The session on curriculum for grades three through grade eight ELA modules kicked off with an ice-breaker where participants discussed the Seven Norms of Collaboration and how these help to foster growth and improve student achievement. Participants practiced a protocol from Expeditionary Learning (EL) called Written Conversation. This protocol encourages students to pass notes between each other, but it forces them to write about a teacher-administered prompt relevant to the reading they are doing. This allows students to have a conversation about what they wrote which then leads to an engaging class discussion.
Participants explored the new EL curriculum maps, which serve as a “roadmap” of the modules for teachers to follow throughout the school year. They discussed how the modules progress over the school year and reflect a progression of the shifts. The curriculum maps will be revised after NTI member feedback and then posted on the EngageNY website.
EngageNY is working on developing alternate modules for ELA. These will be meant for teachers who may want to address topics with their students other than the ones in the existing modules. The alternate modules will give teachers more flexibility when planning their Common Core-aligned curriculum for the school year.
Participants split into groups of grades three through five and grades six through eight to conduct a Case Study of a Standard. They discussed the scaffolding of skills and standards to analyze how the modules increase in complexity over time. The groups focused on Common Core Standard RL.1: “Read closely to determine what the text explicitly says and to make logical inferences from it, cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.” Participants analyzed how the assessments in each grade level reflect the standard and even how assessments vary across the modules.
“The standard is not the standard, the assessment is the standard.” – A discussion on the meaning of this statement lead to conversation about types of assessment and the validity of some forms of assessment as opposed to others.