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Specialist Spotlight: Connecting to the Standards and Meeting Students' Needs with Lisa Lorenzini from Berkeley School District 87

Lisa Lorenzini is the ESL Resource Teacher for grades 3 and 4 at Riley Intermediate School in Northlake, IL. When not supporting her EL students and coaching colleagues, you’ll find her travelling. She has walked on the Great Wall of China and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. Watch this video to learn more about the impactful partnership between Berkeley and Ellevation. 

How are you using Ellevation Strategies to support your colleagues who have ELs in their classes? 

I use Ellevation Strategies to support my colleagues by recommending and sharing specific activities that I believe best lend themselves to a particular area of study or would be helpful in teaching an upcoming skill.  When recommending activities, I keep in mind the needs of the ELs and all students within the classroom, as well as how the activities fit and align with our curriculum maps. One of the most beneficial aspects of using Ellevation Strategies is that the activities can be used with all students to support the Common Core aligned learning that is taking place in the regular classroom. Ellevation Strategies increase all student learning. 

I share these activities through the share feature on Ellevation, but I have also shown teachers the Ellevation videos both one-on-one and during grade level meetings and shared activities via email.  Another way I support my colleagues is by visiting classrooms and teaching and modeling new Ellevation activities to the whole class. I then provide them blank copies of the graphic organizer or instructions and encourage them to keep using the activity with their class. The goal is to use the activities enough so that students become comfortable using them routinely and independently. 

What is your favorite Ellevation instructional activity or one you recommend frequently? Why?

Most recently, I have been recommending Guided Notes to teachers to increase reading comprehension using grade level text.  I love Guided Notes because it allows students to access grade level text with all types of text both fiction and nonfiction. It also provides many different graphic organizers to allow students to truly understand and visually support their learning. With regular use, these guided notes graphic organizers allow students to work independently and successfully.

What are 3 of your top tips, tricks or techniques that you employ when working with classroom teachers to help them better understand and teach ELs?

  • Show don’t tell--never underestimate the value of visual support. 
  • Empathy--everyone’s life experience is unique and valuable and you cannot teach ELs (or anyone) without empathy.
  • Appreciate our differences--there are such riches waiting to be gained for anyone willing to learn about someone from a different walk of life or culture.