It has been a busy start to the school year in my new role as a Resource and ELL teacher back in Canada. I am enjoying my new role and learning a lot every day!
I wanted to share a really great site with you called ADDitudemag.com This site is for parents, educators and people with ADHD. It has great articles that are short and to the point. They have done a wonderful job of proving interesting topics, supportive and informative. I have found the site especially useful for supporting my students with a combination of ADHD and a Learning Difference.
As well it has been a great resource to share with parents!
Ms. Lang saw Clark out of his desk again and said, “Clark, you must sit in your seat and do your work.” Five minutes later, “Clark, in your seat. How much work have you done?”
|Including ELLs In Mainstream Teaching: English Language Arts 9 Activity Package|
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*To view the British Columbia Ministry of Education’s English Language Learning: Policy, Guidelines and Resources click here.
English Language Learners (ELLs) come from diverse backgrounds, countries, cultures, and experiences. For example ELLs can be Canadian born students who have come from a non-English home, immigrants, refugees or those learning a new dialect of English (British Columbia, 2009). Approaching ELL instruction with curiosity and openness to learn about the diversity in the classroom sets assumptions to the side and fosters an inquisitive and open learning environment that creates a sense of openness apposed to predetermined beliefs.
Aim to Understand
Similar to forgetting assumptions, aim to understand your ELLs. Look for cultural differences to support in bridging the gaps in their understanding, which can smooth their learning and cultural transitions (British Columbia, 1999). Also, look for similarities in culture to build on commonalities (British Columbia, 1999). Learn about the ELLs heritage and celebrate their heritage (British Columbia, 1999). For example; invite ELLs to be the experts about their cultures, celebrate holidays and festivals, embrace differences between cultures as a way to learn more about the world.
Create Positive Encounters
ELLs need to be supported in building their self-worth (British Columbia, 1999). Just like other students in your school ELLs need to be supported in their personal growth in conjunction with their language development. Look for ways to create positive encounters with ELLs and build relationships with them. For example, ask them about themselves, point out what you like about their work through descriptive feedback and acknowledge them by name outside of the classroom.
Talk with your ELLs. Support them to build their communication skills (British Columbia, 1999). Let them practice with you where they can make errors without fear of isolation. Build communication into your relationship and allow students to feel safe to share their thoughts, feelings and opinions with you and within the classroom. Learn from communication with your students and be flexible and ready to adapt when you learn more about them, their interests, needs and goals.
In Meyers’ (2010) article she says, not all teachers are ESL teachers and therefor are neither ESL trained nor specialists. One of the major elements that I have found to effective ELL instruction is the inclusion of structure. Although structure is not specific to ELLs, and could be considered a “good” teaching practice, it is a major piece in maintaining classroom management and a supportive learning environment for ELLs. Structure can take many forms such as; class schedules written on the board, scaffolded lessons or explaining organisation systems. For example, many ELLs come from a different educational structure and using binders versus workbooks can be a new concept. Structure also mirrors the rote style of learning common in China; placing Chinese ELLs in a more familiar setting as they integrate.
British Columbia Ministry of Education Special Programs Branch. (1999). English as a second language
leaners: a guide for ESL specialists. Retrieved from https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/ell//policy/special.pdf
British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2009). English as a second language policy and guidelines. Retrieved
Meyers, M. (2010). Myths and delusion: English language instruction in Canadian schools. Canadian
Education Association, 46, 2, 31-34. Retrieved from http://www.cea-ace.ca/sites/default/files/EdCan-
Article Review: Using “I Will” Cards and Social Coaches to Improve Social Behaviors in Students with Asperger Syndrome
Author: Amanda Boutot
Summary: Boutot’s article discusses a strategy called “I will” cards to support the learning and practicing of ideal social behaviours for Asperger Syndrome (AS) students and their use of self-talk and social coaches. The article starts by presenting four strategies, which have been supportive to AS students; social stories, social scripts, power card strategy and cognitive behaviour modification (CBM). Boutot presents that because AS students have strong vocabulary and memory skills with creative and sincere traits the “I will” cards support students’ weaknesses, for example, repetitive behaviour or impulsivity, while engaging their strengths (2009). The aim of the cards is to have AS students begin to prompt themselves to change behaviour without others telling or guiding them. “I will” cards are closely connected to the CBM strategy and incorporate elements of all four original strategies outlined at the beginning of the article. Similar to CBM “I will” cards use a strategy known as self-talk to act as “mantras” (Boutot, 2009, p. 278) to guild students feelings and behaviours. The cards show a situation, which has been written from the AS student’s perspective; for example, “When I have something to say in class, I will raise my hand” (Boutot, 2009, p. 278). The cards are both a reminder for students and act as visual prompts during a situation that might be challenging or upsetting (Boutot, 2009). Boutot continues by outlining five planning steps for developing “I will” cards, which include; identifying the areas of behaviour needed to be worked on, creating self-talk and “I will” statements, making cards with scripts, teaching the student to use the cards and finally creating time each day for students to work with a social coach to review the cards (2009). The social coach’s role is further outlined with an example dialogue for review. Social coaches are one or two trusted adults the student can work with twice daily to review cards and their use. Boutot states that all those working with the student need to be aware of the “I will” cards and support the student to use them through the day. For example, a classroom teacher can ask a student to review their cards instead of telling them to raise their hand (Boutot, 2009). The article concludes with added considerations for use, including the conjoined use of a behaviour contract along with the cards, and ensuring that parents and guardians of the AS student are part of the decision to use “I will” cards and their process.
Implications for classroom teaching: As a classroom teacher I can see “I will” cards being very supportive to AS students, other students in the class and the teacher’s ability to support the AS student make behaviour choices which are supportive to their growth. Knowing the student has a system and is working to self manage their behaviour is very supportive to the classroom teacher, because the cards act as a tool for the student to use to make choices and they are also a tool the teacher can use to support the student in making those choices. For instance, Boutot gave an example of a teacher directing the student to look at their cards to know to put their hand up, this is a direct and simply way to address a behaviour. I believe “I will” cards provide AS students with self-regulation strategies and in turn that supports their classroom teacher and their own learning greatly.
Boutot, E. Amanda. (2009). Using “I Will” cards and social coaches to improve social behaviors in students
with Asperger Syndrome. Intervention in School and Clinic, 44:276, 276-281.
Scaffolding Part Two: Once Upon a Time: Demonstrating Social Responsibility Through Storytelling Unit Plan
Lesson Subject: English, ESL and other Language Arts
Grade Level: Middle School (Gr. 6-9)
As a follow up to my post about Aida Walqui’s article Scaffolding Instruction for English Language Learners: A Conceptual Framework I have provided a sample unit plan where I have focused on including scaffolded instruction and considered both Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory and Zone of Proximal Development. In this unit plan I am asking students to create their own stories and work at a high English level, however I have provided structure to support them reach this level. I have considered learners and placed the expectations of the final culminating assignment within a zone of proximal development where the task requires students to reach beyond their current level towards what they are capable of achieving. The lesson has been created with a lot of structure and a lot of space for flexibility. In class working time has been planned for, to provide the teacher and peer tutors (if available) time to actively support the learning process. The unit has been designed with explicit and scaffold instruction. Students’ learning will take place through the active use of the English language in a creative and natural way.
|Once Upon a Time: Demonstrating Social Responsibility Through Storytelling Unit Plan.pdf|
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Scaffolding Part One: Article Review of Scaffolding Instruction for English Language Learners: A Conceptual Framework By: Aida Walqui
Author: Aida Walqui
Journal: The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Vol. 9, No.2, 2006
Web Link: http://www.educacion.gob.es/exterior/centros/losangeles/es/series/201003-Scaffolding-Walqui.pdf
In my own classroom practice I have used scaffolding quiet successfully and agreed with the research in Walqui’s article. I liked how useful the information was and how it was written in a way that supports those, who already scaffold, to enhance their practice. Three points specifically provided me with a clearer understanding of scaffolding and ideas on further developing my classroom practice. First the concept of using scaffolding as ‘confidence’ building, was something I naturally understood scaffolding to do, but did not consciously think about in my planning. By consciously thinking about confidence building in my scaffolding planning I think my lessons will become more tightly planned and provide an even clearer focus and keep my students a step ahead of their level. Secondly, to become transparent in my reasoning for using scaffolding with my students, to explain to them the process and why I am having them do what I am doing. I found at the end of last year when I introduced my peer tutors it was a very supportive to have them explain my reasoning for lessons and activities. I can see how providing my rational/objective to my students could help them as they work through assignments. Often times when I have been the learner, I would have liked to know the reasoning behind a task. Walqui’s writing has affected how I view my students, and to respect their potential desires to know the reason behind my planning. Finally, Walqui’s article has confirmed for me a concept I have believed, yet not had research to back my opinion. I have always felt it is better to take the time and really learn a concept through structured-scaffold-learning so that students build a solid foundation and have a greater depth to their learning, apposed to focusing heavily on content for the sake of content. Content knowledge can be picked up, but structured learning and having a solid foundation is the key to success and what they take with them for their whole lives as they encounter many different forms of content.
Teaching ESL, and especially in China, I have often come across names, locations and non-translated words I have no idea how to say aloud. Recently while making podcast recordings for my class I came across a handy site called howjsay.com.
Just read the short directions on the homepage and you are set to go. When I first used the site I typed in the name of an ancient Chinese explorer and found the site useful for being able to hear how the name should sound. Fingers crossed my students think I said it correctly!
Ms. Kolshuk's Blog