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.
During the summer of 2018, I received an email from SIOP® senior project manager at Pearson, Allyson Newton, with an invitation of a lifetime. The email was an invitation to serve as a featured keynote speaker at the 2019 SIOP® National Conference in Portland, OR.
Wow! I wish you would've seen my excitement. No words can explain how humbled and honored I felt to be considered. Not only was I going to personally meet THE SIOP® author, (incredible women I admire for their work and passion,) but I was also going to share a national stage with them. An opportunity I couldn't miss!
I am super excited to share that I have the greatest privilege and honor to be a contributing author in a new released book titled Community College Teacher Preparation for Diverse Geographies: Implications for Access and Equity for Preparing a Diverse Teacher Workforce.
"This book explores many topics related to the community college role in K-12 teacher education, including the community college mission, the policy landscape, partnerships, the transfer function, the community college baccalaureate, and others. Throughout the volume, the authors explore implications of access, equity, and geography and conclude with recommendations to guide future research and practice." ~ IAP
Our chapter: How an Unaccompanied Minor Became Teacher of the Year: The Unrealized Potential of the Community College - Dr. Spencer Salas, Bradley Smith, Bobbi Siefert, and Astrid Emily Francis.
To read more about it and/or to order a copy check out this link. The book will soon be available in all major online retailers and will also be available as an eBook.
Authentic, Meaningful Lessons for Newcomers
As educators, it is our responsibility to create and maintain an environment where our newcomers feel welcomed, valued, accepted, and respected. We can do this by drafting and delivering authentic and meaningful experiences where newcomers are not just learning a new language but acquiring life-changing experiences.
Participants engaged in a range of activities to see how easy it is to create authentic and meaningful lessons and experiences for newcomers to not only acquire the English language but also grow personally. We explored topics such as "Discover Own Identities", "Own Name", Our Story", "Embracing Language", and other topics.
Resources used to draft our lessons will vary based on picture books, compelling texts, and Scholastic Action magazines.