Monday, August 18, 2014

CCS Countywide ELA PD on Webb's Depth of Knowledge (August 19, 2014)

CCS teachers and administrators discuss Webb's Depth of Knowledge while completing a Gallery Walk
(see more photos and video below).

Depth of Knowledge, or DOK, is a way to think about content complexity, not content difficulty. Complexity is different from difficulty. For example, if students have not seen the word or content before, it might be difficult for them, but it is not complex.

There are 4 Levels:
  • Level 1 -  Recall and Reproduction
  • Level 2 - Skills and Concepts 
    • Using a skill or a concept, i.e. Paraphrasing. 
  • Level 3 - Strategic Thinking and Reasoning
  • Level 4 - Extending Thinking
    • Usually requires work over a period of time, including gathering information, analyzing findings, preparing reports, and presenting findings.  

Operation Inquiry (My project for the Governor's Teacher Network) is a great example of Level 4.  Click on the link below to read more about Operation Inquiry.

The College Planning Sheet that I created for my students is an example of Level 3.  Click on the link below to read about the College Ready Stations that I implemented.

Cumberland County Schools provided aligned Professional Development to all secondary teachers on Depth of Knowledge. For the 6th Grade English/Language Arts Session that I facilitated, teachers shared possible activities, products, and questions as part of our Gallery Walk.  All materials correlated to our Order of Instruction (the Common Core State Standards that we will all teach for the first three weeks of school).  Check out the photos and videos below:

We had a superb session, our teachers are so upbeat and ready for students!

More Great Information about Depth of Knowledge!

Here is a wonderful video that features Dr. Karen Hess presenting about Depth of Knowledge.

Here is a fantastic video that shows the 4 Depth of Knowledge Levels in one setting, Rancho Minerva Middle School (Vista, CA).

Visit the following link to explore sample products, activities, and questions for the 4 Depth of Knowledge Levels.  The document also shows the correlation between Revised Bloom's Taxonomy and Depth of Knowledge for all of the core subject areas: English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  This will be a great tool for team meetings to ensure that all teachers are utilizing Depth of Knowledge.

Model Classroom Tour

Recently, I hosted a Model Classroom Presentation for Beginning Teachers within Cumberland County Schools.

One of my favorite jobs is serving as a Model Classroom Facilitator for Beginning Teachers within my district.  They are so energetic, and I am able to feed off of their energy.  

I wanted to share a peek inside my classroom for those of you who were not in the Model Classroom Presentation.

Visit this link to see what my room looked like last year:

Teaser for Operation Inquiry (My Governor's Teacher Network Project)

I will host PD Sessions for Middle School ELA teachers who would like to participate in Operation Inquiry.

Operation Inquiry is my project for the NC Governor's Teacher Network.  Take a look at the following video from NCDPI.  The video discusses the Governor's Teacher Network, and I am featured in the video discussing my project.

I aim to implement Operation Inquiry across Cumberland County Schools in our middle schools.  I will host Professional Development Sessions to help guide English/Language Arts teachers through the process.  In the following video, I provide a teaser for the Operation Inquiry PD Sessions.

Here is a complete breakdown of how the Professional Development Sessions will look for Operation Inquiry.

Operation Inquiry PD Course Overview

Course Delivery Type: Classroom

Course Name: Operation Inquiry - Information at Work!

Course Category: English/Language Arts

Target Audience: English/Language Arts Teachers (Grades 6-8)

Course Description: Operation Inquiry is a student-selected investigation of a topic culminating in a research paper, a product, and a presentationOperation Inquiry is particularly necessary because the project transitions middle school students away from regurgitation learning toward a more argumentative, project-based learning approach.  This project integrates research skills, content knowledge, critical thinking, writing, speaking, listening, and evaluation.  Participants will receive the essential skills to successfully prepare their students for Operation Inquiry.  Lastly, teachers will compile crucial data for NC’s Governor’s Teacher Network.

CEU Type: Reading

CEU: TBD; Submission of Qualitative Data is Required to Receive CEUs.

Instructor: Marlow M. Artis

Course Location(s): TBD

W 6.1, W 7.1, W 8.1
W 6.4, W 7.4, W 8.4
W 6.5, W 7.5, W 8.5
W 6.7, W 7.7, W 8.7
W 6.8, W 7.8, W 8.8
SL 6.4, SL 7.4, SL 8.4
SL 6.5, SL 7.5, SL 8.5

  Schedule of Events/Sessions:
  • September 2014: Overview of the Product Requirement
    • Classroom Session – “Promoting a Culture of Creativity as Students Develop Product Ideas for Operation Inquiry
    • 2 Hour Sessions

  • October 2014: Overview of the Paper Requirement
    • Classroom Session – “Persuading Students to Establish Adequate Arguments as They Craft Their Operation Inquiry Papers”
    • 2 Hour Sessions

  • November 2014:Overview of the Presentation Requirement
    • Classroom Session – “Increasing Student Use of 21st Century Technology Tools During Operation Inquiry Presentations”
    • 2 Hour Sessions

  • December 2014:Application/Observations
    • Participants will serve as judges for 6th Grade Operation Inquiry Presentations at South View Middle School.
    • 2 Hour Sessions

  • January 2015 - March 2015: Project Implementation
    • Participants will execute Operation Inquiry in their own classrooms with coaching available by Mr. Artis.
    • 12 Contact Hours

  • March 31, 2015: All participating schools will submit 6 Finalists.

  • April 2015:
    • Trunk Show (Displaying 100+ Student Products)
    • Indoor Picnic (Celebrating All Participants/Revealing the Student Winner)

Visit the following links to read more about Operation Inquiry:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sitcoms in an ELA Classroom/Utilizing the Sitcom Analysis Sheet

Sitcoms can be incorporated into classrooms to reinforce content.
One of the Brain-Based Instructional Strategies is humor.  One way that I like to ensure that humor is present in my classroom is by incorporating sitcoms.

I search for sitcoms that are wholesome as well as episodes that are related to the novel, short story, article, or other type of reading that I am exploring with my students.

Some of my favorite shows to watch with students are The Cosby Show, Boy Meets World, Full House, Family Matters, and Sister, Sister. Typically, these shows possess universal themes in which students can relate.

When I watch sitcoms, I always utilize the Sitcom Analysis Sheet (below).  This sheet allows students to review key literary terms.  In many ways, a sitcom is very similar to a short story.

Sitcom Analysis Sheet
Episode Title:


  1. Time

  1. Place

Point of View:

Description (Personality and Physical Characteristics)
Primary Characters

Secondary Characters

Conflict (Problem):



  1. Climax
(Most Exciting or Turning Point)

  1. Resolution

Theme (Message):

These shows help students to extend their learning and can be paired with numerous pieces of literature.