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. 

Customizable Workshops

All of the workshops listed below are appropriate for teachers new to the profession as well as seasoned veterans. As an approved CTLE sponsor, we are able to offer CTLE credits to any participants in our workshops who need them.  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 working at the secondary level.


Experiencing Instruction through the Eyes of an English Learner (EIEEL)

The best way to understand your ELL 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.

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Making Complexity Accessible to English Learners

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 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 from their own curriculum.

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Teaching Language through and in Support of Content

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.  In the two-day version of this workshop, participants learn how to design effective language objectives that lead teachers to plan for the teaching and assessment of academic language from the beginning of the unit.   This workshop is available in both one-day and two-day versions.

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Fostering Collaborative Learning for English Learners

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.   

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Scaffolding 2.0: Elevating English Learners to New Heights

This workshop affords participants the opportunity to explore a wide range of scaffolds beyond what is typically used in the classroom with English Learners.  After surfacing participants’ preconceived notions about what scaffolding entails, when it should be used and with whom, we begin to look at different methods of scaffolding across an array of classroom activities, from Do Nows to navigating text to writing assignments based on texts.  In the extended version of this workshop, participants learn how to scaffold through the deliberate sequencing of various learning activities over time, making complex assignments like essays and lab reports more accessible to English Learners.  As in all ElevatED Learning Services workshops, participants will be experiencing the scaffolds they are being taught to use with their own students, allowing them to see firsthand how difficult tasks can become manageable.  Participants will be given multiple opportunities to apply their new learning by revising Do Nows, texts, writing assignments, and lesson sequences from their own curriculum.  This workshop is available in both a one-day and two-day version.


Translanguaging: Leveraging Home Language as a Scaffold to Access Higher-Order Thinking

Although many educators believe that immersing their EL students completely into an “English only” environment is the best way for them to acquire the language, research has shown that allowing students to leverage their home languages when necessary is actually a better path to learning a new language.  Participants experience this firsthand through a simulation in which they must use their own home language collaboratively in order to complete a sample activity written in a foreign language.  After learning the prevailing theories behind language acquisition, participants engage in a stations activity where they learn about how students’ home languages can be used as a tool in a variety of ways in the classroom.  Participants apply their new learning by adapting a sample classroom activity to allow for translanguaging.  At the end of the workshop, participants reflect on what they have learned by revisiting an Agree-Disagree activity from the beginning of the workshop, in which they recorded their preconceived notions on the topic.

(Click on the title for a sample agenda)

 Curriculum Support

We work with clients to develop standards-based, hands-on curriculum for both heterogeneous groups of students as well as for newcomers.  We design engaging curriculum that embodies the core aspects of instruction that our workshops focus on: collaboration, scaffolding, integration of language and content teaching, and an emphasis on higher-order thinking, regardless of students’ proficiency levels or academic background.  To ensure that our curriculum has the maximum intended effect, we customize professional development for teachers to familiarize them with the curriculum, to explain the planning moves in designing the activities within it, and to strategize the most effective means for implementation with students.  As with coaching, our goal is to build knowledge and confidence at the school level by providing models from which teachers can begin to improve their own curriculum development practices for their EL populations.

On-The-Ground Coaching

We provide coaching for individual teachers as well as school leaders looking to improve their instruction for English Learners.  This work begins with professional development workshops, where educators of all kinds learn key strategies for designing and implementing effective curriculum for ELs.  In order to maximize the impact of these workshops, a member of the ElevatED Learning Services team subsequently works with a small number of teachers in adapting curriculum to help them incorporate what they have learned into their own instruction, as well as to develop a longer-term action plan for moving forward.  Coaching also entails observing teachers in action in the classroom and providing feedback to them on the implementation of new strategies and activities. We conduct needs-assessments and feedback for leaders as well, after having participated in co-observations of multiple classes together to discuss patterns noted and determine the most high-leverage moves for supporting teachers in better serving their EL students.

Our ultimate goal in coaching is to build capacity at the school level so that eventually our coaching services are no longer needed.  We work to identify strengths in EL instruction at a particular school and support the faculty and administration most invested in that work to be more knowledgeable and confident in developing, scaffolding, and implementing curriculum that meets ELs where they are and elevates them to new heights.  We also empower educators to be able to articulate these concepts and strategies to their colleagues as well, ensuring that change at the school comes from within.