Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tackling the Expository ELA Writing Standards






One of our gifted literacy coaches in our district, Leah O’Donnell, provided a PD last summer in which we examined the progression of the ELA standards through the grade levels in character study. Leah has expanded this experience for teachers and recently posted on that work on her blog. http://responsiveliteracy.blogspot.com/2014/11/what-is-purpose-of-grading.html As we move to standards based grading and work towards improving our feedback to students, it’s apparent that we need to provide opportunities to talk about the standards and what they look like in student work.

Our Pershing School K-5 teachers and reading specialists met together this morning as they begin the expository writing units with their students.


K-5 grade level leaders read the standards for expository writing for their grade level in order from kindergarten – fifth grade.

Teachers sat together in grade level teams and used colored markers to code the verbiage in the standard with the example in the grade level sample.



As teachers worked together, they made some discoveries. The 4th grade sample did not include any evidence of W4.8 or W4.9. That gave us all an opportunity to remember that curriculum materials should not dictate what we teach. They are only resources. The standards need to guide our work and our feedback to students.

As teachers worked together, they made some discoveries. The 4th grade sample did not include any evidence of W4.8 or W4.9. That gave us all an opportunity to remember that curriculum materials should not dictate what we teach. They are only resources. The standards need to guide our work and our feedback to students.






Our next steps:

1.     Grade level teams examining some samples of work that students are producing and talking about the feedback that could be provided to move students forward.
2.     We will use finished products and the standards to reach grade level consensus on  “exceeding,” “meeting,” “approaching,” the standard for purposes of grading.