Coaching Corner

Volume 1 / Issue 2: Tips, Tools and Resources

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STEM Challenge

Who will build the tallest tower? Will it be a class from Benson? Or Arroyo? Or Orchard Hills? Or Heritage? We thought it would be fun to do a STEM challenge where schools are competing against each other. Take pictures and tweet using #TUSDSTEM and @TUSDSTEM. Use this Haiku page to guide them through the Engineering Design Process.
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Writer's Workshop

As students write and write and write, it may be challenging for them to think of new ideas. One way to break out of the norm is to change the paper that you give them every day. Students might be stuck when they constantly see that they have to draw a picture and then write on the lines. See below for some ideas!
Providing and then Withholding Scaffolding to Support one Child’s Early Understanding of Narrative Structure (K-2)

Conferring (K-2)

Providing and then Withholding Scaffolding to Support one Child’s Early Understanding of Narrative Structure (K-2)

This video also shows student work on blank pieces of paper.

Talking with English Language Learners about Their Writing

by Tasha Tropp Laman

A writing conference is one of the best ways to help English language learners grow, both in their knowledge of the English language and as writers. In a writing conference (Anderson 2000; Calkins 1994), the teacher interviews a student to help the student decide what they wish to communicate and provides specific instruction to help the student do so.


A writing conference, like any authentic conversation, can feel awkward. Many teachers don’t even allow themselves to attempt a conversation with English language learners, particularly with newcomers to English. However, to learn a language, students need to use the language in an expressive context, through talking and writing. When we do not speak the languages our students speak, we worry about the messiness of trying to communicate. But without that messiness, these students don’t get an opportunity to learn. By listening and talking to children in writing conferences, we let them know that they matter and that their writing matters, too. Regardless of the level your multilingual students are at in learning English, you can help them grow as writers. Following are some communication tools that help facilitate communication with students who are new to English.


Communication Tools for Emerging English Language Learners

• Learn key phrases in your students’ languages in order to convey that we are all language learners in school.

• Demonstrate drawing for the student so they know that this is an important way of communicating when you do not speak the same languages.

• Point to the drawing and say words in English and ask your student to say the names of the objects in their language(s).

• Sit next to the child and smile while talking. This simple gesture does a lot to ease anxiety.

• If your student is literate in other languages, use Google Translate (www.translate.google.com) or BabelFish (www.babelfish.com) to translate directions. The translations aren’t perfect, but they can be helpful for students who speak languages you don’t. Because multilingual students are too often on the periphery of classroom life, we need to invite them into the center of learning by engaging them in writing conferences. In every writing conference with every student, we are engaged in understanding our multilingual students as people and as writers. Next are some examples of strategies and specific language you can use to reach and teach multilingual writers, which are designed to help you create a vision of what writing conferences can look and sound like with multilingual writers.

Click here to continue reading this article.

The Importance of Developing Number Sense

Jo Boaler Clip on number sense

Google Classroom

Check out the new Google Classroom JOT.
Google Classroom


Past JOTs:

Flexible Learning Environments

Fountas and Pinnell Phonics Resources

Need more support in using your new Phonics Resources? Check out this video tutorial by Karen Knudson: F&P Phonics Resources. Use this Getting to Know Your Resources page as you watch the video.

Keepin' It Real

You're so awesome that you made it down to the end of this! My son turned 2 this week!

Check out a few people I follow on Twitter.

Check out past issues here.

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