Holy guacamole. It has been a whirlwind few weeks. In September, I traveled to Philadelphia to present at the national WIDA conference and then last week I was in Santa Fe for the national La Cosecha conference. At both conferences, my friend and colleague Whitney Danner and I had the opportunity to share a a glimpse of what our classrooms look and sound like. Additionally, we presented strategies that we use to purposefully integrate academic language into our mathematics content. Missed our presentation but want the juicy nuggets of information we shared? Just head over to this link: WIDA Conference Slides
We received some INCREDIBLE feedback. There are no words to express how excited it makes me to know that educators all over the nation are working together to provide equitable access to grade level content for all students, but especially English Language Learners. At La Cosecha, one of the attendees at our session made a comment to me that really summarized the mindset shift that I continue to encounter time after time when I work with teachers who are first starting out on their academic language integration journey. She said (and I paraphrase),
"This is so different than what I do right now. I just can't picture how this would go. A lot of the strategies you are sharing feel like they would be difficult in regards to classroom management. I don't like unstructured time."
She's right. It is different. It's loud. It's some what chaotic. It's exciting. It's never boring. And most of all, it's wildly engaging for students. If many of you are struggling to wrap your brain around how this all works, I recorded a quick video that really encompasses many important things:
2. The location
3. The grouping of student pairs/groups/individuals
4. My questioning style with students
5. An example of a card sort in action (not an original card sort... but one that can be found here)
The best advice I can give? Try it. Try a strategy, sit back, and watch the learning happen. Because the person doing the work is doing the learning and I like to see the work in action!