KMS Coaches' Corner


Okay, so I'm going to be selfish and dedicate a whole blog entry to Literacy Coaching.  By now, you are probably diving right into the first unit of your content.  As I said at the staff meeting, my main role is to help you find the most effective ways for your students to become literate in your subject area.  This goes beyond reading and writing to include listening, speaking, viewing, and even thinking!

I am here to help you plan, deliver, and evaluate your instruction.  I am here to help you reflect on your teaching, identify best practices, learn from and share with others, and ultimately improve student literacy. I will be in classrooms most of the time visiting, co-teaching, and modeling lessons.  As we get past this first week, I ask you to invite me in your classrooms (or say "Yes" when I invite myself!) and think about how I can support you. You bring your expertise, and I can help fit in some new strategies and resources.

So, can some of you that worked with me last year leave a comment here to help clarify what I do and how I can help?  Or if you're confused, ask a question.  Oh, and check out the updated "Literacy" page to see the section on Instructional Strategies.

8/28/2008 10:44:32 pm

Cara came to my class several times last year. She observed my lesson using Humpty Dumpty Notes and she helped me with different strategies for introducing new topics.

It was a total colaboration. Cara can sit in the back and "do" the lesson with the kids or she is great to team teach with. I would definatly use her talents!

8/28/2008 10:48:26 pm

I tried to send this once, but it didn't show so if you see me twice, sorry for the double entry.

I love having Cara come into the class. She will either sit in the back and "do" the lesson with your students or she can team teach with you. She was a great help when it came to doing Lit circles in my social studies class.

Definatly use her talents!!

Lynn Mallory
9/1/2008 04:56:25 am

One thing I've noticed across the board is that our speaking scores for ESL kids went down last year. The only way for them to improve their comfort level in using academic language is to make them speak. I know many of our LEP kids are very hesitant to speak out in class, so one of the best strategies I've found is to use a Think-Pair-Share approach, where partners think (or write), then share their thoughts with each other. Giving a list of words to the ESL kids or the whole class that must be included in the conversation is helpful. The more times they say congruent angles or hydrosphere or genre, the more comfortable they will be using it on standardized assessments. Just a thought. Cara, please give us other suggestions on how to get our kids speaking the language of learning.

9/1/2008 11:05:31 pm

I am very appreciative of your help. I look forward to my students research photography project. I feel with Debby and your help the project will be more of a success compared to last year.

I know I need use your expertise in Science. Be prepared for me to come talk to you. :) And if I don't, come see me. I am very forgetful!


9/2/2008 02:27:33 am

Lynn, you bring up a great discussion (ESL speaking skills). The Think-(Ink-)Pair-Share is a great strategy. (I have a structured sheet with visual cues to guide students through the process if anyone wants to see it.) And your idea of providing a list of words to be included reminds me of the strategies Word Splash, Possible Sentences, and Probable Passages.
Yes, we must find ways to make them speak. We must create a safe classroom and model patience as we ask LEP students to speak. And we must create opportunities for this to happen. Of course, anything you ask students to write, you can ask them to share with an audience(partner, group, class). There are many variations of sharing strategies...maybe some of you want to post them here...but what's important is that it is structured and forces everyone to participate. It might be easy for an ESL student to NOT participate in a group discussion, but not so easy if the group members are expected to record each person's response. It's easy for an ESL student to NOT raise their hand, too. But we can call on them anyway and coach them as they practice speaking. And teachers aren't the only ones in the classroom that can/must help LEP students to speak academically. Your other students play a role in these efforts.
Some additional strategies that might be useful are: Mindstreaming, Walk Around Survey, Think Aloud (teacher models, then STUDENTS practice), Read-Cover-Remember-Retell, Collaborative Listening and Viewing Guide, Give-One-Get-One, and Four Corners (with an explanation requirement). See the Literacy Page (scroll to bottom) for descriptions. They each include a speaking element, are engaging, and focus on content. Who else has ideas???

9/10/2008 09:04:50 am

Cara can you come by and share with some of the strategies that were mentioned by Lynn? I am starting chapter 2 tomorrow and want to find more creative ways to teach my ESL inclusion class. Topics of discussion: Water cycle, rivers and streams, tributaries, and such. Doretha

Bernard Waugh
10/1/2008 05:40:46 am

Cara came into my class last week, and helped me teach,by that I mean she taught and I watched, a lesson on the epic hero story sequence. She used the Epic of Gilgamesh as a springboard. The kids and I loved the lesson. We were able to extend the lesson the next day by having the students write their own historical epics.


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