Monday, September 19, 2011

TESOL 2012 Presentation: Engaging Activities to Teach Sight Words for Improved Reading Fluency

I just found out my proposal "Engaging Activities to Teach Sight Words for Improved Reading Fluency" was accepted at the TESOL 2012 conference in Philadelphia next March. The acceptance rate this year was 24%, so I'm honored to have this opportunity. I submitted this presentation as a poster session format this year to provide some variety in my presentation repertoire. I will be sharing ideas for teaching sight words, specifically how to build on phonic clues, promote rapid recognition, and help students commit these sight words to long-term memory. I have addressed this topic before in a blog post entitled "Ideas for Teaching Sight Words for ELLs/ESL Students." (See a photo of my poster here.)

Here is a summary of my presentation:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2011: Teaching Struggling Readers

This week, once again, commemorates Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. A year ago, I wrote a blog post sharing a few ideas about how to get involved in literacy efforts to commemorate this event.  As a recap, some of my ideas included the following:
  • Check out volunteer tutoring opportunities in your local community. 
  • Learn how to teach someone to read. A helpful, free resource is found at
  • Join a book club or an online book-sharing group, such as goodreads, which allows you to see what your friends have read, keep track of what you've read and what you'd like to read, and get ideas for additional books to read.
  • Read a little more for pleasure. We often take the fact that we can read for granted.
  • Write in a diary or journal.
  • Consider how your ability to read and write affects your life. Consider the privilege it is to be literate. I've documented some of my thoughts in the previous blog posts "Lessons Learned from Life" and "The Value of Literacy."
(For additional ideas about ways to promote literacy, visit my blog post "Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2010".)

Reviewing these lists of ways to get involved in literacy efforts again, one year after I wrote this blog post, I am prompted to recall my personal efforts to promote literacy. Something I recently engaged in (as recently as today, in fact) includes teaching someone how to read.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering 9/11 with Online Resources

Ten years ago marks the national (and international) tragedy of 9/11. It is one of those events that conjures up memories of where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. I was among my ESL students--their eyes glued to the television in the Self-Access Study Center at the English Language Center at BYU where I was teaching that morning. They watched the graphic scenes and listened to the non-stop chatter of reporters stammering in English as they reported on the escalating death toll as subsequent attacks ensued. My students were listening to vernacular that was way beyond their level of comprehension, but yet they watched with great attentiveness, concern, and empathy. And they feared for their safety. They understood the seriousness of the event; it was evident on their faces. They didn't understand that New York City was thousands of miles away from Provo, Utah, where they were currently residing. Neither did their families, who were trying to contact them from abroad to make sure they were okay, but to no avail as the increased traffic on phone lines and the internet prevented contact. It was definitely a memorable time of life...for them and for me.

September 11th is one of those moments in history that will always be remembered and will always be discussed. With it being the ten-year anniversary of this tragedy, there are several websites that provide readers with opportunities to reflect on 9/11. Some resources are specific to classroom application, while other resources are dedicated to providing a historical memoir. I've listed a few sites below that can be used to generate teaching moments. Or they can be used as a personal reminder of both the heroes who survived, and the heroes who did not.   

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Free Online Videos for the ESL and ELL Classrooms

Do you like to use online videos in your ESL classroom? Here are a few websites that showcase videos that can supplement your ESL instruction (some of which I've blogged about before): showcases "ideas worth spreading." The goal of TED is to "foster the spread of great ideas" on a variety of topics, including education. TED talks have teaching application in the classroom. (See Teaching with TED and click on a topic or talk on the right sidebar.) In addition, administrators have used applicable TED videos for in-service training meetings with teachers and staff to inspire, educate, and instill vision. (See my previous blog post on using TED videos in the classroom here.) shares short video clips of experts in a variety of fields sharing "ideas" by responding to a question posed to them. Some of the video clips have transcripts provided, as well. You can peruse by topics, or you can conduct a keyword search for a topic or person of interest. Also, viewers can post responses and reactions to the experts' views. (See my previous blog post on here.) 

"6 Milliards d'Autres," or "6 Billion Others," documents 5,000 interviews filmed in 75 different countries in which individuals were asked the same questions about life. As the website states, this project is "a perspective on humanity" that reveals "what separates us and what unites us." (Click on the "6bO Testimonies" button at the bottom left of the screen, and then click "Portraits" from the drop-down menu. You can then click on any picture tile in the mosaic to view that individual's portrait. You can also search by topic, location, etc.) (See my previous blog post on ideas for using this website in the classroom here.)

One in 8 Million shares the stories of individuals in New York City through still shots and voice narration. As the website describes, this series showcases "ordinary people telling extraordinary stories -- of passions and problems, relationships and routines, vocations and obsessions."

Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that provides video-based education via the internet. Salman Khan has personally narrated over 2,400 lessons on topics ranging from algebra and computer science to biology and economics. His mission: to provide education that is free for all. (See my previous blog post on Khan Academy here.)

Documentary Heaven provides access to over 1,600 documentaries found on the Internet. Topics include education, history, and nature, to name a few.