Another day, another  “The Best…” list…..

You might also be interested in:

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s — 2010

The Best Sites For Teachers Of English Language Learners — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part Two:

I should start off with links to excerpts on our new book about teaching ELL’s that have been published since Part One of this list was posted at the beginning of September:

Interview With Co-Author Of “ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide”

Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part I

Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part II

Using Photos With English Language Learners

Eight Ways to Use Video With English Language Learners

Another Excerpt From Our Book On Teaching ELL’s!

Here’s the longest name for a report that you’ll see today: Practical Guidelines for the Education of English Language Learners: Research-based Recommendations for the Use of Accommodations in Large-scale Assessments/2012 Update.  It provides some very useful research data that I hope schools and test-makers are aware of — it’s helpful for when ELL’s have to take the less than useful state standardized tests and for when they have to take tests of any kind in regular content classes.

Grading is always a tricky issue for teachers — and students. I’ve written about it, as well as guests, in one of my Education Week columns, Several Kinds Of Grading Systems.  The primary guide I use is whatever “will move students forward.”  As a teacher said in our school’s staff meeting last night, I don’t want to be a “gate-keeper.”  Instead, I want to be a coach/encourager.  Katie Hull Sypnieski and I also wrote about it in our book, The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide.  Katie adapted it for use in most of our ESL and mainstream classes, and I thought I’d share it here. You can download the hand-out we give students.

Breaking News English, the long-time invaluable resource to ESL/EFL/ELL teachers around the world, has just undergone a major “revamp.”  Sean Banville, the site’s creator, describes many of the changes here, and you can see the first new style lesson here. There are many improvements, including tons more online interactive exercises.

Ideas for English Language Learners: ‘Gangnam Style,’ ‘Emotion Words’ and More is the title of one of my posts at The New York Times Learning Network. You can see all my NY Times posts here.

The British Council reorganized their website awhile back, and now that have all their songs for English Language Learners (including closed-captioning) all in one place. It’s an excellent resource.

Kate Kinsella is well-known for her research on helping students learn and use academic vocabulary. The California Department of Education has put a series of her videos and materials on their website.  The videos don’t at all capture her dynamism that you see in person, but downloadable “apply the concepts” materials are worth their weight in gold! And, they’re free.

In Pursuit of the Excellent Game is an excellent piece from TESOL on using games with ELL’s.

Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice is an excellent twelve lesson resource from Teaching Tolerance.  The series is particularly suited to United States History classes, and would be accessible to mainstream and English Language Learners. I would have definitely used them last year when I was teaching United States History to ELL’s, and will adapt a couple this year for my ELL Geography class.  Though I am completely supportive of the intent and message of the lessons, I’ll probably be making some minor adjustments to them to make some of the questions a bit more subtle.

As an introductory activity, I have students in all of my classes create “Who Am I?” posters which they then share “speed-dating” style (linking up in rows, show and share, and then one row moves to the right — or left — and does it again and so on). It seems to go well, and I thought readers might find it useful to see the model I use for them (as you can see, I hold few artistic aspirations 🙂 ):

Bill Ferriter posted a link to this “Trunk Monkey Compilation.” This hilarious video is perfect for ELL’s to watch and then describe what happened, and even do Venn Diagram to identify differences and similarities:

I’ve previously posted about research discussing the value of students sharing what is happening in their lives (see The Value Of Sharing Positive Events) and have written on this blog and in my books how I apply this finding in my teaching, primarily in my English Language Learner classes. I have students write about two positive events in the week and why they felt they were positive, and one not-so-positive event and what they could have done to make it better. They share it with a partner verbally, and each has to ask a question of the other. Then I invite a few people to share with the entire class, and afterwards collect them. Not only does it help build a positive classroom atmosphere, it provides an opportunity to write for an authentic audience and it helps me learn what’s going on in students’ lives.

I can’t really say why I haven’t done it with mainstream students in the past, but I’m starting to do so this year. We always do a short reflection on Fridays and, though I might not ask them to do it every week, I’ll include it regularly.

I thought readers might find it useful to see the model I use. I’ll print it in the body of this post, and you can also download it as a student handout here that you can modify. Here’s the content:

Mr. Ferlazzo’s Journal, Sept. 7, 2012

Here are two good things that happened to me this week:

I really enjoyed school starting this week. I love my classes and all my students because they are all hard-working and smart.

I had a great time playing basketball on Tuesday night. I scored the game-winning shot, and everybody on the team wanted to pass the ball to me.

Here is one not-so-good thing that happened to me this week:

A student dropped gum on the rug in my room, and I was not happy that I had to scrape it off. I could have reminded students to throw gum in the garbage.

Feedback is welcome, including additional suggestions.

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You might also want to explore the 1000 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.