Jul 16, 2017

Innovation is Essential for ESL Students

I often think about how important it is for all of my students to have access to technology, skills that develop innovation and creative thinking, and real life problem solving skills. In the article I read this week it talked about using a program called Launch to have a specials class in the six day cycle. When I think about my L2 students I think about how real world problem solving, and more student centered learning would really enhance their language and their confidence as English speakers in the classroom.


The best part about a STEM class like this is that it ties in all of the other content areas. Now students have the ability to problem solve and question in a way that is meaningful. Despite if the classroom teacher is comfortable, every student it getting it every six days. There are some who say that doing it in isolation is not the way to go, but I think it is a great start. Plus, as classroom teachers our spaces and materials can be limited. What if this was an extra way to go above and beyond the curriculum to enrich the students’ experiences in the school. I am wondering if this will make its way to our school! It sounds really neat!


Jul 2, 2017

Coding speaks in all al

I was extremely excited this week as I began reading. I found a quick article and video about using coding and robotics with L2 students in the classroom. Coding has been a passion of mine for a few years and one thing that I have noticed is that girls and minorities are grossly underrepresented in the technology field. As a female and an inclusion teacher for L2 students I knew that I wanted to make sure that all students in my classroom had the opportunity to code and learn about technology. In my small town our migrant population does not always have access to devices and internet. There was a clear digital divide happening in my classroom and I wanted to address it. During small groups I would pull my students who had less experience with technology and the language and give them extra supports. I often taught them little tricky to boost their confidence.


As the weeks rolled on I noticed I was hearing them speak more, take control of the robots, and working with their peers. It was a hands on activity and the coding language spoke to all of them. As a class we really built a great team unit and I feel that it brought us closer together. The robots could be programmed to speak and sometimes they would speak in English and sometimes they would program them to speak in Spanish. It was amazing and heartwarming to see them come together and celebrate their diversity.




Jun 23, 2017

Why


Technology has become a hot topic in the classroom and a very big focus in education. During my coursework for Instructional Technology I have really begun to think about how there is a lot of talk about the What and How of technology, but very few are talking about the Why. Simon Sinek has a video about starting with you why. I am wondering if teachers and schools took more time to think about why maybe we would be better off.



Teachers of ESL students need to think about why our students would benefit from technology. Our students need opportunities to explore the language in meaningful experiences. They need to have opportunities to be engaged in the language with vocabulary supports and opportunities for connectivity. When learners are learning and exploring naturally with tools that they can manipulate they will be more inclined to take risks. Technology is a tool for learning not a destination. Now that we have our why let’s think about how we might do this and what we might need… thoughts?

Jun 17, 2017

PD for TESOL

As I was reading this week I stumbled across two different articles that spoke to me. The first was about the need of Professional Development for teachers especially in the areas of TESOL. The second was about how our English Learners need more support in schools.

I sat after reading them and wondered if perhaps the two are not related. We are not doing enough for our students learning English and we do not currently receive enough PD on topics of teaching English as a second language.

With limited funding and lack of time, how can we implement different ways to grow as teachers so that we are meeting the needs of all of our students?

Two years ago I attended a technology conference in Hershey, PA called PETE&C. While there I was at an “Unconference” learning session. When you arrived you could sit anywhere and have conversations about any topic you chose. While there I began talking about professional development and how it is a passion of mine. Another teacher shared with me that teachers in her building were taking time during the school day to discuss topics of their choice with anyone who was interested. It sounded amazing but how does it work?



Teachers would log onto their school Lino board and use color coded sticky notes to share topics they wanted to learn about or topics they felt comfortable sharing about. Once a green and pink sticky note were posted teachers would post on a blue sticky note that they were interested in attending. Depending on the size of the group they would decide their location. After reading the articles about quality PD and finding ways to make our teaching better I thought that this is something that we all could be doing. It is free and often times teachers around you are doing things you do not even realize. Using each other as a resource is the best way to build school culture.

I am excited to potentially continue the Lino board next year. I am thinking about my green sticky note already…