BAP063 Grading and Assessing English Learners

Grading English Learners can seem to be a difficult task but this need not be the case.  I have three friends from our PLN to help me tackle this topic and they bring with them great insight and practical resources for you to use. You can listen to the show in your favorite podcast app or right here:

Listen to “BAP063 Grading and Assessing ELs” on Spreaker.

Big thanks to my guests on this show! This is what they told us about themselves.  These descriptions are only a fraction of their bios which include significant contributions to the field:

Dr. Katie Toppel is a K-5 English Language Development Specialist from Portland, OR the co-founder of #ELLChat_BkClub. Katie is a former adjunct professor for Portland State where she taught courses such as Assessment of English Learners.

Tan Huynh is the author of the popular blog, EmpoweringELLs.com, Tan is the other co-founder of #ELLChat_BkClub and a co-founder of the annual, online VirtuEL conference.  He is currently the designated EL teacher at an international school in Vietnam.

Valentina Gonzalez is a former elementary teacher, ESL Facilitator and PD Specialist from Houston, Texas.  She is currently an Educational Consultant and content creator for Seidlitz Education.

As you listen to this episode, you’ll hear us mention the following resources:

#SeidlitzEdChat

Valentina hosts the popular #SeidlitzEdChat on Twitter every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm CT.  Click on this Twitter moment link to see some of the tweets shared on Dec 17th in a #SeidlitzEdChat about grading.  Tan Huynh co-moderated this chat and turned out to be the catalyst for this show!

These chats are a fantastic place to share our learning and growing in our understanding of how to best serve ELs.

Grading Newcomers, A Can-Do Approach by Emily Francis

A great blog post by Emily Francis was shared that helps us see how she uses the WIDA Can-Do descriptors to guide her in assessing and grading English Learners. Emily was a guest author on Tan’s blog and you can read her post in its entirety here. Emily shares her step-by-step process for using the descriptors.  The post not only has links to WIDA charts and resources, Emily also includes Kindergarten through 12th grade progress reports for you to copy!

 

Interactive Tool for Using Can Do Descriptors by Dr. Irina McGrath and Michelle Shory

If you are part of our PLN, you likely know the names Dr. Irina McGrath & Michelle Shory. If not, start following these EL greats asap. They routinely share tools they have created for supporting EL teachers and their students.  Irina and Michelle created an interactive tool that makes it easy to access each of the descriptors electronically.  Simply roll over the levels and and descriptor  pops up for you to read.  As usual, they have shared it for us to make our own copy here.  

 

Middle Web articles by Valentina Gonzalez & Tan Huynh

For further reading on the topic of Grading and Assessing English Learners, don’t miss the following articles written by our guests earlier this year:

How We Can Fairly Assess English Learners is by

Design Your Tests with English Learners in Mind is by TAN HUYNH

Another Great Article by Larry Ferlazzo

We also mention that Larry Ferlazzo describes grading as just one form of communication to parents.  In this blog post, Larry and his partner teacher, Katie Hull Sypnieski, share their common sense philosophy on the topic of grading.  In it, they describe being bewildered by the angst and stress of teachers when grading ELs.  “We view grades as information.  They are one of many forms of communication we use with students and their parents, and definitely not the most important kind.   As Rick Wormeli says, they are not rewards or punishments.” – Larry Ferlazzo  Read the entire post here. This insight is well worth our time!

Dr. Katie Toppel’s Reading Suggestions and ELLCHAT_BkClub

In the show, Katie mentions the learning we are getting right now in this round of ELLChat_BkClub.  The current text is Breaking Down the Wall and it offers a great chapter on shifting how we see assessment of learning to assessment for and as learning.  

This is just one example of the many #ELLChat_BkClub featured resources that help us get a clearer understanding of best practices for assessing English Learners.  We highly recommend that you join us if you are not already plugged in!  Check out all the books we have studied at the website Katie created.

Another text recommended by Dr. Toppel is Assessing English Language Learners by Margo Gottlieb. 

 

 

Thank you again to my guests for this show and as always, thank YOU for tuning in!

HUGS,

Carol

BAP062 Padlets, Reflection and More

Want free resources to help with English Learners?  Many of us are coming up on a break and may actually have TIME to reflect and do some self-directed PD.  This show offers some thoughts on that and also resources to make the most of it!

Listen to the show right here:
Listen to “BAP062 Padlets, Reflecting and More” on Spreaker.

A break is always right around the corner.  You may be in an area of the world where you are not breaking for winter but perhaps you have a few days off or a weekend with an hour or so to think about your craft.

First and foremost, take care of YOU!

Bitmoji ImageThis is an area of weakness for me.  I am energized by my PLN and all the resources available to us so I don’t always take down time the way I should.  In the show I reflect on that and how even a walk in a green space, or a chat with a like-minded friend, can help us clear our minds and get our heads in the right space for supporting others.  Be sure to take time to keep yourself mentally healthy.  We all care about students.  We have to be mindful that we care about our own mental well being as well. Bitmoji Image In the show I reflect on that and how even a walk in a green space, or a chat with a like-minded friend, can help us clear our minds and get our heads in the right space for supporting others.  Be sure to take time to keep yourself mentally healthy.  We all care about students.  We have to be mindful that we care about our own mental well being as well.

When we DO have time to spend on self-directed learning, we want to make the most of it.  Even if we have seen some of the strategies or resources in the past, what we lack is time to reflect with our current students or our current situation in mind.  To that end, I want to offer you some resources to help you if you have 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 weeks to sharpen your pedagogical sword:

THE PADLETS

If you go to my padlet dashboard, you’ll see a few electronic pads that hold resources for the trainings I give.  You’ll also see a few padlets that have been shared with me.

Here is the link to my dashboard:  padlet.com/CarolSalva1

From my dashboard you should be able to open different electronic pads.  These are simply a place to hold resources when I’m asked to share something in a training.  You will see a lot of overlap.  I don’t think about how to structure these too much.  They are really just repositories so when I am working with a group of teachers, we can easily share a document, video, link or other media.  But as a result, they have a ton of resources that are great for reflection!

These are the most popular padlets:

The Boosting Achievement Padlet.  – We use this for the Boosting Achievement of SLIFE training.  ESL/ELD teachers and content teachers attend this training and walk away with a shift in mindset about what every child is able to do at grade level and beyond grade level.

The Rapid Literacy Padlet – I’m often told that teachers want a deeper dive into literacy.  This is our padlet for Rapid Literacy Training. Upper elementary and secondary teachers want Balanced Literacy to make sense when you have pre-literate students in upper grades.

Using Technology with English Learners – This is a collection of links we share when we deliver the “Using Tech with ELLs” training.  Don’t misunderstand, it is not about any particular link or app.  You’ll find our “Five Keys to Using Tech” rubric on the padlet.  THAT is the essence of the training.  HOW are we using technology with ELs?  That rubric offers great opportunities for reflection and the links just offer examples to meet different tech goals.

But don’t miss these!

They are a GOLDMINE of resources that can help you reflect on what you want to teach and how moving forward:

Success Stories for Working with SLIFE (or any ELs) – This padlet is being created by educators globally.  We have collected narratives that can help inspire students that come from difficult circumstances.  These “grit narratives” can offer compelling text and help with mindset as you work on ESL or grade-level standards.

Booksnaps from Boosting Achievement – Thank you Emily Francis for creating this padlet!  It holds a TON of book images from our Boosting Achievement book.  This is exactly why you really don’t need to purchase the book to be able to learn from it.  Just scroll through the pics of what other educators found significant.  Also, try your hand at #BookSnaps! The awesome Tara Martin offers us this post ways to do it. (Please cite the author and source as you share text images)

Who to Follow as You Reflect

First, I would be honored to be connected with you on Twitter, on Facebook or through a subscription to this blog. You are helping me learn and I appreciate you for that.

Who am I following?? That is always a tough one because I am following THOUSANDS of people!  I have filters and lists but everyone in my PLN is super valuable to me.  But to keep it sane, I do the following:

Larry Ferlazzo is the top person I suggest to teachers of ELs.  He is STILL teaching and he also writes books on ESL and teaching in general.  He is well respected and regularly gathers resources and “Best” lists for us.  You don’t have to be a PD junkie… just follow one like Larry. He is a great filter!

I follow him here on Twitter here.

I follow him on Facebook here.

I subscribe to Larry’s blog and I love that I get a daily email from him with fresh posts, ideas and links.  I always take a moment to check that when I get a moment in the day.  Usually as soon as I wake up.

Our PLN on Twitter and Facebook is a huge source for my learning.  They are constantly helping me reflect and adjust my practice even now as a coach and consultant.  These are the hashtags I follow on TweetDeck (a platform that offers you a view of multiple feeds):

#ELLChat – Judie Haynes and Karen Nemeth have been doing this chat for TEN YEARS and now you can check the feed all week long. But try to follow it on Monday nights at 9pm ET if you get a chance as well. Also thanks to Shaley Santiago for archiving all those chats.

#ELLChat_BkClub – Tan Huynh and Katie Toppel have offered us an amazing way to work our way through books even if you are not a voracious reader and even if you only have a few minutes to check into it.  Just search that hashtag at any time and you will find educators collaborating around a great text important to the support of ELs.   I highly suggest that you join one of the chats!  But I highly suggest everyone just follow the feed as able as well.

I also follow #Newcomers #SLIFE #SIFE #ESOL  #ESL #ELLs from time to time I mix it up.

VirtuEL

Let’s remember that we have years of open-source conference content for teachers of ELs through the VirtuEL annual conference.

Tan Huynh and I have created one of the most quality conferences that is available to anyone regardless of funds or geographic location.  No login or registration is required!  We have keynote speakers like Larry Ferlazzo, Dr. Jana Echevarria, Nancy Motley and other heavy hitters in the field.

VoicED Radio

If nothing else, I make sure I have www.VoicEd.ca in my pocket. You can stream education radio for a few minutes or all day long.  What a gift Stephen Hurley has brought to the world with his free-to-access education network.  Find on-demand podcasts, like mine, or just play the stream to hear folks talking about education 24 hours a day!  Pro Tip:  Get the app!

What Else?

Well, I mention Dr. Lora Beth Escalante’s new book, Motivating ELLs.  She reminds us of the power of annotating objectives along with other activities that help us create conditions for students to find their motivation.  I mentioned this in the show because her book reminded me to model this in trainings again.  Right after that, Molly Lang in Kentucky tried it and used it with her SLIFE and Newcomer students.  Within 24 hours she posted a video of her doing this with her students and it is an AMAZING thing for us all to reflect upon.  I’ve shared it before but here it is again for us to consider things like the high bar Molly has for her new arrival students… the practical strategy of explaining vocabulary through the objectives, and the engagement of her learners:

This is the book by Dr. Escalante:

I hope this gives you resources that help you make the most of your reflection time.  There are SO MANY more out there!  I hope I am following YOU to see some of the things you might share from resources you use.

One last note!  Please remember that your faith and your relationship with your students is THE MOST powerful thing you bring to their lives.  If you are feeling like you’re not doing enough, let’s remember these messages John Seidlitz told us to convey to every Language Learner.  If they really believe these, they will move forward and they will be fine.  Please reflect on THAT!  🙂

Thank you for stopping by.  Your awesomeness is so inspiring to me.

{{HUGS}}

Carol