Growing English Proficiency: Talking Stick

 

In this series, we discuss Student Interaction Routines, which are task-based strategies that help ensure each student has abundant strategic practice using new language for meaningful purposes. Developing a robust wheelhouse of interaction routines enhances student engagement and increases productive talk time. 

English learners build their skill and adroitness with language when they have lots of “mileage on the tongue.” Talking Stick is a structured routine that provides ample opportunities for students to develop interaction skills while using the target language numerous times in a session. This is a great choice when students need to build fluency or are struggling with high leverage language. Straightforward, easy to set up, and effective at any grade level, this routine ensures that all students actively speak and listen – so every voice is heard.

In the simplest version of this routine, students sit in groups of 3–4 and are ready to practice taught language together. The guidelines are: 

  • Speak only when holding the talking stick.
  • Listen to the person with the talking stick.
  • Take turns by passing the talking stick in a clockwise direction.
  • Signal as a group when done.

Discuss and model how to be a good listener, and hold students accountable for using appropriate body language to demonstrate they are really listening. Develop routines for distributing and collecting the talking sticks and for forming groups.

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1937 Hits

Growing English Proficiency: Numbered Heads Together

 

In this series, we discuss Student Interaction Routines, which are task-based strategies that help ensure each student has abundant strategic practice using new language for meaningful purposes. Developing a robust wheelhouse of interaction routines enhances student engagement and increases productive talk time.

Numbered Heads Together is a small-group interaction routine in which students practice negotiating language by generating multiple responses to a prompt. In their groups, students share ideas, listen to one another’s ideas, and share out what they talked about. This activity can be used to generate multiple responses or to collaboratively agree on a common response.

The beauty of this routine is that it increases accountability for all students. They feel positive peer pressure to participate and represent their team’s best thinking. This motivates students to listen closely, ask questions, and explain their reasoning clearly. 

As with other interaction routines, model the activity and language structures. Consider using Discussion Cards for Pose a Question, Build on an Idea, and/or Challenge an Idea to support students as they collaborate on their responses.  

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2449 Hits

English Learner Achievement: It's not just what you do, but also what you believe

elizabeth raquelElizabeth Macías, Director of Secondary Services
Raquel Núñez, Director of Elementary Services

 

There is little disagreement about some of the challenges English learners face in meeting the content and language demands of grade-level standards.

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3035 Hits

Explicit English Language Instruction: A key to reading comprehension

raquelRaquel Núñez, Director of Elementary Services

 

The Lower Yukon region is an isolated area of Alaska that serves native Yupik families. Children in the villages acquire English from their elders, who are English learners themselves and speak a variation of the language. 

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2717 Hits

Long-term English Learners: Improving equitable access and academic rigor

paulPaul R. Hanson, Science Teacher and Department Coordinator, Liberty High School, Hillsboro, Oregon

 

“A school with high academic optimism is a collectivity in which the faculty believes it can make a difference, that students can learn, and that high academic performance can be achieved.”

 – Hoy, Tarter, & Hoy, 2006

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  2487 Hits
2487 Hits

English Language Development: Selected readings for teachers and administrators

Debbi Puente, Director of District Support
Raquel Núñez, Director of Elementary Services 

 

Teachers and administrators are always learning – so it's always a good time to curl up with a good book, especially one that deepens your knowledge base and pedagogy.

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2578 Hits

Building English Learners' Metalinguistic Awareness: To know about knowing

aide raquel

Aidé Vásquez-Yepez, Elementary Associate
Raquel Núñez, Director of Elementary Services

 

During language arts time, a usually quiet first-grade English learner offered his teacher a writing suggestion: “We can use ‘and’ to put those two sentences together. It would sound better.”

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4055 Hits

Quality ELD in Dual Language Programs

elizabethElizabeth Macias, Director of Secondary Services and Bilingual Support 

 

"Researchers found that students who received focused second-language instruction made more than five times the gains of students who did not." – Goldenberg, 2013

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  2760 Hits
2760 Hits

ELD in Dual Language Programs? Making the Case for Explicit Language Instruction

elizabethElizabeth Macias, Director of Secondary Services and Bilingual Support

 

It has long been the premise of Dual Language Education that language learning happens during meaningful interactions of different language groups within well-scaffolded lessons. 

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2288 Hits

Constructing Meaning in the Arts

scott townsendScott Townsend, Secondary Services Team

 

“I am so glad that the arts community has gotten the message that the arts have a central and essential role in achieving the finest aspects of the common core.”

– David Coleman, president of The College Board and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) author

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1876 Hits

Systematic ELD or Constructing Meaning: Principal tips for successful implementation

debbiDebbi Puente, Director of District Support

 

"A positive school culture is the bedrock upon which a strong school is built, and the school leader is pivotal in achieving this environment."
– How Leadership Influences Student Learning

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1581 Hits

English Language Instruction: Improving expertise through focused reflection

karinaKarina Bruzzese, Associate – District Support Lead

 

Growth and improvement are what schools are about, for both students and teachers.

  

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1423 Hits

English Learner Instruction: The power of acceleration

ellenEllen Levy, Lead Associate for Secondary Constructing Meaning

 

For many years, at least fifteen percent of freshmen at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Oregon, failed their science class. An alarming and predictable number of students did not receive credit for a required course, year in and year out – until 2010.

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1614 Hits

How Systematic ELD Nurtures Success: Growing critical skills

aideAidé Vásquez Yepez, Elementary Services

 

I had the opportunity to visit a classroom as the teacher and students were just delving into the first of the SysELD Instructional Units, and again as they were wrapping up the second one.

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  1533 Hits
1533 Hits

Explicit English Language Support for CCSS Tasks

ellenEllen Levy, Lead Associate for Secondary Constructing Meaning

 

With the arrival of the Common Core State Standards comes a new generation of assessments. For years, multiple-choice questions have dominated the landscape of standardized tests. In the new CCSS paradigm, students will be required to produce complex written performance tasks to demonstrate understanding. 

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3
  1284 Hits
1284 Hits

Supporting English Learner Systems: The work of instructional coaching defined

debbi

Debra Puente, Director of District Support

 

District leaders often ask us for guidance about how best to sustain the implementation of new initiatives.

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1666 Hits

Building English Learners' Confidence and Success Through Academic Writing

ellen scottEllen Levy and Scott Townsend, Secondary Services Team          

 

“I always wanted to go to college, but I never had the confidence that I could say and write the things I know.” She smiles and sweeps the bangs from her eyes. “Then someone showed me how.” 

– Monica DiBella, senior, New Dorp High School, Staten Island, as quoted in
The Writing Revolution by Peg Tyre, The Atlantic, October 2012

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2032 Hits

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