Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Power of Gestures

We've known for some time gestures are important for new ELLs to learn new words.  Earlier I posted an article relating how gestures help students learn Math.  This article is written for parents and was published in the Los Angeles Times by science writer Amina Khan.
As you read this article, think "teacher" instead of parent. You as a Title I teacher can do the same thing, especially for very young readers.  So many of us speak with our hands anyway - now is the time to think just how are hands are helping students read.  Excellent and worth your time.

Want your kids to learn more words?  Use your hands, study says.  Amina Khan. 6.24.13.  Los Angeles Times.,0,6140562.story

Tell us your stories about gesturing which teaching vocabulary.  Share and we will all learn.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

ELLs: What Images Should We Avoid?

We know that images are helpful to ELL students and we use them frequently in instruction.  But....images associated with "home" make learning a new language more difficult.  The National Academy of Sciences with researchers from Columbia University and Singapore Management University published a study 6.17.13.  Interesting article that should affect the images we select for our students.

Seeing Pictures of Home Can Make It Harder To Speak a Foreign Language. Joseph Stromberg 6.17.13.

Have you noticed this reaction from your ELL students?  Tell us about it.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Who Should Do the Explaining - Teacher or Student?

All teachers want students to understand what they are learning.  Sounds simple doesn't it?  Kids can get the correct answers to many questions generated by teachers and by text, but do they understand why?  Can they explain their answers?  How to get deeper learning from our students probably means we as teachers need to do things a bit differently.  Habits form and are hard to break.  Excellent article for all of us.

Students Can Learn by Explaining, Studies Say.  Sarah D. Sparks.  6.5.13.  Education Week - Premium Article

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Digital Reading Products - How to Evaluate? Decide?

Teachers and parents are faced with a multitude of products that are designed to build early literacy skills.  How to evaluate them and decide what to use is a current question asked by many.  This article focuses on these questions which are not that easy to answer.

Evaluation Quality in Digital Reading Products.  Academic experts say teachers and parents are often left to determine educational value.  Sean  Cavanagh. 5.22.13 Education Week - Premium Article

In your experience at school or at home what product(s) seems to have great potential?

CC Improves High School English Curriculum - [Good for Middle School]

Although this article focuses on English classes in high school, the basic premise is applicable to most high school content subjects.  This is one teacher's account of how her classes have improved using fiction and non-fiction to bring the subject matter to life.  Students became more engaged and made connections across a variety of literary genere that she would have not thought possible without non-fiction.  I love her ending statements which are true also for the lower grades.
"Every time we turn on a television or a radio, every time we sit in front of a computer or open a book, we become consumers of the English language. We feast on words every day: fiction and nonfiction, accurate and misleading. The job of teachers is to guide students to be shrewd consumers of all types of language."
 A Happy Tale From a Common-Core Classroom.  Lyn Cannaday.  2.27.13.  Education Week - Premium Article.;postID=7090960038537158328

Tell us how you are able to combine both in your Title I classes.