Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Some "Old School" EAL Resources

Here are some of the various books that I use to teach EAL.  I only referred to them as "old school" because they aren't digital although some come with audio/DVD supports.  I know teachers are curious what they can use to teach EAL and there's no magic all-inclusive program but there are tons of resources available out there.  These are a few that I've used ...some are from the resource lists for the locally-developed EAL courses.  If you want more info, let me know.

Oxford Bookworms and Penguin Readers - Both series are designed for EAL students and come in a variety of genres with different levels.  The penguin readers can be bought with audio CDs and both sets have glossaries and comprehension questions as well as activities to practice reading strategies.

More resources to teach comprehension strategies.  These are listed as resources in some of the locally developed courses such as EAL B10L.

Appropriately leveled readers for EAL high school students.  The one on the left has fantastic images and a great format.  The Reading Explorer books also come with several support materials including CD-Roms, DVDs, a teacher guide, and audio CD.  I haven't used it much as I just got it as a sample book but the topics are relevant and there are lots of vocabulary building activities, reading passages, reading comprehension,and the complementary digital media.

I teach a lot of EAL literacy classes so quite a few of my resources are subject-specific.  These Science resources are excellent and are at an upper elementary level but cover content-obligatory language and include relevant topics.

The Azar Grammar Books are kind of like the bible of grammar to me.  I love the way they present tenses and provide lots of opportunities for students to practice grammar forms.  There are three levels and they also include some CDs for sections on listening comprehension.  Writing Matters is a book I just discovered this year and it's fantastic.  My students are writing amazing paragraphs and my only complaint is that I don't have enough time to cover everything I'd like to as there are so many different writing forms and practice activities.

These come with a CD and are a fun way to practice conversational English and reading/speaking fluency.  The beginning book is great because you find students that are shy when it comes to speaking up will finally become a bit more confident with participating in an English conversation.

Again, more examples of reading comprehension practice books and high-interest, low readability.  Great for beginning readers.

More reading practice!
I have dozens more..there is simply not enough time and I often choose resources once I learn more about the students who I will be teaching in a particular semester.

I should also mention that I also teach an EAL math class and have been using the Math Makes Sense program with manipulatives quite successfully.  We focus on the vocabulary words in each unit and my students are quite successful now with the math vocabulary and the math concepts in general.

Of course, I also use quite a online resources and various programs and have posted a few in recent posts.  I'll try to get around to writing another post with more of those.

Friday, May 17, 2013

RCMP Royal Road Race - A great day!

Sawatzky Studios: 2013 Royal Road Race Portraits &emdash; Thorson-T-3Last Saturday, I participated in the Royal Road Race for the first time.  It's a 10 km race around the RCMP barracks in Regina and it was an awesome family experience.  As soon as we got there, we were greeted by the RCMP bagpipers and the kids had a chance to meet Safety Bear which they loved. 

I wasn't super excited for the running part because it's been a tough spring for training and I had just run a half marathon less than two weeks prior.  I was ready for the distance aspect but not so much for the speed.  I pushed myself and ended up with a painful side stitch which rarely happens to me.  I ran through it even though it felt like my appendix was going to explode.  There was no imagining it as I still felt sore for the next couple of days but it's all better now.  Yeah, I'm tough...or stupid.  In the end, I finished in 52:27...a solid time considering my limited outdoor running and the hours I substituted thesis writing for training.  Somehow, reading and researching in libraries doesn't provide quite the same training benefits as hitting the pavement (or snow and ice as was the case in Saskatchewan this "spring").

I really wanted to post about this race because it was fantastic and possibly the best brunch I've ever had post-race.  There was way too much food to choose from and the service was fantastic.  Also, where else do you have RCMP officers saluting you while finishing a race?  It was absolutely wonderful all around and even the weather co-operated for once.  Also, thanks to Sawatzky Studios for the lovely memories of a fun day!

  Sawatzky Studios: 2013 Royal Road Race Portraits &emdash; Thorson-T

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Notes from the IT Summit

Keynote: Ewan McIntosh

What kids love that helps them learn:
1.       Collaborate
2.       Challenge
3.       Responsibility
4.       Respect
5.       Real things

People like three to nineteen choices in life.

Checklist for good generative topics
·         Does it pass the “so what?” test?
·         Is it epic and big scale, not tiny and “fake”?
·         Does it cover more than just one curriculum subject or topic, or have four or more ways of solving it?
·         Does it spark natural curiosity?
·         Is there enough potential material in which learners can immerse themselves?
·         Can it be made accessible, feasible to access for every learner?
Think of as many titles as possible. 
Do not justify ideas. 
Keep going even after you think you have a great one.

Strategies used with students for them to reflect upon their learning:

Reflecting on learning as a community
Reflecting on individual learning
Thumbs up / Thumbs Down
One-on-one conversations
Three way conferences
Group Discussions
Sticky Notes
Silent Chatter
Exit Slips
Flexible Groups
Photo Timelines
Graphic Organizers
Graphic Organizers
Carousel Brainstorming

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