For the fist half of the year, most of what we did was discovery; guessing and testing with choosing outcomes, teaching them, discussing them, and figuring out how students were doing in their learning. We found out, however, that the list of ELOs for any given grade was fragmented and/or rudimentary at best, and the discussion of student need extended far beyond the ELOs that were being focused on. So a few months ago, we started having school-based PD sessions where I worked with grade level cohorts to identify ELOs for English language arts using a Google Form of the ELA Program of Studies (POS). This was a positive next step as teachers considered the totality of the POS and how it could be spaced and focused on over the course of the whole school year.
From there, I took the results from our Google Forms and met with the teachers at Mimiw Sakahikan School at Mameo Beach. They helped me begin to assess the accuracy of the ELOs that were identified through the Google Form workshop. They were the right people for the job because each of them teaches multiple grades and were able to see the big picture in terms of how outcomes from one year need to connect to the ELOs on either side of each grade. It was very enlightening work as they began to vet the ELOs and discuss them on a continuum across the grades.
Once the review of the ELOs was completed out at the Beach, I was able to print off the Google Form documents and tape them all together to make a large K-9 ELO Map. When I taped all of the forms together, working late at night at my kitchen table, my eldest son got out of bed and came downstairs to see what I was doing. Looking at my outcome map, he referred to it as "The Map of Greatness". As I work to complete it and use it with staff moving forward, I really hope it lives up to its name.
Last week, I shared an email with all staff showing a picture of my ELO Map. This was to give a basic update and let everyone know that the work continues and that we would be meeting to complete the next step in our journey to finalize the ELOs in ELA for NEA. As I write this, we are nearing the next PD session (April 29th) where teachers will be able to work directly with the ELO Map. Between now and then, I will be looking at the Map and beginning to connect the dots of outcomes that span the grades, outcomes that exist on a continuum in the curriculum. It is anticipated that those outcomes will be on the list of ELOs and will be easy for teachers to see and focus on in their literacy instruction. That said, the visual of the Map indicates that there is an incremental increase in the total number of outcomes for every subsequent year. This suggests that new outcomes will be added to each year; and even though they may not be on a continuum, they may still be identified as being "essential". We are currently referring to those outcomes as "discreet outcomes".
My hope, which is the intent of this post, is to indicate that my desire is to have completed the connecting of the dots and the compilation of those ELOs for each of the grades K-9 into one document - the first draft of the official ELOs for NEA. I want the focus of April 29th's PD session to be an investigation of the ELO Map and a vertical discussion of the ELOs for each of the grades. That means the grade 4 teachers, for example, will meet and discuss the ELOs with the grade 3 and the grade 5 teachers... and so on. The hope of this will be to help teachers wrap their heads around the complexity of this work and the big picture of Literacy and ELOs for the district. It is my belief that if teachers can see the ELOs for what they are, and that they are on a continuum from K-9, they will better appreciate the work they do in any one grade and how it fits into the bigger picture of a student's educational journey.
From here, I hope to provide further insights into how this piece also fits within the bigger picture of Literacy for the district and where Literacy will be going over the next couple of years.
Anyone interested in having a dialogue regarding ELOs and how they fit within the bigger picture, or anything related to Literacy at NEA, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to engage in discussions about this work because these are important and exciting times at NEA. This is a great work and one that is certainly worth our time and effort, and I am so excited to be a part of it.