Reading and Writing Project #3: History Team





Lincoln complex text

Did I mention that our history team ROCKS!!!

The time is here for our third round of lessons for our “Reading and Writing Project”.  This month our lessons will be created and facilitated (on our daily broadcast) by our history teammates. Historical content is a rich playing field full of complex text, primary documents and online resources to push our thinking and understanding of the world around us. With all that said, our history team did not shy away from this challenge.  They have created a triage of lessons that I know is going to grab our students’ attention and create some very intriguing conversations in our classrooms.  After all, who doesn’t love a good mystery?

Lesson Resources: 

Teacher Guide for R & W Project 3

Article for Project 3

History’s Reading and Writing Project Student


During our collaboration today we plan to share the reading and writing lessons that will be conducted with the entire school next week. This is an essential part of the learning process for our teachers to be able to ask questions, hear how the history team designed the lessons, and see how the history team models teaching complex text in their classroom.

What I love about this entire process is that we get a glimpse into the thinking and learning around masterful instruction from our colleagues and we get the benefit of their excellent planning. Then we all get to participate in the lessons and discuss the outcomes and truly reflect on our entire school population as readers and writers.

Every teacher is a teacher of reading on our campus and we are fortunate to have a group of educators that are not only up to this challenge but ready to conquer it and make their own.   Got to love that!!!!


A quick snapshot of our Reading and Writing Project in Action…..

annotation chart and quote

We have concluded our second “Reading and Writing” project at our school site.  Thank-you, to our video productions class for documented this journey. Although this video is just a quick snapshot of our work, I love the fact that the gist of the project is highlighted.

Practice makes perfect.  What we should see each month as the lessons are taught.

  • The first day– the students are involved in a cold read (This allows the teachers to assess the students reading needs or progress)
  • The second day –the students reread their text with a purpose and hold conversations to help them progress in their comprehension of the text (the conversations build meaning and also the teacher can signal in on what text-dependent questions to ask through the comments heard).
  • The third day– the students write a written response (this step is important because we want the students to be able to write a claim and support their claim with evidence from the text.  The textual evidence is what is identified on day two).

What is not noted in our video, is the time in our collaboration meetings where our teachers model the lessons before they ask our entire staff to teach the information.  This is an essential part of our project because it allows for questions from other teammates that don’t teach English and also provides a scaffold for how the instruction should look and sound like.

Another part of the project that did not get video documentation is what happens after the project is completed.  After the articles are read and the essays are written, the teachers bring their students reading and writing work for analysis during our collaboration meetings.  The analysis of the students reading and writing work is key for our school-wide reading and writing goals. By participating in our school-wide analysis, every teacher is able to see what an exemplar looks and sounds like and identify the instructional needs of our students school-wide.

But—- the school year is still young— so we will work on that video next….

The English Teachers rocked the house introducing our second “Reading and Writing Project”!


What I loved about having our English team lead the second round of our “Reading and Writing Project” is that they were prepared to help the entire village engage in this work.  Presenting their reading and writing lessons to an entire staff (P.E teachers, science teachers, history teachers, math teacher, and elective teachers) can be a daunting task.  But, not for my English team!  They came prepared.  They had their lesson plans clearly written (See posting on October 7th).  They had examples of annotation and text dependent questions prepared. They were open to questions about the process and welcoming to comments asked and given by their colleagues.  Our English Teachers  truly were coaches during our collaboration and everyone left our meeting ready to take this work on. That is what the CCSS is really about! Teams working together to help every student learn how to read complex text independently.