This is for my own need to find some solid footing. I started at my current position during the 2019-2020 year, just beginning to use my newly minted #ELL (MLL) endorsement, year 14 of teaching (now year 16), at an alternative high school in a new district. I’ve moved so many times in my life, and one of my life skills is trying to imagine the culture and invisible rules of place so I can emotionally and professionally survive, and hopefully thrive. This school had never had a full-time ELL/MLL teacher before, and since I’ve been there the graduation rates of MLL have risen with significant numbers. I remind my insecure self that I do know what I’m doing, and how to help. Unfortunately, I cannot bottle these methods and sell them to other teachers. I am working on being intentional and controlling the results, but alas, like true science it’s an art form, and sometimes the results are not as expected, and even more powerful. Over these past few weeks, I’m working on building back relationships with colleagues, which by and large means “leave them alone.” So I continue to work alone.
My class size for ELL/ELA this year is twelve students. What I love about smaller class sizes are everything you can imagine: individual attention, crafting, and scaffolding, differentiating for interests and needs. However, I’m still expected, like I imagine most of us are, daily learning targets and success criteria, and this number, where I have no idea where it originated from, we are expected to use 80% of district-approved materials. We adopted a new curriculum for ELLs since I’ve been in this district, and while the materials aren’t bad, at this stage in my profession I’ve been “baking from scratch” for so long, this feels too pedantic and suffocating. I take heart at in our scope and sequence, which I contributed to over the summer, one unit of study is Identity and another is Culture. Those are broad and expansive topics, and I can work with that. I also want to shift toward Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s work and Dr. José Medina’s works. Sometimes fostering revolutions are the quiet shifts and getting results, sharing the results, and then it grows.
On September 25 I attended a Native American professional development
Also, we have an amazing Native American district lead, Robin Pratt, who’s shares rich resources, this among many others. How many districts around our nation can say they have a Native American DISTRICT LEAD?
But: this is the work of the work. We excavate, research, and find what we and our students need. And I’m always honest with them about how much I don’t know, and also inquire into their experiences, too.
I will do my best to organize these thoughts so you can find and use what you might need.
Using a reader’s response journal and graphic novel, among other media, inquire and build contextual and historical knowledge about the past and present day.
1. Read to learn about a character and her identity, place, and present-tense life, and her journey to learn about her past and make personal connections to her place in history.
2. Write about our own experiences with our heritages –many of us don’t know family members or ancestors. This is not about direct knowledge, but imagining (historical fiction) — if we could dream about our pasts, where would we go? What might we see? Who might we talk to?
3. Listen to stories and perspectives from those who live and learn on this land we currently occupy (Muckleshoot Tribe)
4. Speak/discuss our thoughts with others in class*
*this is a domain that has been challenging to encourage students to take risks with each other
Google Slide with instructions for journal: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ofLJM1Ag0hT19DccxpiXub4MPMD9QO3xKZ-6EkbnngE/edit?usp=sharing
|Google Slide based on Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s instructional work:|
|We Are Muckleshoot|
|Consider water rights unit, too: |
|Dialectical Journals Notebook insert: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DCotQ3TyyBAmNymwTKWrvyUIc8P7l5czK0juCf2V4TQ/edit?usp=sharing|
|Native American Poetry https://poets.org/native-american-heritage-month?fbclid=IwAR26lpKXrwILBG8FaEISnaFAgl1GNLiJ4oVRizUk_UCpEb1izkGTJcfJs5A|
Texts and Resources:
This tribe helped the Pilgrims survive for their first Thanksgiving. They still regret it 400 years later.
There is no shortage of factual, critical information about our history; the more I looked into my digital hoard the more I uncovered. Hopefully you can find something you can use, and begin to do this work. Now. This month. And keep it going. I’m going to hit the Publish button.