New Podcast Episode: AI: A Helpful Assistant for MLL/ELL Teahers

In this episode of EdVenture, hear from MLL/ELL veteran educator Frederic Lim as he shares ways teachers can leverage AI to work smarter and not harder in service of their multilingual students. Don’t forget to sign up for Frederic’s upcoming workshops on October 5 and October 19 on leveraging Chat GPT in your planning! Listen now and download the transcript.

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Introducing Season Two of Our Podcast, EdVenture!

New school year, new season of our podcast! In this season of EdVenture, our Collaborative leader and podcast host Melissa Katz will be chatting with experts about the post-COVID special populations landscape and implications for the classroom.

Episode 1 – Navigating New Horizons with Ellie Grose
Meet the Collaborative’s newest Inclusive Education Specialist, Ellie Grose! In this episode, you’ll learn about Ellie’s 20-year journey from special educator to administrator and her insights into post-pandemic education trends. Listen now and download the transcript.

Episode 2 – Championing Inclusive Education with Stacy Marshall
In this discussion with Stacy Marshall, INCLUDEnyc’s director of Parent and Family Engagement, we explore the pivotal role of collaborative efforts between schools and families in shaping IEPs and driving inclusive education forward. Stacy also shares key learnings about the role empathy plays in these essential partnerships. Listen now and download the transcript.

Don’t forget to follow us on Spotify so you never miss an episode of the podcast!

Beyond the Buzzwords: Demystifying Content and Language Objectives

The Jeannine King S.P.A.R.K. (Special Populations Advocate, Relationship-builder, and Knowledge-Sharer) Award was established in honor of our beloved colleague, Jeannine King, who passed away in April. Jeannine served as an Inclusive Education Specialist at the Collaborative and, prior to that, as a member of the Bronx Community Charter School community for 13 years, holding various positions in special education and leadership. Below we feature a blog post from one of our inaugural S.P.A.R.K. Award winners, Avery Hollander, Dean of Multilingual Learning at East Harlem Scholars, which features some ways in which she seeks to provide access and supports to special populations students.


Beyond the Buzzwords: Demystifying Content and Language Objectives

By Avery Hollander

What’s the point?

Objectives are the heart of planning a meaningful lesson; they define what students will be able to do when the lesson is completed. Without an objective, a lesson would not have a clear purpose or goal, for both the teacher and the students!

Did you know that every lesson has at least two objectives? A content objective and a language objective. Before we get into why both of these objectives are important, let’s discuss what each objective is and how they differ.

Learning the Objectives

A content objective is what we primarily consider when planning a lesson. It can be defined as the goal for what students will do or know upon completion of the lesson. In other words, the content objective is the what.

A language objective can be defined as the goal for how students will use language to reach the content objective. In other words, the language objective is the how.

(Vibas, 2017)

Digging Deeper: Examples

Let’s imagine that you’re teaching a lesson on weather to kindergarten students, with the goal of helping them identify different types of precipitation. The content objective is clear: students should be able to recognize and name different forms of precipitation.

To support this objective, you can define a language objective that describes how students will use language to achieve the content objective. For example, the language objective could be: students will be able to describe visual representations of precipitation using tier 3 vocabulary. This means that in addition to simply recognizing different types of precipitation, students should be able to verbally describe what they see using more complex and specific language. By focusing on both content and language objectives, you can help students develop a deeper understanding of the topic while also improving their language skills.

Example 1: A Kindergarten Classroom Studying Weather

Content Objective Students will be able to identify the types of precipitation
Language Objective Students will be able to orally describe visual representations of precipitation using tier 3 vocabulary.

Let’s review another example. You are teaching a unit to high school students about the different revolutions. The end of the unit culminates with a final project where students compare and contrast two revolutions studied in the unit. The content objective for this final lesson may be: students will be able to identify the similarities and differences between two revolutions. Now, let’s consider a possible language objective. How will students use language to demonstrate they have reached this content objective? One possibility may be: students will use comparative and contrastive language to describe in writing how two revolutions are similar and different.

Example 2: A High School Classroom Studying Revolutions

Content Objective Students will be able to identify the similarities and differences between two revolutions.
Language Objective Students will use comparative and contrastive language to describe in writing how two revolutions are similar and different.

Why Include Language Objectives?

Now that we have a clearer idea of what language objectives are, you may be wondering why are these objectives important to consider in lesson planning? How do they help students? Identifying the language objective(s) in a lesson means that you as the teacher have a clear idea of what language is necessary for students to meet the content objective.

When working with special population students, particularly those who are multilingual learners, it’s crucial to identify the language objective(s) for the lesson. Then, you can plan intentional scaffolding to support these students in meeting the objectives by breaking down the content and language, providing extra practice opportunities, and using appropriate instructional strategies to support student success.

Let’s go back to the high school example. The goal is for all students to reach both the language and content objectives- what can be differentiated is how they reach those objectives. Some students may need no scaffolding; they can independently write an academic essay describing the similarities and differences between two revolutions. However, an emerging level multilingual learner will need additional support in order to reach this objective. For example, perhaps they complete a cloze paragraph to use comparative and contrastive language to describe in writing how two revolutions are similar and different. Maybe, they engage in partner writing with a transitioning level multilingual learner and the pair uses a word bank and exemplary essay to write their own paper. Regardless of the type of scaffold that would support that student, the student is still going to meet the class objectives of the lesson.


In summary, both content objectives and language objectives are a critical component of lesson planning. Objectives drive the intention and expectations of the lesson for both the students and the teacher. Including language objectives in our lesson planning is important because it enables us to intentionally design scaffolding that supports all students in successfully accessing the content, and meeting the lesson’s objectives!


Vibas (2017). [objectives on classroom whiteboard] [photo]. A Walk in the Chalk.

Resources: ners-ells on-english-learners

Remembering Jeannine King

By Melissa Katz, Vice President of Inclusive Education
Jeannine King

Jeannine King

It is with heartbreaking sadness that I share the news of Jeannine King’s passing. Many of you reading this met Jeannine through her work with the Collaborative, but may have already been familiar with her through her special education and leadership roles at Bronx Community Charter School, where she worked for 13 years prior to joining the Collaborative this school year.

I first met Jeannine almost nine years ago when I joined the Charter Center as the founding MLL/ELL Specialist. It was clear to me from our earliest interactions that she was a high-capacity educator who was deeply committed to ensuring students received all the supports they needed and deserved. Over the years, I interacted with her at many Collaborative workshops and conferences, where she not only engaged thoughtfully in her own learning, but also generously shared her own knowledge and experiences with her peers to further their professional development.

When Jeannine joined the Collaborative as an Inclusive Education Specialist this year, the entire team was so excited to be working with her. As part of an onboarding teambuilder, she shared that she really valued teammates who were empathetic, which was a trait that she certainly embodied. I appreciated how she focused on the human element in our work. There can be generalizations when we’re talking about school improvement and scaling initiatives, but Jeannine was always sure to prompt thinking around student perspectives and genuine relationship-building.

Beyond respecting her professionally, I really admired Jeannine as a person. She was a straight shooter and never shied away from naming hard truths (in the final meeting we all had together, she led a reflection on racist practices embedded in crisis intervention trainings), but she also made sure to celebrate accomplishments and made having fun a priority too. As much as she poured herself into her work, Jeannine also took time for herself with her family, whom she clearly loved so much. When discussing weekend plans, she always had something exciting planned with her husband Chris, and her son Naima when he was home from college. The theme for her birthday celebration last month was sparkling (a theme she assured me she strictly enforced), which was fitting since Jeannine herself sparkled with life. She will be so missed.

When Jeannine joined the team, she shared that she hoped to be able to describe her time with us as impactful. As the news reached schools about her sudden passing, many reached out with kind words and stories of just how impactful her work with them was, particularly in strengthening instructional and behavioral supports for students with disabilities. May her memory call us all to continue the work and serve the values to which Jeannine dedicated herself with authenticity, generosity, and constancy.

I’ll end with a quote that Jeannine liked to share at the beginning of her trainings from Dr. Chris Emdin, an educator and advocate she greatly admired: “True teaching is only effective when it triggers something that lasts forever or sparks a desire in the student to discover more beyond the classroom.”

Jeannine’s service will be held on Wednesday, April 12 at 11am at Miles Funeral Home (136 Decatur St., Brooklyn, NY 11216).

Bronx Community Charter School knew Jeannine very well after 13 years, as well as her son Naima, who was a student there; they created a GoFundMe to support him. There is also a separate fund for immediate expenses, including the funeral and reception, that will go to Jeannine’s husband, Chris.

Rituals That Will Enhance Your Self-Care (Part 2)

By Orfelina Cisneros

Earlier this week I shared how you can use affirmations and practicing gratitude as part of your self-care routine . There is no doubt that the past year has been challenging to handle for many of us educators; we feel isolated and lonely and limited on the things we can do. Despite that, it is a new season for a fresh start and new opportunities to move forward and make the best choices we can at this time. Self-care supports all dimensions of wellness, and if we add daily rituals to our daily self-care practices, we will be happier, positive, and purposeful with our lives. Today, I bring you two additional strategies I’ve used to support staff and students during the pandemic:

Journaling has the benefit of collecting our thoughts, and it is an easy way to let go of things you can’t change. There is not any specific way for journaling besides allowing your mind to unpack by writing down your thoughts. This practice is not limited to any particular topic, and you don’t need an agenda besides a few minutes at any time that works for you. One simple way is to start with the questions: What do I want? What do I need? The rest will be up to how much time you can invest in allowing your thoughts to dissolve while writing. Just getting started on journaling? Here’s a great website to help you as you begin:

Kind Notes
Sending a written note is one of the most significant ways to connect with others. Sending others words of encouragement and support is something that no one can have enough of. Sometimes sharing how we feel and caring about others is the best kind thing we can do for ourselves. Many of us have felt isolated during quarantine, and writing kind notes is a simple way to connect and engage with others, as well as build our sense of belonging. A message to appreciate others can be someone you know or a stranger you wish to send loving-kindness. You can find out more about kind notes here:

Have you used journaling or kind notes as self-care within your school community? As you celebrate Educator Appreciation Week, how have you been encouraging self-care? We’d love to learn from your experiences! Leave a note in the comments or find us on Twitter @InclusiveEdNY

About Orfelina
Orfelina Cisneros is a professional school counselor working at the Academy of the City Charter Middle School. She is passionate about helping children and adults use social-emotional tools and strategies to become aware of managing emotions and feelings to support their daily self-care practices. Feel free to reach out at

Meeting the Needs of Your Special Populations

By Jessica Bloom

Wishing you a happy Educator Appreciation Week! Below is a PD on Demand where I’ll walk you through resources I use to support our amazing teachers in differentiating instruction for students with disabilities and multilingual learners. You can download the PD on Demand resources here as you follow along with the 4-minute screencast below:


About Jessica
Jessica Bloom is the Director of Student Supports at MESA Charter High School.

Using Virtual Morning Meeting to Support SEL

By Anna Reeve

It’s Educator Appreciation Week and educators truly deserve appreciation right now. The 2020-2021 school year has turned out to be a school year unlike any other for students across the country. In New York City, we’ve seen schools open, close, open again, not open and stay remote – our school communities are being called to display more flexibility and adaptivity than ever before.

With so much constant change, it’s important that students feel some sense of routine and stability. Conducting a morning meeting – even virtually – every single morning helps to support students emotionally as they start the day. In a virtual context, morning meeting becomes even more important to support students in feeling a sense of significance and belonging and creating a safe space where every student feels included. When done best, morning meeting also sets a fun and positive tone for the day and motivates reluctant students to logon to online learning on time.

Here are a few quick tips to creating a strong virtual morning meeting:

  • Start your morning meeting by playing music – you can survey your students to find out their favorite songs and as they log on and hear a song playing, they have to guess whose favorite song is playing.
  • Have a riddle on the screen when students log on so that they have something fun to think about as they wait for classmates to log on.
  • Create a “virtual carpet” with student photos to simulate the order of a greeting.
  • Use breakout rooms for share questions to simulate turn and talks.
  • Include movement and whole class participation for group activities as they are adapted to a virtual context.
  • Choose an SEL competency to focus on each month and create share questions, group activities, and morning messages around this theme.

Check out this montage of morning meeting clips from Brooklyn Prospect Downtown Elementary School and for ideas of even more virtual group activities, click here.

Remember, the same way our adult morning routines help prepare us physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally prepare for the day, in remote learning, we can support students similarly through strong morning meetings!

Which idea(s) would you like to “steal” for your own practice? How have you been creating community in your classrooms? Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter!

Anna has worked as a special education teacher, coordinator, and dean for over a decade. She provides resources and professional development to schools with a focus on literacy instruction and culturally responsive practices. She is also currently a literacy specialist and coach with Brooklyn Prospect Charter School.

Prioritizing Student Voice

By Erin Rougeux

Happy Educator Appreciation Week! As I reflect on what gets me through the long hours and hard work, I can think of one thing that stands above all others. Our students are the reason we show up, in person or virtually, to work each day, so it is their voices we should listen to first. For years I have worked to establish structures and routines in my classroom to seek feedback from my students, but as we transitioned to learning amidst a pandemic this became both more challenging and even more important.

Teachers make hundreds of decisions a day while attempting to best serve their students’ needs. We are constantly asking ourselves: Did they get it? or Why didn’t they understand this? Rather than guess: ask. This practice will not only give you valuable insight into how your students learn, but also help you to get to know your students, and demonstrate your dedication to improvement alongside them.

Methods to Seek Student Voice

Weekly feedback forms through Google Forms Brief reflections after a task Socio-emotional check-ins

Some things you can do to gather input and incorporate student voice in your classroom:

  • Build in regular structures to ask for student input
  • Vary the questions or prompts based on what you’d like to learn more about (misconceptions, engagement, emotional support, etc.)
  • Explicitly name the importance and value you see in their feedback
  • Listen to, acknowledge, and incorporate the feedback they give

See something you’d like to try? How do you get feedback from your students? Let us know on Twitter @InclusiveEdNY or in the comments!

About Erin
Erin Rougeux (she/her) is an English Language Arts teacher at New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science III.

Rituals That Will Enhance Your Self-Care (Part 1)

By Orfelina Cisneros

Happy Educator Appreciation Week! A quick riddle for you: If you have three, you have three. If you have two, you have two. If you have one, you have none. What am I? The answer is choice! The more aware we are of the choices we have in practicing self-care, the more happy, positive, and purposeful we will be.

This has been a trying time for many of us educators. Technology can be great, but it can also feel like an invader as we spend hours on electronic devices, going through the day with many demands and seemingly very little time for anything but work. On the flip side, one of the things the pandemic has provided us is the opportunity to learn work-life balance, to take care of ourselves. Self-care is for everyone – educators, parents/caregivers, and students. The good news is that by doing small rituals every day and empowering our students to engage in learning practices to refocus and recharge, we can significantly impact our lives for the better.

There is no right way to practice self-care. You can choose what feels right for you. Below are two strategies I’ve implemented with adults and students alike to build in self-care moments throughout the day:

When was the last time you said something nice to yourself? Thinking and saying nice things the same way we speak to others should be part of our daily thing. Affirming ourselves with words and simple phrases like “I am capable of doing great things” is a practice that can challenge and overcome self-doubting and negative thoughts. Writing an affirmation every day, and placing it in a visible space (your computer, your mirror, your planner), will give you a boost to yourself. You can find daily affirmations here:

The practice of focusing on what is good in our lives and being thankful for the small things we have is called gratitude. It is pausing to notice and appreciate what we often take for granted, like having warm water coming out of your kitchen faucet, the ability to feel your hands, and the opportunity to see the sky. Gratitude allows us to think and reflect, and this helps to reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and healthily distract our brains. Building a habit of gratitude is as simple as paying attention to things you noticed and can freely enjoy. Pause for a moment to listen to yourself breathing or how it feels to massage your feet. I have found this extensive list helpful in naming different things for which I’m grateful:

Have you used the affirmations and practicing gratitude strategies successfully with your staff and students? Do you have any helpful resources to share? Leave a note in the comments or on our Twitter (@InclusiveEdNY ) and tune in later this week for Rituals That Will Enhance Your Self-Care (Part 2).

About Orfelina
Orfelina Cisneros is a professional school counselor working at the Academy of the City Charter Middle School.  She is passionate about helping children and adults use social-emotional tools and strategies to become aware of managing emotions and feelings to support their daily self-care practices. Feel free to reach out at

NEW PODCAST! An Education Expert’s View on Supporting Students with Incarcerated Loved Ones

Hear from experienced teacher-leader, Vivett Dukes, in this week’s podcast as she shares important insights into creating supportive environments for students with incarcerated loved ones. Vivett, who is also the Founder of, was one of the Collaborative’s webinar speakers this past Spring, where she elaborated on this very topic and discussed ways that educators can address bias, create a care culture, and facilitate difficult conversations in a safe space.

Learn more about Vivett and her work here.