Using the Extended Name Tag to Explore Student Identities

underlying principles Oct 03, 2022

Welcome to a new school year! By now your students are getting to know each other pretty well, and you have laid the foundation for your classroom culture. Part of creating an inclusive and supportive classroom community is to understand and value students’ identities.

Every person has layers that make up their personal identity. Norton describes identity as “how a person understands his or her relationship to the world, how that relationship is constructed across time and space, and how the person understands possibilities for the future.” Identity is made up of a person’s experiences, memories, values and beliefs, culture(s), and language(s).

When educators embrace all the facets of all the students’ identities it creates the equitable and supportive environment where learning thrives. When multi-cultural multi-lingual students come to school and feel like they have to leave parts of themselves at the classroom door to fit in, it creates a dissonance...

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What's Up Ahead - Keeping You in the Loop

general tips Jun 07, 2022

We experimented, we've listened, we've grown and we've changed! 

Are you already feeling the intoxication of summer vacation? Yes, we resonate with you! But really, do we stop learning in the summer? Of course not!

We may be learning different things, like how to drive a 5th wheel, or the best vacation spots on a budget, or what it feels like to read a …. novel!

As educators we’re pretty much addicted to learning.

And we’re instilling that passion for lifelong learning into our students. The last few years have had us all on a steep learning curve and our instructional flexibility and creativity has grown as a result.

We launched Next Steps with Project GLAD® just before the pandemic began, and have been right there learning and growing with you. Thank you for sharing your celebrations, challenges and ideas with us. We've been listening and asking:

  • What’s working?
  • What do you need?
  • What would be even more helpful?


We’ve taken all your...

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Monitoring and reporting the growth of our ELs: The ELD Group Frame

strategy tips May 17, 2022

Final report cards are coming up!  

The school year is about to wrap up and assessment is on everyone’s mind. We will soon report for the final time the content and skills our students learned this year.

For our English language learners, the ELD standardized test they took this spring will give scores how their language skills have progressed in listening, reading, speaking, and writing.  Unfortunately, these scores are not helpful in informing what we write on our report cards or supporting our students oral language development in these last weeks of school. 

What classroom-based assessment will help me determine my students’ oral language growth and proficiency?

The Project GLAD® strategy, ELD Group Frame, is a no-fuss, low-prep way to get a snapshot of students’ English proficiency. From this running record of oral language, we can get a record of language skills they have mastered and ones that will inform our future...

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Revising vs. Editing

underlying principles Apr 15, 2022

Our school year is steadily moving along. Spring break is over and testing season is upon us. At this time of year students in all grade levels have higher expectations for the quality of writing they turn in. 

"By the end of grade x, students will be able to..." 

If they haven't met the writing standards yet, there are only a few months left before final report cards.  

Writing can be one of the more challenging skills to master, and teachers also find it one of the more challenging to teach. In many ways, writing is subjective, yet there are rules and conventions to follow. Writing style is personal, yet correct usage is important.  

A helpful distinction we can make for our students is the difference between revising and editing.  


Have you ever had a student who thought revising meant recopying their paper?

In Project GLAD® we separate the revising and editing processes into distinct lessons with the...

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How do you motivate students who don't want to engage?

Have you ever felt completely unmotivated? We’ve all been there.  And so have our students.

All teachers struggle from time to time with engaging unmotivated students. It begs the question, why aren’t they engaged? At the most basic level, student need to have their physical and psychological needs met in order to learn. You may be familiar with the phrase, “Maslow before Bloom”.  Students who are tired, hungry, lonely, scared, frustrated… face an invisible barrier to engage fully in the learning process.

Today, we’re focusing on meeting students’ needs in one of these areas: love and belonging. 

“Feeling personally accepted, respected, included, and supported in the school environment makes students feel they belong to a school (Taylor & Sobel, 2011). Students who lack a sense of belonging are often unmotivated and non-participative.” (OCDE Project GLAD Learning Guide, 2015)

How to enhance a sense of...

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Teaching Grammar through the SPC

strategy tips Jan 03, 2022

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of teaching grammar?  Anticipation? Dread? Or just plain… b-o-r-i-n-g?

Understanding grammar is necessary for English learners and native speakers to understand, speak, read, and write the English language properly. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, dull or scary!

Simply put, grammar is the study of sentence structure.  

All you really need are a few basic guidelines and the Project GLAD® strategy called the Sentence Patterning Chart, or SPC.

Tips for teaching grammar

  1. Teach the basics

Beginning language learners need to know 3 basic grammar rules:

  • Parts of speech
  • Subject-Verb agreement (Who’s doing the action?)
  • Verb Tense (When is the action happening?)


  1. Teach what students need

Once your students have the basics, all the other grammar points and skills can be taught in any order. Yep, you heard me right. In any order.

Linguist, Stephen Krashen, developed 5 hypotheses for...

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Set the Tone with a Tune

Set the Tone with a Tune

Your brain is a lean mean music machine!

There are multiple parts of the brain that like to get in on the dance. And the Mighty Amygdala is no wallflower. The amygdala has three layers of cells. The top layer picks up its cue from smells, seeing faces, and sounds - especially the sounds of music, happy music! This feeds directly into our emotional response. 

Music can generate an atmosphere of well-being and positivity. It can calm and relax. It can spark the flow of ideas and creativity. It can focus and target brain waves for concentration. 

Experiencing music together creates a sense of group cohesion.

Music becomes even more uniting when we add collective movement to the rhythm and beat, like snapping fingers, clapping hands, or tapping feet together. Adding movement (TPR - Total Physical Response) also ignites neuroplasticity across the group. 

Bring on the music… but use it intentionally.

Choose the tune to set the tone...

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Be An Airhead

underlying principles Nov 01, 2021


This month we’re diving deeper into the mysterious, marvelous brain! Our goal is to teach students the research behind neuroplasticity and generate their belief that “My brain can learn!”

Our tip for this month is to share with your students the Why behind your teaching practice. Oftentimes, this is all a reluctant learner needs to get hooked into all this “color-coded-singing-moving-around-the-room-stuff”. This is particularly true for older students. Here are 3 brain tips and how they relate to teaching with Project GLAD® strategies.

Pictures make a difference

Concepts are more likely to be remembered and recalled if taught through pictures in addition to their corresponding words. This is known as the Pictorial Superiority Effect. Pictures are superior to words when it comes to the response time for recognizing information. If the image moves, the information is retained even longer.

In Project GLAD®, all our teaching that...

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What do you do when team points lose pizzazz?

strategy tips Oct 01, 2021

The T-Graph for Social Skills and its companion, Team Points, are a foundational strategy to foster positive interdependence for student teams.  The teams don't earn anything extrinsic for having the most points. There are no pizza parties, candy, or stickers. The points themselves ARE enough extrinsic motivation to create the intrinsic motivation we want to see in our teams for pro-social behaviors.  

 The emotional reward of earning points for demonstrating our focus social skill creates a metacognitive barometer for the student. "If we do ____, then ____ happens."  

But, let's be honest here. 

Does any routine stay fresh and exciting for the whole year?  

We are approaching the time of year most teachers have a pretty smooth running ship. Heads up! There will be times, such as returning from winter or spring breaks (or a pandemic closure), testing season, or the end of the year in sight, and many of us need to take some time to review...

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What if scouts only pick their friends?

strategy tips Sep 09, 2021

Literacy Awards reinforce the Three Personal Standards. They motivate students, provide immediate feedback, and build on language, literacy and content matter. Layers upon layers of support!   


One common worry when teachers start using scouts with Literacy Awards is a fair and equal distribution of awards. Because Literacy Awards are so motivating in changing personal behavior, teachers are tempted to make sure everyone earns the same number of awards daily.  


We have seen teachers overcompensate by creating tracking systems for who has earned an award. This is time consuming and not necessary. You have too much on your plate to add a Literacy Award checklist!   


Another frequently asked question about Literacy Awards is…  


What if scouts only pick their friends?  


Teaching the routine...

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