Favorite Pins Embedded Into My Staff Development Session! - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Favorite Pins Embedded Into My Staff Development Session!

Those of you that have kept up with me this week know that I led staff development at our county's awesome Summer Literacy Institute. We had some excellent keynote speakers each morning- you can check out some things I took away from them here if you missed it.

I wanted to share some things with you from my session! Obviously, it won't be quite the same as sitting in the two-hour session, but there were some really great things that I still think you'll "get" without being there in person. :o) And ironically, guess where these ideas came from.......? PINTEREST. Of course.
So I'm linking up with The First Grade Parade!
I led this session with a great partner! The session was about how to use content-related extended texts in the classroom. For those unfamiliar with extended texts, here is the explanation straight from PARCC (which is who will be making my state's assessments...): "This should be an extended, full-length work of literature (such as a novel or a play) or longer informational text, depending on the focus of the module. Like the others, this text would be aligned with the complexity and range specifications of the standards. As with shorter texts, students would perform a close, analytic reading of the extended text; compare and synthesize ideas from across other related texts; conduct text-focused discussions; and produce written work aligned with the standards. (Such a study could take around two to three weeks of concentrated focus on a single text.)"

In other words, for grades 3-5, it is a chapter book with appropriate text complexity that takes about 2-3 weeks to really "dive deep" into through close reading, A LOT of discussion that involves synthesizing and analyzing, comparisons with other texts and media, and writing. Basically, what we have always done for our good mentor texts, we are now stretching into much longer texts.

The BEST thing about using extended texts, in my opinion, is that you can cover ALL the reading standards through one book, and tie it in with your Science/Social Studies curriculum. Last year, I used an extended text at the end of each quarter to get a true feel for what my students really "knew." Another great thing is, these are books you are reading aloud with your students, so you are able to choose books that are higher than what some would be able to do in guided reading group.

This leads to my pins. :o) Before we could really get into using extended texts, there were some other things we had to cover first! One being, text complexity. I found this great graphic which I thought did a great job "representing" text complexity. (Remember, click on the image to be taken to the pin!)
We had our participants create their own metaphors of why the reader and task was represented by the graham crackers, the marshmallow was qualitative and the chocolate was quantitative. We got some really great answers! The graham crackers are the reader and task because they are the foundation; they hold everything in. Without the graham crackers, you'd have a mess; it would fall apart. The marshmallow is very "fluffy" and represents all those immeasurable things because it changes shape. And the chocolate was quantitative because it's more solid than the marshmallow. It also fits perfectly with the reader and task (it's the same shape as the graham crackers).

Genius, right?!?

Ok, moving on. The next thing we discussed was text-dependent questions. It's very important during discussions that students are staying "in" the text. To do this, teachers should be asking text-dependent questions. I don't really feel like this is something we haven't been doing. We've been training our kids for YEARS to "go back and find the answer." But here is a neat pin I found that aligns the text-dependent questions to the Common Core Standards:
Remember a while back, I got the book, Pathways to the Common Core? That was to prepare for presenting this session. Lucy Caulkins really pushes the fact that we have to move students away from making "connections" in their answers and really "proving" the answer using the text. Common Core is ALL ABOUT providing evidence to support your answer. So here is a great anchor chart:
I'm going to create this anchor chart with my students as we read some of my favorite mentor texts. Then, I will turn OUR answers into bookmarks for them. I will post those as a freebie once they're made (probably mid-end of August)!

Thanks for hanging with me through this long post! :o) I hope it was informative and you were able to get some ideas for your new school year. I'll be back in another post soon to share the lesson ideas and activities for some extended texts!

Happy Friday everyone!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I just pinned this so I can reference it again, later this summer!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. Great pins! I love the analogy with the graham cracker! Thanks again for sharing your wonderful learning experience!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. I pinned this as well. Thank you! I'm glad to hear your presentation went well. I wish I could have heard it. I have really enjoyed reading your posts about the Summer Literary Institure.


  4. This is a fabulous post! I wish I had been there to hear you present. It sounds fascinating! Wanna do it again tomorrow? Just kidding...We don't have to talk shop. ;) See ya tomorrow!
    Creating Lifelong Learners
    Follow me on Bloglovin'

  5. Thanks for all the great pins and sharing your PD with us. Repinned it all! Have a great time tomorrow (said without a trace of jealousy ;) ).

  6. Thank you so very much for sharing this great post. I think you included such important points (using evidence, text complexity, digging deeper) that I will love looking back on throughout the year.

  7. LOVE the quality pins! Cute things are fun, but it is nice to find thinking pins.

    Suntans and Lesson Plans

  8. Great pins and visuals for text complexity! I pinned them. :)
    Conversations in Literacy

  9. Hope you had a great first week back. We must work in the same Great county since I know my county hosts summer literacy institutes. Heard lots of great things about this summer's sessions.


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