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Opportunity & Looking Forward to the New

With new standards and materials on the horizon, it can be easy to be stressed out, but it’s really an incredible opportunity.

The new ELAR Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills take effect in 2019-2020 for grades KK-8.

It’s a busy time of year if you’re in Language Arts. Along with the usual benchmarking time, it’s all about the new TEKS, new curriculum, new materials. Lots of change. Lots of stress. But I can’t help but be excited because it’s also a lot of opportunity. Opportunities to reboot, revamp, re-center. Opportunities to start afresh, view instruction through a different lens. Opportunities to take advantage of the new.

Focus on Reading-Writing-Listening-Speaking

This coming year, we have the opportunity to refocus our instruction on all the pieces of literacy. We know the reading and writing parts are important, but speaking and listening have traditionally not held the same focus. With the new TEKS they are equal partners in this endeavor we call language arts. And we as educators have the responsibility, and yes, opportunity, to make sure we weave listening and speaking into our lessons in relevant and meaningful ways. This will not only help us, but positively impact our students in their preparation for the future.

Academic Discussion Across the Curriculum

But listening and speaking aren’t just for language arts classrooms. They are for all classrooms. On page one of the new TEKS, it is clear that there is a new focus on academic oral proficiency across the disciplines. This emphasis gives language arts educators an incredible opportunity to advocate for more literacy instruction across the contents as well as collaborate with educators in different disciplines to make it happen. Just think of the impact we can make together!

Reading-Writing Connection & Better Workshop Opportunities

Once you get into the meat of the TEKS, you quickly see the standards were written with all four modes of communication connected. You can’t separate them out – especially reading and writing. There is no longer an artificial separation of these keystones. This can and will make for cohesive and seamless workshops. Students use mentor texts to write their own work while they discuss craft with their classmates. I look forward to the innovative workshop lessons I see coming from these new standards.

So instead of being stressed, get excited! There are lots of opportunities to do amazing things! And continue to follow this blog. I’ll be writing more about the new TEKS as we get closer to implementation.

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