Better Integrating “Keys to Literacy” Scaffolds and Strategies Across the Science Curriculum


Over the past several years our Burlington elementary educators have been inundated with changes. Besides the upending of our K-5 science and engineering curriculum classroom educators were introduced to “Keys to Literacy” a K-12 ranging program designed to boost student literacy skills through scaffolds and instructional strategies that build over time and can cross all disciplines. While initially this work was being done seemingly in parallel to the science overhaul, enough institutional knowledge around the “KTL” practices were able to be integrated into the units developed toward the end of our staged curriculum turnover.

Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 2.17.39 PM

Google Slide “presentations” with links to copyable KTL scaffolds made by BPS teachers such as this one can be found in our grades 2, 3, and 5 curriculum resource pages.

Last week, we were graced with time and opportunity to face the reality of our disconnected work in the earlier units and allow teachers to adapt and revise some of our templates while developing exemplars of commonly used KTL scaffolds for their peers to lean on, saving them valuable prep time for scaffolds to use on their own so they might direct their attention instead to the host of other needs to meet.

Teachers spent their afternoon creating paper and digital versions of two-column notes, top-down webs, question/sorting activities, and more in an effort to lessen the collective burden of everyone and better reinforce the use of these strategies and (hopefully!) their students’ own synthesis and understanding of science’s “disciplinary core ideas.”

I’d like to take this time to thank the Grade 2, 3, and 5 teachers of Burlington for their dedication to this work and their craft. You’ll find links to all of their models shared publicly at the very top of our grade specific curriculum resource pages. While our Grade K, 1, and 4 teachers were tied up with other trainings, we hope to repeat this model and support their units in similar ways moving forward.

Direct links to the Grade 2, 3, and 5 KTL resource pages can be found below:

KTL Grade 2 Examples (Produced and shared by Burlington educators 11/2019)

KTL Grade 3 Examples (Produced and shared by Burlington educators 11/2019)

KTL Grade 5 Examples (Produced and shared by Burlington educators 11/2019)

About Sean Musselman

Teacher Dad and Burlington MA Schools K-5 Science and Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator. NSTA Professional Development facilitator and author of "Think Like a Scientist: Investigating Weather and Climate" NSTA Kids ebook.
This entry was posted in 3-5, Curriculum, K-2, Professional Development and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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