July 2014
Membership #:           
Expiration Date:  
Local Councils:                         
In This Issue
Illinois Reads at the Fair
Teach Like Hair on Fire
Danielson Domain 2
Best Represents You?
Literacy Links
Website Links
Dates to Remember

2014 IRC Conference
October 2-4, 2014
Springfield, Illinois

 Early Registration Ends
August 15, 2014

Housing Closes
September 10, 2014

Future Dates of the Annual IRC Conference
October 1-3, 2015
Sept. 29-Oct 1, 2016
October 5-7, 2017
Peoria, Illinois

Welcome to iCommunicate, IRC's monthly e-newsletter!  Here you will learn, share, and enjoy information on timely topics and cutting edge projects. We'd love to hear your thoughts.  Please contact us with your comments, suggestions, and ideas at icommunicate@illinoisreadingcouncil.org.   
Join Illinois Reads at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield
By the Illinois Reading Council

Illinois Reads will be featured at Lt. Governor Sheila Simon's tent at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.  Plans include live readings by Illinois Reads' Authors, book giveaways, and a book drive.  Visitors may drop off new or gently used children's books to be donated to Springfield schools, and also register to win a complete set of the 36 books selected for Illinois Reads 2014.  Author Appearances will include:

Friday, August 8, 2014
  • Hollywood on Lake Michigan by Michael Corcoran  (11 am-1 pm)
  • The Fouth Stall by Chris Rylander  (1-3 pm)
  • The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore  (3-5 pm)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

  • Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer   (11 am-1 pm)
  • Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler   (1-3 pm)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

  • The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch  (11 am-1 pm)
  • Peep! by Kevin Luthardt  (1-3 pm)   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire: The Homemade Stuffing Caper by John V. Madormo   (11 am-1 pm)

Saturday, August 16, 2014   

  • 1 Zany Zoo by Lori Degman   (11 am-1 pm)
  • The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale   (1-3 pm)
  • Dark Life by Kat Falls   (3-5 pm)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

  • Dark Life by Kat Falls  (11 am-1 pm)

Lt. Governor Simon's tent will be located at the intersection of Main Street and Brian Raney Avenue, across from the Emmerson Building and be open Friday, August 8 to Sunday, August 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  For more information, please visit www.illinoisreads.org.  


Book Club:  Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire
By the Illinois Reading Council

Join educators in the second online IRC Book Club.  Pat Braun, IRC Past President and Assistant Professor of Education from Benedictine University at Springfield, will lead participants in online chats, discussions, research, and activities connected to the book Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire:  The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith.  The book discussions will occur over a five-month period starting in September 2014.  Monthly chat questions, response posts, and activities will require about 3 hours per month to be fully involved in the book club.  If you participate all five months, you will be eligible to receive 15 Clock Hours.  Registration for the book club is FREE for IRC MEMBERS.  The cost for non-members is $45 for the book club, which includes IRC membership for one year.  All participants can attend sessions with Rafe Esquith at the October 2014 IRC Conference.  Conference registration and cost of book are not included. 

Visit http://www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org/Bookclub.html to register today!

Danielson + Common Core + IRC = A Perfect Partnership:  Focus on Domain 2        
By Roberta Sejnost, IRA State Coordinator 
Continuing our in-depth look at how the Common Core and the Danielson Framework for Teaching are intertwined, this issue focuses on the components of Domain 2 and what teachers need to show evidence of this component in their teaching.


Domain 2:  The Classroom Environment


2a:  Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport

To successfully show evidence of a classroom that embraces an environment of respect and rapport, teachers need, through both words and actions, to:

  • Establish relationships with each student
  • Show an appreciation for each child as an individual
  • Provide opportunities for students to get to know and accept each other
  • Establish and communicate (with students) classroom procedures and rules
  • Encourage students to take intellectual risks and be creative
  • Create an environment that incorporates:

    • Fun through lessons and activities that students enjoy
    • Freedom through the availability of student choice
    • Power by granting students the feeling they matter and are valued by recognizing their talents and skills
    • Belonging by creating a caring community of learners

2b:  Establishing a Culture for Learning

To show evidence that teachers have created a culture for learning that focuses on the importance of the content taught and expectations for student learning and achievement as well as student pride in work, teachers must have a classroom where:

  • Student work is rated, with written feedback, and displayed
  • Interactions and conversations with and among students reflect that teachers are interested in and value learning and hard work

2c:  Managing Classroom Procedures

Teachers who practice effective classroom procedures are able to manage instructional groups, transitions, materials/supplies and non-instructional duties as well as supervise volunteers and paraprofessionals. In these classrooms:

  • Teachers explain, re-teach and implement procedures
  • Procedures are posted and communicated in writing to all stakeholders early in the year
  • In co-teaching or collaborative models, all staff is utilized appropriately

2d:  Managing Student Behavior

To show evidence that teachers can effectively manage student behavior through monitoring and responding techniques, teachers:

  • Set age appropriate and culturally consistent standards
  • Make rules clear to all and post them in the classroom
  • Apply rules clearly and consistently (without favoritism)
  • Exhibit "Withitness" and are always aware of what is going on and use this awareness to influence student behavior through redirection and proximity
  • Control temper and composure so students do not fear verbal or physical attack
  • Focus chastisement on behavior, not on the student as a person
  • Allow only minimal disruption of the classroom rhythm
  • Maintain the dignity of each student
  • Encourage students to monitor their own behavior so student behavior reflects what teacher has done to establish and maintain standards
  • Appropriately apply preventive and intervening strategies

Component 2e:  Organizing Physical Space

Finally, teachers that are skillful at organizing the physical space of their classroom allow for the safety of and accessibility for their students through the appropriate arrangement of classroom furniture and use of physical resources. In essence they:

  • Provide spaces for quiet reading as well as noisy activities
  • Appropriately arrange furniture for large and small group activities
  • Establish centers, like labs, circles, etc., for content exploration
  • Focus on safety so:
    • No bags, trash, clothing, etc., are in student pathways
    • Aisles between desks, tables, etc., provide good traffic flow
    • School-wide procedures for emergency exiting or lockdown are provided
  • Skillfully position and utilize materials such as teaching aids, boards, charts, projectors, computers
  • Create clearly and neatly written content appropriate transparencies, board work, posters, power points, videos, etc.
  • Incorporate technology appropriately
  • Invite students to assist with transitions, equipment, materials and supplies so they are involved in supporting an organized, safe classroom

As with Domain 1, and echoing Danielson's advice that professionals thrive when they have interactions and conversations with other professionals, teachers can effectively meet the demands of Domain 2 through their membership in the Illinois Reading Council and any of its 32 local reading councils.  On a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, IRC provides a plethora of professional development opportunities, many of which revolve around the Common Core State Standards in ELA, science, social studies and even math. In sum, IRC, in its role as a vibrant partner to Danielson's Framework and the Common Core, not only satisfies a major requirement of Danielson's Domain 4, but also satisfies our need for professional growth.


Community Building Activity:
Which Best Represents You?
By Patricia Tylka, IRC Vice President

Taking time for community building has a positive impact on academics:  We know intuitively, and research has consistently shown, that where there is a strong sense of community, trust, high self-esteem and good instruction, students have higher achievement.  A cohesive classroom can give students the social support they need to develop a strong sense of self-worth.  So, here's a community building activity that takes only a few minutes, and it can be done at any time and repeated infinitely (with different topics) with little preparation.


Set up:  Each student needs a pad and pencil, white board, or index card, etc.


Step 1:  Teacher poses a question with four possible answers, such as, "Which of the following candies (Kit Kat, Butterfinger, Twix, or Three Musketeers) best represents you and why?"


Step 2:  Each student chooses an answer and writes it down as well as at least one reason for his/her choice. (It's important that students commit to an answer, and having an answer makes for easier discussion in the next step. With a written answer, students concentrate on listening to partners instead of worrying about their own answers.)


Step 3:  Each student takes a turn sharing his/her answer with a partner or teammates. (Each student should take no more than 30 seconds to answer--less for younger students.)


Optional step 4:  Randomly call on a few students, asking them to reveal what one other classmate said.


Here are ideas to use on subsequent days--use your imagination and challenge your students to come up with more topics and variations:

  1. Cloud:  stratus, cumulus, cirrus, or fog
  2. Car:  sports, van, jeep, or luxury
  3. Zoo animal:  lion, zebra, penguin, or giraffe
  4. Restaurant:  Italian, steak, Mexican, or drive-through
  5. Color:  Red, blue, green, or yellow
  6. Movie:  comedy, mystery, cartoon, or documentary
  7. Sport:  soccer, baseball, basketball, or volleyball
  8. Shape:  circle, square, triangle, or diamond
  9. Tree:  Maple, willow, spruce, or apple
  10. Tool:  screwdriver, wrench, hammer, or pliers
  11. Hat:  Baseball cap, hard hat, cowboy, or fedora
  12. Circus performer:  clown, lion tamer, tightrope walker, or juggler
  13. Vacation spot:  beach, camping, amusement park, or cruise
  14. Road sign:  merge, yield, curves ahead, or do not enter
  15. Pet:  cat, dog, bird, or fish
  16. Kitchen appliance:  blender, can opener, mixer, or coffee maker
  17. Dog:  Chihuahua, Dalmatian, Poodle, or Beagle
  18. Shoe:  sandal, dress, boot, or sneaker
  19. Music:  country, rap, rock, or alternative
  20. Toy:  ball, hula hoop, slinky, or jump rope
  21. Dessert:  Cake, pie, ice cream, or Jell-o
  22. Superhero:  Spiderman, Superman, Batman, or Captain America
  23. Instrument:  percussion, string, woodwind, or brass
  24. Season:  winter, summer, autumn, or spring
  25. Punctuation mark:  question mark, exclamation point, period, or quotation marks
Literacy Links
By the IRC Educational Media Committee

Take a moment to review some of the Literacy Links provided by the IRC Educational Media Committee to help Illinois educators in today's classrooms. These links and past links will be available on the IRC Website under "Literacy Links" on the homepage.


This data collection tool can be used for formative assessment, allowing for images and videos to be embedded with the results provided in real time.
Comprehensive Resources

This website has excellent resources including classroom resources, lesson plans, expert videos and many Common Core resources.

Interactive Resources

Annenberg Learner    
This resource has a variety of interactive activities that can be searched according to grade level and subject
Reading Passages

This website has many articles about a variety of topics at different reading levels, organized by grade level and categories. There are also vocabulary words and Common Core Standards with activities for each article.

Khan Academy
This website has a variety of videos on many subjects. There are guides for setting up a classroom to have differentiated playlists for students to view.
Web 2.0 Tools

This creative tool allows users to create diagrams collaboratively, using text and images.