Monday, October 26, 2009

I recieved my materials from! I didn't think we'd be able to raise enough money, but now I get to use the composition books they sent to make the "Diary of a Math Genius" notebooks I've been thinking up. I hope I'll be able to post pictures of them soon. I'm hoping these notebooks will help especially my ELL students where visual is SO important. Thanks! And thanks to everyone for donating money to the cause!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

BING! The lightbulb effect!

I have been agonizing over a particular class I have been having trouble getting to retain the mathwork I have been teaching. I even spent almost a week trying to get these kids to learn how to measure in inches (down to the sixteenth of an inch, ugh!). Today we were learning about frequency tables and after the THIRD explanation and example I did (I do try!) I finally had the moment. One of my students was staring at his paper hoping it would talk to him and....HAHA I GET IT! He shouted out. It was the greatest interruption a teacher could have. Finally a break through. It may be one kid...but that's one difference I made.

Now to get thirty more lightbulbs to go off!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

I wanted to focus on the 5 Rs and T that Dr. Garcia spoke on in our DVD collection.

Five Rs:


As far as the respect feature of Dr. Garcia's speech I begin to realize more and more how delicate this portion of education is. The high expectations everyone talk about need to be very clear. I feel that sometimes educators (including myself) need to watch that we aren't looking for these or any students to NOT FAIL, but rather to have them SUCCEED. There is such a small difference, but the difference projected onto these students is huge. We often in our school not only talk about expectation, but making it measurable. I think this is an excellent way to make sure we don't underestimate students.

And of course, being reasonable is always hard when you are in a classroom with so many students. Being reasonable takes a lot more thought than we recognize. In the moment when teachers are not sure what is going to be the best thing for an ELL student being reasonable is very difficult. I think this is one of the hardest pieces to accomplish consistently.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


As I am looking at the CREDE standards, one of them does seem to stick out as one that has become very difficult for me as a math teacher. It is hard to incorporate literacy practice within my classroom consistently. Aside from having students read and interpret the direction for their work in their books and on tests, there is not a whole lot of reading going on! I feel that if I were to have students participate more in word problems and interpreting their meaning this might be more helpful. A lot of times these problems are at frustration level for the students. I will have to keep in mind that I should create simpler problems of my own that relate more to them. This of course becomes difficult from time to time with the added time it takes to "recreate the wheel" each year to make more culturally responsive problems. I feel due to the fast paced level in which our world changes, sometimes these simple techniques can become daunting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Techniques for CREDE standards

I was looking at our textbook, 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners today (at lunch) for anything I already use that I thought had been effective. I first noticed Chapter 2 where it gets into Visual Scaffolding. I immediately had to laugh. I remember last year when we were getting into angles (acute, obtuse, and right angles) how ridiculous we all looked in my class playing "simon says." Since academic language is something that the students sometimes don't have words for in their own native language this was a fun way to get some association without using Spanish words in my class. The kids loved it and it also goes along with the CREDE standards, especially number one: Teachers and Students working together and number two: developing literacy across the curriculum. Academic language is such an imperative part of getting these students to move from proximal development to independence.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This week we have been looking into the CREDE Standards (a research and development project). The following are the 5 standards that teachers should strive to accomplish in their lesson planning and lessons for students who are English Language Learners (ELL):

1. Teachers and students should be working together (discussion foster's learning!)
2. Teachers should develop literacy practice across the curriculum.
3. Academics should connect to students' lives.
4. Teachers should engage students with challenging lessons.
5. Lessons should emphasize DIALOGUE : ) over LECTURE : (

Remember we are using these strategies to get these English Language Learners from "Total Assistance" to "Proximal Development" to independence.

Thank you Dr. Roland Tharp for these clean guidelines to focus instruction for this budding group of students in our society!