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Welcome students, parents, and colleagues. Thank you for visiting my blog. This blog I have designed to introduce myself and inform you about what is going on in my classes. Currently, I teach ELD inclusion for grades 6.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reflection from a workshop titled "Hands On Differentiated Instruction"

As an ESL inclusion teacher by day, I’ve heard the word and used the word “differentiation” very often, but usually in a way of accommodation and making text or content more accessible for my ESL 3 middle school students. That being said, when I hear the word “differentiation,” I translate it to be “more work for me” because it entailed a teacher handing me her lesson plan, saying, “differentiate this for your students.” Or sitting in a workshop, thinking about how we could differentiate for ESL’s and SPED students and it included lesson plans, write-ups, long discussions, internet searches and all sorts of extra work. To the point when I would hear “differentiation” and recoil a little bit.
But at the workshop, Debbie Centamore gave me a new perspective on what differentiation means, and it doesn’t mean all the work that I thought it did, or that I have put into it. Now does that discredit all the work I have done? Of course not. And have those accommodations that I have written for my ESL 3 middle school students helped them a lot? Of course. But when we were talked about differentiation strategies in the workshop, I saw that differentiation can just be as attainable and simple as a thought as you are leading the lesson.
For example, she had these cards that depicted different situations; I had never seen them before, but I loved them and I want to get myself some. In adult ESL classes, she said she passes them out and the students talk, write or work with a partner about what’s on the card, building oral or written language. What I learned was that she differentiates as she hands out the cards deliberately, knowing what your students’ levels are, what their interests are, what their background knowledge is. Hence, she makes the activity accessible to them and meets them where they are and I thought, wow, she didn’t have to research that online or back it up with buzzwords; she didn’t have to spend hours writing a lesson plan, it was just an in-the-moment decision that made her students more successful in the class.
Now how do I transfer that to the ABE program? I’m still thinking through that question. One thing we also talked about during the differentiation workshop was that teachers could use different types of learners and multiple intelligences as a means of differentiation and I thought that was something my ABE students could relate to. Because ABE students as the lowest-performing adults, sometimes have academic anxiety because they are low, they’ve have interrupted education, they are ELL’s… whatever their struggles may be, somehow are only at a 3rd or 4th grade reading level or math level as an adult. So with Gardner’s multiple intelligences and the types of learners (audio, visual and kinesthetic) in mind, I thought wouldn’t that be a great opening week activity with my ABE students, and differentiate it in that they discover which “smart” they are and in which ways they are smart, just to build some self-efficacy at the beginning of the semester, and then I can use that information and use that data to make those split-second differentiation decisions to be able to support those students.
Before this differentiation workshop, I had no idea the students I would be getting, except for Carmen; I knew Carmen would be coming back to me. After our “reaping” as it were (the registration night) and getting to know my new students just a little bit, I see that they will be at different places and those little decisions and differentiating my lessons will be of utmost importance for their success this semester.

Exploring China through Folktales SIOP lesson plan

Exploring China through Folktales

Developed for Middle School Social Studies (Grades 6, 7 or 8)

By: Crystal-Mae Waugh
ESL Inclusion Teacher
Framingham Public Schools

Exploring China East and West Study Tour
Primary Source Educating for Global Understanding

Lesson Introduction:
Exploring China through Folktales” is a middle school (6th/7th/8th grade) social studies unit developed for an inclusion classroom setting. It can be adapted for Sheltered English Instruction or mainstream student populations. The lesson fosters conversation and higher order thinking skills and text has been adapted to be more accessible for English language learners. This unit fits into the middle school study of world geography and civilizations. The lesson incorporates multimedia footage of today with folktales from the 7th century B.C.E. Students will analyze the impact of folktales on the development of Chinese culture by observing video footage and retelling a folktale. The folktales give students a sense of the people and the culture. These stories are an integral part of Chinese history, rich in language that describes both environment and sentiment. The tales show the students the history of Hangzhou through the folklore and oral tradition of its local people. The footage of the Chinese opera will allow them to see the authentic ways of oral tradition and compare the different modes of storytelling. The Chinese opera is an iconic depiction of Chinese storytelling and history. In this unit, students will analyze the ways in which a folktale can give Westerners a glimpse of Eastern history and culture.

Teacher Name:
Mae Waugh
School Name:
Primary Source

Middle School
Social Studies/ESL

October 2012
Unit Title:
Exploring China through Folktales

Unit Length:
One week (45 minute blocks)

Lesson Overview:
In this lesson, students will learn about Chinese history and culture through a famous Chinese folktale. Students will compare and contrast the merits of reading a text versus watching a traditional Chinese opera.
Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks:
6.RL.7 Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story to listening to or viewing an audio, video or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when
reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch
6.RIT.3 Analyze in detail how a key individual, event or idea is introduced, illustrated and elaborated in a text
6.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding
plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
6.SL.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g. visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text or issue under study
6.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking

Higher Order Questions

What can the folktales tell us about what China was like in the past?
What are the benefits of using primary sources to learn about the history and culture of China and which is a
more reliable source—a video or a folktale?
How is the Chinese Opera an enduring icon in China's history and today?

Language Objectives:
Students will be able to...
Read and retell a folktale fluently
Discuss and interpret the difference between reading a folktale and watching a dramatization
Determine and clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words in context

Content Objectives:
Students will be able to...
Evaluate different primary sources for validity and information
Synthesize information from various sources including video footage, websites and folktales
Analyze the importance of the Chinese opera and folktales and their roles in the enduring legacy of Ancient China

Key Vocabulary
oral tradition
Chinese opera

Lady White Snake Text:

Hangzhou ~ HONG-JO
Emei ~ um-AY
Xu Xian ~ SHOO shee-EN
Zhenjiang ~ JUN-jee-ONG
Fahai ~ FAH-HI
Kunlun ~ KUN-LUN
Yangzi ~ YONG-dzuh

Resources and Materials

Lady White Snake” Chinese Opera performed at the Beijing Tea House, July 31, 2012

Lady White Snake A Tale From Chinese Opera” Retold by Aaron Shepard http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/062.html

The Legend of the White Snake” http://www.chinapage.com/wsnake.html

Shepard, Aaron. Lady White Snake: A Tale From Chinese Opera Pan Asian Publications (USA) (April 1, 2001).

Children of Hangzhou, Connecting with China (video series.) ISBN: 9780887277634

West Lake Tour Video

About the Story”
About Chinese Opera”
Venn Diagram
Lady White Snake through Yangliuqing woodcut paintings”

Building Background Activities:

1. Introduce West Lake and Hangzhou with the West Lake Tour Video.

2. Watch Hangzhou Kids video

Links to Student Background and Experience

1. Discuss what is a folktale. Have students brainstorm folktales they know from their native cultures or childhood.

2. Have students create a KWL chart for Opera.

3. Create as a class, (or have students create individually) a Mind Map for what they know about China. As the unit progresses, have students add what they are learning to their Mind Map in a different color.

Learning Strategies

Graphic organizers

Lesson Progression Activities:

1. Read the picture book, “Lady White Snake A Tale From Chinese Opera” Retold by Aaron Shepard, if possible.

2. Class discussion. Is it a folktale? Why or why not?

3. Read handout “About the Story.”

4. Answer comprehension questions in groups that lead students to analyze figurative and literal meaning in the text.

5. Make a t-chart about examples from the text in which we can make inferences about Chinese culture.

6. Read handout “About Chinese Opera.”

7. Watch the Chinese opera footage.

8. Use a Venn Diagram to compare Lady White Snake Chinese Opera and text.

9. Give students the 5 Yangliuqing woodcut paintings handout and have them retell the folktale in writing.

Final Assessments
  1. Writing assignment: answer this question, How do folktales and Chinese opera provide us insight into Chinese culture?
  2. Students choose one project:
    1. Record and oral narrative for video of the Chinese opera in English
    2. In groups, write a script and act out the folktale for Lady White Snake

Effects of Diabetes in the Classroom

Diabetes Facts

According to National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in school-aged children, affecting about 200,000 young people in the United States. According to recent estimates, about 19,000 youths are diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes each year (1). Diabetes is a chronic disease in which blood sugar, called glucose, levels are above normal.
Two types of diabetes afflict the population, named type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the beta cells of the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas of a person with type 1 diabetes can no longer produce insulin, so these people must take insulin daily to live (National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 12). In type 2 diabetes, the muscles, liver and fat cells do not use insulin properly. The pancreas keep up with the added demand at first, but over time it loses its ability to produce enough insulin or control the glucose.
(National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 13)
Diabetes Legislation

Legislation protects students with diabetes and ensures they receive adequate attention and education. Three federal laws provide protection to children with diabetes at school: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Kaufman 91). Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits schools that receive federal funds from discriminating against people on the basis of disability. The American with Disabilities Act is another civil rights law that protects students with disabilities and in order to qualify under IDEA, “the student's diabetes must impair his or her ability to learn so that the student requires special education.” (Kaufman 91). This protects students who experience hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia and these dangerous episodes significantly affects the student’s ability to concentrate. (Kaufman 91)
Accommodations in School

Studies conducted by the American Diabetes Association have shown that the majority of school personnel have an inadequate understanding of diabetes and that parents of children with diabetes lack confidence in their teachers’ ability to manage diabetes effectively ( S131). Despite their assurance of a safe education since the 1970s, not all schools are equipped to service their students with diabetes. Students with diabetes should be able to eat frequently, check their glucose level and be closely monitored by adults to prevent hypoglycemia. These expectations should be committed to writing in the form of two signed documents: a health care plan that explains what medical procedures should take place at school; and a 504 Plan, Individualized Education Program (IEP), or other care plan that explains in what ways the usual school routine needs to be altered for that particular student. (Kaufman 92) The plan should include specific information for that child with regard to monitoring of blood glucose; insulin; meals and snacks; treatment of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia; and exercise and sports (Kaufman 92).
In school the nurse is the most appropriate person to care for a student with diabetes, but non-medical school personnel could be trained and supervised to perform diabetes care tasks safely in the school setting (National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 16). These activities may include blood glucose monitoring, insulin and glucagon administration, and urine or blood ketone testing. School personnel should also receive student-specific training and be supervised by the school nurse or another qualified health care professional (National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 17).
Optimally, a school health team should be created and include the student with diabetes, the parents/guardian, the school nurse and other health care personnel, the staff members designated as trained diabetes personnel, administrators, the principal, the 504/IEP coordinator, office staff, the student’s teacher or teachers, the guidance counselor, the coach, lunchroom and other school staff members (National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 18).
The greatest immediate danger to students with diabetes is hypoglycemia (National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 36). A hypoglycemic attack can come on suddenly and while symptoms can vary, all school personnel should know how to recognize hypoglycemia and know what to do if they observe its onset (National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 37).
Diabetes Education

Educating educators, parents and students—both diabetic and not diabetic is imperative. One tool for diabetes education is a freeware computer program called AIDA that permits the interactive simulation of plasma insulin and blood glucose profiles for demonstration, teaching, self-learning, and research purposes (Palacio 107). The downloadable computer program has been available for free on the internet for over 10 years and it is a self-education tool, particularly for people with diabetes and their relatives, as well as for heath care providers and students. (Palacio 107) The program allows users to manipulate of example patient parameters such as weight, insulin sensitivity, renal function, and threshold for glycosuria. (Palacio 107)
In 2006, Palacio conducted a research study on the validity of the online program. He piloted AIDA at a Biotechnology Summer Camp in Atlanta, Georgia for middle school students. The learning outcome was to help the students understand some basics of insulin pharmacology, as well as the effects of insulin in a simulated young patient with Type 1 diabetes, and the effects of both insulin and changes in diet and lifestyle in a young patient with Type 2 diabetes. (Palacio 107) Palacio found 86% reported AIDA online to be of interest as an educational tool, 81% found the program to have utility, and 57% expressed a desire to continue using the software. (Palacio 110)
According to Palacio, “The ability to graphically display simple pharmacokinetics, and rapidly expand the illustrations, makes AIDA online a valuable approach to teach young teenagers with minimal knowledge of insulin about the complex relationship between the timing of an insulin injection and the effect of insulin within the blood.” (113).
AIDA is just one example of established and tested diabetes education software and supplements that exist. It can be an invaluable resource for those afflicted with diabetes, but the most important point is to educate not only the diabetic student, but also the parents and school staff with the responsibilities to keep these students safe.


Kaufman, Francine Ratner MD. “Diabetes at School: What a Child’s Health Care Team Needs to Know About Federal Disability Law” CLINICAL DIABETES • Volume 20, Number 2, 2002 p. 91-92

National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed A Guide for School Personnel” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Updated Edition 2010

Palacio, Andres M.D.; Eldon D. Lehmann, Eldon D., M.B. B.S., B.Sc. (Hons.), Ph.D., F.R.C.R.; Darin E. Olson, Darin E. M.D., Ph.D. “Teaching Diabetes to Middle-School Students with the www.2aida.net AIDA Online Diabetes Software Simulator” Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology Volume 1, Issue 1, January 2007 © Diabetes Technology Society

Nutrition and Obesity in Children

Childhood obesity has dire consequences and can lead to many childhood health problems that persist into adulthood. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obese children's health risks include high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increase risk of type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, joint problems, fatty liver disease, gallstones, heartburn and a greater risk of social and psychological problems (Basics About Childhood Obesity 2011). Obese children are more likely to become obese adults and the health concerns of children are likely to continue or worsen.
Obesity is measured using Body mass index. Calculated using a child's weight and high, it does not measure body fat directly, but it is a reasonable indicator of body fatness for most children and teens (Basics About Childhood Obesity 2011). Children between the 85th and 95th percentile are classified overweight and above the 95th percentile they are classified as obese (Basics About Childhood Obesity 2011).
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 17% of children and adolescents are obese and data from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System reports 1 in 7 low-income preschool-aged children is obese (Basics About Childhood Obesity 2011). The prevalence of obesity in American children has increased in the past 30 years and this great increase in obesity may lead to increases in incidence of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and possibly cancer and is therefore projected to produce the first decline in U.S. life expectancy since the Great Depression (Trasande 159).
In his study “Environment and Obesity in the National Children's Study,” Transande states, “The recent explosive increase in prevalence of obesity reflects a complex interplay among changes in individual behaviors; changes in community structure, lifestyle, and the built environment; and possibly exposures to certain synthetic chemicals, such as endocrine disruptors, that may have the capacity to disrupt energy balance.” (Trasande 159).
To educate my sixth grade students about nutrition and obesity, I researched the nutrition label and the effects of nutritional eating at school. The ability to analyze a nutrition label and make good choices in the cafeteria could have positive repercussions in students' lives and help them combat obesity.
The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 mandated that all packaged foods carry nutrition label-ing information presented as standardized "Nutrition Facts" to provide accurate and truthful information on packaged products (Misra 306). According to Misra, “Label users had diets lower in fat and higher in fruit and vegetable intake compared with nonusers.” (306). Misra found consumers were able to use food labels effectively only when the task did not involve mathematical skill, so she recommends “nutrition education for adolescents should focus on understanding and using food labels rather than on calculations.” (306).
Adolescents need total nutrition more than at any other time of their life, yet they frequently consume inadequate diets. Schools need to provide adequate and applicable health education and prevention programs to guide adolescents to healthy choices.
Children who eat well, learn well, according to Storey et al, authors of a study in 2008 in which 12 schools in England received a tailored action plan and support to modify their food provision and dining environment over a 15-week period. Storey et al observed behaviors during post-lunchtime classes at all schools to investigate if there was evidence that food insufficiency was positively associated with poorer academic, cognitive and psychosocial development in children and young people even in the developed world (33).
The study provides evidence of the benefits on learning-related behaviors of modifying children’s school food and eating environments. (Storey et al 37). Storey et al found on-task behavior had increased and off-task behavior had decreased in both groups, but the changes were significantly greater in the intervention group (35). The study showed that modifying food provision and dining environments had the potential to improve learning-related behaviors of secondary school pupils in the post-lunch period. (Storey et al 35)
The research uncovered the following effects: improving food choices; reducing queuing times; improving the dining ambience; and increasing time available for physical and social activities. (Storey et al 35) The benefits included increased concentration and engagement can potentially improve learning outcomes and attainment. Behavior improved during the post-lunch period, a time in the school day that, traditionally, has been problematic for effective classroom management (Storey et al 36).
From analyses based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a complex, multistage probability sample of the US civilian, non-institutionalized population, Ogden et al found the prevalence of high BMI in childhood has remained steady for 10 years and has not declined (Ogden et al 248). With adequate curriculum and instruction, educators can help reverse this trend by teaching students how to read a nutrition label and make healthy eating choices, which minimize their waistline while maximizing their mental potential.


CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Basics About Childhood Obesity”
http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/data.html Page last updated: April 26, 2011. Accessed 2/3/2012.

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Data and Statistics”
http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/basics.html Page last updated: April 21, 2011. Accessed 2/3/2012.

Misra, Ranjita. “Influence of Food Labels on Adolescent” The Clearing House 75. 6. (Jul. - Aug. 2002): pp. 306-309

Ogden, Cynthia L. PhD; Carroll, Margaret D. MSPH; Curtin, Lester R. PhD; Lamb, Molly M. PhD; Flegal, Katherine M. PhD “Prevalence of High Body Mass Index in US Children and Adolescents, 2007-2008” Jama 303.3 (January 20, 2010): 242-249

Storey, HC; Pearce, J; Ashfield-Watt, PAL; Wood, L; Baines, E; Nelson, M A randomized controlled trial of the effect of school food and dining room modifications on classroom behaviour in secondary school children” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2011): 65, 32–38

Trasande, Leonardo; Cronk, Chris; Durkin, Maureen; Weiss, Marianne; Schoeller, Dale A.; Gall, Elizabeth A.; Hewitt, Jeanne B.; Carrel, Aaron L.; Landrigan, Philip J.; Gillman, Matthew W. “Environment and Obesity in the National Children's Study” Environmental Health Perspectives 117.2 (Feb., 2009):159-166