Language Learner Remote Learning Plan 

Note: to be inclusive of Unidos, we are using the term Language Learners rather than English Learners 

Somerville Public Schools Remote and Continued Learning Vision

During this time of school closure, our vision is to expand educational opportunities for all students in an equitable manner through a variety of developmentally appropriate, inclusive, and accessible learning opportunities that continue to foster the academic and social emotional growth of all students while facilitating student agency and staff development through an environment of equity. 

To achieve this vision for Language Learners, Continued Learning includes:

  • Language development in four domains (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing)
  • Opportunities for comprehensible Language Input (listening and reading)
  • Opportunities for Language Output (speaking and writing)
  • Meaningful access to content learning with language supports
  • Opportunities to develop home language
  • Providing the same rigor and expectations to meet standards with leveled supports as any other SPS student

Keeping priorities in mind (Zacarian, 2020)

Whatever we offer as online learning experiences are not a replacement for school, which provides its greatest value from the face-to-face relationships children have with their peers and teachers as they learn through interaction and practice in one another’s physical presence. During an extraordinarily challenging time for everyone, this plan sets as a foundation to provide students with: 

  • A sense of continuity in their school lives
  • An ongoing connection with friends and teachers
  • A sense of structure, routine, and predictability in a time of change for students and families

Conditions for Learning

  • Basic needs are met: housing, healthcare, food, utilities, financial assistance
  • Devices and internet connection: the goal is that 100% of families have access to ensure the same learning experiences for all students
  • Assurance that immigration status does not affect access to basic needs. Continuous messaging that all are welcome here.
  • Multilingual and translated information and materials are consistently provided

Conditions for Learning are met with support from and through partnerships with City of Somerville, Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC), English Learner Support Team, Student Support Teams, Volunteers, SPS Tech Dept., internet providers, Donations, SESS, Sanctuary Cities/Sanctuary Schools (SC/SC), Welcome Schools Ordinance, and Multilingual Services.

Learning Design

From the student view

  • Cohesive, enriching, and engaging
  • Challenging, but I can do it!
  • Learning goals are clear to me and I know when I have reached the goal
  • I can ask for help and I get support when I need it
  • I get to express my thinking in the process of learning and when I am done with my work
  • I receive feedback and I can adjust what I have done
  • I have opportunities to develop my home language

From the parent/family view

  • I know the expectations of my child’s learning because I receive a weekly planner 
  • I know how to find learning resources
  • We have a daily schedule that we are able to follow
  • We do our best to provide quiet time and spaces for school work in our home
  • I talk with my child in any language that I feel most comfortable
  • I support my child with opportunities to develop our home language
  • I can count on my child’s school for any support my family needs or the school can connect me to community resources

From the teacher view

  • I collaborate with grade-level, content area, ELL, and Special Education partners for lesson design and co-delivery of online learning
  • I have planning and co-planning time
  • I am clear on the Standards to be addressed
  • I (co-)plan integrated, thematic learning experiences, projects, and lessons
  • I can access Professional Development opportunities related to making remote learning accessible to Language Learners
  • I know how or get support to develop on-level supports and scaffolds for Language Learners
  • I assess my students’ learning, give feedback, and use formative assessment for planning

Educator Collaboration

The Learning Design addressing Language Learner needs and equitable access depends upon teacher collaboration and coordination of instruction and supports. To ensure a cohesive learning experience, teacher teams should coordinate assignments and learning activities. For example, Language Learner students could receive one Week at Glance packet and schedule of activities and assignments that have been created collaboratively by teachers working together by grade level, content area, and specialized area of service and support (i.e., ELL and Special Education).

What could teacher collaboration look like in early childhood and elementary?

  • Plan weekly learning targets. Focus on the big picture due on Friday.
  • Identify language goals in addition to content learning targets
  • Offer multiple modalities for students to show their learning
  • Design a “Week at a Glance” learning plan sent to students and families
  • Teachers meet to divide the work, share strategies, and support each other. Key deliverable is the “Week at Glance” document for the following week.
  • In meetings, think about your Language Learners and what scaffolds and supports they will need and how you will deliver them (pre-teaching, visual and graphic supports, word banks, sentence and paragraph frames, etc.)
  • Set office hours for teachers in different roles for students to get support for content clarification and/or language supports
  • Schedule small group and one-on-one time with students

What could teacher collaboration look like for middle school and high school language learners? 

  • Accessible content area instruction
    • Content teacher provides content (text, video, application, etc)
    • ESL teacher supports w/ read aloud, vocabulary development, L1 resources
    • Content teacher evaluates student work and gives feedback
  • Language development opportunities
    • Weekly ESL class assignment that incorporates listening, speaking, reading, writing
    • ESL teacher evaluates student work and gives feedback
  • Coordination and alignment of teacher teams
    • Teacher teams use common platforms and online applications for learning
    • Teacher teams communicate about assignments, expectations, and deadlines, and consistently coordinate learning experiences for students

Resources for Teachers of Language Learners

Guiding Principles for Teacher Teams:

  • Limit the number of new platforms/technologies you introduce at one time. Start with tools that students are most familiar with.
  • Teach students how to use online tools before assigning work.
  • Teachers across content areas/courses should use similar structures and online tools.
  • Consider low-tech and no-tech learning options (quality television, indoor and outdoor activities)

Guiding Questions for Teacher Teams:

  • Which platform are we using to communicate with families? (ex: Remind, WhatsApp, Talking Points)
  • Which platform are we using to post, assign, and review learning activities? (ex: Google Classroom, Schoology, Seesaw)
  • Which platform are we using for live student interaction? (ex: Google Hangout)
  • Which platforms are we using for language development? (ex: RazKids, Lingt, Flipgrid)
    • Click here for additional online resources for language learners.
  • How are we presenting content to students in an accessible way?
    • Click here for a sample online learning checklist that teacher teams could adapt and use.

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