Words Matter: Quality Instruction for English Language Learners

English Language Learners Header

Last spring, as I renewed my National Board Certification, I was struck by how much has changed in the landscape of public education since I was first certified ten years ago. In 2007, I passed the testing center components of the NBPTS process just fine, but I remember being concerned initially about the component related to teaching English Language Learners. As a regular classroom teacher, I taught EL students in my high school English classrooms, but I had no specific training for doing so. I reached out to colleagues for support and dove into any available resources in an era before Teaching Channel and other numerous resources now at our disposal.

The standards for National Board certification for ELA/AYA emphasize equity and fairness, and we understand that equitable and fair situations are those which ensure ALL students receive the support they need to be successful in the classroom. This includes instructional settings that promote rigorous learning for everyone. For me, this was one of the very reasons I pursued the NBCT process in the first place.

I want consistent equitable learning experiences for all students, as do most teachers I know. For those of us without specialized training for teaching ELLs, we rely on colleagues for co-teaching situations or for support in other settings. Jamie Ponce’s article about co-teaching led me to a slew of other Tchers’ Voice posts about how to meet the needs of EL Learners.

I read Lisa Kwong’s and Jacqueline Fix’s recent blog posts about how the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) approaches instruction for ELLs with intentionality district-wide, through the Five Essential Practices for teaching ELLs. I also watched a few videos in the accompanying playlists demonstrating elementary and secondary ELL strategies.

Curiosity prompted me to revisit an instructional unit created by colleagues for a project I’ve been involved with for the past several years to explore if/how the work we created meets the guidelines suggested by SFUSD.

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Video Reflection: Early Engineers

Tch Next Gen Science Squad

The noisy environment is filled with excitement and questioning. Designers create, collaborate, and redesign their models based on new information. Engineers discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their designs. Scientists conduct and evaluate experiments.

Sound like a wonderful place to work?

Well… it is!

Welcome to my first grade classroom, where six-year-olds make science and engineering seamless, and their teacher is learning so much along the way.

Last year, I used video to reflect on my practice and to grow as a teacher of science. I chose to record my students during a series of explorations that culminated in an engineering challenge.

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Tch on the Beach: Sizzlin’ Summer Resources

Teacher life.

It’s almost the end of July, so that means:

  1. You’re still having fun in the sun and enjoying some well-deserved downtime
  2. You’ve already begun your preparations for the coming school year

No matter which category you find yourself in, this fun and upbeat collection of resources — all crowdsourced from the Tch Team — is sure to keep your mind sharp and put a spring in your step!

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Teaching Channel Enters A New Era

Teaching Channel was founded on the belief that giving educators a chance to see and reflect on classroom practice in action would have a profound impact on the profession.

You, the million-strong Teaching Channel community, have borne out that vision. You come to our website and watch our videos to learn from one another, to add to your teacher toolkit, to engage in meaningful inquiry using our Teams platform, and to share concrete ideas via our blog.

We at Teaching Channel have been humbled by your sustained and ever-growing support of our mission.

Now, to keep Teaching Channel thriving and producing the kind of content you find so valuable over the long-term, our Board of Directors, after careful consideration regarding the sustainability of our mission, has made the decision for Teaching Channel to become a for-profit company.

What does this transition mean for you?

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Tch Is One Million Strong Today

One Million Strong

What Does One Million Mean?

Metaphorically, one million represents an incomprehensibly large number, as in “Never in a million years” or “You’re one in a million.” We might say, “I’ve walked a million miles” to depict an extreme, or pronounce, “That’s the million-dollar question” to articulate a crucial need for a solution.

But today, one million means even more

Today, the 1,000,000th teacher registered to be a member of our amazing Teaching Channel community. This is no small feat — and this remarkable moment warrants celebration.

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Tch DIY: Number Routines… It’s a Wrap!

Tch DIY math routines blog header

This is a bittersweet post, as it marks the final set of videos from my Math Routines video series from this past school year. I learned so much over the course of the year while filming and working with teachers and students across grades K-4 on these Number Routines:

As I watched each filmed class routine, I reflected a lot on the types of questions I asked students, the way I structured the problem(s), the math the students knew, and the many interesting student ideas I didn’t anticipate in my planning. This process was an incredible experience in professional growth.

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PodcastPodcastTch Talks: A Student’s Perspective on SEL in the Classroom

Tch Talks: A new Teaching Channel podcast

Does social-emotional learning really make a difference for at-risk students? In Part Three of our series on Social and Emotional Learning, Daniel McCutchen, a recently graduated student from Austin High School in Austin, Texas, joins Tch Talks to discuss his experiences in an intentional SEL-dedicated course. Daniel is not only a former learner, but also attends national conferences and presents on the topic with his teacher. Learn how SEL helped Daniel adjust to the demands and expectations of high school, to prioritize the most important things in his life, and to develop life skills that he is able to apply in a variety of circumstances.

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