The Science of Reading and Wit & Wisdom®

This Month’s Focus

At Great Minds®, the Humanities team stays updated with the current scientific research on literacy....

Challenging, High-Quality Instructional Materials Support Impressive Gains in English Language Arts

Before becoming the director of curriculum and instruction at Friendship Aspire Academy–Pine Bluff, Angela Dixon was a...

Why a Bronx School Switched Its English Language Arts Curriculum Mid-Pandemic

When school leaders at P.S. 236 in the Bronx, NY, found that Units of Study, a reading curriculum produced by Columbia...

A Guide on the Side: How a Coach Supports Strong Instruction

Teaching Wit & Wisdom lessons demands intellectual energy to engage students in deep thinking. For teachers, working...

Coaching Wit & Wisdom Educators: Building a Relationship for Effective Curriculum-Based Coaching

This month, Amina Naseer shares her reflections on some of the principles that ground Wit & Wisdom®’s approach to...

Two Teachers Share How Adopting Wit & Wisdom® Shifted Test Preparation

Over a decade ago, E.D. Hirsch and Robert Pondiscio argued that reading tests are actually tests of knowledge. In other...

Keep, Stop, Start: Preparing for a State Assessment

This Month’s Focus

Our focus this month turns to state testing. Testing occurs each spring, but for many educators...

North Carolina District Gets Spotlight for Literacy Efforts

It’s great to see Jackson County Public Schools get the attention it deserves for taking important steps to improve...

Maximizing Middle School Instructional Time with Reading Homework

I remember flipping through the Wit & Wisdom® Teacher Edition for the first time six years ago. I relished the...

Tools for Mastering Pacing

“Trust in the process” was a common phrase I heard as I began implementing Wit & Wisdom® in my classroom. So I did just...

Coaching Classroom Educators: Maximizing Instructional Time with Wit & Wisdom®

Our focus this month is on maximizing instructional time. In this leadership blog post, Andrea Baldwin shares a process...

Bringing Equitable and Engaging Writing Practices to the Elementary Classroom

Tanisha Washington, a regional director of implementation services for Wit & Wisdom®, shares her story of getting...

Grassroots Enthusiasm Powers Adoption of Evidence-Based ELA and Math Curricula

The Pentucket (Massachusetts) Regional School District’s journey to using high-quality mathematics and English language...

The Power of Integrating Reading and Writing in the ELA Classroom

There is a lot of talk about how today’s math instruction looks pretty different from how most adults learned math as...

Educators Embrace Knowledge-Building Curricula, from Playground Conversations to Math Sprints

Improved achievement on state tests tell part of the success story at Capitol Collegiate Academy, a K–8 public charter...

Believing in Our Students

This month, we encouraged educators across the country to reflect on access and equity, specifically for students with...

Engaging an Inclusive Community of Learners

This month, we encouraged educators across the country to reflect on access and equity, specifically for students with...

Addressing Students’ Needs: Access and Equity for Students with Learning Disabilities

Equitable instruction includes careful consideration of and planning for access by all students, including students...

Meet the Wit & Wisdom Fellows: Tabitha Garvin

When Tabitha Garvin, a grade 5 educator, first heard about Wit & Wisdom® as an instructional coach in her district, she...

Meet the Wit & Wisdom Fellows: Devin L. James

Grade 5 and 6 Humanities Educator Devin L. James shares an experience teaching with Wit & Wisdom® that many can...

Knowledge Building Can Be Fun

This month, we encouraged educators across the country to reflect on their transition to using the Wit & Wisdom®...

My Transition from Skills-Based Instruction

This month, we encouraged educators across the country to reflect on their transition to using the Wit & Wisdom®...

Let’s Talk About Books and Best Practices in Literacy Instruction

Conversations are happening in school districts around the country about what children are learning and, notably, what...

Trusting in the Process: The Transition to High-Quality Curriculum

This Month’s Focus

The importance of high-quality curriculum is no secret. A 2015 study conducted by the Center for...

Educators Wept with Joy at English Language Arts Achievement Gains

When the principal of Clayton Elementary School in this Denver suburb announced English language arts state test scores...

Dual Sides of Family Engagement

This month, we asked educators across the country to reflect on how they engage families and caregivers in Wit & Wisdom...

Pathways to Family Engagement

This month, we asked educators across the country to reflect on how they engage families and caregivers in the Wit &...

Engaging Families in Wit & Wisdom®

As educators, we are experts in curriculum and instruction. We understand, broadly, students’ needs and how to help...

Want to Know How School is Going for Your Children? Ask the Right Questions

Terri Downing offers great advice to parents in an op-ed in the Asheville Citizen-Times.

The Coach We All Need: How Great Coaches Support Teacher Preparation

This month, we asked educators across the country to reflect on their preparation for Wit & Wisdom® instruction....

How I Prepare to Teach Wit & Wisdom®

This month, we asked educators across the country to reflect on their preparation for Wit & Wisdom®...

Structural Design Features for Effective Wit & Wisdom® Preparation

Most educators graduate from teacher preparation programs ready to plan their lessons but not to internalize...

Prioritized Instruction for the 2021–2022 Academic Year

Prioritized Instruction for the 2021–2022 Academic Year:A Position Paper from the Great Minds® Humanities Team

At Great...

Complex Texts for Academic and Social-Emotional Learning

This month, we asked teachers across the country to reflect on how they engage their students in Wit &Wisdom’s® complex...

Solidifying Academic Vocabulary Through Complex Texts and Hands-On Experiences

This month, we asked teachers across the country to reflect on how they engage their students in Wit &...

Using Complex Texts to Address Unfinished Instruction

At Great Minds®, we believe all students deserve opportunities to read complex texts, complete grade-level tasks, and...

Understanding Wit & Wisdom

Guidance

Deep understanding of each module and the Wit & Wisdom approach will empower you to fully leverage the...

Wit & Wisdom® Opening Minds through Hands-On Learning Opportunities

For the K–6 students in Springfield, Ohio, the Wit & Wisdom® curriculum is not only opening doors and windows to...

Building A Reader's Oasis In A Book Desert

I've always been a bookworm. It's one reason I became an English teacher. Each year, one of my top goals is to share my...

Reading Instruction: What's Missing, How to Fill in the Gaps

Educators have cause for concern. Only about a third of Grade 4 students are proficient readers. A disproportionate...

Reading Instruction Today

Despite a lot of other national news dominating headlines, reading instruction in the early grades has been getting...

Setting Goals and Planning for Next Year’s Wit & Wisdom® Implementation

THIS MONTH’S FOCUS

In last month’s issue, we discussed the cycle Wit & Wisdom educators can follow to strengthen their ...

Adopting a Knowledge-Building Curriculum During the Pandemic

Despite many obvious complications, starting to implement Wit & Wisdom® (the language arts curriculum from Great Minds®...

Principal Values Wit & Wisdom® as Part of Her School's Approach to Addressing Racism

Under the leadership of principal Julissa Lambert-Yank, Acorn Woodland Elementary School in Oakland, California is...

Reflecting on Wit & Wisdom® Implementation

THIS MONTH’S FOCUS

“Few people can learn in a vacuum—all but the most solitary creatures among us crave reflection and...

Navigating Year One of Wit & Wisdom® Implementation

Be patient and trust the process. Give yourself and your students some grace, especially during the pandemic. And know...

Academics and Social and Emotional Learning? Absolutely.

For many years, I coached teachers on the art of incorporating social-emotional skills into classroom instruction. Many...

Amid Many Changes, Quality Curriculum and Instruction Remain Central

Superintendent Shawn Kimble and his leadership team were clear. Despite the many challenges caused by the pandemic, the...

Quality Curriculum Anchors District’s Response to the Pandemic

For Sumner County Schools north of Nashville in Gallatin, Tennessee, quality curriculum has been a great equalizer,...

Helping English Learners Find Their Voice

I studied French for eight years in school before I moved to Paris and found out I was still pretty bad at speaking...

Speaking and Listening in Wit & Wisdom®

OVERVIEW

Speaking and listening are at the core of learning. As babies, we learn by listening. As we begin to speak, we...

Wit & Wisdom® is “Transformational;” PhD Science® Boosts Science Learning

“Wit & Wisdom has been transformational, a real game-changer for us,” says Becky Michael, language arts content area...

Writing to Learn and Learning to Write with Wit & Wisdom®

THIS MONTH’S FOCUS To be successful in school, at work, and as citizens, students must learn to write. Writing well is...

Making the Shift to a Content-Focused Curriculum

When it came time to select a new English language arts curriculum during the 2019–2020 school year, educators at...

Preparing for Statewide and Standardized Assessments with Wit & Wisdom®

THIS MONTH’S FOCUS 

Teachers of English language arts (ELA) know the complexity of their discipline. Reading...

Louisiana Leads with Content Leader Program

There’s no magic wand to conjure successful curriculum implementation. To be successful, teachers must intensely...

A Blueprint for Breaking Barriers

On October 26, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. posed a profound yet simple question to a group of junior high school...

Diversity in English Language Arts Curricula

Great Minds® asked Kyair Butts, the 2019 Teacher of the Year for Baltimore City Public Schools, why diversity in...

Mad River, Wit & Wisdom Featured in Young Children Journal

Students at Saville Elementary School in the Mad River Local School District near, Dayton, Ohio, jumped in their state...

Reflecting and Refreshing for Social Emotional Learning

THIS MONTH’S FOCUS 

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

The new year offers a...

“#WeLoveMsJan”: The Teacher With Her Own Hashtag

Jan Busey was nervous. After years in the classroom, the retired teacher was about to start recording literacy video...

Reading Complex Texts in Wit & Wisdom

THIS MONTH’S FOCUS 

All Wit & Wisdom students engage in a transferable process—the Content Stages—to read grade-level...

Building Knowledge with Wit & Wisdom

THIS MONTH’S FOCUS 

By systematically building students’ knowledge within and across Kindergarten through Grade 8, Wit...

Reading instruction today: What's missing, and how to fill in the gaps

Educators have cause for concern. Only about a third of Grade 4 students are proficient readers. A disproportionate...

Teaching Wit & Wisdom at a Distance

this month's focus

Many of the key elements of Wit & Wisdom® translate well to distance learning, and through strategic...

Art Analysis as a Literacy Tool

As an artist and educator, I was thrilled to see The New York Times spotlight and guide readers through a close...

"Productive Struggle" Helping Students—and Staff

Educators in Rogers Public Schools in northwest Arkansas have seen first-hand how students benefit from productive...

Leading Public Charter Network Embraces Rigorous ELA and Math Curricula

IDEA Public Schools is one of the largest and most successful public charter networks in the country. Started in 2000...

Kyair Butts on Making Distance Learning Work

Great Minds® checked in with Baltimore City Public Schools Grade 6 teacher and 2019 Baltimore Teacher of the Year Kyair...

Wit & Wisdom Grades K–2 from Great Minds Earn Top EdReports Rating

For Immediate Release

Contact: Chad Colby: Chad.Colby@greatminds.org (202) 297-9437

Monday, March 2, 2020—Grades K–2 of

Thoughtful Wit & Wisdom® Implementation Has Been Key to Buy-In and Success

Talk about commitment.  

The four Grade 3 teachers at Grass Valley Elementary School in Humboldt County, Nevada, meet...

After Early Success in Grade 3, Other Teachers Wanted Wit & Wisdom® for Their Students Too

Shawn Kimble, superintendent of rural Lauderdale County Schools northwest of Memphis, was planning to roll out Wit &...

My Students and I Are Just Blown Away

Jen Arellano was drawn to education after volunteering to teach reading in her son’s first grade classroom. She already...

Rural School Posts Major Gains in English Language Arts with Wit & Wisdom®

Angela Patzer remembers the day she realized that Linford Elementary School’s new English language arts curriculum, Wit...

Wit & Wisdom® and Eureka Math® Help California Charter School Network Continue Strong Gains in Math and ELA

The Scholarship Prep Public Schools network in southern California continues to make strong gains in student...

Early Adopter Continues to Make Progress with Wit & Wisdom®

Mad River Local Schools was one of the first districts to adopt Wit & Wisdom®, the English language arts curriculum...

Great Minds Seeks Wit & Wisdom® Professional Development Fellows

For Immediate Release

Contact: Chad Colby: chad.colby@greatminds.org (202) 297-9437

Tuesday, November 19, 2019—Great...

The Story of Geodes, Part 1

Note: Great Minds® featured Geodes®, a new library of books for emerging readers, at the ASCD Empower19 conference in...

Students Gain with Engaging Content

Center City Public Charter Schools (PCS) opened in 2008 as the first Catholic-to-charter school conversion in the...

Engaging, Relevant Lessons Lead to Achievement Gains

When did the leaders of Brooklyn Charter School know that Wit & Wisdom® was having an impact beyond the impressive...

In Baltimore, a School-Library Partnership is a Recipe for Success

What if a student could not only read Green Eggs and Ham but also explore cooking green eggs and ham?

ICYMI: NBC News Highlights Curricula as Pillar of Baltimore Blueprint for Success

For Immediate Release

Contact: Chad Colby: Chad.Colby@greatminds.org (202) 297-9437

Friday, Sept. 27, 2019—An NBC News

Supporting Equity Through a Knowledge-Building Approach to ELA

Great Minds® embraces the research that knowledge building should start at the outset of a student’s education. But...

Knowledge Building in Early Literacy to Develop Lifelong Readers

Great Minds® embraces the research that knowledge building should start at the outset of a student’s education. But...

Wit & Wisdom® Texts Now Available on DonorsChoose.org

For Immediate Release

Contact: Chad Colby: chad.colby@greatminds.org (202) 297-9437

Monday, Aug. 5, 2019—Teachers now...

What Inspires Students to Love Reading? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this blog series, we discussed the definition of volume of reading as well as why volume of reading is...

What Inspires Students to Love Reading? (Part 1)

What exactly is a volume of reading? If you put the day’s schedule on the board for students to read, is that a volume...

Old Painting, New Ideas

My daughter is bright, creative, and loves history.  She’s intellectually curious.  

She’s also dyslexic. That meant...

A SEASON OF GRATITUDE

Mindy Dorfman is in her 25th year of teaching at Richard Wright Elementary in North Philadelphia. She hastaught...

Your Guide to Surviving Your First Twitter Chat

Three Tips for Twitter Chat Success

Educational Twitter chats are a great opportunity to grow your professional network...

Building a Classroom Community of Readers

Do you remember that look of excitement and joy on your students’ faces when they discovered “that book” that was the...

How to Use Visual Art to Build Literacy

Before becoming an elementary school teacher, I was an art educator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. My goal...

North Carolina elementary school’s new ELA program makes local WLOS news

In the fall of 2016, Grade 3 classrooms in the North Carolina school were introduced to a new, standards-aligned...

How Can You Engage All Learners and Boost Literacy?

When it comes to teaching English Language Arts, so much has changed over the years—the Common Core State Standards,...

Beaufort County Schools Spotlight on Local TV Station

“Stop watering it down and build a ladder up. … Keep your bar high, but let’s provide scaffolding to get students to...

Keeping Your New (School) Year’s Resolutions

Most people begin new year’s resolutions in January. But teachers know: summer’s end is when the new year really...

Artists Make Art

For this second interview in our Author/Illustrator blog series, we enjoyed an enlightening conversation with...

The Knowledge Story

Over the past several weeks, Great Minds® teacher–writer Emily Gula examined the five Content Stages by connecting...

Distilling the Essence

Great Minds® teacher-writer Emily Gula continues her conversations with students and teachers around the country to...

Read, Repeat, Reveal

In this third installment of a five-part blog series, Great Minds® teacher-writer Emily Gula connects with students...

Get Organized

In this second installment of a five-part blog series, Great Minds® teacher-writer Emily Gula connects with students...

Joseph Bruchac on the Importance and Impact of Identity

In this first of a series of interviews with Wit & Wisdom® teacher-writers and the authors whose work is featured in...

What a Wonderful World

In this five-part blog series, teacher-writer Emily Gula connects with students and teachers around the country to...

Striving For Greatness

LaKendra Butler is the founder and school leader of STRIVE Collegiate Academy, a diverse charter middle school for...

Finding The Joy In Rigor

This holiday season, my thoughts are in Paris.

Not Paris, France. Paris, Kentucky, where teachers are now hard at work...

Inside The Classroom: Engaging Students Through Interdisciplinary Collaboration

It was the fourth quarter at Friendship Blow-Pierce Middle School, and my classroom was full of 32 excited and...

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