SoDak it Hurts

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 13 2010

What Language Am I Speaking?

What language am I speaking?

I often wonder this, especially on the hard days when I feel like I haven’t said one word in English.

At Institute this past summer my School Director had a philosophy about ‘Sticky Handles’ – a method to keep students connected to what you are saying. It involved exploring the best way to communicate new information and how to reveal the best route to lead them from something known to something new – leading them from sticky handle to sticky handle, so that if there was a breakdown of understanding, there was always the last sticky handle or checkpoint to go back to.

Before teaching it is essential familiarize myself with, not just the vocabulary I plan to use with my students, but every step of how I explain and relate it to their prior knowledge – and not stray from it.

The worst possible mistake would be to lead them a direction that provided unnecessary difficulty because of a lack of preparation on my part – my goal is to pull them to language, not repel them.

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    About this Blog

    I taught 10th Grade English on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota between 2009 and 2011. Currently blogging at

    South Dakota
    High School

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