Effective instruction in spelling, phonics, vocabulary, and grammar are the most challenging areas for K-12 ELA teachers to gain traction with their students. There’s confusion about effective practices, how to organically integrate word study, vocabulary, and grammar into reading and writing instruction, as well as how to design or select the best resources and programs for this work.
This webinar series features hour-long sessions with experts and practitioners in the field who will provide direction in how to gain instructional traction in word study, vocabulary, and grammar that will affect student achievement. The questions addressed across the series include:
How can teachers facilitate the transfer of skills learned in word study to reading and writing?
How do teachers decide what vocabulary words to teach and how to teach them?
How do we teach grammar in a way that positively impacts student writing?
How do we make smart decisions about the resources and programs we select for word study, vocabulary, and grammar instruction?
To allow for continued learning, discussion, and sharing between webinars, educators are invited to join the Word Study, Vocabulary & Grammar Instruction group in mi PLACE (Michigan Professional Learning and Collaboration Environment) where they can share ideas and questions. Once you have registered, you will receive information about how to join the group.
All webinars run from 7-8pm and are followed by a question and answer session. Webinars are archived and recordings and associated materials will be sent to all registrants.
To earn SCECHs for the series, you must attend a minimum of 3 complete webinars. SCECHs will be granted at the end of the series in May 2017.
Thursday, October 27, 2016 - Dr. Tim Shanahan 7-8pm
Complex Texts, Complex Sentences: Grammar and Comprehension in the Time of Common Core
Because words are important, teachers teach vocabulary as well as trying to provide students with tools for figuring out the meanings of unknown words (e.g., context, reference tools). No similar attention is accorded to making sense of sentences. Students either can interpret the meanings of the sentences that they read or they cannot, but little effort is made to show them how to untangle the complexity of sentences. This is unfortunate since Michigan educational standards require that students learn to read complex text, and one of the major aspects of text complexity is the grammatical complexity of the sentences and the cohesive links that connect the ideas within and across sentences. This presentation will provide explicit guidance in how to scaffold students’ interactions with grammar and cohesion.
Dr. Timothy Shanahan is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is Founding Director of the UIC Center for Literacy. He has also served as Visiting Research Professor at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and was director of reading for the Chicago Public Schools. He is author/editor of more than 200 publications including the books, Teaching with the Common Core Standards for the English Language Arts, Early Childhood Literacy, and Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners. His research emphasizes the connections between learning to read and learning to write, literacy in the disciplines, and improvement of reading achievement. Professor Shanahan is past president of the International Literacy Association and received a presidential appointment to the Advisory Board of the National Institute for Literacy. He served on the National Reading Panel and helped write the Common Core State Standards. He was inducted to the Reading Hall of Fame in 2007, and is a former primary grade teacher. For more information, visit his blog: www.shanahanonliteracy.com
Thursday, November 17, 2016 - Dr. Laura Tortorelli 7-8pm
Words in the World: Transferring Word Study to Everyday Reading and Writing
Word study is one of the most effective ways to teach children to read and spell words. All too often, however, teachers spend hours assessing children, designing sorts, cutting up words, and sorting them, only to find that children continue to misread and/or misspell these words or similar words in their other language arts work. This webinar is designed to help you and your students get more out of your classroom word work. We will review the step-by-step process of designing effective, individualized word study with an emphasis on this final step, embedding word study in meaningful classroom reading and writing activities. We will explore classroom activities to help children "make the jump" from word study lessons to real texts and writing assignments, including dictated writing, word hunts, word study reader’s theatre, and more. We will discuss strategies to help children extend their word study knowledge by approaching new words through analogy and morphological (spelling-meaning) connections. We will also discuss the most effective way to teach high frequency words in the context of word study. Finally we will discuss effectively pairing texts with word study lessons, and the right times to use decodable books, leveled books, children’s literature, and even basal readers in word study.
Laura Tortorelli received her Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Virginia in 2015 and is currently an assistant professor in the Teacher Education department at Michigan State University. Her research examines the context in which children develop into proficient readers and writers in the early elementary grades, with a focus on how word recognition and writing skills develop from Prekindergarten to 3rd grade. She draws on developmental perspectives (Chall, 1986; Ehri, 2005; Sharp, Sinatra, & Reynolds, 2008) and the RAND model (RAND Reading Study Group, 2002) of reading comprehension to highlight how reader, text, and task factors interact in an iterative process that shapes reading development over time. She has recently been named the 2016-2017 Jeanne S. Chall Visiting Researcher by Harvard School of Education and an Emerging Scholars Fellow by the Hall of Reading Fame. Her current projects analyze writing in Prekindergarten, alphabet knowledge in kindergarten, and interactions between reading fluency and text complexity in second grade. In addition, Dr. Tortorelli is beginning a year-long collaboration with teachers in the Flint Community Schools to support their early literacy instruction.
Thursday, December 8, 2016 - Dr. Jonathan Bush 7-8pm
Grammar in Theory; Grammar in Practice: Language Use in Culture, Society, and Our Classrooms
This session will explore the ways grammar is positioned in contemporary and historical language use, consider how such grammars can be discussed, implemented, and assessed in student writing instruction, and how such grammatical stances can enrich current writing projects and inspire new ones. Drawing on the work of Constance Weaver, and incorporating the lessons learned from Grammar Alive (Hausseman et al), and other contemporary grammar and language practitioners and theorists, this session will provide tools for teachers of all levels to enrich their discussions of genre, language use, writing, and revision in their classrooms.
Dr. Jonathan Bush is a professor of English at Western Michigan University, where he teaches courses in English education, writing pedagogy, and rhetoric and writing studies. He also directs the Third Coast Writing Project and coordinates the developmental writing program. He is the co-developer of the first-year writing intensive initiative, a program that remediates failing first-year students and gives them additional opportunities to success.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - Dr. Laura Tortorelli 7-8pm
Cracking the Code of Early Literacy: What is phonemic awareness and why does it matter?
In this session, we will explore an important, often-discussed, and often-misunderstood building block of early literacy: phonemic awareness. What is phonemic awareness exactly, and why is it so important for children's reading development? How is it different from phonological awareness and phonics? To answer these questions, we will discuss research on the role of phonemic awareness in learning to read, how phonological awareness and phonemic awareness develop over time, and the reasons that both children AND teachers often struggle with phonemic awareness in the classroom. In the context of the Michigan state ELA standards, we will discuss how to assess phonemic awareness and key instructional activities that build phonemic awareness.
Laura Tortorelli received her Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Virginia in 2015 and is currently an assistant professor in the Teacher Education department at Michigan State University. Her research examines the context in which children develop into proficient readers and writers in the early elementary grades, with a focus on how word recognition and writing skills develop from Prekindergarten to 3rd grade. She draws on developmental perspectives (Chall, 1986; Ehri, 2005; Sharp, Sinatra, & Reynolds, 2008) and the RAND model (RAND Reading Study Group, 2002) of reading comprehension to highlight how reader, text, and task factors interact in an iterative process that shapes reading development over time. She has recently been named the 2016-2017 Jeanne S. Chall Visiting Researcher by Harvard School of Education and an Emerging Scholars Fellow by the Hall of Reading Fame. Her current projects analyze writing in Prekindergarten, alphabet knowledge in kindergarten, and interactions between reading fluency and text complexity in second grade. In addition, Dr. Tortorelli is beginning a year-long collaboration with teachers in the Flint Community Schools to support their early literacy instruction.Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - Dr. Troy Hicks & Jeremy Hyler 7-8pm
From Texting to Teaching: Teaching Grammar Beyond the Screen
Grammar instruction continues to be more important than ever when we look at the digital landscape our students belong to today. Experts Constance Weaver and Jeff Anderson offer us wonderful ways to infuse grammar into our everyday writing lessons. However, as educators, we need to address how students write in digital spaces. We need to teach them to differentiate between the writing they do in their digital spaces and their non-digital spaces. In this interactive session, teachers and educators will learn effective strategies using Google Slides along with social media, that can help students to differentiate between formal and informal writing while learning new grammar skills.
Troy Hicks, an associate professor at Central Michigan University, teaches pre-service writing methods classes and facilitates professional development on the teaching of writing, writing across the curriculum, and writing with technology. In his research, he collaborates with K-16 teachers and explores how they implement newer literacies in their classrooms. He also serves as the Director of the Chippewa River Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project at CMU. His publications include The Digital Writing Workshop (Heinemann, 2009) and Because Digital Writing Matters (Jossey-Bass, 2010). Twitter ID:@hickstro
Jeremy Hyler is a 7th/8th grade English teacher at Fulton Middle School in Middleton, Michigan. In addition, he is a co-director for the Chippewa River Writing Project. He co-authored Create, Compose, Connect: Reading, Writing, and Learning with Digital Tools. He is also a contributing author to Assessing Students' Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely. He is currently working on his second book about teaching grammar in the digital age. Jeremy has presented both statewide and nationally on the importance of integrating technology effectively and with purpose into the language arts classroom. He is always interested in helping teachers find new, productive and meaningful ways to implement technology into their classrooms. Jeremy can be found on Twitter @jeremybballer and his website is jeremyhyler.wikispaces.com.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - Dr. Margaret McKeown 7-8pm
Cracking the Vocabulary Nut Requires Rich, Interactive Instruction
Effective vocabulary instruction calls for providing students with a variety of encounters with words and interactive experiences in which students think about and use the words. The research base for effective vocabulary learning will be presented along with ample examples of interactions and ideas for the classroom. Discussion of how to select words for instruction will also be included.
Margaret G. McKeown is a Senior Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center and Clinical Professor in the School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. McKeown’s work covers the areas of learning, instruction, and teacher professional development in vocabulary and reading comprehension. She is the co-developer, with Isabel Beck, of robust vocabulary instruction, and Questioning the Author, a discussion approach to comprehension instruction. Before her career in research, she taught reading and language arts in elementary school.
Thursday, April 20, 2017 - Dr. Dianna Townsend 7-8pm
Who is Using the Vocabulary?: Engaging Students in Active Practice with New and Important Words
When students, or any of us, learn new words, they need opportunities to practice with and personalize those words. This is especially true if those words are essential to something they are reading or if they need to use them in their own writing. This interactive webinar will share approaches and strategies that encourage students’ active practice with important words to support reading comprehension and writing. Additionally, this webinar will share instructional and environmental resources that teachers can easily integrate into their classrooms to support all students, and especially those who are struggling with vocabulary learning, reading, and writing. Finally, this webinar will include suggestions for identifying whether or not a vocabulary strategy is a good fit for a specific learning objective, as well as some vocabulary assessment tools that can be adapted to any word list or lesson.
Dr. Dianna Townsend is an Associate Professor of Literacy Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate literacy courses and serves as the Graduate Program Director for the Master’s Degree in Literacy Studies. Dr. Townsend is a co-author of Vocabulary Their Way: Word Study with Middle and Secondary Students, and her research has been published in, among other journals, Reading Research Quarterly, The Elementary School Journal, and Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Dr. Townsend facilitates regular professional development workshops on vocabulary instruction, reading in the disciplines, and academic language. Prior to becoming a professor, Dr. Townsend taught high school English and psychology in Massachusetts.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - Sarah Brown Wessling 7-8pm
Organically Integrating Vocabulary into the Secondary Classroom
If there's been a vocabulary program out there, I've probably tried it. If there's a vocabulary program I've tried, then I probably couldn't make it work. After years of frustration and feeling like I kept taking students further away from words with lists and definitions and quizzes, I stopped. Then I decided to pay attention to how readers acquire language, how my students adopted it, and under what circumstances they were most likely to make new words a part of their lexicon. And we started to walk toward words instead of away from them. This webinar is focused on classroom practices that keep language and vocabulary essential to the classroom, but embed the instruction within an integrated approach to literacy.
Sarah Brown Wessling is a 17-year veteran of the high school English classroom. While a member of the faculty at Johnston High School in Johnston, Iowa she has taught courses ranging from at-risk to Advanced Placement and has served the department and district in a variety of leadership roles. Sarah is a National Board Certified Teacher since 2005 and in 2010 was selected as the National Teacher of the Year. In that capacity she worked as an ambassador for education, giving over 250 talks and workshops in 39 different states as well as internationally. Currently she maintains a hybrid teaching position which keeps her in the classroom and allows her to write, speak and work on teacher leadership initiatives around the country. Sarah is Laureate Emeritus for the non-profit Teaching Channel. She is an author of Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards and has launched her own blog, Open Teaching, at sarahbrownwessling.com.