Without a doubt, we are in an exciting tome of change for education. One reason for the excitement is that many states are moving to unify academic standards. As our society becomes more transient, it makes sense that we want to prevent gaps in a student's education that can occur if that child moves. The misalignment that occurs when one state is teaching life cycles in third grade yet the neighboring state is teaching the standard in second grade leaves students who move with deficits. This implementation of academic standards across the United States is called the Common Core. This week will introduce you to many resources that will help you plan lessons around these academic standards.
As a classroom teacher, pacing your lessons becomes a balance of teaching for mastery and introducing the concepts expected in the standards. How do you know when to speed up, slow, down, or skip a concept or skill altogether? Assessment becomes the driver of your instruction. This week, your reading and activities will help you gain insight on how assessment is an actual tool that will better your instructional focus.
Conversations about changing education in today's world include the talks about technology:how to use it; when to use; who should use it.... Educators wrestle with these questions and more as students come to school with high tech abilities and needs. This week will offer some resources for you to consider as education moves towards more implementations of devices.
- Describe how using technology in the classroom can support English language learners.
- Examine strategies for ensuring English language learners meet common core standards.
- Discuss effective assessments for English language learners.
In your text,Practical Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners, read:
- Chapter 8: Actively Assessing and Monitoring Academic Progress of English Language Learners in the General Education Classroom
- Chapter 10: Facilitating School, Family, and Community Involvement for the English Language Learner
Discussion # 1
- Making It Click
View the video, Making It Click: Assessment with Technology, and address the following questions:
- How does the use of this technology foster whole class engagement in Ms. Hockgrebe’s classroom?
- How does this technology assess English language learners?
- Aside from clickers, what other types of technology could you incorporate into your class to better support and assess ELLs?
- How can this technology promote the listening and speaking skills of ELLs?
Guided Response: Review three of your classmates’ posts and compare their ideas with your own. Add your own suggestions for using technology.
Assessment of ELLS
Assessments & Critical Thinking
Read Chapter 8 of Practical Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners. Also, read and review the required links about the SOLOM assessment.
Answer the following critical thinking questions in a well-written paper. Your paper should be three to five pages in length, not including title and reference pages. Cite a minimum of two scholarly sources and use proper APA format as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Why should we test ELLs? Identify at least three purposes and explain rationales for doing so.
- Discuss the differences between each of the following and give an example of each: criterion-referenced and norm-referenced tests, externally produced and teacher-produced tests, formative and summative evaluations, one-dimensional and multidimensional testing.
- Establish reasons authentic assessments and performance assessments are effective for ELLs.
- Describe why it is important to have multiple measures of assessment, especially for ELLs.
- Explain why the SOLOM is an effective tool to examine the oral language skills of your ELLs.
- Produce some other ways you can assess the listening and speaking skills of ELLs.
Please number each response and make sure that you answer all the questions in their entirety.
Discussion #2-- ELLs and Common Core
View the video, Kenji Hakuta on ELLs and the Common Core Standards. Then respond to the following questions:
- What does Kenji Hakuta say are the challenges that English language learners have when in school and in relation to the common core standards?
- What do educators, administrators, and policy makers need to know about the common core standards and English language learners?
- In viewing this video, what strategies can teachers and administrations use to ensure ELLs meet the common core standards?
- What do you think of this video and Mr. Hakuta’s final words of advice?
Guided Response: Review and respond to three of your classmates’ posts. Compare their ideas with your own. Clarify your understandings of ELLs and the common core standards.
Involving the Community
Read Chapter 10 of Practical Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners. Answer the following reflection questions:
- How have you cultivated community partnerships?
- Why would involving families and communities in your classroom be effective?
- How can you nurture these relationships in order to support the listening and speaking skills of your ELLs?
From the Trenches...
From the administrator's viewpoint, I teamed with my principal to hold monthly coffee chats before school. This helped families learn pertinent topics such as the new common core standards, anti bullying strategies, and positive parenting topics. I also designed a power point informational workshop to increase family involvement with our annual science fair. But the most important action I took was to be a daily greeter out among campus. I opened car doors and took time to greet each family. This is what families want, a caring administrator who is personable and readily available to chat.
In the classroom, communication took the shape of newsletters, emails, phone calls, and invitations to come in to see us in action. Working families were welcomed to join us for night events such as a poetry session, living history walk, and the Open House. We hadfun literacy nights and a multicultural faire. Interpreters helped bridge language barriers whenever needed.
Over the years, I've done many different activities that bridge class and home such as cultural bears, make at home picture books, and family quilts. No matter what, families want you to reach out and communicate; and not just the negative! Children only have one chance to be in each grade, and you the teacher create the energy of that year by partnering with families!