Credentials

Below are links to my teaching credentials.

Teaching Licenses:

Certifications:

Education:

 

Master’s Thesis

I invite you to read my master’s thesis on SLIFE writing, which has been downloaded and read over 300 times all over the world.

Abstract

Fossenbell, B.  Visual Support in Discourse Writing for Students With Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (2016)

The research question addressed in this project was: for Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE), how can a series of integrated graphic organizers, implemented in an environment informed by the Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP), improve students’ use of result and exemplification discourse connectors in developing written arguments? The motivating factor for this capstone was the researcher’s observations of the struggles SLIFE encounter in moving from sentence-level to discourse-level writing proficiency.  The action research integrated qualities of MALP, based on the work of DeCapua and Marshall, with an interrelated series of graphic organizers, influenced by Gibbons, in an attempt to help SLIFE improve their use of result and exemplification discourse connectors in argument essays. The study found that the combination helped students organize their thoughts, align their reasons and examples, and increase their use of the target language.

Launching of the Daystar Bridge Program

Daystar Academy is a strong bilingual immersion program that develops world citizens by embracing Chinese and Western culture through its integrated education model. Daystar students strive for distinction in comprehensive Chinese and English studies, creative thinking and character development for the purpose of serving the community at large.  In short, Daystar students are highly bicultural and biliterate to a degree few people ever achieve.

While the success rate is high, one of the challenges in such a time-intensive model is finding opportunities to implement lengthier interventions for students who need additional interactions with academic English concepts and content.  In traditional English-only schools, this burden is distributed throughout the school day or is lessened by students being surrounded by English in the world around them.  In contrast, our ELLs (who make up 70% of the student body) only receive 12 hours of instruction a week and have very little exposure to English in their lives outside of school.

In order to create additional opportunities for these students, a small team of us were able to do a needs assessment of the students and parents and reach out into the larger Beijing community to find partners who could provide extra support aligned with our mission and curriculum.  After interviewing several candidates, we settled on the Learning Tree. Working together with our two curriculum teams, we have been able to facilitate the creation of the Daystar Bridge Program.  As it is aligned with our learner outcomes, program of inquiry and standards, and given that there are pathways established for teachers to share feedback and data, students have been able to receive extra targeted support.  We’ve even been able launch parent education sessions to help parents support students at home.  Results have been fantastic.  Reading and writing scores are improving quickly and students and parents alike are reporting higher levels of understanding and enjoyment in learning.

 

基本信息 General Information

ELD PROCEDURES and PROTOCOLS

Adams 14 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE) Department Procedures and Protocols

As the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Eduction Coordinator for Adams 14, I co-designed the multilingual learner (ML) service model for our K-12 district, established ELD planning protocols, and developed and refined procedures for identifying, placing, monitoring and redesignating MLs.  Below is a sample of the procedures and protocols that I developed:

Learning English for Academic Proficiency (LEAP) Department Policies and Procedures

 

As the Language Support Services Coordinator for Daystar Academy, I designed the ML service model for our entire K-12 private district, established and continually managed the baseline data for MLs.  Below is a sample of the policies and procedures that I developed:

Student Work Samples

At the end of the day, our work as educators is to advance student success.  I invite you to view a sampling of student work supported by tools and strategies implemented by myself or my ELL team.

 

 

 

Middle School

WIDA Level 1
Over the years, I have worked with many Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE).  When I met this particular student, he had only received a year of formal instruction as a twelve year-old.  This is a sample of his writing in the beginning of the year.
Through creating class-constucted models, the use of sentence frames and feedback, this student’s work started to blossom even though his lexicon was still quite low.  This a sample of his writing mid-year.

 

WIDA level 2

 

 

 

WIDA level 3

Elementary School

 

WIDA level 1
WIDA level 2

 

WIDA level 3

 

Using Data to Inform


My experience has taught me that while teacher instinct is invaluable, it is only bolstered when pairing it with data from the individual students as it relates to program-level goals. As such, my guiding question with data is always, “How does this inform instruction?”  Below are samples of using data to inform decisions at various levels:

 

Looking at Data

 

Gathering Data in One Place

Research is clear that using a combination of formative and summative assessment data to inform instruction yields the best student results. As such, it is important to have access both kinds of data. As a small district, my current program did not have access to centralized student data.  The director of Teaching Learning and Innovation and I co-created student data sheets that housed formative and summative assessment along with WIDA-inspired ELL learner profile data.

Click to see a sample of the Data Sheets

Protocol for Looking at Data

The Teaching Learning and Innovation department led a series of PDs for teachers using SRI’s ATLAS-Looking at Data or Data-Driven Dialogue Protocol. With all the data in one place and a protocol with prioritized standards to follow, teachers have been able to participate in PLCs and respond effectively to the following questions:

  • What do we expect our students to learn?
  • How will we know they are learning?
  • How will we respond when they don’t learn?
  • How will we respond if they already know it?

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Program-level Data Analysis

It goes without saying that in order to communicate effectively with stakeholders and make decisions about things like staffing and service model adjustments, it’s important be able to look at program-level data and analyze below for patterns.  Below is a two-year analysis of Daystar Academy’s ELLs in terms of baseline proficiency, growth and exits.  This analysis enabled me to shift our service model from a largely stand-alone streaming model to co-teaching and targeted pull-outs.  It also allowed me to staff effectively and shift programming to more reading and writing instruction.

Daystar Academy Language Learner Summary 2016-18

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Informing Instruction

To modify my own instruction, I use formative and summative data from student data sheets, ELL learner profile data and prioritized standards and learning targets.  Specially, analyze prioritized standards and content using WIDA Performance Definitions to determine linguistic complexity. I then analyze student data and WIDA level, along with WIDA Can Do Descriptors and to design WIDA MPIs and equitable and effective instruction that is a best-fit for student language proficiency.

Lexical Load Example

In one example that comes to mind, using WIDA Performance Definitions I was able to determine that my WIDA level 2s were struggling with a lexical load that was too high for them.  To remedy this, I was able to find reading material that used the same Tier 2 vocabulary as the language arts anchor text, but with a much lower lexical load.  Thus, these students were exposed to grade level concepts and vocabulary that was within their Zone of Proximal Development. Students developed the same comprehension sub-skills as their peers (determining main idea and detail) using supports from the MPIs (leveled text, sentence frames, and word banks with the support of a peer). In this manner, I kept the rigor high as well as the accessibility.

View a sample of MPI strand used.

View a sample of leveled reading.

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Early Literacy Example

Another example that comes to mind is an early literacy example in grades 1-3.  Our students’ MAP  reading scores for grades 1-3 weren’t progressing as much as we had expected after adopting a new curriculum. Digging into the MAP learning continuum data showed us a trend of a large group of students struggling at the phonics level.  Responding to this, we gave this group of students individualized phonics assessments and were able to determine gaps in decoding skills.  From there, we were able to dynamically group students and further target their phonics instruction to fit the needs of those gaps during our guided reading times and literacy centers.  For students who still needed more help, we were able to set up short-term literacy interventions managed by ELL teachers and para-educators.  This increased targeting of specific decoding skills to specific students led to much more efficient progression of decoding proficiency for our ELLs.

Example of early phonics data 

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Action Plan

Using the PLC question format (above), educators are often are faced with determining what to do when students aren’t hitting the learning targets we are setting. When making revisions to our instruction isn’t enough, we sometimes need to do interventions or make action plans for individual students.  In this example, this student was scoring far below his peers in reading, he wasn’t producing much writing and the literacy instruction in the classroom just wasn’t working.  To approach this, the teacher and I assembled reading data and five writing samples.  After analyzing the writing samples using the WIDA Writing Rubric, we were able determine that this student was struggling at the vocabulary level.  We were also able to identify specific gaps in decoding skills.  Reaching out his parents and using a combination of resources, we were able to put together an action plan that addressed vocabulary-building, specific decoding gaps, and moving from sentence-level to phrase-level writing.  The plan helped this student find purchase and he made significant leaps in all three areas.  We were then able to revisit the plan, make adjustments to the goals based on his work and roll out a second round. After two cycles, I’m happy to report that he is no long on an action plan!

Action plan example

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Action Research Example


Untitled-1A district I worked for in the U.S. encountered a huge influx of low-level English Language Learners (ELLs), the majority of which were  WIDA level 1s and 2s (newcomers). The district was at a loss as to how to proceed.  Continue the current model (co-teaching and push-in)?  Shift to pull-outs? How much?

As there is not a lot of research regarding newcomers or SLIFE and service models, I performed an 8-week action research study comparing two service models: co-teaching and push-in; targeted pull-out with push-in support.  I was able to determine that targeted pull-out with a sheltered instruction model was a better fit for these students as they made larger strides in decoding, comprehension and writing development.  As a result, we were able to shift to this model until the students were able to pass beginning of the year benchmarks.  At that point, we were able to shift back to co-teaching and a push-in more effectively.

 

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Co-Teaching

Co-teaching is often considered the apex of instructional collaboration.  In my experience, while co-teaching is tremendously effective, it takes intentional planning and norming of practices in order to reach the potential of the models.  Below is an example of co-teaching resources I put together for our district to help teachers better understand the models and (more importantly) norm their collaborative practices as a unit.  I’m proud to say that our co-teaching practice is evolving measurably each year!

 

 

 

Teaching Videos

Welcome to my video section of the site. Here, you can view teaching samples as well as educational support videos I have made or facilitated with our ELL/EAL teams to support parents and students.

Teaching Sample 1: Elementary ELLs – Supporting Language Arts

Standards assessed:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.1
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Teaching Sample 2: High School ELLs – Supporting Language Arts

Standards assessed:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11-12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.


 

Bilingual Parent Support Videos

 

Supporting Literacy at Home | School Expectations

 

Using Technology to Support Your Child’s Literacy at Home

This initiative was a collaboration between the ELL teachers and Chinese teachers to help English and Chinese speaking parents support literacy at home in a concrete way by helping parents understand and use two of our favorite online literacy resources: Reading A-Z and Phonics Genius.  The teachers collaborated with Chinese colleagues to shoot and translate the videos. The result was a marked uptick in use of these tools with parents and students!

Using Reading A-Z at Home to Support Your Child’s Literacy

Using Technology to Support Phonics at Home

Reading With Your Child at Home Using Reading A-Z

 


Bilingual School Expectations Videos for Students and Parents

This initiative was a collaboration between students and ELL teachers in order to help all students and parents understand school expectations given that there were many new-to-country families to our school who had limited or interrupted formal schooling in the past.  The students brainstormed school norms and agreed to them through voting.  They then co-wrote the scripts and created the videos with graphics and sound.

 

Banaadir Academy Expectations: School Arrival

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Hallways

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Cafeteria

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Recess

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Bathrooms

Banaadir Academy Expectations: Dismissal and Busing

Letters of Recommendation


See what principals, directors and peers have said about my teaching and professionalism.

Also, feel free to peruse my latest performance evaluations.

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