All posts tagged: MELED

MELED 2019. Part I (Keynote)

I have been fortunate enough to have gone to more than one excellent keynote speech. Dr. Ofelia Garcia gave a powerful speech titled The Wolf and the Lamb. One of the most interesting things I took away from her speech was the idea that every phrase we say and name we give is based on this idea of naturalization. We have naturalized language that creates the lens through which we see the world. Even the labels we give people or the categories they fit into are based on this idea. This is where the analogy to Aesop’s fables become relevant. The idea here is that there are wolves hiding among the sheep. The wolfs are the words that have hidden meanings and distort perspectives. The sheep are the everyday language we use. Thinking of language usage in this way, Dr. Garcia pointed out a few terms we use when describing our students that change the way we view them. For example, native speaker. This is a word we all use every day in the EL teaching world. …

Accommodating and Educating Somali Students in Minnesota Schools

I don’t know about your school district, but my school district is still facing many challenges in regards to behaviors and culture bumps with our EL population, especially with out Somali students. This is why when I was introduced to this book at the MELED conference, I jumped at the opportunity to purchase it. The book itself is easy to read and very short. At a total of 76 pages, plus the bibliography, it can easily be read in one sitting. The text is broken down into short vignettes, historical facts, and cultural and socioeconomic demographics, which are very easy to digest.While it is from 2004, and I believe that the Somali student demographics have changed, there are still some valuable lessons for teachers that can be found in this book.  What Teachers Can Take Away1.    The vast history of a country devastated by multiple wars, years of occupation, and several colonial changes of power have played a large role in how Somali families view the world. 2.    Somali families sometimes live with extended families in …

MELED 2017; What I learned (Part 2)

During one of the sessions I attended, there was talk about how to fully utilize the WIDA standards in literacy instruction. Going to this session, I didn’t know what to expect. I was fumbling with my notebook and some papers when one of the presenters said something that stopped me. I can’t quote it, but she said something like, do not confuse cognitive ability with language ability when forming questions for your students. It was like a lightbulb had gone off in my head. Finally, someone had put my feelings and angry reactions into words. It was like a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have heard a classroom teacher look amazed at what their ELL students are doing, as if they are somehow seeing miracles. In fact, within the last 24 hours, I have seen that face when someone told me that the student can understand. In my head, I’m like “duh.” It’s not about the task, it’s about how you bring the …

MELED 2017; What I learned (Part 1)

There is so much information that is presented during a conference that it’s difficult to comprehend everything in one sitting, or even 5. Fortunately, I took notes. Yet, sometimes it’s just nice to feel affirmed in what you think you know, what you are already doing, and what you think should be done in the classroom. Today, that is what I am going to focus on because I feel it’s important to remember and celebrate what we are doing well for kids. Warning! – This article is about grammar. But have no fear. There are many resources listed below, including a cheatsheet! So wipe the sweat from your forehead, let your pulse come back down, and read on. I have always argued that using grammar as a tool for teaching kids to dissect certain parts of speech in reading is beneficial. Bridget Erikson agrees. The strategy she presented was called syntax in close reading. The name needs work, I agree. But let me explain a bit more. Most teachers who do think-alouds (myself included) often take …