By Naomi Barbour and Laura Rock
At the beginning of the 2015-16 school year the Language and Learning Center staff identified a need for a more systematic approach to collaboration with core classroom teachers. Our goal was to become a more effective voice for our students throughout the whole cycle of learning. We wanted to be involved in co-planning, co-teaching and co-assessing our students, and also in co-reflecting with our colleagues about the process. We saw the need for increased scaffolding, more varied differentiation, clear expectations and explicit language and learning objectives to support our students and create greater access to the curriculum. After identifying these needs, we devised an action plan to guide us in this process.
We devised this plan during a graduate class entitled Instructional Strategies for More Effective Teaching. In addition, we had the opportunity to attend some workshops run by Jon Nordmeyer and Margot Gottlieb from WIDA at Lincoln in February 2016. Following their visit, we also attended the WIDA Symposium at Nido de Aguilas School in Santiago and the WIDA pre-conference session at the AASSA conference in Lima. Our interaction with the people from WIDA and others who use it inspired us to create a menu as a means to facilitate more systematic collaboration with classroom teachers. During this school year, we have also been part of a Professional Learning Community at Lincoln based around Andrea Honigsfeld and Maria Dove’s book Collaboration and Co-Teaching – Strategies for English Learners.
We wanted the creation of the menu to be a collaborative process so we took advantage of our school’s Lincoln Educators Conference to run a workshop and get feedback on ideas for what to include on the menu. We presented some menu items and asked those attending to add their own items. Following the workshop we put all of these ideas together and devised the following menu. The menu was shared with our colleagues in the High School during a faculty workshop at the beginning of this semester. Teachers had the opportunity to read the menu and discover new ways in which to collaborate with Language and Learning Center teachers on their plans for this semester. Teachers appeared receptive and open to this process and we have already received many requests to work together in a variety of ways in all stages of the learning process. The enthusiastic response on the part of our colleagues was very pleasing because we know that this will benefit our students. The menu was also shared in a further PLC related to collaboration.It is our hope that this menu will allow more avenues to open up to us in order to meet the goals that we have for our students’ learning.