Posted in teaching resources

Meet Your Co-Teacher!

Miki Leckie is an English Language Teacher, dedicated to helping other teachers survive the classroom.

Miki in her classroom, freezing in the MN winter

As an ELL Teacher who co-taught with Montessori classrooms in multi-age classrooms, she has developed quick, easy-to-implement strategies to help ALL students, no matter where they’re at, to connect and learn in the lesson.

After mentoring many student teachers, teaching in the hallway during construction, teaching summer school for newcomer refugees in a one-room, Kindergarten-6th Grade classroom, caseloads of 10-140 students, coaching other teachers in AVID strategies, leading professional developments and speaking at teacher conferences, AAAAND implementing everything from Responsive Classroom to Backwards Design lesson-planning, she believed that the best way to teach like a BOSS is to COMBINE everything in a PRACTICAL, EASY-TO-IMPLEMENT way.

On a more personal note, Miki is the proud fur-momma to two babies: Momo and Snowshoe!

Momo loves to sit on Snowshoe! She’s not too pleased about it, but she takes it.

She also enjoys grinding coffee beans for her French press, pretending to be a wine and food connoisseur, traveling and helping other people travel through her travel agency, and following pop-Pilates workout videos and Zumba dance sessions.

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Posted in teaching resources

ELL Teachers: How To Make Your First 2 Weeks Count

As a first-year teacher, I remember asking ALL the other ELL teachers what to do for the first 2 weeks. Those first weeks were absolutely terrifying to me! My student-teaching didn’t start until AFTER the first month, and whenever I volunteered or was a teacher’s assistant, I did it INSIDE the classroom, not as a co-teacher or a pull-out teacher.

What I was told, over and over again, was this.

Do not start your pull-out groups.

Not first-year teachers

I remember thinking, WHAAAAAT?!!!!!! What the h*** am I supposed to do then?! I understood why I couldn’t start pull-out groups. The students NEEDED to stay in the classroom to be part of the community, especially at the building-up stage!

But I Can’t Just Waste the First 2 Weeks of School!

So, that first year, I just helped out in the classrooms I would co-teach in. I observed, I supported, I passed out papers and learned names and classroom cultures and routines. I couldn’t help feeling like there was something MORE.

In my second year, I had this same feeling. And yet, I got the same answers. Further in the year, when students had to take the WIDA test, I remember getting SO ANGRY that the students were just now super interested in what the WIDA test was, had no idea how it would effect them (even though I literally told them EVERY SINGLE DAY), and kept asking me what their score was like I had it memorized. (No kid, I don’t have all 120 of your scores memorized!!!!! Where’s the sheet I gave you with the scores on it?!!!!)

It was then the solution hit me.

These 4th and 5th graders WANTED to understand WIDA and how it effected them. They WANTED to set goals, and recognized the importance of knowing their scores to know where they STARTED. Telling them won’t work. I needed to SHOW them. With visuals.

And viola! I created a VISUAL REPRESENTATION. Take a peek!