Session 2: Developing Understandings through Media

WIDA and Backwards Design

Much of the time in this session involves watching video segments or reviewing powerpoints. Be aware of that as you plan for this unit. Also it is important to note that the first video is found in the videos for Understanding Language Acquisition. The directions for locating it are found in the instructions. To accomplish the homework in this session, you will need to have placed them in groups that will faciliatate their completion of the final project. This means you want to put them in clusters that represent similar grade level, work responsibilities and content. You may want to have two different group formations. When thy work on their final project or work that informs it you would put them in the groups you form here. These are often called their PLC groups. For other work, you might want to mix them up. This is up to your discretion as the facilitator. 

AVG 2.1 (25 min.) Parables of Classroom Interaction You will find the video for this activity at This video comes from Understanding Language Acquisition. Click on Session 6 on the left hand side of the screen and then click on the video segment 6.2. Then scroll up and start the video. 

LA 1.1 (25 min.) Changing the Conversation The teachers begin by reading three short texts. They then engage in a conversation where they seek to inform another teacher about how to speak in more positive an asset based ways about ELs. 

AVG 2.2 (15 min.) Learning Wida's Purpose and Philosophy  We have allotted 25 minutes for AVG 2.2 and 2.3. You can distribute this time and make adjustments across the two activities. If you look over the schedule and want to use time differently, you could assign one of these as home work--probably AVG 2.3.

This ten minute video teaches participants about WIDA's purposes and philosophy. The viewing guide supports teachers in taking notes they can use later to guide their thinking. 

AVG 2.3 (10 min.) The Can Do Approach. This video was made by University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally WIDA represented the names of the states involved in the creation of WIDA and then the name was later changes. This is only of interest here because the W stands for University of Wisconsin-Madison and that is who made the video.

The purpose of this video is the use of the can-do approach to support ELs' learninIng and it uses actual ELs to make the points.

LA 2.2 . (25 min) Introduction to Using Can Do Descriptors. In their groups (which in this activity we label PLC groups), The teachers will use the Can Do descriptor chart and they will look over the Can Do descriptors for the grade level they are focused on. You should probably have them work in pairs or independently, since they are doing individual projects. However, the work they are doing is intellectually practical and such work is often advantaged by group or partner work. So you may want to have them pair and help each other with this activity. 

For the last seven questions, you should have them come back together and work through these as a group. 

AVG 2.4 (20 min) Planning with the End in Mind.

This video includes an explanation of Backward Design. The footage has many quotes from Wiggins. The Active Viewing Guide is found below the instructions but there is a link so they can take notes on the guide. In addition there are directions so they can watch this later if they like. In addition, this might be something, they would like to review at their school with their grade or content level PLC team. 

LA 2.3 (30 min.) Planning for the Final Project. You can decide to organize in groups and have a whole group work on a single assessment plan adjustments to accomodate one student if you want. We think the learning will be deeper and the likelihood of them enacting the practices will be more likely if they work on their own teaching and accomodate a student they are teaching. However, if they have no ELs or if you want to organize differently that is your choice as facilitator. We have written the directions to have teachers work independently or in pairs if they share a grade and content. If you have more than two people who work in different areas in the school than teaching (counselors, librarians, etc.) you can have them cluster together even if there are more than two or 3. They should select a series of presentations they typically do and design these to include formal and informal assessments that will help them better reach ELs in their presentations and assess their knowledge.

This activity is relevant to the homework they will do for this session. 

Homework Alert--for session 3 LA 3.1 there are two documents you may want to provide hard copies for your teachers. First, teachers will read and highlight an article using yellow and pink highlights. The article is linked here. Then they will use a chart to summarize their thinking across the project. If you are meeting face to face they will not need a copy but can do this on their computer, but if you are meeting online you may want to have them download and print a copy which they can access in LA 3.1.

HW 2.1 Actions Taken and Learning--This is the reflection assignment. They could explore and adjust how they use WIDA in their teaching or how they could identify and use the Can Do descriptors at the level above where their EL(s) perform to adjust their teaching--see HW 2.3.

HW 2.2 Assessment for English Language Learners They will read Gottlieb Chapter 2 and there is a reading guide for them to respond to. They are to bring their notes to Session 3.

HW 2.3 Implementing WIDA Can Do Philosophy. Review their teaching in terms of using the WIDA decriptors and an article that helps them think about how they can more fully utilize. They print out the first link and bring it to Session 3. There is a form for them to look at. They are to consider how attending could improve access for ELs. They might take action on what they learn and reflect on it for their reflection assignment this week. 

HW 2.4 Supporting English Learners. Teachers will be doing final selection for the unit they will work on and the student they will focus on. You should have helped them make this determination during class in the final Learning Activity. It is important they have made this determination in order for them to complete this homework. Remind them they may need to contact their partner to solidfy their decisiosn about unit they focus on and student(s) they will design for. Again remind them that they could use their deliberation and decision making and any action taken as the focus of their reflection.

HW 2.5 Analyzing WIDA as Assessment. For this homework, they deepen their knowledge of the assessment literacy tool and connections they can make to WIDA by watching a video, taking notes and then considering the tool in relationship to WIDA as assessment. There is a worksheet to support their thinking. 

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