Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Bringing It All Together

Lesson Design

Lessons should consider the time before, during, and after reading activities. How will you get students into the reading? How will they move through the assessment? And, finally, how will you help them retain, apply, or otherwise consider what they have read? This process is sometimes referred to as “within, through, and beyond.” The National Urban Alliance refers to this process as priming (brainstorming, generative thinking, introduction of a concept, etc.), processing (summarizing/synthesizing, compare/contrast, cause/effect, etc.), and retaining for mastery (applying, presenting, or otherwise demonstrating and reinforcing understanding).

When approaching a text, teachers should first surface and explore a concept from the text in an interesting and engaging way before students begin reading. The concept introduction should tap students’ background knowledge or interests. Once students have explored the concept, the teacher can have students process the concept in a variety of ways that involve as many of the language arts as possible—talking, listening, reading and writing, viewing. When students have finished reading the text, the teacher should arrange other activities in which students apply the concept in order to retain their understanding of it.

Video and Reflection: Watch Teacher Collaboration Across Disciplines to see a group of 7th grade teachers from different disciplines discuss information about students they have in common. You may want to take notes on the questions below.

  • Before you watch: What kinds of formal and informal conversations do you have with colleagues in other disciplines about your students’ literacy development?
  • Watch the video: What do the teachers say about the role of reading and writing in their courses that support the English teacher’s work? How does the English teacher’s work support the other disciplines in their reading and writing instruction?


Teacher Collaboration Across Disciplines

Andrew Spinali meets with the 7th grade content area literacy team that he established among his colleagues. They talk about how they choose mentor texts to support their students' writing across all disciplines.

Teacher: Andrew Spinali

School: Parker Middle School, Reading, MA

Grade: 7

Discipline: ELA

Lesson Topic: Developing theme in writing

Lesson Month: June

Number of Students: 20

  • Reflect: How would this process be enriched if students were invited into this discussion? 

Apply: How does common planning time help students develop their writing? How can you encourage your department to meet more frequently? Write a two-page reflection with concrete steps for encouraging collaboration across the content areas.