Classroom Strategies, Materials Adaptation
Part 2 of Professional Learning Core Content

Which Types of Content Are Key in Content-Focused Professional Learning in ELA/Literacy?

The Professional Learning Core Content in ELA/Literacy

The previous post in this series described how the Professional Learning (PL) Core Content is derived from the Principles for High-Quality, Standards-Aligned Professional Learning. This post will explore the ELA/Literacy Key Learning Areas. The next in the series will explore the Key Learning Areas for math professional learning.

So you want to engage in content-focused professional learning…but what content? 

Let’s start with the belief that every student can engage in rigorous, grade-level work that values their identities, perspectives, and voices. Ensuring every student is supported to engage with such work is the foundation of equitable instruction.  

If we start with this premise, ELA/literacy professional learning becomes a way to develop deep content knowledge and pedagogical expertise so that teachers can constantly work towards equitable instruction for every student. The PL Core Content Key Learning Areas in ELA/Literacy are the focus for this knowledge and expertise. The six Key Learning Areas are represented in the graphic to the right. 

Together, these areas represent essential ELA/literacy content and the interdependent nature of literacy development: complex text at the center of instruction is crucial to the literacy development of student; foundational skills are the early basis of all literacy work; and building knowledge, building academic language, evidence-based writing, and evidence-based discourse operate together in various ways to engage students in deep understanding and analysis of texts. 

You know what content focus should be at the heart of ELA/literacy professional learning…now what?

Use the Key Learning Areas to support the development of high-quality, content-focused professional learning. Content-focused professional learning in ELA/literacy should always align to these Key Learning Areas. However, this professional learning cannot be a one-size-fits-all design. The format, pace, sequence, and scope must meet the needs of each setting. Design your professional learning to ensure content, students, teachers, and instruction remain at the center of your work. Check out how some educators designing professional learning have engaged with the PL Core Content:

You are ready to start designing – what resources can you explore to get going? 

Explore the Key Learning Areas:

  • Watch this video that introduces the PL Core Content for ELA/Literacy.

  • Check out the Prezi below to explore the structure of the ELA/Literacy Key Learning Areas and navigate to your particular areas of interest.

Review the broadsheet pictured below and linked here. It frames professional learning for equitable ELA/literacy instruction and provides quick details on the Key Learning Areas.

  • Read more about the PL Core Content Key Learning Areas for ELA/Literacy in the full resource here


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About the Author: Kate Crist is a Senior ELA/Literacy Specialist on the Professional Learning team at Student Achievement Partners. Prior to joining Student Achievement Partners, Kate worked as an educational consultant supporting the alignment of classroom instruction, materials, and professional learning to college- and career-ready standards. Preceding this work, Kate was a high school classroom teacher, literacy coach, and professional development coordinator for large urban school districts in California and Nevada. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in World History with a minor in Education from University of California Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in Teaching from University of San Francisco.

About the Author: Jun Li is a Mathematics Specialist on the Professional Learning team at Student Achievement Partners. Prior to joining the organization, she served as the Math Design Lead at Transcend Education, where she supported partners, such as Achievement First Greenfield and Montessori for All, in designing their math program and managing a team to design CCSS-aligned assessments and curriculum. Prior to this work, she served in various network leadership roles at Mastery Charter Schools, including coaching teachers and leaders in math curriculum adoption and implementation. Prior to this work, she served as a middle school math teacher in Philadelphia, PA. Jun holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Urban Studies and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.