Rochester Community Schools Middle School Language Arts Curriculum Consultant Shavonne (Shevy) Jacobson shares the collective experience of literacy leaders and student researchers as they piloted the new Michigan Middle School Reading and Writing Information unit. In this unit, learners address the essential question: “How can we contribute to the sustainability of our planet?” While centering on student learning and intentionally focusing on the teaching of deep learning, these 8th-grade literacy communities engaged in a comprehensive reading and writing workshop experience to create a podcast to share with their peers and beyond. Jacobson delineates the foundational research-based practices and frameworks that underlie the unit and the resulting merging of pedagogy and theory. A focus on the impact of collaboration throughout the unit and insights into the implementation provides other literacy communities with a glimpse of the possibilities for their learners. Through stakeholder interviews and surveys, practitioner-to-practitioner tips offer recommendations and suggestions for future collaboration. Student and staff reflections suggest opportunities for centering deep learning on student voice, choice, and inquiry to create a robust community of practice.

Author Bio

Mrs. Shavonne Jacobson is a middle school language arts teacher supporting diverse learners; she is also a Middle School Language Arts Curriculum Consultant in the Rochester Community Schools district. She holds an Education Specialist in Reading and certification as a special education teacher. Her passions are inspiring her students’ reading joy and collaborating with her colleagues to create a thriving community of practice. She can be reached at sjacobson@rochester. k12.mi.us.



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