9 episodes

Literacy leaders and coaches know that routinely developing knowledge and skills models for students that learning is important. Join hosts Mark Raffler (Literacy Consultant) and Sarah Shoemaker (Early Literacy Coach) for five exclusive interviews each school year with local and national literacy experts. In less than an hour, each episode will take a deep dive into current research to help listeners enhance practice and improve literacy.

LLCN Brief Kent ISD

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Literacy leaders and coaches know that routinely developing knowledge and skills models for students that learning is important. Join hosts Mark Raffler (Literacy Consultant) and Sarah Shoemaker (Early Literacy Coach) for five exclusive interviews each school year with local and national literacy experts. In less than an hour, each episode will take a deep dive into current research to help listeners enhance practice and improve literacy.

    Elevating Writing Instruction with Dr. Steve Graham

    Elevating Writing Instruction with Dr. Steve Graham

    In this episode, we (Mark Raffler and Sarah Shoemaker) connect with Arizona State University professor, researcher, and author Dr. Steve Graham. For over 42 years, Dr. Graham has studied how writing develops, how to teach it effectively, and how writing can be used to support reading and learning. His research involves typically developing writers and students with special needs in both elementary and secondary schools, with much of occurring in classrooms in urban schools. This dialogue is focused on thinking “outside-the-box” as we aim to plan and facilitate writing instruction that engages all students.

    Here is a quick brief of our conversation:

    Sarah starts the dialogue with Dr. Graham by asking “What is the first thing you tell educators in the field about writing instruction?”  Dr. Graham talks about the amount of time spent writing and on writing instruction in the classroom.  We continue the conversation with a dive into more insights from his article “A Path to Better Writing: Evidence-Based Practices in the Classroom.”

    Mark adds to the dialogue: “We are frequently asked questions around writing instruction that include: How long should students write each day? Should we dictate topics or allow student choice when thinking about writing? Where should we start with writing genres? Talk to us about what guidance you offer teachers in these areas.” Dr. Graham points out five major points in relation to writing instruction.

    Then, we talk a bit about the positive relationship between writing instruction and increased reading comprehension.

    Mark delves into asking about writing assessment and how it is used for reflection and improvement in his next question to Dr. Graham.

    Dr. Graham summarizes our conversation by noting some key writing resources and reinforcing the role of the teacher in elevating writing instruction.

    We wrap up this episode by asking listeners to share your thoughts on podcast topics - your voice matters!  Please visit bit.ly/LLCNtopics to tell us what you want to future podcasts to focus on in relation to literacy.

    All resources in this LLCN Brief (and future podcasts) can be found at:  bit.ly/LLCNresources2122  Subscribe to the Literacy Leadership and Coaches Network podcasts here: anchor.fm/llcnbrief or your favorite podcast platform

    Please note the audio used as an introduction and in transitions in this podcast is under the Creative Common License and attribution is given as follows:
    Medicine by WinnieTheMoog
    Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/6256-medicine
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Vocabulary Development Across the Day with Dr. Tanya Wright

    Vocabulary Development Across the Day with Dr. Tanya Wright

    In this episode, we (Mark Raffler and Sarah Shoemaker) connect with Michigan State University professor and author Dr. Tanya Wright.  Dr. Wright is a former kindergarten teacher whose research and teaching focus on curriculum and instruction in language and literacy during the early childhood and elementary years. Her research examines instructional practices that promote oral language, vocabulary, and knowledge development for young children.  This podcast is a conversation regarding her work in the area of vocabulary and references her 2021 publication - A Teacher’s Guide to Vocabulary Development Across the Day: Grades K-3.  In essence, this dialogue is about vocabulary instruction opening doors to learning for all students.

    Here is a quick brief of our conversation:

    Sarah starts the dialogue with Dr. Wright by asking “What does it mean to ‘truly know a word’?”  Dr. Wright talks about ways in which we use words we know - to read, write, speak, listen, and learn.  She explains some of the depth of word learning.

    Mark asks “What can we do to make word-learning stick?”  Dr. Wright delves into how we learn new words with repeated exposure in meaningful contexts including ways to be effective and efficient with word learning.

    Then, we talk about “There are so many vocabulary words in our curriculum resources, how do we choose?”  

    Mark asks the elusive "How do we assess vocabulary learning adequately?" question.  Dr. Wright shares what truly captures vocabulary word learning and also shares some vocabulary resources for educators.

    Dr. Wright summarizes our conversation by noting that a key idea to remember is that vocabulary instruction should be embedded across the day and over time.

    We wrap up this episode by asking listeners to share your thoughts on podcast topics - your voice matters!  Please visit bit.ly/LLCNtopics to tell us what you want to future podcasts to focus on in relation to literacy.

    All resources in this LLCN Brief (and future podcasts) can be found at:  bit.ly/LLCNresources2122  Subscribe to the Literacy Leadership and Coaches Network podcasts here: anchor.fm/llcnbrief or your favorite podcast platform

    Please note the audio used as an introduction and in transitions in this podcast is under the Creative Common License and attribution is given as follows:
    Medicine by WinnieTheMoog
    Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/6256-medicine

    • 35 min
    Next Steps in Creating a Culturally Responsive Classroom with Sommer Jabbar

    Next Steps in Creating a Culturally Responsive Classroom with Sommer Jabbar

    In this episode, we (Mark Raffler and Sarah Shoemaker) reconnect with Sommer Jabbar, Equity and Student Success Coordinator at Kent Intermediate School District.  Sommer joins us to dialogue again about Culturally Responsive Teaching.  This podcast is a follow-up conversation to our ever popular Culturally Responsive Teaching episode which aired in February of 2021. Today, Sommer takes us further into Culturally Responsive Teaching by talking about classroom practices and ways of creating a responsive classroom.  In essence, this dialogue is all about relationships with students.

    Here is a quick brief of our conversation:

    *Sarah and Sommer reflect on the previous podcast regarding the internal work of culturally responsive teaching.  Sommer dives into the needed elements for taking this work into the daily classroom with application.  Some elements Sommer discusses more in-depth include:  A strengths-based mindset, attention grabbers specifically games, creating opportunities for social interactions with peers and teachers as a way to build rapport, and storytelling.  Storytelling helps with literacy and keeps the history of cultures alive.  Sommer emphasizes that these elements are not new, yet require intentionality.  This intentionality focus is not a burden, but a hope for culturally responsive teaching.

    *Mark asks about resources for culturally responsive teaching.  Sommer talks about diverse classroom libraries.  Survey families and students to see what their needs are.  Take time to learn the cultures represented in your classroom.  All students need to see themselves in the classroom and the classroom library.  Lots of resources are available locally through libraries, colleges, and the Kent ISD.

    *From there, we talk about exploring and integrating these resources into our teaching and classrooms.  Solid foundations are important.  We’re working to make “a house a home” in our classrooms.  Including students in these decisions is crucial.

    *Sommer reminds us to incorporate “mirrors and windows” into our classroom teaching materials and to counter stereotypes.  It takes intentionality to keep materials relevant to the classroom and content.

    *We wrap up this episode by asking listeners to share your thoughts on podcast topics - your voice matters!  Please visit bit.ly/LLCNtopics to tell us what you want to future podcasts to focus on in relation to literacy.

    All resources in this LLCN Brief (and future podcasts) can be found at:  bit.ly/LLCNresources2122  Subscribe to the Literacy Leadership and Coaches Network podcasts here: anchor.fm/llcnbrief or your favorite podcast platform

    Please note the audio used as an introduction and in transitions in this podcast is under the Creative Common License and attribution is given as follows:
    Medicine by WinnieTheMoog
    Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/6256-medicine
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 37 min
    A Dialogue About Disciplinary Literacy Essentials with Jenelle Williams and Dr. Darin Stockdill

    A Dialogue About Disciplinary Literacy Essentials with Jenelle Williams and Dr. Darin Stockdill

    In this episode, we (Mark Raffler and Sarah Shoemaker) chat with Jenelle Williams and Dr. Darin Stockdill about the Essential Literacy Practices for Disciplinary Literacy Instruction:  Grades 6-12.  We’ve spent a great deal of time over the past five years facilitating learning around the Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy:  Grades K-3.  We now have essential practices for ages birth through twelfth grade, so we decided to take this opportunity to highlight another piece of this literacy tool.

    A little bit about our guests today:  Jenelle Williams is a Literacy Consultant within the Leadership and Continuous Improvement unit at Oakland Schools ISD in Oakland County, Michigan.  Dr. Darin Stockdill is the Instructional and Program Design Coordinator for the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research at the University of Michigan.

    Here is a quick unpacking of our conversation:

    Darin introduces the Essential Practices for Disciplinary Literacy Instruction in the Secondary Classroom:  Grades 6-12 by telling us a bit about the document, its history, and the work that has been done to share the Essentials with educators around the state of Michigan.

    Mark and Darin discuss the differences between the terms “Disciplinary Literacy” and “Content Literacy.”

    We learn from Darin about the important starting points when first familiarizing oneself with the Disciplinary Literacy Essentials.  “When engaging with the document, please read the Purpose Statement… This is about teacher learning...  You have to have a systematic approach to supporting teachers in this process… We want teachers to recognize what they already do.”


    Jenelle talks about resources to support educators as we work to implement the Essential Instructional Practices at the secondary level.

    We hear from both Darin and Jenelle about potential surprises or barriers that teachers might encounter in implementing the Disciplinary Literacy Essentials.

    We wrap up this episode by reminding listeners that your voice matters!  Please visit bit.ly/LLCNtopics to tell us what you want to future podcasts to focus on in relation to literacy.

    All resources in this LLCN Brief (and future podcasts) can be found at:  bit.ly/LLCNresources2122  

    Subscribe to the Literacy Leadership and Coaches Network podcasts here: anchor.fm/llcnbrief or your favorite podcast platform

    Please note the audio used as an introduction and in transitions in this podcast is under the Creative Common License and attribution is given as follows:
    Medicine by WinnieTheMoog
    Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/6256-medicine
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 45 min
    Our Kids are not Broken – Addressing Learning Loss with Ron Berger

    Our Kids are not Broken – Addressing Learning Loss with Ron Berger

    In this episode, we (Mark Raffler and Sarah Shoemaker) chat with Ron Berger about the increasingly prevalent use of the term “learning loss.”  Ron is the Senior Advisor for Teaching & Learning at EL Education, a nonprofit school improvement organization that partners with public schools across America, leads professional learning, and creates open educational resources. He is a well-known international keynote speaker on the topics of inspiring a commitment to quality, character, and citizenship in students.  Ron also teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  After reading a recent article in which he addressed the use of the term learning loss during this time of pandemic, we connected with Ron.  We quickly realized that Ron’s perspective reaches beyond the current time to address the intentional language educators use as we think about student strengths as a means to empower them as active planners in their own learning endeavors.  Here is a quick unpacking of the conversation:

    Mark asks Ron to talk about his perspective on the term “learning loss.”  Ron addresses this by helping us see that learning loss is about the ways in which students are broken and the efforts it takes to sort and remedy the broken parts of student lives.  Through this perspective, he shares that we never actually get around to furthering students’ lives or education.  He delves into an analogy linking our work as educators and the roles of students to that of physical therapy after surgery.  “Schools are not medical facilities.  We’re not there to fix kids...  Physical therapists work with you as to how to grow yourself stronger.” Mark and Ron discuss empowering students to lean into planning their own educational paths.  “Every kid needs a slightly different path.  We can empower kids to lean into their learning.” 

    Ron shares that the return to classrooms should be joyous and should be celebrated.  “We should all be seeking ways to challenge and ramp up the learning.”  This starts with an intentional, shared vision.  This is the time to lean into academic challenges through social connections to engage students and set bold goals.  Sarah asks Ron to describe how and where a teacher would know how to start this process with students leading the work.  Ron inspires educators to be prospective.  Ron shares a plethora of open-access resources to support the implementation of having students lead their own learning including lesson plans, student work samples, and videos.  His emphasis is on making learning memorable and powerful when students are invested in their own learning.

    When we asked Ron to summarize his advice for schools, educators, and students, he states “This reopening of schools is the perfect time of leaning in together to do the teamwork.”  He delves into the “crew” approach to making classroom learning based on collective efforts - more like the soccer team rather than the individual accomplishments - “a shift that can lift a lot for us this year.”

    All resources in this LLCN Brief (and all 2020-2021 podcasts) can be found at:  bit.ly/LLCNresources
    Please note the audio used as an introduction and in transitions in this podcast is under the Creative Common License and attribution is given as follows:
    Medicine by WinnieTheMoog
    Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/6256-medicine
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 43 min
    Culturally Responsive Teaching with Sommer Jabbar

    Culturally Responsive Teaching with Sommer Jabbar

    In this episode, we (Mark Raffler and Sarah Shoemaker) chat with Sommer Jabbar about culturally responsive teaching.  Sommer is a D(BEI) - Diversity, Belonging, Equity Inclusion Project Coordinator at Kent ISD. We chat about what culturally responsive teaching is and how it looks in our classrooms as well as share some resources that educators will find useful no matter their role in the school setting.  We conclude by asking that you provide us with the topics and questions you want to know more about as we proceed with the podcast format.  Here is a quick unpacking of the conversation:

    Sommer addresses where to start with culturally responsive teaching. She delves into the inside out approach that is necessary to tackle this work around identity and emphasizes the fact that culturally responsive teaching is ongoing work.  “Give yourself grace to grow and go forward.”  

    Mark and Sommer discuss key concepts of culturally responsive teaching and responding to the needs of those we are serving.  Sommer discusses ways to best serve stakeholders through “mirrors and windows.”  We want to make sure every day that students have opportunities to see themselves in the classroom.  

    Sommer elaborates on what culturally responsive teaching looks like and sounds like to include what it should feel like as her and Sarah dive into practical applications for the classroom.  Intentionality is a key as we let the thought of different does not mean deficit resonate with our listeners.

    Sommer Jabbar talks about discomfort and utilizing resources as you work to overcome the discomfort.  Start with an implicit bias test.  Several other websites and books related to culturally responsive teaching are shared as well.

    Subscribe to Kent ISD DBEI (Diversity Belonging Equity and Inclusion) newsletters by emailing odbei@kentisd.org and follow the Kent ISD DBREI Facebook page.

    We wrap up this episode by reminding listeners that your voice matters!  Please visit bit.ly/LLCNtopics to tell us what you want to future podcasts to focus on in relation to literacy.

    All resources in this LLCN Brief (and future 2020-2021 podcasts) can be found at:  bit.ly/LLCNresources  Subscribe to the Literacy Leadership and Coaches Network podcasts here: anchor.fm/llcnbrief or your favorite podcast platform

    Please note the audio used as an introduction and in transitions in this podcast is under the Creative Common License and attribution is given as follows:
    Medicine by WinnieTheMoog
    Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/6256-medicine
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

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2 Ratings

awalm183 ,

Leading Literacy Learning

Thank you for bringing all these great topics to us in this format. I am really enjoying the learning I get from each episode!

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