Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
Link: Teaching Reading: K-2

Martha Duran-Contreras's Second-Grade Class

The Teacher and the Class


Staying on Topic

Video Summary

The Teacher and the Class

Analyzing the Video

Making Connections

Selected Resources

Ms. Duran-Contreras working with a student.

Martha Duran-Contreras teaches second grade at the Will Rogers School in Santa Monica, California. A neighborhood school, Will Rogers draws a diverse group of students, including many English language learners. Of Ms. Duran-Contreras's 22 students, 9 are ELL students. Her students' reading levels range from kindergarten to fourth grade.

Day at a Glance*


Arrival/ Attendance


Word Activities (Hanging Spider)


Writing Activity Introduction


Independent Writing


Guided Reading


Recess/ P.E.


D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) Time


Author's Chair





* In the video you see excerpts from Ms. Duran-Contreras's class on October 16 and 17. On a typical day, other content areas are also included in the schedule.

While English proficiency is a clear goal, Ms. Duran-Contreras speaks Spanish often in class to explain important concepts or clarify differences between Spanish and English. Believing that students should continue to develop skills in their first language, she provides Spanish-language books for students to read independently, and opportunities for them to write in Spanish.

Ms. Duran-Contreras communicates with students in a clear and straightforward manner. In her opinion, explicit feedback and instructions help students understand what they're doing well, and what goals they should set to improve. "I give them some ideas for their next steps. I try to be specific with them. Instead of saying, you need to be way over here. I give them little steps -- the whole notion of scaffolding."

Starting at the beginning of the year, Ms. Duran Contreras carefully establishes a classroom atmosphere of appreciation and respect, stressing that everyone in the community is important. Often referring to students as brother and sister learners, she emphasizes the value of students' contribution to their own and their classmates' learning, and communicates high expectations for student participation and behavior.

Next > Analyzing the Video: Before Viewing

© 2002 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved.


© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy