• 4 Key Differences in Teaching ESL to Adults vs. Children

    4 Key Differences in Teaching ESL to Adults vs. Children

    By Guest Writer, Lauren Bailey

    For several years now, I’ve actively participated in a local literacy organization, which aims at teaching ESL to recent immigrants. Although I’ve tutored and taught children before, this was my first experience teaching only adults. And what a learning experience it was! This particular organization allowed volunteer teachers to use whatever methods they thought best. Input from the class—that is, teaching adult learners what they wanted to learn specifically—was key in crafting lesson plans. Based on my experiences, this is what I’ve learned when teaching adults how to read and write in English: ...

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    Jul 30 2012
  • How Does Cursive Fit Into The Common Core State Standards?

    How Does Cursive Fit Into The Common Core State Standards?

    By Guest Writer, Jamie Menard, M.A. Reading

    Where does cursive fit into the Common Core State Standards?

    A total of forty-five states across the country have chosen to adopt the Common Core State Standards in order to give the nation a shared curriculum. The Common Core State Standards does not require children to learn how to write in cursive. … ...

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    Jul 12 2012
  • Four Tips for Teaching Students with Behavior Issues

    Four Tips for Teaching Students with Behavior Issues

    I’ll never forget being in my 4th grade classroom when out of nowhere one of my peers started yelling, shoved his desk to the floor, and then hit at my teacher as she tried to escort him out of the classroom. Our sweet teacher came back a few minutes later in tears and said: “you guys don’t deserve that!”

    Our teacher truly was one of the nicest ladies in the world - and - remembering the scene, not only did we not deserve to be scared, she didn’t deserve that either. She didn’t deserve to have a student yell and hit at her.

    None of us deserve to experience threatening situations. But in every classroom are students that are prone to get upset, angry, hyper, or disruptive on occasion. So… what can you do? How can you better preserve the safety of your classroom? How can you help students with behavior issues adapt and cooperate in the classroom in a way that doesn’t distract or cause problems?

    Although many of these problems need to be addressed by a certified professional, there are some things that you can do to help minimize behavior issues in the classroom. ...

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    Jul 09 2012
  • How Art Education Can Help Students Improve Reading Comprehension

    How Art Education Can Help Students Improve Reading Comprehension

    By Guest Writer, Clara Richman

    No, art may not solve any of the world's problems. It's not a cure for cancer. It's not a means of solving world hunger. And it's certainly not a driving force of world peace. But art, which is often taught as an extracurricular activity in schools, does something that neither of the aforementioned examples can do - … ...

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    Jun 25 2012
  • A Simple Incentive for Motivating Students to Read

    A Simple Incentive for Motivating Students to Read

    By Guest Writer, Melissa Miller

    My path to literacy was a lucky, privileged one, as I was raised by a librarian. Mom worked at a business school library and was a very active volunteer at our local public branch. She read to me, presumably starting when I was still in the womb. Though I certainly can't remember that far back, I know I was reading on my own before I was three. Our house was chock-full of printed matter…quite cluttered with it, in fact, despite Mom's purported organizational calling. The bottom line: she would never have let me not read.

    A quarter-century later, as a graduate teaching assistant in a large urban public university, I found myself emotionally distraught at the overall language abilities of my freshman composition students. ESL students from all over the globe did make up a solid 25% of my classes – but often, their work was better and their English proficiency seemed as high, or higher, than that of many of the American-born students! That part was frankly very disappointing, on a patriotic, sentimental level. ...

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    Jun 19 2012
  • Using Theme-based Projects to Motivate Reluctant ESL High School Students

    Using Theme-based Projects to Motivate Reluctant ESL High School Students

    By Guest Writer, Dr. Eugenia Krimmel

    In the inner city high school setting I found many unmotivated students who were talking about dropping out of school. Some English Language Learners come to school excited to learn while others lack motivation for various reasons. I couldn’t let these students give up! I had to figure out a way to get all of my ESL students excited about learning.

    Theme-Based Projects

    One thing I found effective was the use of theme-based projects. Theme-based projects can be an effective way to help ESL students gain reading comprehension. Paper and pencil as well as multimedia projects prove to be highly motivating for all my beginning ESL high school students.

    Results

    When I shifted from the antiquated ESL book series to theme-based project units, all my ELLs decided to stay in school. One 17 year-old, ESL 2 student even told me he comes to school just for my class.

    Here are some ways you can use this approach in your classroom: ...

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    Jun 18 2012
  • What’s the Best Way to Pace Students’ Reading Instruction?

    What’s the Best Way to Pace Students’ Reading Instruction?

    Have you ever asked someone a question or started discussing a topic and were shocked by the level of passion that comes out of the other person? You think you are asking a basic question or talking about a neutral topic but all of sudden the conversation takes a passionate twist?

    When I asked our Director of Teacher Training, Shantell Berrett, to discuss student pacing… I was surprised by the level of passion that came out around the topic. I wasn’t expecting that topic to elicit such a passionate response. In fact, I thought it was one of the boring-er questions I was asking her. It ended up being the most interesting!

    Seeing her passion and the stand she has developed as she has worked with teachers made me realize that the question hit on some controversy in the field of education. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. And nothing intrigues me like a good controversy. ...

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    Jun 14 2012
  • How Culture Affects the Way ESL Students Read English

    How Culture Affects the Way ESL Students Read English

    Guest Post by Dr. Eugenia Krimmel

    Even though the text is in English, English Language Learners (ELLs) are reading it through culturally patterned filters. Also known as discourse patterns, the way a language group organizes their expressions in longer text or conversations is strongly influenced by their culture.

    English speakers, like most Germanic language groups, subconsciously seek a beginning, middle and end of a joke, paragraph, story, or informational text. We English speakers view the world in a linear, concise, direct manner; therefore, our discourse pattern is a line of three elements. We do not respond well to redundancies, incomplete thoughts or going off on tangents within the text or conversation.

    Romance Languages

    In contrast, ...

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    Jun 01 2012

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