My three week summer school class of Beginning English Language Learners is over tomorrow, and I have to say it felt more like summer “camp” than summer “school.” Students worked hard, but I think we all had a lot of fun, too. Students in neighboring classrooms playfully complained about all our singing.
As much fun as it was, I have to also say I’m ready for my summer break.
Students made a number of VoiceThreads, which you can see at the Student Showcase blog (though I still have several more to post there). They worked in pairs on three projects — Introducing Themselves, a fable or story, and one focusing on their culture. I’ll be adding some of them to The Best Online Examples of My Students’ Work.
Students also just completed an anonymous evaluation of the class and me.
The most highly rated activities were:
* Reading their own books at the beginning of each class.
* Learning English using the Picture Word Inductive Model, which is an instructional strategy I use a lot with Beginning English Language Learners.
* Reading books from Reading A-Z, which are great “leveled” books you can print-out and duplicate.
* Working in the computer lab (In Results From Student Evaluation Of My Class And Me (Part Two), where I shared the evaluation from last year’s Intermediate English class, students didn’t rate the computer lab as highly. My theory was that the low assessment was a result of less opportunity to create their own content. These new results might suggest I was correct).
* Working on an essay (we used The Write Institute curriculum to begin developing a biographical essay).
* Learning about phonics — inductively. In many ways, this process is similar to the Picture Word Inductive Model.
The least-liked activities were:
* Singing songs
* Learning about U.S. History (we used a guide to the U.S. citizenship exam that was pretty high-level for Beginning ELL’s. They liked learning about the content, but the book itself was probably too challenging for half the class).
I received a B-plus grade as a teacher, and an A-minus grade for my patience.
Though I am beginning my break, I will also continue to do a little work on one school project — we’re starting a pretty ambitious school/community garden project with a ton of raised beds and a greenhouse. Families of a number of our immigrant students are pretty excited about it. I’ll write more in a future post.