Thursday, February 27, 2014

RETELL #1: Teaching the English Language Learner, The Learning List

There's strength to the learning menu board in intermediate grades.
I will add a quote each day and times. I'll make this a prominent
and attractive part of the classroom.  I'm thinking about all the little
details with regard to room design--details that make foster
independence, team, and optimal learning.  
Similar to the study I did years ago related to inclusion, the RETELL study that focuses on the English Language Learner is study that will actually serve to improve my teaching for all children. As I sat and listened to the many introductory points related to this Massachusetts initiative, I was challenged by a host of new language and strategies to embed into the classroom's daily routines. Essentially, like the Common Core Standards, our work to improve learning/teaching for English Language Learners is focused on more explicit instruction and greater attention to detail for all steps of the learning/teaching process.

The first challenge presented by RETELL is the challenge to change the daily schedule to a daily learning list. This is one way to embed the requirement to explicitly share learning objectives with students each day during each lesson.

For example today's typical schedule or agenda would look like this.

1. Sign in.
2. Morning Work
3. Writing
The learning list evolves. . . now to add quote of the week. 
4. Lunch
5. Math Problem Solving
6. Music
7. Reading Workshop
8. Clean Up
9. Film

Turning that into a learning list looks like this.

Words of the Day

1. Sign In
2. Writing:
  • I will learn to identify and write words and phrases that describe a character's physical features in a story.
  • I will learn and apply the the steps of rereading and thinking like the "reader," adding  details and dialogue, and COPS (capitals, organization, punctuation, spelling) while revising and reading aloud my story.
  • I will practice and apply perseverance as I revise my mid-unit narrative 
3. Math Problem Solving:
  • I will read, review, and apply problem solving strategy and area/perimeter skill, concept, and knowledge as I solve a number of math word problems using pictures, numbers, and words to show my work, and a sentence to explain the answer.
4. Music
5. Reading Workshop
  • I will reread the Annie Smith Peck text I studied with the teacher on Monday, and learn and practice how to write a reading response that includes a topic sentence, four pieces of direct evidence from the text and four explanations, and a concluding sentence.
6. Clean Up
7. James and the Giant Peach Film
  • I will observe and learn how an author takes important details from a story and depicts those details with music, dialogue, drama, animation and setting in a multimedia composition. 
Writing the learning list took a lot longer than simply writing the agenda on the board.  I think I'll enlarge the objectives on the copy machine and hang them up on the agenda board.  I'll introduce each objective at the start and end of each lesson.  It will be interesting to see the children's reactions this morning as they view this new "schedule" for the first time. Let's see where this takes us.