Speaking up …

While not directly related to ESL, this post eloquently states what so many educators are thinking and feeling. It’s amazing to me that Oregon can be connected to Virginia in this way and certainly many in between! Read, cry, share and even comment.

Elona Schreiner

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In love with …

…the idea of creating and using Infographics in the classroom and TOTALLY for ESL. I am sure you have seen one and it has been appealing to your brain, your amount of time devoted to understanding it, and your ability to quickly tell what it is all about.  Say goodbye to the PowerPoint slides and droning on and on!! Work up an infographic, or have a student do the first one to just see what the response is.

Click on the infographic for a closer look!

Click on the infographic for a closer look!

For me, it’s like an awakening!! An ah-ha moment at a time when I completely needed it. This Wednesday has meant working with a challenging student on the same behaviors and little language learning and then a different student downing a Mountain Dew for snack time (in SECOND grade).

Enjoy and just think — students are NOT where they were a month ago and in about a month we have a little break!

Here’s where the Infographic idea got started from Infographics for ELT:

And referenced at the end, a MUST watch! TED Talks: The Beauty of Data Visualization

Silence doesn’t always equate to OK!

I have found that not all mainstream teachers really understand ESL students and that there is always more to what I do. I don’t just talk to them in Spanish or Chinese (I wish). We work on 4 domains  – listening, reading, writing, and speaking, along with a relationship. ESL students are often more apt to tell me what their concerns are before their classroom teacher. This quick read below is a MUST read for any teacher working with ESL students!

What Quiet ESL students ARE NOT telling you!!

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Overall, this is kind of how I’m feeling — in all directions!! I LOVE my job and what I do. Sometimes the hardest thing with change is getting to know new ADULTS!! For the most part, everyone in my new district is welcoming and quite flexible… mostly. There are a few that stress me and cause me to wish for a suit of armor. I know it is only October 1st and things will continue to grow and the kids will only shine brighter. It’s sometimes the pushing forward and pulling my own self up that can be hard!!

How many ESL teachers (or any itinerant teacher, SpEd) can relate to this cute image??!!

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Word Walls aren’t just for ELEMENtary!

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Photo Credit: Photobucket: jmotzer_photo

Algebra Functions revisited in my 30s…who knew!!?? In helping a foreign exchange student with her class, I find myself using strategies just like I did in my own elementary classroom. “Tina” &  I have a 3 page study guide of sorts we are looking over and I began to wonder if I started to see only in black & white!  I am reliving tree diagrams & dreaming of 2nd grade probability!!

All that being said – I love this post about word walls in math!! Tina will soon have a portable one for her binder and we WILL be drawing pictures. 😀 Word walls are phenomenal, though for ESL students, much more powerful with something to connect to – an image or example is a must! I am slightly partial since I teach in Virginia, but our DOE has a great starting point for a word wall! Reduce the print size as needed!

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/mathematics/resources/vocab_cards/

¡Que Bueno! How great!

imageEver have trouble finding what you want online? Maybe it’s just me… I wanted something that explained very succinctly the roles of the classroom teacher and ESL teacher. I finally found something to my liking thanks to a Bedford County document. And being the small world that it is, I have roots near Bedford!

4 Ways Teacher Aides Can Support ELLs in the Classroom

A great comprehensive list! Even for the gen ed teacher to know more specifically what to expect when asking for help.

ELLs in Education

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While English language instruction must be provided by a certified ESL instructor,  some schools do at times make the decision to include classroom aides in ESL, Bilingual or General Education classrooms.  While typically grateful for the assistance, teachers often struggle with ways to best utilize classroom aides to enhance teaching and learning.  Below are four steps that can easily be incorporated into a teacher’s lesson plans and/or daily teaching routine to strengthen learning for ELLs by introducing a classroom aide into the setting.

1. AdditionalImages: A teacher who follows best practices knows that visual aids are a great tool to help make English more comprehensible for English Language Learners but in a classroom with mixed tiers or a classroom with both ELLs and non-ELLs, it can be time consuming to incorporate the amount of additional images that may be necessary for students at the lowest proficiency levels to strengthen…

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Challenge the legislators

Facebook can be spammy and full of framing games and Candy Crush Saga. But then there’s the cute family pictures and fun quizzes. I often stay connected to family far away and even friends who have gone abroad. Today I saw this petition. image

Wow! How cool would it be for a legislator to take a week and become a teacher? Now, I’m partial having an elementary background, but I say start there and teach all subjects with 22+ students (no aide). To make it even more eye-opening, let’s make sure it is an at-risk school. When I signed, the petition needed 65 more signatures. That’s amazing, but the real test will be if anyone in DC actually follows through.

I am proud to pass on this challenge on behalf of all educators and highly suggest every legislator that receive it actually take it seriously!

Acceptance

imageWith the way things are in our world lately, this could be a much larger topic: acceptance. I’ll steer away from “love one another” and just focus on acceptance within schools. I am sure that many teachers are accepting and not one teacher would jump to the conclusion that any colleague isn’t.  Sometimes it’s the things we may not think of that could elude true acceptance. For instance, from Melissa Eddington’s blog, a breakout session at the Ohio Innovative Learning Environments Conference focused on acceptance and non-traditional families. I was thrilled to see that a speaker, Shawn Mickens, touched on adjusting assignment timelines; One size doesn’t fit all, even in the classroom! Teachers should be advocates in learning and knowing more themselves. And, hallelujah, even delving into books for diversity!  We have gotten caught up in teaching to the norm. Some schools are anti-holiday because Eid Al-Fitr, Hanukkah, or Christmas references may offend someone. Doesn’t it show acceptance if you focus on diversity and show that acceptance by highlighting multiple cultures & diverse families?

Now I understand what you may be thinking; there are these standard thingys!! I have no time!  Yea, maybe, but consider your book choices and even book recommendations. Look around your room and see if there’s diversity in your decor. If it’s reflected in your students, start there! What a better floor for acceptance and understanding than having students feel welcome to share about their own lives.

This may break into your uncomfortable zone, but here are some books I like that highlight non-traditional situations & families:

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It takes a village…

v34-online-op-languages-copyright-istockTwo-Generation approach In a recent article from Education Week, the case for dual involvement of learning English within a family is presented.  The Center for American Progress finds that schools should also offer services to parents of students receiving ESL services. Personally, I think that’s a huge DUH!, but I know there are many that view education involvement of this level differently. It shouldn’t be assumed that families from different cultures understand education, especially in a new country.  Nor should it be assumed that these parents have their own education to learn from. It truly takes all stakeholders to be successful and the need is growing.