Check out these updates on supporting ELLs' access to rigorous content!
Check out these updates on supporting ELLs' access to rigorous content!
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September 8, 2020

Access and Rigor for ELLs in Distance Learning

As we transition into full-time instruction within distance learning, we at ELLMA will be focusing our newsletters over the next few months on our Essential Practices for ELLs during Distance Learning. For this month's edition, we are focusing on Essential Practice 1: Access and Rigor
At the heart of this practice is ensuring our language learners and multilingual students are challenged to engage in grade-level content, critical thinking, and complex texts while receiving the language supports and scaffolds they need to bridge what they know to their new learning.
In this edition, we will walk you through some of the best online tools that amplify language and support access to content. We will walk you through the steps in starting Designated ELD groups and instruction. We will show you how one middle school teacher in OUSD is engaging her ELLs in distance learning. And we will provide some resources for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month!
Finally, check out our Multilingual, ELL Ambassador, and Sanctuary Corners for some critical updates in each of those areas.

Getting to know your ELLs and

Rolling out Designated ELD

As part of California Assembly Bill 77, we are still required to provide ELLs with Designated ELD as part of their schedule, even during remote learning. We have some tips on how to gather data on your ELLs and set up Designated ELD groups.

For Elementary Teachers

Check out our Getting Designated ELD Started at the Elementary Level: Distance Learning Version. This guide will give you tips on how to pull data from OUSD's Data Dashboards, which you can use to form groups. You might find that some students are missing ELPAC scores, and you are are unsure which group to place them into. Luckily, we have a language proficiency screener you can utilize to get a sense of your students' proficiency levels.

Language access in Google Chrome

Thanks to the #OaklandUndivided campaign, students across Oakland are getting connected via Chromebooks. The Chrome web browser has a number of optional extensions that can support ELLs with understanding and producing language. Our top 5 are highlighted below!

ELLMA Spotlight

Language Teacher in Focus: Julie Mendoza 

7th Grade Humanities Teacher

Roosevelt Middle School
How has your instruction has shifted as we've moved into distance learning?
Transitioning to distance learning has pushed me to completely restructure my classroom systems. When we first closed in March, I quickly realized that lecturing on Zoom using text-filled slides only yielded results for a handful of students. In order to create an equitable learning experience for all of my students, I needed to find online tools that would minimize overloading students with text-based instruction and amplify student voice. I attended an OEA PD on how to create a Bitmoji Classroom and loved it. It allows me to put all of the resources for my class in one place using symbols that students can click on. Each day I change my Bitmoji and update the class to-do list. During live Zoom classes, I use Nearpod to engage students. I’ve learned that the systems that support my ELL students are beneficial to all of my students in a distance learning setting.
What are some practices or strategies you have used in your distance learning classroom (specifically that support ELL access to rigorous instruction)?
In my virtual classroom I have a link to our class Word Wall, where students can find all of the definitions for key vocabulary words we learn in class, along with pictures and Spanish translations. There is also a link to a YouTube playlist of both audio and text of every chapter of our anchor text that I pre-recorded so they can listen and follow along with asynchronous readings.
In our live Nearpod lessons, students can respond to questions by posting their responses to a collaborative board via virtual Post-it notes. This is great for allowing students to see each other’s ideas and for giving immediate feedback. Our school paid for our Nearpod subscription, so I can embed Flocabulary music videos to help teach concepts like setting, theme, or context clues. I can also use Nearpod to have students draw what they imagine a specific setting in the text looks like. For quick writes or summaries, Nearpod allows me to highlight strong examples on everyone’s screen.
How are these practices/strategies impacting your ELL students?
I think that my ELL students are still adjusting to the structure of my virtual classroom. Like in any setting, new systems take time to become accustomed to. So far, I’ve observed high student attendance and engagement in our live lessons, which makes me hopeful. Every ELL student is different. Some are comfortable taking risks, while others are more timid. Fortunately, there are multiple avenues for students to reach out. 
Read the full interview to learn how her virtual classroom supports mastery-based grading, checks for understanding  and formative assessments. Check out her virtual classroom set-up below and feel free to e-mail her if you want to learn more.

Hispanic Heritage Month starts soon

National Hispanic Heritage Month is actually split between two months, starting on Sept. 15 (which is the Independence Day of many Latin American countries) and ending on Oct. 15. Check out the teacher page of the National Hispanic Heritage Month website here for some ideas on how to honor this month.

Sanctuary Corner

Resources and tools to ensure all families are welcome, safe, and empowered in our schools and community! 
OUSD remains a Sanctuary District, and wer are vigilant to the way federal policy is affecting our students and families.
OUSD Sanctuary Resources
DACA Updates
While the Supreme Court upheld DACA, the White House has placed new limits on its scope. No new applications are being accepted, just renewals, and only for one year. The links below have resources to support students, families, and staff with DACA renewals. Please help share this information! 

Multilingual Corner

A regular section for our Dual Language and bilingual educators!
Check out the Multilingual Weekly Outcomes from Benchmark in the Elementary Stronger Together Plans. They are differentiated by language and content.
Dual Language Stronger Together Plans Resources: Find resources by grade level and week starting on the week of Sept. 7. We will be adding resources weekly.
Dual Language Distance Learning Schedule Guidance: Find schedule examples for different grade levels and language allocations.
Dual Language Assessment Support

ELL Ambassadors Corner

While addressed to our amazing ELL Ambassadors, this section has important information for the whole school community about our ELLs' civil rights and procedures and policies in place to secure these rights. 
A big virtual welcome to our new cohort of ELL Ambassadors for 2020-21. Thank you for taking up the mantle of advocacy for our ELLs and supporting their reclassification. Our first meeting will be in early October. You should have received a calendar invite.
For now, please take a moment to review the Reclassification Criteria for 2020-21. Note that 2nd grade ELLs no longer need to take the RI; their i-Ready scores can be used for reclassification purposes.
Annual parent notification letters (PNLs) were mailed home directly this year, and parents may contact schools with questions. Please review this FAQ if questions make their way to you.
Direct questions about the ELL Ambassador role and reclassification to Tom Felix.
Meet the ELLMA Team!
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