English Language Arts

The IFL uses research-based practices to help educators reflect on their work and develop approaches to deliver high-quality instruction in ELA classrooms.

The IFL embraces the power of collaboration. We help teachers, coaches, and administrators work towards a common vision of what it means to know, learn, and teach English language arts (ELA).

We know the power of engaging as learners. We engage educators in the kinds of text-based tasks that improve students’ reading, writing, and reasoning in ELA.

We understand the power of shared experiences. We ask participants to implement common tasks, lessons, or units with their students and bring back artifacts of practice for discussion, reflection, and further planning.

We value student agency. Through improvement science methods, we work with teachers and district leaders to conduct empathy interviews and co-plan instruction with students that honors students’ identities and interests.

Professional Development

Our professional development (PD) sessions range from short, targeted workshops to courses that are embedded in multi-year and multi-discipline school, district, or state partnerships. Our professional development is effective because our strategies engage teachers, coaches, administrators, and in coordinated support of classroom instruction.

Our professional development workshops help ELA educators

      • Design and enact instruction that invites effort and helps students meet high standards.
      • Develop coherent curriculum that is organized to grow and connect ideas, and incorporates best practices in writing instruction into daily practice.
      • Select complex texts and develop text-based reading, writing, and speaking tasks that build students’ content knowledge and align with standards.
      • Develop routines that enable students to engage with challenging texts, tasks, and writing assignments.
      • Facilitate Accountable Talk discussions to support students’ comprehension of texts and development of a rich vocabulary.
      • Use formative assessment and real-time feedback to advance student learning, and study student work to identify what students know.
      • Implement improvement science practices that honor student voice and collaboration in designing and enacting equitable instruction.

Online Professional Development

In our online workshops, teachers collaborate with their peers to employ the evidence-based practices of Accountable Talk, Questioning the Author, and Content-Focused Coaching.

The Accountable Talk Teacher’s Toolkit

Today’s dynamic classroom needs can be addressed through productive talk moves that invite students to share their experiences, their knowledge, and to support their thinking with evidence. In both face-to-face classroom settings and online learning, Accountable Talk practices allow students to express their ideas, build on ideas of their classmates, and make critical personal and cultural connections to content.

The English Language Arts Accountable Talk Teacher’s Toolkit provides teachers and school leaders practical and actionable guidance for creating opportunities for robust student talk. The guide serves as a primer for teachers who want to begin to structure their classrooms for Accountable Talk. It also serves as a valuable resource for teachers versed in Accountable Talk practices by enhancing teacher instruction through building knowledge around text and task considerations that lead to robust opportunities for students to discuss complex, engaging, and relevant texts and content.

Included with the guide is access to video and transcripts that can be studied and discussed by professional learning communities and serve as models for the study and discussion of the talk happening in the classrooms at your school. Additionally, you’ll receive a “Student Talk Moves” poster that provides students guidance on how they might respond to their peers and ask questions when they are engaged in partner, small group, and whole group discussions.


Instructional Materials

The IFL’s ELA units engage students as sense-makers and problem-solvers as they read, think, write, and talk about complex texts. Students dig deeply into individual texts and connect learning across two or more texts.

Designed to be educative for teachers, our ELA units include

    • rationales for tasks;
    • guidance on how to differentiate tasks for the variety of learners in today’s classrooms;
    • assistance on how to help students engage in the intellectual struggle of learning;
    • questions and tasks that help teachers assess and advance student’s learning; and routines for generating and sustaining academically productive talk and collaboration.

The IFL’s ELA high quality, cognitively demanding units can be flexibly integrated into existing curricula and can

    • advance student learning and fill in gaps in existing curricula;
    • provide a model for coherent and challenging instruction for educators;
    • guide the development and revision of curriculum at the school, district, or state level.

Unit Placements

We know that there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to education; therefore, we’ve aligned our units in two ways. First, we provide a suggested grade band as an indicator of where we’ve seen students succeed in comprehension and task completion. Second, we provide a focus grade that aligns with national standards.

Please consider your professional judgment, experience, and knowledge of your students when deciding which unit is best suited for use in your classroom.