Friday, November 27, 2015

Bringing Content to Life Through Reader's Theater

Like many beginner and intermediate English language learners, the students at my school are struggling with the grade level content textbooks.  Since funds for modified texts are limited this year, I have been working to find cheap and free materials for the content teachers at my school to use with these students.  A few weeks ago, I came across this bank of reader's theater scripts.  The scripts are written for multiple contents areas and the students love reading them (it also helps with reading fluency).  Let the show go on!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Guided Groups: A Co-Teaching Strategy

My third period class is made up of advanced English language learners and general education students.  In an effort to meet our students' diverse needs (as well as more effectively co-teach), my co-teacher and I have turned to guided groups.  In a nutshell, we conduct a whole group mini-lesson and then ask students to select the level of support they think they'll need to complete a related assignment.  One teacher works with the group that selects the most intensive level of support while the other teacher works with the remainder of the class.  We switch off roles and it gives the students a chance to get comfortable with both of us regardless of their ESOL status.  The video below will give you an idea of what this strategy looks like in action.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Unsettled Journeys

The Baltimore Sun recently published an excellent multi-part series on the plight of some of the city's most recent immigrants.  Unsettled Journeys follows a diverse group of students as they attempt to start new lives at Baltimore's Patterson High School.  These students range from individuals who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to those who were forced to flee war-torn countries.  If you are like me, you will be able to connect the students featured in the articles to students currently sitting in your classroom.  In light of last spring's events in Baltimore, I am glad to see that the city provides a beacon of hope to so many individuals.

                                           Baltimore, Maryland, USA 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Disneyfying Tone

My students recently began reading poetry, which means that the annual tone lesson is upon us.  This concept can be difficult to teach.  When I reflected on last year's lesson, I realized that I had to change my strategy a bit.  I searched the Internet until I came across the Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans blog.  This fellow Dunkin Donuts fan found Disney clips that show opposite sides of a classic and recent film.  I played each clip twice.  After the first viewing, the students had to identify a word (from a list) that described the tone.  During the second viewing, they had to pull a piece of evidence that supported their word choice.  This approach worked like a charm.  Not only did the student gain a firm understanding of tone, they enjoyed learning.  Our next step is to revisit two of the poems that we read last week and analyze the tone of each poem.  With any luck, my classroom will be the happiest place on earth for the next few days.