Ideas for Discussing ELA
Curriculum Mapping
Use or modify this PDF in PLCs to create ELA curriculum maps.
ELA SCOS Self-Study Course
Take the ELA SCOS Self-Study Canvas course as a PLC. Collaboratively discuss and complete the course activities and assignments together.
Incorporating Student-Focused Discussions
Use this protocol to help teachers incorporate student-focused discussions into their lesson plans.
Standards Discussion Guide
Use these graphic organizers to facilitate discussion about the ELA Standards.
Providing Clarity
Use the PPT, facilitator guide, and notebooks to take a close look at the ELA standards. The PPT includes activities, talking points, and instructional strategies for digging deep into the standards.
PLC Facilitator’s Guide
Use this Facilitator’s guide from the Institute of Education Sciences to plan your ELA PLCs. While this guide is geared towards English Language Learners, the guide includes PLC planning, reflection and implementation activities and tasks around academic vocabulary, word learning, and speaking and listening.
Integrating Standards
Use this protocol as a PLC to see how to possibly integrate standards in an effective way that still maintains a primary focus on a standard(s) so it isn’t lost.

1. Choose a focus standard.
2. Brainstorm a strategy, task, or activity strictly for the focus standard.
3. Choose a supporting standard.
4. Revise the strategy, task, or activity to integrate the supporting standard, being careful to maintain
an emphasis on the focus standard.
5. Repeat steps 3-5 as needed.
Develop a Lesson Plan

Materials: Lesson Template
Develop a common standards-focused lesson plan without a text as a PLC or have PLC members write their own standards-based lessons and exchange them. Use the protocol below:

1. Determine focus and supporting standards.
2. Use the lesson examples as a guide for completing the lesson plan template.
3. Teachers adapt and implement the planned lesson with their own materials.
4. Gather evidence of student learning.
5. Debrief and discuss successes and challenges.
Discuss Lesson Plans
Use this protocol to help teachers fine tune their lessons to ensure they are truly meeting the standards.
1. Bring a lesson plan to PLCs.
2. Read a lesson plan and ask clarifying questions, such as:
    • What are the focus and supporting standards?
    • What is the lesson objective?
    • What was the reasoning behind the text selection?
3. Get answers to clarifying questions.
4. Provide constructive feedback.
5. Allow time for reflection.
6. Repeat with each teacher in the PLC.
Instructional Practice #1
Collaborative Team Protocol for Determining Text Complexity

Materials: NCDPI ELA's Text Complexity wiki page, Road Map
Use this protocol to facilitate discussion on a text’s complexity.
Instructional Practice #2
Materials: Using Mentor Texts
Read the Edutopia article and consider the following questions:
  • Why integrate?
  • What can integration in ELA look like?
  • How do you know the focus and supporting standards you’ve chosen fit together?
Materials: Creating an Integrated Approach to Literacy Instruction
Plan and conduct a book study for the text. Divide the chapters based on the number of meetings and decide on the task/activities that will keep everyone accountable. Consider the following questions through the study:
  • What did you learn?
  • How can you use it?
  • What happened when you used it?
  • What would you do next time?
Instructional Practice #3
Materials: No More “Look Up the List Vocabulary Instruction (Sample)
Read the sample of the text. Consider the following questions:
  • What questions does the text raise for you?
  • What is significant about this text?
  • How might this text influence or affirm your work as a teacher or educator?
No materials needed
Ask each PLC Member to select a page or paragraph from a text they plan to use with their students. Use the following questions to discuss the vocabulary within the text:
  • How many words would be considered an academic vocabulary word?
  • How many of these words are truly worthy of teaching? Why?
  • What activity or instruction would you plan to create or use?
Instructional Practice #4
Materials: Text Set Project
In PLCs and grade level meetings, teams can discuss how they use texts sets in their classroom. It would also be beneficial for PLCs to discuss and evaluate text sets.
Instructional Practice #5
Materials: Elementary Resources, Middle Grades Resources, High School Resources, FCIT matrix
Visit our technology wiki pages and click on the resources for your PLC's grade band. As a PLC, sort the digital tools by the levels of technology integration listed on the FCIT matrix. Consider the following questions:
  • How can this tool be used by teachers (entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, transformation)?
  • How does this tool engage students (active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, goal oriented)?
  • What changes can be made to instruction to increase the level of integration or level of meaning in the learning environment?
Part III: The Changing Definition of 'Research'
Divide the sections of "Part III: The Changing Definition of 'Research'" from the Pew Research Center and decide on the tasks/activities that will keep everyone accountable. Consider the following questions:
  • What did you see in the data? What does the data suggest?
  • What are the implications of this for the ELA classroom?
  • What did the research make you think about in terms of your own practices?
  • What will you do differently when it comes to research in the classroom?
Instructional Practice #6
Materials: Video
Analyze the ratio of teacher to student talk. Video record a lesson or find an existing video of a lesson and review how much the teacher talks compared to how much the students are talking. Discuss ways to incorporate more student discourse. Don't want to record a lesson? Use the video provided.
Materials: Video
Watch the video provided as a PLC and discuss how you formatively assess speaking and listening. Consider the following question:
  • How could you adapt the checklist in the video for your own classroom?
Instructional Practice #7
Materials: Clip 1, Clip 2
View and discuss the video clips of Norman Webb's workshops to gain an understanding of DOK. Choose a random set of grade-level standards. Using Webb's DOK, determine which DOK level each standard belongs to. Create an aligned question stem for each standard. Compare the questions to the standards and DOK. Consider the following questions:
  • Is there alignment between the question and the standard?
  • Is there agreement between the question and the DOK level assigned to the standard?
Materials: Image
Facilitate a discussion about the connection between critical thinking and content complexity. Consider the following questions:
  • How is content difficulty and content complexity related?
  • How is content difficulty and content complexity different?
  • What makes learning material simple or complex?
  • What's the relationship between critical thinking and content complexity?
Instructional Practice #8
Materials: Video
Facilitate a discussion on how this team develops, uses, and analyzes common formative assessments and designs a writing unit based on lessons learned from the data. Consider:
  • What do teachers need to effectively use common formative assessments?
  • How equipped are teachers at the school to develop, use, and act upon common formative assessments?
  • What are the benefits of using common formative assessments? What are some potential challenges?
Instructional Practice #9
EL scaffolding strategies
Review the EL scaffolding strategies below for this practice and in the resources section. Which ones are already in place in your school or classroom? Try a new strategy, reflect on it and share with colleagues.
Teaching Channel Video
As a PLC, view the Teaching Channel video linked below and use the questions to guide your discussion afterwards.
Instructional Practice #10
CMU resource
Read the linked resource below from Carnegie Mellon University. Ask PLC members to complete self-reflections answering:
  • What am I teaching now and to whom?
  • Why am I teaching it?
  • How am I teaching it?
  • Why am I teaching it this way?
  • How is this relevant to my students?
  • What strategies can I explore using to increase relevance for my students?
ASCD article
Read the linked article from ASCD. Highlight evidence in the text that speaks to the bulleted points under “How.” As a PLC, consider the following questions:
  • What does this article discuss that you already do as a best practice?
  • What makes this best practice “work?”
  • What about the article expanded on what you already knew?
  • What makes this new understanding meaningful?
Instructional Practice #11

SAP checklist
Review and analyze questions from a taught lesson. Evaluate and revise the questions as needed using Student Achievement Partners' checklist linked below.
Materials: Common Text
Use a common text and collaborate to develop text dependent questions. Think about and discuss: What questions will take the students deeper into this text and cause them to pay careful attention to it?
Instructional Practice #12
Kelly Gallagher video
Watch Kelly Gallagher teach a lesson on sentence craft. After watching the video, discuss the following questions as a PLC:
  • How did Gallagher implement Instructional Practice #12?
  • How are students reading like writers?
  • How did Gallagher convey the what, why, how of sentence structure?
Grammar in Context video
Watch the linked video below about teaching grammar in context. Pause throughout the video to discuss the following questions as a PLC:
  • How does this teacher implement Instructional Practice #12?
  • The teacher continuously uses the word "reference" when discussing how she uses grammar books. What does this mean?