BAP050 When You Create Something!

Are your students creating things?  Are you?

There is so much pay off when we create something.  You can download this episode wherever you get your podcasts or just listen to it right here:

Why Should We Create?

To get a sense of why we want our students creating, just consider when YOU create something.  It takes more out of you.  Analysis, application, reflection… so much cognitive heavy lifting happens when we create.

I want to thank you for reading this blog or listening to the podcast.  The show and this website are a great example of what I’m talking about.  Creating blog posts or podcast episodes actually forces reflection.  It is one of the main reasons I do it.  I know that I will be reflecting on my craft or my philosophies whenever I put a show or post together.

How Does This Look in a Classroom?

My friend, Shilpa Palawat gave me permission to use a recent conversation we had as an example.  Shilpa is a 2nd-year teacher.  She, like many of us, feels that she is not doing enough for her students. She expressed to me that she wishes she were more seasoned in her practice so she could be helping the students learn more.


I’m so glad Shilpa came to the Long Island ESOL conference so that we could spend the rest of the day chatting and sight-seeing in New York.

Long Island ESOL 2019

Before I go further, I want to mention that we were at The Long Island ESOL Conference and it was AMAZING.  Put that on your calendar for next year.  It is a 1/2 day conference at Molloy College that happens this time each year.  Andrea Honigsfel and the other organizers are determined to keep the conference affordable and accessible to teachers.  I was honored to serve on the opening panel and share in the break out sessions.

My sessions are summarized right here if you were unable to attend and would like to hear most of what I shared. I have two sessions geared to students who are older or adult learners.  I shared techniques that are proving successful to help accelerate language acquisition and literacy for these learners.

I’m excited to tell you that Emily Francis was also presenting a session in North Carolina on this same day.  I am always sad not to get to hear Emily present.  But guess what!  Emily is ALSO blogging about her breakout sessions so she ALSO has a blog post with videos and links for those of us who could not be in her session.  It is right here.

Building Our Students Up

So during our outing in NYC, Shilpa and I talked about what kind of things she was doing in her classroom.  She was very humble and described how she adapts text for her students and works with them in different ways.  She sounds very dedicated.  One of the most impressive activities, in my opinion, was what she calls Monday Melodies and Tuesday Tunes.  Shilpa is adapting a project I borrowed from Noa Daniel.  PLEASE follow Noa for great ideas about building outside the blocks.  (blocks of time, blocks of curriculum silos, blocks of grading periods, etc…)

Shilpa’s students are delivering a modified version of the project and she reports that they love it.  OF COURSE they love it!  The project asks students to reflect on songs that describe them.

This video is an example of this “Personal Playlist” project one of my newcomers presented last year.

I learned from following Noa that these projects can be built outside of our blocks of time.  Students chose this or another project and these only take 5 minutes of class time on the date the student indicates that they will be ready to share.  So many of my students said these presentations were their favorite part of our year.  They reported that they felt seen and heard. And that they learned so much about each other.

I hope Shilpa realizes that helping students feel seen and heard is one of the MOST important things we can do for young people.  If you think this kind of thing is not as important as academics, I would argue.  Helping students feel important should be at the front of every teacher’s mind.

Consider these messages.  Don’t you agree that if a student believes these four messages, they will eventually find success in what they are trying to learn?  Our founder, John Seidlitz, makes sure that all of our trainings help teachers convey these messages to their students.  I can clearly see how Shilpa is helping her students get these messages from her.

Another way you can help students feel important, in any class, is how you honor them for what they are able to learn and contribute.  We can do that by the way we question.  I again mention the QSSSA questioning strategy.  You might like this article that describes the process.It is a great blogpost by Valentina Gonzales.

The planning pages for the Personal Playlist project are right here.  You can also download them here:

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Don’t forget to follow Noa Daniel and check out her website  I absolutely love her Personal Playlist Podcast and I think you will too!

Hope this show gave you some things to reflect upon.  It certainly did for me.  I very much appreciate that you dropped by!

Thank you again, Shilpa and thanks to Andrea Honigfeld and everyone at Mulloy college.   Here are a few more LIESOL2019 photos just for good measure.  So happy to connect with all of these EduHEROES!



Hope to see you soon!  Don’t forget that I’m the keynote speaker for #MABEMI19 coming up in May.  Join us if you can!

Thursday & Friday, May 9-10, 2019
The Dearborn Inn

 20301 Oakwood Blvd  
Dearborn, MI 48124

(313) 271-2700

6 thoughts on “BAP050 When You Create Something!

  1. Carol thank you so much! I have been teaching ESL for over 13 years and like Shilpa I question my effectiveness every day. It is esteemed colleagues such as your self that help to validate what I am doing and more importantly guide me to a higher level of teaching and learning consciousness. I look forward to seeing you at MABE and just know that your influence upon me will be peppered throughout my presentation. I am honored to know you

    • Audry- You and Shilpa are both so amazing! I’m honored to know both of you. Even your comment here is a testament to your obvious passion and your influence on the field. I look forward to a strong hug a MABE. I’m the one that is honored!

  2. How do students “give” you a clip of a song for their Personal Playlist? Asking for a technology-challenged friend;)

    • Hey Jenny!
      My answer is pretty lame. The kids just send me the youtube link (email or they embed it in their ppt). I watch it ahead of time and I play a little bit of it. Some of my students tell me where they want me to start the song. Some have actually figured out how to clip music with an app like audacity or iMovie. I never do it for them because it is just easier for us to play the Youtube version and start and stop it. But some kids will just be more proficient that we are with tech. (go figure)

  3. Hi Carol,
    I’m just finishing up the Personal Playlist project with my students they have started their presentation. I have loved listening to their presentations and understanding them on a completely different level. I too am wondering if you have any tips for inserting or submitting their music to you. I had students copy the link but it was difficult and I’m still trying to learn how to clip a video, I haven’t mastered that yet! I’m watching youtube videos to learn. I added a piece where we celeberate each student in a positive way to celebrate each student as they presented. We created a list as a class/serveral periods added to the list and the students had to give a note written on a piece of srap paper I passed out. I gave them participation so they would be activly participating. I see the student referring to the list and adding to it as the presentations evolve. Thank you so much.

    • Hi Monica! I’m thrilled to see that you are also using Noa’s Personal Playlist project. I love the spin you put on it.
      To answer your question, I am not spending time clipping music videos. We have too much going on! I know we can do that in iMovie or Camtasia or other programs but I just find the song on Youtube (kids email me the link or they embed it into their ppt) and I watch it ahead of time (to be sure it is appropriate) and then I play a part of it. Some kids will surprise you with their tech skills. Even our SLIFE seem to master some of these things quickly. So they can clip it if they want. But I never even discussed that with kids. Some just gave me clips already embedded and most just gave me the link in an email or in their ppt. I hope that helps. Whatever works! TFeel free to share if you find a better way. Also, you may want to reach out to @noasbobs and ask how she does it. Let’s reach out to her on Twitter!

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