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Meet the New TEKS

Each week, I’ll focus on a different strand, helping us all get to know our new standards just a little bit better. We’ll start with strand 1 – Developing and sustaining foundational language skills.

Big picture:

This strand contains oral language, beginning reading and writing, vocabulary, and fluency. These were essentially all in the old TEKS, but are now packaged together in the newest version.

Oral language: This is where you will see what used to be in listening, speaking, and teamwork strands of the old TEKS.

Beginning reading and writing: These are now K-5 and include phonological awareness, spelling, and print awareness. This section contains the building blocks for learning to read. It also includes legible handwriting, including writing in cursive.

Vocabulary: Here you’ll see the usual suspects – Greek and Latin roots and words from other languages, using and analyzing context, and use of a resource such as a dictionary. You won’t see analogies, but you will still see antonyms, etc. in K-5.

Fluency: Focuses on appropriate fluency and reading, but does not include the terms “outloud” or “comprehension.”

Where could you see these in a curriculum?

Strand 1 standards will be all over the place in whatever curriculum your district uses. You might even use these standards every day. With the focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking every day in the classroom, oral language and fluency standards will support everything you do in each genre. The same goes for vocabulary, which will also need to be supported in every unit. Think of this strand as helping you with all the others.

Differences in grade bands:

High school teachers will only see the oral language and vocabulary components. Middle school will not see the beginning reading and writing standards, but will still see fluency. But it is important to remember that knowledge of the grade levels below your own will help with students that need extra intervention. As a middle, or even high school, teacher it is important that you understand the beginning reading and writing standards, so you can help your struggling students. This is especially important if you teach RtI classes.

Bottom line:

There’s a reason these are called foundational skills. Students need to master these standards in order to be successful in everything else that comes into play in a language arts classroom. These standards will need to be integrated into every unit and will support students’ ongoing development. It is important that you delve into your grade-level standards and become an expert in what you are responsible for teaching.

Please email me or leave a comment if you have questions. Let’s start a robust dialogue!

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