Bridge Partners: A Strategy for Building Discussion from Common Ground

by Tina Beene

You may already know that my Seidlitz Education colleagues are some of the most intriguing people from some of the most interesting places around the world. I love and respect them more than I can say (or that I would say in a blog post because, eww, this public emoting is gross), but sometimes I feel a pang of envy when they share stories of languages and cultures so different from my own. I find myself wishing my story crossed oceans and borders in that same way so that, when someone asked me where I’m from, I’d have more than a one-word reply. 

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Co-Teaching in Reading & Writing Classrooms

by Valentina Gonzalez

(adapted from ValentinaESL.com)

Co-teaching can be a powerful instruction approach and beneficial to the students in the classroom. One of the best things about co-teaching is that it can lower the student-teacher ratio, allowing for more interaction with individual students and customized instruction. Yet sometimes, co-teachers in reading and writing classrooms find themselves feeling underused. When one teacher reads aloud to the class, what can the co-teacher do to add value to the lesson? Or, when one teacher conducts a shared reading, how can the co-teacher support instruction? 

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Do Multilingual Learners Really Struggle with HOTS?

by Natalia Heckman

Multilingual Learners and HOTS

For quite a while, I’ve been wondering how to understand the statement I’ve often heard that “English learners struggle with critical thinking, analysis, and inferences.” Is it really true? Or is it possible that this idea might actually reflect deficit thinking? Could it be that it’s actually insulting to assume we have to teach multilingual students to think critically when, in fact, they already do? 

Multilingual learners juggle two language systems (quite a high-order thinking task!) and navigate multicultural spaces on a daily basis. Translanguaging requires not only building a mental map of complex linguistic systems but maneuvering between nuanced similarities and differences of both. So, why would MLs (as a group) struggle with HOTS more than any other students? 

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What I Wish I Knew: Reflections From An ESL Teacher

by Valentina Gonzalez

Before becoming an ESL teacher, I was a general education classroom teacher for several years. I taught language arts in elementary school and loved every single year and every set of students. You see, I didn’t set out to become an ESL teacher. But it happened, and I’m grateful that my journey led me here. It was a beautiful, surprising next step in my career as an educator. 

Looking back on those first years as an ESL teacher, there are many things I wish I had known. There are many things I wish I could go back and whisper into the ear of the younger Mrs. Gonzalez. Here are a few: 

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The Seidlitz Blog’s Top Posts from 2021

by Sarah Welch, for Seidlitz Education

We started the Seidlitz blog in January of 2019, three years ago now, and we couldn’t have predicted what a blessing it would become just over a year after we published our first post. Throughout 2020 and much of 2021, our blog became a powerful way to stay connected and start conversations with teachers across Texas, the United States, and beyond when we couldn’t come together in person to share strategies and ideas for supporting multilingual learners. 

As we looked back on 2021, we wanted to see what blog content was resonating with all of you the most, so we looked at all our published posts, from launch day to now, to see which ones had had the most views throughout the course of the year. We loved the variety we saw in our ten most-read, from making math accessible to MLs to scaffolding reading and writing to lowering the affective filter.

Without further ado, here are the most-read Seidlitz Blog posts in 2021.

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Music to My Ears: 3 Powerful Methods for Using Music in Classrooms with Emergent Bilinguals

by Valentina Gonzalez

On an average Uber drive in the fall of 2021, I sat in the backseat listening to the music from the radio, trying to figure out the language. It somehow sounded familiar and also brought me back to my childhood memories. As the car pulled up to my destination, I thanked the driver and asked him about the music. He proudly told me it was Greek, and it was the sixth language he was learning through music. At that moment, I began to kick myself for not inquiring earlier. Now I wanted to know more. I had so many questions for the seemingly ordinary Uber driver who was actually extraordinary. 

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