Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 25, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Family Literacy Project Update

Regular readers are probably familiar with the internationally-recognized Family Literacy Project we have at our school that provides computers and home internet access to immigrant families. They, in turn, use the technology for English language development activities. We have also worked with the Sacramento Mutual Housing Association (SMHA) to expand the project to their affordable housing developments.

SMHA has just finished their third “cohort” of adults who they trained in both technology and in using tech to learn English. The assessment results have been similar to previous cohorts — here are the before and after test results from the fourteen participants (a mix of Mien and Vietnamese immigrant parents):

English: before –73% after — 89%

Technology:before — 0% after — 76%

These participants were at a somewhat higher English level than previous ones, but began with less understanding of tech than the other cohorts.

Now, after the three month, twice a week course, each of the fourteen families will be receiving a free computer and will have access to Internet service at the SMHA housing development.

Because of funding issues, the future of both our school’s project and the SMHA expansion is, unfortunately, in doubt.

January 5, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Newest Assessment Results From Family Literacy Project

i’ve written several times about the Family Literacy Project we have at Luther Burbank High School where we provide computers and home Internet access to immigrant families. They, in turn, use them to develop English skills. Student assessment results have been so impressive that the project was the Grand Prize Winner of the International Reading Association’s Presidential Award on Reading and Technology.

I’ve also shared about the extraordinary work that the Sacramento Mutual Housing Association has been doing to expand our project more deliberately to parents. Their first three-month workshop resulted in phenomenal improvement in participants’ English and technology skills. After graduating from the class, families received a free home computer and Internet access.

The second class just graduated with equally impressive results. The parents’ English initial assessments averaged 54.4%, while their final average was 82.4%. The initial technology assessments averaged 38.8% and the final assessment averaged 94.4% (by the way, the philosophy of the Mutual Housing Association’s workshop was very similar to Burbank’s philosophy — neither one of us believe in teaching to the test).

You can view the online projects created by participants here. More will be posted next week.

Both workshops were led by Xee and Kou Vang, the bilingual aides who have been key leaders of the home computer project since it began.

September 7, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Latest Assessment Results From Family Literacy Project

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with our school’s Family Literacy Project where we provide computers and home Internet access to immigrant families. This effort, as well as our after-school ESL Computer Lab, has been recognized by the International Reading Association. Students with home computers (who use our website for one hour each day), typically have a three-to-four times greater gain in our cloze and fluency assessments over control group members.

I wrote in June about how this concept is expanding.

The Sacramento Mutual Housing Association
(SMHA), one of the most respected affordable housing organizations in California (if not in the United States), began piloting a similar project in one of their developments.

They hired the bilingual aides — Xee Vang and Kou Vang — who help in our school’s project so that they could work with SMHA immigrant residents to lead an on-site computer and English literacy program at the development’s computer lab.   Families attended a three-month,  twice-weekly,  two hour class to learn English and develop computer skills.   The twelve families who graduated from the program are receiving their own computer and will be able to continue to use the wireless network at the site, with similar “homework” expectations.

In our project at Burbank High School, we never really followed-up on parent English language assessments — it was hard enough to find the time to regularly do ones with students.  And we have never really looked at assessing computer skill development, either.  In the SMHA project, however, both were done — in fact, the primary emphasis of the course was on adults, though younger family members also periodically attended, and the results were pretty darn impressive.

Almost all of the participants in the program were Beginning English Language Learner adults — half  of them were Vietnamese and half were Hmong.  The average initial English assessment scores were 69.7% and by the end of three months they stood at 98.8%.    And in the computer skills assessment, the first scores averaged 14.2%, while the final average was 95.6%.

Here are links to some of the projects created by participants:

Group Projects

Individual Projects

SMHA begins a second class later this month at about the same time we’ll be starting-up another year of our school-based effort.  Wish us both luck!

March 22, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Home Computer Family Literacy Project Expands

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with our school’s Family Literacy Project where we provide computers and home Internet access to immigrant families. This effort, as well as our after-school ESL Computer Lab, has been recognized by the International Reading Association.

Now the concept is expanding.

The Sacramento Mutual Housing Association
(SMHA), one of the most respected affordable housing organizations in California (if not in the United States), is piloting a similar project in one of their developments.

They are hiring the bilingual aides who help in our school’s project to work with their immigrant residents to lead a on-site computer and English literacy program at the development’s computer lab.  Graduates of the program will then receive their own computer and be able to use the wireless network at the site.  English “homework” assignments will be similar to what present participants are required to do.

SMHA expects to provide forty home computers over the next year to families, with two household members from each family graduating from the training program.

I’ll write posts updating how the program progresses.

September 9, 2007
by Larry Ferlazzo
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What Do You Do In The Computer Lab?

What Do You Do In The Computer Lab? is the title of another article I’ve written for TechLearning.  It won’t be appearing for a few months, but they’ve again given me permission to post it on my website now.

The article shares five key guidelines that I think have helped our ESL Computer Lab be so successful.  Our Special Education Department is modeling several labs they are starting this year on the same ideas.  And the Sacramento Mutual Housing Association, a large non-profit housing organization, is starting computer labs at all their developments using a similar structure.  It’s also what I do when my native English speakers go to the lab.

Any critical feedback is welcome and appreciated.

If you find this article interesting, you might want to explore the links under the heading “Articles” on the right sidebar of this blog.  You’ll find quite a few articles I’ve written over the past three years on teaching in general, teaching English Language Learners in specific, and using technology in the classroom.  Many of these articles connect community organizing to education.