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In this episode, Troy speaks with Elizabeth Crooks, a former teacher of over 26 years and the recently retired 6-12 curriculum coordinator in English language arts, social studies, and science literacy for the consolidated school district of New Britain, CT. Elizabeth is now a consultant and speaker, and currently working on a book for teachers and administrators about creating curriculums.

Liz has also served as Principal, Vice Principal, and English Department Chair at New Britain High School. Under Liz’s guidance, New Britain saw a 100% increase in students taking advanced placement English Language, and a 30% increase in students scored as proficient on CCSS R1, R2, R4 and W1.

As a teacher-writer, a teacher of writing, and a teacher of writing teachers, Liz pulls from her deep experience to share some incredible wisdom.

Liz speaks to the import of individualizing both instruction and expectations for every single student, as the most important teaching method. She also speaks to the importance of using mentor texts to guide writing instruction for both teachers and students.

Feedback is key for Liz, both in her own work and in her teaching. She shares why feedback should be given in a timely matter, always before an assignment is finished, but not in an overwhelming amount, and focusing on ideas and questions first, structure and grammar last. She clarified the key differences between revising, editing, and proofreading and why they should not be attempted all together.

Be on the lookout for Liz’s upcoming book, and learn more about her work in the New Britain school system in our case study!

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