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Dr. Rendell, School District of Indian River County Superintendent gives welcoming remarks and commends attendees for coming out on a Saturday to hone their craft and gain more tools for their toolbox.

Literacy in Action: Social Emotional Literacy Through Project Based Learning

September 30, 2017

Mindful Moonshot Morning Routine & Table Jobs
Focus Standards:

LAFS.2.RI.1.2 Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.

SC.2.N.1.6 Explain how scientists alone or in groups are always investigating new ways to solve problems.


Additional Standards:

SS.2.C.2.4 Identify ways citizens can make a positive contribution in their community.

TH.2.S.2.1 (Skills, Techniques & Processes) Collaborate with others to perform a scene and solve challenges.

VA.2.F.3.3 (Innovation, Technology & the Future) Use time effectively while focused on art production to show early development of 21st-century skills.

Leslie Connelly, K-2 Coach and Educational Consultant for The Learning Alliance, takes participants through a Mindful Moonshot Morning Routine, which includes activities to Unite, Connect, Disengage Stress and Commit.

How can our actions positively impact the world around us? Educators explored a project-based, standards-aligned unit rooted in both literature and informational text about how students can take action to reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle and ultimately improve their community. They had the opportunity to go deeper into the activities and strategies embedded in the unit. They left with a dynamic unit plan that they can adapt along with engaging strategies that can be implemented in the classroom immediately. 

Essential Question/Big Idea:

How do our actions impact the world around us?

Core Texts:
Dumpster Diver
by Janet S. Wong 
The Adventures of the Plastic Bottle
by Alison Inches
Where Does Garbage Go?
by Paul Showers

"[This workshop] validated the importance of the social emotional piece to learning...put the student as an active participant in meaningful learning." - Participant feedback

Debbi Arseneaux, Moonshot Institute Program Manager with The Learning Alliance, kicks off the morning by unpacking Enriched Literacy and how this will serve the students in our classrooms.

Attendees built community by working together to sort "clean" trash into categories: recycle, reuse, repurpose, and waste. This also provided a way to build background knowledge and relevant vocabulary. 

Trash Sort - Community Building
Before Reading: Jot Thoughts
Reflection: Inquiry Wall 

Jot thoughts is an exercise to prime students before reading the text and assesses prior knowledge.  Where does waste come from? Where does it go? Attendees write their thoughts on post it notes and try to cover a whole table.

Fran McDonough, Moonshot Academy Manager and Educational Consultant for The Learning Alliance, walks attendees through the Jot Thoughts process.

Once participants' thoughts are written down, they sort them on the "Inquiry Wall" under the "What I think I know" and "Wonderings" sections. As the lessons and the learning continues, they will move their original ideas into sections labelled "Yes, I Was Right!" or "Misconceptions." They also add to the "Wonderings" and an area for "New Learnings."

During Text Strategies: Nutty Professor and Word Wonder

Liz Woody-Remington, Director of Professional Development and Co-founder of The Learning Alliance, offers fun, engaging strategies for the serious business of reading. She explains the science behind learning to read.


"Reading is not rocket science, it's brain science."

"I was surprised how valuable the information was. We need new strategies for vocabulary so this was perfect!" - Participant feedback

Post Reading/Comprehending Text

Culminating Project: Producing a PSA - Public Service Announcement. Drawing on their knowledge gained in the morning about waste, attendees wrote and produced a PSA. They used the provided storyboard and script templates to write the PSA and filmed it using their smartphones or tablets . After rehearsing, each table group uploaded their PSA to Seesaw, a documentation app that can be used to capture student work. 

Small Group / Enriched Literacy Centers
Debbi Arseneaux mans the Creation Station, which had a heavy focus on vocabulary activities. Participants had the opportunity to try out a variety of possibilities with the option to make and take materials to bring back to their classroom.

Read, Write and Create . . .

After lunch, participants rotated through enriched literacy stations packed full of new ideas for their classroom centers.  These areas included a Creation Station for hands-on learning, a Foundational Skills Station, and an independent Reading/Writing Station. Each rotation included a variety of standards based activities that connect to the core texts, build vocabulary, and ensure no wasted instructional time.

"I was surprised how you can take a topic like recycling and turn it into such rich, literacy based instruction with matching center activities and socially engaging activities." - Participant feedback

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