Tuesday, February 2, 2016

If You Have Refugee Students...

Most people say they don't know who refugees are in real life. Well, if you ask, there may be a couple in your midst. If you have refugee students, sharing their stories could eventually be a massive opportunity for them. Later this semester, a Palomar project called "The Global Refugee Crisis" will culminate in a public performance conceived and directed by Prof. Michael Mudson. This is where refugee students come in. Michael has requested that our refugee students get involved in the campus-wide discussion or share their real refugee stories with the actors in the play "ANON(YMOUS)" to "humanize the refugee experience."

Another way Michael wants to engage refugee students is to publish their personal narratives or videos on a coffee talk website. He is willing to organize a talk with your refugee students as the speakers about their experience. He even offers to work with them if they want to informally express their culture or refugee experience through song and dance.

Michael is ready to visit any class in San Marcos or Escondido and work with any ESL teacher on any project related to the refugee crisis.

So, let our dept. chair know if you are interested in collaborating with Michael (even for a project designed by you) or if you have refugee students who would like to participate in any of the above-mentioned activities. From a practical perspective, doesn't every ESL student want to practice English with native speakers in a way they love? Besides, this may lead to something bigger. The campus community and beyond will now get to see real refugees.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Palette of Quick Fixes

Right now, the mood is one of defeat. You've asked your students to practice conversation, but no one is talking. Or your fast-paced tempo is giving you trouble because you have run through your lesson plan and still have 20 minutes left. Or a group of your students just signed a letter to the dean accusing you of putting them to sleep even in a computer lab.

But 3 veteran colleagues show at Friday's PD events that you can feel a measure of success and even burst into tears of joy after adopting their teaching models.

In Katrina's classroom, the timer going off announces it's time to rotate to another partner and begin again as her students play "Grammar Speed Dating." The next day, she utters the command "Shout It Out" and sets off  an exciting yelling frenzy while she shows her class a muted video of some high interest content. Then, the inevitable happens, and, as her presentation handout title has it, you have "saved the sinking ship."


Life without "Silly Sentences" is tedious in Carole's beginning level class. Twenty minutes of the manipulative board game played in small groups provides an interesting way of wrapping a day of book exercises.


Matthew, 40, has spent no more than 15 minutes conceiving and tweaking each of his collection of Kahoot! games. The free online tool is a fantastic way to assess student understanding on the fly, to review and give immediate feedback on content just taught, to track all students, even the shy ones who sit in the furthest reaches of the universe, and to maximize your ESL computer lab time. "It is easy to set up and an absolute blast to use in class for both teachers and students," says Matthew.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hear the Answers

At tonight's plenary, a few of our colleagues will present on topics that may answer your questions such as, "How to wake up a sleeping class?" or "How to encourage peer support strategies?"

Katrina's presentation, titled "Saving the Sinking Ship," will take place in MD-103, and Sheri and Angela's talk on the student peer mentor program will be next door in MD-104. The concurrent sessions are one hour long starting at 7:15. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

You'll Have the Guts

Bob Gannon's adventures are so inspiring that they'll make you want to lose your fears and really spring into action to pursue your dreams. Fellow ESL teacher at SDCCD and a professional freelancer Mimi Pollack has just come out with this online recount of Bob's animal encounters in southern Africa. She and I have been working together to try to get Bob to come as a guest speaker in our respective classrooms this spring. We firmly believe that Bob's appearance will surprise and delight students and thus enhance their classroom experience. He will get them interested in hearing and practicing such mottoes as "Don't say no until you know;" and "Make your desires greater than your fears."

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Photo Essay on Americans with Dreams

There's a real thirst for that American Dream for the believers. Meet six everyday Americans who believe that they are better off than their parents' generation and that America gives them the opportunity to build a much better future despite the current economic restrictions facing many of us: "I still believe in the American Dream."