Holiday Fun at the Holiday Inn: November Network Team Institute, Albany, NY

ConferenceHundreds of educators from across New York State continued their travels after the Thanksgiving holidays to attend the Network Team Institute in Albany. This four-day extravaganza included experts from the field of ELA, David Liben, and Math, Andrew Chen. Additionally, trainers from Core Knowledge, Expeditionary Learning, O’Dell Education, and Common Core, Inc. were on hand to showcase additions to the New York ELA and Math modules that are slowly being rolled out across the state. The mantra surrounding these modules is still the same: Schools can “adopt, adapt, or refer to” these modules as they implement curriculum requirements connected to the Common Core Learning Standards.

ELA Updates (K-2):
ReneeCore Knowledge returned for Round 2 with primary educators eager to have answers to the many questions lingering from the August NTI session (most notably how the NYLA modules fit into balanced literacy programs that are entrenched in districts across the state). Educator and researcher, David Liben, was on hand to share his white paper outlining how the Common Core Standards merge with existing literacy practices in the early grades. The following chart outlines a literacy framework that many in the audience were relieved to see addressed the concern of students having a lack of opportunities to interact with “just right” texts.Chart

With concerns about an incomplete framework seemingly addressed, Core Knowledge trainers took to the stage in the afternoon to share the Foundational  Skills strand of the NYLA modules. Participants were entreated to sample unit lessons, vocabulary frameworks, and writing tasks embedded in the modules.  Modules are still incomplete, but the expected time frame for all materials and resources to be available to districts is by early summer of 2013. Currently available materials can be found here under NYS Curriculum Modules.

ELA Updates (6-8):
Days 3 and 4 of the Network Team Institute were led by Expeditionary Learning, the vendor behind the creation of the Grades 3-5 ELA modules. Expeditionary Learning recently partnered with O’Dell Education, the originators of the 6-12 ELA modules, to provide professional development and ensure alignment across grade levels. These modules are built upon one premise: Making evidence-based claims about complex texts. The modules consist of a series of lessons which feature the following components: engaging informational texts (connected to Social Studies); key literacy skill building; guidance and flexibility for teachers; and strategic support for students.

Within each lesson, students are taken through a five-part process:

  • Introducing Evidence-Based Claims
  • Making Evidence-Based Claims
  • Organizing Evidence-Based Claims
  • Writing Evidence-Based Claims
  • Developing Evidence-Based Writing

Lessons contain both teacher and student materials needed to complete the unit, including graphic organizers, rubrics, and even a model written evidence-based claim.  Again, the modules are still “under construction” and won’t be completed until the summer of 2013. However, the materials currently available on EngageNY  (click on the grade level you wish to see) could serve as pilots teachers test drive over the course of the remaining school year.

By Renee M. Burnett

ELA Updates (9-12):
Keim_Joanne_SMALLExpeditionary Learning’s curriculum co-director, Cheryl Dobbertin, helped participants shift their thinking to a growth mindset of “rigor, complexity, expertise and change” over 2 intensive days of immersion in the ELA/Literacy shifts.  By focusing on close reading of complex text and developing student’s ability to make evidence-based claims, participants learned how the 6 shifts in ELA/Literacy can be incorporated into classroom lessons at the secondary level.  These strategies not only meet the demands of the Common Core Learning Standards, they also help close the achievement gap by focusing on improving learning for all students and college and career readiness.  Classroom teachers, administrators and Network Team members met in Research Teams to explore text complexity, text-based questions, and evidence-based claims.   The Research Team model is an instructional strategy that draws participants into the reading, writing, thinking and speaking pieces of the Common Core Learning Standards.  Participants were given the opportunity to explore a grade level module as they read and then re-read a nonfiction narrative piece to make a claim and then find evidence from the text to back that claim.  ELA Modules, written by Odell Education, are available on the EngageNY website (see above link).  Take a look and explore what is available at your grade level!

By Joanne Keim

Math Updates (PreK-5):
JillTwo full, information packed days were all about the first two modules that are ready and on the EngageNY website. Second grade, module 3 and Fifth grade, module 3 were released. The sessions began with a review of the 6 shifts that are now three. Fluency, Deep Understanding, Application and Dual Intensity are now under the umbrella of Rigor. Great that we now know what should be in a rigorous lesson! The modules that are ready for release definitely include all aspects of the 3 shifts, with lessons spiraling nicely into progressively harder tasks. There are also additional sections that explain how to adapt lessons to meet the needs of special ed students, ELL students, as well as, below and above grade level students. The Second Grade module is all about addition and subtraction, while the Fifth Grade module is all about fractions. Definitely worth a look!

By Jill Fendt

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