This video features a project that shows how Common Core math standards can be addressed in work that is engaging and compelling for students and connects to real-life. The project asks students to imagine their life 20 years in the future. There is a literacy component (written sections), but the math work—the focus of this video—involves projecting future finances such as income, loans, expenses, and taxes.
The 3-5 Sample Schedules are sample schedules that outline advantages and considerations to give leaders ideas about how to incorporate EL Education's 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum (2 hours daily for Grades 3-5) into a school schedule. This document shows options for school days with 7, 6.5, and 6 hours of daily instruction.
These lists for grades 6-8 provide optional texts for students to read on their own to learn more about the module topic. Each grade level document includes texts for all the modules of that grade.
Andragogy is the study of how adults learn and is a theory developed by Malcolm Knowles based on a variety of research centered on adult development, needs, and learning styles. This document includes a description of Knowles’ five underlying assumptions, along with specific applications of these five components expanded upon by other researchers and theorists. More recent theories of adult learning have called these assumptions into question, proposing that there may be degrees or certain conditions under which they apply or that self-direction, for instance, may be desirable but not always the reality of adult learners. Nevertheless, these assumptions continue to serve widely as a general guide for thinking about adult learners.
This video features a project in which eleventh grade students at High Tech High Media Arts created a book of essays inspired by their work in a community internship. The process of creating high-quality narrative writing—meeting and exceeding standards—is highlighted. Students used models from the professional literary world; each student chose a particular literary influence to guide his or her style. The class worked as team in a collaborative editing process. The film celebrates the connection of school to life, and the power of inspiration, models, critique and collaboration.
A compendium of protocols used in the lessons and strategies related to checking for understanding, ongoing assessment, and building academic vocabulary, useful as an ongoing reference document alongside the modules.
This companion video to Implementing the 3-5 Additional Language and Literacy (ALL) Block features two fifth grade teachers and their instructional coach at Hollis Innovation Academy in Atlanta, GA. Their commentary and related scenes describe how together as a "learning school" they approach the ALL Block to ensure mastery and agency for all students in their inclusive classroom. The topics covered are: Understanding the Purpose, The Heart of the Practice, Making it My Own, Responsive Teaching, Using Ongoing Assessment, Why This Matters.
Sara Metz, Kindergarten Teacher at Explore Elementary in Thornton, Colorado, gives us a window into her purposeful planning and delivery of a Close Read-Aloud. She takes us through her process of analyzing the curriculum's Close Read-Aloud guide, planning based upon the needs of her students, and responding in the moment. We see Sara analyze student work and plan for future instruction. This video is part of the "Behind the Practice" series and is also a companion to the two-part video series Close Read-Aloud in the Primary Grades, which features Sara and her students in action.
In this "Behind the Practice" video, educators hear Kady Taylor talk about Labs: understanding the purpose of allowing primary students to learn through play and discovery, how Kady "makes it her own" using the teacher's guide and incorporating music, movement, and creative use of materials, the heart of the practice as trust and tools for discovery, responsive teaching by re-grounding students in the purpose of the labs, using ongoing assessment with anecdotal notes, and why this practice allows both teachers and students to "figure things out." Educators should watch this video after watching the Implementing the K-2 Labs video.
This video shows Sarah Mitchell (Instructional Coach), Katie Benton (2nd Grade Teacher) and Brenna Schneider (Kindergarten Teacher), thinking about their work implementing the K-2 Skills Block at Lead Academy. The coach and teachers describe the importance of the Skills Block, and how to use the phases and micro-phases to most strategically group students and plan differentiated activities. The video addresses common questions and challenges teachers face when implementing this component of the EL Education Language Arts curriculum at grades K-2, in particular how to make most strategic use of the differentiated small group time.
Instructional coaching in EL Education schools increases the achievement and engagement of every student by bringing out the best performance of every teacher. Coaches use both student-centered and teacher-centered methods to help teachers improve the decisions they make about their instruction.
Lessons are the building blocks of all curricular structures in the EL Education model. Whether planning a single lesson or a series of lessons, teachers attend to how the lessons sit in the larger arc of curriculum. They carefully craft a beginning, middle, and end, regardless of lesson type. By attending to each lesson with care, teachers ensure that all students are challenged, engaged, and empowered and can transfer their understanding to new contexts. They also give students opportunities to develop and demonstrate Habits of Character.
In the EL Education model, teachers engage students in meaningful and productive work throughout the class period. When delivering lessons, teachers create purpose and build curiosity for students. They use classroom management techniques that promote equity and create a respectful, active, collaborative, and growth-oriented culture. They make time to confer with students and are aware of each student’s level of understanding and participation. Teachers use practices that ensure all students grapple with challenging content. Teachers foster character by building positive relationships with students and inspiring each student to develop craftsmanship, perseverance, collaborative skills, and responsibility for learning. They promote critical thinking by asking that students make connections, perceive patterns and relationships, understand diverse perspectives, supply evidence for inferences and conclusions, and generalize to the big ideas of the discipline studied.
The EL Education model compels students to produce high-quality work that demonstrates complexity, craftsmanship, and authenticity. Teachers plan deeply to support students in creating products that demonstrate these qualities. They support students to create products for audiences beyond teachers and parents (e.g., a whole-class scientific study of a local pond, resulting in a water-quality report for the city board of health). Creating real work for real audiences motivates students to meet standards and engage in revision. In the process, they develop perseverance and realize that they can do more than they thought possible.
In the EL Education model, teachers in all subjects and grade levels teach reading so that students build knowledge of the world and make sense of content by reading, thinking, talking, and writing about compelling topics. Teachers also provide many opportunities for students to read for joy, to satisfy innate curiosity, to revel in the pleasure of creative language, and to be transformed by interaction with other readers and writers.
In the EL Education model, writing is taught across the curriculum in K–12 classrooms. Teachers provide many opportunities for students to write for multiple purposes: to express their thoughts and feelings, to tell stories, to demonstrate understanding, to reflect on learning, to communicate ideas, and to develop and polish the craft of writing. Students write to learn (as a way of putting their emerging thinking on paper). They also learn to write, revise, and polish authentic pieces in varied genres for audiences beyond the teacher. Teachers develop and teach a common language for the process of writing and the elements of good writing. They use consistent practices for teaching and assessing writing.
In the EL Education model, mathematics is taught in stand-alone mathematics classes. Whenever possible, it is also integrated into other subjects, projects, case studies, and learning expeditions. Teachers in all disciplines and grade levels model mathematical passion and courage by addressing gaps in their own mathematical understanding, explicitly exploring the mathematical dimensions of their discipline and modeling mathematical thinking. Teachers support all students to think like mathematicians and cultivate mathematical habits of mind, including curiosity, risk-taking, perseverance, valuing evidence, precision, and craftsmanship. All students are prepared to engage in high-level mathematics classes, because such classes often function as gateways to access other classes and courses at the secondary level and in college. Mathematical thinking and learning is showcased and discussed throughout the building.
In the EL Education model, teachers prioritize students’ understanding of enduring science concepts so that they can apply that understanding to the modern world. Teachers view science as a way to develop students’ capacity to interpret the natural world critically and to engage productively in it. Teachers support students to read, write, think, and work as scientists do. They use learning expeditions, case studies, projects, problem-based content, collaboration with professional scientists and engineers, and interactive instructional practices to foster inquiry and enable authentic student research. When possible, student research contributes to the school or broader community.
In the EL Education model, teachers of social studies prioritize students’ understanding of enduring concepts so that they can apply that understanding to the modern world. Teachers view social studies as a way to develop students’ capacity to interpret their world critically and to engage productively in it. Teachers support students to read, write, think, and work as social scientists do. They use learning expeditions, case studies, projects, problem-based content, collaborating with social science professionals, and interactive instructional practices to foster inquiry and enable authentic student research. When possible, student research contributes to the school community or broader community.
In the EL Education model, arts are celebrated as a central aspect of learning and life. Schools teach art as an academic discipline and also in core academic subjects, where it engages students in problem solving, planning, and perseverance. They celebrate the unique capacity of the arts to express truth, beauty, and joy. Student exhibitions of learning feature the arts along with other subjects. Schools are filled with student artwork, which is displayed in a way that honors the work. Artistic performances are points of pride for the school. Arts are often used as a window into disciplinary content in other academic subjects (e.g., ancient Greek architecture as an entry point to ancient Greek civilization, protest songs as a case study when learning about the civil rights movement). The arts also provide opportunities to explore diverse cultures, perspectives, and regions of the world.