Getting Involved





Getting Involved

High School ELA Announcements and Email Archive

September 19, 2023 Email

This email contains information about:

  • Early Out on Friday, September 22nd – 1:45 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Kelly Gallagher Webinar opportunity

Early Out Information

Thank you for your patience as we have worked with schools to get confirmations of meeting locations.  We will be meeting at Hillcrest High School in the Presentation Room – A115 at 1:45 pm.

The bulk of the time will be spent on vertical coherence within the standards, so please bring a device to work on.


1:45 – Announcements/Updates

  • Novel Database Cleanup Survey
  • Singleton PLCs

2:00 – Unpacking Standards – Vertical Alignment

  • Break into Schools to do Vertical Alignment  *Resource and co-teachers attend with your school
    • Alta – A209
    • Brighton – A211
    • Corner Canyon – A213
    • Hillcrest – A215
    • Jordan and Diamond Ridge – A218
    • SPED ACC and ECC – A216

2:50 – Return to Presentation room for Prizes and exit survey

Kelly Gallagher Webinar Opportunity

Kelly Gallagher will be doing a webinar with California State this Thursday evening (shout-out to Michelle Ritter for sharing this information!).  If you are interested in attending, the registration information is on this page.

September 12, 2023 Email

This email contains information about the following:

  1. News Literacy Project Webinar Series
  2. Newsela Units
  3. High School ELA Early Out
  4. Copyleaks Plagiarism Bite-Sized PD Training


  1. News Literacy Project Webinar Series:

The News Literacy Project has partnered with USBE to deliver an 8-part Webinar Series.  You can attend 1 or all.  For more information and to register see attached informational flyer or visit     I’ll be doing Q&A for the first webinar this Thursday.

2. Newsela Novel Units:

Last year I was able to work closely with Newsela and give feedback.  Many don’t know that they have ELA specific units tied to novels.  I worked with them to get more units created that include texts taught at our high schools.  Here are just a few units they have – be sure to check out the Implementation Guides in the right sidebar.

And many more … I’ll be adding all of them to the HS ELA Canvas Sandbox.

Check out the full list by author with these links – be sure to login through Canvas so that you are in your PRO Accounts.

3. High School ELA Early Out.  The high school Principals have met and agreed to have 3 common early out PLC meetings for High School ELA.  The first one will be September 22nd.  I’ll send out an invite next Monday.

4. Copyleaks Plagiarism Bite-Sized PD Training. Copyleaks Plagiarism software should soon be installed in Canvas. This Wednesday, there will be  Wednesday,  Sept. 13 @ 4:00 PM – Copyleaks: The New Plagiarism Checker w/AI Detection in Canvas.

To join a Bite-Sized PD session use this Zoom link and the access code is canyonsu.  As a reminder, each Bite-Sized PD is recorded and posted on the Bite-Sized PD webpage, and even if you don’t watch live you are still eligible for relicensure credit. To receive credit complete the 2023-2024: Canyons U Bite Sized PD form in order to have the relicensure credits added to your Midas transcript.

September 1, 2023 Email

Dear High School ELA Teachers,

This email contains information about:

  1. District Day Wrap Up (Information)
  2. Draftback (Tech Tool)
  3. QSSSA (ML Strategy)
  4. Read a Book Day – September 6th (Request)
  5. Canyon’s Freedom to Read Week – October 1-7 (Information)

1. District Day Wrap Up

Scott and I recorded our first podcast for All Day ELA, Season 2 where we discussed the feedback from District Day. You can listen here. Also, if you go to the Sandbox course under District Day Resources you can find the pictures from the Unpacked Standards and the crowdsourcing of ideas for the Writing Framework.

2. Draftback

I recently learned of a Google Chrome extension called Draftback from the September issue of Educational Leadership. “It turns a [Google] document’s revision history into a video that can be played at controllable speeds. When we watch it, we can actually see a student’s every keystroke on a document. Draftback also provides a detailed breakdown of the document’s history that includes the overall number of revisions, the number of distinct writing session, the time and duration of each of those writing sessions, and which user made them” (Kay 77)

I think this could help with focusing on the process of writing, rather than the product of writing. I’ve made a short video demo of the tool.

3. QSSSA – ML Students.

A quick reminder that our ML students often need an increase in wait time to process what you said in English, think in their native language, and respond in English. This applies to speaking as well as writing. I know that I have not always given students long enough wait time and in the silence I worried that the student didn’t understand me, didn’t know the answer, and was embarrassed. And so, I answered for them, moved on, or continued to talk or ask questions introducing new language they needed time to think through.

My suggestion is to use a strategy called QSSSA to scaffold classroom discussions with MLs. The letters stand for Question (the teacher poses a question, then gives ample think time); Signal (a designated motion like a thumbs-up, a finger on the nose—something that lets students indicate that they’re ready to answer); Stem (the teacher provides a sentence starter for the question—for example, for “What is your favorite place to read a book?” the stem might be, “My favorite place to read a book is _____”); Share; and Assess.

4. Read a Book Day – September 6th!

Did you know it was Read a Book Day on the 6th? The district media specialist is asking that we take pictures of students reading and please email them to me. They can be reading any day – not just on September 6th. We want to share on our social media and communication channels our students reading. If you don’t want to show student faces, here are 2 examples from Tyson Swasey’s class Book Tasting (read more about this activity on Instagram).


5. Freedom to Read Week – October 1-7

Formally known as Banned Book Week, Canyons School District will be celebrating Freedom to Read Week (as CSD is now calling it). Let’s celebrate our right to read information, literature, poetry, comics, and news. I’m working with the District Librarian on activities and resources for you to use in class. If you are looking for something specifically, please let me know. If you have amazing ideas – PLEASE SHARE!

August 17, 2023 Email

This email contains the following information:

  • Follow-up from District Day
  • Instructional Guides for those absent
  • Resources from Dr. Wilhelm’s Presentation at District Day
  • Information about the Reading Inventory Fall Testing

Follow-Up from District Day

Thank you for your enthusiasm and support at District Day.  I will add to the HS ELA Sandbox course the Unpacked Standards Posters you worked on and the crowdsourcing of ideas on the Writing Framework.  If you are not already part of the course, I plan on adding everyone by the end of today, so look for the invite in Canvas.

Instructional Guides

If you were not able to attend district day (absent or in another content area meeting), please email and let me know so that I can send you the Instructional Guides in District mail.   For our Resource/Cotaught SPED teachers, your instructional guides are already in district mail.

Resources from Dr. Wilhelm’s Presentation

I have linked on the HS webpage – the resources from Dr. Wilhelm – he sent us his slideshow and 4 handouts.  It is in the sidebar, under District Day.  I will also put these in the Announcements/emails as well as in the HS ELA Sandbox.

Reading Inventory – August 22-September 23

The Fall Reading Inventory testing window is August 22 – September 23

  • The Reading Inventory is not a timed exam but does adapt to student responses.  This may mean that some students finish in 20 minutes, while other students take much longer.  Students who are in Literacy (Reading) or ELD should take the RI in those classes, rather than ELA.
  • Attached are the Reading Inventory Student Directions to read for students before testing
  • Reading Inventory Accommodations are also attached.  Please make sure that student’s IEP, 504, and EL accommodations are being used in class and on these tests.  Some of the accommodations that are allowed for these tests include an alternate location, frequent breaks, extended time (these are not timed tests), and minimized distractions.

Relevance of the Reading Inventory PPT to show students

  • In order to help students understand the relevance of the Reading Inventory and the Lexile score beyond the classroom, I have created this PPT that you can choose to show your students before testing.  It goes through what Lexile would be needed for entry-level careers.
    Click here to make a copy of the slides


August 10, 2023 Email

District Day Information

Secondary ELA District Day will be Wednesday, August 16th – 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. We will be meeting in the Brighton High School Auditorium. Jeff Wilhelm will be our guest speaker. Jeff is the author of Engaging Readers and Writers with Inquiry (as well as many other books). He will be presenting on how teachers can use inquiry in the classroom to build engagement and relevance. Then we will focus on Writing Framework and dive deeper into the new standards. Can’t wait to see you again!

New ELA Standards document and feedback

USBE has published the final version of the new ELA Standards and the Core Guides. If you would like to give feedback on the Core Guides, please click on the following links. In the directions to the surveys, they have the new standards and the Core Guides. Feedback is due August 30th.

New Resources: Instructional Guide, Website, Canvas Sandbox

Over the summer I created several new resources for you:

  1. Instructional Guide – Here are the links to the new Instructional Guides. High School ELA or Brighton High School ELA We have asked that they be printed, but I haven’t gotten them back from the printer as of today. So, let’s hope they are done by district day.
  2. I have created a High School ELA Website for you. Please let me know what else you would like on the page.
  3. High School ELA Sandbox – Our sandbox has resources, unit and text suggestions, is a place you can add modules or lessons for other teachers. Enroll Here and I will make you a designer in the course, so you can add materials. I will be continuing to add to it, so please feel free to do so as well.

September Midnight

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.

The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.

By Sara Teasdale
Originally published in Poetry, March 1914.


Autumn Fires

In the other gardens

And all up in the vale,

From the autumn bonfires

See the smoke trail!


Pleasant summer over,

And all the summer flowers,

The red fire blazes,

The grey smoke towers.


Sing a song of seasons!

Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

Fires in the fall!

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Midsummer, Tobago

Broad sun-stoned beaches.


White heat.

A green river.


A bridge,

scorched yellow palms


from the summer-sleeping house

drowsing through August.


Days I have held,

days I have lost,


days that outgrow, like daughters,

my harbouring arms.


By Derek Walcott

Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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