Spring and Summer Professional Development Opportunities for ELA Teachers By Julie C. Lyons

Professional development resources for ELA educators

With all of the changes that the Common Core has ushered in, keeping up professionally has been extremely difficult for most teachers during the school year. However, many teachers use the summer months for professional reading, reflecting on past practices, and planning new and improved lessons and activities for the upcoming school year: with that in mind, take a moment to check out the opportunities that are available to ELA educators this summer:
Continue reading

A Review of Sample Questions Released by PARCC: Implications for English Language Arts/Literacy

The upcoming PARCC assessment for ELA will continue to ask students to read passages, answer follow-up questions, and complete writing tasks. However, with this new generation of standardized tests, the format and complexity of those questions will be taken to a new level.
PARCC sample question review
This week we will look at one portion of the ELA assessment – the section that focuses on narrative writing (following the reading of a fictional passage) for Grade 6. While this set of samples is grade-specific, the rationale in creating the questions, the format, and the prerequisite technological skills is universal, regardless of the grade. Three key shifts in the PARCC for ELA are as follows… Continue reading

NJ ASK Scores for 2012-2013: Information for Parents – by Julie C. Lyons

What’s in the Press Release and Reports

As of November 13, the New Jersey Department of Education released the NJ ASK results for the 2012-2013 school year. The State’s press release explains that this year, many of these assessments have been aligned to the Common Core State Standards (in grades 3-8 for ELA and in grades 3-5 for math). Next year, ELA and math will be Common Core-aligned in both subject areas for grades 3-8. The good news is that New Jersey, typically a top-performing state in these assessments, has shown a strong performance yet again.
NJ ASK Test Scores - A guide for Parents
In “The Nation’s Report Card”, a comparison of states across the country (performed by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP)… Continue reading

PARCC Assessment: What Resources Exist?

In past blog posts, we detailed the implications of the PARCC Assessment on professional development, classroom practice, and instructional strategies. At this point, it is helpful to consider the numerous resources that exist for educators:

• Task Prototypes and Sample Items

(www.parcconline.org/samples/item-task-prototypes)
First, this page details the purpose of the PARCC and explains the various components of the assessment by grade levels (K-2, 3-8, and High School)… Continue reading

Keeping PARCC in Mind for ELA… Without Teaching to the Test

With the transition between the now-familiar NJ ASK test and the new PARCC assessment, teachers may be wondering how to adequately prepare their students. Teachers who struggle with the concept of getting their students ready without merely“teaching to the test” may be searching for ideas, especially in ELA and math classrooms. This week, let’s look at three practical ideas for English Language Arts teachers:
Keeping PARCC in Mind for ELA… Without Teaching to the Test - Infographic

Know the core:

Because PARCC is completely aligned with the Common Core Content Standards… Continue reading

PARCC Implementation: Discussion and Implications for ELA

ELA
Data-driven instruction, The Common Core, College and Career Readiness. These are terms that have become a mainstay of the educational landscape in 2013, affecting anyone involved in education – from students to teachers, administrators, parents, and legislators

One aspect of the adoption of the Common Core is related to assessment. How do we know if students are meeting the required standards? That’s where PARCC comes in. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is committed to ensuring that today’s students have viable college and career options upon graduation, and the PARCC Assessment will be one measure to determine students’ growth and achievement with respect to these goals.

As the 2013-2014 school year commences, we are entering the field-testing phase of PARCC assessments. As an administrator or teacher, what will that mean for you?… Continue reading

A Closer Look At the Common Core State Standards: A Middle School ELA Teacher’s Perspective – Julie Lyons

Transition to the Common Core

Change. The word strikes fear into some educators, while others view it as a welcome breath of fresh air. Teachers are sometimes accused of resisting change, and while that may be true to a certain extent for some, I believe that much of that anxiety results from a fear of the unknown. While it’s true that change takes time and patience, it is important to note that the change we are currently involved in – making the transition to the Common Core – still finds parallels between previous state standards and the new standards.
A Closer Look At the Common Core State Standards: A Middle School ELA Teacher’s Perspective
As a 6th grade teacher in New Jersey, there are definite similarities between the former New Jersey State Standards and the Common Core. Along with those similarities, there are also some differences – especially with respect to the organization of the standards and the level of specificity. Let’s take a closer look at the areas of Reading, Writing, and Language at the sixth grade level… Continue reading