The Last Edition of 2015-2016

The Data

Data Breakdown

As promised, here is an overall breakdown of the data from this year's ELL VCC and the outcomes generated through it.

  • 95% of teachers saw student success increase with the use of sentence stems or sentence frames

  • 82% of teachers found that student success increased with regular tracking using a conversation counter, checklist, tracker, or a rubric

  • 12% of teachers found that goal setting with the students resulted in increased success

  • 33% of teachers found that changing student levels of engagement through art or other active strategies increased student understanding

Teaching Channel

  • The average number of posts or comments from August 24, 2015 through June 1, 2016 was approximately 5 per week excluding the spikes for training and the lulls for breaks, totaling 622.
  • Official videos from the Teaching Channel library equaled 575 hits throughout the school year averaging around 3 per week excluding the spikes for training and the lulls for breaks.
  • User generated video plays totaled 871 for the school year and averaged approximately 8 per week excluding the spikes for training and the lulls for breaks.
  • User generated video uploads totaled 668 videos. Eliminating the tutorial videos that were uploaded for using the technology, there were 660 videos. While there were noticeable spikes during training, there were also other notable spikes during other times of the school year; for example, on 12/10/15 there was a spike with 23 videos uploaded.
  • Video notes on user generated videos numbered at 427, with the most notable spike happening during the training in which we gave participants time to do notes. As well as directly following the training on 2/25/16 with a total of 29 notes.


Teachers have found success with both the use of sentence stems/frames as well as with specific tracking of student use of academic language. In addition to this, the strategies used by teachers that included either art elements or movement also showed an increase in student engagement and overall success in learning. Teachers are actively using the Teaching Channel platform to mine ideas and for learning purposes. Teachers are still learning how to utilize the aspects of the platform that support self and peer coaching at a high level.

Next Steps:

  1. Continue the use of stems/frames to support students' acquisition of academic language.
  2. Increase the use of stems/frames that support students using specific language for the content, e.g. speaking and writing like a scientist, historian, mathematician, etc.
  3. Develop specific tracking devices that will allow for consistent and easy tracking of students' language use as well as provide feedback.
  4. Develop assessments that show students' progression, plateau, or decline in language acquisition during the school year.
  5. Continue recording the students during specific lessons and posting those recordings to the platform for review and feedback.
  6. Increase the number of videos posted.
  7. Increase self and peer feedback notes on posted videos in order to document and evaluate the data the videos provide on student learning and the efficacy of strategies/lessons used.
  8. Increase use of virtual space for collaboration to lessen the impact on time and the school day.
  9. Continue to care about the learning each and every student in our classroom so that they can grow and become their very best.

The End of the Year

It's the end of the year, and for most of us, this has been a whirlwind of learning. It certainly has been for those of us leading the ELL VCC. We did some things well, we did some things poorly, and we learned a whole lot from the process. We are grateful for all of you who came along for the ride this year.

For those of you who are ready to get back on this wild ride next year, here is what it will look like.

Teachers will be given the opportunity to jump back on board the ride with John Kerr and the new ELL PD specialist (more news on that coming soon) to extend into Professional Learning Communities through specific ELL PD being offered next year.

John will be sending out more information as it becomes available.

I am sure that many of you have heard that Megan Anderson-Reilly is jumping on a new wild ride of her own. She will be working as a co-teacher at Washington Middle School next year. She is looking forward to once again having a class of her own, as well as working closely with the teachers at Washington in instructional rounds focused on ELL instruction.

As for Jodi (that would be me), I am off on a new ride into the Kent school district to once again teach English at the high school level. I am excited to implement all of the amazing learning I have done these past two years as I've worked with the talented and versatile teachers of the Yakima School District.

But not to fear, the ELL VCC will be expertly taken in hand by John Kerr as our Chief Bilingual Officer and the newly appointed ELL PD Specialist. Tanya Randolf and Christina Carlson will continue to offer support and guidance as needed as well.

One last thought...

As we head into a new age of teaching, I know we all see the importance of learning how to apply technology to what we do. This year, learning new technology, getting it to function when and as we needed it, and experiencing the learning challenges that come along with it, was a great experience for all of us, even if it doesn't feel that way now. I would encourage you to think of that cognitive struggle, the frustration that came with it, and that sense of accomplishment when you finally got it, and apply that feeling to what your students feel every day they are faced with new and challenging learning. For many of them, just understanding what people are saying to them all day long and how our culture functions is at that same terminal level of frustration that many of you experienced trying to upload a video from the tablet, or download one from the website.

I would also encourage you to continue to explore the world of virtual meeting spaces. There are many opportunities out there, webinars, blogs, chat groups, etc, for you to collaborate with talented and knowledgeable professionals all over the world. And because it is virtual, there is no travel, no hotels, essentially no cost to you, to collaborate. Many of us feel more comfortable face to face, I certainly felt that way until I did my Masters degree online, but we are increasingly living in a world of communication that occurs via the web. I encourage you to explore and take advantage of it. You can communicate and collaborate with people in minutes and hours rather than in hours and days through technology.

Finally, please consider ways to make Puzzles of Practice a yearly, perhaps quarterly, part of your professional growth. Criterion 8 specifically asks teachers to become action researchers through the creation and development of a growth goal. A Puzzle of Practice is a growth goal. Many of you have seen the difference the exploration of a puzzle around your teaching has made in the learning of your students. Whether you continue with the ELL VCC in the future or not, I encourage you to continue to ask questions about your own practice, what you can do differently or new to impact your students' learning, and how you can change and grow as a professional. Think of that moment of triumph when that darn video finally got where it was supposed to go (or you got the tablet logged in)! You can have that same feeling every time you explore a Puzzle of Practice.

Thank you again for all that you did this year and all that you will continue to do moving forward to change and enhance the lives of our English language learners. Every step you take makes a huge difference in their worlds.