Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Link: Teaching Reading: K-2

Martha Duran-Contreras's Second-Grade Class

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Staying on Topic

Video Summary

The Teacher and the Class

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In her second-grade classroom, Martha Duran-Contreras creates a community of learners -- including herself -- by establishing predictable routines, mutual respect, and clear expectations. In writing tasks and guided-reading groups, students are encouraged to solve problems together and share understandings, to stay on task and contribute at all times, and to articulate and celebrate their achievements. Ms. Duran-Contreras comfortably uses both English and Spanish to support individual students and to provide explicit instruction. The Author's Chair, a time when students read written work aloud, appropriately ends a day of shared learning and individual accomplishment.

Ms. Duran-Contreras's literacy lessons demonstrate the following:

Literacy Teaching Practices

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Guided Reading

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Independent Reading

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Independent Writing

  • Culturally sensitive teaching that addresses students' personal experiences and feelings
  • Explicit instruction that helps students understand why they are learning, and builds metacognitive awareness
  • Strategic use of dual language response and instruction
  • Established routines and clear expectations that create a safe environment for risk-taking
  • Spoken and unspoken belief that every child can learn and has something to contribute
  • A community in which the teacher and students work and learn together in meaningful ways


"Children benefit from the use of both languages in a classroom and being able to validate many of the words and experiences that they bring from their homes -- whether it's English language experiences or Spanish language experiences. My using either Spanish or English makes them feel comfortable. Giving a language status is very important. I'm not going to take their language away. I'm going to use it when it's best for them."
Martha Duran-Contreras

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