Monday, September 7, 2015

Would you? Conditional Tense Video

I'm mostly posting this for my future reference...

A safe and easy resource to help find G-rated versions of popular songs to help me teach my kids is Radio Disney. I was jamming to that sugary, poppy stuff the other day and came across R. City's "Locked Away." This could be an introduction or a close study of if statements and the conditional tense using the word would. I'll let you know if I come up with a firmer version of a plan using this song.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

ESOL lesson planner book

There are so few resources out there for ESOL/ESL/EFL teachers to organize their teaching lives. Our schedules are far different from those of a classroom teacher and our materials need to be customized to that difference.

I created a PDF of what I currently plan to use as my paper lesson planner. I do my more in-depth planning on's Planboard because it gives my clickable links, places to embed photos, and easy access to relevant documents. However, I still need a quick glance reference in paper form and the typical classroom teacher planners do not cut it.

This is the layout of the file. The spiral would bind the two halves together.
I plan to use this PDF (feel free to download) to create a spiral bound notebook-style planner for the 2015-2016 school year. Please enjoy and give me feedback!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Video: Irish Folks Attempting North American Accents

As I'm searching for "impossible to understand accents" for a little presentation I hope to give during teacher work week, I came across this little beauty:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Passive Voice for ELLs - Webinar Share

"Don't use passive voice!" teachers of yore would repeat.

However, it seemed as if no teacher from my past could explain the writing no-no beyond giving an example. On top of that, when I realized how many times passive voice is used (muhaha! You can stop me!) in daily conversation and academic language, I understood that my teachers were really just trying to kill the fun.

...except not really because passive voice is a weak writing tool...

I signed up for a webinar through the impressive Off2Class, but was unable to make it in time to watch it live. The good people over there helped us out and posted the recorded webinar on their blog! Check it out!

Silly Mrs. O

How on Earth did I think I would be able to document my first year through a blog?

Throughout the year, about 75% of the nights were devoted entirely to my students. I woke up by 3:30 am at least one time each week because my mind was racing in buzzing loops around all of things I wanted to do to better my students' education. Multiple new speakers arrived at willy nilly intervals at each of my three schools. One of my schools became so over-populated by ELLs that my amazing, compassionate, driving, and leader extraordinaire principal convinced the ESOL department and central office to reallocate my time so that I spent the last half of the year serving her school more hours each week, dropping my third school.

I realized I would be earning at least one new master's degree every year of teaching, by virtue of the research I conducted to improve my instruction. I felt like I was swimming in a miles-long ocean race, remaining just above the chopping waves, looking out toward the shore to make sure I could still make it back.

But I made it. At some point, and it's hard to distinguish exactly when that happened, guided reading became more routine. I became more confident in my ability to diagnose a need and use evidence-based practice without feeling compelled to spend all weekend researching for one child. Instead, I was able to quickly research for a dozen of my kids!

I'm grateful and joy-filled to share that my life of teaching ELL students is exactly what I should be doing. I was meant to do this. I get to honestly share the envy-inducing small talk statement, "I love my job!"

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Meaningful practice makes perfect

This blogpost is exactly the kind of message I need to continue to remember and to communicate with some of my students and their parents. They are in a safe space: mistakes are okay and encouraged!  Every mistake is an opportunity for the language to take deeper roots!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Before, Room 1

I'm in three different schools this year, which means I have three different rooms to prepare and figure out. Overwhelmed? Yes. Can I do it? Oh yeah.

Today kick-starts the year, as the principal of one of my schools is hosting a retreat. Here's to collaboration fur the kids' sake!