PLL offers a variety of literacy courses that address foundational literacy information, current topics in research and practice, and literacy coaching to name a few.  We also can tailor courses to meet the needs of districts or schools. Our courses rotate throughout the year.  To keep informed of what our offerings are, visit our website often or sign up for our email updates.

SUMMER 2021

Course Title: The Power of a Literate Life

Saint Michael’s College Credits: 3
Dates: August 4 – September 8, 2021
Contact Hours: 45+ online hours
Intended audience: Teachers of grades 2-10
Instructor:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D.
Course fee: $1,450 with 3 credits or $850 without credit

Register

This online course will allow participants to understand more completely the vital importance of a literate life for ourselves and especially for our students. Using the lessons learned from our educational past, we will work to better understand how literacy development impacts our lives.  It becomes the tool of change or it can be a tool for power – both good and evil.

Using the text, Forged by Reading: The Power of a Literate Life, written by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst, we will reconnect with what is most important to develop with our readers for living a most literate life. Reading and writing are tools of literacy, being literate is so much more.  We will explore the ideas of privilege and power for all of our students.  This course will consider how to make changes to increase power and ultimately hope for our country.  We will explore our personal biases, the language we use, and the types of texts and activities we offer our students.  This course strives to place the importance on the student as reader and writer to not only change themselves, but the world.

All participants will use a cloud-hosted Learning Management System to gain new content information, contribute to large group and strand discussions, hand in and share assignments, and discuss readings, etc.

Goals:

As a result of active participation in this course, students will:

  1. Consider and discuss the merits of creating more literate adults
  2. Explore and learn more about the power and privilege literacy provides us
  3. Reflect and discuss the role of what we read, what we say, and what we do has on our students
  4. Reexamine what is most important to create an independent reader
  5. Learn how to use difficult conversations, relevancy, deep learning and hope in your instructional stance
  6. Consider the implications this work has on classroom practice to map out a strategic plan for classroom-based or school applications
  7. Develop goals and plan for others that incorporate: Change, Power, and Hope.
  8. Develop an understanding of the use of the learning management platform  to support learning  and to support the learning of other class participants
  9. Collaborate and reflect  with colleagues to develop a community of learners to support  current reading/writing policies and practices
Register

Course Title: Reading Instruction: A Vital Balancing Act, K-8

Saint Michael’s College Credits: 3
Dates: July 12 – August 25, 2021
Contact Hours: 60+ online hours
Intended audience: teachers of grades K-8
Instructor:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D.

Register

This online course will allow participants to understand more completely the vital components of a comprehensive balanced literacy approach for the teaching of reading. The use of an intentional design, purposeful learning materials, evidenced based reading instruction, along with the strategic groupings of students based on data combine to create powerful learning for all students.  All participants will use a cloud-hosted Learning Management System to gain new content information, contribute to large group and strand discussions, hand in and share assignments, and discuss readings, etc.

This course will help bring sensibility to all that is needed in our literacy instruction to encourage and produce readers who really are engaged in their reading.  As teachers we balance what is needed to make each reader successful.  Using the text, This is Balanced Literacy, K-6, written by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Nancy Akhavian, we will begin to develop the high impact learning experiences needed to push our readers into that deep thinking mode.  The text will provide much knowledge on how to increase student understanding and use of voice without eliminating the joy that real reading can bring. 

Goals:

As a result of active participation in this course, students will:

  1. Consider and discuss the merits and facets of a comprehensive balanced literacy approach.
  2. Explore and learn more about evidenced-based reading instruction.
  3. Reflect and discuss the role of the literacy components within a balanced literacy approach.
  4. Consider the implications this work has on classroom practice to map out a strategic plan for classroom-based applications.
  5. Develop a deep understanding of how the literacy strands within the ELA CCSS interact and support this type of reading instruction.
  6. Collaborate and reflect with colleagues to develop a community of learners to support  current reading/writing policies and practices.
  7. Use the understanding of a balanced literacy approach to create a meaningful unit of study, investigation, and/or research best practice to promote deeper student understandings for reading instruction.
  • Required Readings:
    This is Balanced Literacy, K-6, written by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Nancy Akhavian
    ELA Common Core State Standards
    Articles/visual media: supplied by instructor

This is an online class.  It is important that all course participants make good use of the discussion forums.  Increased understanding will be generated through the connection between the assigned readings/tasks and your ability to tease out important information for each other and yourself.  The instructor will read and monitor the discussions to highlight important points and to turn conversations in new and deeper directions. 

Register

Rolling Enrollment Course:

Course Title: Explorations in Literacy Instruction
…what every teacher needs to know to help all learners be successful.

3 graduate credits: Saint Michael’s College
Rolling Open Enrollment
Contact Hours: 7 modules,  50+ online hours
Intended audience: teachers of grades K-8
Instructor of Record:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D.

Contact PLL at info@pllvt.org for information on how to register for this rolling enrollment course.

Course Description:  This learning exploration is designed to reawaken what we know to be best practices for the teaching of literacy.  It will uncover the critical components needed for a comprehensive and balanced literacy approach. Of great importance will be the discussion of the multiple types of small group instruction, their various purposes and uses within the classroom instructional plan. Participants will also look at how these components are organized in a real classroom with real learners on a daily basis. It is critical that these best practices are connected within a relevant and purposeful instructional stance.  What our students read and write matters.  How much they read and write matters.  What they do with what they read and write matters!

As teachers are experiencing literacy instruction in new and differing ways this year, much discussion will be on creating both face-to-face as well as hybrid teaching experiences for our learners.

This fully online course will allow participants to understand more completely what the expectations are for their teaching of literacy within the context English-Language Arts Common Core State Standards (ELA CCSS).  All participants will use a cloud-hosted Learning Management System to gain new content information, contribute to large group and strand discussions, hand in and share assignments, and discuss readings, slide shows, & videos.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of active participation in this course, students will:

  1. Explore deeply reading instruction for elementary/middle level students.
  2. Understand the importance the literacy components have on assuring our students read well.
  3. Explore the organization of the literacy block, in ways that better support all learners.
  4. Reflect and discuss in ways that disrupt our own thinking, challenging us to grow as teachers.
  5. Consider the implications this work has on classroom practice to map out a strategic plan for classroom-based applications.
  6. Research the multiple grouping strategies that allow teachers to provide the most responsive instruction for all students.
  7. Collaborate with colleagues to develop a community of learners to support this new learning
  8. Reflect and discuss the many issues related to the teaching of reading/writing/assessment/CCSS shifts.
  9. Engage in dialogue concerning current reading/writing policies and practices

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Participants will understand the components of comprehensive literacy instruction, beginning with the content and moving into instructional practices
  2. Participants will explore the big ideas of literacy instruction with other colleagues adding to their deeper understandings
  3. Participants will understand the differences within small group instruction to maximize both student learning and engagement.
  4. Participants will explore digital technologies to incorporate into their teaching that support reading that matters instruction

Rolling Enrollment Course:

Course Title: Leadership in Literacywhat every administrator needs to know to help all learners and teachers be successful in literacy.

Two graduate credits: Saint Michael’s College
Rolling  Open Enrollment
Contact Hours: 6 modules,  40+ online hours
Intended audience:  School Leaders grades k-6
Instructor of Record:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D.

Contact PLL at info@pllvt.org for information in this rolling enrollment course.

Course Description:  This learning exploration is designed to take a broad look at literacy instruction across a school or set grade levels.  We will explore the types of experiences all children need if they are to be successful in their literacy achievement.  Time will be spent visiting quality classrooms through videos and reading.  We will take note of what the learning environment looks like and sounds like. We will dig into the evidence of learning through the lenses of both joy and rigor.

Building leaders will come away from this MOOC with a better understanding of what to look for within literacy instruction within a single classroom and across multiple grade levels.  Assessment practices will be important to understand as a means to show student growth.  The use of collaborative structures with a focus on the use of current assessment data will be an important asset to unpack.

All participants will use a cloud-hosted Learning Management System to gain new content information, contribute to large group and strand discussions, hand in and share assignments, and discuss readings, slide shows, & videos.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of active participation in this course, students will:

  1. Understand the basics of quality literacy instruction using a best practices approach
  2. Explore the organization of the literacy block, in ways that better support all learners.
  3. Understand the varying types of literacy assessments and their uses in a literacy classroom.
  4. Explore the use of assessment data within collaborative structures in the school.
  5. Engage in dialogue concerning current reading/writing policies and practices using the CCSS, ELA
  6. Research the multiple grouping strategies that allow teachers to provide the most responsive instruction for all students.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Participants will understand the components of comprehensive literacy instruction, beginning with the content and moving into instructional practices
  2. Participants will explore the big ideas of literacy instruction with other colleagues adding to their deeper understandings
  3. Participants will understand the differences within small group instruction to maximize both student learning and engagement.
  4. Participants will explore the use of assessment as a tool to deepen instruction and to highlight patterns and trends in literacy achievement across grades.

Rolling Enrollment Course:

Course title: Explorations: High Leverage Practices to Build Understanding …what every teacher needs to know to help all learners be successful.

Three graduate credits: Saint Michael’s College
Rolling Open Enrollment
Contact Hours: 7 modules,  50+ online hours
Intended audience: teachers of grades 6-12
Instructor of Record:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D.

Contact PLL at info@pllvt.org for information in this rolling enrollment course.

Course Description:  This learning exploration is designed to reawaken what we know to be best practices for the teaching of understanding of what we read and write.  It will uncover the critical components needed for learners to deeply understand content. Of great importance will be the discussion of the high level practices, their various purposes and uses within the classroom instructional plan. Participants will also look at how these practices are organized in a real classroom with real learners on a daily basis. It is critical that these high level practices are connected within a relevant and purposeful instructional stance.  A large part of the discussion will wrap around the importance of equity of access to content learning for all students. What our students read and write matters.  How much they read and write matters.  What they do with what they read and write matters!

This fully online course will allow participants to understand more completely what the expectations are for their teaching of literacy within the context English-Language Arts Common Core State Standards (ELA CCSS).  All participants will use a cloud-hosted Learning Management System to gain new content information, contribute to large group and strand discussions, hand in and share assignments, and discuss readings, slide shows, & videos.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of active participation in this course, students will:

  1. Explore deeply literacy high leverage instructional practices for middle/high school level students in all content areas.
  2. Understand the importance that literacy practices have on assuring our students read and write well.
  3. Explore the concept of equity as it pertains to the ability for all students to access new content learning independently. 
  4. Explore the organization of the instructional block, in ways that better support all learners to develop as inquisitive, curious learners with agency.
  5. Participants will consider the tenets of Universal Design for Learning: Engagement, Representation and Action and Expression in our discussions of high leverage practices
  6. Research the multiple grouping strategies that allow teachers to provide the most responsive instruction for all students.
  7. Reflect and discuss in ways that disrupt our own thinking, challenging us to grow as teachers.
  8. Consider the implications this work has on classroom practice to map out a strategic plan for your classroom-based applications.
  9. Collaborate with colleagues to develop a community of learners to support this new learning.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Participants will understand the high leverage practices for developing understanding and how this impacts instructional practices.
  2. Participants will explore the big ideas of literacy instructional practices with other colleagues adding to their deeper understandings of how to support all students.
  3. Participants will examine their instructional block design to incorporate opportunities for students’ voice and choice.
  4. Participants will understand the differences within small group instruction to maximize both student learning and engagement.
  5. Participants will explore digital technologies to incorporate into their teaching that support reading and writing that matters.

Ellen A. Thompson has been an educator for over 43 years.  She taught as a classroom teacher in Vermont for over twenty years with many of those years in a multiage setting teaching children aged 6-9 years of age. Ellen was named the Vermont State Teacher of the Year in 1993 and she achieved her National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist in 1999. Ellen began consulting nationally in 1993 and has continued this work throughout her years as an educator.  Upon leaving the classroom, Ellen joined the Elementary Education literacy faculty at the University of Vermont in 2000.  At the University, she taught undergraduate literacy courses, supervised student teachers and also worked as a literacy consultant in two large scale literacy research projects which spanned the grades K-6. For twelve years Ellen worked with the Essex Town School District as the Director of Instruction and Information Services.  During this time, Ellen completed her doctoral studies in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont in the fall of 2007.  After the merging of the Essex Town School District and the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union, Ellen continued working with educators in the newly created Essex Westford School District as the Director of Learning Design.  Ellen is currently a literacy consultant for Partnerships in Literacy and Learning.