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The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview to edTPA Elementary Literacy, Task 1: Planning for Literacy Instruction and Assessment. Unless otherwise noted, the references for the information provided in this presentation are the edTPA Elementary Education Assessment Handbook and “Making Good Choices” A Support Guide for edTPA Candidates. Both of these materials are authored by Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, & Equity (also known as SCALE). As you listen to this presentation please have those materials in front of you and be ready to refer to them when guided. You will want to watch this presentation several times as you prepare for edTPA. Let’s get started.
In the edTPA for Elementary Education, you will be completing 3 tasks. Task 1 is Planning for literacy instruction and assessment. Task 2 is Instructing and Engaging Students in Literacy Learning. Task 3: Assessing Students’ Literacy Learning. This presentation focuses solely on preparing for and completing Task 1: Planning. For Task 1 you will turn in the following: a context for learning information; lesson plans; instructional materials; assessments; and a planning commentary. In short, this task will help prepare you for completing Task 2, in which you will demonstrate and analyze the effectiveness of your teaching of the planned learning segment. You will note that there are specifications for artifact length and commentary length. For more information on specifications for your artifacts and commentary please refer to the Elementary Education Evidence Chart in the edTPA Elementary Education Assessment Handbook.
In Task 1 you will describe your plans for a 3-5 lesson learning segment in which you teach an essential literacy strategy for comprehending or composing text. You will explain how and why your instruction is appropriate for the learning needs of your students as well as the content you teach. You will write a description of your learning context, lesson plans, and a commentary on your lesson plans.
As you start to think about Task 1, take a minute to reflect on your students, what they know, and what you want them to learn. I strongly suggest that you pause this presentation and that you do a quick write on your students in which you respond to each of these featured prompts. Doing so, will help you organize your thinking, identify a potential central focus, and uncover your own knowledge about instructional strategies for teaching literacy.
Your initial steps in completing Task 1 should be as follows. First, select a class in which you will be teaching this learning segment. Second, provide contextual information about this class using the Elementary Literacy Context for Learning template found on Blackboard. Keep in mind, this context should be no longer than 3 pages, including the prompts. Third, identify a learning segment to plan, teach, and analyze. This should be 3-5 consecutive lessons.You should note, however, that at Hunter College we strongly encourage candidates to prepare and submit 3 strong consecutive lessons. Fourth, identify a central focus for this learning segment. Make sure you identify the Common Core State standards as well as content (literacy) and language objectives that you will address in this learning.
At this point, you may be asking yourself “How do I select a central focus?” There are some things to keep in mind when deciding upon your central focus. First your central focus should support students in developing a literacy strategy that is essential for comprehending or composing texts. This is otherwise known as an essential literacy strategy. Furthermore, your central focus should support students in developing skills that are required (otherwise known as requisite skills) for using the essential literacy strategy. In addition there are some other tips to keep in mind:
Here are a list of possible essential literacy strategies. Please keep in mind, these are merely examples. You can work with your cooperating teacher and refer to curriculum guides or the Common Core State Standards to identify other possible literacy strategies.
Here is also a list of possible requisite skills. Again, keep in mind this list is intended to give you examples of possible skills you might choose from in your learning segment.
Although your central focus should be concerned with either comprehension or composition, you should explore ways to make reading-writing connections in your learning segment. Keep in mind that literacy naturally explores the relationship of reading and writing (read from Making Good Choices)… Below are some examples of activities that promote reading and writing connections.
After you have identified your central focus, you will plan and write 3 consecutive lesson plans for teaching this central focus. You should use the Childhood Education lesson plan template that is available on Blackboard or through your student teaching supervisor. That template has all the components required by edTPA. Each lesson plan should be no longer than 4 pages in length. Lesson plans should be complete and detailed enough so that a substitute teacher could understand them well enough to use them. You will include instructional materials and resources (please see specifications in your Elementary Education Assessment Handbook). You will also include blank copies of formal and informal assessments.
Your formal and informal assessments should be aligned with your central focus and the lesson standards and objectives. You should explain how you will monitor student learning throughout the lesson plan and learning segment. Your assessments should give students multiple opportunities to show their understanding of the learning objectives. Choose assessments that allow students to demonstrate what they understand, as opposed to what they remember, about what they are learning. For Task 1, you will not turn in assessments that have been completed by students yet. You will turn in blank copies of assessments that you intend to administer when you teach the lessons in your learning segment.
After you have written your lesson plans. You will use the Planning Commentary prompts to write a commentary on your lesson plans. This should be done before you teach the lessons from this learning segment. Please turn to the Planning Commentary section of the edTPA Elementary Education Assessment Handbook. You will notice that you will be justifying and providing evidence for decisions you made about: your central focus; how knowledge of students informed your teaching; how you will support students’ literacy learning throughout the learning segments; how you will support students’ language use (this is where you will identify language functions and other language demands); and how you will monitor student learning.
As you complete the commentary please keep the following in mind: Read each prompt carefully and respond to all parts of it, using simple and straightforward prose. Do not simply summarize your lesson plans. Instead, show that you are able to understand how your students learn, what their needs are, challenges they might face in completing the learning tasks, support you will provide, and how you will monitor their learning throughout the learning segment. Also, make sure you provide specific and concrete examples from your lesson plans to support your assertions.
ALL students (not just ELLs) have language development needs and need to be taught how to demonstrate these skills in literacy. For these reasons, edTPA asks that you identify the language demands within your learning segment. A language demand may include receptive language skills, productive language skills, and representational skills that students need in order to engage in and complete the learning task successfully. We often take language demands for granted, yet they are deeply embedded within all instructional activity. You will identify language demands, including language function and essential vocabulary as well as syntax and/or discourse. The language demands that you identify must be clearly connected to the central focus. We will review language demands in this presentation, for more information however, I encourage you to view the Academic Language module and resources available on the edTPA Blackboard site.
A language function is the purpose or reason for using language in a learning task. One trick for identifying the language function of a learning segment is to look at the standards and/or objectives, for these often will include the language function embedded within them. For instance, you might be able to identify the language function by looking at the verbs used. If the standard uses the verb “compare,” for example, then the language function may be to use language for making comparisons. In your learning segment, you will choose ONE language function for the whole learning segment. At this time, I encourage you to stop and jot. Look at your learning tasks and write a brief response (intended for yourself only) to this question: What will students do with language in order to understand the essential literacy strategy being taught? Stop this presentation and restart when you are ready. Often the standards and/or objectives for the learning segment will include language function embedded in the content to be learned – look to the verbs used (i.e., explain, infer, compare, argue, justify) and choose the language function that all students will need to develop in order to deepen their learning.
In edTPA you are required to identify more than just the language function, you must identify additional language demands your students will encounter in the learning segment. Academic vocabulary is one such demand that may pose a challenge for students. At this time, I want you to stop and jot again. This time, please examine your instructional materials (texts, assessments, handouts). Identify content-specific words or concepts that you will need to teach in order to ensure that your students are engaged in and deepening understanding during this learning segment. Take a minute to record your thoughts and restart this presentation when you are ready.
You will also need to identify how syntax and discourse pose language demands for students within your learning segment. In the case of literacy instruction, syntax refers to the structure of a sentence. If the syntax of a sentence is challenging to a reader, then it may be clouding the sentence’s meaning. Stop and Jot: Take a minute to examine the texts of your lessons and your expectations for what you want students to read or write. Which symbolic conventions, grammar structures, or sentence patterns might be unfamiliar or difficult for your students/
Stop and Jot: Examine the texts of your lesson and your expectations for what you want students to write: Which discourse structures do you expect your students to understand or produce in your learning segment?
Assessment of Task 1: At Hunter College we encourage all Teacher Candidates to aim for Level 4 or higher in their completion of edTPA tasks. At this time please have available the Rubrics for Elementary Literacy Task 1. You will note that there are 5 rubrics that will be used to score your completion of Task 1. These rubrics will evaluate your how you plan for literacy learning, how you plan to support varied student leaning needs, how you use of knowledge about students to inform instruction, how you identify and support language demands, and how you plan assessment to monitor and support student learning.
Let’s look at Rubric 1: Planning for Literacy Learning. Your lesson plans should:
Rubric 2: Planning to Support Varied Student Learning Needs
Rubric 3: Using Knowledge of Students to Inform Teaching and Learning In your planning commentary you are able to …
Rubric 4: Identifying and Supporting Language Demands. Please note that if you ONLY identify vocabulary demands the highest score you can receive on this rubric is a level 2. You must identify additional language demands.
Rubric 5: Planning Assessments to Monitor and Support Student Learning
Elementary education task 1 2
The edTPA: Elementary Literacy, Task 1
Hunter College School of Education
References: edTPA Elementary Education Assessment Handbook and "Making Good Choices”: A
Support Guide for edTPA Candidates
Overview of Elementary Literacy, Tasks 13
Task 1: Planning
Part A: Context for Learning
Information (No more than 3 pages,
Task 2: Instruction
Task 3: Assessment
Part A: Video Clip(s)
Part A: Student Work Samples
Part B: Instruction Commentary
Part B: Evidence of Feedback
Part B: Lesson Plans for Learning
Segment (No more than 4 pages per
Part C: Instructional Materials (No
more than 5 pages of KEY
instructional materials per lesson
Part D: Assessments (N/A)
Part E: Planning Commentary (No
more than 9 pages, including
Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity, 2011
Part C: Assessment Commentary
Part D: Evaluation Criteria
Overview of Task 1: Planning for Literacy
Instruction & Assessment
You will describe your plans for a 3-5 lesson learning segment
that focuses on teaching a literacy strategy that is essential to
comprehending or composing text.
You will explain how and why your instruction is appropriate
not only for the students you teach but for the content you
teach, as well.
You will write: a description of your context for learning; lesson
plans; and a commentary explaining your plans.
Quickwrite: Reflect on Your Students
What do my students know, what can they do, and what are they learning
What do I want my students to learn? What are the important
understandings and core concepts I want students to develop within the
What instructional strategies, learning tasks, and assessments will I design
to support student learning and their use of language?
How is the teacher I propose supported by research and theory about how
How is the teaching I propose informed by my knowledge of my students?
Reference: edTPA Elementary Education Assessment Handbook
Select a class: If you teach more than one class, select a focus
class for this assessment.
Provide contextual information: Using the Elementary
Literacy Context for Learning template on Blackboard provide
essential information about your students and your
Identify a learning segment to plan, teach, and analyze:
Review the curriculum with your cooperating teacher and
select a learning segment of 3-5 consecutive lessons.
Identify a central focus: Identify the central focus as well as
the Common Core State Standards and content and language
objectives you will address in the learning segment.
How Do I Select a Central Focus?
Your central focus should support students in developing a literacy strategy
that is essential (aka essential literacy strategy) for comprehending or
composing texts in meaningful contexts. Likewise, your central focus should
also support students in developing the skills that are required (aka
requisite skills) to use the essential literacy strategy.
Choose either comprehension or composition as the central focus.
Identify ONE strategy for student learning across 3-5 lessons.
Keep it simple!
See Common Core Standards for additional ideas.
Choose requisite skills that directly support your students to develop and/or refine the
The skills should be appropriate to grade-level student readiness and scope of lesson in
Consider ways that students can make reading and writing connections.
Examples of Possible Essential Literacy
Analyzing characters or arguments
Analyzing text structures
Summarizing plot or main ideas
Comparing characters or versions of stories
Comparing points of view
Arguing/persuading using textual evidence
Inferring meaning using textual evidence
Describing a process or a topic
Supporting predictions using textual evidence
Interpreting a character’s actions or feelings
Retelling a story
Identifying story elements, character traits, or
• Identifying characteristics of informational texts
• Brainstorming (or gathering
and organizing information
• Note taking from
informational texts in order
to support a writing topic
• Using graphic organizers
• Revising a draft
• Using a rubric to revise
• Using a writing checklist to
Examples of Possible Requisite Skills
Miscue self correction
Syllabic, structural, or morphological
analysis (affixes and roots)
• Vocabulary meaning in context
• Text structure features
• Language conventions (spelling,
• Applying text structure features
• Sentence fluency
• Organization (topic sentences,
transitions, paragraph structure, etc.)
• Attributes of genre
• Using descriptive language
• Word choice
• Using active voice
Making Reading-Writing Connections
Examples of activities that promote Reading-Writing Connections:
Reading and researching informational text to inform an essay
Writing interpretations or analysis of informational text
Journal writing: making predictions, making personal or text-text
Writing book reviews
Writing from the perspective of a character
Writing alternative endings for a story
Writing in a style that emulates a model or a mentor text
Writing responses to persuasive essays that have been read
Using “stop and jot” during a read aloud or shared reading engagement
Plan and Write Lesson Plans
Plan and write 3-5 consecutive lesson plans for teaching the
central focus you have identified.
Use the Childhood Education template for planning your lesson
Lesson plans should be complete and detailed enough so that a
substitute or other teacher could understand them well enough
to use them.
Include instructional resources and materials, as well as formal
and informal assessments.
Each lesson plan cannot be longer than 4 pages in length.
Choosing Formal and Informal
Assessments and evaluation criteria should be aligned with the
central focus and the standards and objectives.
They should provide opportunities for students to show their
understanding of the learning objectives.
Avoid assessments that only require students to parrot back
Choose/design assessments that measure how well students
understand – not remember – what they are learning.
Respond to Commentary Prompts
In the Planning Commentary section of the edTPA Elementary
Education Assessment Handbook, you will respond to a list of
prompts before teaching your learning segment.
The prompts focus on the following areas:
Your Central Focus
Knowledge of Students That Informed Your Teaching
Support for Students’ Literacy Learning
Support for Literacy Development Through Language Use
(identifying language function and other language demands)
Monitoring of Student Learning
Tips for Responding to the Commentary
Read each prompt carefully and be sure to respond to all parts
of the questions using simple, straightforward prose.
Move beyond summarizing your lesson plans. Show you are
able to understand how your students learn, what students’
needs are, challenges they might face in completing the
learning tasks, support you will provide, and how you will
monitor student learning throughout the learning segment.
Provide specific, concrete examples to support your assertions.
Identifying Language Demands
Language demands include receptive language skills (i.e.,
listening, reading), productive language skills (i.e., speaking,
writing), and in some fields, representational language skills
(i.e., symbols, notation, etc.) needed by the student in order to
engage in and complete the learning task successfully.
Language demands are so embedded in instructional activity
that we often take them for granted.
Identify language demands, including language function and
essential academic vocabulary, as well as syntax and/or
The language demands you identify should be essential for
understanding the central focus of the learning segment.
What is a language function?
A language function is the PURPOSE or reason for using language in a
Often the standards and/or objectives for the learning segment will include
language function embedded in the content to be learned – look to the
verbs used (i.e., explain, infer, compare, argue, justify) and choose the
language function that all students will need to develop in order to deepen
You will identify one major language function for your learning segment.
Stop and Jot: Look at your learning task, respond
to this question: What will students do with
language in order to understand the essential
literacy strategy being taught?
What are Additional Language Demands?
You are asked to identify additional language demands (i.e.,
vocabulary, syntax, and/or discourse).
You will need to identify vocabulary central to the outcomes of
the learning segment that may pose a challenge for students.
Stop and Jot: Examine your instructional materials (e.g., texts,
assessments, etc.) which content-specific words or concepts will
you need to teach in order to ensure that your students are
engaged and developing understanding during your learning
What is Syntax?
You will need to identify also how syntax and discourse pose
language demands for your students.
Syntax = the structure of a sentence (e.g., length, word order,
grammar, arrangement of phrases, active/passive voice, etc.). If
the syntax of a sentence is challenging to a reader, then it is
clouding the sentence’s meaning.
Stop and Jot: Examine the texts of your lessons and your
expectations for what you want students to write: Which symbolic
conventions, grammatical structures, or sentence patterns might
be unfamiliar or difficult for your students?
What is Discourse?
Discourse refers to how people who are members of a discipline talk and
write. It is how they create and share knowledge. Discipline-specific
discourse has distinctive features or ways of structure oral or written
language that provide useful ways for the content to be communicated.
Scientists and historians both write texts to justify a position based on
evidence. But the way they organize that text and present supporting
evidence follow a different structure or discourse pattern.
Stop and Jot: Examine the texts of your lessons and your
expectations for what you want students to write: Which discourse
structures do you expect your students to understand or produce
in your learning segment?
How Am I Assessed on Task 1?
Five Rubrics for Task 1
Planning for Literacy Learning
Planning to Support Varied Student Learning Needs
Using Knowledge of Students to Inform Teaching and Learning
Identifying and Supporting Language Demands
Planning Assessments to Monitor and Support Student Learning
Rubric 1: Planning for Literacy Learning
Your plans should:
Build on each other
Show alignment between standards, objectives, learning tasks
Accurately teach literacy content
Create a meaningful context for literacy learning
Support the learning of requisite literacy skills
Connect clearly and consistently to the essential literacy strategy
for comprehending or composing text.
Rubric 2: Supporting Student Learning
Evidence of planned supports identified in your lesson plans.
Are strongly tied to learning objectives and the central focus
Address the needs of specific individuals or groups with similar
needs as identified in your learning context
Attend to requirements in IEPs and 504 plans.
Rubric 3: Knowledge of Students Informs
Teaching and Learning
You can justify why learning tasks (or their adaptations) are
Examples of students’ prior academic learning
Examples of personal, cultural, and community assets
Principles from research and/or theory
Rubric 4: Language Demands
You identify and provide evidence for how you support
language demands associated with the key literacy learning
You identify vocabulary and additional language demands
(syntax and/or discourse) associated with the language function
for the learning task.
Your lesson plans included targeted support for using of
vocabulary as well as additional language demands (syntax
Rubric 5: Planning Assessments
You select formal and informal assessments that monitor
students’ learning of the essential literacy strategy and
Your planned assessments provide multiple forms of evidence
to monitor students’ use of the essential literacy strategy and
skills throughout the learning segment.
Assessments are aligned with the central focus and
standards/objectives for the learning segment.
Assessment adaptations required by IEP or 504 plans are made.