Planning for the 2020-2021 School Year | COVID-19 Edition

by Valentina Gonzalez

The 2020-2021 school year will be, by far, the most difficult one to plan for yet. There are simply too many unknowns. As a nation and as a world, we just lived through and are currently continuing to experience the unprecedented reality of COVID-19. For some, family members have passed away, illness has struck, jobs have been lost, food has been scarce, tensions have been high in households, and anxiety has risen. And worse, it isn’t over yet. The physical and emotional side effects are overwhelming. It’s challenging to think about how academics fit into this equation. 

Continue reading “Planning for the 2020-2021 School Year | COVID-19 Edition”

Leading the Way! What’s Working for English Learners: Call for Proposals

by Valentina Gonzalez

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All of you advocates and educational leaders are doing amazing work on campuses and in districts to support English learners. And because of that, great things are happening in classrooms across the state and the nation. You are planning instruction that is based on student needs. You are delivering quality lessons that invite and empower students. You are coordinating professional development opportunities and instructional coaching cycles that truly affect instructional practices. You are engaging parents and including them in their children’s education. And this is just the beginning. Continue reading “Leading the Way! What’s Working for English Learners: Call for Proposals”

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

by Adrian Mendoza

For many years the way we approached mathematics was very resistant to new ideas, methods, and strategies. Imagine being in any place in the world where all the people had to think in the same way, following the same procedures to solve problems, and being told that you are not a good person if you do not memorize the rules. How would you feel? Can you see how someone might get anxiety or dislike being in that place? BOOM! That is exactly what some students — and even adults — feel in a math environment, and that has to stop.  Continue reading “Three Mathematical Mindsets that Show Everybody Can Be a “Math Person””

Tallying Your Wins: Hug – Push – Hug

by Sarah Guedry

Yesterday, my own fourth grade daughter handed me her “argumentative essay” to read before she turned it in. My middle school teacher-eyes, with their sky-high expectations, immediately saw about 20 errors I would have loved for her to fix. But, not wanting to repeat the tears I’d brought her to the day before, I remembered how to be a teacher and used the “hug, push, hug” strategy with my daughter/student.  Continue reading “Tallying Your Wins: Hug – Push – Hug”

TRTW in the Remote Classroom, Part 2: Bringing TRTW to Life Online

by Nancy Motley

I know that we are all in a steep learning curve right now, myself included! Interestingly, I am immersed in learning how to transform the very routine I created into a format suitable for remote learning. I am referring to Talk, Read, Talk, Write, which is a literacy-based routine for teaching just about anything. Luckily for me, there are many teachers who have already blazed this trail. One such teacher is Alma Juarez, who teaches ESL classes at Frisco High School. She generously shared her work with me so that I can share it with you. (She also wanted me to explain that her process is evolving each week as she and her students learn what works best for them.) Before we dive into Alma’s sample lesson, let’s build a little background. Continue reading “TRTW in the Remote Classroom, Part 2: Bringing TRTW to Life Online”

Supporting Literacy at Home: 7 Steps for Parents

by Jordan Greer and Curstin Ploch, Frisco ISD

In the ESL world, we always advocate that language-rich instruction is good for all students, not just ELs. In our current situation, it is not just ELs who are experiencing disruptions in their lives. Everyone is struggling with isolation, disruption to routine, and a variety of stressors that normally do not impact their learning. For example, a student who does not typically need oral administration may need linguistic support during an assessment because these stressors have raised the affective filter for reasons other than language proficiency. With parents now playing an even larger role in their children’s education, they themselves may need additional support to be able to support their children during remote learning.  Continue reading “Supporting Literacy at Home: 7 Steps for Parents”

TRTW in the Remote Classroom, Part 1: Inspired Collaboration

by Nancy Motley

I met Alma Juarez and her team for the first time via a Zoom meeting on April 23, 2020, when they allowed me to crash their weekly one-hour PLC (professional learning community) session. I have to tell you, it was the most inspiring 56 minutes I’ve had in a really long time.  Continue reading “TRTW in the Remote Classroom, Part 1: Inspired Collaboration”

Cultivating Relationships Remotely

by Dr. Lora Beth Escalante

Cultivating Student Relationships Remoely

As teachers around the nation (and globe) are navigating teaching online, we have the opportunity to reflect on our strengths as educators. The relationships we worked hard to form from August to February must now be maintained virtually, and the most effective way to get started is to identify what was going well in our classroom before we were oh so rudely interrupted by COVID-19. Continue reading “Cultivating Relationships Remotely”


by Emily Francis

It doesn’t happen as often as it should, but when it does, it is the most amazing feeling one can experience. That moment when you’re reading a book and you see your life and family experiences reflected on every single page. That moment when you see text and images intertwine on a page to bring forth cultural validation and acceptance. That moment when you close the book and cry tears of happiness because you realize that stories are so much deeper than you ever thought.  Continue reading “Sometimes…”