English language learners comprise the most rapidly growing segment of students in K-12. More than 10% of students are now identified as foreign language learners of English. Many states, including Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana have seen the number of ELL students increase three times or more over the past 10 years.
Historically, there are stark achievement gaps between ELLs and their peers. For example, in the latest NAEP results, in 2013 for fourth graders, the reading proficiency gap was 6% (ELL) versus 29% (non-ELL) and in math, it was 13% (ELL) versus 36% (non-ELL).
However, as schools and districts across the country prepare all students to be college and career ready, there is a tremendous opportunity to look at how we can best support ELL students and help them reach their maximum potential.
The need to learn academic English and not just social English
There are two types of English that all students learn — social English and academic English. (read more…)
In most autism programs, data collection and graphing are daily tasks for teachers and therapists. These tasks are a vital component of a program based on applied behavior analysis and are critical for teachers, supervisors and parents to monitor student progress. While educators typically recognize the importance of data collection, it is frequently viewed as tedious and time consuming, and as a result sometimes avoided.
Standard practice is to collect data using paper and pencil, then graph by coloring in dots and connecting lines. This scenario is played out in autism classrooms and therapy sessions, but there is another way. The solution for special education is one that incorporates technology directly into service delivery, which can allow for a more efficient means to complete data collection tasks. To accomplish this, Eden Autism Services, where I am the the director of clinical services, developed a learning management system that has digitized the paper and pencil method. (read more…)
Once again, it’s time to go back to the basics — Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. While we do so, we must keep in mind that these are needs, not wants. If left unaddressed or unfulfilled, natural frustrations and anxieties will occur. As we continue to search for the solutions to all of the issues facing education and society today, we need to look back to find our path to a better future. To have an impact, we must look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs through a new lens, through the rose-colored glasses of a better future — the future we are so desperately trying to create.
Everyone needs to achieve his or her individual potential. Teachers must know each student’s strengths, talents, passions and challenges. They must give each student the chance to be responsible for creating their best future and for finding their place in society. Teachers must have this as their ultimate goal. (read more…)
Giving quizzes allows teachers to examine data and see what students understand and where they may need more practice. Ideally, quizzes should provide the same experience for the students themselves — allow them to reflect on what they know well and where they could improve. However, as any middle-school teacher will tell you, most students will look at the grade and then either proudly bring it home to mom, or — more likely — toss it in the recycle bin.
The ability to reflect on performance and use this information to improve oneself is a skill that can enhance one’s success. It is, therefore, a skill that I want to teach my students. To do this, I teach my students to reflect on their quizzes in order to learn from their mistakes. I use this as a math teacher, but it can be adapted to other subjects as well.
Quiz reflections come in all shapes and sizes. (read more…)
I recently had a student walk out of the classroom in a fit of frustration. Before leaving, I was able to squeeze a few morsels of details from her as to the source of her irritation. Almost in tears, she said that the in-class review session for our next test simply “was not working” for her. A million thoughts were racing through my mind. The student had never asked for assistance before. In addition, I was unaware of any desire on her end to improve her performance or current course average — she was bordering on a C+/B- average at that point. I felt blindsided. I felt completely in the dark as to how I could reach out to this student.
Have you had a similar experience with a student in need of an academic intervention? I believe that a big part of the frustration lies in the fact that as teachers we want to help all of our students, but all of our students are not ready to receive the help. (read more…)