May 14, 2013
by Melissa Stull
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Plans for 2013 Summer ESL Learning Academy

For the second year, the Mitchell Scarlett Partnership is helping to coordinate a summer academic and enrichment program for English language learners (ELLs) who will be in grades 4 – 8 in the fall.  The program is open to all ELLs in the Scarlett attendance area and will run from July 8-26 in the mornings (exact beginning and ending times are pending).  As in previous years, program goals center on strengthening students’ abilities to read and write informational texts and to build grade level math proficiencies.

The theme of this year’s Summer ESL Learning Academy focuses on how art represents cultural identity.  Through an integrated language and arts unit, students will read both fiction and nonfiction texts related to art and culture; have several opportunities to study art on field trips to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art (UMMA) (http://www.umma.umich.edu/); and, create and write about their own art work.  Based on the success of last summer’s family night at the Leslie Science Center, the culminating family event this year will take place at the UMMA where the students’ artwork and writing will be displayed.

ESL teachers from AAPS, UM faculty members, and UM interns are planning the integrated language and arts unit for the Summer Academy.  In addition to ESL teachers from AAPS, approximately 9 UM interns will also be teaching in the program. For more information on how to register for the Summer Academy, please contact the Scarlett office.

April 27, 2013
by Melissa Stull
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Scarlett Book Club/Study Group on Student Motivation

A group of Scarlett teachers has begun meeting to discuss current books and issues related to student motivation.  Sparked by a project idea proposed by music teacher, Deb Katz, the group has met monthly this spring, with Deb and UM instructor, Melissa Stull, facilitating the group.  Thus far, they have read and discussed How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough (www.goodreads.com/book/show/13435889-how-children-succeed) and The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born.  It’s Grown.  Here’s How by Daniel Coyle (thetalentcode.com/book/).

Several teachers have been trying out ideas generated from the book discussions in their classrooms.  For example, one teacher has been trying to use less indirect “praise” language, instead offering students more precise feedback on their class performance.  In The Talent Code, Coyle describes how changing the praise we give others – from “nice job” to “did you notice the difference in the sound the violin made when you moved your second finger slightly back?” – better supports learning.

The group’s next book is: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (www.goodreads.com/book/show/6452796-drive).

The group is always open to others, so feel free to contact Deb or Melissa with questions.

April 23, 2013
by Melissa Stull
Comments Off on Mitchell 2nd Graders, Supported by UM Intern, Create Staff Biographies

Mitchell 2nd Graders, Supported by UM Intern, Create Staff Biographies

As part of the second grade writing curriculum, Ms. Padgen’s class completed a non-fiction writing unit focused on writing biographies about the Mitchell staff.   This project, led by Ms. Sala, a UM teaching intern, gave students an opportunity to practice these skills by developing interview questions, conducting and recording interviews, and returning to the recorded interviews to gather information for writing.  Visit the following link to see the students’ work: mitchellschool.blogspot.com/search/label/staff%20biographies

April 13, 2013
by Melissa Stull
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Scarlett Extended Day Program for English Language Learners

Scarlett teachers and UM instructors teamed together this winter to support Scarlett’s English Language Learners (ELLs) in developing their English language and writing proficiencies.  This partnership project focused on Word Generation (http://wg.serpmedia.org/), a vocabulary program used across all content and grade levels for all Scarlett students. Each week during the regular school day, teachers introduce students to 5 commonly used academic terms.  Students work with these words throughout the week with a culminating writing activity each Friday.  As newcomers to English, it is not surprising that some ELL students struggle with the writing component of Word Generation.  Scarlett teachers and UM instructors purposefully developed an extended day project with the goal of supporting students in drafting their written essays before they would actually be due in their language arts classes.

Scarlett teachers (Candy Justyna, Laura Ozuna, Rosetta Ransome-Brown, and Kara Schultz) and UM instructors ( Debi Khasnabis and Cathy Reischl) collaborated to select three units from Word Generation that focused on issues of culture and identity and were likely to be ones that ELLs would want to discuss in their mainstream classrooms.  For example, one unit focused on the following question: should students be academically tracked?  Selecting units that the students would not encounter in their mainstream classrooms for a few weeks enabled the teachers to pre-teach the content, thus building students’ proficiency and their ability to be successful with the writing assignments.

The teachers and UM instructors met with students twice a week for two months with approximately four days spent on each unit.  On day one of each unit, students viewed and discussed a video related to the question and the key vocabulary terms.  The teachers then led the students in an extended discussion of the pro- and con- positions related to the question.  A required component of Word Generation is completing a graphic organizer prior to writing an essay related to the question, and students received support in completing this task.  Finally, the teachers assisted students in translating the information in the graphic organizers into an essay format.  Although most students did not initially complete the full essay during the extended day program, by the end of the two month project, many students were able to complete a full draft.

Scarlett’s ELLs will have additional opportunities to enhance their learning this summer during the extended year program, which will run for three weeks in July.

February 12, 2013
by Melissa Stull
Comments Off on Writing Project Involving Mitchell 4th Graders & UM Interns in AAPS News

Writing Project Involving Mitchell 4th Graders & UM Interns in AAPS News

See the following link to read about a writing project involving Mitchell teacher, Erica Hatt’s fourth graders and UM faculty, Cathy Reischl’s teaching interns.  The interns supported the fourth graders in a persuasive writing project about why Mitchell is the “coolest school on the planet.”  The culminating project involved students creating mini-movies, which they debuted to their families and school community: news.a2schools.org

November 29, 2012
by Melissa Stull
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Promise of Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs Discussed in AAPS News

See the following link to learn more about how Mitchell and Scarlett are incorporating elements of Responsive Classroom and Developmental Design into their daily routines: news.a2schools.org

September 16, 2012
by Melissa Stull
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2012 Scarlett Summer School Program

During Scarlett’s summer school program this year, middle school students and UM interns had an opportunity to work and learn from each other.  Serving approximately 60 students in grades 6-8, the program focused on strengthening students’ reading and math skills.   UM interns spent three days a week in language arts and math classrooms working with individuals and small groups of students.  This was the first time that UM’s Secondary MAC (Master of Arts with Certification, http://www.soe.umich.edu/academics/masters_programs/secmac/) program was involved in Scarlett’s summer school.

There were several unique features to the summer partnership, none the least of which was the number of interns working at Scarlett – almost 50.  This enabled students to have more individual attention and instruction than is normally feasible.  Another key element was how Scarlett teachers and UM instructors worked together to align their curriculums and courses to support both Scarlett students’ and UM interns’ learning.  For example, Scarlett language arts teachers utilized some of the concepts and materials from the Big History Project (http://www.bighistoryproject.com/), led by UM instructor Bob Bain, in their classes, and UM instructors teaching a disciplinary literacy course ensured that course assignments aligned with the curriculum and work occurring in the middle school classrooms.  An additional important element of the partnership was that the interns were also taking education courses while working in the summer program.  The courses supported and enhanced the interns’ understanding of teaching, while their observations and teaching experiences in the middle school classrooms made concrete the ideas they read about in their coursework.

Both Scarlett students and UM interns seemed to benefit from their work together, as they noted on their end-of-term evaluations.  For instance, several Scarlett students commented on how the interns were always quick to help and provide additional explanations, with one student expressing that the intern in her classroom had made her “think out of the box.”  The following is a representative comment from an intern: “It was wonderful to see a veteran teacher at work.  My mentor was AMAZING, the way he talked to students and interns as separate in some cases and together in others was awesome.  He did such a good job creating a community not only with and among the students but also with the interns and I think it was a really special experience that I will draw on in the future.”

Planning for next summer’s program is already underway.

September 1, 2012
by Melissa Stull
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2012 Summer ESL Learning Academy

Housed at Scarlett Middle School, the Summer ESL Learning Academy (SESLA) supported 70 rising fourth through ninth graders in strengthening their language, science, and math skills.   This was the first time that elementary students from all of Scarlett’s feeder schools participated in the program, and the first time that Ann Arbor ESL teachers, UM faculty members, and UM graduate students collaboratively planned and taught the literacy and science curriculum.

Student sharing information about his raptor with Mitchell teacher, Aaron Padgen, at the Leslie Science Center.

Student sharing information about his raptor with Mitchell teacher, Aaron Padgen, at the Leslie Science Center.

The literacy components involved reading and writing informational texts as well as developing oral language skills related to advocating for oneself in school.  The science curriculum centered on concepts of animal habitats and biodiversity, with several field trips to the Leslie Science Center (www.lesliesnc.org) as well as a walking exploration of Scarlett Woods (www.a2gov.org).  In math, students benefited from small group instruction to support their attainment of grade level outcomes.

Four Ann Arbor ESL teachers and several UM faculty members and graduate students worked together to plan the literacy and science curriculum for SESLA.  Using biodiversity as a foundation, the integrative curriculum had a strong focus on the rescued raptors at the Leslie Science Center.  Through field trips to Leslie, class readings about raptors, and videos of Leslie docents discussing the raptors and their habitats, students identified a raptor that interested them, and they created an informational brochure as a culminating project.  Writing with purpose was a key idea in the project; students had two opportunities to share what they learned with a broader audience.

The first occurred at family night at Leslie Science Center,where  students discussed their findings with their families, teachers, and Leslie staff members.  Students had an additional opportunity to present their raptors at UM’s Brandon Center (brandoncenter.soe.umich.edu), where School of Education faculty and graduate students listened as students shared their new appreciation for the raptors.

UM intern, Coert Ambrosino, working with a student during the Summer ESL Learning Academy.

UM intern, Coert Ambrosino, working with a student during the Summer ESL Learning Academy.

The high degree of collaboration that occurred in creating the literacy and science curriculum also carried over into the classroom, as students benefited from the support and instruction of 3 Ann Arbor ESL teachers, 3 UM faculty members, 2 UM graduate students, and 7 UM interns, the latter of whom were working towards their ESL teaching endorsement.

Preliminary findings from pre- and post-assessments indicate that students who consistently attended the SESLA program improved their writing skills and scientific knowledge related to biodiversity.  Students, teachers, and faculty members look forward to learning and working together in next year’s SESLA program!

 

April 5, 2012
by Catherine Reischl
Comments Off on Scarlett Extended Day Program is Covered by AnnArbor.com

Scarlett Extended Day Program is Covered by AnnArbor.com

See the following link to read an article that describes work done through the Partnership at Mitchell and Scarlett in 2011-2012 and highlights the work of UM faculty, AAPS teachers, and English Language Learners in the Scarlett After-School Program: www.annarbor.com