BAP052 Aging Out & What We Do Every Day

Here are some answers to FAQ’s on working with SLIFE!  

Listen to “BAP052 – Aging Out & What We Do Every Day” on Spreaker.

You can read the short responses below or listen to this show with more explanation right here.  Actually, as of the publication of this post, the podcast is available in all podcast apps.  Hope you will subscribe!

THANK YOU Metro Nashville Public Schools and Beaufort County School District for offering the Boosting Achievement Book Study to your teachers.  Megan Trcka in Nashville, Alisa Rhodes and Bethanne Barner in South Carolina supported some amazing teachers who were collaborating on their own time to find more learning about working with students who have interrupted or minimal education.

If you’d like to see one of these video chats, you are welcome to watch the Q&A and the positive outcomes shared by McMurray Middle School.

Here are a few of the questions I didn’t answer in my last few video chats:

  1. In the last section of Boosting Achievement, I noticed the emphasis placed on independent reading time in the classroom.  I also noticed the suggestion to slowly build up to 60 minutes. I understand how beneficial this is, but do you have any ideas or suggestions to show that this is beneficial enough to take away from other possibly worthy activities in order to allow for this extended amount of time? 
    • My Answer: This all depends on how much time you have and what your role is for the child.  So if you are the reading teacher, and you have 60 minutes with students, I would absolutely build stamina for sustained silent reading (SSR) of up to 60 minutes.  For example, when I was teaching middle school, I was the SLIFE teacher and I had 4 hours with the students every day.  Reading for 60 minutes was not something I would do every class period, but we did have SSR every day to settle down and from time to time we went longer periods of time.  On occasion, we did read for 45-60 minutes.  More recently, in high school, I did not have the luxury of that much class time.  We STILL had SSR when we first came into class and we worked up to at least 20 minutes. I also counseled students to realize how important it was to read for 60 minutes a day (for several reasons) and I made sure they had resources to do that at home. They can read with newsinlevels.com, they can read what we wrote together, they can read in their native language, they need to be reading, reading, reading.  As the year goes on we encourage more and more English reading during SSR and we show students how many English sight words they gain and other benefits of reading for longer periods of time.
    • To the part of your question about other worthy activities, Shared Reading, Shared Writing and Oral Language Practice (Language Experience Approach is an example of how you can do all three) are those worthy activities that I feel have to happen in every class.  I feel these MUST happen with students so we can’t spend all of our time in free voluntary reading.  But we partner with these older learners to realize they must do the SSR on their own to help close their gaps.
  2. If you only have 30 minutes twice a week, what is the one that you absolutely must do with those students?
    • As mentioned above, I advocate for Shared Reading, Shared Writing and Oral Language Practice every time I meet with students.  You can do it in less than 30 minutes, your shared writing pieces just happen over more than one class.  See LEA episode to see how to do it and just break it up over your different meeting times.
    • Even if you only have 30 minutes twice a week, I would have students settle down with a choice book.  You might only read for the first 5 minutes but it gives you so much benefit.  Students can share why they liked the book, you can connect to grade level standards like genre, authors craft, and it gives you a chance to remind your students of why they need to be reading ANYTHING for several minutes a day.

  1. How do you deal with an 18-year old that enters and has to take the end of course exam, has 6th-grade education, will age out before he can complete school? What do you focus on?  AND
  2. How do you overcome the difficulty meeting grade level expectations for growth and proficiency with your lowest level and SIFE students?
    • I’m addressing question 3 & 4 together.  If I’m the Newcomer English Language Development teacher, see above.  I’m doing the same things I do for all children.  I make sure we empower kids with the awareness of how quickly their language and literacy can come.  It is CRITICAL that we don’t feel that the child is expected to do this all on their own.  *WE* need to change and offer more comprehensible input and use more sheltered strategies.  But we do make sure the student knows how to advance their language and literacy when they are not with us.
    • Please make sure the student understands that the standardized assessments are not the finish line.  Also, make sure they realize that when they age out.. that isn’t the finish line either.  Find out what their long term goals are and help them see how, with community partners, we can help them get to those goals.  Our building is one step closer to their goals.
    • For content teachers:  PLEASE teach them as much of your content as possible.  Don’t feel that they need to gain proficiency in English or literacy before they can comprehend your content and interact with it.  YOU are the only one that will teach that child biology or social studies or math.  They need to learn as much of your content as possible so they can continue to move forward, even if they fail your class and age out.  Please make sure you or someone is collaborating with that child to realize that they can continue to gain math skills and eventually master the content.  Their language and literacy will also come along if they dont’ give up.  We all need to look at the long game and help that child move forward toward a better life.
  3. Do you ever have bad days in your classroom too? It always seems so nice!
    • Bitmoji ImageMANY bad days.  It’s real life over here.  But I’m grateful for more nice days than bad days.  If you watch that Language Experience Approach video you’ll see a big fail.  A child falls asleep in front of me! And I have had plenty of days where I brought my bad mood to the class or things were not on track.  We take those in stride and just keep trying to improve.

Bitmoji ImageBut having a social contract made ALL the difference in the world for our classroom climate. Here is a post on that.  Thanks for that question.  🙂

THANK YOU so much for reading and or listening!  This show and notes are an important place for me to reflect. You’re helping my journey of learning and for that I am grateful.

HUGS,

Carol

 

WHERE CAN WE MEET UP??

Summer 2019

I’m the keynote speaker for #MABEMI19 coming up in May. 

Featured Speaker at the Sanibel Leadership Conference in Florida on June 20th

FALL of 2019 – Stay tuned for dates & links:

Coming to Colorado as a featured speaker for COTESOL

I’ll be in Missouri for the MELL Conference in October

I’ll be the keynote speaker for BCTESOL in British Colombia in the fall.

 

 

BAP026 Language Experience Approach, QSSSA and Filming

This week I have a video of my teaching. At first I thought I had pulled off a great lesson.  Later I realized it was a non-example!

If you’d just like audio, the podcast version is here & in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts:
Listen to “BAP026 Language Experience Approach and QSSSA (complete with non-example)” on Spreaker.

So you can read more about my thoughts on filming yourself in the post I embedded at the end of this post.

But the bottom line is that there is always room for improvement so we might as well embrace the fact that lessons will not go as planned. And that reflecting on the way we teach is what will help us improve.  So instead of beating myself up, I tried the lesson again with strategies that I know offer the students more opportunities to speak.  This show is primarily about Language Experience Approach and also the QSSSA questioning strategy that John Seidlitz put together for us.

To read more about Language Experience Approach, check out this article from the Center for Adult English Language  Acquisition on the cal.org website:  http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/LEA.html

In the show I mention Abydos International several times.  I recommend their training to everyone who teaches writing.  You can’t go wrong bringing them to your campus for the summer institutes.

I have a trainer’s certification and I will never let it lapse.  It is a rigorous certification program with very high standards and worth all the trouble!

I am not giving the institutes as part of my job but I value the learning a great deal.  This past weekend I went through a re-certification process at our annual conference. The lesson was well received and I have included the resources here on this padlet: https://padlet.com/carolsalva1/4dulp1cyb92c

I was honored to have a book signing at the event along with Cris TovaniSara Holbrook & Jeff Anderson.  I also got to connect with my friend Brad Womack and all my fellow Abydos trainers.  It was a phenomenal weekend!

Thanks for reading and watching or listening.  This show and blog have helped me grow so much!

Hope to see you at one of the following events coming up!

If you’d like training, please reach out to Kathy Belanger to book Seidlitz Education consulting with your staff.

****************************************************************************************

 

FILM YOURSELF TO IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT

It seems like everyone is taking selfies!

   We see them on Facebook, on Instagram, and every other social media platform I can think of. So I find it ironic that many teachers shudder at the idea of filming themselves teaching a class.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be this way. In fact, I still cringe a bit as I see myself talking to a group of students or conducting professional development.

But now that I do it so frequently, the benefit outweighs any negative feelings I have about the errors that I see when I review the footage. I’ve gotten quite comfortable with the fact that no lesson will ever be 100% perfect.  That’s just impossible because we are human beings.

There will always be room for improvement. So why not embrace that? Why not challenge ourselves the way we challenge our students every day? “Put yourself out there.” We tell them.  But how are they supposed to believe us when we say that failure and errors are part of improving?  That they are opportunities to learn and get better?

I feel strongly that if we want our students to develop a growth mindset about their learning, we need to model that ourselves in our own craft.

This has been a super busy semester so I’ve been periodically filming myself teaching but I haven’t had as much time as I would like to review the films.    That changed yesterday when I made a conscious effort to do a Language Experience Approach lesson so that I could show it to another teacher. I was so happy with how the lesson went until I watched the film.  Now I’m honestly considering using it as a non-example! Ha!

I got some great advice from a former instructional coach, Curtis George.  It was something like “When you watch the film, don’t rip it apart for everything. You will see many errors because you are your own worst critic. Hone in on one thing and keep filming & tweaking your instruction to do your best to improve that one thing. Don’t show the film to anyone until you think you can’t  improve any further on your own.”  That was very freeing advice and has served me well.

After  watching my Language Experience Approach lesson, my “one thing” is obvious to me. I need to give the students more opportunities to speak.

And I live and breathe this stuff!!

The point is, I know I’m decent at sheltered instruction.  For example,  I know the benefit of students speaking and I value the 10-2 strategy where I don’t speak for more than 10 minutes before I allow them to speak for 2 minutes. But sometimes even that is just too long! I’m an ESL teacher for goodness sakes.  I saw a few missed opportunities for them to practice the language or talk about what they think. I saw many opportunities where I could have stopped sooner.

What I realized was that it’s important for me to watch myself teaching more frequently. Seeing myself on film is always going to give me a different perspective. That perspective is valuable and I would highly encourage everyone to give it a try.

The great news is that of course I’m putting things in place so that I give my students even more opportunities to own their learning. I’m confident that when I watch tomorrow’s film I’ll see myself talking less and they will be talking more.  If that is the case, I can move onto a different area where I want to improve.

And that will be a teaching selfie for another day!

Thanks for reading!

Carol