Ali Nava

Elementary Teacher | Albuquerque, NM

Ali Nava is an elementary teacher at Lew Wallace Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico and a member of the first-grade cadre in our Common Core in Albuquerque project.

Ali is also featured in our classroom video modules, where you can see her teaching the Burro's Tortillas lesson plans.

Hear about Ali's experiences preparing and teaching these lessons in her video interview and her journal entries.


Journal Entries

Scripting the lessons

Scripting the lessons for that actual read-aloud of the book was an intense process that made me examine my own teaching. I know I will never pick up a piece of literature without taking the information discussed throughout this process and implementing that with all of my students. I have learned an immense amount of knowledge on what not only works for ELL students, but for ALL students! This will assist me in the delivery of all curricular materials.

After meeting with Dr. August, I now have a better understanding of my role within this cadre. My initial concerns were that as teachers we were having to script out every minor aspect of a lesson. My fear was that this would be insulting to teachers. I felt that a portion of our lesson should be left up to the creativity of the teacher, and that we were providing teachers with a solid frame of what the lesson should be.

I learned from Diane that the reason for all of the scripting is that we were developing a "model" lesson. The directions throughout the sequence needed to be in explicit detail so that teachers could have an ideal example of what a great lesson for students would look like.

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work with Diane. Though there were many times throughout our meeting that became heated and often times frustrating, everyone brought valid arguments to the table. This is what learning is. I am glad that our state has moved toward the direction of national standards. I believe that the CCSS will provide ELLs with numerous educational opportunities in more in-depth, and project-based learning. That is what ALL kids deserve. Being an English Language Learner is not a deficit!! It is an asset!

District training

I still feel confident about the work we have accomplished so far. Today I attended a district wide training on the CCSS. Some positive aspects of the training were that we were given an opportunity to unwrap one particular standard and also see the variations/changes/progression of each standard vertically. As a first-grade teacher, I was provided with a snapshot of the progression of each standard through kinder, first, and second grade. I no longer feel that I am solely responsible for first grade standards, but rather for having knowledge of many levels so that we as a school can dramatically progress in teaching our students.

I feel thankful that teachers across the country will now be able to incorporate their individual creativity within their lessons, but I also feel that that is what makes teaching an art more than a science. Teachers should not feel stifled in their ability to provide their students with meaningful learning that goes beyond any curriculum, even outside of the classroom. This is what great teachers do. They get to know their students, and form strong relationships tailored to each students needs. They cover all the standards leaving no gaps and then soar above them.

Higher expectations

I feel that the CCSS does provide higher standards for minority students and will give them more exposure to more in-depth learning. New Mexico is the only state where it is written in our constitution that we must meet the educational needs of ELL students. If we can take the time to look at what other areas of the country are doing, that will only enrich our practice. Conversely, what New Mexico has learned and is continuing to learn about ELL students can help other states. If we do this, our learning community will be hugely enlarged.