Showing posts with label Teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teaching. Show all posts

Teacher's Fear of Technology and It's Effects on ELLs

We entered the 21st century 17 years ago, you would think with all the Smartphones and digital media we use that teachers would be comfortable using technology with their students, but many are still on the fence.  Perhaps it's that many teachers and administrators still see technology as an extra task to do and have not realized that if you integrate technology into your content it will actually make your job easier. It will engage students in the content you are trying to teach.  As a matter of fact, if you integrate technology well your students will be enjoying themselves so much they won't realize they are working.  However, the most important reason is it will give students necessary skills for their future.

Some people say, that kids are already getting so much technology at home they don't need to get more at school. That may be true for some students and I do disagree that integrating technology in the classroom has adverse effects if it is not done well.  If you use it as a babysitter well it won't improve students' learning. Some parents even protest when schools want to use technology at school since they are already spending so much time on devices outside of school.

What about the ELL students that don't have access to technology at home? How will they keep up with their peers?  ELLs are already dealing with a language gap, now they are facing another challenge a Digital Divide.

So I understand that you might not be a digital native, but your fear of technology is keeping students from the skills they will need when they go to college or join the workforce.  When our current students graduate they won't have a choice, like many teachers today have of refusing to learn to use technology, students in the future will not get a job if they can't use it. 
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GoNoodle Plus

If you are interested in doing more with GoNoodle now you can do it for free thanks to El Camino Hospital who is paying subscriptions for all Silicon Valley teachers. Just sign-up at GoNoodlePlus. Once you register you will see the message:
GoNoodle Plus includes all the features of GoNoodle, with unlimited access to activities like: Mega Math Marathon, Bodyspell, and more.
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Quizlet is a powerful tool to help students learn content vocabulary. The best thing is that you don't have to create the lists yourself. There are thousands of lists created by teachers and students alike. You can copy one you like and modify for your needs. Shorter lists work best to take advantage of the great games students can play to practice the vocabulary. The range of lists includes math, ELA, Science and academic vocabulary.
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Increase Your English Students Reading Confidence

Increase their reading confidence as well as their English skills.

There is no greater motivator than success.

As part of my reading project I am exploring the use of leveled readers in the acquirement of English.  I have been using them since the start of this academic year.  At first I was unsure how it was going to be received by my students, especially my adult classes. But I spoke to them about the research that I've been doing and how it says that reading can increase their vocabulary and their comprehension.  They reluctantly got on board, but now they are totally enjoying it.  One of the main comments is "I feel great to that I can understand."

As a primary teacher in California I saw every year the progress my students made when they were reading books at their level.  Progressively we increased their level as they got more comfortable with each level and by the end of the year even the students that had come in below grade level had reached grade level or were close to it.

This inspired me to try this in my English language classes. I am very proud to say that my students are doing very well.  One of the important things in this project is to have them choose their own books.  I taught them how to choose the right level for them. They read a page from a book and keep track of how many words they found difficult.  If in the first page they find more than five words that they don't understand and could not decipher the meaning from the context then that book is to hard for them.

As part of the project I have them read in class for 5 minutes, just enough to get them into their book. Then for about 10 minutes in a group of 4 they discuss what they have read in their books so far.  This has a two-fold purpose: one they lead busy lives and sometimes they don't get enough time outside of class to read, but if I allow them to read in class and then discuss it with their peers, they get motivated to make the time to continue reading outside of class.  The other purpose it to get them speaking about something that they are enjoying. An added bonus is that it helps them increase the comprehension of their book.

Once they have completed the book I give them a writing assignment.  I try to have them do creative reports, such as writing a poem about their book or a letter to one of the main characters.  They like it because it is not the typical a summary of the book.  They also have to do a presentation of their book to their peers.  In a homogeneous group of 4, no more than 5 students, they get a chance to share their book.  I come up with different questions for them to answer each time, to keep them engaged.  I go around listening to their presentations and helping them out if they need it.

So far it has been very gratifying to see them respectfully listening to each other, asking to read the book next and sharing details about their book.  I haven't had to ask anyone to move up a level, they have been monitoring their progress and moving up as they feel more comfortable. Some have moved up two levels since we started.
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Stephen Krashen on Acquiring Language

I discovered Stephen Krashen with his book "The Power of Reading".  I found his theories for reading so interesting that I began to research what he had to say about language acquisition.  He is one of the most influential Second Language Acquisition theorist of the past few decades. If you're interested in Second Language Acquisition theory and how it translates into practice watch this video series:

"If we give people messages that are interesting and comprehensible, grammar will take care of itself."

"If we give people messages that are interesting and comprehensible, grammar will take care of itself."

Check out this website:
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How to Get Your English Teaching Organized

At a Teacher Conference toward my third year teacher a colleague showed me the book that would have saved me so much headache had I had it on my first year.  "The Organized Teacher."  A lifesaver even for experienced teacher's.  The authors have taken so much guess work out of organizing your first year and provide so many templates and visuals.

The visual format of this guide is specially helpful for the busy teacher who has many other things to work on other than reading very heavy text instructions. It has many charts, templates, checklists and reproducibles. 

It has information on First-Day checklists, sample room setups, classroom management, including many class signals, classroom organization, planning fieldtrips and more.  

Now there is a book by the same authors specifically for first year teachers, who unfortunately will find the principal's hardly ever have enough time to do a thorough training and other teachers, although willing might not remember how much you don't know on the first year.  Actually I think this book would be an excellent teacher graduation present, so if you have just graduated or have a friend who has this would be an welcomed gift.

These books are not the type you get excited about at the bookstore and then when you buy them find you don't have the time to read them.  They sat on my bookshelf and were I always referred back to them.

The series also has a book on Classroom Management and one called "The Creative Teacher" which are all done in the same format with lots of graphics, checklists and super simple step by step directions.
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Best of Youtube for ELL classes

My adult students had been asking me for more resources to practice their listening skills.  I found some but they were for more advanced students.  So in my research I found that many Youtube videos of American TV series have the option for subtitles, others have the text available and yet others are available with Closed Caption.  You have to be careful with the Closed Caption because sometimes the translation is way off, but a lot of them are pretty accurate, you just have to see the episode before you use it.

Teach your students to do a search for their favorite American series on Youtube like "Big Bang Theory with subtitles in English" the search will list some with the following: CC for Closed Captions, but others will have subtitles and not have the CC icon.  The other option some of these videos have is Interactive Transcript which has all the story text in a small window.

I use choose some videos to show with my class that have the different options so that they can see what is available.  I then can assign them as homework.  The day I assign them a video as homework I front-load the vocabulary by giving them a list of words and definitions that they might not understand in the video.  If there are any idioms or phrases I think they might have trouble with I include those also and I have a small quiz the next time we meet.  In this way they are able to enjoy an English video with less frustration and more success and some students start watching these on their own.

For those videos that have the Interactive Transcript, I provide my students with the transcript and ask to look for phrases, idioms or grammar we have been working in class.  These are some of the ways I use Youtube subtitled videos I would love to hear if you have any other ideas.
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