Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When Administrators Don't Understand Needs of ELLs...

When Administrators Don't Understand Needs of ELLs...

RtI and ELL's

I know it has been a while since I posted anything but that does not mean that I have not been working. As a matter of fact, I have been WORKING! My heart is to learn as much as I can about my craft - teaching. As a matter of fact, I recently attended a workshop led by Jo Gusman called RTI Techniques to enhance the performance of ELL's. Response to Intervention or RtI is not a new term by any stretch of the imagination. RtI for anyone is quite the topic in my building and across my county(to be honest we are little late). RtI for ELL's adds a new dimension to this already confusing mix. How are we going implement another new thing? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Myths and Misconsceptions

I couldn't believe Number 13, myself...But our colleagues teach from these beliefs every day and wonder, "How come they don't get it?"


1. A person who is not proficient can be a language teacher (Or, "I have a degree in this; of course I'm qualified").

2. Learning about language is enough (Or, "I don't have to speak the TL in the classroom").

3. Grammatical terms are actually helpful in language acquisition (or, "How will they know what it is if I don't call it subjunctive by reason of indefinite antecedent?????")

4. Only the very young or students who have high aptitude are going to succeed anyway (otherwise known as the 'time whine').

5. The textbook and accessories are all I need (or, "my district spent $20,000 on this stuff, I have make it worth their while").

6. Students can learn vocabulary in isolation and in lists of 150 words per chapter (or, "why don't they know what bosque means and that it's masculine? we just studied this!").

7. Media produced for language learners counts as authentic materials

8. Low-level learners can't understand authentic materials.

9. Students have to understand everything they hear.

10. A multiple-choice question counts as a valid assessment of proficiency (or, "I can tell how well students communicate without actually asking them to communicate).

11. Translation helps language acquisition and counts as a valid assessment of communicative ability (or, "I knew she was trying to say 'my nose is running'- good job!").

12. Finding/creating materials takes too much time (or, "I have to do all this on my own").

13. Assessment is an end-of-unit activity.


Yeah, It's my fault...

As a teacher, it is very easy to blame someone or something else for lack of success on the student's part. I have done it and if you are honest with yourself, you have done it, too. When it comes to English Language Proficiency, though, who is to blame? I checked out a blog recommended on Twitter by a fellow tweeter. Check this title out: "They can't speak, and it's OUR fault". OUCH! I accept full responsibility for my part. What about you? What are you doing to help them LEARN the language?
Before you answer, check out the next post...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pics and Images

I have been in education long enough to remember that every teacher had to build their own picture file, which consisted of magazine pics, comic strips, and newspaper photographs. Oh yeah, old calendar pics, as well. As an ESOL teacher, I know how images bring concepts to life and they are a part of my daily instruction. But we have to be careful about using licensed images (Google: creative commons) Larry Ferlazzo on his blog has shared a list of great image sites that are OK to use, just click on the link above. By the way, mainstream teachers should check this out, as well.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How do you say...????

From Scholastic Administrator e-Zine:

Even bi- and trilingual teachers often are confronted with a young student who speaks only Kurdish or Urdu. Produced by the EMAS UK cooperative, Talking Tutor can help with instant translations between English and everything from Afghani to Zulu. It works with more than 150 languages, old and new, and has a command of eight different Chinese dialects. Just type what you want to say to the student in English and the text will show up below and the animated avatar will speak it with a reasonable accent.

On top of helping to directly interact with an ESL student, Talking Translator can effectively replace an expensive classroom translator. It can help teachers create worksheets or tests in a variety of languages and write progress reports or letters home for parents to read. It’s currently available in England, but it would cost about $1,000 for a high school with 200 students to use the software. The group is looking for partner schools, districts and organizations to try the software out.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Homework and ELL's

The parent liaison and I were speaking on the topic of homework for the gazillionth time. We both agree the homework is too difficult (and not very meaningful)for students and parents in our population to complete. Therefore, our students will often suffer the repercussions rather than struggle through the homework. So I thought and thought, and yes I may be a bit late...TA DAH - DIFFERENTIATED HOMEWORK!!! So I am doing my research as we speak and the blog below was an excellent place to start, with choice boards at every level, even a VOCABULARY HOMEWORK Choice Board...I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Has this worked for you? Does this seem like a good idea? How would this look at different grades? In different subject areas?

Learning the Language