Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Transformations - Part 1

Hello blogosphere,
                I am thrilled to be the lead blogger for WIDA.  I am a former bilingual/ESL teacher and program coordinator.  In June 2005, I left my school district and joined the Illinois Resource Center (IRC) to provide training and support to educators. Now I am eager to join the online conversations impacting ELLs – I hope you’ll share your thoughts and perspectives with me. 
                Teachers ask me what to do when the MPI strands (see the picture above) don’t match the instruction they are providing in their classroom.  Sometimes the supports need to be changed.  Sometimes the example topics don’t match what they are currently teaching, or they want to see what a particular topic would look like if it were written for a different language domain (e.g. speaking instead of writing).  My answer – let me show you how to transform the standards!   So, today is part one of a two part blog about how to make the English language proficiency (ELP) standards more relevant and useful.          
This month I have facilitated two workshops on “Transformations” – the process for adapting the ELP Standards to your curriculum and instruction. The first workshop was in Minnesota – practically in the shadow of Mall of America.  (Thank you, Minnesota, for providing me with the chance to spend 12 hours at the mall and ride an indoor Ferris wheel – what a trip!).  The other was at the IRC.  I had two very different groups of teachers.  In Minnesota, I spent the day with a wonderful group of teachers from one district.  They were new to the WIDA Consortium and the ELP Standards but experts at curriculum design and UbD (Understanding by Design).  The Illinois group consisted of teachers and administrators from various districts- many who had been working with the ELP standards for years but who had varying levels of curriculum design expertise.  By the end of each workshop, teachers from both groups were quick to share how much the day had impacted their understanding of the ELP Standards.  One teacher wrote on her evaluation form that “This is the first time in years that the standards have been so clearly explained to me.”  Another mentioned that she was surprised to learn that “higher level thinking can be addressed at level 1 and level 2” of English language proficiency.  A third teacher “was happy to see how WIDA spells out the need for sensory, graphic and interactive support all the way up through level 4.”   Many commented about the need to spend time with their colleagues actually doing transformations – not just reading about how to do them.  So let’s try a little experiment – professional development through a blog.
If you are new to transformations, there are two main ideas you need to know: 1) how to identify the three components of every model performance indicator (MPI), and 2) how to change those components to align with your state standards and district curriculum. Today, let’s work on the identifying the three components of the MPI.  There are three parts to every MPI: The language function, the topic, and the support.  Here is an example:  

Now it’s your turn. Pull out your copy of the Resource Guide. Open it up to the ELP Standards for the grade level cluster that you teach:
·         Pre-K-K -   pages 2-11
·         1st – 2nd grades -  pages  14-25
·         3rd-5th grades -  pages 28-39
·         6th-8th grades – pages 42-53
·         9th-12th grades – pages 56-67

 Grab a colleague or two, pick out one MPI and try identifying each of the three parts. Share with each other. Try a few more. How did you do?

Click here to learn more about transforming MPIs.

Written by: Tammy King

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