Campaign Dollars at Work: Literacy Learning By Kelley King
Over the last five years, every aspect of the GMLS general studies program – the curricula, assessments, teaching materials and instructional approaches – has undergone significant review and revision and, in some cases, total replacement. Especially in the area of English language arts, teachers have engaged in a great deal of professional development in pursuit of best practice and to determine the best combination of strategies and approaches to meet the needs of our students. Our next step is to pursue the highest possible levels of excellence in literacy instruction in all classrooms and to positively impact the level of literacy attainment for every child. Thanks to the Our Family Is One campaign, we are charging forward with our mission to not only be great, but to be the very best!
Job-embedded instructional coaching represents that next step for GMLS. “Job-embedded” means that the professional development is a continuous, sustained and cohesive effort that provides teachers with weekly expertise, feedback, and support to transfer new skills into practice. An instructional coach is one with deep knowledge in literacy best practices and who provides support via demonstrations, observations and conversations with teachers as they acquire and implement new strategies and knowledge.
We are very fortunate to have Aida Allen working with us. Sheis an accomplished consultant, presenter, and teaching clinician. Ms. Allen is an adjunct professor of teacher education at San Diego State University and has served as a liaison and resource for school districts, superintendents, school administrators, and residency programs.
Read on to hear from a few of our teachers about how their work with Coach Allen is making a difference in their classrooms:
The close reading model lesson and discussions came at precisely the right time – just before we embarked upon a math unit that required serious analysis of questions. The kids have a newfound appreciation of how important analytical reading skills are in math, so now we work on those skills every day.
– Shelly Moses
The lesson that Aida demonstrated was a great extension of we had been working on: supporting answers with contextual evidence. Although we had been working on this skill, it was wonderful to see her teach it with a fresh perspective.
– Maggie LaPlante
Through close-reading exposure with Aida we have seen our fifth graders blossom before our eyes. They’re reading more critically, actively looking for text evidence to back up their ideas, and analyzing how outside evidence makes their claims more powerful.Students are excited to read and will eagerly re-read a text multiple times in order to find the perfect evidence to back up their claims. We no longer hear groans when students are asked to read a passage again. Now they want to do it and see why it is so valuable.
– Danielle Heyde
The sophistication of the language that students are now using to introduce textual evidence is profound. After just a few close-reading sessions, students naturally use phrases like “The author states…” and “In paragraph four, it says…” to support their ideas with evidence.
– Lauren Dolinka
It was refreshing to watch Aida showing the students the importance of using evidence from the poem that she studied with them to support their answers. Even though it was third grade, it was amazing to see how she was able to push them to expand their answers. I appreciated being an observer instead of the teacher. It has been both informative and validating for us.