Sydney Snyder

Dr. Sydney Snyder has over fifteen years experience working with English learners and their families in the U.S. and abroad.  She began her teaching career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea, West Africa and since then has worked with both elementary and high school students in US public schools. Most recently she served as the K-12 ESOL Curriculum and Instruction Resource Teacher for the City of Falls Church, VA school district. She also has extensive experience working with adults. From 2000-2003 she worked as an English Language Fellow at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarata, Indonesia. While there she taught English at the university, worked with English department faculty on curriculum development, and gave teacher-training workshops.

She earned her Ph.D. in Multilingual/Multicultural Education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Her secondary focus is Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Her research and interests include improving instruction of and support for culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families and working in support of social justice education.

Books by This Author

Unlocking English Learners' Potential: Strategies for Making Content Accessible

Content teachers and ESOL teachers, take special note: if you’re looking for a single resource to help your English learners meet the same challenging content standards as their English-proficient peers, your search is complete. Just dip into this toolbox of strategies, examples, templates, and activities from EL authorities Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder, which includes tips on:

Blog Entries

We’d like to start off the new year by sharing an example for developing text dependent questions for ELLs in the middle grades. We have selected a 6th-8th grade exemplar text in the category of Informational Texts: Science, Mathematics and Technology titled “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag” by Henry Petroski.

In our last post, we shared information about the new Teaching Channel ELL video series based on Academic Conversations (2011) by Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford. This week we’d like to delve deeper into these resources and provide strategies for building the oral language skills of ELLs across content areas that are framed around four practices.

In the first two posts in our series about using Socratic Circles (or Socratic Seminars) with English language learners (ELLs), we provided an overview of the activity and offered some ideas for how to do a close read of Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Now that you’ve prepared your ELLs, it’s time to implement the Socratic circle.

In part one of this three-part series, Diane shares some strategies for fostering English language learners’ (ELLs) oral language as part of Common Core-based instruction. Her focus is be on practical strategies for including ELLs in Socratic circles (also known as Socratic seminars).

When asked to review these curricular units, I realized I needed a rubric to help me take an objective look at them and be able to share the results with the curriculum writers.Dr. Sydney Snyder and I developed the rubric below and found that it’s been helpful in framing our own thinking.