How to Harness the Power of Growth Mindset in Your Classroom

How to Harness the Power of Growth Mindset in Your Classroom

98% of teachers think that growth mindset approaches should be taught in schools but only 50% say they know strategies to change a student’s mindset. Join that 50 percent! Learn tried-and-true strategies to encourage your students to adopt a growth mindset—and develop one yourself.

3 Ways Outside Feedback is Helpful

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for Students, Teachers and Parents

While the purpose of The Graide Network is to promote greater connectivity throughout the educational community, the main way we achieve that is thorough, meaningful outside feedback on student work.  This feedback, though aimed at students, has the ability to offer incredible insights for teachers and parents as well. Here are three reasons why feedback from a qualified third party is helpful for students, teachers and parents.

1. Objective

In an ideal world, students and student learning would be judged on their merits. But we are all affected by biases, decision fatigue (ouch!), ego depletion, low glucose levels, etc. Is it possible that just one person can determine a child’s grade? With limited knowledge of the teacher and learners and without wonky political incentives, the feedback provided by our “Graiders” is truly objective.  It’s easy to see how this can be encouraging to all parties.  Students and parents can feel assured that the work is being judged impartially, while teachers can be opened up to potential blind spots in their grading as well as different learning styles or student thought processes.  Many of the teachers from our spring pilot noted that the feedback provided informed their future assignments and instruction.

2. Thorough

At a time when more and more teachers are faced with overcrowded classrooms, the idea of providing thorough feedback for each individual student can be jarring.  Many teachers simply don’t have time to provide as thorough of feedback as they would like on each assignment.  Our Graiders not only have the time to give more comprehensive feedback, but also the desire to lighten teachers’ rapidly growing workloads.  The Graide Network assures teachers, students, and parents that more than adequate time is spent grading each assignment, preventing rushed or overlooked evaluations.

3. Speed

Teachers are frequently delayed in returning papers because of their heavy workloads. Often, by the time students have their work returned to them, they have completely disengaged from the assignment.  In the heat of the school year, students and their parents tend to focus on the next project, while feedback from the last regularly goes overlooked. Response times as close to real-time as possible benefit everyone:  teachers can give more in-depth assignments without worrying about the time they would have to spend grading, students can review their feedback with the assignment still fresh in mind, and parents can ask timely questions on individual assignments.

Graiders, the extra set of eyes that The Graide Network provides, look out for the best educational interests of both educators and learners by providing objective, thorough, and fast feedback.

Have feedback on our thoughts on feedback? Would love to hear it!

My Journey To Becoming a Teacher: KDP and The Graide Network

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My name is Nicole Huttner, and I’m a recent graduate from New York University and a future childhood and special education teacher. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to impart knowledge onto others. Growing up, my favorite game was “school” where my friends would act as students while I was the teacher. At my actual school, I quickly developed strong relationships with my teachers, wanting to learn as much as I could from them. I didn’t know it then, but this would lead me to pursue a career in teaching. As a teacher, I will demonstrate my passion for education by encouraging students to become lifelong learners. I will also serve as a mentor to young minds and provide students with a better future through education.  

Throughout high school and college, I had the opportunity to be a student teacher at several NYC public schools in different grades and with students of varying abilities. I’m always seeking more ways to contribute, so my interest was piqued when I received an email about The Graide Network through Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an international honor society for future educators.

I was beyond excited after researching The Graide Network and learning about their commitment to effective feedback and student learning. The opportunity to become a Graider directly aligned with my goal of becoming a teacher. In addition to practicing my grading and feedback skills, I received individual coaching from The Graide Network staff to hone those skills. They always provided feedback in a friendly and actionable manner, so I knew both what my strongest skills were and how to improve in other areas. The feedback never criticized me but rather built me up to be the best Graider that I could be. The constant exposure to effective feedback allowed me to complete my teacher certification tasks with ease and confidence. I look forward to implementing this method of structured and supportive feedback in my own classroom this fall.

As I continued to provide feedback on assignments with The Graide Network, I engaged with student work across diverse subjects, grade levels, and regions, which showed me the diversity that exists in our education system. After 6 months of working with The Graide Network, I was promoted to a Senior Graider position. In this new role, I coached Graiders on how to provide effective feedback while still receiving ongoing coaching in order to support my growth. This role allowed me to be a “teacher” to my fellow Graiders by guiding them on how to deliver effective feedback and provide the best outcomes for students.

Although the invaluable connection to The Graide Network was the most influential opportunity that KDP provided me, KDP also offers many other phenomenal resources. I was connected with professional development classes, online forums, and articles to continue my learning as a teacher. The most meaningful and practical professional development class that I took through KDP was Classroom Management Basics. In this class, I explored research-based methods in class management and developed a classroom management plan with my peers and KDP associates.  

Some other resources within KDP include:

  • Online forums: Forums provide opportunities to talk with other students and teachers about real life successes and problems within the teaching world.

  • Articles: As an educator, it is important to be aware of new research, ideas, and resources! KDP’s articles have the latest news from the education world and plenty of information on how teaching skills can be improved.

Overall, my experience with Kappa Delta Pi has given me outstanding opportunities within the field of education. The decision to become a teacher is a commitment to being a lifelong learner, and KDP facilitates that process. Without KDP, I would not have received the opportunity to connect with The Graide Network and develop the grading and feedback expertise that I now have.

Here are some tips for future teachers:

  • Put in your best effort in all of your coursework and fieldwork! Wouldn’t you want your students to do the same in your future classes?

  • Take initiative and be a leader! You want your passion for education to stand out in your classes and student teaching. Don’t be afraid to share your opinions in class, ask for more responsibility, and try out new ideas in the classroom. Standing out as a leader is an important characteristic for the classroom.

  • Join KPD and read their emails! They regularly have job postings, articles, and webinars to expand your knowledge about education and life in the classroom.


Want to meet more passionate Graiders and team members?


The Ultimate Guide to Summer Reading for Teachers

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Summer is the perfect time to recharge from the past school year and plan for the year ahead. One of the most effective ways to keep your teaching skills sharp is the same thing we encourage our students to do over the summer: read. This guide, compiled and curated by The Graide Network, will allow you to explore all the professional development options for reading this summer and decide which books will help you grow the most.


Getting Started

Professional Development 101

This is the perfect place to begin your summer reading journey. NCTE is famous for their well-chosen book lists, and this list of favorite books doesn’t disappoint. Check out classics like bell hooks’s Teaching to Transgress and books fresh off the press like Embarrassment: and the Emotional Underlife of Learning by Thomas Newkirk.

By Teachers for Teachers

This eclectic compilation of education recommendations has something for everyone, and it even throws in a few popular teaching blogs at the end to expand our sense of what can be considered summer reading. If you need just one recommendation? Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits was recommended by the most teachers.

Cutting Edge Reads

Personal learning networks? Blogging for education? The writers over at TeachThought have 20 cutting edge recommendations for proud techie teachers or teachers who want to dip their toes in the waters of ed tech.

Educational Mindsets

If you’ve been having trouble getting into your students’ heads lately, here are some books that can help! Talks with Teachers has 15 books that can help you better understand everything from the science of motivation to the benefits of introversion.

Tools for English Teachers

If you’re an ELA teacher looking for books focused on writing and reading, this is the place to go. The team at We Are Teachers has five books that will get you (and your future students!) excited about topics like mentor texts and argumentative writing strategies.

Teaching Nerds Unite

If education guru Jennifer Gonzalez of Cult of Pedagogy could only recommend a single book to teachers, it would be How to Talk So Kids Can Learn. Check out this video to find out the six other books she recommends and why she loves them--you’ll feel like you’re in her living room chatting about your favorite books.

Widening Your Perspective

YA for You

Many middle and high school teachers are realizing that teaching Young Adult fiction can motivate students to read more and can spark deep conversations about our society. Even if you don’t include YA in your curriculum, this list of the top YA novels from the past year will allow you to answer the question “What should I read next?” with confidence the next time a student asks.

Are you #TeachingLivingPoets yet?

When teachers are intimidated or bored by poetry, students can tell, and they often follow suit. The founder of the hashtag #TeachLivingPoets has all the resources you need to expand your poetry curriculum beyond Dickinson and Frost this fall: a collection of her students’ favorite slam poems, a master list of great poets writing today, and more.

An Elementary Library with Many Voices

If you’re an elementary school teacher wanting to incorporate new voices into your classroom library, don’t miss this amazing resource! Scholastic recommends 50 stellar children’s books written by Native American, African American, Asian American, and Jewish authors that can serve as “mirrors and windows” for students.

Perfect International Pairings

One simple way to expand your students’ literary perspectives is to pair canonical American and British books with books from other countries. NCTE has great examples of pairs--from picture book pairs all the way to The Great Gatsby & Let Sleeping Dogs Die--that might inspire you to read and teach in a new way next year.

Teaching Contemporary Black Authors

This HuffPost list of 50 books written by black authors in the past 5 years includes hilarious memoirs that you’ll want to read by the beach in July and thought-provoking novels that you’ll want to teach in September--and everything in between. These books have won Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and the hearts and minds of many who have read them.

A Different Kind of Diverse Books

“Diversity” is sometimes a code word for race, but many teachers are committed to showcasing as many kinds of diversity in their curriculums and libraries as possible. NCTE recommends 5 picture and chapter books about topics like divorce, poverty, and belonging that will surely get you thinking about the range of experiences that your students bring into your classroom.

Principals Read

The Most Important Book I’ve Read

Education World asked 20 principals from around the U.S. about the most important professional book they’ve read and why: the answers ranged from inspirational books like Tuesdays With Morrie to the 600 page fieldbook Schools that Learn. This list is worth checking out for the principals’ quotes alone!

Focused Summer PD

Maybe you have a specific goal for your reading this summer: your school has a great culture but your assessments could be giving you better data, or your leadership is inspired but school-wide discipline has become an issue. ASCD’s book list, organized by topic, is perfect for narrowing down your choices and selecting the book that will make the best use of your time this summer.

The Big 10

Capterra scoured Amazon, Goodreads, and Education World for the 10 most read and reviewed books for school administrators and compiled them here. Although these books will stretch and challenge you even if you’ve been in education for years, these recommendations are particularly helpful for early career principals; one reviewer said of the last book on their list, “I wish I had read this 10 years ago.”

Outside-the-Box Education Reads

School leaders will always be educators first, but we can learn a lot from leaders outside the education industry, and this list makes it easy to do so! The Harvard Business Review’s Making Every Meeting Matter can make your meetings with parents more productive, Gary Chapman’s The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace might be a game-changer for your relationships with teachers, and Daniel Pink’s Drive will unlock keys about motivation that will help your whole school thrive.

Community and More

Building a Teacher Book Club

One of the best ways to get into summer reading is to join (or start!) a teacher book club. Cult of Pedagogy has a few important tips to make sure your book club runs smoothly, from a tech tool that will help you facilitate discussions to a list of goals that will help you narrow down your club’s reading choices. This is a must read!

NCTE Reads

If you want to join a large virtual community of teachers reading and discussing together, check out the NCTE Reads pick for the summer, Workshopping the Canon. This book will be perfect for you if you’ve been struggling to make older texts feel relevant to your students, and the NCTE Reads format will allow you to ask questions of the author, discuss with other teachers, and create new resources. You’ll be more than prepared going into the new school year.

Education Movie Nights

Summer learning doesn’t have to stop at books! Edutopia has found no fewer than 30 documentaries that address U.S. education reform. You may have already heard of Waiting for Superman or The Race to Nowhere but there are many lesser known gems on here too that will get you fired up about teaching.


Get more recommendations, insights, and resources when you join our monthly newsletter!

How to Support ELLs in Every Aspect of Your Classroom

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Picture this: you are a 1st grade teacher with 24 students, well over the number of students you anticipated teaching in your first year. But there you are with 24 desks, 24 chairs, 24 sets of parents to conference with, and 24 minds to nurture.

In the middle of the spring, another student is added; she is new to the country and speaks only a few words of English. You want to be excited to watch her grow, but you are mostly overwhelmed.

How do you support a student that you have trouble communicating with? How do you help her integrate socially? How do you help her catch up without slowing other students down?

The Stakes

For an increasing number of teachers across the U.S., this is not an imaginative exercise but a reality. The Department of Education reports that English Language Learners (ELLs) “represent 10% of the total K-12 student population,” which translates to over 4 million students.

The ELL population is growing, with increases of over 40% in five states between 2009 and 2014, and it is projected to grow further in the coming years. However, most teachers do not have ELL certification or even training.

This disconnect leads to overly stressed teachers and insufficiently supported students.

As one veteran ELL teacher puts it, teachers who are overwhelmed by responsibilities and sheer class numbers will “often then see an ELL kid as one more thing, as opposed to a person to be included and blended in, who has something incredibly powerful to contribute to the class.”

In order to help you become a knowledgeable and supportive teacher to your current and future ELL students, we have actionable tips for supporting ELLs in every aspect of your classroom—from your mindset to your directions, from your assignments to your feedback.


Supporting ELLs through Language and Mindset

The first way to help support English Language Learners in your classroom is to examine your own mindset when thinking about ELLs and your language when speaking about them.

Are your ELLs just “one more thing” or are they people who can make a powerful contribution to your class? One NCTE guide provides a graphic that you can use to think through your own choices.

Don’t be discouraged if you fall more on the negative or neutral side right now! Unfortunately, you have probably heard the words “challenge” and “problem” associated with ELLs too many times before; you didn’t create these stereotypes on your own.

The most important thing is to recognize where you stand right now and be prepared to change your language moving forward.

The Benefits of ELLs

In order to shift our focus on the strengths and benefits of having ELLs in the classroom, let’s look at what the research has to say about English Language Learners and bilingualism:

  • Studies show that people who speak two languages approach problem-solving in more flexible and creative ways, a skill that emerges at age 2

  • “Being bilingual has a positive impact on cognitive flexibility in children”

  • Bilingual people have increased metalinguistic awareness, “the ability to intentionally think about, reflect on, use knowledge about, and manipulate language”

It’s easy to see how having students in your classroom with increased cognitive flexibility, awareness of language, and creative problem-solving skills could be exciting and beneficial to your entire classroom.

On a more personal level, expert ELL teacher Kim says that teaching English Language Learners can be particularly fulfilling because they can make huge amounts of growth in a single year.

In an interview with Jennifer Gonzalez from Cult of Pedagogy, Kim explained that she’s had students who didn’t even know how to ask to go to the bathroom at the beginning of the year, but by the end of the year, they were having “a debate about the structure of their home country’s government versus the U.S. government.”

This kind of linguistic growth spurt can be thrilling for a teacher to watch and encourage.

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ELLs and the Importance of Cultural Background

The Power of Specificity

After thinking through and challenging your general mindset about ELLs, it’s important to adopt an attitude of humility and curiosity when meeting individual English Language Learners in your classroom.

Just as an ELL student is learning about American culture and the English language, their teacher should be learning about their student’s home culture and language to better understand them as a person and serve them as a unique learner.

It’s important to note that it’s not enough to know that a student comes from “somewhere in the Middle East/South America/Asia/Africa.” You likely don’t see yourself as a North American; you probably identify as an American and even more specifically as a Southerner or a Brooklynite. The more you know about a student’s background, the better.

For example, a lot of Burmese ethnic groups are lumped together when they actually have a long history of violent conflict. If a student chooses to identify not as Burmese but as Karen, allow them to self-identify and do a few minutes of research into what that means.

If you have a very diverse class and it seems overwhelming to research every student’s background, consider this teacher’s approach: he “assigns an About Me paper, which he models based on his own cultural background,” so the entire class participates in cultural sharing at the beginning of the year.

Further Inquiry

Another way to gather information and get to know your ELL students is to talk to their parents and/or the ELL specialist. The Penn State School of Education recommends bringing this list of questions to meetings:

  1. What kind of prior schooling has the child had? Is the student literate in the home language?

  2. What is the cultural orientation towards personal space? Eye contact when an authority figure is speaking to a student? Touch? Timeliness?

  3. What is the cultural orientation towards work and leisure?

  4. Is the culture more oriented towards competition or cooperation?

There are many benefits to having broad cultural knowledge of the country that your student comes from and more specific knowledge of this student’s academic background. For example, the answer to #2 above could help to explain otherwise confusing teacher-student interactions.

One ELL specialist notes that “90% of [her] students don’t look their teacher in the eye” because it’s seen as disrespectful or threatening in many cultures, whereas for Americans it’s a sign of attention and respect.

Knowing the background of your ELLs will prevent you from punishing them for doing things that they were previously taught to do, and it will show them that you care about them. Not everyone will care enough to cultivate a positive and inquisitive mindset about other cultures; dedicate some time to being someone who does.


Support for ELLs in the Daily Classroom

Routine and Predictability

In addition to supporting ELLs through a positive and inquisitive mindset, you can run your daily classroom in ways that create a more stable learning environment. Luckily, most of these changes are fairly minor on your part, but they can make a major difference for ELLs (and the rest of your students too!).

The first key: routine. For English Language Learners, the more predictable your classroom routines are, the better. According to the Penn State College of Education, here are a few places in your day where you can rely on routine:

  • Post the daily schedule and keep it as constant as possible.

  • Use specific morning routines, such as lunch count, turning in homework, putting things away, morning greetings, etc.

  • Use predictable signals for getting student attention, transitions, lining up, etc.

  • Use predictable procedures for passing out materials.

If a student knows what to expect when they enter the classroom every day, it makes them feel more comfortable in their environment and frees up cognitive energy for the important and hard work of language acquisition.

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Visuals

ELLs benefit from a language-rich environment, but not all of it should be auditory and oral language. As Melissa Eddington, an ELL teacher in Ohio, puts it, “avoid giving instructions in the air.” If you’ve ever visited a country where you don’t speak the language, you might notice that street signs are far easier to understand than the locals’ conversations.

Likewise, it will make it easier for ELLs to understand the task and stay focused if “instructions—even basic directions for classroom procedures” are “written on the board whenever possible.” In addition, when you are teaching a difficult concept, it may be helpful for ELLs (and visual learners) if you supplement descriptions with graphics, diagrams, and physical models.

There are even ways to be visual that don’t involve words at all. For example, if your students need to work in a grammar notebook every day, ask all your students to use green notebooks rather than simply writing “Grammar” or “Notebook 1” on differently colored notebooks.

Then, hold up the green notebook to indicate that it is time to move to the grammar work for the day. In this way, you are using the visual element of color to stand in for language in a way that even a student with very limited knowledge of English can understand.

Lectures

There are a number of keys to making sure you are taking your ELL students into account while giving daily directions or lecturing. Ideally, when teaching ELLs, you should speak:

  1. Slower and with pauses

  2. In shorter lectures

  3. Without slang, idioms, or sarcasm

  1. Slower and With Pauses

First, do speak “with a natural tone and rhythm” but slow down your speech to allow students to “process the words separately and form an understanding.”  A common misinterpretation of this aim is to speak louder when speaking to ELLs, but this is unhelpful and can be seen as condescending.

In addition to pausing in between words, pause in between ideas and check for understanding. If you ask yes/no questions, it may be tempting for students to nod automatically, wanting to please the teacher.

Instead, ask more substantial questions to summarize the material and genuinely check for understanding at regular intervals; this way, you are both confirming that they understand your language and the course material.

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2. Shorter Lectures

Even if you are taking sufficient pauses while lecturing or giving directions, it can still be cognitively exhausting for ELLs to process another language while also making sense of the material. To help with this challenge, shorten your lectures.

One teacher found that the sweet spot for lectures to ELLs is 5 to 7 minutes long—shorter didn’t allow for enough time to communicate and longer caused frustration and fatigue.

Interestingly, this recommendation is similar to a recent call for teachers to experiment with 1,000-word lectures (about 9 minutes) in order to increase student engagement.

Thus, lectures under ten minutes might benefit both ELLs and native speakers since they allow more time for students to reflect on and apply their learning while reducing cognitive fatigue.

If you are pausing sufficiently during shorter lectures and some of your ELLs are still struggling to comprehend your speech, consider employing technology to give your students another chance at understanding: tape record your lectures to allow for subsequent listening sections at home.

3. Without slang, idioms, or sarcasm

Lastly, it is very important to avoid sarcasm and avoid (or explicitly teach) slang and idiomatic language. Sarcasm is best to avoid because not all cultures use sarcasm like Americans do, and it can be easily misinterpreted or taken literally.

Similarly, ELL students may be confused by slang, idioms, and American-specific vocabulary.

Mount Rushmore, MLK’s “I Have A Dream Speech,” three strikes and you’re out, Coke, raining cats and dogs… teaching ELLs might make you realize just how many common expressions would be unintelligible to someone who didn’t grow up hearing them.

Unlike sarcasm, vocabulary and idioms don’t need to be avoided altogether. Edutopia points out that many ELL students love learning idioms; you might even devote an entire class to teaching them.

Like many of the other tips regarding teaching ELL students, the key is to be intentional, rather than relying on assumptions about what your ELL students might understand based on your own cultural background.


Support through Assignments and Feedback

Assignments for ELL students

Scaffolding with the Native Language

One of the most important ways to accommodate ELLs with assignments is to allow scaffolding with your students’ native languages. It used to be common practice for ELLs to be placed in “English only” classrooms, as it was believed that their native language (or home language) was a “crutch” that would prevent them from learning English as quickly.

However, extensive research has found that “educational programs that systematically incorporate use of ELLs'  home language result in levels of academic success, including achievement in literacy and other academic subjects, that are as high as and often better than that of ELLs in English-only programs.”

In fact, some ELL teachers now consider the home language to be an English Language Learners “most valuable resource.”

To help ELLs harness the power of their bilingualism, consider asking them to think consciously about the relationship between their home language and English. The following questions can be a jumping off point for an assignment or discussion on this topic:

  • How is the home language the same and how is it different from English?

  • Are there words in the home language that sound the same and mean the same thing in both languages?

  • Are there words in the home language and English that sound the same but mean different things?

In addition to encouraging your students’ metalinguistic awareness, when you give ELLs writing assignments, consider allowing them to pre-write and brainstorm in their home language.

If you have students who otherwise could not participate in certain assignments, “‘Don’t make them just sit there and do nothing,’ one ELL teacher says. ‘Allow them to write in their first language if they’re able. This allows them to still participate in journal writing or a math extended response, even if you can’t read what they write.’”

Previewing Assignments

In addition to incorporating students’ native languages into assignments, it’s important to allow English Language Learners more opportunities to “preview” assignments. As one ELL handbook explains, “paging through a text ahead of time to look at pictures or headings can begin to activate prior knowledge that helps a reader to both decode words and make meaning of text.”

Also, ELL students usually have different background knowledge than native speakers, and previewing can help put them on more equal footing.

Rather than giving your ELL students the direction, “use this class period to write your own fairytale” on the spot, you might consider giving them the prompt the day beforehand.

Having more time can allow ELL students to familiarize themselves with the “once upon a time” narrative structure that might be more familiar to native speakers who grew up hearing those stories.

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Feedback for ELL students

Using Positive Expressions

When your ELL students turn in assignments or participate in discussions, it’s imperative that you have a system for giving them feedback on both the content of their ideas and their burgeoning English language skills.

One common pitfall that teachers sometimes fall into is constantly correcting students’ grammar with negative expressions. This pattern can easily become discouraging to a shy ELL student and can give the impression that a student’s language mistakes are more important than their ideas.

For example, if a student says, “I seen things differently,” instead of correcting with a negative expression, “No, the verb ‘seen’ is incorrect,” you could instead model the correct usage, “Yes, that’s true! We see things differently.”

This kind of teaching method will prevent students’ language mistakes from “fossilizing” while still providing students with a safe non-judgmental space to practice their communication skills.

Giving Focused Feedback

When it comes to written feedback on papers, make sure not to overwhelm ELLs with too many corrections. If an ELL student makes two grammatical mistakes per sentence for a six-page paper, marking every single one will take the teacher hours and will flood the student with too much information.

Instead, one ELL resource suggests that teachers “focus on one or two concepts at a time when listening to or reading student work” and that teachers let students know beforehand which concepts will be targeted.

If you are using The Graide Network to get your ELL students even more high-quality and student-friendly feedback, you can let our trained teaching assistants (called Graiders) know which concepts they should concentrate on in their feedback.

Graiders are trained to look at a mixture of larger-order concerns, like argument and organization, and smaller-order concerns, like punctuation and grammar, and they can spend more time commenting on the type of concerns would benefit your students the most.

Giving Students the Reins

A final grading strategy to employ when working with ELL students is to allow your students to correct their own work. As one teacher puts it, “If I correct your English, I improve my English. If you correct your English, you improve yours.”

By the end of the year when your ELL students have more explicit grammar and language knowledge, you could experiment with simply circling any writing errors that you see and letting your students figure out the mistakes.

Often when students are directed toward the right area, they can figure out the right answer with the help of their prior knowledge. If a student still can’t figure it out, it may be helpful to allow students to work together, and you may occasionally need to provide them with the right answer.

Regardless of how the students arrive at the right answer, students can still learn a lot from the problem-solving process.

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Looking Forward

Ultimately, while English Language Learners are a distinct population of students with distinct needs, accommodating ELLs should not be seen as separate or additional work.

All students come into the classroom with different cultural backgrounds, language knowledge, abilities, and experiences, and many of the tips and tricks that we shared in this article can benefit your diverse group of native speakers as well.

In the end, teaching ELLs well is not a matter of changing everything you are already doing; teaching ELLs well is simply good teaching.


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Using Technology to Improve Student Writing Skills

Using Technology to Improve Student Writing Skills

While writing has become a critical skill for my generation (we spend ⅓ of our time at work writing emails), some schools have been slow to adopt new technology in their writing programs. While the usefulness of electronic devices in the classroom can be debated, the impact of technology on writing in the real world cannot. If we hope to prepare the next generation of students for an increasingly competitive global workforce, technology must be at the front and center of our teaching.

March Graider of the Month: Dane Hixon

March Graider of the Month: Dane Hixon

This month, we are thrilled to name Dane Hixon as our March Graider of the Month. Dane is a perfect example of someone who was able to take feedback and coaching from our team and use it to quickly become an exceptionally talented Graider. We are so grateful for his ability to receive and give highly effective feedback; and we’re excited to celebrate his work!