TPT Sitewide Sale

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sitewide sale through August 2nd. I have my store set at 20% off. TPT is offering a 5% bonus with the code BTS2017, so that makes everything 25% off.

I just created a bundle set of my task cards.

Some other items that are great for the beginning of the school year are:

5 Ways to Get Free Books for a Classroom Library…Plus Book Labels

A well organized classroom library is at the heart of most literacy programs. Sorting books into categories help children find a book that they are looking for and also helps them to discover one that they did not think they wanted to read.

In my ESOL room I have a fairly large classroom library. It doesn’t always fit into the daily lessons since I would typically only see students for 30 minutes and they have independent reading time in their classroom. It was great for students that finished an activity early and I allowed student to borrow books.  Classroom teachers would tell me how excited students were to bring back a book with them.  Especially in upper grades some teachers didn’t always have high interest low level books so I tried to stock a large supply of those kinds of books (graphic novels were in constant demand.)

book lables blog

Where to find books?

  1. Donors Choose: My favorite place to get new books was through Donors Choose. I received a number of graphic novels and other new high interest, easy to read books. Keep an eye out for partner matches, they are a great way to fund projects at 50% off.  Here is an example of a funded book project. If you have never used the sight give it a try!
  2. Thrift Store: Books are typically very reasonably priced at thrift stores. Whenever I go into one I peek in the book section. Sometimes there is nothing but other times you hit the jackpot!
  3. Yard Sales: Same as thrift stores, sometimes you can get lucky.
  4. Other Teachers: Keep your eyes and ears open, especially near the end of the school year. Teachers moving
  5. Scholastic Book Points: When students place orders through scholastic you can earn points that can be used to get free books. As a non classroom teacher I have never been able to take advantage of this program but have good things from classroom teachers that do so.

I use book lables on each of the book baskets in my classroom library. This helps my non readers find books that they are interested in.  This is especially important for ESOL students where visual support is key.

ESOL Praxis Test Review

If you are interested in becoming an ESOL teacher, many states allow you to take the praxis exam and then use that to add on to your teaching licence. This weekend my husband went to a workshop and was very impressed with the information he learned from the review session. He had been searching for review materials and not finding anything so just wanted to put the word out that this training was helpful.

Probably the biggest piece of information he realized is that the test has been updated and the linguistic section removed. I remember that being the most challenging section so that was good news.

It looks like the trainings are offered around the country but not very frequently in any one city.

Alphabet Card Flash Cards

Learning the alphabetic code is an important part of early literacy.  This is also true for ESOL students.  My daughter is 2 1/2 years old. She is learning English as her first language. I came up with these alphabet cards as a way for her to learn new vocabulary, name familiar people, and the letters and sounds of the alphabet.

For ESOL students they could take part in a similar activity by going on a scavenger hunt for people and objects for each letter of the alphabet and taking pictures of them, then creating their own flash cards.  The flash cards can then be printed on cardstock or developed using a photo sight. Recently there have been deals for developing free photographs.  I used one from Amazon.  Shutterfly also has one  20 FREE 4×6 prints + free standard shipping.

I’ve included a template if you would like to create your own alphabet flash cards using photographs. Just insert pictures into the PowerPoint template, save as a .jpg file and then upload the file into a photo developing sight (or print on cardstock).

Assessing ESOL students & Changes to WIDA scoring

Throughout the school year I am assessing my ESOL students. Often this is through short formative assessments that are integrated into activities we are already doing.  To get a sense of their speaking level I will sometimes take out the WIDA speaking rubric and simply listen to students conversations and write down where they fall on the rubric. Writing is also easy to organically assess. I look at writing samples students have completed or are in the process of completing, take note of how much support they have received and again use the WIDA rubric to score.

Listening and reading are a bit more challenging to assess. When I do a read aloud and ask comprehension questions I can use the listening rubric to get a general sense of their listening levels and use the reading rubric  along with anecdotal notes to get a reading level.

Sometimes I need to get a sense of how my ESOL students are doing through a more formal assessment.  This gives them exposure to the format of the WIDA assessment that they take once a year and the academic testing language they will need.

I recently updated the assessments I have been using with my students this past school year.  I added a color and black and white version to each assessment and changed some of the graphics.  I also reviewed the upper level passages and question and in some cases increased the difficulty levels. This is partially because WIDA has increased the difficulty of its assessment. You can read more about the changes here.

Writing: Students respond to a writing prompt.  A graphic organizer for planning is included along with a scoring rubric.
Reading: The assessment are tiered so that students stop if they reach frustration level. 
Listening: Students listen to a script that the teacher reads. They have picture or words on their answer sheet.
Speaking: The speaking assessment starts off with basic identification questions and becomes more complex.

Integrating Speaking and Writing

My ESOL students need a large amount of practice with speaking and writing. Writing in particular is often a difficult task for them.  Some of them have a hard time generating ideas, others get bogged down with the mechanics of writing (especially spelling).  We have also been working this year on adding details to their writing.

Using speaking as a springboard for writing is an effective strategy for all students, but particularly ESOL students as it helps to build their oral language skills. I created some
Everyday Event Picture Strips for my students to discuss.  I modeled with one set of pictures, and then partnered students up to discuss the remaining pictures. I gave them sentence frames to help guide the discussion.

Afterwards I gave students a graphic organizer for the same pictures they had been discussing.  Depending on the needs of each group I sometimes gave students a specific set of pictures to write about and for other groups I let the students choose which set of pictures they wanted to write about.

Some students received a graphic organizer with a word bank and others did not require this scaffold.
Next they wrote a story adding in additional details.  Having previously spoken about the pictures helped students expand their writing.

Teachers Appreciation Sale on TPT

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Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sitewide sale to celebrate Teachers Appreciation Week.  On May 9th and 10th use the code THANKYOU17 to get 10% off of your purchase.  In addition many sellers have sales of 20% off including mine.

I am giving away a $10 gift card as a part of Teachers Appreciation week.  Enter through the link below.
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