In September 2019 - I shared a blog post on how I structure my ESL lessons for HS newcomer ELs. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so! Click here for the blog post.
The Scholastic Action magazine, which is one of the resources I use during guided reading, always includes compelling topics my students find very interesting. The November issue includes an article very close to my heart - "an immigrant story"!
Running from Danger, Looking for Hope - is the story of Freddy, an immigrant young man from Honduras. I was so excited about planning this lesson and looking forward to sharing it with my students.
To increase the understanding of the immigration topic, I assigned students' group projects on the same topic but using picture books as a resource for the information.
The picture books we used were:
From October 15th - October 26th, I had the honor and pleasure to lead a Twitter book study through #ELLchat_bkclub. If you participated - Thank you! - If you did not, I recommend you take some time and review our conversations on very important topics that are highlighted in Latina Teachers by Dr. Glenda Flores. Some of the topic we discussed are:
LIVE Book Chat
Over a year ago, Lisa Estrada, author and Supervisor of the English as a New Language (ENL) and World Languages department in Hicksville Public Schools in New York, invited me to visit her schools. The dates she considered never coordinated with the dates I had available. Until...we finally agreed on October 7th, 2019.
The ENL department had organized a Hispanic Heritage celebration with several events throughout Hispanic Heritage Month and at different schools throughout the county. Lisa's idea was to bring in a guest speaker who would inspire Latino students to embrace and appreciate their heritage as well as be encouraged to be successful in school.
I don't think I can explain the excitement and the honor I felt when I received Lisa's invitation to be the guest speaker they needed for this event. I have done several keynotes and presentations all through the country, but a keynote presentation for students was going to be my first ever!! Without a doubt, I accepted the invitation and started planning my visit to Hicksville Public School.
This school year, my English for Beginners class is quite different than last year's class. This year I have a lot more newcomers <1 year in the USA than I did last school year.
Just in case you didn't know, this is only my second year teaching HS ESL and I'm loving it!
One of the challenges I am facing this school year is having so many different levels of English proficiency in one class. This is a challenge when planning one whole group lessons and not all your students are at the same level on the proficiency continuum.
My biggest group is in the entering stages of the continuum (Level 1), a couple in the beginning stages (Level 2), and another group of 5 students are in the developing stages (Level 3).
Of course providing whole group instruction would not provide all with the needed support to grow linguistically. I've tried a couple of lessons but I still had to end up diving students in the corresponding groups to work with students at their level.
So what I started doing is working in small groups! I started assigning them readings and projects as groups and they work with peers completing the assignment if they are not in a group with me. These assignments could be assigned by language domain or a project of choice.
I created this Wakelet with resources they can use to help them practice each language domain.
Newcomer ELs and students with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE) need a respectful and safe environment to function at their full potential. This session will provide culturally responsive pedagogy strategies to cultivate the environment diverse students need. Participants will discover that cultivating such environments needs to start from within. As a ripple effect, a commitment to culturally responsive pedagogy will transform our instruction, school culture, families, community engagement and (ultimately) our students.
I am so excited about sharing this upcoming book study. If you don't know about the #ELLchat_BkClub Twitter community, I'd recommend you check it out and join us. There's a wonderful group of passionate English learners' educators who join round-after-round learning through wonderful books published specifically to support ELs. To learn more about how these studies work, check Katie Toppel's blog - PD in Your PJs.
A couple of months ago I came across the book Latina Teachers by Dr. Glenda M. Flores. The book is a research on the impact of the growing number of Latinas who are going into education. I was so excited about it that I twitted it to see if anyone in the professional network had heard about it. I was impressed by the response and interest, (especially Latinas,) that we decided to add it to the #ELLchat_bkclub rounds.
"Before planning any academic content, it is important to get to know our students and try to put ourselves in their shoes." - Sarah Ottow
August 26th, 2019 was the first day of school for students in my county. What an exciting day to finally meet all our new freshman students and to see returning students. I was more so thrilled to finally meet our 2019-2020 newcomer students who enrolled in the USA school system for the very first time.
I am not sure how a high school schedule is set up in other counties/states, but at our school, we offer only one period class strictly for English as a Second Language (ESL) services. The rest of our period classes are inclusion classes where our ESL services are provided at the same time core instruction is provided. This means that for one period students come to my classroom and for the other three periods you'll find me in different classrooms throughout the building supporting English learners. The only class period we offer in our ESL classroom is the English for Beginners course.
This course is designed with newcomer English learners in mind. In this class period, newcomers receive the foundations of the English language as well as any cultural views and lessons students may need to begin a successful and strong year in the United States.
To get an idea of what my day looks like, check out my daily schedule here!
On August 15, I was supposed to attend and present at the Annual Global Education Summit in which by the way was in Concord, NC for the first time. This summit is organized by UNC World View department at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Unfortunately, and disappointingly, I missed it!! I had to go to TX to drop my son off and the day of my return to NC, my flights were canceled due to bad weather. What a bummer!!
Anyway, I already had my presentation ready so I thought I would post it here for those who might be interested in using picture books to encourage and nurture a global mindset on students in K-12 education. Picture books are powerful pathways to learn, understand and embrace the world around us.
My presentation description was as follows:
Picture books are powerful pathways to learn, understand, and embrace the world around us. Characters’ experiences found in picture books can serve as mirrors that reflect and reaffirm students’ culture and experiences. Picture books serve as windows to an unknown world that nurtures empathy and passion for a global mindset. Incorporate picture books in lessons to support reading, writing, listening and academic discourse.