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.

Professional Development

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

woman and two men working

Our professional development courses 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.