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The Connected Classroom

Information On and From EducationPlus' LearningLab

Category Archives: Collaborations

educators at csd (EdPlus) Educators just like you are doing amazing things through online and blended learning opportunities, providing students experiences that are far beyond what’s possible in the traditional classroom.  As educators, we must prepare students to live in a world without physical boundaries and help students learn how to work with others, virtually or otherwise. You are invited to participate in a multi-session academy that explores the facets of online teaching and learning. Learn more …

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The annual EducationPlus LMS Academy focuses on the changing role of the Library Media Specialist in K-12 education. This six-session long learning opportunity will assist LMS personnel in teaching and connecting the standards of AASL, ISTE and the NETS along with the Missouri Learning Standards.

Registration is now open for all library media specialists and those interested in media literacy in K-12 education who wish to grow their professional learning network. One session of the academy is a day at the Midwest Education Technology Community Conference, which has sessions dedicated to LMS and media literacy. Educators will examine problem based activities and lessons pertaining to web and media literacy, plus explore digital citizenship and literacy curriculum resources. Best practices in copyright and fair use are important aspects to the academy discussion.

All sessions take place on Wednesdays, from 4-7 pm at EdPlus (except for the full-day at METC).

2015 dates: October 7, November 4, December 2
2016 dates: January 6, February 10 (METC @ St. Charles Convention Center), March 2

Learn more and register here.

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STL RPDC 2015 Logo UpdateBlog post by Marlow Barton,
MELL Instructional Specialist

Does the state of Missouri strike you as “global” or “international”? If not, it may surprise you to learn that one of the fastest growing populations in Missouri public schools in grades K-12 is English Language Learners (ELLs). Kansas City houses the largest concentration of ELLs with nearly 12,000 ELLs in their school systems, St. Louis comes in second with nearly 10,000 and the Springfield and surrounding southwest region is third with nearly 6,000.

The top five languages spoken in these homes are Spanish-Castilian, Bosnian, Vietnamese, Arabic and Somali.

According to the Department of Education, during the 2012-2013 school year, the ELL population grew by 259% while the native English speaking population slightly declined. Last year alone, nearly 28,000 ELLs across the state of Missouri were tested for English Language Proficiency and the majority of these students are primarily in grades K-3.

How can Missouri schools best serve this growing population? The answer is constantly evolving. When a student enrolls in a Missouri public school they are given a “Home Language Survey”. If the family indicates that a language other than English is spoken in the home, the student is given a language proficiency screener. The scores from this screener determine if the student will receive direct English language instruction services. If so, the student begins ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) services with a certified ESOL teacher.

A common question about teaching ELLs is “Do the teachers know all the languages of their students?” The answer is no. Thankfully, there are many methods for teachers to use without speaking the exact language of their students. ESOL programs and instruction differ across the state. Some districts pull ELLs out of the regular classroom for individualized instruction while other districts employ a “push-in” program bringing the ESOL teacher into the regular classroom. Other districts combine these methods. Co-teaching with an ELL teacher and general education teacher working together to provide comprehensible input is common while some use the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP). Interactive learning strategies, such as Kagan for ELLs, are helping to boost academic achievement as well.

Missouri is also a part of the WIDA (World Class Instruction and Design) Consortium which provides many tools to help teachers who instruct ELLs. One tool is called the “Can Do” Descriptors. This chart provides a “snapshot” of what a student can do at their current proficiency level and then the teacher can get an idea of how to take them up to the next level.

The ELL students in Missouri have many linguistic/cognitive and social/economic advantages over monolingual students because they are “bi-cultural and bi-literate” (Gusman, 2015) and they add a “cultural richness” to the classroom learning environment (Cole, 2014).

To learn more about ELL programs in the St. Louis area,
contact Marlow Barton at EducationPlus.

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Along with facilitators Steffanie Forbes and Laura Jackson from LEGO Education, participants worked through hands-on activities that covered modeling in science, math, engineering and literacy today. They learned new practices in robotics and simple machines that will provide opportunities for their students to demonstrate and build their 21st century skills. Plus, LEGOS!

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The LearningLab is pleased to share that we have returning plus new year-long academies in place for 2015-2016. Participation in each of these academies includes admittance to the 2016 Midwest Education Technology Community Conference in February for participants! To learn more about the content, dates (each starts in October 2015 and runs through March 2016) and price of each academy, please visit our calendar or click on the infographic below. Registration is now open!

2015-16 edtech academies

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Nick Cusumano and Laura Gilchrist are co-teaching a two-day #METCpd workshop this week at EducationPlus called Building Literacy Skills Through Digital Content Creation as part of our Summer of Innovation! Participants took a break from the conference room to step outside on a photowalk this morning! Laura even pulled out her selfie stick! These two fantastic instructors are tweeters, so follow them for great ideas, best practices and favorite resources!

photowalkFind Laura on Twitter at @lauragilchrist4 and Nick at @edtech4theatre.

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principal pln imageAre you a principal? Who knows the challenges you face better than those who share your vision, determined mindset and quest for student and staff growth? Join us at our St. Louis/St. Charles regional professional learning network (PLN) meet up as we share conversations about the latest changes in the field and how others are implementing good practice across our counties. Topics covered will directly relate to area principals’ needs and interests. You don’t have to be an island— find out the difference a PLN can make to your good work! It might just be that boost that you’ve been looking for. Upcoming dates, times and locations include:

  • June 10  at  North Kirkwood Middle School for Middle School Principals | 8-9:30 a.m. | RSVP
  • August 26  at  EducationPlus (Craig Road) for High School Principals | 7:30-9:30 a.m. | RSVP
  • September 14  at  EducationPlus (Woodson Road) for Elementary School Principals* | 4:30 -6 p.m. | RSVP

Future elementary sessions* have already been scheduled, with November 9, January 11, March 7 and April 11 set. During the first middle and high school meetings, topics and new meeting dates will be discussed.

For questions regarding the principals’ PLNs, please contact Dr. Julie Sperry, director of leadership development at EducationPlus.

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