Word cloud of some ELA strategies

It's September 2021! We asked teachers what they are—or will be—working on in these first weeks of classes, the strengths they are bringing to this new year, and what they are looking forward to. The two biggest themes to emerge were 1) how happy teachers are to be going back to in-person classes, and 2) organization

  • Organization for adult learners:
    • Using graphic organizers, both for working with texts and scaffolding for writing
    • Strategies to get organized and stay organized, both online and off
  • Organization for teachers:
    • Curriculum, whether in Google Drive, Google Classroom, a class website, or a series of physical binders and folders
    • Results from assessments of learner needs and strengths, such as diagnostic reading assessments

After this past year, teachers feel more organized, whether they are teaching in person or blended—and most are incorporating elements of online learning into their in-person classes.

Teachers are also looking forward to embedding ELA, organizational, and digital skills in a variety of topics, including vaccines; civics and government; short biographies and novels; and a range of topics related to work and money, such as economics, salaries, privatization of prisons, and industrialization.

Other themes that emerged included looking for evidence, especially in the face of misinformation, and acknowledging loss and grief from this past year and a half. As one teacher so eloquently put it,

If I want my students to be able to focus on learning things, I need to help lessen the burdens they're coming to class with. So, we talk about loss. We talk about the stages of grief. We talk about identifying warning signs that we need to get help with our mental health...and we cry. Knowing others are suffering too can really ease some of the isolation of grief. We're not alone, even though it can feel that way sometimes.

We applaud your skills, your determination, and your positivity in the face of enormous challenges! And remember that we are here to help you organize and have a successful year.

As always, please write in with questions, any time.


The ELA C&I PD Center

PD Center
SABES English Language Arts Curriculum & Instruction PD Center