Hello colleagues, We had a wonderfully engaging discussion during last week's coffee break. There were so many excellent ideas shared. In this message, you will find a summary of the discussion focused on the tips and lessons learned and the many instructional resources that were recommended -- particularly for supporting a virtual class. A SPECIAL THANKS to everyone who shared their ideas!
In later posts, I'll summarize the questions that coffee break participants shared with us, some additional suggestions for ways to effectively structure virtual classes as well as professional development resources.
Please feel free to add your own ideas to this list!
Take care, Susan Finn Miller
Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACQUISITION COMMUNITY’S COFFEE BREAK ON JUNE 30, 2020
Tips and Lessons Learned from Teaching During the Pandemic
- Joanne Fry: “Encourage relationships among students, so they see each other as resources.”
- Patsy Egan: “Don't hesitate to engage family members of students to help get folks online, teach downloaded apps to phones, etc. Sometimes the kids are the greatest resource!”
- Joanne Fry: Use WhatsApp whatsapp.com [FREE] to stay in touch with students
- Ranada Carter & Cynthia Shermeyer: “Flexibility is very important. Every student learns at a different pace.” Also from Cynthia: “Patience and be kind and forgiving to yourself.”
- Jonathan Power: “Do not assume a high level of tech proficiency from adult students, and create more engaging mechanisms to keep students involved in the virtual work.”
- Patsy Egan: “Gather students' emails EARLY; practice by using an [online] class site often where assignments/readings are held. Many teachers plan to use their Google [FREE] or Weebly weebly.com [FREE] sites from now on!”
- Liz Harris: “Be ready for the unexpected. Stay up on new ideas/technology. Train constantly.”
- Patsy Egan: “There's new attention to digital access (both hardware and wifi) as a core equity issue.”
- Patsy Egan: “I've been SO impressed by all the Google teaching sites instructors have put together, a lot of which will no doubt become ‘the new normal’ long after this pandemic has passed.”
- Xavier Munoz: “Many teachers embracing the challenge of learning many new technology tools. Reconnecting with some students who wouldn't have been able to continue in person.”
- Sharmayne Perkins: “To have students use more technology in the classroom, so it's not so unfamiliar.”
Recommended Instructional Resources
Reading (& Listening)
- Joanne Fry: Newsela newsela.com for articles at different levels FREE. There are audio recordings of the articles, but they are computer-generated which doesn’t sound natural.
- Ranada Carter: ReadWorks for reading and listening to articles at a range of levels; some resources are still FREE. readworks.com
- Susan Finn Miller: ESL Literacy Readers https://globalaccess.bowvalleycollege.ca/tools/esl-literacy-readers – FREE beautiful immigrant-relevant stories from beginning literacy to intermediate; each story also includes audio.
- Julie Stanton: Easy English News-online has been very good for ESOL students -- https://www.elizabethclaire.com/products/easy-english-news. This site is FEE-BASED but there are a few resources available for free here: https://www.elizabethclaire.com/collections/free-stuff]
- Susan Finn Miller: Breaking News English breakingnewsenglish.com [FREE] – news stories to both read and listen to at a range of levels –but not for the lowest level learners. Each news story features a wide range of activities and online games.
- Cindy Shermeyer: ello.org for FREE audio and video conversations featuring English learners from around the world --rather than immigrants; lessons are available from high beginning to advanced; also includes quizzes.
- Rita Nutter: Edpuzzle https://edpuzzle.com/home – Choose from videos with embedded questions or embed questions into teacher-selected videos. FREE
- Jonathan Power: http://tubequizard.com/ FREE “This is a site that creates instant quizzes based on YouTube videos, to target grammar, vocabulary, conversation topics, etc. Can be done as a partner activity for shared practice.”
- Ranada Carter: “KhanAcademy is a pretty good resource with videos.” FREE [mostly advanced] video lessons on a wide range of topics https://www.khanacademy.org/
- Najwa Badawi: elcivics.com – A site with FREE lessons on a wide range of civics topics at different levels
- Patsy Egan: “Speaking of civics -- for great resources on equity, inclusion, talking with your students around stereotypes, first amendment rights, etc. – FREE https://sites.google.com/view/iamabe/about-iamabe”
- Susan Finn Miller: The Change Agent is a magazine created by and for adult learners that often deals with civics topics. The magazine is FREE for those located in New English and FEE-BASED for those outside of that region. However, there are some great materials that are FREE including the entire issue on the 2020 Census and the one on racial discrimination https://changeagent.nelrc.org/
Conversation and Connecting with Learners
- Terri Gunn: “For conversation, ask what we are thankful for each time and one good thing that made them happy that day. We all need to accentuate the positive.”
Online Learners’ Dictionaries
- Joanne Fry: FREE online learners’ dictionaries which feature student-friendly examples for how we use words and audio for pronunciation practice: Meriam-Webster https://www.learnersdictionary.com; Collins https://www.collinsdictionary.com; Longman https://www.ldoceonline.com
Writing and/or Conversation
- Terri Gunn: “Use I Spy pictures and have students write sentences about what they see.”
Here’s a FREE online resource for photos—no subscription or registration required, “The New York Times
What's Going On in this Picture?” https://www.nytimes.com/column/learning-whats-going-on-in-this-picture
- Xavier Munoz: “The NY Times also has ‘What's Going on in This Graph?’ Similar concept [to ‘What’s Going On in This Picture’] but has a range of infographics, charts, etc.” This resource is FREE and does not require a subscription or registration. https://www.nytimes.com/column/whats-going-on-in-this-graph
Students Create Videos
- Joanne Fry: Flipgrid.com – FREE resource which enables teachers to create an online class and engages students in discussion as well as in recording videos in response to prompts
- Susan Finn Miller: polleverywhere.com [FREE] allows teachers to create online polls. This is a great way to focus on reading and interpreting graphic information.
- Xavier Munoz: “Some of our teachers have found https://www.baamboozle.com/games adds some nice variety for interactive activities.” FREE
- Joanne Fry: Here are 3 suggestions for FREE online spinner wheel sites - https://pickerwheel.com; https://wheeldecide.com; https://wheelofnames.com
- Joanne Fry: Flippity.net is a good website [FREE] for creating lots of games to do in class
- Susan Finn Miller: Quizzizz.com a FREE games site where teachers can choose from hundreds of games created by other teachers or create their own. It’s super easy to create games on this site. Check out my post on LINCS about quizzizz.com. In my post, I’ve linked to a game I created which you can try out. https://community.lincs.ed.gov/group/20/discussion/quizzizzcom-online-games
- Joanne Fry: “Quizlet quizlet.com [FREE] and untimed Kahoot kahoot.com [FREE] have worked well, both for in-class and individual practice.” Quizlet offers flashcards and learning games; Kahoot offers learning games.
- Rita Nutter: “I sent all of my beginners a whiteboard /eraser & marker in the mail.”
- Sharmayne Perkins: Have students write on paper, take a picture and then email or text to instructor.
For Teacher-Created (or student-created) Presentations (that integrate slides, video or audio)
- Terri Gunn: Screencast-O-Matic https://screencast-o-matic.com/ is a site where teachers can create video or audio presentations. The recordings are FREE if they are under 15 minutes.
- Elizabeth Weldy: Screencastify.com, a [FREE] Google app that allows you to create videos that upload to your Google Drive for Google Classroom. To activate unlimited access follow these instructions:
- Visit this page and click “Redeem coupon” (underhttps://www.burlingtonenglish.com/ the Next Billing Date)
- Enter code CAST_COVID
- Click “Activate License” (no credit card required). Ignore the Next Billing Date – that will be incorrect
Fully-Developed Curricular Resources
- Delores Payseur: We are using USA Learns usalearns.org [FREE] and hope to start using Burlington English burlingtonenglish.com [FEE-BASED] soon.”
- Lee Heller: English for New Bostonians: Resources for Teachers and Learners with a new digital literacy curriculum coming soon and FREE! https://www.englishfornewbostonians.org/teacher-resources/
- Elizabeth Claire's Easy English News, mentioned in an earlier comment, will now be offering a DIGITAL version! Prices are the same as print copies, and delivery method (hard copy or digital) can be switched at any time, with advance notice. Each issue also come with a teacher's guide, and reproducible quizzes. For more information, or to view previous issues, go to: www.elizabethclaire.com
- If you are looking for a resource for non-fiction readings (with computer generated audio), try www.commonlit.org. Text complexity can be assigned by grade level or lexile range. Standards based quizzes can also be generated. The site now integrates with Google Classroom, but content can be downloaded and shared as a PDF via e-mail as well.
Thanks for sharing these resources, Cathie!
Take care, Susan