Reality Over Rhetoric! ELL & the Year Ahead

English Language Learners

A few days after the November election, I had a meeting with Angie Estonina and Lisa Kwong, two talented educators who lead professional learning efforts on ELLs for San Francisco Unified School District.

With our webcams on, the mood was a bit somber — the election talk of deportations, walls, and targeted registries hung in the air as the rhetoric suddenly became more real. In fact, it felt a bit suffocating. In education, we all have days when we feel weighed down by how much needs to be done and by our professional and personal puzzles, but the unknowns of impending political shift pushed on us from the sides, making us feel the squeeze of change.

I even started wondering if an upcoming presentation I was about to do in Canada on ELLs with school districts from Ontario/Montclair, California, and Yakima, Washington, was even relevant. In retrospect, it was incredibly sad to even think this. But this was my state of mind. It was easy to go there when the personal and professional intersects — my nine-year-old son who is of half Mexican descent asked if he was going to be deported. This was not a question I had at nine years old.

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You’re Invited to Tch TeamsFest 2016!

Join us in Palm Springs, California on May 19-20th for TeamsFest, Teaching Channel’s annual gathering for teachers, schools, districts, states, and nonprofits who are interested in video-based professional learning. The events at TeamsFest focus on the use and implementation of Teaching Channel’s blended learning platform called Teams. However, if you are into video for modeling and analyzing practice, TeamsFest is for you!
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Dodging Debacles Through Transparency & Trust

Editor’s Note: Some of the resources in this blog are only accessible to Teams partners.

Much can be learned from history, and I’m not talking about the foibles of past presidents or the military mistakes of generals. I’m keeping it simple, by thinking about the debacles of yesterday in ordinary districts across the U.S. Top of mind is how technology “implementations” sink or swim by not paying attention to classroom practices, and building teacher trust and capacity. This holds true of Teams, too. If deep reflection and analysis of engagement in classroom practice is the goal with Teams, then champions of the Teams charge (often called “lone nuts“) need to support and nurture their first followers and beyond.

Teaching Channel is committed to warding off the all-too-common narrative of the aura of technology hardware and software outshining the realities of its integration with classroom practice. Change in professional learning practices requires a heavy and sustained lift in order to meet the vision that leaders have in mind. Integration into classroom practice is the thing that makes a lackluster or successful implementation.

 

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Building Community and Instructional Muscle the Teams Way!

At 6:00 AM on a drizzling Seattle morning, I found myself in a warehouse with barbells, kettlebells, squatting racks, exercise balls, and ropes and gymnastic rings hanging from a 20-foot ceiling. I had just joined what I used to dismiss as the Cult of CrossFit. This was clearly not going to be my grandma’s workout.

 

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Special Download: 10 Ways to Be a Creative Genius for Teacher Appreciation Week

Celebrate a teacher or set of teachers at your school or in your district! All it takes is a little creativity, paper, scissors and glue! Well, sometimes a lot of glue…. Consider some of these ideas as a way to say thanks to a teacher in your life.

When you are finished take a snapshot of your amazing creation, perhaps even with your favorite teacher in the snapshot and share it with us on Twitter and Instagram. Use #TeachersRock so we can find and share your projects! We’ve also created a week’s worth of Twitter prompts to keep the love and support going throughout Teacher Appreciation Week.

Download the PDF of 10 Ways to Be a Creative Genius for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Don’t forget to sign up for our annual Teacher Appreciation Week Giveaway! We’re giving away hundreds of Thank You gifts to teachers across the nation. All you need to do is create an account with Teaching Channel.

Teacher Appreciation Week Giveaway

Paul Teske works for Teaching Channel Teams as an Engagement Manager, helping states, districts, and school launch and sustain professional learning in Teams.

Ready Your Monocle: What do you notice?

I have a fascination with lenses. I find telescopes, binoculars, microscopes, and magnifying glasses to be cool — they reveal unseen worlds, sharpen focus, and provide clarity. My dad, who was a jeweler in a small town, wore a magnifying head lamp each day to quickly look inside of watches and see fissures in gems. And I remember when my mom got bifocals after years of bookkeeping. I thought, this isn’t really about growing older, it’s about more “wisdom.” Wisdom is gained with a closer look and inspection. In this same spirit, we introduce our newest Observation Challenge. Let’s see what’s revealed to you!

In Scaffolding for Student Success, you get front row seats to Lindsay Young’s class where students are building literary analysis skills. This challenge departs from the others in the series, since it allows you to see the comments others are making on the video once you enter a response. This feature provides viewers with a way to gauge their responses in relation to their peers — making the analysis seem more like a conversation. So let’s watch and become wiser as we get better together.

 

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