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LESSONS LEARNED: EXPERIENCES OF A 2ND YEAR MIDDLE SCHOOL ESL TEACHER

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  • Mention Henri and the Socrates HW I was doing with the beginners!
  • NYSABE presentation

    1. 1. LESSONS LEARNED: EXPERIENCES OF A 2 ND YEAR MIDDLE SCHOOL ESL TEACHER Claudia Leon Bay Shore Middle School Bay Shore, New York
    2. 2. OVERVIEW <ul><li>Who am I? </li></ul><ul><li>My experiences with SIFE students (Students with Interrupted Formal Education). </li></ul><ul><li>My experiences with an Arts & Literacy program offered through the Museum of Modern Art, NYC. </li></ul><ul><li>Closing & Questions. </li></ul>
    3. 3. WHO AM I? <ul><li>I am 2 nd year ESL teacher at Bay Shore Middle School in Bay Shore, New York. </li></ul><ul><li>This is a 2 nd career for me. Previously, I was employed at several different non- profit women’s rights organizations, the Ford Foundation and the United Nations. </li></ul><ul><li>My education: </li></ul><ul><li>-M Ed. in TESOL from Queens College. </li></ul><ul><li>-Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University. </li></ul><ul><li>-B.A. in English Literature & Rhetoric, and French, from SUNY-Binghamton. </li></ul>
    4. 4. MY PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS ABOUT TEACHING: <ul><li>Teacher mistakes are a sign of failure. </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s written in my lesson book, then I must stick with it until the end. </li></ul><ul><li>Principals and Directors expect that I learned everything I need to know in graduate school. </li></ul><ul><li>I was not hired to learn, I was hired to teach. </li></ul><ul><li>SIFE students: if they don’t have school experience, then they don’t have anything worthwhile to contribute to my classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>SIFE students only require academic help. </li></ul>
    5. 5. MY EXPERIENCES WITH SIFE STUDENTS BEFORE DURING AFTER <ul><li>At the beginning of the 2010 school year, 2 SIFE students registered at Bay Shore Middle School. </li></ul><ul><li>One boy was 10 and his brother was 12. </li></ul><ul><li>Both were illiterate in their native language (Spanish) and in English. They had 1 st grade Math skills. The 12 year old had been left back in 3 rd grade three times. </li></ul><ul><li>They were emotionally and academically unprepared for a full day of school. </li></ul>
    6. 6. SIFE, continued…. BEFORE DURING AFTER <ul><li>At the beginning of the 2010 school year, 2 SIFE students registered at Bay Shore Middle School. </li></ul><ul><li>One boy was 10 and his brother was 12. </li></ul><ul><li>Both were illiterate in their native language (Spanish) and in English. They had 1 st grade Math skills. The 12 year old had been left back in 3 rd grade three times. </li></ul><ul><li>They were emotionally and academically unprepared for a full day of school. </li></ul><ul><li>The boys were not placed in content-area classes. They had ESL classes all day. </li></ul><ul><li>I was given 2 days notice to prepare. </li></ul><ul><li>I was in shock—I didn’t know where to start. </li></ul><ul><li>The 12 year old was getting into trouble with classmates. </li></ul><ul><li>My director gave me some great ideas that created many opportunities for the boys to demonstrate their life experience. </li></ul>
    7. 7. ACTIVITIES FOR SIFE STUDENTS <ul><li>Have them be the “calendar” person for the class. Each morning, their “Do Now” is to fill out the calendar & weather chart. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide puzzles and large, colorful picture books. This can activate background knowledge of areas of interest. </li></ul><ul><li>Have students draw a picture of their school (or town, or house) and compare it with their new school. Teacher can help them label the pictures. </li></ul><ul><li>Have the students create a picture dictionary. </li></ul>
    8. 8. ACTIVITIES FOR SIFE STUDENTS, CONTINUED <ul><li>Allow the students to build things with Legos or Lincoln Logs, then teacher can help them write about their creation. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t assume they know how to organize a binder. </li></ul><ul><li>Promote their literacy through artwork. We’ll get to this in a few minutes! </li></ul><ul><li>Allow SIFE students to interact with technology. </li></ul>
    9. 9. SIFE, continued… . BEFORE DURING AFTER <ul><li>At the beginning of the 2010 school year, 2 SIFE students registered at Bay Shore Middle School. </li></ul><ul><li>One boy was 10 and his brother was 12. </li></ul><ul><li>Both were illiterate in their native language (Spanish) and in English. They had 1 st grade Math skills. The 12 year old had been left back in 3 rd grade three times. </li></ul><ul><li>They were emotionally and academically unprepared for a full day of school. </li></ul><ul><li>The boys were not placed in content-area classes. They had ESL classes all day. </li></ul><ul><li>I was given 2 days notice to prepare. </li></ul><ul><li>I was in shock—I didn’t know where to start. </li></ul><ul><li>The 12 year old was getting into trouble with classmates. </li></ul><ul><li>My director gave me some great ideas that created many opportunities for the boys to demonstrate their life experience. </li></ul>We learned that the 12 year old loved to fish & the 10 year old was great with computers and digital cameras! Since 9/10, boys have learned to properly space their words and use punctuation. Comprehension skills have improved, although struggling with reading and math. Placed in content-area classes in February 2011. Social skills improving.
    10. 10. LESSONS LEARNED……………. <ul><li>SIFE students might not have book </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge, but they are full of life </li></ul><ul><li>experiences that can be expanded in the </li></ul><ul><li>classroom for all of the students to </li></ul><ul><li>benefit from. </li></ul><ul><li>SIFE students need help with their social skills. They’re not used to be around other children of various ages, ethnicities, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Allow students to participate in everything the other students are doing---they will surprise you! </li></ul>
    11. 11. My experience with an Arts & Literacy program offered through the MOMA in NYC. BEFORE DURING AFTER <ul><li>I attended an Arts & Literacy program at the MOMA. </li></ul><ul><li>I returned to the Middle School full of ideas and I jumped right into it! </li></ul>
    12. 13. THE WORKSHEET WE USED TO ANALYZE THE PAINTING:
    13. 14. BEFORE DURING AFTER <ul><li>I attended an Arts & Literacy program at the MOMA. </li></ul><ul><li>I returned to the Middle School full of ideas and I jumped right into it! </li></ul><ul><li>I intended to spend 3 days analyzing paintings from the American Revolution. </li></ul><ul><li>After the 2 nd day, I realized my students were not ready for what I was asking them to do. </li></ul><ul><li>My students did not comprehend my questions and they became frustrated. </li></ul><ul><li>They did not have the critical thinking skills to “read” a painting. </li></ul><ul><li>I had not properly assessed my students. I had assumed they could handle this. </li></ul><ul><li>I began to panic because “I messed up----what kind of teacher am I? </li></ul>
    14. 15. SAMPLE #2 OF STUDENT WORK FROM MY “BEFORE”
    15. 16. BEFORE DURING AFTER <ul><li>I attended an Arts & Literacy program at the MOMA in November 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>I returned to the Middle School full of ideas and I jumped right into it! </li></ul><ul><li>I intended to spend 3 days analyzing paintings from the American Revolution. </li></ul><ul><li>After the 2 nd day, I realized my students were not ready for what I was asking them to do. </li></ul><ul><li>My students did not comprehend my questions and they became frustrated. </li></ul><ul><li>They did not have the critical thinking skills to “read” a painting. </li></ul><ul><li>I had not properly assessed my students. I had assumed they could handle this. </li></ul><ul><li>I began to panic because “I messed up----what kind of teacher am I? No one will understand.” </li></ul><ul><li>I set my lessons aside. </li></ul><ul><li>I spent 6 weeks helping the students build a foundation. </li></ul><ul><li>A few months later, I repeated the lesson for my students. I redesigned the graphic organizer. </li></ul><ul><li>The students got it!! </li></ul><ul><li>My questioning guided the students, but the critical thinking came from them. </li></ul>
    16. 17. The revised graphic organizer that I used to analyze the painting:
    17. 18. Same worksheet, but differentiated for my low-level advanced ESL students:
    18. 21. LESSONS LEARNED……………. <ul><li>It is valuable to attend PD classes </li></ul><ul><li>but know your students and know </li></ul><ul><li>their skill level before teaching new </li></ul><ul><li>strategies. </li></ul><ul><li>Trust your gut. You know when </li></ul><ul><li>something is not going right. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s ok to tell students “We’re going to put this lesson aside and come back to it at another time.” </li></ul><ul><li>Reach out to a colleague who you trust and ask for help. It’s not a sign of failure to say: “I messed up!” </li></ul>
    19. 22. A SUCCESS STORY! <ul><li>I used the MOMA strategies to promote the listening, speaking and writing skills of my beginning ESL students. </li></ul><ul><li>Why did this work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I knew my beginners’ exact skill level and I knew what they needed! </li></ul></ul>
    20. 23. ANALYZING ARTWORK FOR BEGINNING ESL <ul><li>Taken from the Smithsonian American Art Museum: </li></ul><ul><li>PDF FILE: http://americanart.si.edu/education/pdf/Becoming%20an%20Art%20Critic%20Activity.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>We used this graphic organizer to analyze paintings . </li></ul>
    21. 24. We analyzed 5 home-related paintings and then students chose 1 type up.
    22. 25. EXAMPLES OF STUDENTS’ WORK:
    23. 26. MY BEGINNERS WERE WORKING ON NOUNS AND FAMILY MEMBERS. THEY WERE ASKED TO DRAW A PICTURE OF THEIR FAMILY AND LABEL THE NOUNS. RECOGNIZE THE TREE?
    24. 27. ANOTHER EXAMPLE ……..
    25. 28. CLOSING: <ul><li>As you can see, my experiences as a 2 nd year teacher at Bay Shore Middle School completely contradicted my preconceived notions of teaching. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mistakes aren’t mistakes if you learn from them. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A lesson plan is just that….a plan. If it’s not working, do something about it! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ask for help---if you’re having trouble, find a trustworthy colleague and figure out your next steps. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SIFE students require much more than book knowledge. Be prepared to teach social skills as well. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>If you would like copies of anything in this presentation, please contact me at: </li></ul><ul><li> [email_address] </li></ul>

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