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English - PLC


We analyzed student work (argument writing) comparing an on-demand essay written at the beginning of the year to a scaffolded essay written with instruction through lessons from our English 3D curriculum. We looked specifically at how students are presenting reasons in support of their claims and how they are supporting those reasons with relevant evidence or examples. We also examined how clearly students expressed the relationships between claims, reasons, and evidence. We noted that in the future, we need to record data on beginning of the year writing, so we can compare it to data collected during ongoing formative assessment. We also noted that we need to teach students how to report anecdotal evidence in support of their claims, since often they are asked to use experiential evidence for on-demand assessments like the AP exam.


Not only did we review our SMART goals for the year but we reflected on how to improve for the future. Additionally, we focused some of our efforts on Senior Portfolios and helping students to submit them.


Our team discussed the questions "What do we want students to know?" and "How do we know that they have learned it?" We began creating a rubric to provide students feedback for participation in a Socratic Seminar and also any other type of academic discussion. We identified 6 criteria and a brief description of each: 1) Coming prepared--with a Question, Quotation, and Comment, and with the text; 2) Monitoring self for participation and inviting other voices--being self-aware of either dominating a discussion, or not contributing enough, and being able to invite less confident participants to contribute to the discussion; 3) Making contributions (claims, questions, comments, clarification) that are text-driven--referring to the text when making contributions to the discussion; 4) Making transition statements--actively listening to be able to acknowledge and/or paraphrase previous contributions as appropriate; 5) Speaking Skills--using "public voice" (2 times slower and 3 times louder than conversation), speaking in an academic register, maintaining eye contact, leaning toward the speaker; 6) Quality of Contributions--possibly leave as a space for teacher comment, or we may be able to come up with criteria to evaluate quality of contributions. We also decided to look at criteria 2 and 4 on the argument rubric (our version) to determine what percentage of our students have reached either a level 3 or 4. (Our SMART goal was 80%!) We will compare the scores from our last E3D essay to students' cold write from the beginning of the year. We agreed to bring data for the PLC meeting on Wednesday May 22.


English - Our department finished our cycle of inquiry on connecting examples to claims. Data revealed that a majority of students scored a five out of six (overall mean score of 82%). Number 5 was the question that students struggled with most, which asked students to identify the better academic choice. A majority of the PLC was spent analyzing the district Performance Task to identify issues in student writing. Several issues were identified, including the controlling idea, a developed thesis, and citation. The next step would be to finish grading the essays to identify a single issue to focus on for the next cycle of inquiry.

ELD - We analyzed the results from our second common formative assessment compared with the first pre-test. 30.6% of students scored Proficient or Advanced on the first assessment, while 30.9% scored P or A on the second assessment. 44.6% of students scored Far Below Basic on the first assessment, while 39.3% scored FBB on the second assessment. While the overall achievement gains appear small, several factors may be contributing to the results: the assessment are only 5 questions long, they are multiple choice tests, students may be looking for key words on some questions and looking for "claim" instead of "reasons", "reasons" has a conversational meaning that is different from the more specific academic meaning, students made assumptions that the first sentence in the essay was the claim, evidence that is not quantifiable is less recognizable. Our next steps are: Teach annotation of essays with color-coding and retest immediately, research argument reasoning to find new methods of teaching generalization of evidence to come up with reasons and why "logic" is so difficult for students.


We first looked at our pre test and filled Ryan in on the details of our inquiry. Secondly, we read an example essay "A Cat Can Be Man's Best Friend, Too!" and discussed potential pitfalls for our students. One pitfall we identified was our students' affinity for evidence that is numerical or scientific versus evidence that is anecdotal in nature. This essay has more anecdotal evidence and our students might be less comfortable identifying this type of evidence. For future instruction, evidence can include both anecdotal, examples and unquantifiable evidence. Our plan is to make this clear to our students by shifting our instruction. We will give this assessment and bring data to our meeting next Wednesday. 


Our ELA department identified an issue with academic language. To ensure that underclassmen and upperclassmen were equally assessed, questions assess both identification of academic vocabulary and choosing better academic language. A six-question quiz will be give by next Wednesday, when the data will be shared.


ELD - Today our team looked at student work. We are currently teaching argumentative writing with a focus on the relationships between reasons and evidence. We are all at slightly different places within our inquiry, but our common next-steps are to begin lifting writing scaffolds. We will design a cold-write and see what learning our students have retained and where we might need to reteach.

English - Engagement strategies for content review; we created methods for "fun" review of content standards in preparation for CSTs (we designed board games to be played at the end of each period)


Reviewed data from the 2012 administration of Benchmark 3 and gave input to district leaderships regarding revisions to this year's assessment. Refined the prompts for the Quarter 3 performance tasks. Worked on plans for CAHSEE prep.


The CAHSEE Support Team is gathering data from a 60-question diagnostic test. We have established several dates in which we will discuss data, submit names for recommended students, and begin implementation. Our goal is to start February 4th with the CAHSEE academy.


We discussed student work and created a common formative assessment. Our common formative assessment will ask students to identify the claim, reasons, and evidence of an argument essay. From here, we will look at our student responses and identify what they do and do not understand about the relationships between claims, reasons, and evidence.


ELD - We determined what our common assessment would be, developed a SMART goal based on Writing Standard 1.a of the CACCSS. (80% of students will achieve a 4 on elements 2 and 4 of the argument writing rubric by January 30). We will be developing lessons and strategies to teach counter-argument (element 4) and monitoring student progress toward achievement of element 2 (Convincing reasons and relevant evidence support the author's claim, and there is a clear relationship between claims, reasons, and evidence) in the next few weeks.

ENGLISH 9/10/11 - We created a formative assessment to assess student ability to identify the best reasoning for quotes. It is our goal to discover if students are able to connect evidence to a thesis through sound reasoning.


We were introduced to an overview of the common standards (CCSS ELA and Math, Next Generation Science and ELD) and the rationale for their development. We clarified our focus on essential standards for 3rd quarter by analyzing the Common Core anchor standards for ELA and chose two areas of focus: Reading 1--"Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text" and Writing 1--Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence." We will use these standards as the basis for writing our SMART goals and designing our action research for our cycles of inquiry for Quarter 3.


We are creating a new pacing guide that is vertically aligned and focused on essential Common Core Standards.


ELA 10 Team - Kevin created a common formative assessment which we will be giving our students this upcoming week. This common formative assessment includes twenty-three questions using the CAHSEE format. Our purpose is to evaluate our student's retention of Quarter One content and vocabulary.

ELA 11 Team - Working on a smart goal on helping students to be active learners.

ELA 12 Team - We worked with the College and Career team to review the progress made with the ongoing collaboration. Personal Statements have been assigned to 100% of our seniors and students are working within the editing process. After school workshops are in process and ELA will support on Mondays with writing tutorials. College Career presentations will continue this week and will conclude next week. Activities and responsibilities for quarter 2 were clarified.


Senior Portfolio development and pacing. Review of the Personal Statement instruction and next steps. Modification of end date for Personal Statement completion. Five year plan and implementation


Discussed progress with performance tasks, ERWC, and peer observations.

The APWH/English II strand worked on a second SMART Goal for AP World History. Kevin and I developed a five-question quiz. Though a class with much content, APWH is focused on skills and the abiilty to connect thematic elements. This common formative assessment should assess the themes of the course.


We compared grade level progress on teaching standards for the Argumentation essay. Each grade level is focusing on a specific skill, which we will test in preparation for the end of the quarter performance task.

English 10: Shared instructional strategies for argument writing: pre-writing webbing, outlines, argument writing frame with counterclaim.


English 10:  We are establishing a frame for argumentation. It is important to establish a consistent model to help students have a format to follow for their argumentation essays. The 10th grade English team intends to use the model to focus on reasoning.

English 11:  We used our students' cold writes to determine areas for growth that will guide our instruction for the first quarter. We decided that students needed work with the conventions of the language as well as with the development of ideas, so we are going to teach strategies that support those areas. Students will be assessed on this growth using the performance task at the end of the quarter.

English 12: We are finalizing the Senior Portfolio and the College Career curriculum which will be a large factor in moving our seniors forward for the year.


Developing anchor papers for cold writes.