Monday, December 10, 2018

How to Teach Science with Technology Tools -- An #ELLEdTech Chat

 "Science is fun. Science is curiosity.  We all have natural curiosity.
Science is a process of investigating.  It's posing questions and coming up
with a method.  It's delving in."
Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/science?lgm=l
--Sally Ride

When I was a student, my school district in Pennsylvania had a wonderful science curriculum.  The entire textbook consisted of descriptions of scientific concepts and how to demonstrate or prove them by doing experiments.  For every experiment we had to write a hypothesis, write the steps for doing the experiment, do the experiment and collect the data, analyze the data, and finally write a conclusion.  Then we had to submit that to the teacher who would, hopefully, approve it; if he didn't (all my science teachers were men), then we had to do the experiment again.  When the write-up of the research was approved, we could take the test and after that, we could start the next chapter.

I didn't know it then but we were following the steps of the scientific method, though I don't recall anyone ever using that term.  It was a great way to learn science because it was totally hands-on.  But it also had its downside, which was that some of us were more concerned about getting through the textbook as fast as possible so we could get a head start on the next year's book.  And often, as soon as we took and passed a test, we forgot the material in our rush to move on to the next topic.

Nevertheless, I developed a love of science as a result of being able to do the experiments all by myself.  But when I was a rising junior in high school, my family moved to another state and I was told that the science program in my new school consisted of the teacher standing at the front of the room doing the experiments while the class watched.  It sounded really boring.  And so, since science wasn't a required subject, I never took another science course in high school.

When I became a teacher and co-taught in mainstream science classes, I wanted my English Language Learners and the other students to enjoy science.  With that in mind, I created the resources in my Scientific Method Bundle. There are 3 resources in the bundle and they provide students with a way to talk with a real scientist and to learn about 5 scientists considered fathers of the scientific method.  There's also a poster that explains what the scientific method is, a short writing task about it, and a word search puzzle.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Scientific-Method-BUNDLE-with-Speaking-Listening-Reading-Writing-Activities-2008154
Click HERE for more info
Nowadays, there is a renewed emphasis on having students do science experiments themselves.  Unfortunately, not all schools have the funding to purchase materials to make that possible.  However, with access to the Internet, maker spaces, and virtual labs, there are many ways students can learn scientific concepts.  Please join Laurah, my co-host from Tools for Teachers by Laurah J, and me on Sunday, December 16th, to discuss Tech Tools for Teaching Science, the next #ELLEdTech chat topic.   As always, the chat will start at 4:00pm Pacific, 7:00pm Eastern, and 11:00pm UTC time.  Below are the details.

Schedule and Questions
7:00 = Introduction:  Tell us your name, location, level/grade and subject taught. #ELLEdTech
7:05 = Q1: What tech tools do you use to help your students learn Science? #ELLEdTech
7:13 = Q2:  How do these tools help students learn about Science?  #ELLEdTech
7:21 =  Q3:  What are the advantages & benefits of using these tech tools for teaching about Science? #ELLEdTech
7:29 = Q4:  Are there any cons or drawbacks teachers or students might have when using these tools? #ELLEdTech
7:37 = Q5: What advice do you have for teachers who want to use technology to help ELLs learn Science? #ELLEdTech

Come join the next #ELLEdTech Twitter chat on December 16h to discuss using Tech Tools to Teach Science! | The ESL Nexus
All are welcome to participate! source: The ESL Nexus
Directions for Joining the Chat
1. Log into Twitter on Sunday; the chat runs from 7:00 - 7:45pm Eastern.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #ELLEdTech in the search bar.  Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. The first five minutes will be spent introducing ourselves.
4. Starting at 7:05, @ESOL_Odyssey or @The_ESL_Nexus will post questions every 8 minutes using Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. to identify the questions and the hashtag #ELLEdTech.
5.  Answer the questions by prefacing them with A1, A2, A3, etc. and use the hashtag #ELLEdTech.
6.  Follow any teachers who respond and are also using #ELLEdTech.
7.  Like (click the heart icon) and post responses to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your answers to the questions in advance by using an online scheduler such as TweetDeck or HootSuite (and remember to use A1, A2, etc. and #ELLEdTech).  Links are encouraged, but use tinyurl, bitly, goo.gl or ow.ly to shorten your link so it can be included in your tweet.  Just click one of those links, paste the longer link in the app's box to shorten it for Twitter, then paste the shortened link into your tweet. If you have relevant images, we encourage you to post them, too.



Is this your first Twitter chat? Here are our rules:
1. Please stay on topic.
2. Please do not post about paid products unless explicitly asked.
3. If you arrive after the chat has started, please try to read the previous tweets before joining in.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet if you prefer -- we know the first time can be a little overwhelming!
5. Always use the hashtag #ELLEdTech when tweeting.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to "public." (And do remember that Twitter is completely public; that means anyone--students, parents, administrators--may see what you tweet.)

You are welcome to let your teacher friends who might be interested in joining us know about this Twitter chat.  And for more info about teaching science to ELLs, you might like to follow my Pinterest board Science for ELLs, which posts resources, articles and ideas about this subject.

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Win a Gift Card and Save $$$ during TpT's Cyber Sale!

"It's beginning to look a lot like a Cyber Sale
With resources in my store
And the prettiest sight to see is the discount that will be
Yours so you can buy a great deal more!"
--Adapted from It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,
by Meredith Willson

Have you heard?  TeachersPayTeachers is having a Cyber Sale on Monday and Tuesday, November 26 and 27, 2018!  Everything in my TpT store, The ESL Nexus, will be 20% off their regular prices.  Plus, when you use the discount code CYBER2018 when you check out, you'll get an additional 5% off for a total savings of up to 25%.

And scroll down for your chance to win a $10 TpT Gift Card.  Woo hoo!   

(UPDATE: I am pleased to announce that the winner of the raffle, which is now closed is Renee!  Congratulations and enjoy the gift card!  Many thanks to all who participated and please check you email accounts for the resource I'll be sending you.)

I've just created a new holiday resource, Christmas & Chanukah Word Search & Crossword Puzzles that you might like.  You can use it to teach vocabulary about the holidays or use it just for fun when you and your students need a break from the holiday craziness.  Or you might be interested in my other holiday resources.  There are multilingual signs with holiday greetings in many languages that will give your classroom an international flavor; fun color-by-number activities that let students demonstrate their writing and math skills; and task cards to review the if...then grammar pattern.  You can do a search for these individual products or click on the Seasonal Custom Category in my store to more quickly find them.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Esl-Nexus/Category/Seasonal-207648
Click HERE to shop at The ESL Nexus
You can also stock up on resources for Chinese New Year, Black History Month, and Women's History Month.  Check out my China Bundles, each with a variety of resources; my African-American Biography Task Cards, which provide info about 80 famous people and give students writing practice; and my Women's Biography Task Cards, with info about 68 famous women that also give students writing practice.

Just remember to use the promo code CYBER2018 when you check out -- I was so excited during a couple of previous TpT sales that I forgot.

But wait – there’s more!  :-)  I have a TpT Gift Card for $10 to give away!  The entry form is below and there are several ways you can enter: By following my TpT store, The ESL Nexus; downloading and commenting on 1 of my free resources; commenting on one of my blog posts (preferably not this one but it's okay if you do); following 1 or more of my Pinterest boards; and/or following me on Twitter.  I ask that you email me to confirm your entries; your email address will only be used for this raffle.  I will randomly pick a winner on Monday, November 26 at 9:01pm Eastern time.  The winner will have 48 hours to reply and then I'll send the gift card so you can use it during the sale before it ends Tuesday night.  But even if you don't win the gift card, I will send all participants who confirmed their entries a resource from my TpT store.  So everyone wins something!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

And also remember: When you leave feedback on a paid product in the form of a fair comment and rating, you get credits that reduce the cost of your future TpT purchases.

Happy Shopping!

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Monday, November 12, 2018

November #ELLEdTech Twitter Chat: Math

"By seventh grade, I was committed to mathematics."
-- Rosalyn Yalow

Not all students, however, love math like Rosalyn Yalow, a 1977 Nobel Prize winner, did.  English Language Learners in particular often have difficulty in their math classes.  Their lower levels of language proficiency can make it hard for them to be successful when have to solve word problems and then explain aloud or in writing how they got their answers.  As well, some teachers dislike teaching math because they do not have a solid grounding in the subject.

But it's crucial that teachers don't exhibit their anxiety when teaching math to their students, since their nervousness is often all too apparent to their students.  In addition, math is not, despite what many people think, a universal language that all students can easily understand.  How mathematical concepts are taught varies depending on the country you're in.  (For more info about that, please see my blog post Why You Need to Know How Math is Different in Other Countries.)

To help teachers help their ELLs learn math, the next #ELLEdTech chat will focus on Tech Tools for Teaching Math.  Please join Laurah, my co-host from Tools for Teachers by Laurah J, and me on Sunday, November 18th, to discuss this topic.  As always, the chat will start at 4:00pm Pacific, 7:00pm Eastern, and 11:00pm UTC time.  Below are the details.

Come join the next #ELLEdTech Twitter chat on November 18th to discuss using Tech Tools to Teach Math! | The ESL Nexus
Join us--all educators are welcome!  Source: The ESL Nexus
Schedule and Questions
7:00 = Introduction:  Tell us your name, location, level/grade and subject taught. #ELLEdTech
7:05 = Q1: What tech tools do you use to help your students learn Math? #ELLEdTech
7:13 = Q2:  How do these tools help students learn about Math?  #ELLEdTech
7:21 =  Q3:  What are the advantages & benefits of using these tech tools for teaching about Math? #ELLEdTech
7:29 = Q4:  Are there any cons or drawbacks teachers or students might have when using these tools? #ELLEdTech
7:37 = Q5: What advice do you have for teachers who want to use technology to help ELLs learn Math? #ELLEdTech

Directions for Joining the Chat
1. Log into Twitter on Sunday; the chat runs from 7:00 - 7:45pm Eastern.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #ELLEdTech in the search bar.  Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. The first five minutes will be spent introducing ourselves.
4. Starting at 7:05, @ESOL_Odyssey or @The_ESL_Nexus will post questions every 8 minutes using Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. to identify the questions and the hashtag #ELLEdTech.
5.  Answer the questions by prefacing them with A1, A2, A3, etc. and use the hashtag #ELLEdTech.
6.  Follow any teachers who respond and are also using #ELLEdTech.
7.  Like (click the heart icon) and post responses to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your answers to the questions in advance by using an online scheduler such as TweetDeck or HootSuite (and remember to use A1, A2, etc. and #ELLEdTech).  Links are encouraged, but use tinyurl, bitly, goo.gl or ow.ly to shorten your link so it can be included in your tweet.  Just click one of those links, paste the longer link in the app's box to shorten it for Twitter, then paste the shortened link into your tweet. If you have relevant images, we encourage you to post them, too.



Is this your first Twitter chat? Here are our rules:
1. Please stay on topic.
2. Please do not post about paid products unless explicitly asked.
3. If you arrive after the chat has started, please try to read the previous tweets before joining in.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet if you prefer -- we know the first time can be a little overwhelming!
5. Always use the hashtag #ELLEdTech when tweeting.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to "public." (And do remember that Twitter is completely public; that means anyone--students, parents, administrators--may see what you tweet.)

You are welcome to let your teacher friends who might be interested in joining us know about this Twitter chat.  And for more info about teaching Math to ELLs, you might like to follow my Pinterest board Math for ELLs, which posts resources, articles and ideas about this subject.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

What Do ELLs Think About Their ESL Program? (Part 3)

"What little Johnny has not learned, big Johnny will not know."
-- Polish proverb

Have you ever wondered what English Language Learners think about being in an ESL program?  I thought it would be interesting and illuminating to find out so I invited a few of my former students to describe their experiences.  Here is the third and last interview.  You can read the first interview here and the second one here.

Learn what former English Language Learners think about their ESL program in this series of guest blog posts. Read what a Polish student has to say in her post | The ESL Nexus
Part 3 in a series; source: The ESL Nexus
Kasha is a Polish girl who emigrated to the U.S. with her mother in 5th grade.  When she arrived after the school year had already begun, Kasha didn't speak any English.  I worked with her one-on-one for one period every day and she had a tutor who spoke Polish to help her in her other classes.  Kasha also came to my 5th grade ESL Language Arts class and my 6th and 7the grade ESL Social Studies classes.  At the end of 7th grade, Kasha exited the ESL program, after scoring Proficient on the state-wide Massachusetts exam for Language Arts and doing very well in all her regular ed classes.

Throughout Kasha's high school and college years, we kept in touch.  She is now married, has a young daughter, and is currently an office manager for an optometrist.  Below, she reflects on her time as an ESL student in an American school.  Her responses have been lightly edited.

Learn what a former English Language Learner thinks about her ESL program in this guest blog post that is the third in a series | The ESL Nexus
Kasha and her family in Massachusetts; source: Kasha
* What grade were you in when you first started receiving ESL support? 
My 12 year old heart was broken when I learned that I would not be attending a Polish school when we moved to the U.S. in 2002. I realized quickly that my exciting move was about to become difficult since I had zero friends and my means of making any were limited. Even though the kids in my class were excited for the new kid, I felt trapped not being able to communicate with any of them. Initially, I didn’t even realize that I was spending a lot of time out of my regular classroom. I wasn’t fully aware how school was structured so I imagined other kids were also spending one-on-one time with a teacher at some point during school hours.

 
* How did you feel about being in the ESL program?
As I learned more and observed the other kids, I realized that I was taken out for most of my subjects other than science and math. I liked math, even though I wasn’t very good at it back home; here, it was the only thing that made sense and so I focused on that. My other subjects were confusing and challenging. I remember spending a lot of time not only learning new words but learning how to pronounce them, also I remember learning about US history and Native Americans. This was the hardest part as I had to use words I had learned hours earlier, process them, and attempt to make sense of the entire picture.

* How did being in the ESL program help you?
Despite having to concentrate and put all my effort into school, my ESL classes became easier as I learned and understood more. It wasn’t long until I couldn’t wait to leave my regular classroom where I felt different and left out. My ESL teacher and classmates never made me feel wrong and encouraged me to raise my hand. Even if the answer was wrong, I felt safe trying whereas I felt scared and ashamed of speaking out in my regular classes. Within a few months, I understood a whole lot more than I could speak and being in my regular classroom was frustrating because I wanted to be involved and I knew what was going on but I could not express it. While in my ESL classes, I found a way to communicate with teachers and other students and this enabled me to learn more and enjoy being in school for the first time in months.

* What was different about your ESL classes from your other classes?
I had many friends back home and the language barrier along with feeling inadequate with my speaking skills made this already difficult transition a lot harder. It was those hours I spent in ESL classes that gave me the confidence and allowed me to grow academically and emotionally.

* What should teachers and school staff know about ESL students?
One thing I wish the staff and my non-ESL teachers had known was how motivated I was to do well in their classes, too. I felt my blank stares and holding back from speaking aloud in front of everyone came off as a lack of effort when it was actually a fear of being wrong or different. I already felt out of place and behind my peers so I held back because of anxiety and fear, not because of a lack of interest.


* What is one piece of advice you have for teachers who have ESL students in their classes?
I would encourage teachers who have ESL students in their classroom to get to know them better by making a point to work with them one-on-one. This will instill trust and enable the student to open up in their mainstream classroom. ESL students process many things on their own as a lot of their time is interpreting behavior as they see it.  So it is important for teachers who have ESL students in their classroom to let those students know that they care about them and their success.

Learn what a former English Language Learner thinks about her ESL program in this guest blog post; Part 3 in a series | The ESL Nexus
Polish & American flags; source: The ESL Nexus
Thank you so much, Kasha, for sharing your experience and for your useful suggestions on working with English Language Learners. Best wishes in your career and married life!

You can read more about Kasha’s thoughts on learning English in middle school in the book TESOL Voices: Secondary Education.  Kasha was one of the students who helped me write Chapter 2, which is about teaching content-based ESL.  You can find out more about the book here.

I hope these first-person accounts of life as an English Language Learner have been helpful.  If you'd like more information about teaching ELLs, please follow me on Pinterest.  I have lots of boards that provide resources and info on all sorts of issues about working with ELLs.

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