SURN ESL Workshop Featured in School of Education News Release

SURN Workshop Featured in School of Education News Release:

by Julie Tucker | March 8, 2017

“The faloopious scaringas tringled quaransically to the barton.” This sentence, projected on a conference room screen, welcomed 65 middle- and high-school teachers from across Virginia to “ESL101,” a workshop at the William & Mary School of Education last week.

The group of educators, led by Katherine Barko-Alva, clinical assistant professor of TESOL, puzzled out possible meanings by analyzing the sentence structure and using the visual cue offered by an accompanying photograph. A consensus quickly emerged about a grumpy cat holding tight to a treat he did not want to share.

“Every sentence has layers upon layers of meanings,” said Barko-Alva. “The beauty of ESL is when you bring content and academic language together for the purpose of classroom instruction.”

The workshop, offered through the William & Mary School-University Research Network (SURN), was geared toward teachers with English language learners in their classrooms and offered strategies to help them meet the needs of those students.

The need for this type of training for teachers is huge. “When I ask superintendents what kind of professional development opportunities they need for their teachers, ESL training is almost always at the top of the list,” said Amy Colley, executive director of SURN.

Luckily for Colley, the William & Mary School of Education brought Barko-Alva onto the faculty last fall, and she enthusiastically agreed to collaborate on a series of workshops for elementary and secondary public school teachers from across the state.

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Dr. Katherine Barko-Alva speaks to an attentive group of teachers at the ESL 101 Workshop.

For Barko-Alva, teaching ESL is a passion born from personal experience. She arrived in the United States from Peru with her family at age 15. And though well-prepared by her schools in Peru and ready for college study, she spoke only a smattering of English.

She recounted one memorable experience in a pre-calculus class when she was given a math problem about baseball. “I knew how to do the math, but the language of baseball — bases, runs, strikes, walks — was totally foreign to me.” Language, she added, depends entirely on context, and every content area has its own specific register. The challenge for the ESL teacher is to navigate the disconnects between content and academic language.

It takes anywhere from one to three years to gain the language skills needed for day-to-day social interactions. Cognitive academic language proficiency — the ability to read, write, analyze and evaluate subject-area academic content — can take up to 10 years.

A year and a half after arriving in the U.S., Barko-Alva enrolled as a freshman at the University of Florida. She’s now a leading voice in ESL education, advocating for students like her who arrive in this country with little or no English but who deserve a full and engaging education.

Public schools in Virginia serve somewhere around 100,000 English learner students. And while these students are guaranteed equal access to grade-level materials and content under federal law, the resources, structures and policies supporting these students vary greatly among districts and schools.

“Our focus for the workshop was to offer specific strategies that teachers could take back to their classrooms and put to use right away,” said Colley. “These are techniques that every teacher can use, regardless of how much experience they have working with ELLs.”

The workshop was co-facilitated by Joy Martin ’02, M.Ed. ’08, who is a reading intervention teacher for Norfolk Public Schools and adjunct faculty member at W&M. For the past six years, Martin has led W&M’s Summer ESL Institute, which allows students to add an ESL endorsement to their teaching degree. Students who pursue the ESL-dual endorsement program graduate prepared to teach English language learners as content-area teachers and as ESL teachers. “And that is what our ELLs need to acquire English and succeed in school — teachers with the knowledge and skills to teach academic language and literacy,” said Martin.

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Joy Martin directs teachers at the ESL 101 Workshop.

Working within the limitations of a one-day workshop, participants at ESL101 got a primer on ESL foundations, but the main focus was on actionable techniques for the classroom.

Martin and Barko-Alva led the group through interactive exercises to conquer oral language production, such as the “jigsaw,” a group activity in which each student becomes an expert in one aspect of a topic and then teaches fellow group members. Another, “think-pair-share,” allows ELLs to practice language with a native speaker before being asked to speak in front of the class. These strategies also ensure that all students have equal opportunities for producing language in the classroom.

Kathy Smartwood, a kindergarten teacher from Yorktown, VA who attended one of the workshops, recognizes the value of having English-language learners in her classroom — to her, it’s a unique opportunity for cross-cultural exchange, rather than an obstruction to learning. “All of my students, regardless of their ability to speak English, should feel confident socially and academically.”

140 teachers from 29 school divisions and the Department of Juvenile Justice participated in the workshops, representing seven of the eight regions in Virginia. “It was a great opportunity to reach out to content-area teachers, who are the front line of support for English language learners,” said Barko-Alva. “We have a lot of work to do to improve outcomes for these students in Virginia, but we have amazing teachers.”

Leadership and Learning @WMSURN Leadership Academy 2015

Diane Sweeney, Coming Soon!

SURN is pleased to have Diane Sweeney, author of Student Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals and Student-Centered Coaching at the Secondary Level, join us for our Leadership Academy this summer on June 22-23, 2015.

Diane has been a national education consultant since 1999.  She taught and coached in the Denver Public School system before serving as a program officer at the Public Education and Business Coalition in Denver.  She is a well-respected educator who focuses on coaching and professional development.

Student Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals (Corwin Press, 2010) focuses on school-based coaching designed to impact student learning.  Professional development should focus on how to best support teachers and collaborate with them in order to design successful and targeted instruction.  The book focuses on the critical role of principal in developing and sustaining a culture of learning.

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Student-Centered Coaching at the Secondary Level (Corwin Press, 2013) is the follow-up to Sweeney’s 2010 best-selling book and focuses on the principles and tools of student-centered coaching in order to meet the challenges in middle and high schools.  Coaching focused on the student can allow the coach to provide feedback that has a direct impact on student achievement.

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For more information on Diane, please visit www.dianesweeney.com.  For more information on SURN’s Leadership Academy and how to sign up, please visit our website for more information or email us surn@wm.edu.

Review of The Wrap-Up List

The Wrap-Up List is a great YA book told from the point of view of Gabriela.  Gabriela lives in a modern-day town where one percent of the fatalities happen in a very strange way, called “departing.”  Gabriela’s group of friends is fascinated with the concept, until Gabriela receives her own death letter.

The book has an interesting mystery to explore in this alternate world where Gabriela and her friends must deal with first loves, a country going to war, and the idea of dying so young.

I recommend this thoughtful and engaging book to readers in grades 7-12.

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National Library Week

Celebrate National Library Week in style with this fun new video!

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Please click on the image to watch the video

Review of Dear Teen Me

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Book review by Julie K. Marsh, Graduate Assistant

Dear Teen Me (DTM) caught me off guard in such a happy way.  I enjoy reading about writers and artists and the paths they took to where they are now.  DTM took this a step further by including advice from a group of young adult authors to their teenage selves.  The stories they share, some in narrative text and others in more visual ways, are about insecurities, first crushes, friendship, love, bullying, and everything in-between.

The letters range from heartbreaking to hilarious and truly give a glimpse into the authors’ young lives full of curiosity, passion, and teenage angst.  These glimpses offer the reader a way to hear the authors’ internal voices and the ways most of them were able to incorporate their early life trials into their creative work.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to both young and old.  I think young adults will welcome the experience of sharing their current thoughts and feelings with an adult who became a successful, creative person even though they experienced the trials and tribulations of being a teenager.  Adults will also enjoy the book and have the opportunity to reconnect with their younger selves in order to reflect on where they were and how far they have come in their own lives.  DTM truly was a wonderful reading experience, one I think we can all enjoy!

And the winner is…

It is official!  To Kill a Mockingbird is our winner!  Mindset came in second place and Chicka-chicka-boom-boom came in third place.

Thank you to everyone who voted!  We look forward to another March Reading Madness next year.

The Official Bracket Based On Your Input:

MRM March 31st

 

 Click to Zoom

More Information on the Books:

To Kill a Mockingbird

Mindset

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

 

March Reading Madness Finals

Time for the finals of March Reading Madness!

It is officially time to choose your favorite book!  SURN’s version of March Reading Madness has been so much fun, and we appreciate everyone who voted.  We need your votes one last time to choose first, second, and third place!  Please take a minute to vote, and be sure to share this with your friends, colleagues, and students.

Will your book win?  Check back next week for the results!

March Reading Madness Schedule:

March 24th – Semi-finals

March 31st – Final Championship

The Official Bracket Based On Your Input:

 MRM March 24th

Click to Zoom

How to Vote:

Please visit our Google form to vote.  It should only take about one minute—it is super quick! 

More Information on the Books:

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Mindset

To Kill a Mockingbird

MRM Quarter Finals

March Reading Madness is Heading into the Quarter Finals!

Your votes have been counted, and it is time for the quarter finals of March Reading Madness!  Thanks to everyone who has voted so far.  Let’s keep up with the reading madness by voting.  We are down to four fantastic books.  Check out the titles and make sure to vote!

Please also share this post with your friends, colleagues, and students.

March Reading Madness Schedule:

March 17th – Quarter Finals

March 24th – Semi-finals

March 31st – Final Championship

The Official Bracket Based On Your Input:

MRM March 17th

Click to Zoom

How to Vote:

Please visit our Google form to vote.  It should only take about one minute—it is super quick!

More Information on the Books:

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Mindset

To Kill a Mockingbird

United Kingdom Trip Highlights

Jan Rozzelle (SURN Executive Director) and Jenny Hindman (SURN Assistant Director) has an amazing trip through the United Kingdom to visit potential schools for the 2016 SURN Study Tour. They built relationships with school leaders and learned about how these schools are using research and practices.

Check out some photo highlights from the trip!

On February 23, 2015 College of William and Mary faculty met Head Teacher of Steiner School, Dr. Mark Burgess. Picture is Dr. Mark Burgess, Dr. Jenny Hindman, and Dr. Jan Rozzelle.

On February 23, 2015 College of William and Mary faculty met a teacher and class guardian of Steiner School, Dr. Mark Burgess. Pictured is Dr. Mark Burgess, Dr. Jenny Hindman, and Dr. Jan Rozzelle.

On February 24, 2015 College of William and Mary faculty visited Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Pictured are Dawn Groves (Head Teacher), Dr. Jan Rozzelle (SURN Executive Director), and Dr. Jenny Hindman (SURN Assistant Director).

On February 24, 2015 they visited Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Pictured are Dawn Groves (Head Teacher), Dr. Jan Rozzelle, and Dr. Jenny Hindman.

On the same day, they visited Tweedmouth West First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Pictured is Anne Rutherford, Head Teacher.

On the same day, they visited Tweedmouth West First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. Pictured is Anne Rutherford, Head Teacher.

On February 25, 2015, Jan and Jenny visited Brudenell Primary School in Leeds England. Pictured are: Dr. Jan Rozzelle, Jill Harland, co-Head Teacher, and Dr. Jenny Hindman. Not pictured is Jo Davies, co-Head Teacher was teaching teaching at the team.

On February 25, 2015, Jan and Jenny visited Brudenell Primary School in Leeds England. Pictured are: Dr. Jan Rozzelle, Jill Harland, co-Head Teacher, and Dr. Jenny Hindman. Not pictured is Jo Davies, co-Head Teacher who was teaching at the time.

On February 26, 2015 Jan and Jenny visited Gallions Primary School. Pictured is Dr. Jan Rozzelle, Harriet Goodman, Chair of Governors, Shazia Hussain, Head Teacher, Dr. Jenny Hindman, and Lisa Naylor, Lead Practitioner.

On February 26, 2015 Jan and Jenny visited Gallions Primary School. Pictured is Dr. Jan Rozzelle, Harriet Goodman, Chair of Governors, Shazia Hussain, Head Teacher, Dr. Jenny Hindman, and Lisa Naylor, Lead Practitioner.