Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Common Assessments and ELLs

T. King, 2012

Last week I had the chance to work with a small group of local high school teachers.  Their district has been doing some extensive curriculum work, and they have now reached the assessment stage.  They wanted to know what they needed to do to appropriately assess their ELLs across several classrooms.  They hoped to learn about different types of assessment tasks that are appropriate for students at different levels of English language proficiency. Some even wondered if it was enough to just assess content area knowledge. (Hint: we also need to assess student’s academic language proficiency).  Ultimately the teachers will be working to create a balanced system of assessments that allows students to show what they know about content area knowledge and academic language over time.  With this information, the teachers can make decisions about future instruction, student placement and

Friday, March 23, 2012

Get those videos in by April 15, 2012!

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What would you do with $1,000 or $500 or even $250 in prize money?    Which WIDA Professional Development Academy would you go to -if it were free?  If you win, you could be faced with those very questions.  All you have to do is submit your entry for the WIDA video contest.  

WIDA is looking for short videos (5-10 minutes) of instruction or assessment of ELLs.  I wrote about a possible approach to this contest in a recent post.  The best news is that the deadline has been extended to April 15, 2012.  Now you can wait until your spring break to put the finishing touches on that video before you mail it.  Click here for more details.
If you have additional questions about the video contest, please e-mail Connie North (cenorth@wisc.edu).
Happy filming!

Written by: Tammy King

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Language of Math... and National π Day

For those of us that teach elementary school, we might have missed the celebration this week.  No, I’m not talking about the NCAA play –in games in Dayton Tuesday night.  I’m talking about the festivities on March 14th – otherwise known as National π (Pi) Day.  You may remember from algebra that pi is the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter.  It is also a crucial part of many math equations.  For example, the area of a

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Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Update to email address on 11/22/13

Written by: Tammy King


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Friday, March 9, 2012

“Off To Class” Book Review

Recently a colleague introduced me to a beautiful book called Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World written by Susan Hughes.  The book was written for children between the ages of 9-13.  But because of the splendid layout, the intriguing scenarios and gorgeous photographs, this book would be interesting to much older students (and adults).  It certainly kept my attention!

The content of the book is not light and fluffy.  The author, Susan Hughes, begins by stating that the United Nations considers education to be a basic human right.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tips for Reaching Out to Parents of ELLs

Many of you are struggling with how to best reach out to the parents of your ELLs.  You pick the date, book a fabulous speaker, set up interpreters and send home flyers announcing the event.  But when the time rolls around for the meeting, it looks a lot like the photo above.  So what can you do differently?   Today I’ll share six tips that I have learned over the years.