The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg (RCGW) has been dedicated to promoting literacy and developing lifelong readers since 1956. We have a proud history of being a literacy leader in Winnipeg and its surrounding area. We are a Special Area Group of Educators (SAGE) of the Manitoba Teachers' Society and a local council of the International Literacy Association.
RCGW provides professional development for educators, shares resources and ideas on our website, celebrates I Love to Read month, promotes literacy in the community, honours literacy leaders and up-and-coming teacher candidates, and supports literacy projects. Join RCGW today!
With the blink of an eye, we find ourselves nearing the end of October. In addition to the many challenges we continue to face every day, we as teachers may still find ourselves searching for effective ways to help our students unleash the power of literacy.
As volunteers and practicing teachers, Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg board members are often asked, “How do I use the new English Language Arts curriculum? What are the new outcomes? Where do I find information?” We also hear calls for resource and professional-learning recommendations. Here are some of our recent favourites.
Penny Kittle at MTS PD Day
We are incredibly excited to welcome Penny Kittle to our virtual, full-day MTS PD Day conference on Friday, October 23, 2020. Registration closes on Thursday. Register now!
Among Penny’s most widely recognized books are Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers and 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents, which she wrote with Kelly Gallagher. Penny will spend the morning showing teachers how to ignite a love of reading in students. She will explore how to use mentor texts to help students build their writing identities in the afternoon.
We encourage everyone to register, even if your school isn’t recognizing MTS PD Day this year – all registrants will receive a link to the recording after the conference! Add an RCGW membership to your registration to access our member benefits, such as our $500 literacy grants.
New from Manitoba Education & Training
The latest iteration of the English Language Arts Curriculum Framework: A Living Document was published by Manitoba Education & Training in September 2020. The revision includes a “tracking changes” document, especially helpful given the new curriculum’s ever-evolving status. Especially noteworthy are the new questions added to the grade bands that will help teachers plan rich learning experiences with the four ELA practices in mind.
The Maple group The ELA Place has also been updated with more information. The Educator, School, and Divisional Growth & Progress page is especially helpful for teachers just beginning to implement the new curriculum. If you haven’t recently visited The ELA Place, we recommend you take a look. There are nuggets of inspiration and practical ideas from a variety of Manitoba teachers.
Finally, Manitoba Education & Training Language and Literacy Consultants, Angie Burdett and Lisa Goolcharan have started hosting a new web series called EduTalk, available on Maple and on YouTube. The inaugural October 2, 2020 episode shares many concrete ideas for in-class, blended, and remote learning. They suggest how to involve parents in a COVID world (e.g. virtual tours of the school or classroom or inviting them as virtual guest speakers) and the importance of networking with fellow teachers to share good news and powerful ideas. They also walk teachers through how to use The ELA Place.
Professional Learning from ILA
The International Literacy Association has responded to teachers’ requests for accessible, on-demand professional learning by hosting many thought-provoking and informative webinars, many of them free.
Two sessions from this summer are available for free on YouTube. Bookmark these links for when you need a dose of inspiration. In Book Access in the Post-COVID Era, Molly Ness, Susan B. Neuman, Allister Chang, and Karlos Marshall explore how students are affected by book deserts, areas with inadequate access to written works. In another session, Jonah Edleman joined Ernest Morrell and Nell K. Duke to discuss Literacy Teaching in Turbulent Times. Ernest and Nell are always so inspiring.
Currently underway is ILA Next, a virtual, month-long conference that replaces their usual in-person annual convention. You can register at any time for $99 USD if you are an ILA member – a great deal for a month of PD sessions. Teachers who are currently teaching in a hybrid or distance model will find Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey's distance learning session to be especially helpful. We have found these new new ILA resources and interactive professional learning sessions to be especially comforting and invigorating, as we adjust to the impacts of COVID-19. We will feature highlights from these sessions in future columns.
We'd Love to Hear From You
There are so many new podcasts, videos, articles, books, and webinars to help teachers teach through the pandemic. If you have found a resource that has been particularly helpful, please let us know. We'd love to feature it on our blog!
Meetings are open to all members. Please consider attending!
We welcome short book reviews, articles about teaching strategies, and other submissions. Please contact the Editor.