From the Desk of Karen Stanton

Happy December!

Happy December! I love this season of cheer and generosity and, as you are, I am looking forward to winter break and additional time with my family and friends as we celebrate the holidays.

In November, I was able to visit most campuses and have begun working with content area teachers who serve our ELLs. If you have a teacher on your campus who needs additional support, please do not hesitate to enlist my help. Many teachers are not aware of sheltered instruction strategies and techniques for linguistic accommodations, and a quick meeting or demonstration can provide them with strategies that can be used immediately to meet our students' needs.

The QTEL training was thought-provoking and so useful! For any of you who did not attend the training, QTEL focuses on effective instruction through backward-design lesson planning (acronym "PIE") that 1. Prepares the learner 2. Provides the learner with the opportunity to Interact with text and then 3. Extends the learning beyond the text. If you were at the training and would like to read the article mentioned by Nick Catechis, or if you would like to learn more about QTEL, I have attached it below.

I know that many of you have multiple preps, so please reach out if you'd like my help in planning or instruction. I miss being in a classroom and have loved the opportunity to have conversations about best practice, give feedback on classroom teaching, and - occasionally - jump back in front of students to model various techniques!

Finally, I have enjoyed facilitating our three-part Kagan book study. We will be repeating this book study in the spring for those of you who would like to learn more about specific structures that deepen student understanding through cooperative learning. Several of the QTEL strategies modeled in our sessions yesterday and today used Kagan structures.

Most importantly, happy holidays! I hope that the days ahead will provide you with opportunities to be generous with your time, attention, and resources - and that your break will be rejuvenating and joyful.

See you soon,


Word walls

Some of you had the opportunity to attend Julie Jackson's training on word walls. I know that I had a word wall when I taught English, but once I got the words up, I often forgot about them. The key to a word wall is continually interacting with the words and also making sense of big concepts through connecting the words to one another. The button below includes activities that will help your students interact with the vocabulary on the wall.

If you'd like to read more about word walls, check out this article:

Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures

If you missed the book study but would like to meet with me one-on-one to study the book and begin using Kagan's methodology, just let me know! I still have books available for teachers who are willing to make a three hour commitment to the process. Click the button below to learn more about Kagan structures and their impact on our students' learning.

About Ms. Stanton

Passionate educator. Lifelong learner. Enthusiastic instructional coach. Avid coffee drinker. Voracious reader. Prolific note-writer. Critical owner of (terrible) fantasy football team. Proud mom of two tween girls. Wife to an amazing PISD teacher.


Frank's Magical Knitwear - A Little Yarn

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Francisco, known as "Frank," who lived in a small village. On a bright, sunny day, Frank was in a foul mood because he had been forced to wear an itchy, hot sweater and cap given to him by his Peruvian grandmother.

"Frank," said his mother, "wear it for Abuela. She loves you so much and has been lonely ever since we moved away."

So Frank, sweaty and angry, headed to the market with only a few pesos in his pocket.

The sun was beaming, and Frank realized that his head was sweating. He reached up to scratch his head but ended up rubbing the hot wool of his brown knit beanie.

All of a sudden, he imagined his abuela speaking to him. "Make a wish, Francisco. My magical love for you is woven into your knitwear."

Frank laughed aloud to himself as he imagined money falling from the sky. But, alas, his vision came true when a monetary bill fell at his feet.

He couldn't believe his good fortune and reached up to his cap to make sure he wasn't dreaming. What could he do with this money? He imagined buying a comic book like those he had seen in the movies, but there were no comic book stores in this small town. However, suddenly one appeared in the market. What?! With trepidation, Frank walked into the comic book store and stared incredulously at aisles and aisles of comic books filled with superheroes and villains. He used his money to purchase three and wandered back into the bright daylight.

But the market was filled with strangers, and he had no one with whom he could share his books. In that moment, he knew what he had to do. He rubbed his cap one last time and pictured his friend Felix who lived near his abuela in the mountains of Peru.

Felix appeared as soon as Frank imagined him. They embraced, and Frank showed the coveted comic books to Felix. They walked back home, laughing, reading, and talking about how much they had missed one another.

Frank folded his magic knitwear into a drawer and wrote a very special thank you note to his beloved abuela.

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