Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Welcome Back - August 2017


I hope that you found time this summer to relax and rejuvenate with family and friends. I can already feel the excitement and energy in the air as we begin our new year!

Please take the time to read the updates regarding ELA. At your grade level or vertical team meeting, I will discuss any questions.

Below you will find surveys to get to know your students as readers and writers, GRL chart, directions for entering GRLs into SIS, writing prompts, writing checklists, and portfolio information.

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You

Before you begin to assess your students this year, I encourage you to spend time getting to know your students. What books do your students like to read? Favorite authors? Please let your first meeting with a student be a conversation, not an assessment. Below I linked some reading surveys, interest surveys and attitude surveys. In addition to the student surveys, I linked one for parents to complete too.

Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessments

The Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment: drives instruction, helps make appropriate teaching decisions for students based on current assessment data, provides teachers the opportunity for 1-on-1 assessment early in the year to identify each student’s strengths and targeted areas for growth, helps identify students in need of early intervention, and the list goes on and on.

Please also find a “cheat sheet” (see below) for review of the administration and scoring procedures for the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System.

REMINDER: If you need more information on a student, please know you can use Fountas & Pinnell kit outside the assessment window.

When are the Fountas & Pinnell BAS Windows?

Beginning of the Year - August 21 - September 22 DUE: September 25
Middle of the Year - January 8 - February 15 DUE: February 16th
End of the Year - April 16 - May 17 DUE: May 18th

REVISED LEVELS for 2017-2018

After looking at the data with Dr. Denbow and the K-5 facilitators, we decided that the GRL chart needed to be updated. We looked at other districts' GRL charts, Fountas and Pinnell's Instructional Level Expectations (2015 - see link below), and the correlation of GRL scores to NWEA data. After looking at all of these pieces of information, we decided that levels needed to be increased. If you are interested in seeing the data, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to meet with you to share the data.

Entering GRLs into SIS

Again, this year you will enter GRLs into SIS. For directions on how to input this data, Tim Brown created a how-to video for you. Below is a link to the video Tim created. GRLs need to be entered by the end of the day on September 25.

District Writing Assessment

When scoring students' writing, you will look at the writer from a holistic point of view. Are students applying the curriculum items taught at their grade level (i.e. organization, audience, conventions, etc.) on conferred pieces and on-demand pieces?

Writing needs to have an emphasis in our classrooms. Students are expected to write narrative, expository/informational and opinion/argumentative pieces at every grade. Writing is not limited to just these three types of writing, so there is still the opportunity to add in other units.

At the end of the three main types of writing (narrative, information, and opinion), students will complete an on-demand piece. These prompts, available for all three genres, direct students to compose the best piece of writing they can - narrative, information, or argument-in a fixed period of time. The prompts for each type of writing are linked (see below). At the end of the year, each on-demand piece from each type of writing will be placed inside the Fountas and Pinnell Student Folder.

For teachers using the Units of Study for Writing, you will continue to pre-assess and post-assess your students.

Writing Checklists

In these checklists, it spells out writing expectations in ways that will make sense to students. You'll notice the checklists are written in first person, in the "I" voice, and in student-friendly language.

Checklists most definitely cannot be a substitute for instruction! Students will need instruction for each item on the checklist.

Links to the checklists are embedded below this information (Each grade level folder contains the three checklists needed - narrative, information, opinion). Students can use the checklists to assess their own writing, set goals for themselves, and with your help, work to make progress toward those goals.

In addition to students using the checklists, teachers can use the same checklist to score on-demand pieces and report student progress.


At the end of each year, please keep the final Fountas and Pinnell Assessment and the post-assessment from each the three types of writing (narrative, information, and opinion/argument). All assessments should be placed inside the Fountas and Pinnell Student Folder (white file folder that tracks student progress - see folder photo below). This folder will be sent to the next teacher at the end of the year or beginning of the next year.

Have a Wonderful Year!

Please do not hesitate to contact your building’s ELA Teacher Facilitator or me with any questions, concerns, or feedback. 

Thank you and have a wonderful year!