Column: English Learner Department is busyWORTHINGTON — There are many upcoming activities and initiatives in the English Learner (EL) Department at the Worthington ISD 518. One change that was recently made by the Minnesota Department of Education was to change the name from English Language Learner (ELL) to English Learner (EL).
By: Tricia Denzer, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — There are many upcoming activities and initiatives in the English Learner (EL) Department at the Worthington ISD 518. One change that was recently made by the Minnesota Department of Education was to change the name from English Language Learner (ELL) to English Learner (EL).
Students that have been identified as English Learners will be taking two tests in March 2011. These tests measure progress in English by testing the following areas: Reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The tests are called the Test of Emerging Academic English (TEAE) and the Minnesota Student Oral Language Observation Matrix (MN SOLOM). The TEAE tests students in grades 3-12 by measuring reading and writing skills. The MN SOLOM is a teacher rating protocol for students in grades K-12.
Students can prepare for these tests by using some simple preparation techniques. Students should answer all questions and participate in practice sessions at school. Parents can make sure students get a good night’s sleep and have a nutritious breakfast.
The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model (Echevarria, Vogt & Short, 2000) was developed to provide teachers with a well-articulated, practical model of sheltered instruction. The intent of the model is to facilitate high-quality instruction for English Learners in content area teaching.
The SIOP Model is based on current knowledge and research-based practices for promoting learning with all students, especially English Learners. Currently, Worthington ISD 518 is implementing this model in the fourth-grade level. All Prairie Elementary staff will receive training on this program during a teacher in-service day in the near future.
The SIOP Model is not another “add on” program, but rather it is a framework that can bring together a school’s instructional program by organizing methods and techniques, and ensuring that effective practices are implemented
If you are interested in learning more about SIOP, you can visit http://www.siopinstitute.net/.
The World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) is a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English Learners. Minnesota has joined this effort and will soon be offering training to staff. WIDA provides research based resources that are designed to provide benefits to all children.
WIDA educational products and services fall into three main categories: standards and assessments, professional development for educators, and research. The standards were developed and new state test will be administered using these standards. WIDA is designed to provide best practice language instruction using the regular curriculum. These new standards will incorporate learning language and the content at the same time. There will be six levels of proficiency. This will help all staff understand what level a student in functioning at and allow to staff to use the same system of measurement.
If you are interested in learning more about WIDA you can visit http://www.wida.us/index.aspx.
Tricia Denzer is District 518’s director of special programs.