Melissa and Lori Love Literacy

By Melissa Loftus and Lori Sappington

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Hi teacher friends! We are Melissa and Lori, two literacy educators in Baltimore. Our purpose is to bring teachers together in a positive way to share successes and struggles with Wit and Wisdom curriculum implementation. We are SO excited to talk with you!

Episode Date
Episode 8: Kyair & Katie Talk REAL Teacher Talk!

A teacher's perspective on curriculum implementation is invaluable... and today, we have not ONE, but TWO teacher perspectives on Wit and Wisdom year one implementation!  Kyair and Katie are funny, smart, and have incredible learner-mindsets. They discuss the engagement of their students in texts and tasks, how Wit and Wisdom provides equity and opportunity, and their thoughts on teaching with an integrated (not isolated) curricula - a shift in mindset from the way 'school was done' previously. Lookout for some cheesy dad jokes along the way (thanks, Kyair), and so much insight and inspiration from these two incredible educators!

Connect with Kyair on Twitter @Kyairb
Connect with Katie on Twitter @Kstoryscotti

TNTP's The Opportunity Myth

The Wrong Way to Teach Grammar - Michelle Navarre Cleary

Jul 09, 2019
Episode 7: Why Curriculum Matters!

We are thrilled to have Janise Lane, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, share how Baltimore City Schools used research and strategy to drive the high-quality curriculum implementation of Wit and Wisdom for K-8 schools district-wide. City schools drove structures for leaders and teachers by anchoring curriculum focused professional development, led by Wit and Wisdom experts, and taking the approach of learning together. Janise shares replicable strategies, structures, and insider tips... If you are in year one implementation of Wit and Wisdom, this podcast is a must-listen!

Resources referenced:

Strong Materials in the Hands of Great Teachers

Nell Duke -

The Opportunity Myth -

The Baseball Study

Why A Structured Phonics Program is Effective

Ed Reports -

Jun 29, 2019
Episode 6: The Heart of the Curriculum

Melissa was inspired by a quote in Brene Brown's book: Dare to Lead  Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics, who said, “In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they’re about brains, but in the future they’ll be about the heart.” Listen to her insightful and relatable take on curriculum with heart. 

Jun 16, 2019
Episode 5: Mad about Mad River, Ohio!

We had the extreme pleasure of interviewing Amy Holbrook & Mandy Polen, literacy leads in Mad River, Ohio. The Mad River district adopted Wit and Wisdom's ELA curriculum two years ago district wide, and three years ago for several pilot schools. Since then, their teachers have been immersed in adaptive change and test scores have soared! They provide tangible strategies and tips for side by side implementation support, share what worked for them, and describe the real process. We can't wait for you to listen in!

We reference this article during our podcast:

Jun 06, 2019
Episode 4: Fangirling Natalie Wexler

Join us as we fangirl over Natalie Wexler's articles: The Biggest Education News Story You've Never Heard Of & Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years. We share our thoughts on the explicit connection to Wit & Wisdom curriculum, research, and building knowledge (CCSS Shift 3).

May 29, 2019
Episode 3: Wit and Wisdom Best Beach Reads!

Melissa and Lori dive into K-8 texts to highlight salty summer reads to get set for next school year! We share the why behind our choice for each summer read text choice and make recommendations for field trips and experiences connected to texts to further build background knowledge for students. Join us as you prep for summer - RSVP those books at the library NOW! 

May 20, 2019
Episode 2: Talking Shift 3

Common Core Shift 3 is often understood as "a balance of literary and informational text types," but the most important part is misunderstood, the idea of building knowledge. How does the Wit and Wisdom literacy curriculum address building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction? Listen as we interview Sarah Woodard, who shares valuable insight and information on the intentional integration of texts to attend to Shift 3 in this curriculum.

May 08, 2019
Episode 1: Don't Say the F Word!

What does fidelity mean in a large, urban school district when implementing Great Mind's Wit and Wisdom ELA curriculum? Melissa and Lori share perspective, research, and resources to support teachers in unpacking the why behind fidelity. 

In this episode, we reference: 

Apr 26, 2019