Previous posts in this blog series discussed two steps to learning the strands, the knowledge and skills statements, and the student expectations during the “learning year” of 2018−2019 before the new TEKS are implemented in 2019−2020. Those steps were reading within the strands and reading across the strands. This post offers the third step.

Reading across the grades.

Because coherent, or aligned, curricula are organized vertically, reading across the grades allows educators to develop an understanding of how instruction of ELAR concepts and skills is logically sequenced as students advance grades.

Reading the student expectations at the grade below the one being taught helps to conceptualize how instruction in the previous grade should prepare students for the literacy work to be accomplished at the instructional grade level. Reading the standards at the grade above helps to conceptualize the level of mastery of the current grade’s standards that will enable students to be prepared to do the work of the next grade level. Thus, reading below and above helps to illuminate the depth and rigor at which ELAR standards should be taught at the instructional grade level.

Questions to ask as you read across the grades to learn the strands, knowledge and skills statements, and student expectations:

  • How will the instruction planned for a particular grade level build on the literacy experiences students have had previously as well as prepare them for instruction they will receive the next year?
  • What literacy experiences and learning expectations might students have had previously that will help them prepare for and support new learning?
  • How does vertical alignment emphasize recursive teaching without needless repetition or overlap?
  • How do you leverage students’ literacy histories that they bring to your classroom, and how do you design instruction that enriches those literacy histories that they will take with them to the next grade?

Digging in to the TEKS during the “learning year” means participating in a shared vision across the state for meaningful and authentic ELAR instruction that fosters students’ literacy development during the implementation year and beyond.

ThinkUp! ELAR reflects the guiding philosophies and principles that are implicit and explicit in the TEKS and embraces an integrated approach to the teaching of the ELAR standards, all grounded within the context of the 9 Traits of Critical Thinking™.

New features of ThinkUp! ELAR include:

  • a Guided Instruction section that guides students in applying academic vocabulary and new learning of the TEKS
  • new assessment texts, including original texts written by professional writers and excerpts from published literature that mirror texts presented on the STAAR assessment
  • integrated writing instruction, with Revising and Editing texts and Composition prompts related in topic or theme to the reading assessment text(s)

Discover many other exciting additions in ThinkUp! ELAR including answer explanations for assessment items.

In the next blog post, discover strategies for tackling writing instruction in: Get in the Writing Game!