What We’ve Learned about Smarter Balanced and PARCC

October 2013 e-Newsletter

What we’ve Learned about Smarter Balanced and PARCC

Georgia State Board of Education Adopts WriteSteps

Submit a TeacherStar Video and Receive $200.00!

We Want to Highlight YOU in TeacherFeature!

WriteSteps Freebie: “I’m So Much More Than a Teacher” Poster
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
~Benjamin Franklin

What We’ve Learned about Smarter Balanced and PARCC
What are the differences and similarities between Smarter Balanced and PARCC? Since Common Core is a national curriculum, why aren’t states using one test? How does writing play a role in the tests?

I spoke with Arlynn King, WriteSteps’ Coaching Director, to answer these questions. We thought it would be valuable to share what we’ve learned about the Smarter Balanced and PARCC tests, and how writing is going to play an important role. Watch the first vlog (video blog) in this two part series by clicking the photo!

Georgia State Board of Education Approved WriteSteps for State Recommended List
We are excited to announce that we have been approved by the Georgia State Board of Education to be on their ELA State Recommended list for use in Georgia classrooms for the next six years.

“Everyone at WriteSteps is thrilled that our writing and grammar program has been approved by the state of Georgia,” said Suzanne Klein, Founder and CEO of WriteSteps. “We look forward to connecting with Georgia educators and school districts in order to help prepare students for the Common Core and a lifetime of confident writing.”

Our curriculum is posted in the Grades K-12 English Language Arts/Reading State Recommended List, which includes a complete listing of instructional materials recommended by the Georgia State Board of Education. It was deemed that WriteSteps meets all of the writing and grammar Common Core Standards and the Georgia Performance Standards.
Since our inception in 2007, we have expanded to 41 states nationwide and have helped over 100,000 students find their writing voices!
Submit a TeacherStar Video and Receive $200.00!
In an effort to increase our videos to teach the nations teachers, any teacher who submits a video we publish on eWriteSteps, will receive $200.00! This is an opportunity for you to make an impact outside of your classroom.

For an example, you can watch the modeled video on Informative Writing, submitted by Sara Ball-Vadeboncourer, here.

For additional details, click here.

We want to Highlight You in TeacherFeature!
Do you have a creative teaching tip you use in your classroom? Is there something unique you’ve learned or found effective that you wish to share with others? We want to share your creative teaching tips with other teachers!

We would like you to submit a short (two to seven minute) video of yourself that can be shared with other teachers in our TeacherFeature. The video can be taken with a phone, FlipCam, or any other video recording device. Any teacher who submits a video we share in our monthly Inspired Writer eNewsletter, blog, or on eWriteSteps, will receive a $30.00 Visa gift card.

Below are examples of topics to get you started, but you are not limited to any on this list!
  • Do you have some great classroom management techniques?
  • How do you motivate your students?
  • What do you do about the reluctant writer?
  • Do you have a successful way to manage your classroom volume during writing time?
  • Do you play music in the background? If so, from your experience, what is the best music to use, and how do your students react?
  • What do you direct students to do when they think they are “done” with their writing?
  • In what ways have you used the WriteSteps poster, “Today I’m Conferencing With,” in your class?
  • How do you manage the 4 color pens with students?
  • Do you have a successful way to manage bathroom time?
  • Have you created a program in which your students can read their writing to others in the school?
  • How have you cut down interruptions during writing time?
  • Fill in the blank: I’ve been successful in teaching students how to _______ when they need help.
  • Fill in the blank: I’ve been successful conducting writing conferences by doing _________.
  • Fill in the blank: I like to publish my students work by ___________.
  • How do you integrate technology into your writing lessons?
  • Do you have an effective way of helping students who were absent catch up on the lesson (s) they missed?
Learn how to submit your TeacherFeature video here!

WriteSteps Freebie: “I’m So Much More than Just a Teacher” Classroom Poster
You are so much more than a teacher. You play the role of counselor, police officer, travel agent, confidante, banker, librarian, doctor, detective, dietician, and many others in the eyes of your students. Since you enjoyed our “We are a Family” classroom posters so much, we created additional inspirational classroom posters for you!

Click on the poster to download it for free. If you like the poster, please share it with your colleagues and friends.

WriteSteps welcomes David Parnes to the Team!
A warm welcome goes out to David Parnes, who joined WriteSteps as an Awareness Ambassador for the Austin, TX area. David has a genuine desire to help this generation of learners with their writing, and brings 16 years of teaching experience to the team.

“I believe writing skills have declined in student groups over time. While I know texting doesn’t help, I believe the real reasons for low writing skills are a result of “traditional” teaching strategies,” said David Parnes. “WriteSteps is a fresh, foundationally sound program that is geared to engage students not only with pen (fun pens!) and paper, but offers online support, as well!”

In addition to his passion for helping students find their writing voices, David works at a tutoring center, and is also starting his own education consultation business. He enjoys watching movies, going to the range, and spending time with his wife of 12 years.

Upcoming WriteSteps Conference Schedule
October 17-18 12-14, Cromwell, CT
WriteSteps will be at the Connecticut Reading Association Conference in Cromwell, CT. Stop by our booth to learn how we are empowering teachers to prepare students for Common Core testing and a lifetime of confident writing!

November 4-5, Detroit, MI
WriteSteps is heading back to where we started, and will be in Michigan at two conferences this month! Stop by and say hello to the fabulous Herman Humes, Awareness Ambassador, at the MAPSA Michigan Charter School Conference, at Cobo Hall!

November 4-5, Lansing, MI
Join us at the AdvancED Fall Conference at the Lansing Center in Lansing, MI. This year’s theme is “Lead and Learn: Cultivating Learner Success.” Find out how WriteSteps will help your students improve their writing skills by providing teachers with day-by-day lesson plans that help make teaching writing easier!

November 25-26, Indianapolis, IN
WriteSteps will be at the IASP Fall Conference at the Indianapolis Marriot Downtown. Stop by and say hello! While there, you can sign up for a free trial to eWriteSteps, which automatically enters you into a drawing to win a new iPad!

“Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined.”