UM-D Title II ESL Endorsement Classes End with a Bravo!

Last Saturday was the culminating session for the 30 new Dearborn teachers who participated in the Title II Teacher Quality Grant with the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  And what a day! Three words sum it up—Creativity, Collegiality, and Competence!  Teachers worked on their “Synergy Reports”—individual posters displaying their learning from the two ESL Endorsement classes—EDD 547/447 “Teaching English as a Second Language”, and PDED 418CC/518AT “Aligning Reading Theory and Best Practice to Curriculum and Instruction.” Then teachers did a “Gallery Walk” to see and hear from their peers.

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Following an “Expert Panel” question and answer session with Dr. Martha Adler and Dr. Jamie Lee from UM-D, Dr. Ross Groover and Maura Sedgeman from Dearborn Public Schools, teachers then gathered in grade level teams to “List, Rank, Compare, and Illustrate” their expert knowledge of “Exemplar SIOP Lessons”:

“A SIOP exemplar lesson is like…

…a box of legos, because you can build academic language and literacy.

…a road map because both provide a guide to a final destination, with a variety of options along the way.

…a “butterfly life cycle.”  Students start as caterpillars, wrapped in the SIOP chrysalis, and emerge literate butterflies.

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To end the day with a Bravo, teachers created a visual representation of their learning from the two classes using “stuff”—playdough, sticks, pipecleaners, and recycled fillers from computer boxes.  Take a look here and outside room 18 at ASC to experience their “creation-synthesis”!  Bravo Dearborn teachers!

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Images and Perceptions: Empowering Communities by Embracing Diversity

The EL Department team had the opportunity to attend the 13th Annual “Images and Perceptions” Diversity conference.  It was a day committed to creating unity within the community and promoting cultural awareness across all boundaries.

The diversity of speakers and topics were interwoven to deliver a powerful message.  Diversity is appreciating that every individual is unique and by embracing diversity, we ultimately empower our community.  Two reoccurring take-away messages worth mentioning were (1) the importance of educating oneself by distinguishing between the media’s intentional distortion and truth itself and (2) the importance of building and sustaining relationships to attain the epitome of an empowered community.

Overall, the conference inspired others to be an advocate for diversity and inclusion in any and every capacity.

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Reflections from our SIOP Teachers

SIOP has been around for a long time.  It was first introduced in our district back in 2002 and has really evolved since then.

New teachers enrolled in ‘Integration of Content and Language’, also known as the “SIOP class”, share their experiences as they wrap up the semester-long Saturday course with a renewed understanding of what it means to teach English Learners in Dearborn.  

Exploring and learning about the SIOP model has benefitted me immensely. I feel like I understand the “why” of what I do instead of just the “how”. I appreciate the diversity in my classroom so much more because I now know what my students are teaching me about how to teach them is invaluable. Learning about SIOP-based instructional strategies has reignited my passion for teaching. Every time I implemented a strategy that worked for my students, my motivation for teaching was renewed.   – Saffiyah

Today, I am a different educator.  My teacher toolbox is loaded with strategies; my mind is clear of teaching misconceptions; and my classroom will be a learning haven for students of every kind.   – Mona

SIOP training was easily one of the most worthwhile endeavors in relation to my role as a teacher. Not only will it help me accommodate ELLs, it also provided me with tools for all of my students…If I could give one nugget of advice to educators everywhere, it would be to invest some time in SIOP.  Even if you can only take one hour long workshop, do it.  SIOP is a supremely worthwhile style of teaching, and the more you put in to it, the more you will get out. Simply put, I feel like twice the educator I was before starting this training.  – Matt

I found that the key to success in the realm of planning and executing lessons in the SIOP model is to be open minded to new ideas. Being open minded allows us to become better teachers because we can find success in strategies we thought were not relevant to our students’ needs.  – Amy

SIOP has changed my teaching dramatically. While registering for this course I was really hesitating due to the fact that class was on Saturday.  However, I am glad that I did take it because of all the strategies I have learned. Every strategy that I learned I implemented in my classroom.  I have noticed a change in our classroom environment and in students’ academics.  Students are encouraged, motivated and excited to learn.  – Hind

Being in an ELL classroom, my mind has opened up to provide the most effective practices of teaching and preparing for my lessons. When I deliver a lesson, I have plenty of tools to use to ensure my students are taught in the most efficient way. This SIOP class taught me new strategies that not only benefit my ELL students but also my class as a whole.  – Noor

The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) training has been a mind shift for me!  I am leaving this class as a stronger and more effective teacher with a whole new treasure in my teaching “toolbox” which will make my teaching experience much more fulfilling and satisfying. – Israa

This SIOP class has absolutely opened my eyes to the numerous new teaching methods not only for my English Learners, but for all students.  This is my first experience working with such a large number EL students and it amazes me to see how quickly they truly do catch on to the content as well as the language.  Teaching is such a rewarding profession and I will continue to push these SIOP strategies into my future lessons because of one simple reason, they work!  – Lauren

SIOP has really enlightened me on different areas to focus on during my daily classroom practices.  The biggest area I have gained a greater understanding is in the content and language objectives.  Content objectives help teachers get a clear focus on content lessons with the state standards, and language objectives determine the language skills to be developed and the language to be practiced.  – Sonya

From taking SIOP training, I feel as though my teaching, planning, and thinking about instruction has changed dramatically.   Through SIOP, my perception of ELLs has changed because I now see how I can be a successful teacher to them even without knowing their L1. Most importantly I have learned to hold the expectations high for ELLs and give them the structure and practice to use English successfully.   I also see how using these strategies benefit ALL students not just ELLs and how it makes me a better all-around teacher.  – Michelle

My perception of ELs has definitely changed throughout my experience in SIOP class.  I thought going in that I already knew quite a bit because I have some experience with teaching ESL students, but in a different manner.  I will go into future years with more confidence and excited to use these strategies and have this mindset from the beginning of the year. – Ryan

I have gained so much respect, once again, for the teaching profession and the SIOP model.  It has shown me an insight into the world of learning that I, as a student, had forgotten.  Sometimes we are so engrossed in the routines that we have been taught to become rigid and inflexible.  Like they say, “out with the old, in with the new”; let’s make learning fun again. – Mohamed

Although I had many successes I feel the biggest success I had was learning how to write content and language objectives. Another strategy that I think has had a positive impact on my classroom is using structured talk and providing sentence stems.  I have seen such a difference in my student’s academic language… I truly feel my students are getting way more out of my teaching now that I have learned all of the SIOP features.  -Heather

 

Dearborn Welcomes MSU Visitors

Michigan State University students visited several Dearborn Public Schools on Friday, April 8, 2016.  Dr. Margo Glew, coordinator of MSU Global Educators Cohort Program, has partnered with Dearborn schools to arrange these visits every spring for the past six years.  Over 50 MSU students who are primarily freshmen observed classrooms at Edsel Ford High School, Salina Intermediate, Unis Middle School, Henry Ford Elementary, Geer Park Elementary and Miller Elementary.  As students visited classrooms they observed and took notes on classroom environment, instructional strategies, and student engagement.  They then reconvened at our Administrative Service Center (ASC) to learn more information about Dearborn and reflect on their day.

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Dr. Glenn Maleyko addressed the students and shared information about his educational career, student and community demographics and the hiring process for teachers.  He positively encouraged the students to continue on their teacher preparation path.  Maylee Mosallam, English Language (EL) Coordinator, welcomed the students and shared information about EL services and the instructional support we offer.  Lila Amen, District Community Liaison, spoke to the importance of parental involvement and communication as well as our community values. Lastly, the students participated in an interactive task to reflect on their classroom visits.  Dr. Glew expressed that this visit is the highlight of the MSU Global Educators Cohort Program.

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SIOP in Action

7th grade students in Elissar Hammoud’s class performed their “Fall of Empires” plays!  Ellie took a strategy from the UM-D Saturday class and adapted it to her social studies class.

The students were learning about factors that led to the fall of Empires. Groups were assigned an empire and given an “eggperor” to design. They were then required to write a play depicting the empire’s fall using characters of their choice.

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Lights! Camera! Action!

WGBH Boston, public television’s flagship station, has recently launched a new media-based project to help support Arabic language teachers nationwide.  They plan to produce a collection of materials for elementary, middle, and high school teachers that will become part of Annenberg Learner’s Teaching Foreign Languages video library, a content rich online resource populated with videos of classrooms filmed across the country.

Thursday April 7, WGBH Boston filmed students in Khamael Alaloom’s class participating in Teaching Foreign Languages at William Ford Elementary. The focus was on the interaction between the teacher and students, as well as students working independently and in groups.

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Go! Go! Go!

Go Blue!
Go Green!
Go Bulldogs!
Go Golden Grizzlies!!
One of the essential goals of the AVID program is to provide inspiration for college readiness and motivation through the opportunity to visit college campuses.  During the 2015-2016 school year, AVID students at Stout Middle School toured University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Adrian College, and Oakland University.
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Hitting the CCSS Target

“Today’s students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and businesses are demanding more than ever before. To ensure all students are ready for success after high school, the Common Core State Standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade.” (http://www.corestandards.org/what-parents-should-know)

What are the standards and what do they expect students to know and be able to do?  What key terms from the standards will students need to know, develop and use?  How do the standards progress from Kindergarten to 12thgrade?  These are some questions teachers seek to answer as they engage in dialogue centered on unpacking the standards.

Starting with the standards has put many things in perspective.  It is truly a paradigm shift.  This means putting standards before pedagogy because the reality is if all the effort teachers are putting into classroom activities is not going to evidence itself in the assessments, then that mark has been missed.  It doesn’t matter how one dresses up a lesson with strategies if the lesson itself is not tied to a grade level standard.

Teachers who have engaged in this intentional process have realized the shift in the way they plan lessons.  By shifting lesson planning to start with the standards in mind, they’ve acknowledged the great impact it has had on teaching and learning in their classrooms.  They now appreciate the value of 1) starting with the standard (a lesson-size chunk), 2) determining the level of cognition they are working at with their students (blooms) and then 3) designing a meaningful academic task tied to the standard that is both observable and measurable.  This process is then synthesized and communicated to students through content and language objectives.

OoOoh, there’s that word…objectives.

The reality is teaching is hard.  It’s not hard because we have to write content and language objectives.  It’s hard because we teachers have to think about designing a lesson tied to a standard with a measurable academic task.  Objectives are just a vehicle to help teachers put that together in a succinct way.

The bottom line is: kids are learning every day.  What this standards-based approach has done is empower teachers to ask the tough question: are they learning exactly what they are supposed to be learning?  And to answer that question, we have to cycle back to the standards again.

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Planning with the Standards in Mind

Language and Literacy has really put a focus on working through the Common Core Standards and breaking them down to truly have a better understanding of the expectations.  The efforts have led to a more focused approach on teaching the standards effectively and planning measurable academic student tasks.

Here’s what Taqwaa Mohamed, a Kindergarten teacher at Salina Elementary, had to say about participating in a coaching cycle driven by the CCSS last week:

“Focusing on writing content and language objectives has helped me plan more effectively and be mindful of using language that is tied in to the common core standards. Because I have a better understanding of the standards and writing objectives, I am using the academic language of the standards throughout my lessons and ensuring that my students are also having the same opportunity.

This week I had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Amy Markos (Language and Literacy Consultant), our bilingual resource teacher, our literacy coach and Nadra to have a planning conversation.  I planned a lesson and then worked through it together with the team to make sure I met all components which include the “I do, we do, you do”.  I was asked all the right questions to push myself to think deep and truly reflect on what my goal was for the lesson and to ensure that my students had the best learning opportunity. I was also able to teach my lesson while the team observed and then debriefed about it. I honestly have to say that it was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had! It was an opportunity for me to grow as an educator and I finally feel like all the work that I have been doing is all coming together now!”

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Tutors and Students in ACTION!

The AVID tutors at Salina Intermediate and Stout Middle School are in full swing!! The study groups are a maximum of 5 students to one tutor and are supervised by the AVID elective teacher.  The tutors facilitate each stage of the tutorial process by supporting problem-solving strategies through an inquiry process.  

 
Students complete Cornell notes guided by an Essential Question in content area classes and identify points of confusion (POC).  The first step is for one student (student presenter) to write his/her POC question on the whiteboard and explain their pre-work.  Next, group members ask the student presenter higher-order thinking questions to probe deeper into possible approaches to solving the POC.  This process helps the student presenter to make sense of the question and record notes on the board while group members take their own three-column notes on what he/she has written.  At the end of each tutorial session all students write a reflection on their learning.
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