Journey Back to 1621, Hear Migrants’ Stories, Tap Digital Tools & More
"Winning" Funding Finds
Supplement Your Stretched Budget
GetEdFunding is CDW-G’s new website to help educators and institutions find the funds they need to supplement already stretched budgets. GetEdFunding is a free and fresh resource, which hosts a collection of more than 1,800 grants and other funding opportunities culled from federal, state, regional and community sources and available to public and private, preK–12 educators, schools and districts, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations that work with them. The site offers customized searches by six criteria, including 41 areas of focus, eight content areas and any of the 21st century themes and skills that support your curriculum. Once you are registered on the site, you can save the grants of greatest interest and then return to read about them at any time.
Reach Hard-to-Reach Students
The Tina B. Carver Fund honors the life and work of a longtime member of TESOL and the ESL/EFL community. Established by Carver’s family and colleagues, the fund provides grants of up to $400 for the purchase of student classroom learning materials and/or teacher-related materials (for example, ancillary resources that can be used in conjunction with textbooks or other instructional materials) to support adult ESL education programs in the United States. A TESOL member, or member of a TESOL affiliate, may submit an application on behalf of a community-based organization, charitable institution or other nonprofit in the United States that carries 501(c)(3) status and provides ESL programming for adults. Awarded grants will primarily serve the hardest-to-reach students with limited resources.
Deadlines: January 31, May 31, September 30, annuallyClick Here for More Information
Move Beyond Words
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Youth Literacy Grants are available to schools, public libraries and nonprofit organizations to help students who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading. Grant funding is provided to assist in the following areas: implementing new or expanding existing literacy programs, purchasing new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives and purchasing books, materials or software for literacy programs.
Deadline: Grant application available January 2014
Plus: The Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Adult Literacy Grants are available to nonprofit organizations that provide direct service to adults in need of literacy assistance. Organizations must provide help in one of the following instructional areas: adult basic education, GED or high school equivalency preparation and English language acquisition.
Deadline: Grant application available January 2014
Toward a More Literate Society
In 1995, using only donated funds, ProLiteracy established the National Book Fund (NBF) to provide local literacy programs throughout the United States with New Readers Press books and other educational materials. To date, ProLiteracy has distributed almost 1,500 grant awards totaling more than $2.6 million worth of materials to organizations in 50 states and the District of Columbia. NBF funds organizations providing service in the following areas: basic literacy, adult basic education, English as a second language (ESL) and family literacy. New Readers Press, the publishing division of ProLiteracy, provides the books and materials distributed through NBF.
Deadline: Grant application available March 1, 2014
Big-Value, No-Cost Resources
A Global Microphone
After struggling with how best to teach digital citizenship to ELL students in their respective school districts, two California teachers who, between them, have taught for a total of 44 years, collaboratively created and now curate the Digital ID Project, a free collaborative wiki designed to provide educators and students with the tools and resources they need in order to maintain a healthy digital identity. Their digital citizenship pedagogy has four focal points: eliminating cyberbullying, building awareness of digital footprints, understanding intellectual property rights and protecting online privacy. As the teachers constructed curriculum around these topics, one of the first gaps that emerged was language, so they created a glossary of digital citizenship terms (in Arabic, Spanish and Vietnamese), with more than 50 words related to participating in online environments, such as upstander, bystander, phishing, Creative Commons and sexting. Each word features a student-friendly definition in both text and audio and is translated into multiple languages to make it more accessible for ELLs. They have also cross-referenced short, engaging videos that explain each vocabulary word and concept. In addition, a collection of Spanish language resources includes informative videos and guides and is part of an ongoing curation of tools particularly targeted to ELL parents.
Plus: The Digital ID Project also serves as a platform for student-created content, where students teach digital citizenship concepts to their peers. The project’s annual Public Service Announcement (PSA) Challenge invites students in grades 4–12 across the country to take the concepts they’ve learned about digital citizenship and teach them to peers in the form of a 90-second video. To help your students plan an award-winning PSA, check out the 2014 PSA General Guidelines and Forms, which you can download from the project’s website. The document includes Teacher Guidelines (for online submission of student PSAs); Student Checklist for Submitting the PSA; Sources and Citations; and Scoring Guidelines (judge’s rubric). PSA entries are due by 11:59 p.m. on May 5, 2014. A panel of judges will select the winners, who will be announced on May 19, 2014. Each of the top three winning entries for elementary, middle school and high school will be awarded a $25 iTunes card. As an added incentive to submit a video before the deadline, the first three entries uploaded on or before 11:59 p.m. on April 18, 2014, will be awarded a $15 iTunes card.
SPOTLIGHT! On Language, Literacy and Learning
The new, widely adopted Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards call for all students, including English learners, to master an array of academic language practices that are critical to achievement in content areas.
Stanford University’s Understanding Language initiative aims to heighten educator awareness of the critical role that language plays in the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. The long-term goal of the initiative is to increase recognition that learning the language of each academic discipline is essential to learning content. Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information; articulating and building on ideas; constructing explanations; engaging in argument from evidence—such language-rich performance expectations permeate the new standards.
A team of educators at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education is currently developing sets of free teaching resources that exemplify high-quality instruction for ELLs across three content areas. The resources will correspond to the widely adopted Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics and to the Next Generation Science Standards. In an effort to create and review resources, the group of experts in language and content are also collaborating with a range of teachers and partnering with school districts. If you would like to engage in these efforts, sign up for the project’s enewsletter or send an email to UnderstandingLanguage@stanford.edu.
Exemplars of Language Instruction
The Teaching Channel (Tch) is offering a new six-part video series entitled English Language Arts and English Language Learners, showcasing an exemplar unit focused on ELA instruction for middle school English language learners. These videos, produced in conjunction with Stanford University’s Understand Language initiative, examine the key shifts found in the Common Core State Standards. The videos highlight opportunities to grow students’ disciplinary knowledge and English language skills in heterogeneous classrooms. Watch how two teachers bring this unit to life. Register on the Teaching Channel’s website to get free downloads for this video series—a full unit, lesson plans and student worksheets.
Technology Recipes for English Learning
English language learners can feel pressured to master English quickly, with class time spent correcting errors instead of using language in meaningful ways. Digital IS, a website developed by the National Writing Project, shares plans for projects that honor students’ home languages and cultures, engaging students in critical thinking, collaboration and use of digital tools. Anne Herrington and Charlie Moran, professors of English at University of Massachusetts Amherst, curate the project collection, “English Language Learners, Digital Tools, Authentic Audiences.”
A Webquest About Webquests
ESL/CivicsLink is a flexible new online professional development system for ESL teachers. Developed by adult educators for adult educators and tested in the field, this innovative web-based program prepares educators to teach English to speakers of other languages, enhance cross-cultural awareness and integrate English literacy instruction and civics education. The ESL/CivicsLink online professional development system covers core issues in teaching ESL and civics, encouraging active engagement through project-based learning. It works for small-group study with peer mentoring, and with both facilitated and nonfacilitated models. The professional development system provides customized portfolios in which teachers save journal entries, lesson plans, project work and resources. It also provides teachers with a collaboration tool via threaded discussions and includes relevant online and offline resources. ESL/CivicsLink was jointly developed by PBS Adult Learning Service, The National Center on Adult Literacy (NCAL) at the University of Pennsylvania and Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education, Louisville, Kentucky. Try a sample from the ESL/CivicsLink unit “Using the Internet in the Classroom.” This sample will give you a chance to see a good part of the unit, with access to the introduction, an activity on evaluating websites, the second of two projects (Exploring webquests) and the review.
New Technologies for ELLs
The British Council’s EnglishAgenda podcast features news about English language teaching. Listen to interviews with leading experts and find out about innovative projects from around the world. The podcast will be of interest to English language teachers and trainers as well as people working in research and other related areas of English language teaching. EnglishAgenda’s first podcast (October 15, 2013) takes a look at some new technologies for English language teaching and training. In the podcast, Graham Stanley gives insight into the project Ceibal en Inglés, which uses videoconferencing technology to bring remote teachers into primary schools all around Uruguay. In the second podcast (November 5, 2013), Dr. Maggie Sokolik talks about a new and innovative massive open online course, or MOOC, aimed at developing writing skills for English language learners.
Plus: The British Council’s TeachingEnglish website has new tools and materials to help you in the classroom and with your professional development. Across the site, you’ll find free classroom materials to download, from short activities to full lesson plans, for teaching youth and adults. You’ll also find articles on aspects of teaching as well as free teacher development and teacher training materials. You can register on TeachingEnglish and join in the discussion or start your own blog. You can also keep up to date with new materials via Facebook or subscribe to the TeachingEnglish newsletter.
A Fraction Is …
The Common Core State Standards stress the importance of having students use math vocabulary in written and spoken explanations of their thinking. MathTerms, an illustrated glossary of mathematics terms in English and Spanish, can help students use math vocabulary to express their thinking. The MathTerms app includes almost 1,000 entries of middle school mathematics and high school (Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Precalculus, Calculus and Statistics) concepts. The entries include colorful, annotated illustrations and complete sentence-based definitions in English and Spanish. In addition, the app features toggle display of English and Spanish terms, alphabetical indexes, search function in English and Spanish, and toggle display of Spanish definitions, enabling flashcard function. No Internet connection is required for use.
Mobile Device: iPad
Put on Your Thinking Cap
StoryLines for Schools is like the game of Telephone but with pictures. The game sparks students’ creativity as they learn language concepts. The teacher begins a StoryLine with a common saying. A student grows the StoryLine by illustrating that saying on a mobile device. The device is then passed to another student, who titles that drawing (without seeing the original saying). Yet another student illustrates that title and so on, until everyone gets a big laugh at the end. StoryLine can also be used to review vocabulary.
Mobile Devices: iPad, iPhone
Rise to the Challenge
The EF English First High Flyers app helps students learn more than 1,000 vocabulary words, starting with numbers and everyday objects. After studying a set of words (with audio and picture support), students test their knowledge through spelling, vocabulary listening and reading quizzes. The emphasis on a variety of skills holds students accountable for having a comprehensive understanding of how to use each new set of words.
Mobile Device: iPad
Fact or Myth?
At the Plimoth Plantation’s You Are the Historian website, students become history detectives as they investigate the first Thanksgiving. (Some historians think that “The First Thanksgiving” wasn’t really a thanksgiving. They call it “The 1621 Harvest Celebration” because it was more like a harvest festival.) On this website, students use clues to try to figure out what really happened at the 1621 harvest celebration. They are guided by Dancing Hawk, a Wampanoag whose ancestors were at the harvest celebration, and by Sarah, whose ancestor, Remember Allerton, was at the celebration too. If students don’t know the meaning of a word they encounter, they can use the online Glossary. Or if they want an expert opinion, they can go to Visit the Expert.
Plus: A Teacher’s Guide includes corresponding online activities for Historian Skills: separating fact from myth, identifying and analyzing primary sources, making educated guesses using cultural clues and considering multiple points of view. The Teacher’s Guide also includes a Historian’s Log with free, downloadable graphic organizers to further students’ online understanding and enhance offline work. The student activities are based on the Teaching for Understanding framework developed by educators at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Plus: The History Channel offers information about the history of Thanksgiving, including videos and audio clips of interviews with Plimoth Plantation living history museum characters.
Read All About It!
Just in time for the Common Core emphasis on nonfiction reading, NEWSELA is a new website that provides daily current events articles written specifically for K–12 students. Each day the site adds three new articles to their collection, which includes the categories War & Peace, Science, Kids, Money, Law, Health and Arts. For every article, there are versions written at different Lexile levels. With just a few clicks, a teacher can provide the same story leveled for students of differing reading ability.
“O Say Can You See …”
On September 14, 1814, US soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem. Key’s words gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which generations of Americans have invested the flag with their own meanings and memories. On the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History website, your ESL students can collect stars by correctly answering 14 quiz questions about the American flag, and if they can fill in all of the stars on the flag, they’ll get a special reward. They can also explore the features of the flag, zoom in for incredible detail and discover something new each time they click. And they can share their thoughts about what the American flag means to them. Students’ photos and stories will make up a mosaic image of the flag for all to see.
Plus: Learn about the melody Francis Scott Key used for his song. Then download the lyrics and invite students to sing along.
Stories of Struggle and Success
People have been migrating since time immemorial. They have moved for safety from earthquakes and drought, from war and disease, from persecution and economic hardship. They have the same characteristics as our immigrant forebears who gave up the familiarity and comfort of home in order to take risks and build a better life. Feel Like You Belong TV is a free online video series of real stories about the real people we call migrants. They may be the seasonal workers who traverse the country picking our daily produce. They may be the expatriates who come on temporary assignment for their multinational companies. Or they may be the intrepid men, women and children who have committed to calling these United States their new homeland. Join these storytellers every week and learn about what still makes America a destination for entrepreneurs and risk takers—the people who moved themselves and their families across deserts and oceans; the people who add to each new generation’s vibrancy and “can-do” spirit.
The American Dream
KQED Education’s Immigrant Voices website provides lesson plans for ESL educators who plan to delve into the immigration reform legislation and the impact it may have on students. Becoming a Citizen examines issues around citizenship, both the process involved in naturalization and the rights and privileges that are part of US citizenship. The lesson explores what becoming a citizen means to students. Following the DREAM Act examines what students know and need to know about this legislative proposal. The lesson works with voices from KQED’s Perspectives series to illustrate the realities of living without documentation. Language development activities are generated from these media texts. The Top 5 States Immigrants Choose as Home introduces some historical context: The United States is a nation of immigrants from all over the world. Where do most of these immigrants settle? Which states show the biggest increase in immigration during the last 10 years? According to recent statistics, some states attract more immigrants than others. The question is why? Again, students practice language skills, specifically reading and comprehension skills, as they work with up-to-date immigration statistics—in the form of infographics—to reflect on these trends.
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