Tag Archives: in the classroom

Ten Ways Teachers Can Support Parents and Cultivate Student Success

Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Parents are both the most important adults in a young child’s life and the biggest contributors to their future success. But some parents find it difficult to provide adequate care because of the stresses of poverty and other barriers,” says the latest report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Released November 4, “The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success” asserts how strategic interventions and support systems at the statewide and national level can protect, restore, and prevent students, particularly low-income students, from fragile foundations in health and education. Michael Alison Chandler of the Washington Post offers an informative summary.

This report is a powerful reminder of how important our work is and what is at stake. It details the challenges children confront in low-income households and how their environments and experiences have long-term consequences.

We must continue to ask ourselves: what role can teachers, librarians, and literacy groups play in supporting vulnerable and at-risk families beyond the classroom? We must engage our students’ families as literacy allies. According to the National Center for Families Learning, children spend 7,800 hours out of school each year compared to 900 hours in school. “The family unit—no matter the composition—is the one constant across the educational spectrum.”

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Filling in More of the Story: Modern-Day Narratives of Native Americans

Jill_EisenbergResident Literacy Expert Jill Eisenberg began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

In light of Thanksgiving coming, many teachers and syllabi touch upon Native American history. As the Common Core is front and center for teachers, parents, and districts as of late, we are tasked with equipping children to be “career and college ready.” This includes not only literacy and mathematics standards, but also a commitment to teaching children about the multicultural world they live in and the complex history that came before them.

One unit that I initially was intimidated to teach was about the local Native American tribes of the Bay Area. We had wrapped up the science unit on the solar system and were changing gears for a history unit about the local Bay Area tribes. I felt significantly less confident teaching about the history of the local Native American tribes because there is more complexity, more nuance, and more sensitivity needed in investigating and appreciating groups of people, traditions, and cultures…than, well, planets.Quite a few of my students had Native American heritages from Central Mexico, but struggled to disentangle the stereotypes from their own experiences.

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Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books in First and Second Grade

Jill Eisenberg is our Resident Literacy Expert. Jill began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

Note: This lesson can be done with other books, but dual language/bilingual books offer a unique opportunity to engage non-English speaking parents in the classroom and provide a way to continue rigorous discussions with their children at home regardless of English in the home. Bilingual books additionally underscore the diversity of our classroom communities and equalize parents as teachers in students’ minds.

Last week, I spoke about my experience teaching in a school where nearly 85% of my students were English Language Learners and English was not the primary language spoken at home. Using a bilingual book with a Spanish-speaking parent in the classroom is a strategy I learned teaching in San Jose, CA as a part of a parent engagement program called “Los Dichos de la Casa” by Silicon Valley YMCA.

Whether your classroom has only a few English Language Learners (ELLs) or a majority, bilingual and dual language books can encourage close reading of a text and increase accessibility of the text to ELLs. Over the next few posts, we will model how bilingual and dual language books are being used in classrooms to foster deep, critical thinking and a love of reading.

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Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books and Parent-Volunteers to Foster Deep Thinking

Guest Blogger IconJill_EisenbergToday we’re excited to introduce Jill Eisenberg, our new Resident Literacy Expert! Jill began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

When I taught third grade literacy in San Jose, CA, nearly 85% of my students were English Language Learners and English was not the primary language spoken at home, if at all. The school day was the main source of English exposure and I, like many other teachers in similar communities, felt it was up to my colleagues and me to pack as much English instruction into the school day to make up for the time away from English at home. Many classrooms across the U.S. face similar demographics and teachers know how critical it is to create an English language-rich environment in order to maximize student interaction and practice with the language. Using Bilingual/Dual Language Books and Parent Volunteers to Foster Deep Thinking

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