Monday, May 20, 2019

How to Teach After Testing is Over

"Year's end,
all corners of this floating world,
-- Basho

Do your students feel like the school year is over once they’ve finished taking their annual standardized English, math, and science tests?  Mine sure did!  But there was still a good 2 months left in the year and a lot of learning can and should take place during that time.

Ideas for keeping students focused on learning after standardized testing is over #EndofYear #SummativeAssessment | The ESL Nexus
Check out all my End of Year resources HERE; source: The ESL Nexus
It was always a struggle to keep students focused on what I was teaching when they could look out the window and see that summer was coming.  And lots of teachers had a tendency to ease up, especially in the last week, and show movies, play games, or do other activities that had only a tenuous connection to the subjects they were teaching.

My feeling was that I should be teaching up until the last day of school.  Many of my ELLs would be spending the summer just hanging around at home; their families either didn’t have the money to send their kids to summer camp or other organized activities or they were working and couldn't drive them back and forth to such activities.  These students actually were not looking forward to summer vacation because they didn't have anything to do.  Other ELLs would go visit relatives in other countries and spend their time speaking their native language instead of English.  So I wanted to get in as much teaching and learning as possible. 

Here are some suggestions to help you keep your students focused during the last few weeks of school:
* Tell students that although the standardized tests are over, report card grades haven’t closed and the work they do now counts towards their grades.
* Make your lessons engaging but maintain rigor.  Don’t play games or show movies just to fill up the time; make sure there is a content connection and purpose for using those games and movies.
* If allowed, teach class outside a few times.  If your school has a playground, you can go and sit there and teach.  There are also lots of English, math, and science tasks students can do just walking around outside the building, such as writing poetry, measuring distances in customary and metric units, and making scientific observations about flora and fauna.  Make going outside special, a reward.
* When students complain – and they will! -- that their other teachers are just doing fun things, explain that in your classroom, you still have things you need to teach them.  Tell your students you want to make the lessons as enjoyable as possible but you need their cooperation to make that happen.  In other words, get students to understand that the better their behavior, the more enjoyable the class will be.
* Maintain classroom discipline.  Don’t slack off and let students get away with things they wouldn’t be allowed to do the rest of the year.  Once that happens, it will be almost impossible to get things back under control.

You’ll probably also want to do some kind of summative assessment.  Not only does that give you an idea of how well your students learned, it gives students themselves a way to see everything they’ve accomplished in your class.  In addition, it gives you an indication of which topics were easiest/hardest for students and which areas you need to give more attention to next year.

I used 2 kinds of summative assessments.  One was a self-assessment form that I used in all my middle school classes.  It asked students to reflect on the topics they learned, how well they learned those things, how much effort they put into the class, and what suggestions they had for improving the class.  Students could consult each other to help them remember what they did but then they had to individually respond to the questions that asked for their opinions.

Let your students reflect on their learning at the end of the year with these final self-assessment forms #EndofYear #SummativeAssessment | The ESL Nexus
Click HERE for these Final Self-Evaluation Forms; source: The ESL Nexus
The other summative assessment was specifically for my 8th grade ESL Social Studies class, which was about world history.  It was a multi-day assignment that asked students which ancient civilization they would like to live in.  My students really enjoyed this activity – it was a different kind of assessment from all the others they’d had and they all said it was fun to do.

Give your students in Ancient or World History classes this fun end of year activity that lets them demonstrate what they learned in your class #EndofYear #SummativeAssessment | The ESL Nexus
Click HERE for this EOY Ancient & World History resource; source: The ESL Nexus
I subsequently created similar end of year assessments, based on my other ESL Social Studies classes, for U.S. History, World Geography, and U. S. Geography, as well as end of year resources for Science and English Language Arts.  There’s also a money-saving bundle of all the Social Studies resources HERE.

Wishing you a wonderful end to your school year!


Monday, May 6, 2019

Happy TpT Sale for Teacher Appreciation Week!

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.
-- C.S. Lewis

This quote appealed to me because I’m an educator currently living in Arizona, which is in its 21st year of drought.  And when I lived in Sierra Leone, which doesn’t have jungles but does have rain forests, I was teaching farmers how to grown rice and vegetables, albeit in the field rather than the classroom.  I like the metaphor of teachers growing minds and cultivating world citizens through their instruction.

TpT is having a 2-day sale so you can irrigate your students’ minds with lots of great resources from my store, The ESL Nexus, and others’ stores.  The sale is Tuesday and Wednesday, May 7th and 8th.  As usual, all my resources, including bundles, will be discounted 20%.  You can get an additional 5% discount by using the promo code GIFT4YOU at checkout.  This gives you a total savings of 25%.
Click HERE to shop at The ESL Nexus
I have a TpT Gift Card for $10.00 that I'm raffling off on my Facebook page.  To enter, click HERE and follow the instructions in the pinned post at the top of the page.

I’ve just finished a series of word search and crossword puzzles and they are bundled together for a year’s worth of resources.  My bundles are discounted to begin with so if you buy this big bundle during the sale, you’ll get even greater savings.  You might also like my Ramadan resource or my end of year resources for Social Studies, Science, and/or English/Language Arts.

Shop The ESL Nexus during TpT's Teacher Appreciation Sale on May 7 & 8, 2019!
Click HERE for more info about the resources in this big bundle; source: The ESL Nexus
Also, please check out my recent blog post that lists over 23 more ways to save during Teacher Appreciation Week.  Just click HERE to read it.

Happy Shopping!


Sunday, May 5, 2019

How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Ramadan Appropriately

"For children, diversity needs to be real and not merely relegated to learning the names of the usual suspects during Black History Month or enjoying south-of-the-border cuisine on Cinco de Mayo. It means talking to and spending time with kids not like them so that they may discover those kids are in fact just like them."
-- John Ridley

Cinco de Mayo and the start of Ramadan in the U.S. fall on the same day this year, May 5th.  That provides educators with a great opportunity to teach about tolerance, understanding, immigration, and the benefits of diversity in America!

Find resources for teaching about Cinco de Mayo & Ramandan in this blog post | The ESL Nexus
Photo from Flickr
Teaching Tolerance has this short article that explains the origin of Cinco de Mayo and offers some ideas on how to celebrate the holiday appropriately.  We Are Teachers has a more in-depth article designed to get educators thinking about what they want to accomplish by celebrating the holiday with their students and has some excellent questions you can ask yourself when thinking about observing Cinco de Mayo and any cultural holiday in your classroom.

Find resources for teaching about Ramadan & Cinco de Mayo in this blog post | The ESL Nexus
Moon and stars illustration from: Storyblocks
My TpT resource for Ramadan includes a reading passage that explains what the holiday is all about, along with 4 other classroom activities.  Since I have lived and worked in 2 Muslim-majority countries (Sierra Leone and Indonesia) and traveled in others with large Muslim populations (Turkey, India and China), I created this resource to dispel some of the misconceptions people have about Muslims.

Use this resource to teach students about Ramadan | The ESL Nexus
Click HERE for more info; source: The ESL Nexus


Thursday, May 2, 2019

23+ Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

"I'm embarrassed every time I look a teacher in the eye,
because we ask them to do so much for so little."
-- Phil McGraw

(Updated Monday afternoon, May 6th, with info about special deals from TESOL Int'l Association)

It's time for my annual roundup of special deals for Teacher Appreciation Week!  It's nice that some businesses offer educators discounts during the first week of May but I think it'd be even nicer if teachers were appreciated every week of the year.  I'm publishing a few days earlier than usual so you can take full advantage of as many of these offers as possible.

For flyers, certificates, and social media images to promote Teacher Appreciation Week in your school or community, check out the National PTA materials on their website.  They also link to coupons from OfficeDepot/Office Max for discounts on select items good through May 4th and good through May 11th.

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week with These Deals! | The ESL Nexus
Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week with these special offers! source: The ESL Nexus
The places listed below are offering special deals this May.  Some of them are nationwide and others are regional but they all have locations in at least 5 states.  Many other businesses offer discounts to educators throughout the year but I did not include them in this round up.  Just click on the green links to go to their websites for more information.  (I looked at all the websites to verify the info and it was accurate at the time I wrote this blog post.)

Food and Restaurants
Breugger's Bagels
What: $10 off any catered order over $75
When: May 6th - May 10th
How: Use promo code TENOFF75 when placing your order

Cheddars Scratch Kitchen
What: Purchase an adult entree and receive a free appetizer
When: Between May 6th - May 10th
How: Show a valid school ID; dine-in only

Chipotle Mexican Grill
What: All educators can take advantage of their BOGO free Burritos, Bowls, Salads, or orders of Tacos
When: Tuesday, May 7th from 3:00pm – Closing
How: Show a valid faculty ID; for in-restaurant orders only

What: 1 free Adult Buffet (drink not included)
When: Tuesday, May 7th
How: Show a valid school ID; at participating locations only 

The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grill
What: Teachers receive a free meal or $12 off the cost of a meal of their choice
When: Tuesday, May 7th
How: Show a valid school ID; at participating locations only

What:Teachers and nurses receive 20% off their order
When: Between May 6th - May 9th
How: Use the promo code 656-263-214; for dining in and ordering online

Grimaldi's Pizzeria
What: Teachers get 15% off their order and enter here to win a free pizza party
When: May 6th - May 10th
How: Show a valid school ID

Hopdoddy Burger Bar
What: Receive a free small shake
When: Tuesday, May 7th
How: Show a valid school ID

Metro Diner
What: Educators receive 20% off their meal.
When: May 6th - May 10th
How: Show a valid school ID

MOD Pizza
What: Buy a MOS-size pizza or salad and get another one free
When: Tuesday, May 7th
How: Valid with a school ID on in-store orders

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes
What: Get a free burger when you buy fries and a drink or a shake
When: Wednesday, May 8th
How: Text TEACH to 97455 and show a valid school ID; for dine-in orders

What: Educators receive a free 1/4 flame-grilled chicken entree
When: Tuesday, May 7th
How: Show a valid school ID

Roy Rogers Restaurants
What: Receive a free milkshake or dessert
When: May 6th - May 10th
How: Show a valid teacher ID

Scooter's Coffee
What: Teachers and nurses get 50% off any drink
When: Tuesday, May 7th
How: Show a valid school ID

Slim Chickens
What: Students and teachers receive 20% off your order and a free cookie
When: Tuesday, May 7th
How: Show a valid school ID; participating locations only

Sonic Drive-In
What: Teachers and “those who appreciate them as much as Sonic does” get a free Route 44 drink or slush with purchase
When: May 7th - May 31st
How: Order through their app

What: Buy any Spicy Chicken Sandwich Combo and get a free small Frosty
When: On Sundays through May 19th
How: Order through the DoorDash app and use the promos code HOUSEWENDYS

Other Special Deals
Below are more ways teachers are being recognized in May.
What: A discount on their materials (the amount isn't specified)
When: Presumably during Teacher Appreciation Week
How: Get 30% off and free shipping on select resources when you use promo code TAW19 and buy online with a credit card

National Council of Teachers of English
What: Get an NCTE resource for free via email and be eligible to win an additional prize
When: May 6th - May 10th
How: Sign up on the website to receive text reminders

Sandals Resorts
What: Win a free 7-day vacation at a Sandals resort
When: 1 winner for each day of the month of May will be chosen
How: Enter online

TESOL International Association
What: A variety of free resources, teaching tips, and discounts on TESOL books
When: May 6th - 10th 
How: Click this link for info

More Discount Roundups
These websites list even more discounts for teachers but they're too numerous to show individually so I'm just including the link to those sites' homepages.  I haven't verified all the links so I can't vouch for their accuracy.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Wishing you all a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week!