Join NJCTE at NJEA, NCTE and CEL Conventions

Are you planning to attend the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City? Share your experiences with us using #NJCTE18 and tag us @NJCTENews.

NJCTE is sponsoring two presentations at NJEA this year:

  • Joe Pizzo will present “Get a Grant the Write Way” on Thursday, November 8, 3:15-4:45 PM, in room 413.
  • Audrey Fisch and Susan Chenelle will present “Teaching Inequality to Encourage Students to Speak About Justice” on Friday, November 9, 9:45-11:15 AM, in room 402.

NJCTE board member Katie Nieves will also present two sessions: “Giving Into the Hyperdocs Hype” on Friday, November 9, 10:00-10:50 AM, in the Teacher to Teacher Learning Area, and “Google Tools to Help Struggling Learners” on Friday, November 9, 1:30-3:00 PM in room 317.

And NJCTE board members Pat Schall and Susan Reese will be onsite to meet with NJCTE members and prospective members. Come see us!
Continue reading “Join NJCTE at NJEA, NCTE and CEL Conventions”

Join NJCTE at NJEA, NCTE and CEL Conventions

2 Time-Sensitive Opportunities for ELA Teachers

First, last-call for applications for NJCTE’s Teachers for the Dream grant! This is an excellent opportunity for English teachers of color, and the application deadline is October 31! Apply today and/or share widely!

Second, the NJDOE has issued a call for input from teachers on standards and assessments. Applications for the various working groups are due November 6. See below for details:

The New Jersey Department of Education (the Department) is committed to engaging stakeholders in efforts to build a coherent system of high-quality academic standards and aligned assessments. To build a stronger and fairer New Jersey education system, the Department believes that a collaborative and systematic approach to curriculum development, data literacy and professional learning is essential to improving teaching and learning and to provide all students with equitable access to post-secondary success.

Therefore, the Department is seeking educators’ input regarding three important initiatives for the 2018-19 school year: 1) the creation of instructional units in Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA), 2) the review and revision of the 2014 New Jersey Student Learning Standards, and 3) the second phase of outreach regarding the next generation of state assessments.

The Department is seeking educators with diverse educational experience to serve on these working groups, particularly, those with experience in:

• School context (e.g., K-12, higher education, urban/suburban/rural, north/central/south)

• Content expertise

• Years of teaching experience

• Role (e.g., teachers, teacher leaders, supervisors, principals, curriculum directors, data analysts, testing coordinators)

ELA and Mathematics Instructional Units and Standards Review Initiatives

During the 2018-19 school year, individuals with content expertise in English Language Arts and Mathematics will be invited to work with Department experts to participate in professional learning and then to develop K-12 instructional units based on the 2016 New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS). This work will be done jointly with the Partnership for Collaborative Professional Learning, which will provide training on the Connected Action Roadmap process.

Educators with content expertise in K-12 Computer Science, Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, STEM, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, World Languages and 21st Century Life and Career Skills will be asked to engage in a review of the 2014 NJSLS and to make recommendations. The primary goal of the standards review is to ensure that the NJSLS reflect current research on what students need to know and be able to do for postsecondary success.

It is anticipated that individuals with teaching experience in English Language Arts and Mathematics will engage in approximately 10 face-to-face sessions, with possible additional time as may be needed for virtual sessions or individual work.

Individuals interested in being considered for the English Language Arts and Mathematics instructional units initiative should request their principal or superintendent complete this Statement of Assurance, answer these survey questions and send a resume to by November 6, 2018.

Individuals interested in being considered to take part in the review of the 2014 NJSLS should request their principal or superintendent complete this Statement of Assurance, answer these survey questions, and send a resume to by November 6, 2018. All applicants will be notified by email of their selection status.

Assessment Practitioner Working Groups: Part of Phase II of Assessment Outreach

The goal of the assessment practitioner working groups is to build upon the Department’s draft framework for the next generation of statewide assessments that was established with the insights gained from conversations in Phase I, to support the development and/or procurement of the next generation assessment for the 2020-21 school year.

These practitioner working groups will focus on assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics for grades 3-8 and high school, building on the priorities shared by students, parents, educators and content experts from around the state, which were identified in the Summary of Findings Report. For the fall and winter of 2018, participants will join working groups involved in the evaluation of assessment characteristics such as data and reporting, assessment technology, assessment types and formats. This work will occur alongside the policy analysis being done in order to further review New Jersey’s high school graduation requirements and related high school policies.

Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to complete the Practitioner Working Group Application by November 6, 2018. The application will be used to collect background information on each applicant for the purposes of placing participants into groups based on their unique areas of expertise. It is anticipated that individuals will engage in at least two face-to-face half-day sessions, with the potential for follow-up in virtual sessions. All applicants will be notified by email of their selection status. If selected, they will be provided their working group information and additional details regarding meeting times.

These practitioner working groups are just part of the NJDOE’s second phase of outreach occurring throughout the year. Information regarding graduation policy outreach is coming later this fall and the Department will provide periodic public updates on working group recommendations. An initial update is anticipated for early 2019, at the conclusion of the assessment working group meetings.

Contact Information

We hope you will consider participating or alert a colleague to this opportunity. Should you have questions regarding ELA and Mathematics instructional units or the Standards Review initiative, please contact For questions on Assessment Outreach, email

2 Time-Sensitive Opportunities for ELA Teachers

Welcome New Board Member Lauren Zucker

Please join the NJCTE board in welcoming its newest member, Dr. Lauren Zucker!

Dr. Lauren Zucker (@LGZreader) teaches English Language Arts at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, NJ, and has taught education courses at Fordham University and Drew University. Her research lies at the intersection between technology and literacy; for example, her dissertation explored the practices that teens use when they read online outside of school. Learn more about her teaching and research at

She earned a master’s degree in English from Rutgers University, and earned a doctorate in Contemporary Learning and Interdisciplinary Research at Fordham University.

Welcome New Board Member Lauren Zucker

Tech Tuesdays: ForAllRubrics

Giving feedback can be a difficult process. Sometimes students receive feedback on their final submission of an assignment, which does not allow room for growth and revision. Sometimes teachers provide feedback throughout the composition process, but students do not take advantage of these opportunities for revision. It can be a struggle to provide effective and timely feedback while managing to engage students in the feedback process.

ForAllRubrics is a solution for grading and feedback. It’s a free website for teachers where class rosters can be uploaded and all student scores can be provided in a digital format. While many districts are bound by a learning management system (or even Google Classroom) that provides options for this process, there are some that do not have these opportunities. For those teachers, ForAllRubrics is an excellent solution.

Once teachers have created an account, they can provide their student with a class code to sign up. From the homepage, click on the “Admin” drop-down menu on the top right corner of the screen. Select “Manage Students.” Then, you have the choice of how you would like to import your students, such as from a file, adding them individually, or from a class code. There are a variety of other options for editing in the drop-down panel, as well.

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There are five options at the top of each screen that guide you through the website. “My Class” takes you to the page with all of your classes and students. “Design” allows you to build rubrics. “Library” has pre-created rubrics. “Analyze” allows for data analysis and student reports of progress. The “Help Center” offers tutorials for advice for using the website.


When you click on “Design,” you will see all of the resources you have created. For people just beginning, there will only be a sample rubric, badge, and checklist available. You need to select “Create” in order to begin building something new. You are allowed to choose from a checklist, badge, or rubric. Badges can be designed and created for students who complete different achievements and tasks. The checklist can be used by students for different assignments.

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Clicking on any text in the rubric will create a pop-up window that allows you to type your criteria. You can also change, delete, or add columns, point values, and names. Color-coding is also possible for the criteria by selecting the different color options at the start of each column.


Underneath each category, you can click the “Assigned Standard(s)” orange plus icon and select standards that connect to each evaluation area. Each item can also be weighted based on need. For example, the predetermined values are 1.0, but they can be clicked to edit. For example, some skills and items may be more difficult and deserve a higher percentage of the final score than others. This tool allows you to accommodate for that.

Once the rubric has been created, it is assigned to the class. Return to the “My Classes” tab to see the list of students currently enrolled in your class. Open the rubric you want by selecting the drop-down arrow next to “All Activities.” Select the rubric you want and all your students will appear on the list. Next to their name, select the orange plus sign and the rubric will open.

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In each item, you have the chance to not only select the score, but also to provide a comment, Drive file, or link to support students in the revision process.


Once finished evaluating the students, click the “Done” button to save the work and return back to the student roster. The student’s overall score will be available on the roster screen. Check the box next to their name and select “Publish” to send the score to the student. They will be able to see all comments and scores at that time. For schools without 1:1 devices, these reports can be printed to give to the students, as well.

Visiting the “Analyze” page will allow you to open a variety of reports about all your students and their progress, as well as individual students. Standards reports, grade averages, and item analyses are available to download, export as a PDF, or save.

ForAllRubrics is a simple solution for teachers who do not have the advantage of learning management system or other grading tools. While it’s not overwhelming in terms of website design, it offers a lot of simple and productive tools to make the grading process and progress tracking easier.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: ForAllRubrics

Tech Tuesdays: Top Summary Extensions for Struggling Readers

by Kathryn Nieves

Summary tools are sources for debate within the ELA teacher community. When utilized, these tools allow students to summarize any text available online. While some may believe these tools serve as shortcuts for reading comprehension, they can also help to provide guidance for students struggling with reading in the classroom. With a summary placed in their mind prior to diving into the full text, students can help make connections and understand the information being presented.

The following four tools are extensions or websites that students can use to help summarize articles or texts prior to reading.

  1. Internet Abridged (extension)

Internet Abridged is a Chrome extension that can be added from the Chrome Web Store. Once the article you want to read is open on your browser, select Internet Abridged’s icon from the toolbar. The extension will provide a bulleted list of the articles most important points. You can also highlight a portion of a longer work, right click on the highlighted text, and select “Internet Abridged” to receive a summary for only that one section. The extension can also automatically embed the summary into the website for easy access and review.


  1. Auto Highlight (extension)

Auto Highlight is another Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store. It functions in almost the same way as Internet Abridged but has a few more features. Instead of opening a pop-up window that offers a summary, Auto Highlight actually edits the page you are reading. The icon, a yellow highlighter, drops color the more you select it on a particular article. Each time you click the highlighter icon, it highlights more important details from the article. The first click provides a basic summary of the most important points and more details are added based on importance from there. The maximum amount of times you can click for an article is three. You can read the highlighted lines on the page to get an understanding of the most important sentences to remember before reading the article in its entirety.

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  1. SMMRY (Website)

SMMRY is a website that summarizes articles for you. Upon accessing the website, you can copy and paste the text or the URL to the article. The article can also be uploaded from a file, like a Word document. You also have the option to alter how many sentences will be included in the summary. In addition, selecting the yellow “Settings” icon allows for further customization, such as avoiding questions, exclamations, and quotations in the summary.

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When the summary is ready to be viewed, you can see the percentage of the article that has been eliminated and view the number of characters in the summary.

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  1. Resoomer (Website, Chrome Extension)

Similar to the previous entries, Resoomer allows for one-click summarization. There is a Chrome extension and a website. Resoomer’s unique feature is that it allows you to click and drag to reduce the amount of text by a specific percentage. Without having to make adjustments and reload the page again, you can have a shorter summary of the chosen text.

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New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: Top Summary Extensions for Struggling Readers

NJCTE High School Writing Contest 2019

Submission deadline: 11:59 p.m., December 16, 2018. See for details.

 The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English invites New Jersey students in grades 9-12 to participate in its 2019 Writing Contest:

“Truth and Illusion”

2019 Categories

  • Poetry (one poem, 50-line max.) –FREE CHOICE
  • Short story (5-page max. double-spaced) – FREE CHOICE
  • Personal essay* (5-page max., double-spaced) – RESPOND TO PROMPT

*All personal essay submissions must respond to this year’s prompt.

Personal Essay Writing Prompt:

Write a personal essay or narrative about the effect illusion has had on your life.

Illusions are false beliefs. In life, as in literature, these false beliefs might be about ways to be happy or successful or about what another person is truly like. Write a personal essay about the discovery of a truth hidden behind an illusion. This may be about your own illusion or an illusion that someone had about you. What led to the discovery of truth? How has this affected your life? Try to steer away from general observations. Describe a concrete experience and reflect on how the truth hurt or helped you.

How to enter:

  1. Visit our website at and follow the instructions provided. Only New Jersey high school students are eligible to enter.

Tips to Avoid Disqualification:

  1. Each student may submit a maximum of one entry in each category (i.e. only one poem, one short story and one essay).
  2. Teachers may submit up to ten entries for their students in each genre. Surplus entries will be disqualified in order of submission date.
  3. The file submitted must be anonymous. Essays, short stories and poems with a student’s name, school or class typed on them will be disqualified.


  • Genre Winners (poetry, short story, personal essay): Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals.
    • Gold medalists are eligible for the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education (GAAE).
  • School/District Winners:
    • Honorable Mention: Top scoring students
      • From schools with qualifying entries from at least 10 different students sponsored by at least three different teachers
    • Certificates of Merit – Top scoring students
      • From schools which submit qualifying entries from at least three different students

Winners will be notified on or after March 10, 2019. Questions:

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

NJCTE High School Writing Contest 2019

Call for applicants: NJCTE Teachers for the Dream – Deadline October 31, 2018

The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English (NJCTE) seeks to address and support underrepresented teachers of color in New Jersey and within our own organization. The Teachers for the Dream grant, funded with the generous support of NCTE, will help NJCTE support teachers of color within the state and within the leadership of our organization. We also hope that this initiative will help us increase the diversity of our membership overall.

If you are a teacher of color, please consider applying: If you are not a teacher of color, please share this application with a friend or colleague who might benefit from this award.

Teachers of color are underrepresented in New Jersey and nationwide. Yet a diverse staff and educational environment is critical to providing high quality learning for a diverse body of 21st century student learners.

A Fall 2011 study by the Center for American Progress found that “students of color made up more than 40 percent of the school-age population. In contrast, teachers of color were only 17 percent of the teaching force.” The same study found that students of color make up 48% of students in New Jersey, while teachers of color make up 18% of the teaching force. The disparities are only growing starker. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in Fall 2014 the percentage of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools who were White was less than 50 percent (49.5 percent) for the first time and represents a decrease from 58 percent in Fall 2004. To address this educational disparity with dire consequences for students of color, Researchers Saba Bireda and Robin Chait argue for, among other supports, mentoring for new teachers of color. NCTE, and NJCTE, are uniquely positioned to do this work for teachers of English.

In order to support teachers of color and the diversity of NJCTE’s organization, NJCTE’s Teachers for the Dream Program is recruiting two teachers of color in elementary, middle, secondary, or postsecondary ELA education.

These two chosen educators will be involved in all levels of NJCTE. We will ask the two teachers to

  1. attend NJCTE board meetings
  2. present, with the assistance of other board members, their work at one of our NJCTE conferences
  3. share, at one of our NJCTE conferences, some of their reflections and experiences from their NCTE attendance

In return, the program will provide

  1. 2 year memberships in NJCTE and NCTE for the two teachers
  2. conference registration for the teachers for all NJCTE conferences during the two year period
  3. travel support to help our two teachers attend NCTE during one of the two years ($500 each)

Program Schedule

The timetable for the NJCTE Dream Program is as follows:

  • September-October 2018 – Recruit applicants to the program
  • November 2018 – Select and meet with (online) award recipients
  • December 2018 – Recipients will work with NJCTE board members to submit NJCTE conference proposal (Spring 2019 conference)
  • January 2019 – Recipients will work with NJCTE board members to submit NCTE conference proposal (November 2019 convention)
  • January/February 2019 – Recipients will attend online board meetings
  • March 2019 – Recipients will attend, be recognized, and may present at the NJCTE spring conference; recipients will attend NJCTE post-conference board meeting
  • April/May 2019 – Recipients will attend online board meetings
  • Summer 2019 – Recipients will attend in-person summer retreat; recipients will work with NJCTE board members to submit NJCTE conference proposal (Fall 2019 conference)
  • September 2019 – Recipients will attend online board meeting
  • October 2019 – Recipients will attend and present work at NJCTE fall conference; recipients will attend NJCTE post-conference board meeting
  • November 2019 – Recipients will attend NCTE and potentially present work
  • December 2019 – Recipients will work with NJCTE board members to submit NJCTE conference proposal (Spring 2020 conference)
  • January/February 2020 – Recipients will attend online board meetings
  • March 2020 – Recipients will attend NJCTE spring conference and present reflections on NCTE; recipients will attend NJCTE board meeting; recipients may take on board membership at NJCTE and assume leadership roles
  • May 2020 – Recipients will attend NJCTE board meeting; final report to NCTE

Please apply at Address any questions to or NJCTE President Audrey Fisch at

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Call for applicants: NJCTE Teachers for the Dream – Deadline October 31, 2018

Join Our Post-Conference Twitter Chat!


Let’s keep the energy and excitement of the NJCTE Fall Conference going on Twitter! Join Co-Chair Denise Weintraut this Tuesday, October 2nd, from 7:00-7:30pm for a sharing session on Twitter. Use the hashtag #NJCTE18 to follow the discussion. We’ll be asking the questions below. When you go to answer, just use A1, A2, etc., in your answer so that we know which question you are answering. Contact Denise with any questions. Her Twitter handle is @SmilingTeach, and you can email her at

Q1: What did you appreciate about the conference?

Q2:  What session was your favorite and why?

Q3:  What was the best thing you learned that day?

Q4: What will you share with your colleagues?

Q5: What else would you like to see next time?

Join Our Post-Conference Twitter Chat!