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Implementing the 3-5 Additional Language and Literacy (ALL) Block

At Hollis Innovation Academy, a public district school in Atlanta, GA, the Additional Language and Literacy (ALL) Block, provides a structure for student agency and mastery. Working hand-in-glove with the module lessons, the additional practice in ALL Block ensures equity for all students.

For more teacher and coach thinking, watch the companion video, Behind the Practice: Approaching the 3-5 ALL Block with Tara Pitts, Jhanai Clark, and Sheryl Spikes.


- [Narrator] At Hollis Innovation Academy, a public district school in Atlanta, Georgia, the Additional Language and Literacy Block, ALL Block, provides a structure for student agency and mastery. Working hand-in-glove with the module lessons, the additional practice in ALL Block ensures equity for all students. The five components of the ALL Block are Accountable independent reading, additional work with complex text, reading and speaking fluency, and/or grammar, usage, and mechanics, G.U.M., writing practice, and word study and vocabulary. Each day in the ALL Block, students rotate through three of the five components in 20-minute rotations. One of the rotations is a differentiated teacher-guided activity in homogeneous groups. English language learners may be grouped together or with other groups, depending on the learning needs and skills of each student. Every two weeks, students are regrouped based on formative teacher, peer, and self-assessment. When not working with the teacher, students decide in which order to complete the remaining two components, accountable independent reading and another independent activity. In this video, the students will work with the teacher on additional work with complex text, while the remaining students work in heterogeneous groups on reading and speaking fluency and accountable independent reading. Within these scenes, you’ll see in action peer feedback and self assessment, the power of content based literacy, and student roles in the self managed classroom.

- You’re in charge, I’m just watching.

- On the other side of the river, she has--

- [Narrator] During reading and speaking fluency, students practice reading aloud texts from the module lessons, set goals, and monitor progress.

- To get the children to be able to be trusting of each other and self managing, it took a lot practice, took a lot of modeling.

- Who wants to volunteer and read the instruction?

- I like ALL Block because I get to work with other students and that makes me feel happy because I get to know about my peers.

- Students in this class go from not knowing to understanding first through their peers.

- No.

- Okay so...

- [Jhani] They know before I need to ask my teacher, I need to ask my peers.

- Oh no,

- Okay. So I love seeing them take accountability for their assistance, showing us how comfortable they feel with the topic.

- [Narrator] After fluency practice, students use protocols to give partner feedback.

- [Narrator] They close by discussing progress on group goals.

- So even if you haven’t made it to mastery, if you come from emerging to developing that’s growth and we shout out all of it.

- [Narrator] Meanwhile, students grouped by level work with the teacher at a different station. During teacher guided rotations, teachers facilitate while students use protocols to collaborate.

- You come to a consensus on what the idiom is in that passage. I guess this is not a piece of cake huh?

- Nope.

- No.

- [Narrator] After 20 minutes students that were working with the teacher, choose which of the two independent to move to first. The teacher calls over the next leveled small group of students. In additional work with complex text, students revisit central texts from the module to deepen comprehension of text and content.

- [Students] If you destroy the beauty of the rainforest on what would you feast your eyes?

- And that source says that is from Lynne Cherry from The Great Kapok Tree.

- The integration of the skills within the context of what we’re reading in the module lessons is much better than teaching it isolation. We are reading about the rainforest and different animals in the rainforest, different plants in the rainforest, and teaching them about idioms that are in the text helps them to use this complex text that they’re reading.

- It helps them understand okay, this is how it is used. It makes it more personal, more real.

- [Students] Please look upon us all with new eyes.

- Let’s have a brief discussion, I’m not gonna spearhead it.

- It’s more complex than a text and it is just giving them a list of idioms.

- You can look at the rainforest in a different way.

- Look at the rainforest in a different way. And it helps them understand this is real life stuff. Now we’re going to do your own e-book. And I think that’s something that you guys should focus on, rainforest deforestation. This is something that you’ll actually use in the real world. All of you are going to go to whatever station you didn’t go to the first time.

- Four minutes have started.

- [Narrator] Accountable independent reading is a component of every ALL Block session. Students increase reading volume at a range of levels building more content and domain specific knowledge.

- I keep the time. We have 10 minutes to read the book and then we write down the plot. And now we have five minutes to write a response. We switch everyday, we gotta pick a facilitator and a time keeper before we do ALL Block.

- So everybody grab their independent reading.

- When I saw the children take on the roles, the leadership roles, the facilitator, the time keeper, and they could do it without me and I didn’t have to get up so much from my small group to see what they were doing or to remind them of things and I saw that, oh this can work.

- Everybody open they books and read. She should expect us to do the right thing and I think that’s great because she believe in her students.

- So the kids can learn to do stuff by themselves so the teacher won’t have to do a lot of things.

- And they can tell me at the end something that they learned from it.

- They can kill two birds with one stone. But you don’t literally do that, you actually just do two things at once.

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