Take advantage of common planning time to support one another as you address Common Core or state literacy standards in all of your classrooms.
Three actions you can take as a team to better help your students become proficient readers and writers in the middle grades:
1. Compile a list of what your students actually read and write in your various classes. Categorize them:
- Reading (materials your students actually read, not what you read to them)
- Narrative (Convey an Experience)
- Other (i.e. poetry)
Look at the entire mix and determine if your students’ reading and writing assignments fall within the Common Core guidelines.
Remember, you should be considering all of the reading your students do, not just those texts in language arts class!
Remember to think about all classes, not just language arts. Writing is everyone’s responsibility.
With this information at your fingertips, the team will be better prepared to have conversations with administrators and parents about the ways you are addressing the Common Core. Also, knowing what each other is teaching lends itself to collaboration. Provide students with multiple practices in different contexts to build their proficiency levels in literacy.
2. Talk about inferences–don’t assume everyone on the team has the same knowledge. Make sure everyone on the team understands what they are and how they apply to each subject area’s reading assignments.
Some useful links:
- General information: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/inference
- Very basic: http://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/inference-practice-2-where-am-i/
- Inferences and literary texts across the curriculum: http://www.ncte.org/library/nctefiles/resources/journals/vm/0201-sep2012/vm0201using.pdf
- Science: http://www.readingrockets.org/pdfs/inference-science-strategy-guide.pdf
- Social Studies with images: http://cct2.edc.org/PMA/image_detective/
- Math: http://www.mathworksheetsland.com/7/28infer.html
- Language Arts: http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/inferring-characters-change-858.html
3. Have students practice citing textual evidence in all classes. The lesson may or may not to end up as a piece of writing. Small group work, class discussions, 4 Corners, and other oral strategies provide opportunities for students to practice this skill. Remember to ask, “Would you please show me the details in the text that support what you just said.”
Here’s a video of a direct teaching lesson focused on citing text. https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/teaching-about-textual-evidence
Collaborating as a team to coordinate and reinforce learning benefits all students.