On April 30, the Network for Educator Effectiveness partnered with Strengthening Equity and Effectiveness for Teachers of English Learners (www.SEE-TEL.org) to host the second of two webinars titled Teaching English Learners and Working with Immigrant Families from Home: Education in the Time of COVID-19. The webinar was geared toward secondary educators; a previous webinar Wednesday was geared toward elementary educators.

Panelists were:

  • Debra Cole, Coordinator for English Learner and Immigrant Education, Hazelwood School District
  • Monica Curl, History Teacher, Carthage High School
  • Zandra de Araujo, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Missouri
  • Cammy Goucher, Missouri English Language Development and World Languages Director, DESE

You can watch the full webinar and download materials below.

ELL Resources, Tips, and Experiences from Panelists

Debra Cole (9:21)

Zandra de Araujo (18:40)

Monica Curl (25:25)

  • My biggest issue is getting in contact with students. A lot of my students don’t necessarily live with their parents, and their phone numbers listed might not actually work.
  • My biggest resource has been my paraprofessional. She has been immersed and has been able to get in touch with some kids that have been hard to reach.
  • We’re focused on student well-being right now.

Cammy Goucher (27:57)

  • Let’s remember the process of creating a lesson. We have to find ways to make it accessible for English Language Learners. I created a Wakelet that has a sample lesson for both elementary and upper grades: https://wke.lt/w/s/oTObCe
  • Make lessons real and applicable to students’ daily lives during this time.
  • Some ways that students can learn right now is to write about their experiences. They are curating history.
  • I also created another Wakelet that includes professional development that has all of the tools I used to create the sample lesson: https://wke.lt/w/s/sAQ06h
  • I encourage you to join our Edmodo group – Code: xwecym
  • Follow:
    • Facebook @MELLinMO
    • Twitter @MellMissouri
  • You can also email me at Cammy.Goucher@dese.mo.gov.

Question & Answer

How are you reaching out to and speaking to your students’ parents?

Monica Curl (37:05): We are not a 1:1 school district, so everything we do is through students’ phones. Getting ahold of them is probably the most difficult part.

Debra Cole (37:58):  We’ve had a few situations where we’ve needed to go deliver things to their curb if they can’t make it to the drop-off points. Our social workers are very responsive to that, and they’ve been really amazing. We had one family that was running out of food, and the social worker went and picked up food and dropped it off on their curb. It’s an example of whatever it takes. That’s the kind of people that educators of ELs are.

How are education leaders starting to think about learning recovery for ELs when on-site learning resumes?

Cammy Goucher (40:12): We are in the process at DESE of talking and discussing what it will look like when school starts back up. We know there will be gaps, but we hope they will not be significant. We hope things will be as normal as possible.

Monica Curl (41:34): For the month of June, we’re focusing on credit-recovery for students who may need to retake classes or get graduation credits. In July, we are looking at potentially doing courses in the classroom.

How are EL teachers collaborating with classroom and content teachers? How are district or school leaders supporting such collaborations?

Debra Cole (42:40): For high school students, we’re using Launch and Ingenuity for online learning. EL teachers were added to classrooms as co-teachers for any content class that they have English learners on their caseload. Most successful stories are when they’ve been co-teaching already so it’s natural for the classroom teachers to communicate with the EL teacher. I had one teacher tell me how much stronger collaboration has become because there’s more time to meet virtually. They’re not running through the halls or having as many daily interruptions.

Cammy Goucher (44:37): Since this has all started, I go on to district websites and different states to see what they’re doing. One interesting thing I found was one district put a list of teachers on one page so students could go there to find their lessons instead of getting emails bombarding their inbox. Other teachers also can access those files and they could put accommodation in the lesson. I thought that was a really good idea. Another idea, in our rural districts, is contacting PBS to do lessons on the television. The teachers rotate through and take turns presenting lessons. In Arkansas, they have partnered with PBS. Some other districts are doing radio broadcasts. Some districts are setting up packet pickups at grocery stores. So there are some unique and clever ways schools are getting through this.

Is there a way to access student screens to help them?

Zandra de Araujo (48:33): With Zoom, you can share screens. What I did with my niece is she held up her phone to the screen on a video chat, and that was easier.

Additional suggestions that were put in the chat box include: Google Meets, Schoology, Educreation, and Explain Everything for screen-sharing

How can I make online, grade level work comprehensive for students designated as English Learners?

Cammy Goucher (49:52): The first thing I want to say is go back to your teaching; the teaching you were doing before this all started, continue with that. We want to look at the students’ can-dos. We want to look at their performance on the ACCESS but don’t look at the overall score, look at the individual domain score. So if they are high in listening and medium in reading and really low in writing, you’re going to gear your instruction to where the student is. We have to keep accommodating the students’ needs.

Debra Cole (51:14): I want to jump in and share a resource I learned from Rob Greenhaw: Talk-Read-Talk-Write. It’s differentiated between beginning students, intermediate, and higher-level students. Stick to what’s essential; less is more.

I’m a science teacher who teaches chemistry and physics. When sharing videos of content demos (experiments), how can I make the content more comprehensible for our EL students?

Cammy Goucher (54:22): One great tool is EdPuzzle. You can take a video and segment it into sections and stop at points. You can use voiceover. You can give questions and break it down into shorter bursts. Take out all the things they don’t have to know and focus on the essential elements.

Zandra de Araujo (55:50): As you’re able, if there are experiments that kids can do themselves, have them do it themselves. Using the videos, you can pause it and use anticipation with a question like “What do you think is going to happen?”

How can I motivate students in this environment?

Zandra de Araujo (57:08): Providing choice is always my go-to in regards to motivation. Maybe you give five options and say students have to do two of them in a week. Or maybe there are different options for how they complete the assignments, so offering some flexibility. The more choice you can provide, the better. And then the more hands-on you can be, the better. Online learning has a tendency to be very passive. You want to really want to make sure there’s a lot of active learning.

Monica Curl (59:05): Some of my friends are using choice boards for their classes, and they are having great success. I’ve also found that after I’ve contacted my kids, they started completing their work. Just you being there and knowing that you care will help kids want to do the work for you.

How is DESE wanting us to approach reclassification this year? Will it only be based on ACCESS scores alone?

Shawn Cockrum (DESE) (1:00:28): that’s going to be up to the districts. We know you will still have the ACCESS scores. We also know that students have lost out on a lot of instruction, and this can be a tough decision. From a liability standpoint, if you exit a child too early it’s not as good as if you kept them in. So if they’re borderline, my recommendation is you hang on to them. You can exit them in the middle of the year from services.

Quick Chats

Name your favorite online tool you’ve used during this time. (Responses shared in the chat box.)

  • Upfront Magazine online
  • Newsela works with Google Classroom, allows differentiation of reading level
  • Flipgrid
  • Freckle
  • Actively Learn
  • Epic
  • Google Classroom
  • ManyThings.org
  • EdPuzzle
  • Screencastify Submit is a great way for students to respond verbally to videos
  • Scholastic Action Magazine
  • Achieve 3000 is a great Lexile program.
  • Wakelet – use the “Immersive Reader” tool which reads text for students (even translates into different languages!)
  • Wordopolis
  • Screen Recorders – Loom, Screencast-O-Matic, Screencastify
  • Text Readers – Read Aloud and Immersive Reader (also translates)
  • deltamath.com for high school math
  • Seesaw lets you do speaking, listening, reading and writing
  • I use Rewordify to simplify the text for my students, I also record for my students the fluency stories, so they can hear it and follow along.  I use Read 180 and been using it for a long time for fluency. It works with them really well.
  • Text to speech for Google Docs allows for translations
  • Achieve3000
  • ReadWorks and EPIC are also great online resources that we have been using for our ELLs.
  • GlobalStorybooks.net is a great multilingual literacy resource
  • Talking Points of course, also love using Screencast-o-matic to screencast my lessons and read alouds, and I’ve also used NEWSELA and Readworks plenty.
  • Otter.ai for automatic voice transcribed conversations where you can add visuals after the recording is finished
  • TalkingPoints as a translation app to fill gaps in communication.
  • I also use Ellevation and Seesaw as well
  • Web Paint Chrome extension lets you markup what the students are seeing as you go. Has pencil, boxes, lines, and text with multiple colors
  • app.bookcreator.com
  • Flocabulary, Wonderlopolis
  • Google Jamboard is very interactive
  • esllibrary.com is a subscription-based site but they have upgraded me to a free digital edition and I am only paying for the printable version. Great for Secondary and adult ELLs. Topics not found in any ELL textbooks

Download Chat Text from Webinar

What’s one inspiration or heartwarming experience you’ve witnessed recently?

  • I share a non-English language with most of my students, and some of them, completely on their own, have for the first time started writing email and text messages to me in English. I also had a video chat with a student, who cares for multiple younger children in their apartment.  I could see that the students in the background were speaking to each other in English.  I asked if they were all practicing English together, and they all chimed in, “Yes, miss!  We are practicing English together!!”
  • I wrote to each of my elementary ELs a letter and included a self-addressed, stamped envelope.  I’m doing the same thing next week for my HS ELs.  I included a piece of paper, too, along with reminders about my online office hours and Google Voice number.

Download Chat Text from Webinar