August 2014
Membership #:           
Expiration Date:  
Local Councils:                         
In This Issue
Wired Wednesday
Danielson Domain 3
Conference App
Literacy Links
Website Links
Dates to Remember

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

 Early Registration Ends
September 1, 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   
Wired Wednesday Webinars
By the Illinois Reading Council

The Illinois Reading Council (IRC) and the Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA) are excited to announce a unique collaboration--Wired Wednesday Webinars!

Wired Wednesday Webinars will run from September 2014 to April 2015 and focus on the Common Core State Standards in Speaking and Listening.  All webinars will begin at 7:00 pm and be exclusive for IRC and WSRA members only.  Mark your calendars now to take part in this new PD opportunity!  Clock Hours will be provided. 


Tech Tools and Easy Activities for Meeting the Speaking and Listening Standards with Keith Schroeder
  • Description:  This session will give lots of simple things you can start using with students immediately to help them meet the speaking and listening standards.
Talk Matters!  The Foundational Role of the Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards with Maria Nichols
  • Suggested Reading: "Why Talk is Important" by Douglas Barnes
  • Description:  Dialogic instruction offers rich potential for expanding learning as students explore complex ideas over time through talking with others. Harnessing the potential of this instruction requires understanding the type of talk needed and the changing role of the teacher.  This webinar explores a process for and the outcomes of developing dialogic instruction to improve reading comprehension. Emphasis will be placed on real-world goals for talk, developing exploratory talk for the purpose of wrestling with complexity and constructing new understandings, and the teacher as facilitator. Outcomes will be aligned to CCSS Speaking and Listening Standards.
  • Bio:  Maria Nichols works in urban schools in the San Diego Unified School District and with districts across the United States, supporting educators in strengthening student engagement and literacy instruction through the development of dialogic learning environments. Throughout her career, she has served in many professional capacities, including classroom teacher, demonstration teacher, literacy coach, professional development, and district administration.  Maria is the author of several texts and articles focused on the development of purposeful talk, including Comprehension Through Conversation (Heinemann 2006), Talking About Texts (Shell 2008), and Expanding Comprehension (Scholastic 2009).
Visit to register.  Space is limited so register early. 
Danielson + Common Core + IRC = A Perfect Partnership:  Focus on Domain 3        
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 #3, Instruction, and what teachers need to show evidence of this component in their teaching.  In truth, this domain, more than any of the others, relies heavily on a connection to the new Illinois Learning Standards (previously known as the Common Core State Standards).   
Domain 3:  Instruction
Component 3a:  Communicating with Students
In this component, teachers must use both oral and written language to share their expectations for learning as well as the directions and procedures for and explanations of the content they expect their students to learn.  To accomplish this, teachers must:
  • Give clear directions and explanations in oral and written language
  • Use vivid, expressive language to enhance student experience
  • Set clear limits, including time factors
  • Use language that is audible and legible and with correct usage, spelling, etc.
  • Carefully choose words, using rich vocabulary

Component 3b:  Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques 

To show evidence that teachers can effectively use questioning and discussion techniques, that engage students, teachers should: 

  • Pose essential questions for each lesson and encourage the students to answer them throughout the lesson
  • Pose engaging questions that allow students to explore the content being taught and that are not merely a rapid fire, low level, recitation of facts
  • Allow students to engage in "Think time" before responding
  • Probe student responses to seek clarification
  • Assure all students, not just a few, are engaged and often take initiative in discussion
  • Strive to stay on topic and use follow-up, rephrases and application of what students have contributed or posed

Component 3c:  Engaging Students in Learning
Teachers who fully engage students in learning effectively employ activities, assignments, materials, resources as well as effective grouping, structure and pacing strategies.  They consistently use:

  • Instructional artifacts from students
  • Examples/metaphors to illustrate new learning as well as connect with student knowledge, interests and culture
  • Problem-solving strategies
  • Student choice options
  • Depth--find patterns, tests and hypotheses that require thought and are relevant and authentic
  • Groupings based on instructional goals
  • Materials and resources that are ready for student use with little or no disruption
  • Structured lessons that offer appropriate, logical pacing with closure

Component 3d:  Using Assessment in Instruction
To show evidence that teachers can effectively use both teacher and student assessment strategies to monitor student learning, teachers will offer:

  • Teacher and peer comments on student work
  • Body language such as nods, quizzical looks, etc., to encourage students
  • Effective, specific, descriptive, and understandable feedback that is not merely praise, grades, encouragement or criticism
  • Comments that give students information needed to adjust their performance to a higher level of achievement
  • Time to think and reflect
  • Student performance tasks related to standards
  • Feedback in a timely fashion, "on the spot", or on work products, as needed to support learning

Component 3e:  Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness 

Finally, teachers who are skillful at demonstrating flexibility and responsiveness in their lessons, responses and persistence, will: 


  • Make adjustments that improve student experience or clarify confusion
  • Make necessary changes to provide for the needs of specific learners
  • Appropriately abandon a lesson or coordinate with a spontaneous event
  • Possess an extensive repertoire of strategies with transitions so seamless students may be unaware change has occurred

As noted above, Domain #3 is the domain that most closely connects with our New Illinois State Learning Standards. Thus, during the employment of this domain, teachers will benefit from interacting with other professionals. Illinois Reading Council and all of its 32 local reading councils effectively offer such interactions through many professional development opportunities, council meetings, and conferences offered during the year in myriad places across our state. Do take advantage of what IRC can offer you in its role as a vibrant partner to Danielson's Framework and the New Illinois State Learning Standards. In doing so, you will satisfy a major requirement of the Danielson Framework.


An App for the October 2014 IRC Conference
By the Illinois Reading Council

If you missed the IRC Conference App, sponsored by Guidebook, at the March 2014 IRC Conference, don't forget to get it for the October 2014 IRC Conference! The app is completely free and is a must have tool to ensure that you have the best conference experience possible.

Some of the conference app features are:    

Up-to-Date Session Schedules
The entire program/schedule is right on your phone or tablet.  Attendees can select sessions to create a personalized itinerary with reminders.

Speaker Listings
Bios and pictures for featured speakers are listed with session links.  Attendees can search sessions by speaker name, topic, grade level, content area and more.

Exhibitor Listings
A searchable list of exhibitors includes descriptions, booths, locations and exhibit hall classroom sessions.

Interactive Maps and Floor Plans
Interactive maps make navigating the conference much easier, which means attendees can create a visual link between locations on their personalized schedule and the corresponding location on a floor plan or map.  Maps also provide attendees with information on local sites.

Shared Photo Albums
Attendees can take photos and instantly upload to create a collective photo album.

Get Social
All of the social buzz surrounding the conference on Twitter and Facebook is collected in one place for easy browsing and participation.  Post Tweets and Facebook updates right from the app!

To-Do List
An interactive to-do list allows attendees to jot down all of the things they don't want to miss and check them off upon completion.  With one touch, they can add a speaker, exhibitor or event to a list.

Instant Conference Feedback
Share positive feedback or concerns related to a speaker, exhibitor or event in the moment.

Push Messaging/Alerts
Attendees can receive push messages/alerts for giveaways, special events, room changes or speaker cancellations.   
QR Code Scavenger Hunt Game
Make sure you visit the Exhibit Hall in the Prairie Area Convention Center to scan the hidden QR Codes.  Ask the exhibitors for help finding the codes.  Once you have completed the entire phrase show it to the Registration Booth for a raffle ticket to be eligible to win one of 2 FREE registrations to be given away to the next IRC Conference.  
The APP will be available to download on September 15th and features up-to-date session schedules, speaker listings, an itinerary planner, interactive maps and floor plans, exhibitor listing, Scavenger QR Code Game, and more.  On your smart phone or tablet, download the FREE Guidebook App from the Apple Store or Android Marketplace.  Then after September 15th, search for the October 2014 Illinois Reading Council Conference Guide. Or, follow this link to the guide at  You will need to create an account and sign in.  You can also join IRC on Face Book and Twitter at @ILReadCouncil    #IRC2014!

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.



Infuse Learning

This online tool can be used for formative assessment, allowing students to demonstrate their understanding of concepts in a variety of ways, with the results provided in real time.


Comprehensive Resources


Federal Registry for Educational Excellence

This website has excellent resources including classroom activities, lesson plans, and videos organized by subjects, and aligned to the Common Core State Standards.


Interactive Resources



This resource allows teachers to crop videos, insert their voices and embed quizzes to make learning in a flipped classroom an interactive experience.


Reading Passages


Breaking News English

This website has many current event articles at a variety of levels with lesson plans and activities.




PBS Learning Media

This website has a variety of videos on many subjects, organized by grade level and subject.


Web 2.0 Tools

This creative tool allows users to collaborate to create mind maps easily.