This year, we are excited to offer our LiteracyTA Members monthly skill lessons. We want to provide great lessons teachers can use to teach the new state standards. Although each lesson has an identified grade level, LiteracyTA Members can copy the lesson and change the grade level, subject area, and the state literacy standards and skills.

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Welcome back! I hope all of you had a restful summer full of fun and adventure. Many of us start back to school early August (sigh) and some have already started (we feel for you). Either way, we are all back to school soon, so I would like to share some things I have learned over the past 13 years about the first week of school.

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The cycle of independence is the framework whereby teachers help students become independent agents of their own learning and literacy practice. It’s not a new concept really--many (Duke and Pearson, 2002; Graves and Fitzgerald, 2003; Fisher and Frey, 2013) refer to it as a gradual release of responsibility, but it is key to the long-term success of our students.

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Beyond using technology to engage students and enhance our curriculum, students need to learn very specific skills that require the use of digital tools and presentation software. Specifically, the College and Career Readiness standards ask students to use modern presentation tools to enhance ideas (CCR SL.5) and to collaborate on projects and publish information online (CCR W.6).

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Classroom teachers, schools, and districts are always looking for effective resources that add real value to their newest tech initiatives. Machines (laptops and mobile devices) are more available than ever, but giving purpose to these tools is critical. This week, ISTE is hosting their summer conference in Philadelphia.

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