Meeting the Needs of ELLs

Three basic ways I can help meet the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) in my classroom come from ideas mention in class and in our readings.

  1. I could have them use journals or blogs as a means of self-reflection while also practicing reading and writing.
  2. Keeping lectures short in class will help them stay on track because they won’t have to take in too much new information at once.
  3. Relating topics to their cultures will help them make connections more easily, which will aid in understanding.

And of course, constantly checking for understanding with ELLs can help to address any questions or misconceptions they may have in my class.


MSSE370 Week 10

3-2-1 Activity from The Differentiated Flipped Classroom and “Leading for Differentiated Instruction” Readings:



  1. Scaffolding is key to helping students retain knowledge and students must be provided with the appropriate time and structure for processing.
  2. Learning comes from the community as a whole, and should not be contained to just the classroom.
  3. Students come from many different backgrounds and learn in many different ways. The classroom environment should be tailored to best suit their growth.


  1. How can I differentiate my classroom in a way that helps my ELL students without hindering my other students?
  2. What makes a flipped classroom different from homework assignments? And how can I be sure that my students are benefiting from it?


  1. I want to use different activities in my lesson to appeal to students who learn differently. For example, PowerPoints and demonstrations and handouts for visual learners, lectures and possibly videos for auditory learners, and activities to practice skills for kinesthetic learners. There will be group work and physically active assignments for students who need to move around more, and individual work for students who believe that they work better on their own. I’ve tried to include a variety of activities in my unit to ensure that students feel that they are learning their best.


MSSE370 Week 9

This week, we are discussing performance assessments using the GRASPS framework. I found an article that describes the steps required to develop a good performance-based assessment and some of the challenges faced in designing one.

For my GRASPS assessment, I chose to have my students complete a project in RE-writing poetry. As a high school student, I always dreaded when teachers asked me to write my own original poetry. I never felt as though it was an effective means of teaching and I never knew what to write about. For my students, I’m giving them a project that is similar to having them write poetry, but with a creative twist. From the list of American poets (and Shakespeare) we will discuss throughout this unit, I want them to select a poem of their choice. They will annotate the poem on their own using the rules of annotation from Lesson 2 of my unit plan. Then I will have them answer a series of short-answer questions such as ” What do you think this poem is about?,” “How does the author use figurative language throughout this poem?,” “Is the author’s use of figurative language effective in helping to convey the poem’s meaning? Why?”. After reflecting on the poem’s meaning and use of figurative language, the students’ task is to find a way to creatively rewrite the poem as though they were explaining it to a student/friend who did not understand. They can write it as a letter (either from student to friend, or from the original author), a dialogue between two characters in the poem (if possible), a journal entry from the speaker’s point of view, or simply rewrite the poem in a more “modern” way. I believe this assignment will use VASOL  standards 11.4 f,g, and h, as well as Common Core standards:

  • 1) Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain
  • 3) Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

This assignment tests student’s knowledge of figurative language terms and rules of annotation, their understanding of how to read poetical language, and their skills in annotation and drawing meaning from the literature they read both for this assignment and in the future. .


Article: “Performance-Based Assessment: Reviewing the Basics” by Dr. Patricia Hilliard

MSSE370 Week #7

This week, we talked about RAFTs (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) activities. They are used to get kids to creatively think about and apply their knowledge from class. In an AMT Framework, this activity would be a “Transfer” activity because it requires kids to evaluate and create based on what they have learned. For my unit plan, I created a small RAFT based on the poems that I want to teach to my students. The first is for them to write a letter as Emily Dickinson, explaining to her readers what she actually meant by the dash. The answer to this is subjective, since no one really knows what she meant exactly, but there is plenty of speculation and my students would argue whatever they believe the true meaning is. The second activity is for my students to write as Shakespeare’s mistress to Shakespeare as a response to his Sonnet 130 (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”) in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet. This requires an understanding of how to properly analyze a poem, as well as how to structure a Shakespearean sonnet.

For my class RAFT, I chose to write tweets from a student to @MyTeacher about how a teacher can make school more meaningful to them. I like this activity a lot, and I definitely plan to use it in my future classroom!



MSSE370 Blog Post 6

This week we read Chapter 3 of our textbook, The Differentiated Flipped Classroom as well as “Formative Assessment – The Driving Force Behind Differentiation” by Dr. Kristina Doubet. These readings emphasize the point that formative assessment is beneficial for not just the student, but the teacher as well. In the textbook, formative assessment is described as “a GPS for student learning” and is meant to guide students to a better understanding of their lesson. Some examples of formative assessment given were graphic organizers (including cycle maps and cause/effect charts), entrance prompts, Frayer diagrams, use of, and entrance/exit activities. I liked the idea of using online status checks for the students. I think this is a great way for students to admit what they may be having trouble with, without feeling the pressure of having to approach the teacher. Then the teacher knows exactly what their students need and can help them get there. This method is beneficial to learning as well as to the development of teacher-student relationships. Dr. Doubet’s article talked about the use of activity cards – just a simple question and quick practice to prove that the student is able to understand a concept and put it to use. I like these because they are a very simple method that would greatly help teachers discover what their students need help with, but they are also a quick way to assess without taking too much time from the lesson. Small assessments like these are good for students to focus on information that is crucial for their lesson and make sure they know to practice and study it.

MSSE370 Blog Post 5

Strategies to help students acquire information include lectures, questioning, and graphic organizers. Giving feedback, discussing in Socratic seminars, and asking probing questions in class will help students develop meaning. To show that they are able to transfer what they have learned, students may create or design a project related to the topic, as well as teach the material to other students.

MSSE370 Blog Post 4

How do we teach?

In reading our chapter from Understanding by Design, I learned that an effective teacher plans lessons by identifying their desired results and planning backwards. It is important to track a student’s learning through AMT (Acquisition, Meaning, Transfer), and understanding a concept is key to learning!

In the Essential Questions reading, I learned that good teachers focus on incorporating cultures and encouraging communication in the classroom. An effective teacher also uses scaffolding in the classroom to better enhance their student’s understandings of a lesson.