Reading and Writing Project: Let the new year begin

As we begin a new year, we have reflected on what we learned from an entire year of running the “Reading and Writing Project” last year.

Here is what we discovered from our work together as an entire school:

What we learned from our teachers: 

  1. We still needed to discuss and learn about the what makes a text complex.  Some of our lessons had text that were not sophisticated enough to discuss and write about.
  2. Complexity is not the length of a text but the sophistication of the meaning of the text (layers of meaning).
  3. Some teams could use more learning and support in creating close reading lessons.
  4. Close reading is a vehicle to attacking complex text, but it is not the standard.
  5. A theme or common reading topic would be a great idea to help construct learning as an entire school over time.

What we learned from our student reading and writing samples:

  1.  Students were excellent at identifying and defining unknown words
  2. Providing the expectation for first starting at the word level on the first introduction read, opened the conversations up for our second language learners and struggling readers.  We noticed students asking questions about words that never spoke in class before because everyone students was involved in defining words and unknown phrases during the first initial read.
  3. Students could write a good topic sentence in their paragraphs.
  4. Students could write a good conclusion sentence in their paragraphs.
  5. Students were citing evidence in their writing, but they were not explaining why they cited the given evidence.
  6. Students were staying on topic but not elaborating on the topic.

From the information note above, we have now prepared for our next reading and writing project of the year with these ideas in mind.  Additionally, we received our first CAASSP scores and realized that we need to focus on a few other skills as well.

What we learned from our CAASSP scores:

  1. Student needed to be able to write informational essays along with argumentative essays.
  2. Students needed to work on citing their evidence in their writing.
  3. Students needed to work on their collaboration and listening skills.
  4. Students needed to continue to read and write from a variety of text genres.

What we learned from our study of John Hattie’s research:

  1.  Our students need to take ownership of their own learning.  So we have added a rubric from the SBAC so they can assess their own writing skills.
  2. Students need to constantly reflect on their own progress and growth.  So, we have added student reflection videos to each project this year.
  3. Students need to know the purpose of the learning.  So, we have added “Learning Intentions” and “Success Criteria” to all the “Reading and Writing Project” lesson presentations.

We believe in being data driven and evidence bases in all that we do and this information that is stated above has helped our team as we have begun to plan for this next year of lessons regarding reading and writing.

The video that shows our first day on the broadcast introducing the lesson:     https://youtu.be/qvj0yUru6h0

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