November 12th ELA Adoption Team
Moving into the work we took a moment to remind ourselves of the norms, including a commitment to being collaborative in discovery but independent in our evaluation. This helps ensure that each voice in the room is being heard. We reconnected with the rating tool as our lens for looking at the curriculum. Additionally, we reinforced the idea of noting sufficient evidence to support the rating we were giving each curriculum.
ReadyGEN Launches the Day
Pearson with ReadyGEN presented first. Janis Wurgler, a literacy specialist who worked with Salem-Keizer for many years as teacher and curriculum specialist, launched the presentation. She stated, “we are in an inquiry-based profession.” She continued to highlight that the ReadyGEN program is built with the end in mind, authentic trade books at the core of instruction and digital access to everything. The trade books are those that you would find in the real world. She emphasized that ReadyGEN is a program that trusts the professional and is about attending to the six shifts in the common core. She mentioned the authors of the program: David Pearson, Feddy Hiebert, Pam Allyn and Sharon Vaughn. Speaking to the design of ReadyGEN, she noted the value placed on the reciprocity between reading and writing, each one supporting the other. Then, she launched into key design elements: built on themes, built with the end in mind, focused on standards based instruction, authentic trade books that are at the core, and fully digital teacher and student resources.
Trade books, authentic literature, are a big component of the program. Twelve anchor texts for every student at every grade level was a key element. ReadyGEN provided text complexity (Qualitative Measures and Quantitative Measures) rubrics for each of their trade book. In addition to the trade books, there is a text collection which includes additional literature and leveled readers for differentiation. The text set approach is prominent in the ReadyGEN curriculum and the presenter shared a video from Pam Allyn, one of the ReadyGEN authors, about text sets. The organization of the curriculum is based on the idea of gradual release of responsibility: We model, we guide practice, we let them try it on their own.
There was mention of academic vocabulary (Camas School District Academic Vocabulary Page) and generative vocabulary. Generative vocabulary is founded on the idea that we can anchor understanding of new words by looking at words in context of other words.
As ReadyGEN’s presentation came to a close teachers were ready to dig in. For the next two hours IMET criteria, tools and trade books were discussed. Teams were honing in on criteria within the rating tool and digging deeply into the curriculum to determine what was available.
As our team wrapped up their initial exploration of ReadyGEN we enjoyed a much needed lunch and then dove right back into the world of curriculum.
Taking a Journey
The presenter then took us on a journey of the curriculum discussing the different tiers available. She mentioned the personal Journey which includes leveled readers. She noted here that Irene Fountas, author of the leveled readers, wrote and leveled the sets. Additionally she wrote an eight page lesson plan for each and every leveled reader. The set includes a texts for below level, on level, above level, and ELL. One of the texts is marked vocabulary reader and supports the words you taught within that unit. The leveled readers have different titles – as students move through the levels they have different stories to experience. The presentation continued with information around how the program supports students at a variety of levels.
As the presentation neared completion, the presenter shared that Journeys offers two different paths for teachers in terms of approaching the curriculum. The Core Teacher Edition is a more traditional “balanced literacy” approach while the Literacy and Language Guide offers a workshop-like approach.
With the presentation finished teachers were able to jump back into the second curriculum with their rating tools ready.
After the review of Journeys concluded, Group Members completed a Google form summarizing strengths and weakness of the two programs (ReadyGEN and Journeys) reviewed today. This is the same activity that we used in the previous week to bring to closure our review of Reading Wonders and Core Knowledge.
We then moved to making some claims about all four programs presented to the team. Work group members were given an opportunity to reflect and begin to rate and rank each curriculum using a Google Form. They were asked to provide an overall ranking and which had the most potential for our district. From there, for the two most highly rated programs, group members were asked to describe how that program would benefit students as well as teachers, and then discuss potential drawbacks.
After a very full two days of evaluation and four curriculums later our team was tired but excited to think about the next steps. Our next blog post will provide a data summary of our review. Stay tuned!