New tools help teachers navigate ELA standards

New implementation resources focused on central elements of the new English language arts and literacy standards are now available to Maine educators.

They include a new set of online tools to guide teachers in analyzing texts for complexity and using them in instructional units. These resources, developed by a dozen states including Maine in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Achieve the Core, include text complexity roadmaps, model text sets for instruction, tools for analyzing texts, recommended text-dependent questions and sample lesson videos.

The goal is to choose texts that challenge students with reading that is appropriately complex and requires higher-order thinking skills. For example, a more complex text may make subtle or implicit connections between a range of ideas, rather than using chronological, sequential or easy-to-predict organization. Rather than scale back the level of text complexity for students who are struggling, the new standards encourage teachers to provide incremental supports to students – known as scaffolding – as a way to raise their skill level.

Morgan Dunton and Lee Anne Larsen, Maine DOE’s English language arts and literacy specialists, are part of the group that researched and developed materials for the site. They also enlisted a group of Maine educators to review the site and provide feedback on it prior to its public release.

Educators may additionally request to join the Navigating Text Complexity discussion group on Edmodo to talk with teachers about the tools and prompt the building of additional text roadmaps and text sets.

CCSSO and Achieve the Core have also launched a new writing resource for teachers to illustrate what student writing looks like under the new standards. These annotated student writing samples, called In Common: Effective Writing Instruction for All Students, are aligned to the English language arts writing standards.

These new resources to support meaningful implementation of new standards are in addition to those already compiled and produced by Maine DOE’s English language arts and literacy specialists. For more about text complexity, visit the ELA professional development page and click “Module 2.”

Resources and more information

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