This past summer I had the pleasure of attending a training for Project GLAD in the McMinnville School District in Oregon.
Project GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) is a model for teaching to all students, specifically students who speak another language other than English in their home. My favorite motto from GLAD is "Teach to the ceiling, review to the floor". In the GLAD model, the first couple of weeks are teacher driven, using many graphic organizers, whole group input charts, and high academic vocabulary. After reviewing this language-rich information over and over again, the students eventually take ownership over it and become so independent.
I've taught using GLAD strategies in my classroom for the past five years, but have not been formally trained until now. The funny part is that the trainer was my 5th grade teacher, who now is a half time teacher and half time instructional coach in McMinnville. It was so fun to be her student again!
The training lasted for five days and consisted of classroom observation in the mornings and work time in the afternoon. We observed a summer school class that was comprised of 16 incoming 3rd grade ELL students and also children of migrant working families. The entire class was Hispanic and spoke Spanish at home. The school, Newby Elementary, is a bilingual English/Spanish school. For each day of instruction the trainer, Erick Herrmann, an independent consultant, taught all of the strategies a regular teacher would use in a week. The mornings went by very fast and had lots of content shoved in, but the kids did remarkably well. They were well behaved, worked well together, and really did try their best to learn. They were excited by the unit, Navigation.
During the afternoons, I worked on a unit for my class on Scientific Inventions. I made Observation Charts, a Big Book, a Timeline, Picture File Cards, a Narrative Input Chart, and updated the Cognitive Content Dictionary. I also worked on organizing my pages and pages of handwritten notes into something that would be useful for me and other teachers who use GLAD strategies. Using Marcia Bechtel's book Bringing It All Together. I typed up each strategy on a one sheet page. I inserted pictures that I took during the demonstration in McMinnville and also added tips and tricks Joileen and Erick gave us. I plan to print this off and stick each page in my GLAD unit binder with the resources for the strategies that I've created.
I also posted all the pictures of the strategies on my Google + account in case anyone wanted to see them but not actually read the whole 30+ page document. You're welcome.
Another way I stay brushed up on my GLAD strategies is by joining the Yahoo Group - Project GLAD for Teachers. If you ever have a question, all you have to do is post it to the group and all the wonderful other teachers who belong to the group will answer. Even just by reading the questions other people post, I get reminded of little tips and tricks of teaching the strategies. It's not a group that posts a ton, so it won't clog up your email inbox or anything like that.
I hope this was helpful for you and your students! How do you teach your English language learners in your classroom? I'd love to hear about it!