a class where a criticism trap is operating, the students primarily receive attention by misbehaving. You may have unknowingly fallen into the criticism trap if you are afraid to compliment students’ good work or think there is something wrong with praising students for something they should be doing automatically. You may believe that the use of any reward is manipulative and underhanded. Perhaps you have never learned to praise students effortlessly because you are not the kind of person who needs much affirmation in your work and believe that intrinsic motivation is vastly superior to extrinsic affirmation and praise.

39


COLLABORATIVE TEACHER LITERACY TEAMS, K–6

40

Figure 1.12: The Ratio of Affirmation and Praise to Corrective-Negative Feedback

Directions: Each time the teacher exhibits the behavior, make a check mark in a square. Samples of specific feedback can be recorded underneath the appropriate section.

A

Affirmative Feedback Teacher praises, gives a point or reward, physically shows approval for a correct response or appropriate behavior, or makes a positive comment in response to a correct answer, good effort, or appropriate behavior. In order to count a praise statement as reinforcing, the physical behavior of the teacher must be clearly positive: verbal approval should be accompanied either by a change of facial expression or tone of voice.

CN

Corrective-Negative Feedback Teacher makes negative statements or disciplinary comments, punishes, points at the student, or otherwise shows disapproval for incorrect answers, responses, or inappropriate behaviors. This feedback includes any warning from the teacher after the student incorrectly answers, incorrectly responds, or inappropriately behaves. Warnings include verbal warnings, “shh” reminders, and check-mark warnings put on the board. If the teacher tells students the rules before they break them in order to avoid inappropriate behavior, this action does not count as corrective-negative feedback. For example, if the teacher says, “Remember to walk quietly in the hallway” before the students walk in the hallway, do not count a tally mark. # Positive feedback / minutes: _____ / _____ = _____ positive responses per minute Ratio of positive feedback to negative feedback: _____:_____

Source: McEwan & Damer, 2000. Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download and print this figure.

individual team members will support each other in eliminating the criticism trap and establishing a motivating and affirming climate in all of the classrooms at their grade level.

© 2012 Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Student: ________________________________________________ Teacher:����������������������������������� Date:____________________________________________________ Start Time:�������������������������������� Setting:_________________________________________________ Stop Time:�������������������������������� Activity:____________________________________ Observer:__________________________________


TEAMS, K–6

“I would highly recommend this book for use in study groups as it allows teachers to really ‘see’ the examples and to understand how these strategies can look in their own classrooms.” —Julie Clapp, Reading Specialist, Literacy–Professional Development, Missouri “The material in this book is superb. I’ve told my academic teammates about it, and they cannot wait to get started. An absolute must for professional learning communities: organized, pertinent, succinct, and explicit. Anyone who wants to work with a colleague or team to improve student learning must own this book. A thousand thank-yous to Dr. McEwan-Adkins for its creation.” —Val Bresnahan, EdD, Sixth-Grade Language Arts Teacher, Franklin Middle School, Wheaton, Illinois

Tasked with teaching literacy skills to students, teachers face a variety of assessment instruments, hundreds of programs and curricula, a vast continuum of students’ needs, and a limited amount of time available for professional development to master this sizable body of knowledge and instructional expertise. With all these different components of literacy, planning and delivering effective literacy instruction can be quite overwhelming. Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K–6: Connecting Professional Growth to Student Achievement shows teachers how to work together in their grade-level teams to maximize their literacy learning and make the right instructional and curricular choices for the students in their classrooms. In this practical guide, author Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins outlines and explores the work of collaborative literacy teams, from their formation to the employment of successful, student-focused strategies. By understanding and applying McEwan-Adkins’s research-based exemplars, teams can achieve professional growth and increase their capacity for strong literacy instruction.

Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K–6

COLLABORATIVE TEACHER

Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K–6 features: • Sixty research-based exemplars of a comprehensive and balanced literacy program • Five categories of exemplars: instructional moves, teacher-managed instruction, teacher with-it-ness, student-managed instruction, and classroom artifacts Visit go.solution-tree.com/literacy to download the reproducibles in this book.

solution-tree.com

Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins

• Twenty professional growth units focused on student achievement

COLLABORATIVE TEACHER TEAMS K–6 Connecting Professional Growth to Student Achievement

Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins

Collaborative Teacher Literacy Teams, K-6  

Explore the work of collaborative literacy teams from their formation to the employment of successful student-focused strategies.

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