Posted in New Teacher, Teacher Tips, teaching resources

Conferencing and Goal-Setting

Back to School Edition

I remember a HUMONGOUS problem I had the first 2 years of teaching. Students were NOT motivated to come to class. They did NOT care, at all.

So, I developed a conferencing and goal-setting system I could use at the beginning of the school-year, the middle, and the very end of the school year. And IT WORKED!

Listen to the full podcast about conferencing and goal-setting if you want to dive deeper!

What is the Process for Conferencing and Goal Setting?

1) What will the students set goals for?
—> WIDA scores?—> Fountas & Pinnel reading level?
2) Create a visual
representation of
the levels.
—> Make sure the visual
can fit at the TOP of
the goal-setting sheet.
—> Keep it visual with symbols and/or colors!
3) Make a student copy where they can set their goals. —> GROWTH-MINDSET! —> Level 5 represents what grade-level would look like at the END of the year. That way, EVERYONE can be challenged.
4) Use a separate copy to define the goals further. —> or to show the scope-and-sequence of what they are learning.

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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!