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Topics - pskim4

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I took an ESL endorsement class, CI 446 "Culture in the Classroom", this past semester and learned about the topics of translanguaging and code-switching and the benefits of using both L1 and L2 in the classroom.

Some of the benefits of allowing the use of both languages and even inviting the use of the student's home language in the classroom include development of overall literacy, more positive attitude towards and validation of both languages (no hierarchy or belittling of certain languages/cultures), more creativity and freedom in accessing and expressing ideas in writing, and better acquisition of L2.

An idea for an activity to invite students to write in both (or more) languages that they know is personal journaling. Since schools are becoming more diverse in America, it is highly unlikely that the teacher will know all of the languages that his or her students use and so it would be difficult for him or her to grade this activity. I would imagine that this would be more of a participatory grade if graded at all. Some of the writing activities that students could engage in are diary entries, creative writing, poetry, or writing about themselves and reflecting on their personal experiences in language learning. If the teacher writes in this manner and shares their work to the students, this could be a way to raise positive attitudes towards all languages and cultures in the classroom as well.

Korean is the language I use the most at home because that is my parents' and grandmother's native language. I learned to read and write Korean through a children's TV show that my grandma insisted I watch while I lived in Italy because she was afraid I would not learn the language if I grew up in a foreign country. The TV show was very colorful, animated, and interactive and it taught how to read and write and included brain break activities like dancing or singing. An American TV show that I might relate it to is Sesame Street. It was a typical, engaging children's educational show, and I would say that it was quite effective because I still use the language today.

I learned the Korean and Italian language simultaneously and I remember it came pretty easy because I grew up immersed in both cultures but also because both languages had a phonetic written language. Also, my parents were grad students so they were learning and practicing Italian at home as well.

When I came to America at age 6, learning to read and write in English was quite difficult. (1) I had to relearn the names and sounds of the alphabet that looked the same in Italian, (2) my kindergarten teacher had very negative responses to my lack of English proficiency and scolded me for using my Korean name instead of my new American name so I had an overall negative attitude towards her and the language and did not participate much in school until I moved to a new one, and (3) my parents did not use English at home at all so the only exposure I had to it was at school. Because of all the pressure to learn English and the lack of practice or resources for learning Italian and no one to practice with, I eventually ended up forgetting almost all of Italian. I still know the rules for reading Italian and can pronounce all the words correctly in the language, but I have no idea what I read means and my mother has also told me that my phrasing and intonation is a bit awkward.

I continued learning to read and write in Korean at Korean school on Saturdays at church, and I was great at it compared to my other Korean-American friends, so I was motivated and confident, and so I kept learning and have maintained the skills. After Korean school was over I did not practice reading and writing Korean until I came to college and took KOR 242 at the U of I, which was a lot of fun. The teacher was really good at explaining common grammatical mistakes and answering any questions we had, and she spoke at a slower but natural rate and very clearly so it was easier for students to follow. She also made great use of the chalkboard, Moodle (our class website) and other technology and Internet resources to make the class more engaging and resources easily accessible to the students.

I learned French in junior high and high school. One of my favorite activities was listening to popular music and underlining vocabulary or phrases we learned, filling in blanks, or translating/deciphering the meaning into English. (I have found that popular culture is an effective way in engaging students to learn any language) Another effective activity we did in year four of high school French was read the book Le Petit Prince. It had relatively simple text but the discussions and writing activities we had on the content of the book were meaningful and authentic so we were able to go into deeper and more fluid use of the language.

  • positive relationships and interactions with teachers and peers is greatly beneficial to a language learner
  • there are "critical" or "sensitive" periods in language learning but there also has to be constant practice and development in order to maintain reading and writing skills in a language
  • technology is an effective way to engage students in language learning, if used intentionally and regularly
  • textbooks and worksheets are good, but there are unique benefits in practicing the language through authentic or trendy ways; the latter is more helpful in engagement and motivation than the first

Vocabulary / Learning English Through Sharing Life Experiences
« on: May 13, 2018, 05:28:45 PM »
This is an activity that I have seen work well personally. This would only work well in a situation where I am personally close to the English learner, however that also makes this very effective.

Inviting someone into an American home and sharing a meal with them is a great way to show them American life as well as learn the language. I once invited a friend who was an international student to my home for Thanksgiving dinner and she shared with me on how valuable and unique the experience was for her personally but also as someone learning English. She was able to experience an actual American home as well as a quintessential meal like Thanksgiving. She learned about my family members through life stories they shared with her and she was able to share about her life to them too as they asked her questions. This running conversation was a way for her to practice speaking in an unstructured but vital way that she had not had the chance to do before. She said it was like doing what she learned in the movies with what she also learned in her classes. It was natural and fluid.

Although this was something done in my home, I wonder if there is a way to replicate such an authentic experience in the classroom setting or even if out of the class, a way to teach this without having to rely on a family to teach each individual.

Vocabulary / Money and Manners
« on: May 13, 2018, 05:22:20 PM »
This one would be most beneficial for a younger age group since it is a common social skill, but would be appropriate for anyone new to learning English, too.
Similar to my previously posted grocery shopping activity (hereís a link to that post), individuals will learn how to have certain interactions in English in the setting of a marketplace.
Students would be given fake money that represents the actual currency and be able to use how much they are given at several stations, which would represent vendors. Students would be playing both roles so they are practicing English with one another (the teacher can be as involved or not as appropriate for each level and situation). As they practice giving and receiving money, they will then switch roles so that they can practice both sides. This will give them perspective on what itís like for the other side and also help them know how to respond better to small talk that usually happens in public.
By practicing through speaking and growing comfortable in practice, this can be a very useful activity in teaching English as well as how to respond to small talk with strangers.
The teacher may choose to create a worksheet with common vocabulary, phrases, and/or sentence starters that students can use during the activity.

One of the most basic activities of a person is eating and in order to do this, grocery shopping. This can be an activity done with any age group but may be more beneficial for those in secondary education and older. This activity would consist of several components: educational explanation, experience, and equipment.

First, there would be an explanation done of the activity and the purpose of it. The instructor would explain how individuals will be learning the names of common place grocery items, etiquette, and practicing useful phrases.
Then would come the experience of actually doing the activity (whether a mock one in the classroom or, if possible, at the actual store). Individuals would be able to touch different foods and learn what they are. They could ask questions that they were always too intimidated to ask and the instructor would show how certain produce is picked and general knowledge on how things may be used or where certain items can be found.
Finally, the group would be equipped to come on their own. Their knowledge is important but a final step would be in showing them how to ask others when they have questions in the future as well as conversational etiquette when checking out.

These steps show the group how to do a very common place activity in everyday life as well as allowing them to practice their skills and immersion in American culture. I imagine grocery shopping looks a little different in every country and modeling them through this will help them see firsthand on how itís done in the U.S. Also, since this is a regular, recurring personal activity, students would be able to regularly practice their vocabulary and phrases.

I discovered this resource (Newsela Text Sets) as I was looking at the Newsela website for my previous post on a different thread. (Here is the link to my original post on how I've used Newsela in the past! --> It seems to have upgraded since the last time I've used the website. It has really great instructional resources--you should check it out! :)

There are a variety of text sets available on this website, organized by school subjects or topics of interest, and you can also search by age group, reading level, grade level, or what reading skill you want to teach. Each text set includes lessons with articles that are linked from the Newsela collection and printable packets, activity handouts, rubrics, and other additional resources related to the unit.

I would link to try using this resource next time there is a lesson or discussion on a current event topic in the classroom!

If anyone uses or has used this resource before, please let me know and tell me more about it!  :D

Newsela is a great resource for reading news articles at modified/simplified reading levels. (And--it's FREE! :D  Although there is also a "Newsela Pro" version. I wouldn't know what to tell you about that, though, because I've only used the free version ;) )

There are many resources that modify fictional texts but this one focuses on nonfiction news articles as well as opinion pieces. (and the original sources are always available as well)

This website has a wide collection of articles that can easily be changed according to students' reading levels. Not only is this a convenient tool for teachers, it is greatly beneficial for students because by finding the appropriate, personalized article at or slightly above reading level students can engage with content that is within their Zone of Proximal Development and maximize their learning.

I have used this website as a tutoring resource with a 3rd grade elementary student for reading and with a 4th grade ESL student to teach English. The students enjoyed the fact that they could choose how hard or easy the article that they picked could be and that the website updated frequently for them to be up to date with a variety of news and current events. I was pleasantly surprised at their enthusiasm to want to challenge themselves and read at a higher reading level. It was a bit surprising to me to see them so engaged in the readings because they had struggled with and avoided reading nonfiction in the past.

Another benefit is that the articles include comprehension and short answer questions. The answers are only available in the paid version, but it was easy for us to go back to the article and check.

One way I would use this in a classroom setting might be for students to practice their summarizing and/or reporting skills. They could work individually or in groups to summarize or paraphrase the articles they read (and there is a wide variety of topics and articles available--another thumbs up!) and present to the class something new or exciting they learned and read about. You could even set up a classroom news station and do this activity as a recurring weekly or monthly thing.

I have attached a few screenshots to show you an example of the same article in different reading levels!
Also, I learned about a new feature, called "Power Words", and articles that have this feature include five vocabulary words that have definitions embedded in the article. Each reading level contains different vocabulary words according to the level.

Motivation / Learning through Seeing and Listening
« on: May 13, 2018, 02:46:42 PM »
      Who doesn't like watching TV??

No matter where you are in the world and how old you are, there is a pretty high chance that you watch TV. This is not only entertainmentóit can also be a good motivational tool for learning English. Not only would visuals aid in the classroom learning process but for more cultural cues and in growing the confidence of an individual through familiarity as well.
Using a show like Modern Family for the older audience would not only be educational but entertaining. This show is funny, easy to watch, and shows several examples of American family types. This combination will make learning that much easier. Individuals watching the show can get used to hearing the English language in a low-stress context as well as learn cultural cues. With these benefits and the comfortable nature of a fun TV show, individuals can feel more confident in learning and in turn, learn more in that short amount of time.
Even a few episodes a week of any show that allows a look into an American life would be a great tool in teaching English.
This is personally one of the ways I learned a few extra English phrases when I was new to America as a child. As I watched cartoons like Pokemon and Digimon, I would relate things I learned from the show with things I learned at elementary school. Sometimes my mom also watched with me and we practiced the vocabulary or phrases we learned with each other since she was learning English at the time as well.

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