English Language Development

December 2015

Best Wishes for the Holidays!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break and that you were able to spend time with friends and family! It's hard to believe that 2015 is almost over; the year certainly went by quickly. I'm really excited for the holidays though, and I look forward to hearing all about your holiday plans through your children!

In this edition of Timber Trail ELD news, you are going to find information regarding WIDA Access, which is yearly English proficiency assessment the students take in January. And as always, I will keep you up-to-date with what your students are working on, as well as ways you can support your child at home.

Take care,

x Rachel Gerfen

WIDA ACCESS 2.0 English Proficiency Assessment

Current federal education legislation requires an annual English proficiency assessment of all English Language Learners (ELLs) who are either receiving or not receiving English Language Development (ELD) services. To meet this federal requirement, the WIDA ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State) 2.0 for ELLs assessment will be given in our district from January 11th, 2016 to February 12th, 2016.

The format for the assessment will be different than prior years. While the kindergartners will still be taking a paper-based, interactive assessment, grades one through five will be assessed online for listening, speaking, and reading English proficiency. The writing assessment will still be paper-based for first through third grade, while the fourth and fifth graders will type their written responses into the computer program.

I am currently in the process of introducing the new format to the students through a student practice test. I will particularly be focusing on the the speaking section, which requires students to record their responses using a microphone on a headset. I want to make sure that the students are comfortable with the technology before starting the actual assessment next month.

During the month of January, it would be helpful if you could avoid appointments which may take your child out of school. However, if there are any unavoidable events, please just let me know in advance, so I can adjust the testing schedule. Also, it will help your child perform their best if they have had a good night’s rest, a healthy breakfast, and comes to school with a positive attitude.

The results from the test will assist me in planning instruction and services for your child. After the district receives the results, you will be notified and sent a report summary. I'll also schedule a meeting with you to discuss what the scores mean in terms of English language proficiency. The results typically come out late April/early May.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me. More information regarding the ACCESS test can be found at www.wida.us.

Language Focus for December

Language Focus:

Compare and Contrast

Sequence and Narrate

Describe and Explain

Topics (Related to grade-level PBL/Student-Chosen topics):

Kindergarten--Sequencing Stories

The kindergarteners are working on sequencing stories orally. We've been reading many different stories related to the holiday season. Afterwards, the students practice sequencing the story using complete sentences and simple transition words.

1st Grade--Reviewing a Recipe

The first graders are finishing up their science experiments related to liquids and solids. They will then observe changes in states of matter as they create a no-bake treat. They will then need to write a review of the treat using detailed descriptions, which they have been working on.

2nd Grade--Compare and Contrast

The second graders are finishing up their compare and contrast research papers. They've been learning about how to "hook" the reader using descriptive actions. They are also working on using different language structures for compare and contrast

(i.e. ________, but _________; ________, however, _______; __________, while _________).

3rd Grade--No 3rd grade students

4th Grade--Animal Adaptations

The fourth grade PBL revolves around animal adaptations and biomes. We are working on researching different animals, as well as how to paraphrase ideas. They are also working on reviewing their favorite book. They've been learning how to use more descriptive verbs to enhance their writing.

5th Grade--Mythology

The fifth graders have been working on reading and analyzing different mythological stories. They have made their way through Hercules and the Twelve Tasks, Hercules and the Hydra, and Narcissus and Echo. As they read these myths, they've been analyzing the purpose behind them, and how they relate to the overall structure of a hero's journey. They will be comparing and contrasting these myths in the upcoming days, as well as creating their own myth about a theme that's important to them.

*During the last week before break, all students will be participating in a holiday/season related activity that focuses on using descriptive details.

How can I help my child at home?

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Ideas for Creating Holiday Learning Traditions by Colorin' Colorado

This holiday season consider adding some new traditions for your family that will make meaningful memories and strengthen foundations for reading and learning success.

Listen, Laugh, Learn

  • Listen to audio books while you're traveling to visit family, wrapping gifts or cooking for the holidays.
  • Lyrics to holiday songs are fun to read and sing together. It is also good fun and good collaborative writing practice to make up your own lyrics to familiar tunes.
  • Start a story-telling tradition by revisiting holidays of the past. Old family photographs at holiday gatherings will help prompt stories about your own life and family traditions.

Read, Relax, Respond

  • Put reading and writing skills to practical use. Plan holiday meals by reading cookbooks together, writing the shopping lists and finding the needed items at the store by reading signs and labels. Read the recipe and cook together. During the simmering and baking, kids can write and decorate menus or place cards for special holiday meals.
  • Set aside time just for reading. Curl up on the couch together and read aloud an old favorite or check out books about another culture's winter celebrations.
  • Work on those letters. Improve writing skills with letters to Santa and writing thank you notes for holiday gifts to relatives and friends.


Upcoming Dates!

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November 30th-December 4th

December 7th-11th

December 9th--District ELD Meeting 11:00-3:00

December 10th--I'm out of the building in the afternoon for an appointment, so no ELD services after 1pm.

December 14th-17th

December 15th--Special Services Plan Day--No ELD services

December 18th-January 3rd

Winter Break--No School! Have a wonderful break!!