Never thought this day would come….but it did!

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I’ve always had this thought about Twitter, that if  I ever use it, I will be completely addicted to it (judging from the people around me) And I didn’t think it would add value to my time in any way. That’s why I never bothered to learn about it, or at least familiarize myself with twitter-related terms like hashtag or retweet (which I thought was another word for reply). But I’m so glad I got the chance to create a social learning network using Twitter, because I never knew that it offers much more than letting people know what Justin Bieber had for lunch, or what Lindsay Lohan was recently arrested for. Plus, I thought it was high time I learned about it, especially if I’m going to use it for the sake of growing professionally.  

Since I knew nothing about twitter (I know! What world am I living in!?) And the fact that I’m a spatial learner, I watched a video that explained how twitter works. It appeared to me that there isn’t anything complicated about it, and I can use it with ease, which is an important factor for me if I’m introduced to something new and planning to use it for a long time.

The idea of the hashtag really got me fascinated and I believe it is what will contribute to my professional development. If I’m interested in a topic, I could simply hashtag it, and I might find a community interested in the same topic and offering valuable insights. Not only that, but the community itself is very diverse, which means everyone can benefit from each other’s experiences, views, thoughts, and questions too. And if a hashtag does not exist, I could simply do a research by typing a keyword, then scanning what hashtags people are using in their tweets for me to refer to. I also found a helpful list of education-related hashtags that is neat and categorized into different categories from subject area to grade level. Visiting the hashtags that I’m interested in will lead me to the latest buzz in that topic and this will help me in keeping myself in sync with what is going on.

You can follow me @danyashal 🙂

 

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The Program at Science Leadership Academy

The film was very interesting to watch because it tackles one of the popular fears most people have about digital media; that it affects reading, writing, and literacy in general. But in fact, when students take advantage of digital media, they are “reading and writing more than they ever did but they’re just not doing the type of reading where you sit in your bedroom by yourself reading a novel” one professor says. Also, Nicole Pinkard, who is the founder of Chicago’s Digital Youth Network, argues that the outcomes of digital media are “built on traditional literacy”; if students want to become graphic designers, first they’ll have to learn about shapes, and if they want to become film makers, they will need to write scripts. Most importantly, digital media allows students to take responsibility of their own learning by using their interests, research, inquiry, imagination and creativity, and team work as the basis of it.

I think that the program at Science Leadership Academy truly embraces the learners of the 21st century through their advocacy of digital learning. As one SLA teacher says “the digital media and social networking is just so ingrained in this next generation of kids that it had to be incorporated. Ignoring it is just being irresponsible as an educator because it’s such a powerful tool”. Indeed, when students get the chance to produce a product or content using digital media, they are exposing that product to a much bigger audience, rather than giving a paper to a teacher and receiving feedback that they wouldn’t normally share with others. Therefore, the goal of using digital media at SLA is to allow students to put all of their efforts and hard work into their project because it will be viewed by so many people, and it is they who will give feedback to motivate them to push forward. Digital media is also helpful for those who are quiet in class by giving their voices a boost through their postings in forums and chat rooms, and therefore, everybody gets the chance to let their voice be heard.

I believe that even though the learning goals are the same for an age group, the students are ought to be given an array of options to show their learning outcomes based on each student’s unique skill and interest. That’s why at the SLA, students are given the same learning goals and same project summary but different options to produce them depending on their skills. For example, verbal students can create podcasts, while others who are artistic can create digitized sketches. Therefore, digital learning allows students to take responsibility of their own learning based on their interest, and gives them a lifelong learning because of the huge amount of information they receive throughout the process of doing their projects whether from their researching, collaborating with peers, receiving feedback, and reading the conversations of everyone in class through forums.

If technology in education will grant students the ownership of their learning, then that is the ultimate goal and benefit anyone would hope to receive from getting an education.

Common Core Standard for 3rd Grade Developing ESL Students

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For this course, I will be focusing on 3rd grade Language Arts for ESL students whose ESOL level is 3 (developing).

The standard is taken from the WIDA:

Common Core Standards for Writing #5 (Grade 3): With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

Students will be engaged in a collaborative learning environment where they will have to search for information through various resources, present their work to class in pairs, and play educational games that are related to the lesson theme with a peer. Through these activities, students finally create a written task after receiving support from their peers and me.

Reference

http://www.wida.us/standards/eld.aspx

Larry Ferlazzo’s Blog Reflection

Larry Ferlazzo’s blog  aims at helping teachers meet the needs of their diverse learners, ESL students mostly, and it was interesting to learn about the wide variety of resources out there that aid teachers in teaching English to English Language Learners (ELLS) by using technology that involves little or no preparation.

Back home and in the States, I constantly get asked how I became fluent in English, and my response is and will always be “thanks to American TV shows and movies”. I owe it to media in learning English as a foreign language, and that is definitely what I would suggest to any learner perusing to learn English for whatever purpose(s). Larry Ferlazzo, who is an English and social studies high school teacher and author, writes a post  that truly backs up my suggestion. He starts by saying; “movies and television shows can be an effective tool for teaching and learning English (or, for that matter, any academic subject) if used strategically and not as a “babysitting” device.” Ferlazzo talks about his two primary uses of movie clips in his classroom, which are: 1- using a video clip that is connected with the lesson theme (which is no more than 10 minutes), and 2- using it in the “back to the screen” technique. I believe that both uses would help greatly in learning English by learning a specific jargon, and getting their ears exposed to correct word pronunciation, among learning to infer, sequence events, and reflect on what is being viewed through cooperative learning activities, such as think-pair-share, or reflective discussion.

In the same post, the author gives a list of many movies and TV shows that are appropriate to teach English to ELLs, as well as resources teachers can refer to. A certain resource that I found extremely helpful was http://movieclips.com/. This site is ideal for teachers wanting to teach the English language through the use of video clips. The video clips are categorized into movie, actor, director, genre, mood, theme, and more. As a future ESL teacher, I could, for example, use a video clip from this site to teach English to ESL kindergarteners through exposing them to commands. Here’s an example:

http://cli.ps/58TEv

I can use this short video clip from the Disney movie the Aristocats with ESL kindergartners to teach them the language by them following commands: “wiggle your nose”, “tickle your chin”…besides learning face parts and certain verbs, this will prepare them for other activities that involve physical movement, like the total physical response and total physical response storytelling activities, which allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the language through physical movement.

I hope you find this resource helpful as well.