Series: Engaging Newcomers in Language & Content

Teaching Language & Content: A Coaching Cycle
Lesson Objective: Improve practice through instructional coaching
All Grades / All Subjects / Coaching

Thought starters

  1. What are the steps of this coaching cycle?
  2. Why is looking at student work an important part of the debrief?
  3. How does the coaching cycle help address the instructional needs of teachers at this school?

I really enjoyed seeing how teachers can work together to give eachother feedback.I think it can be encouraging to have peers give poitive feedback too because it can make the teacher feel more confident about the lesson plan. This is something I hope to experience when i begin student teaching 

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Teaching language is not easy because students basically start 0, but how to properly teach language by combing to the content is really worth to take into consideration.

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I found the teacher assessment piece in this video to be very helpful. She focused on the learning goal, and her students' actions supported the building of language to meet the goal. I love the way students were writing, speaking, and questioning in a natural manner that lead them to answers and solutions. She reminded me how valuable sentence frames can be.Creating more opportunities for oral practice prior to writing is really going to help my students find their writing voice.
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We are so glad to hear that this video was useful, Annette! ENLACE sure has embedded professional learning structures that benefit teaching and learning.
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The process of both coaching and common planning time were excellent examples to assist schools in meeting teacher and student needs.
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  • Teaching Language & Content: A Coaching Cycle Transcript
    Allison Balter: My name is Allison Balter, I'm the principal of ENLACE

    Teaching Language & Content: A Coaching Cycle Transcript
    Allison Balter: My name is Allison Balter, I'm the principal of ENLACE academy at Lawrence High School, which is in Lawrence Massachusets.
    Kelia Colon: Alright guys, good morning.
    Students: Good morning.
    Allison Balter: Coaching is a big part of what we do here, because our mission and our model is really about building language through content. What we found is that not a lot of teachers necessarily come with both of those skill sets, so we really sort of operate with a learning mindset, that we're all learning how to do this together.
    Kelia Colon: I was very impressed how much he was willing to participate-
    Allison Balter: A big part of my role is to do individual coaching with teachers. Every week, I also meet with our departments of our content areas.
    We're gonna do our lesson tuning protocol today, and we're gonna start and look at Kelia's lesson for tomorrow and be able to use this time to give her feedback.
    Every teacher is getting feedback on a regular basis, both about language and content, but really focusing on how are you teaching the language through your content class.
    Kelia Colon: Students are going to engage in a Socratic seminar, and I feel that it will be very successful if students are able to write a paragraph on their own.
    Allison Balter: The way that the protocol typically works, is the person who's teaching, so Kelia in this case, presented an over view of the lesson. She made sure her colleagues understood what are the different steps and activities students will walk through in the lesson and she ends that part by posing a question, or a focus area that she really wants feedback on.
    Kelia Colon: How much support are they going to need from myself or their peers, or Mr. Moley?
    This is my second year teaching Algebra 1 at ENLACE. We've been focusing on my year long goal, which has been to allow students to produce answers in a discourse level, writing paragraphs, but also speaking it so that they're able to apply all the skills that they learn in my class.
    Allison Balter: We'll spend five minutes just looking independently through it, annotating, jotting down any notes with that question in mind to share back with Kelia.
    Kelia Colon: Today, student's are going to solve a real world problem using what we know about exponential functions, that is our content objective. Our language objective is, interpret a real world situation and write a paragraph explaining how they solved it.
    Allison Balter: Let's start with warm feedback, things that we see in this lesson that are really helping reach these goals.
    Speaker 4: I thought there were so many opportunities for students to either talk to each other or write down their ideas and just the really target language you use with your sentence frames and putting that right on here so they see from the beginning what is it that you're hoping that they can do by the end of this. I think it was very clear and you just give students a lot of opportunities to practice.
    Allison Balter: Is there an opportunity before this part D, to maybe build in some smaller discussion?
    When Kelia was asking for feedback in the common planning time, from her colleagues, she was really looking for, are there the right supports in place to help students be able to understand and then communicate their understanding of that context.
    Kelia Colon: Thank you guys, cause this was very helpful. My biggest take away is actually this one, start to really have students recount in their previous questions. Students can do this either writing or orally and this will really help them to engage in the Socratic seminar.
    Everyone, scientific.
    Students: Scientific
    Kelia Colon: Notation.
    Students: Notation.
    Allison Balter: Then the next day I went into Keila's classroom and was able to see this lesson in action.
    Kelia Colon: Let's review that rumors task from yesterday. If you guys remember, we started reading about it and then we did it in person to see what it was about. I would like for you to share, what is this situation about? What is happening? I want you to turn and talk to your partner.
    Allison Balter: We use video in our coaching. I'm recording and I'm jotting down notes about what's happening at each point in the lesson and if there are questions or thoughts that I have at that point. Really, I'm just watching to see how it's playing out and what specifically from the feedback was she implementing during that lesson. Then we'll have a debrief with the teacher afterwards.
    Kelia Colon: Valis, what do you have?
    Valis: According to my table, the number of people that know that rumor is 120 thousand.
    Kelia Colon: Do I have agreements? Disagreements?
    Allison Balter: I'm gonna stop it right here. What went really well in this lesson today?
    Kelia Colon: Honestly, I feel the kids impressed me in so many different ways. Specifically, I can think about students who normally don't speak, like Fernando.
    Allison Balter: Gustavo.
    Kelia Colon: Gustavo, who's only been here a month, he had so much confidence and it was really nice for me to see that from most of the kids.
    Allison Balter: That's awesome. I know that you were concerned about, was the language support there. I have to say that was very strong in this lesson.
    Kelia Colon: The next material that you will need is your numbers in English reference sheet, so this paper.
    Allison Balter: It seemed to me that there were multiple language supports that you put into place to help them comprehend that text so that they were then able to write about it.
    Kelia Colon: Who would like to share? What are some of your observations that you noticed using this sentence frame? Gustavo?
    Gustavo: I observed that the number of people increased it start in four after, tripled and so these 16, four and go increasing the number of people.
    Kelia Colon: I see Chamandi agrees, Jenny agrees. Okay, with your partner, using these sentence frames, what is your equation?
    Allison Balter: You had sentence frames throughout both projected and on the board, as well as on their hand outs. I saw a couple of times you were actively going up and pointing to the resources on the board so that you're using those really effectively to build up that language.
    I think the other thing that was just infused throughout was the opportunities for oral practice before writing.
    Students: [foreign language 00:06:29]
    Sixty million three hundred.
    Allison Balter: Do you have a sense of how many times you actually had them turn and talk or think, write, pair share?
    Kelia Colon: Nope. Hopefully a lot.
    Allison Balter: Yeah, it was a lot. It was, as you said, it was ... you built up some of those lower level question, those recount questions, go back to your table, on what day ... so that then they could get to the bigger question. It seemed like they were really successful with those entry questions.
    Kelia Colon: What I actually liked about one of the questions, go back to your table, I started it with, what are some observations and then that's when Raul said, they're increasing.
    Allison Balter: In that, they're also just generally improving their academic language? You were pushing them to build that throughout too, which I think strengthens, hopefully strengthens their paragraphs.
    What is the number you're trying to find? Can you read me this number?
    Students: I try.
    Allison Balter: When I was circulating, I was kind of around the back and I saw a couple of kids struggle with, what I think was the same thing, and I'm wondering if you saw this as well.
    I asked, read me this number. She got out her number reference sheet and she struggled a little bit to read it, she was like, one thousand... one- so what I did is I just covered up these three zeros.
    Students: One hundred twenty.
    Allison Balter: One hundred twenty.
    Students: Twenty thousand.
    Allison Balter: Good.
    She got that, and I said, okay. Now, you said, the seventh day, so let's read the number here that says how many people heard the rumor on that day. We sort of did the same thing.
    Students: Sixty thousand twenty hundred eighty-four.
    Allison Balter: Good.
    After she read it, she realized that she had misinterpreted what this number was.
    Kelia Colon: I saw that with Jason, actually. I had him actually do the same thing, and then when he said 16, he's like, wait no.
    Is this bigger or smaller? [inaudible 00:08:45] Smaller. I need more to get here. Which one is closer to this one? You can ask your partner, Julio and Luis.
    To me, that was a glance of ... they need to really practice on saying these numbers so that they ... cause that would be a quick fix.
    Allison Balter: That, I think was just, to me at least, a prime example of where, they can do this complicated math, but what they're struggling with is place value for large numbers and comparing numbers and reading numbers.
    Kelia Colon: Who can read me this really large number? Julio, go ahead.
    Julio.: Seven billion, fifteen hundred, one million.
    Kelia Colon: What do you guys think? Seven billion?
    Students: Seven-
    Kelia Colon: Seven million?
    Students: No.
    Kelia Colon: What do you guys think?
    Allison Balter: What could you do if you realize, okay, a lot of kids are struggling with this?
    Kelia Colon: Have them do a turn and talk and read these outputs to your partner.
    Allison Balter: Or, one thing I've seen you do before really successfully, is you'll take one student's work and put it under the document camera and do a show call and say ... actually have them look at each other's work.
    Kelia Colon: Now here's where the fun begins. Tell me in a paragraph, using sequencing words and mathematical vocabulary, what did you do?
    Mr. Moley: What did you do with this equation?
    Students: I multiplied four times four times four.
    Mr. Moley: Gotta say all of them.
    Kelia Colon: What do you think? Is this a small number or a big number?
    Students: Big number.
    Kelia Colon: This is a big number, so tell me that in your paper, so do [inaudible 00:10:14]
    Allison Balter: Let's take a look at some of the paragraphs. If we look at the answer, the actual mathematical answer here, it looks like they all generally got the right answer, got the same answer, but they all three expressed it numerically, mathematically, in slightly different ways. What do you take from that?
    Kelia Colon: Scientific notation is not a common thing for them. They get a little bit overwhelmed, but it's really nice for me to see that they're understanding what this means. This student recorded exactly what the calculator said, but was still able to tell me this is not realistic.
    Students: How do I write this number with the commas?
    Kelia Colon: You gotta start from the end, so you count 1, 2, 3, comma.
    Allison Balter: These are newcomer students, brand new to the language, brand new to the country, doing grade level work, not watered down at all. But one of the things that I think is so interesting that you've picked up on, is that you don't want to stop teaching this rich grade level work, but to be able to figure out where do I anticipate those gaps and how do I address them.
    Students: [inaudible 00:11:30]
    Allison Balter: One of the things that was so interesting for me today, was that I went into the lesson with a specific focus area in mind from the feedback that came out of our common planning time. That wasn't what we wound up focusing on at all. For me, the big takeaway and the thing that I reflect on a lot, is how to be strategic but nimble at the same time and understand in the moment, there might be something that is more pressing here or there might be something that is just a different angle that we want to focus on.
    What are you taking when you go to teach this task on Thursday or Friday? What are you taking with you?
    Kelia Colon: First thing is, creating a reference sheet with place values and examples and look at the fraction standards from their diagnostic and see where most students [crosstalk 00:12:18] were struggling with.
    Allison Balter: And, don't lose the language supports you have in there because, just coming back to the beginning, I know that was what we were talking about yesterday in common planning time, but they're so strong and the writing that you're seeing is showing that.
    Here at ENLACE, we want to get on the same page about how we're doing language through content. With all teachers, not just brand new teachers in their first or second year, but even our veteran teachers, because again, everybody's sort of coming at this with different types and experience.
    Kelia Colon: This is very good.
    I get better, my students get better, and this program is just getting stronger.
    See you tomorrow, have a good lunch.
    I am not the teacher I was last year and if it wasn't through the support, I don't think I would be where I'm at today.

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