Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5
Engaging With Literature

About This Video Library

Lesson Builder

Hints for Site Leaders
Video Titles:

1. Signposts

2. Voices in the Conversation

3. Starting Out

4. Responding to

About This Video Clip »
Featured Texts »
Classroom Snapshot
Classroom Lesson Plan »
Professional Reflection »
Teacher Tools »
Additional Resources »

5. Sharing
the Text

6. Building Community

7. Book Buddies

8. Finding
Common Ground

9. Discussion
Site Map

4. Responding to Literature

Classroom Snapshot

School: Canyon Elementary School
Location: Hungry Horse, Montana
No. of Students in School: 250
Teacher: Rich Thompson
No. of Years Teaching: 27
Grade: 4th Grade
Subject: Language Arts
No. of Students in the Classroom: 17

Canyon Elementary is part of the Columbia Falls School District in northwestern Montana and serves the rural towns of Hungry Horse, Martin City, and Coram in grades K-5. Nestled in a wooded area on the perimeter of the town, the 14-year-old school complex is comprised of 12 classrooms wrapped around a central open library. The multipurpose gymnasium is attached to the east end, and serves as a center where community members join in school presentations and activities promoted and supported by a strong PTO. An up-to-date computer lab helps the students reach and research locations far from their rural community.

Because Canyon Elementary School is close to the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wilderness regions to the east and south, and only 10 miles from Glacier National Park, connections to the history, habitat, and natural resources of the area are central to the curriculum. Local community members as well as agency employees and researchers from the United States Forest Service, the National Park Service, and Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks offer their expertise and guidance in these areas. Studies in social and natural sciences, math, and language arts are woven into the lesson plans and units of study for each grade level. Students learn about careers in these areas, as well as how to become good stewards of the territory in which they live.

Students gain in many ways from Canyon Elementary's relatively small school community. Staff and students on all grade levels get to know each other through inter-grade level teaching and learning and extracurricular interactions. A hands-on supportive administration, teachers, counselors, and special service staff, as well as a PTO parent support group combine their efforts to serve the students' educational, emotional, social, and family needs.

Teachers are involved in in-service and staff development studies, gaining expertise from specialists, professional literature, professional organizations in their subject areas, and collegial sharing and inquiry. Rich Thompson works as part of the language arts committee and is a facilitator in the language arts staff development program. Curriculum studies are developed from state and local standards, the results of district standardized testing, and use an integrated, personalized portfolio system to track the growth and development of each student.


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