Thursday, July 25, 2013

Incorporating Blog Posts into Professional Development

A number of years ago I was in charge of a rather large ESL and bilingual program. I often struggled with ways to share effective practices, tips, and ideas with my teachers across our various buildings. They were busy people and I knew I couldn't add more to their plate. I am mentioning this to you because I was reminded of this dilemma recently. I was speaking with a group of educators, and one of them asked me some questions. Rather than bend her ear for several minutes, I referred her to some blog posts on that very topic. Soon a number of others asked for the links. They realized the potential of sharing these short blog posts with their colleagues. The conversation turned a bit and we found ourselves discussing the merits of regularly sharing relatively small amounts of text with our colleagues via blog posts, short articles, etc.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Computerized English Language Proficiency Assessments around the Corner

Summertime is my time to slow down, breath and catch up on some of my reading and personal professional development. To that end, I sat in on two webinars at the end of June. I have already told you about the first webinar here.  Today I would like to share with you an overview of the second webinar and what it means to those of us in the WIDA Consortium. It was called Next-Generation English Language Proficiency Assessments. It was produced by the Alliance for Excellence in Education, and it's archived here
The webinar featured a panel of speakers, including Timothy Boals, WIDA's Executive Director; Gary Cook, WIDA's Research Director; Robert Linquanti, Project Director for English Learner Evaluation and Accountability Support from WestEd and Kathleen Vanderwall, Manager, Test Design and Administration at the Oregon State Department of Education. The webinar focused on the need for, and creation of, a new generation of English language proficiency assessments at the national level. Since the majority of you are working in WIDA Consortium states, I will focus on the next generation of the ACCESS for ELLs assessment. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Common Core Standards, Digital Learning…and ELLs?

In late June, I sat in on a webinar produced by the Alliance for Excellent Education called “Converging Opportunities: Common Core State Standards and Digital Learning.”  Honestly, I wasn’t familiar with this organization prior to hearing about the webinar.  But I am interested in learning more about the work that they do and the resources that they provide for educators across the nation. 

Essentially the webinar consisted of three panelists representing different school districts across the nation.  It is now archived here Each district represented was at a different point in the shift towards CCSS.  The first panelist was Lisa Andrejko, the superintendent from Quakertown Community School District.