English Language Arts

We embrace the power of collaboration. We help teachers, coaches, and administrators define and 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. This allows educators to reflect on current practices, learn new ways of working, and determine quality instruction 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.

Accountable Talk® Practices Teacher's Toolkit

Accountable Talk teacher's guide In today's flexible environments, it's more critical than ever to use productive talk moves to invite students to share their experiences, their knowledge, and to support their thinking with evidence. In both face-to-face classroom settings and asynchronous or synchronous online learning, Accountable Talk allows students to express their ideas, build on the ideas of their classmates, and make critical personal and cultural connections to content and ideas.

The 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 just beginning to think about structuring 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.


Professional Development

Our professional development workshops range from short, targeted workshops to workshops that are embedded in multi-year and multi-discipline school, district, or state partnerships. Our workshops are most effective when teachers work side-by-side with professionals who support classroom instruction, such as coaches, administrators, and central office educators. Additional workshops are available for leaders to support ELA teaching and learning.

woman and two men working

Our professional development workshops help ELA educators

  • Design and enact instruction that invites effort and supports students in reaching 21stcentury standards
  • Develop coherent curriculum to organize learning experiences so that important ideas and knowledge build on and connect to each other
  • Select complex texts and develop text-based reading, writing, and speaking tasks that build students' content knowledge and are consistent with 21st century standards
  • Facilitate Accountable Talk® discussions to support students' comprehension of texts
  • Use formative assessment and effective feedback to advance student learning
  • Develop routines that enable students to engage with challenging texts, tasks, and writing assignments
  • Support all students in developing a rich vocabulary
  • Incorporate best practices in writing instruction into daily practice
  • Study student work to identify what students know and determine instructional next steps
  • Implement improvement science practices, including Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles that result in measurable gains in student achievement
  • Work collaboratively to apply and reflect on IFL lessons and instructional practices by participating in job-embedded lesson labs

Instructional Materials

The IFL's English language arts (ELA) units engage students as sense-makers and problem-solvers as they read, think, write, and talk about complex texts. Tasks invite students to dig deeply into individual texts and work across two or more texts. Units can be flexibly integrated into existing curricula.

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 students' learning; and routines for generating and sustaining academically productive talk and collaboration.

The IFL's ELA units can be used as

  • high quality, cognitively demanding units to advance student learning and fill in gaps in existing curricula;
  • models of coherent and challenging units to advance educator learning; and
  • templates to 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. These grade bands are indicators of where we've seen students be successful in comprehending the unit texts and engaging in the tasks. Second, we provide a focus grade. This is the specific grade that the unit is aligned to using the CCSS. Please consider your professional judgment, experience, and knowledge of your students when deciding which unit is best suited for use in your classroom.