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ELA Seeds of Knowledge

Explore our sprinklings of knowledge below as we answer some of your frequently asked questions, spotlight advice from fellow educators, and throw in some fun downloadables (and prizes!) along the way. We’ll be covering topics including pacing, differentiation, and instructional practices, all the while highlighting Amplify features and resources you can be using to grow your expertise of our curriculum! Tune in every Monday for three fresh seeds of knowledge surrounding a new category, along with directions for how to locate relevant resources in the Amplify platform.

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Have your own tips that you’d like us and your fellow educators to know?
Submit your answers to any of these questions at the form below, and you may be spotlighted here or on our Facebook groups.
Submit your tips here!

Pacing

What are the best ways to get students who need to be absent for multiple days caught up?

Seed One
To create a virtual forum to share student writing, use the Spotlight app within the Amplify ELA platform to easily highlight examples of your students’ work and project excerpts for instruction—or simply for student appreciation.

Seed Two
The Assign feature within the Amplify ELA curriculum makes it easy to distribute assignments and activities to your students both inside and outside of the classroom. When you navigate to the lesson, you will notice a blue ‘Assign’ button on the Lesson Brief, which allows you to assign multiple activities simultaneously. A settings panel gives you the option to pick class sections and due dates. Students will get notified of every activity assigned to them via the bell feature at the top right of their program, as well as through their My Work.

Seed Three
For immediate literacy resources that can be utilized for at-home instruction, have your students use the Amplify Library, which offers more than 700 classic and contemporary books aimed at fostering a love of reading and learning. Students can also download the texts and read them offline.

Differentiation

What are good activities to help students who need additional support?

Seed One
Amplify ELA’s Novel Guides provide middle school teachers with flexible study guides for the books you most want to teach, some of which are available in the digital Amplify Library. Students focus on the strongest aspect of each novel as they explore and analyze key themes. As opposed to the complete lessons, these guides provide students with lean, targeted instruction that follows Amplify ELA’s pedagogy (paired with great literature)!

Seed Two
After unit A, every 4-6 lessons is a Flex Day. The Flex Days are an opportunity for you to provide students with needed grammar instruction and also support additional practice in a targeted area of reading, writing, or language. Depending on students’ performance during the previous sequence of lessons, you might instruct a particular group to work on reading fluency, revise an existing piece of writing, create a new piece of writing, practice close reading and discussion, or work on one of the key reading strands.

Seed Three
The Directions in the Differentiation section of the Lesson Brief explain the types of supports provided in each level and when they may be helpful for particular students. This Differentiation section also provides suggestions and ideas on how to support ELLs with strategies not included in the differentiated activities.

Teacher Tips

What are teachers’ favorite tips, tricks, and features?

Seed One
Have you accessed the ELA 2nd Edition Poetry in America® units to bring poetry to life in middle school classrooms through the Amplify ELA program? With one for each grade level, these flexible units include tips for leading rich classroom discussions on poetry and videos of a wide variety of interpreters close reading poems.

Seed Two
Amplify Ambassador Terri Ostergard had the following advice about Amplify ELA: “Trust the program! One of the many beauties of Amplify ELA is that planning time is streamlined so you can use it with confidence! Be sure to review over the lesson objectives, listen to the text, note which tabs and cards address the objectives so you don’t miss them. Let this amazing resource work for you!”

Seed Three
Amplify Ambassador Pedro Garcia IV offered the following tip about an ELA curriculum feature: “Be sure to take advantage of the My Notes feature, when applicable. It helps when you need to jot down a quick note or reminder about a student question(s), have some feedback about how the lesson went, or what questions to anticipate for next time. It is also, a great way to note lesson reflections to improve and/or identify areas of need for the class.”

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Assessment

Do you have support and guidance around ELA assessments?

Seed One

Did you know Amplify has an Answer Validation feature to reveal auto-scored answers to students for solos and assessments through Classwork? In Classwork, you’ll see two checkboxes at the bottom of expanded solos and assessments: Mark Incorrect and Reveal Correct. Both boxes are unchecked by default, and students will be able to edit the activity without any correct/incorrect markers on their responses. For assessments, editability and visibility of revealed answers will also depend on whether or not you have locked or unlocked the assessment lesson for each class. You may want to be mindful of when you reveal answers to students as the questions for these activities do not change year to year.

To learn more about how to use this feature, check out our dedicated help article about the feature.

Seed Two

Have you used Amplify ELA’s Interim Assessments? These are designed to give teachers baseline data on students’ proficiency with reading and writing standards and to measure students’ progress with these standards over the course of the year. Each grade level has two reading Interim Assessments and two writing Interim Assessments. Teachers are encouraged to administer the first reading and writing Interim Assessments within the first 4–8 weeks of the school year, and to administer the second reading and writing interim assessments 4–8 weeks before any end-of-year state or national assessments.

Check out our dedicated help article about Interim Assessments for more information.

Seed Three

For regular ‘pulse checks’ on how students are responding to classroom instruction and what extra support they might need, as well as an idea of how your students will perform on state testing, be sure to utilize the Embedded Assessment Measure (EAM). The Embedded Assessment Measure reports allow teachers to easily track and interpret student performance against the three core domains of Reading, Writing, and Language without ever interrupting the flow of daily instruction to test students. Teachers then receive EAM reports that provide an at-a-glance look at which students are at risk in each of the three core domains. EAM reports also provide recommendations about how to group students for differentiated instruction and extra practice during Flex Days.

Read our help article about this measure to learn more.

Bonus

Check out these fun downloadables to share with your students!

Spring is in the air! Download these printable bookmarks, and share them with your students to use for their current books!

Teacher Appreciation Week is just around the corner, and we want to show our gratitude for the work that you do. Every day from May 2–6, we’ll be giving away special prizes—check out the schedule of all the exciting things to come on our Teacher Appreciation Week page, and enter the giveaways today!

March is Women’s History Month, but it can be celebrated all year long. Have you been celebrating Women’s History Month in your classroom? This week, we’re thrilled to share a downloadable & printable fact sheet featuring Frida Kahlo to help you jumpstart conversations around just one of the many important women that you may have encountered in the Amplify ELA program!