If you give a CALP a Portal

Posted:30 May 2017

Author: Emily Robinson Leclair, Community Learning Network

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Recommendations: 1

Picture this, you are at a staff meeting and “invited” to take three pages of numbers and statistics and turn them into a something meaningful and engaging using an interactive process. Add to this the fact that you have been divided into teams and are required to present your final product in less than an hour. This has become a creative competition based on numbers!

Welcome to a CLN team staff meeting.

This task was daunting to my group and me. We sat silently for far too long, given our time restriction. We struggled to pull these statistics together using a process that would be fun, collaborative and memorable. We shared some of our observations about the trends we could see in the stats, and made some notes.

Sometime close to our deadline, we realized it could be a story. A circular story reminiscent of Laura Numeroff’s classic story time series “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these books, “circular stories follow a ‘round’ pattern—they begin and end in the same way. Like the cycle of seasons or the life cycle, circular stories follow a predictable series of events that returns to the starting point”. (www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/unwinding-circular-plot-prediction-292.html)

It was a definite ‘a-ha’ moment. Using the predictable text pattern “if you give a (blank) a (blank)” we could create our own story appropriately titled “If You Give a CALP a Portal”. We turned the statistics for training and other CLN Support Services into if-then or cause and effect statements:

  • If you give a CALP a Portal, then they are going to want to an account
  • If you give a CALP a Portal, then they are going to want 997 portal accounts
  • If you give a CALP a Portal, then they are going to want to login
  • If they log in, then there will be 845 active users
  • If they are active users, then they will want to start a discussion 
  • If they start a discussion, then there will be 352 discussions started 
  • If they read a discussion, then they are going to want to reply and share
  • If they reply and share, then there will be 799 discussion replies posted 
  • If they share, then they are going to want to call their Regional Support Staff
  • If you give a CALP a Regional Support Staff, then they have 5 team members to choose from
  • If they connect with their RSS, then they are going to want a site visit
  • If you give a CALP a site visit, then it will be one of 122 visits to CALP staff in 2016/17
  • If you give a CALP a site visit, then they are going to get very excited 
  • If they get very excited, then they are going to want Professional Development, Training & Networking
  • If you give a CALP PD & Training, then there will be 1629 participants in CLN events this year
  • If you give a CALP a Portal, then there are going to be 336,052 page views since launch
  • If you give a CALP a Portal, then they are going to want to log in

We have had fun with the results of our assignment, turning our oral story into print and even trying our hand at a video version.

Click here to link to the story.

I encourage you to take this process and use it with your learners. The repetition provides a great opportunity to practice reading strategies like predicting and fluency. Consider using instructional strategies like graphic organizers or cloze exercises to build story structure and vocabulary.

Be forewarned, ‘if you give a CALP an assignment, they are going to want to blog about it’!

Emily Robinson Leclair
CLN Regional Support Staff
South Region


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