Category Archives: English Language Learners
blog post by Laurie Milburn PhD,
Special Education Improvement Consultant
Summer vacation is a time for teachers to recharge and refocus as they prepare for another group of students. Summer can also be a time for teachers to re-tool their literacy pedagogy for working with the “not-so-common-learners” and students struggling to make reading progress commensurate with their peers. In July, St. Louis will host the International Literacy Association 2015 Annual Conference. This conference will bring together more than 6,000 literacy educators and experts from around the world to explore ideas, best practices and resources for literacy education and advocacy. In addition, the conference will feature more than 300 sessions on key topics affecting literacy educators today, including content literacy, children’s literature, classroom engagement, innovation, international literacy instruction and professional development. This is a great opportunity to gain practical, research-based professional development from literacy luminaries. The MELL and Special Education Consultants hope to see you at ILA 2015!
Blog post by Marlow Barton, MELL Instructional Specialist
St. Louis provides many opportunities to explore the different cultures of our students this summer!
On a recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, I noticed large, colorful and interesting lanterns being placed all over the garden for the upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival. I began to reflect upon the Chinese speaking ELL children I had in my classes when I taught English to children in various districts around St. Louis and how much I enjoyed having them as students. I loved learning about their families and cultural backgrounds.
As I reflected, I started to wonder what the Chinese population is in St. Louis as I have noticed many activities this summer about Chinese culture. According to the Chinese Culture and Education Foundation, “various unofficial estimates show the figure from 15,000 to 20,000, among which a predominant majority reside in suburban communities and constitutes one percent of the total suburban population of St. Louis.”
In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, the Magic House is sponsoring Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucious. Can’t get enough of Chinese culture? Check out the Dragon Boat Races at Creve Coeur Lake!
If you are teaching summer school, or tutoring this summer, make sure to check out a cultural artifacts kit from the Office of International Studies at UMSL (firstname.lastname@example.org). UMSL has kits from many countries, including one from China.
Want to experience other cultures? Try the Festival of Nations from the International Institute of Saint Louis or the Japanese Art Exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum called Creatures Great and Small.
All of this got me thinking it would be fun to try to experience something from each of the countries where my students and their families originated. So don’t sit around inside all summer- take a trip around the world right here in our own city!
Starting this summer, we will be sharing blog posts from staff who working as part of the LearningLab as well as the St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center. (Want to know more? Visit the “About” section at the top of the blog!) Look for information on upcoming programs, resources they’d like to share and much more!
Up first, Marlow Barton and Julie Sperry write about an upcoming symposium – click on the links for further details:
Happy almost summer! We are looking forward to seeing you in June as we focus on diversity together. We are excited about the many learning opportunities that will be waiting for you during the St. Louis Summer Symposium: Focus on Diversity. On the first day, is Jo Gusman presenting “State Standards and The Diverse Learner” and day two is Beyond Core Expectations: A School-Wide Framework for Serving the Not-So-Common-Learner with Dr. Maria Dove and Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld. On the third day, we have Theresa Roberts from California State University presenting on literacy for pre-K-2 diverse learners as well as many breakout sessions on topics such as SPED & ELL, DRDP, WIDA standards, family engagement, legal responsibilities and culturally and linguistically responsive instruction. Can’t wait to see you there!
The Content Language Integration as a Means of Bridging Success program– also known as CLIMBS– is designed to assist teams of K-12 educators in meeting the needs of their English Language Learner students, to build capacity and increase collaboration among educators at the local level. CLIMBS provides an introduction to the use of research-based approaches to scaffolding instruction in classrooms that include ELLs.
Over the course of a full semester– in five full-day, face-to-face meetings– teams of educators learn to implement the WIDA ELD Standards in ways that support ELLs’ development of academic language and help ensure their access to intellectually challenging grade-level content. They do this by:
• Exploring cultural practices and the processes of acculturation
• Developing foundational understanding of second language acquisition processes
• Practicing strategies to differentiate instruction according to students’ English language development levels
• Exploring formative assessment as a strategy to expand language learning for students
• Integrating WIDA ELD Standards, Features of Academic Language, and Performance Definitions for planning and instruction
• Collaborating with other one another to support ELL success
CLIMBS was originally developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics on behalf of the WIDA Consortium. Pairs of educators become CLIMBS Licensed Facilitators through the CLIMBS Facilitator Institute. Then, CLIMBS Licensed Facilitators offer the CLIMBS program in a district or local educational context, for teams of ESL/bilingual and general education teachers. EducationPlus’ Marlow Barton is co-facilitating today’s session in the Rockwood School District.