Hello teachers!! I am so excited to be starting our 6-part blog mini-series: “6 Things to Keep In Mind.” This mini-series will help you peel back the layers of your ELA requirements to plan your best ELA block! Today’s post is all about questions to ask yourself when planning ELA – What subjects should I cover? How much time do I have? And, Where/what will the kids be doing?
Just like with the webinar, I am going to provide you with note-taking sheets if you’d like them. There are six pages of note-taking sheets that will help you stay organized and on-task while reading and learning about this topic. Download those here if you’d like to use the study guide!
Questions to ask yourself when planning ELA
Now, let’s dive into the content! Let’s discuss all of the brainstorming and questions to ask yourself when planning ELA.
Question to ask yourself 1: What subjects do I need to cover?
ELA is all-encompassing. It cannot be considered just one subject. ELA covers six different “subjects” or “domains,” so we need to ask ourselves: What subjects should I cover during my ELA block?
According to National Common Core State Standards, the six domains that should be considered when planning your ELA block are Literature, Informational Text, Writing, Language, Foundational Skills, and Speaking & Listening. Reading Literature and Reading Informational standards are going to be the CCSS (or state) standards that teach students how to understand the fiction and nonfiction texts that they read. Writing standards are going to cover Narrative, Opinion, Informative and Research Writing, in addition to Revising, Publishing, and Editing standards.
Language standards are going to be those that you’d think of as “Grammar” skills. This is where you will work on parts of speech/conventions, sentence structures, and vocabulary acquisition. Foundational Skills will incorporate your Phonics, Phonemic Awareness and Fluency skills, and you can’t forget about Speaking & Listening standards! It’s a lot to consider when coming up with the questions to ask yourself when planning ELA
Question to ask yourself when planning ELA 2: How much time do you have for your ELA block?
This question is VERY dependent on your specific school. Some schools automatically allow 2 hours for an ELA block, requiring all domains to be taught within the 2 hours. Others have 90 minutes. Some teachers teach their domains separately in smaller chunks of time. Regardless of the way you intend to teach your ELA standards, you need to start with the question, “How much time do I have?” Once you know how much time you actually have, you can look further into how you will use that time.
If your school already has a structured schedule of your day, then you can use those blocks of time to schedule out your ELA time. However, if you have a more open and flexible day, then try a few mock schedules to see how long you’ll have for your ELA block.
Question 3: Where will my students be and what will they be doing?
Now, you need to start thinking about where you envision your students during this time and what they’ll be doing. We will discuss ELA structures in another part of this blog series, so for now, focus on where and what? Are your students going to be at their desks? In flexible seating options? In tiered groups? Working independently? Will your class have structured activities or centers? Are you going to be teaching small groups? Whole Group?
For now, make a list of the different things you’d like your students to be doing during this ELA block. When we get to the teaching structures part of this series, you will know which fits your style best!
Follow here for the next post in the blog series…
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