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Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to visit our blog. We would like to invite you to contribute your ideas related to professional development in this forum. We hope to offer all teachers at BHS the opportunity to have input in the PD you are experiencing this year, and to reflect on ideas and practices of our outstanding faculty.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

They Say I Say - Online Discussion

Summer PD - They Say, I Say Online Discussion

Hi everyone!  Hope you are enjoying your summer!

During the last week of school, I placed a copy of They Say, I Say in your mailbox, along with a heuristic / reading guide.  I hope you've had the chance to begin reading this amazing text that has the potential to significantly improve our students' learning, academic performance, and college readiness.

I have set up an online discussion board at   If you already have an edmodo account, all you have to do is join the group I have set up:   PD Literacy.  Obviously, this is optional, but since this book is deep background for the PD work we will be doing schoolwide beginning in the fall, it would be great preparation.  More importantly, reading this book actively will enhance your literacy instruction regardless of your subject area.  This is important because next year we will be expected to align our curriculum to Common Core State Standards.  Literacy skills embedded throughout the standards increase rigor for our students, so our preparation is critical.

There are four steps to participate:

1.  Go to
2.  Sign in, or sign up for an edmodo account.  (It's quick and easy, and you can use it with your classes!)
3.  If necessary, enter this code to join the group:  lmtoxr
4.  Respond to any of the posted questions.

Here are some of the questions you will see in the discussion:

In what way(s) do you see They Say I Say as a complement to our work with academic language / Constructing Meaning?

How do Graff and Birkenstein respond to the argument that writing templates stifle creativity?  For what reasons do you find their rationale compelling (or not)?

How does this book begin to address the gap between the skills required of high school writers and those required of college writers?

How can this book help us develop our students' skills in reading comprehension?

What do you think about Graff and Birkenstein's reasoning behind "it's okay to use I"?

According to the authors, why is it important to incorporate critical views / opposing opinions into our arguments?  What do you think?

How can we teach our students to use transitions effectively?  What other connecting elements must we teach explicitly?

How can this book help us facilitate more substantive class discussions or online commentaries?