ElevatED Learning Services offers a comprehensive array of professional development services designed to support educators in bringing new knowledge, techniques, and strategies from the workshop session to the classroom. We offer post-workshop guidance in implementing new learning through coaching and curriculum support.
All of the workshops listed below are appropriate for teachers new to the profession as well as seasoned veterans. Our workshops are also designed to meet the needs of all content area teachers as well as those certified in English as a Second Language or Bilingual Education. Workshop activities provide a mixture of working in interdisciplinary groups and time to work in content area groups with opportunities to look at many examples of curriculum and structures from each discipline to serve as models. Although upper elementary school teachers will find many concepts and structures in the workshops relevant to their teaching, the workshops are geared towards teachers of the secondary level.
The best way to understand your English Learner students is to walk in their shoes. Through a carefully structured simulation, this introductory, half-day workshop gives participants the chance to understand firsthand the confusion, frustration, and disengagement that can come with not understanding the language being used around you. Participants will also experience the scaffolds, activity structures, and other strategies that put integrated content and language instruction in a foreign language within reach of all students. During the simulation debrief, participants discuss the varied ways in which careful curricular design and implementation can ensure accessibility and success for all students. This simulation is the ideal introduction to ElevatED Learning Services, as it gives participants a taste of many of the strategies (collaboration, scaffolding, use of home language, etc.) that are more deeply explored in our other workshop offerings.
As a follow-up to Experiencing Instruction through the Eyes of an English Learner (EIEEL), this half-day workshop further explores some of the key scaffolds teachers can use to make complex content and text more accessible to their EL students: accessing and/or building background knowledge and using graphic organizers. Participants unpack the simulation they experienced in EIEEL further, discovering how those activities were designed to both elicit student prior knowledge and build background knowledge before delving into the more challenging, text-heavy academic work of a new unit. Participants explore a resource full of ideas for activating and building student knowledge—activities that both bridge oral language and literacy and enable to students to use their home language effectively to access understanding. Armed with many examples, participants then try their hand at designing their own set of activities for a sample topic. We then look at how graphic organizers are created to strip away difficulty and get students focused on the real “meat” of any activity. Participants also have the opportunity to apply their new understandings through the design of a graphic organizer for their sample topic.
Project-Based Learning for English Learners
Research has shown that the best way to learn anything is by doing. In this five-day workshop series, participants will not only learn but apply the fundamentals of designing project-based curricula, through which students create publicly-shared products representing a synthesis of the new content, academic language, and discipline-specific skills they have acquired. The Framework for Teaching to the Demands, a framework for organizing project-based units and the activities within them, lies at the heart of this workshop series. Participants will experience each step of the planning process, from coming up with unit project ideas to designing daily activities that support students in reaching outcomes. Participants will emerge from this workshop series with an outline for their own curricular unit as well as a template and resources for creating other project-based units that are specifically adapted for English Learners. This workshop series can also be done in 1-4 days, though as a result, not all topics will be explored as in-depth as in the five-day institute.
Research has shown that conceptual understanding is limited by the linguistic knowledge of the thinker, thus making language and content inseparable. If students are not explicitly taught the academic language needed for a particular task, they cannot engage at a deep level with that content. In this one- or two-day workshop, participants learn the different facets of language development, a term that encompasses far more than simply teaching new vocabulary words. Participants learn how to assess the language demands of the academic tasks they design for students, thereby allowing them to anticipate and plan for the linguistic challenges that can impede student comprehension and engagement. As a consequence of gaining a deeper understanding of what all “language development” entails, participants work on developing a set of activities for their students that will introduce and rehearse the use of new academic language. We offer both a one-day and two-day version of this workshop.
Although most teachers already understand the benefits of having students learn collaboratively, many of them simply tell their ELs to “work together” and hope for the best. Like other ElevatED Learning Services workshops, this one affords participants the chance to learn experientially, by “test-driving” innovative activity structures that foster organized, purposeful, and productive collaboration. Participants explore the 5 essentials of collaboration that any activity needs to be truly collaborative, as well as the strategies necessary for successfully implementing them. They apply their understanding of these essentials by creating one or more activities for their own curriculum that have students working together in authentic and meaningful ways for some greater purpose. We offer both a one-day and two-day version of this workshop.