Just Think Literacy
Your child's teacher will be taking part of a professional literacy training this school year, 2014-2015. Because of the significance of the instructional revision and the complexity of the content knowledge required for implementation, the seminar curriculum is intended to be complemented with regular professional development. This will require all teachers to participate in trainings (2) times per month. Below is a description of the curriculum.
The curricular portion of the Seminars system, a carefully engineered progression of thinking and content understanding, spans Kindergarten through sixth grade. The curriculum was created using Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s backwards design model, so that its interim goals for each of the grade-levels are carefully derived from two distinct sources: the expectations the California state standards for of middle-school and high school and the definitions of elite literacy offered by renowned scholars in the field, like Isabel Beck, Sheridan Blau, Seymour Sarason, Ken Robinson, and Louise Rosenblatt. The study and synthesis of these two distinct sources results in a highly ambitious set of expectations and thinking objectives—one that meets and even exceeds Common Core Standards. The interim goals, as they are carefully engineered from Kindergarten to fifth grade, ensure that students make constant and measurable progress toward an overarching objective: the ability and inclination to agilely use both content expertise and productive thinking-dispositions to interpret fiction and masterfully manage informational text in the abstract and conceptual manner that characterizes the highly literate citizen. The curriculum enables children to begin making substantial progress towards this goal in kindergarten through a rational and realistic set of gradual progressions: Young children move naturally from the solid-ground of understandings that they, regardless of socioeconomic status, invariably bring to their first day of school toward abstract and complex understanding. Right from the beginning of Kindergarten goals appear extremely ambitious, but the carefully mapped progress of the curriculum from one strategically constructed understanding to the next places all young children on a trajectory towards truly advanced literacy.