A Holistic, Vertically Integrated Approach to Literacy

Core Connections consultants work closely with teachers, coaches, and administrators to design lessons and models around their curriculum including science, social studies, and other appropriate content-area material.  Our lessons use explicit, intentional, and differentiated instruction created to meet the needs of all students.

Reading

Starting first with texts and the appropriate LAFS for reading, consultants provide (and help teachers create) standards-based literacy lessons beginning with the culminating writing or speaking task in mind.  Levels of scaffolded questions, graphic organizers, and a mixture of whole-group and small-group structures are used to help students meet their goals as readers prior to sharing what they’ve learned as writers.  Through the daily practice of reading carefully, making evidence-based claims, and supporting those claims with evidence from texts, students are ready to construct a multi-paragraph essay.

Writing

When students shift to their role as writers, they learn to take explicit steps from writing task to finished essay.  The difficult task of writing multi-paragraph responses is broken into manageable parts by delivering lessons in a sequence that is simple and logical for the students to understand.  They learn to intentionally meet the expectations of purpose, focus, and organization and then to add evidence and elaboration.  Once students begin to demonstrate mastery, teacher support decreases, and students move toward a more confident, independent practice of literacy.

Revising and Editing

Using both short-response and multi-paragraph student responses, consultants help teachers determine weaknesses in the writing and then create specific, intentional lessons and models to reteach to those weaknesses.  Students learn through the process of revising and editing to meet the expectations of the writing standards.

Overview of Training

Initial Training

Core Connections begins its school relationship with a full-day initial workshop with administrators and teachers that provides an overview of our year together. Using classroom-ready tasks and lessons, consultants guide teachers through the whole process from texts to finished model essays that clarify grade-level expectations.  As teachers practice writing their models, consultants guide them through purposeful classroom practices that will help students meet grade-level proficiency.  Common goals and expectations, common vocabulary, and shared models all set a foundation for student success.

Follow-up Training

The initial workshop establishes a critical and clear foundation, but the real reason for Core Connections’ success in schools is our model of multiple follow-up visits. Each grade level meets in a full-day workshop focused on analyzing and responding to student writing, including model lessons with students in the classrooms.

Core Connections’ Role:

  • Provide teachers lessons to model and implement in their classrooms and formative assessments to measure student progress
  • Facilitate the collaborative evaluation of student work and help teachers learn to quickly and accurately diagnose weaknesses that will drive future instruction
  • Offer objective feedback about the student writing to teachers as well as to administrators and coaches
  • Design writing models and follow-up activities in response to the reteaching opportunities found in student writing