Kurt Callahan

  • We recently gave our math pretest to our 5th grade students and decided to not only use the tests as data about their understanding about math, but also their understanding about math vocabulary.

    Each student […]

  • When reading through “How to Develop a Lesson Plan that Includes ELLs,” one of the big ideas that stuck with me is how necessary planning is in ensuring student success in mastering concepts.

    Last week, we had […]

  • Thanks Courtney for sharing how you have been inspired to promote your learners to use and celebrate their mother tongue. I like how you made the activity authentic and simple, allowing them to take pictures to clearly share their words with others.

  • Hi Jon,

    Thanks for the suggestions! Luckily, we do have 1:1 iPads in 5th grade, so students do use them a lot to make connections with their home language and English, especially taking advantage of translations tools like Google Translate.

  • Hi Paula,

    That’s so great to hear and agree that it’s a simple and powerful way to also validate their home languages. I wonder what strategies and tools are useful for learners that don’t share a home language with peers to plan and share their ideas?

  • When reading through the “Creating a Multilingual Learning Environment” readings, this quote from Jim Cummings stuck out to me:

    “Conceptual knowledge developed in one language helps to make input into the […]

    • Kurt, this is exactly what we are advocating across all grade levels – that students are, wherever possible (and I still feel bad that we only have two siblings (who are not twins) that speak Finnish) partnered with someone who shares their mother tongue so that they can do all their thinking, discussing and planning in their mother tongue. Where not possible they still go this route, but require more in-class support with the EAL teacher. Apart from valuing students’ home languages, it also allows those students to demonstrate that they CAN discuss, plan and write – sometimes I wonder if they feel that they just don’t have the opportunity to show what they know.

      • Hi Paula,

        That’s so great to hear and agree that it’s a simple and powerful way to also validate their home languages. I wonder what strategies and tools are useful for learners that don’t share a home language with peers to plan and share their ideas?

        • Hi Kurt,

          This story planning in mother tongue is a great idea for students who have literacy skills in their first language. Thanks for sharing.

          Maybe for students who don’t (or who don’t have a partner) you can use some helpful apps on iPads, computers, or other tablets. Any app that uses video and/or the device’s microphone will work such as Camera, iMovie, Explain Everything, the VoiceMemo app on iPhones, etc.. If you are not in China, you could also use Google translate for those solo students.

          • Hi Jon,

            Thanks for the suggestions! Luckily, we do have 1:1 iPads in 5th grade, so students do use them a lot to make connections with their home language and English, especially taking advantage of translations tools like Google Translate.

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