The first morning English Language Arts session, hosted by Expeditionary Learning, focused on the protocols included in the grades 3-8 modules and collaboration between educational professionals. Participants started by doing the World Café protocol, which appears in several of the modules. Groups read two different case studies that would be the source of conversation and idea exchange during the activity.
The case studies were about implementation of the Common Core and school district use of the modules. Participants discussed how to build positive change focus within different types of schools and districts. This activity served multiple purposes: teachers saw the protocol from the student perspective, they talked about its effectiveness, and they were able to exchange ideas about how to implement the modules and make the shift in instructional practices a positive experience for teachers.
The second morning session focused on another protocol used in the modules around the topic of the Speaking and Listening standards. This protocol, Text Rendering, includes close reading, collaboration, and note-taking to reinforce speaking and listening skills and using text-based evidence in discussions with peers. This protocol would be useful when students need to summarize different texts by emphasizing key points from the reading. In this case, teachers looked at the Speaking and Listening standards for their own grade(s) and discussed things they noticed, like how the standards change over the grade levels and the emphasis on making students responsible users of electronic sources like social media.
Participants then chose an article to read that would be the source for the discussion in the text rendering protocol. The articles read were “Collaborative Conversations” (Fisher and Frey), “Habits improve classroom discussions” (Bambrick-Santoyo), and “Structuring the Talk: Ensuring Academic Conversations Matter” (Frey and Fisher).