Middle Level Educators Offered Innovative Online Learning Tool

November 21, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. – Middle school teachers are just a click away from Reading and English Language Arts lesson plans. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has gone “virtual” by placing a new in-depth learning tool online. Teachers can access the online standards-based unit plans by clicking the West Virginia Middle Level Education Standards-Based Units link is located at the bottom of this article. The user name and password is wvguest.  

“Designing quality units of instruction based on what we want our students to know, understand and be able to do is a time-consuming process,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “We want teachers to spend their time interacting with the students and hopefully this powerful tool will make that a reality.”  

The lessons within these units of study are designed to activate the students' prior knowledge, develop vocabulary, build basic skills, and engage students in research-based active and post literacy strategies.  

The units of study are also designed according to the research identifying the effective use of a 90-minute class period of instruction, as well as the high yield strategies of the 21st century middle school as identified in the Framework for High Performing Middle Schools.  

The development of standards-based units for 90 minutes of daily instruction in reading English language arts classes in grades 5-8 is a project originally designed to support the 15 middle level schools in the House Bill 4669 Professional Development Schools. During the summer of 2005 the WVDE expanded the project to include all middle level schools in the ten counties represented by HB 4669. The WVDE is now in the process of writing approximately 50 additional units; half of which will be posted by February 2006 with the remainder posted to the website by June 2006.  

The Department has recruited West Virginia teachers from approximately 15 counties who have received professional development in high yield literacy strategies, vocabulary development, and the integration of 21st century skills that promote the relevant application of knowledge and understanding in the classroom to write the units. If you have any questions, please contact Closing the Achievement Gap Liaison Carla Williamson in the WVDE Division of School Improvement Services at 304-558-8098 or email her at cljwilli@access.k12.wv.us.  

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