Featured Video Archive
Trail of Tears
Laurie Burgos is a teacher at McKinley Middle School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In this social studies lesson, Laurie taps into her students’ unique learning styles to make inferences using students’ prior knowledge and textual information. Students are given the option to read an excerpt from a letter, listen to a song, study a map, or analyze a portrait about the Trail of Tears. View this video to see how Laurie uses the think aloud strategy to model the activity for her students and provides graphic organizers scaffolded according to students’ English language proficiency levels to support her students’ writing.
Four Corners Fraction Activity
The "Four Corners" cooperative learning activity develops the four language domains (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) by reviewing how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions. This helps boost the math and language skills of ELL high school students. The teacher believes that a main key to the activity's success is the scaffolding first provided through verbal directions, written directions and modeling. A non-threatening learning environment is achieved by offering students the choice of which corner of the classroom they prefer to work and feel most proficient. They solve the assigned problems and write down their steps using the language provided by the teacher. During the process, students clarify misconceptions for one another, peer tutor each other naturally, share solutions, and explain the steps of their process to the rest of the class.
Learning Math and the Language of Math Words
Students in this classroom are in second and third grade and represent English language proficiency levels 2 through 4. Previously, they were confusing terms such as "plus" and "times." Watch the math fact game activity to see students practicing these terms. Students were asked to solve challenging grade level math problems and share the specific academic terms orally and in complete sentences. Vocabulary was discussed and supported in the form of interactive graphics. Also, small mixed ability group work scaffolded the beginning and developing learners. The use of the teacher's strategy "use what you know to figure out what you don't know" can really benefit all students. The lessons in this unit included reading math terms, listening, speaking, and writing.
Forming Cause & Effect Sentences using Signal Words
Here we see High School students forming cause and effect sentences. They used signal words while reviewing key events and vocabulary from their novel. View the video to see how the teacher made these abstract concepts concrete. Students matched sentences and used cause and effect words, correct pronouns, and punctuation. The lesson included reading, listening, speaking, followed by writing. Note that students had an opportunity to try out their language first before they wrote. Student success was evidenced by their writing.
4th Grade Writing Lesson - Visualization and Details
Here we see Sara Guller with her 4th grade ELL students in St. Louis,
Missouri. She is encouraging them to think in their first language and
draw a picture before they write. Their creative juices flow while they
add details to their drawing and discuss facts that occurred. When they
use their pictures to guide them while writing, students are able to
enhance their text with adjectives and other precise language.
Building and Assessing Oral Language of Science
Savanah Ballentine is a teacher in a 9th grade sheltered English language Science class in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her students' WIDA English Language Proficiency (ELP) levels include Emerging (Level 2) and Developing (Level 3). They have a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. In this lesson, students are focused on defining specific and technical Science vocabulary words by rearranging sentence strips with a partner and practicing oral questioning and answering. In this way, they are learning vocabulary but also practicing constructing coherent sentences using the reading, listening, and speaking domains. It would be simple to differentiate the vocabulary and sentence structures that students are working on for a classroom with a wider range of language proficiency levels by intentionally pairing students and adding more phrase strips. In her reflection, Ms. Ballentine explains her approach to modeling and supporting classroom instructions for language learners.
The Sound of 'P'
Laurie Rohm, the creator of "The Sound of 'P,'" is a teacher at Nesbit Elementary School in Tucker, Georgia. One of the things Laurie loves about kindergarteners is their high level of curiosity and energy. She taps into that energy and allows them to use all their senses to see, feel, and hear the sound that the letter p makes.
This is a great example of early literacy teaching that incorporates interaction and physical activity to motivate, support learning, and make it memorable.
Video Contest Archive
In 2011-12, WIDA sponsored a video contest for educators of English language learners
(ELLs). We received 66 submissions and greatly appreciated the time and energy that
went into creating each one! We requested 5- to 10-minute video submissions of:
- Classroom events promoting effective teaching, learning, and/or assessment of content
and language for ELLs;
- Educator reflections on those classroom events.
We are proud to announce our four winners! You can watch the winning entries below
and read a brief explanation for why the WIDA contest award committee selected them.
Note: by clicking the icon in the lower right corner,
you can expand the videos to full screen.
1st place: Kara Lawson, Increasing the Use of Academic Language
During Guided Math Groups
We loved this video because of the message it conveys about learning and teacher
reflection. Kara demonstrates how to create and support a student-centered environment
in which learners engage in higher order thinking as they use the language of mathematics
for an authentic purpose. Her reflection on the teaching and learning happening
in her classroom captured our attention and our wonder. We were thrilled that her
reflections on the video clips she collected inspired her to create additional opportunities
for her students to think about their own linguistic roles and how to enact them.
The students in her video engaged in mathematical discourse in an explicit, contextualized
manner and saw themselves as both apprentices and co-constructors of the knowledge
in that classroom. Thanks to Kara for the privilege to glance into her classroom
and experience the wonderful learning of both content and language happening there
2nd place: Marybelle Espin & Sandra Nahmias, In the Path of
Nature's Wrath: A Project-Based Learning Approach to the Study of Natural Disasters
Marybelle and Sandra put together a powerful synthesis of student learning in their
classroom. We enjoyed seeing what collaboration among teachers can bring alive.
The integration of multiple domains—listening and speaking through discussion
during research and planning, reading and writing throughout the whole project,
and multi-modal representations of knowledge aided by the use of technology—provided
rich opportunities to see language use across one project. Watching the final projects
was one of the highlights of our day. It demonstrated clearly the wealth of student
learning that took place during this project. We particularly liked how students
used academic language and contextualized it by making real-life connections. A
special hurray for the authentic uses of registers and appropriate genres in journalism!
3rd place (tie): Aggeliki Alimonos, The Language of Mathematics:
Constructing a Tetrahedral Kite
Aggeliki's unit was outstanding. The description of her plan and how she integrated
disciplinary contexts, language domains and content and skills was inspiring. We
were all impressed with her creative ability and her attention to language. We also
felt this video had a strong focus on listening and reading comprehension that are
often hard to incorporate into lessons. Thank you, Aggeliki, for the thoughtfulness
in the organization of teaching and learning and your focus on language.
3rd place (tie): Kari Miller, Playground Project
Kari reminded us of the importance of meeting the academic standards through authentic
experiences for children. We liked meeting her students and seeing how she built
upon a shared enjoyable experience then integrated technology and writing to engage
students in academic language learning. We were curious about the conversations
of students around the development of their projects and the metalinguistic approach
Kari took while affording students the opportunity to discuss their use of language
in this project. Kari showed us how a project can build on what students already
know and celebrate their growing command of language as they work to express ideas
about which they care.