Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Resources for the Classroom
Finding fresh ideas to keep students interested in the classroom during the last two months of school can be challenging. Thanks to Colorin' Colorado, a website dedicated to the success of English Language Learners for offering tips on differentiated instruction for the classroom. As an ESL specialist and co-teacher in a 7th grade reading class, I am always snooping around Twitter and Diigo for catchy vocabulary games and reading strategies to use with my students. In an article by Colorin' Colorado, the level of reading comprehension is linked with the student's level of vocabulary knowledge. Basically, vocabulary is broken down into three tiers of understanding which equates to easy to difficult. Lower grades would have a vast knowledge of Tier one words whereas the older the student, the more tiers of vocabulary would be added to the knowledge base of the student. Depending on a student's level of English proficiency, their combined tiers dictate how well they comprehend text and it also correlates with their success in the classroom. One way to increase understanding and comprehension in the classroom is by pre-teaching key vocabulary words before the topic is introduced in class. A few examples of pre-teaching vocabulary include repeating the word several times aloud. I downloaded an application called Talking Tom to my iPad a few days ago and I'm anxious to try this with my students. Talking Tom is a program that allows the user to record what he/she is saying and play it back. This is an excellent speaking opportunity and a good way for students to practice using key vocabulary words in the classroom. I'm going to try it out and share my results later on this week or next.