Monday, January 6, 2020

Happy New Year Freebie: Goals for Students!

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is 
more important than any other.
-- Abraham Lincoln

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing vacation at the end of December and beginning of January. 

As you gear up for the new decade in 2020, I would like to offer a freebie you can use with your students.  It’s traditional to make New Year resolutions and it’s also very common to break them pretty quickly.  (Sadly, I’ve already broken my resolution to not snack after 8pm.)  But having students reflect on what they want to accomplish in the new year is a good way to help students focus on their learning after a long break.  And at the end of the year, you and your students can revisit these goals and see how well they achieved them.

I created a short, one-page resource for students to help them determine their goals for the (rest of) of the school year.  There is a printable version and a paperless version for use on a device, along with directions for teachers.  You can access it HERE.  Please note that you’ll be asked to make a copy so just click on the button and then you’ll be able to download this freebie.

Grab this freebie that helps your students determine their goals for the new year | The ESL Nexus
Get your free copy HERE; source: The ESL Nexus

I hope it helps you and your students get off to a great 2020!


Monday, December 16, 2019

Why You Should Teach Your Students About Impeachment

"No point is of more importance than that of the right of impeachment. Shall any man be above Justice…who can commit the most extensive injustice?"
-- George Mason, 1787

It is hard to escape politics these days.  Brexit in the United Kingdom, impeachment in the United States, democracy protests in Hong Kong, upcoming elections again in Israel, mass protests in Chile and India – all provide numerous opportunities for teachers to discuss current events with their students.  And all too often, students want to know what their teachers think about the political situation where they live.

But should teachers share their personal opinions with their students?  A couple years ago, before the 2016 Presidential election in the U.S., I wrote a blog post discussing this topic.  Basically, I said teachers shouldn’t divulge their opinions and I presented reasons why.  You can read my post HERE.

Why you should talk to your students about impeachment | The ESL Nexus
ELLs & other students should learn about impeachment; source: The ESL Nexus
Since then, people’s political opinions in the U.S. and elsewhere have only hardened.  I think it’s even more important for teachers to remain neutral in their classrooms; that is, I believe they should objectively explain what is going on but they should not offer their own opinion about any particular situation.  There are too many pitfalls to doing so in today’s polarized climate.

However, precisely because it is hard to escape politics, wherever you are, it is also important for teachers to guide their students and give them tools for rationally discussing current events.  I came across this article the other day and it makes a great point: When students engage in well-structured discussions about politics, they are better prepared as citizens to participate in democratic institutions.

Because impeachment is such a momentous event and because many English Language Learners are likely unfamiliar with what it entails, I have created a new resource about it. Click HERE to find out more.

Reasons why you should help your students understand what impeachment is:

* First, for immigrant and refugee ELLs, the concept may be new to them since it may not exist in the countries they come from.  Even in the countries that do have impeachment as a way of removing officials, how that is done will differ from the process in the U.S since other governments have different organizational structures.

* Second, impeachment rarely happens so this is a historic occasion.  In the history of the U.S, only 2 out of 45 presidents have ever been impeached and less than 20 judges have been impeached.

* Lastly, students may have heard others talking about impeachment, or seen something about it in the media, and if they know what impeachment means, then they can participate in those conversations as well.  That will help them develop their speaking skills as well as their civic awareness.

The reading passage & other activities will help ELLs & other students learn all about impeachment | The ESL Nexus
You can get this resource HERE; source: The ESL Nexus
In the resource, there is a reading passage that explains what impeachment is and how it works.  It’s written so ELLs at an intermediate level of language proficiency (and higher) can understand it.  Other students may also find it helpful.  A glossary is included to provide more support.  Comprehension questions are also included.  Some impeachment-related words have multiple meanings so there is a task that addresses that.  In addition, to help students learn vocabulary related to impeachment, there are 3 differentiated word search puzzles along with 1 crossword puzzle that also has an accompanying word bank.  All the student materials are available in a Google Drive version as well if you teach in an online environment.

Given the current state of affairs around the world, it's imperative that ELLs and all students understand what is going on in the communities where they live.  When I was a kid watching the Watergate hearings on TV, I didn't really know what that was all about.  I hope this resource will help you explain what impeachment is to your students so they understand the significance of what is happening now in the U.S.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Take Advantage of TpT's 2-Day Sale!

"You can always find something you want."
-- Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic

Regardless of whether you want something or actually need something, it’s Cyber Monday so TpT is having a sale!  Everything in my store is 20% off and when you use promo code CYBER19 at checkout, you’ll get an additional 5% off for a savings of 25%. (Other stores may set different discounts so the savings is up to 25% sitewide, depending on the store.)  This sale is in effect today and tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday, December 2nd and December 3rd.

Take advantage of the TeachersPayTeachers sale on 12/2/19 & 12/3/19 to save up to 25% with promo code CYBER19! | The ESL Nexus
Shop all resources at The ESL Nexus HERE
I just finished a resource that was about 2 years in the making.  Well, it was in my mind for 2 years; it actually took me just several weeks to create it.  It consists of 100 biographies of notable women in American history and is called Famous & Important American Women.  Each bio is on a task card, accompanied by a photograph of the woman being profiled.  Included in the resource is a list of 15 ideas for using the task cards.  Please click HERE for more details.

Take advantage of the TeachersPayTeachers sale on 12/2/19 & 12/3/19 to save up to 25% with promo code CYBER19! | The ESL Nexus
To purchase this resource, click HERE
This is a companion to my similar resources about Women Around the World Biography Task Cards and African-American Biography Task Cards.  So I also created 2 bundles.  The first bundle includes the 2 resources about women; please click HERE for info about it.  The second bundle includes all 3 resources – the 2 about women and the 1 about African-Americans and you can find out more about it HERE.  Both bundles are discounted 20%.  So if you buy a bundle today, you’ll get the sale discount on top of the already-reduced price, which is, in my opinion, a really nice deal. 

Take advantage of the TeachersPayTeachers sale on 12/2/19 & 12/3/19 to save up to 25% with promo code CYBER19! | The ESL Nexus
Click HERE to get this bundle
Take advantage of the TeachersPayTeachers sale on 12/2/19 & 12/3/19 to save up to 25% with promo code CYBER19! | The ESL Nexus
Click HERE to get this bundle
As a matter of fact, all my bundles are already discounted so combined with the sale prices, you can really save a lot by buying them today or tomorrow.  I have a special category to make it easy to find all my bundles.  Just click HERE to see them all.

Of course, I also have resources for the December holidays, January holidays, and Chinese New Year, if you're looking for something to use in your classroom before February.  There are multilingual posters, word search and crossword puzzles, and posters about U.S. holidays that are good for bulleting board displays or as supplements to your teaching.

Happy shopping!


Monday, November 18, 2019

How to Teach about Thanksgiving in a Culturally Appropriate Way

"Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pokanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun."
-- Tecumseh, Shawnee leader and warrior

As Thanksgiving in the U.S. approaches, I’d like to resurface a couple of my previous blog posts about the holiday, share some articles and websites about celebrating the holiday, and bring your attention to 3 of my TpT resources about Thanksgiving and Native words that are now commonly used in English.  All the articles, websites, and resources mentioned in this blog post can be used to teach about Thanksgiving in ways that respect Native American opinions about the holiday.

This roundup of resources helps educators teach about Thanksgiving in culturally appropriate ways | The ESL Nexus
Clockwise from top left: Euro-American Thanksgiving dinner, Native American stew, landscape around Wampanoag Homesite near Plimoth Plantation; source: The ESL Nexus
First, my Blog Posts:
Shortly before I moved to Arizona, I visited Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts and took lots of photos that I subsequently shared with my students. 

* This blog post includes a few of those photos that you can use to compare and contrast the cultures of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people.  You can read it HERE.

* This blog post is an annotated list of books about Thanksgiving that are appropriate for English Language Learners at different language proficiency levels.  It categorizes them by proficiency level and gives a brief summary of each book.  You can find this post HERE(The links to the books are affiliate links.  As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  That means that I receive a small commission if you buy any of those books but it is at no extra cost to you.  I appreciate your support!)

Second, the Articles and Websites:
Americans’ ideas about the origin of Thanksgiving have changed as more scholarship has been done and Native opinions have become more visible.  The articles and websites listed below offer a perspective about Thanksgiving that is different from the one many people of a certain age grew up with.  Even now, teaching students about Thanksgiving from the Native American viewpoint or in a culturally respectful manner is not the norm in all schools.  But all students should be exposed to Native voices about how the arrival of the Pilgrims affected the indigenous people in what is now the United States.  The first 2 links are articles and the last 2 links are websites and all will help provide that perspective:

* The Wampanoag Side of the First Thanksgiving Story.  The Wampanoags were the people who met the English settlers in the 17th century and this article offers their perspective about Thanksgiving. 

* Do American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving? This article discusses what happened in 1621 from a Native perspective and how many Native people do or do not celebrate Thanksgiving nowadays.

* Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools.  This website includes letters you can send home to parents, links to resources, and books about Native American cultures that you and your students can read.

* November is National American Indian Heritage Month. This website offers resources from The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Third, my TpT Products: 
I have created a couple TpT resources about Thanksgiving.  One is for math practice and the other is about Thanksgiving-related vocabulary words.  I’ve also created a resource about English words that come from Nahuatl and Algonquian languages.

* Thanksgiving Word Search and Crossword Puzzles.  There are 3 word searches and 1 crossword puzzle in this resource; all the puzzles use the same 20 words.  The word searches are differentiated according to the level of difficulty needed to solve them and a word bank accompanies the crossword puzzle for students who need extra support.  For more info, please click HERE.

* Thanksgiving Math Task Cards.  This is a set of task cards, differentiated at two levels, that teach students about a Thanksgiving meal while giving them practice solving fraction word problems.  They are particularly helpful for ELLs who are new to the holiday because the word problems are all about the kinds of food eaten at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  You can find this resource HERE.

* English Words with Nahuatl and Algonquian Origins.  These posters and flashcards present 30 English words whose roots are in indigenous American languages.  The Wampanoags, the Native people who met the English now known as the Pilgrims, spoke an Algonquian language.  You can use this resource when teaching about Thanksgiving to show one way that Native cultures impacted the settlers. For more info, please click HERE.

I hope these ideas help you teach about this holiday in a more accurate and objective way.  Happy Thanksgiving!