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.

10. Using Mentor Texts to Develop Vocabulary, Reading, Writing, & Language

“Much like Swiss Army knives, mentor texts can accomplish many things, such as developing students’ vocabulary to help them become strong writers, strengthening their reading, and advancing their language proficiency.” In this post, Valentina Gonzalez outlines what a mentor text is, why it can be an important tool for supporting multilingual learners, and how to put a mentor text to good use in the classroom.

9. Visual Literacy with English Learners

In our visual world, it’s important to be able to interpret, synthesize, and communicate the message an image is conveying, but did you know that visual literacy is a powerful tool to support multilingual learners as they develop critical thinking skills in their new language? Here, Valentina Gonzalez explains why that is, and shares three practical ideas for using visual literacy with MLs.

8. Three Cross-Curricular Techniques that Expand Thinking & Develop Language for English Learners

It’s easy to think linguistic instruction for multilingual learners need only take place in classes specifically centered on English language development, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In this blog post, Valentina Gonzalez shares techniques teachers in any classroom can start implementing today in order to support their MLs’ linguistic growth. 

7. Why Representation in Classroom Books Is Important: Culturally Inclusive Books

“My bookshelf did nothing to reflect the students that I served. At that moment I made a conscious effort to make a change.” Our bookshelves should be “mirrors and windows” for our students, allowing themselves to see their own identities and experiences on the pages as well as to learn about other perspectives. As diversity in classroom libraries is being challenged, Valentina Gonzalez’s post about the importance of culturally inclusive books is more relevant than ever.

6. Three Mathematical Mindsets that Show Everybody Can Be a “Math Person”

We’ve all heard a student say they’re just “not a math person” at one time or another, and perhaps we’ve even said it ourselves! But Adrian Mendoza knows that, with the right mindsets, anybody can be a math person, and he shares those mindsets in this blog post.

5. Teaching Techniques to Scaffold Reading for English Learners

Scaffolding instruction — providing temporary supports and then releasing them once they’re no longer needed — is an important way to ensure our multilingual learners (and all our students) are engaged and growing in the classroom. Here, Valentina Gonzalez shares five strategies to support students’ reading.

4. Building Better Sentences: Rigorous Syntax for English Learners

“As a language teacher, I want to lift the metaphorical hood and show my students how the parts of a sentence work together to make the sentence ‘go.’” In this blog post, Natalia Heckman makes a compelling case for rigorous syntax instruction in the classroom — and then shows readers how to make that instruction accessible to students.

3. QSSSA: More than Turn & Talk

“Do you feel that if you let students talk, they might get off topic? […] Perhaps you feel that letting kids talk creates a noisy environment. Or maybe you feel that there isn’t enough time for students to talk. […] QSSSA is about to change the way that you and your students use “talk” in the classroom forever!” Valentina Gonzalez provides a fantastic overview of one of our favorite classroom conversation strategies.

2. Eight Ways to Scaffold Writing for English Learners

As with reading (and any other classroom learning), scaffolding can have a significant impact on the development of students’ writing skills. In this blog post, a fantastic companion to the post above on reading scaffolds, Valentina Gonzalez shares eight strategies to support students’ writing.

1. What Is the Affective Filter, & Why Is It Important in the Classroom?

“It is not enough to simply teach,” says Valentina Gonzalez in our most-read post of 2021. “It is not enough to deliver instruction even if it’s made comprehensible to students. If students’ affective filters are elevated, language acquisition will be impeded.” This post explains what the affective filter is and why it has such an important impact on student learning, then shares three great strategies for lowering it in the classroom.

Thank you to all the teachers, administrators, and friends who’ve read, shared, and engaged with the Seidlitz blog over the years. Let us know if you have a favorite post that didn’t make this list, and please get in touch if there’s something in particular you’d like to see us address in future posts. 

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