In September we began the Year of Sofia. We talked about how Sofia tested in all four domains—listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Even though Sofia isn't an actual student, her story mirrors the many students for whom TELL is used to help progress monitor literacy skills. Her story is told through the eyes of her 2nd grade teacher, Susan Harris.
Feel free to tell your story in the comments below.
– Sue Ann Towle, Pearson
On Your Mark, Get Set, Preparing for Next Year
It has been a long year. I’ve watched a new crop of students enter my classroom wide-eyed, shy, and nervous on Day One, and watched as they learned and grew more confident and outgoing almost every day.
Everything Sofia has done to date is stored in the TELL database for me to review. When I’m looking at Sofia and all my ELLs, I can quickly see where they made progress; also where they struggled, fell behind, and then moved forward. As they move on to 3rd grade and beyond the record of their work this year goes with them, and helps their new teacher take them to the next level. And the school knows exactly how it’s doing when it comes to the AMAOs, not only for individual students but for all the ELLs in the school and even the district. I always feel a sense of accomplishment and, at the same time, loss. I just want to focus on their summer, and be sure that Sofia and all my students maintain the successful trajectory they accomplished this year. The dreaded summer regression starts soon. I want to make sure this summer is not two steps forward and one step back by the time they start school again.
If I had to sum up one of my big lessons for the year, I’d say it was that my ELLs are brilliant and they know a lot. They just can’t tell us what it is in English yet. I learned to work even harder and make the effort not to get hung up in the accents or mispronunciations, and really try and hear the smart and often funny things they have to say. When you think about it, they are working harder than the rest of the class who can speak English, and it’s too easy to think that you’re getting less because of their current lack of language proficiency. I also learned that a good product like TELL, and the data it provides, can make a huge difference in the way I monitor progress, adapt lessons, group students according to skill level, and follow the whole class as they move closer towards proficiency.
As far as I was concerned it had been a very good year, and I wish you all a safe and productive summer. Until next year ...