BAP019 Dr. Katie Toppel of #ELLchat_BkClub

Do you want personalized professional development where you can interact with the authors of the books you’re studying?  Well, now you can do that for free with #ELLChat_BkClub and this week we hear from one of the co–founders, Katie Toppel, Ed.D.  I interviewed Dr. Toppel this week and you can listen to the whole show right here:

Katie is a K-5 English language development specialist from Oregon and an awesome contributor to any PLN.

Katie shares tips for teachers of English learners and talks about how she and her team are ensuring that language development is happening throughout the school day vs. just  during their designated ELD time. We talk about her current role in a school that used to only have pull-out as an ESL model.  Katie was able to make a case for changing their model and as a result, was granted permission to begin co-teaching which has proven beneficial for the students.  This lead her to begin reading Andrea Honigsfeld book, Collaboration and Co-Teaching for English Learners: A Leader’s Guide.

Katie also explains how reading PD books like this, and wanting to collaborate with other educators about them, is what lead her to create an online book club.  She, together with Tan Huynh, started the popular slow chat, #Ellchat_Bkclub.  I’m a big fan of the chat!  I’ve participated in several rounds and I’m grateful that the group did a round on Boosting Achievement.  As an author, I gained a great deal of insight on how teachers were using the book and their input helped me better the work that I do.

Katie and Tan have created a highly effective personalized PD opportunity for teachers of ELs with this ongoing chat.  And you can jump in any time!  I would check it out even before you get the book we are studying.  We both agree that you can gain a great deal of insight by just following the posts.

For those that want to join in, check this out! Katie did a guest blog on Larry Ferlazzo’s site that gives us all we need to know about joining and participating. a guest blog to help teachers who might want to know more about how to join the chat: PD in Your PJs, How to Navigate #ELLchat_BkClub by Katie Toppel, EdD. 

I’m super grateful to have Katie in my PLN because of how she has brought us all together and also because of all that she is sharing. I was thrilled to have her stay with me in Houston for the TxTESOL State conference.  I picked her brain the entire time and now I can call her my friend.

Actually, we can all be grateful that she came to the conference.  She not only came to share and learn with us, she took the QSSSA strategy that we love and added to it.  This is a video where Katie explains the technique and how she added a twist at the end for her students to practice a bit more oral language.  She calls it QSSSA+

We also spent some time talking about the importance of a safe atmosphere for our ELs to take risks.  If we want our students to take risks with language, we want to create an environment where they have opportunities to practice the language.  This QSSSA+ is a great way to have all of your students speaking authentically and then practicing and repeating responses in unison.  She compares this strategy to the “Simon Says” technique that Carlota Holder presented in our #VirtuEL17 conference.

Katie was also a presenter in that conference and you can watch her session right here:

Katie also makes sure that we have the website for the book club.  There you can find links to all the books we have studied so far:

I’m so grateful to call Katie my friend.  She is the type of person that lifts you up and helps you realize that we can come together to make profound changes to the way we are serving our language learners.  She is out there making a difference in the world and proving that together, there is no stopping us.

Thanks again, Dr. Katie Toppel!

Before I sign off, I want to shout out to Diana Delaney, Amanda Grobe & Chrissie Driskel for the great meet up in Atlanta this week.

 It was a thrill to see you guys and hear Diane Staehr Fenner as the keynote for the Georgia ESOL conference!  I enjoyed presenting about Boosting Achievement an Using Technology with ELLs.

For anyone who wants to join me for a full day of these trainings, please join us in Houston or DFW area in March of 2o17.  You won’t regret it!  Below are details.

Thanks again for listening and stay awesome!



PS: Would you like more support?  To book me to come work with you and your staff, just reach out to me or Kathy Belanger:

See also these opportunities:

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