Wednesday, April 29, 2015

English really is weird!

Sometimes I really think Grammarly is living inside my head!

Today I really want to share some items from my old Wiki site on working with ELLs (English Language Learners).

This is Part One of Three~

Benefits of Having Different Cultures

 Represented in the Classroom
-It is important for students to learn that we live in a global society. Technology has bridged the gaps that were once created by physical distance. Individuals from other countries can collaborate via computer using email, video conferencing, or texting. By representing various cultures in our classrooms and schools we are developing mutual respect for diversity, exposing students to new vocabulary and images, and allowing for perspectives, ideals and beliefs from another viewpoint. 

- Students benefit from sharing their backgrounds and culture with one another. This aids students in literacy by understanding idioms that are culturally specific and vocabulary that is new to them. Teachers should create lessons that highlight diversity. By embracing multiculturalism in our instruction we are opening our classrooms up to a multitude of learning experiences.

Ways of Creating a Sense of Community in a Class of Diverse Learners

-Effective schools that serve truly diverse students in authentic and democratic learning must work together to build a community and provide mutual support within the classroom and school. When students engage in behaviors that are challenging, staff understand that these are expressions of underlying needs of students and seek to help students find positive ways to meet their needs.

-Understanding how to promote self-concept, acceptance, and belonging in school and in the external community seems important for improving students' academic achievement. This suggests that researchers and practitioners become more compassionate and knowledgeable of the relationship between formal and informal cultures, the implications of this relationship for helping youths feel better about themselves, achievement, and their place in school.


  • Classroom Atmosphere- Students are often organized in circles without desks. Every class begins with a brief check-in, during which the students and the teacher share how they are feeling, even if it's just a nonverbal thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Teachers explicitly teach collaboration skills that help groups working on projects to be more successful, and they simultaneously build community. Teachers also confront issues of diversity, race, and class in the context of their curriculum, teaching collaboration while explicitly building a learning community.

  • Community meetings offer school leaders an opportunity to teach and build the whole school learning community. Each school develops its own rituals and formats for their meeting. Some schools start each meeting with a chime and an inspirational reading.

  • Others have students facilitate the meetings, and they begin with a quote of the day. Schools use community meetings to address critical schools issues, to explicitly teach values such as community and to share information.

  • Community meetings also serve as an opportunity to showcase student performance in the context of a project. Though every school's community meeting looks different, the outcomes are the same: Students and teachers feel more connected and part of a community.

  • As with most aspects of high-quality schools, building community begins with a vision and happens because the school leaders and the teachers intentionally design structures and activities to reach the vision. When our students graduate, we challenge them to lead the formation of community wherever they go, for the rest of their lives. Once you have the privilege to experience true community, you have the obligation to create it.

A Plan for Collaborating with School Librarians or Media Specialists to Provide Multicultural Literature & Resources

School librarians or media specialists can help classroom teacher find culturally responsive materials through collaboration. The school librarian/media specialist has a database of the books available at the site and can use it to look up books. If there is a certain book a teacher is looking for and the school does not have it then there may be a way to purchase it with money raised by the library or by a school's PTA committee.

Using the book database school librarians could compile lists of suggested books for teachers to help them teach about a certain topic or culture. The list can be further condensed by grade level or reading ability level. School librarians or media specialists can meet with teachers to learn what themes they are working on in the classroom. When students go to the school library they will find books featured that go with the same types of things they are learning in class.
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