reflections

Towards building a whole-school approach to EAL

I enjoyed Adri’s post on EAL vs ESL the other day. It’s great to read so many positives regarding EAL culture at her school: teamwork, addressing individual needs, building a whole-school EAL approach, etc.

Based on Adri’s comments, I feel like she’s a few steps ahead of my school in her context. As an EAL teacher, I’m still trying to work out how best I can promote EAL support to other teachers at my school, and explain how our approach can benefit the students. Adri seems to have made progress with that already so I’ll be reaching out to her for ideas, that’s for sure!

I do have one idea for building a whole-school approach to EAL. It’s basically to put the EAL dept out there – make it clear what we are doing, why we are doing it, and prompt other teachers to collaborate more with us. I’m putting together a series of videos to explain what we do both during in-class support and in our EAL lessons.

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Jason Anderson and the TATE

There’s a Mercury Music Prize-winning band name if ever I heard one. This post is actually a long one about Anderson, CAP/TATE, British Council and Project-based learning – that didn’t have quite the same ring to it.

I attended Jason Anderson’s webinar last night on contemporary lesson planning and frameworks in TESOL (hosted by DublinTEFL). Really well-presented, very informative.

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Using Loom

Here’s a quick overview of Loom and why I like it.

What’s Loom?

Loom is a video recording / screencasting tool. It is available as a Google extension. I first came across this tool after reading this post last year. It includes a good video tutorial for how to make vids.

How can I get it?

Basically, Google ‘Loom for Chrome’, add the extension, then pin it to your browser. Whenever you want to record a vid of you/your screen/you and your screen you just click the Loom button and you get a drop down recorder appear:

When you start recording you choose if you want to record the entire screen, a window or a tab. When you finish recording the video automatically uploads to your Loom library.

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Tips for writing secondary materials, ELTA Rhine

Teresa Bestwick tagged me in a tweet about materials writing earlier. ELTA Rhine were looking for someone to drop into a training session for pre-service teachers and chat about writing Secondary resources.

Teresa was going to help, I really wanted to help, couldn’t make it timewise. Had kids to look after. But tried to find time to make a vid.

I got home and sat down at about 4.30pm to share these random tips. Made some slides (QUICKLY!), recorded, sent them off at 5.50pm. There’s nothing polished, nothing structured, it’s loose, scatty, trying to be organised but like… er… This is me just, I don’t know just being real ‘me’ maybe?

You’re kinda on the journey with me here on a ‘public speaking’ front so please be patient. There are things I’d have phrased differently, there are some things I don’t explain well (although this is meant as a kinda ‘pause and chat about it’ in my eyes tbh) and I’ve literally chucked examples together. But… it’s me. I’ll get better, but I can’t do that without giving things a go.

Besides, doing this felt like I was on the Krypton Factor or something.

I think there are a few things in here to help pre-service teachers think about planning/writing lessons for teens. Some things maybe not, but certainly one or two of the tips! Thanks for the tag Teresa 🙂

P.s. this was really cobbled together as you’ll see, hence no references. The resources were Sprint 2 (ELi), Beyond A2+ (Macmillan), Learn English Teens (British Council), stuff from this blog for really quick examples.

Cheers

EAL: History / Geography reviews

Here’s another insight into day-to-day EAL planning. Usual disclaimer on the look of the resources – time restraints, okay?!

History and Geography were tough for our EAL learners in Term 1. They are so English-heavy and there’s tonnes to cover. Most of my separate EAL classes during the term focused on some part of the content in these two topics. I mean, there was the odd review of maths terms and some focus on essay writing skills, but mainly I was helping learners access the Hist/Geog content.

At the end of each (half-)term, with writing assessments looming, I help the learners review what’s been covered. These activities are done as a rip-and-run activity so sorta gamified.

Here are some of the examples of my review activities for WW2 key events (the essay involved discussing two of the events in detail…)

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MA dissertation promo cringe

Maria Heron from NILE asked me to record a video about my NILE dissertation. They are promoting the course and are keen to get reflections from alumni. She sent me a bunch of questions and asked for a 5 minute video. It was meant to be unscripted and I guess they’ll be snipping it for the, ahem, ‘best bits’. At least I hope they are, as I scratch my nose and head a lot, say ‘Er’ 8000 times and barely look at the camera. It’s also far too long so not sure it’ll get used.

Why am I sharing this with you? After all, it’s 7 minutes of your life that you won’t get back. Well…

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Seesaw for EAL and young learners

Someone contacted me last week in a panic. ‘Aaargh, we’re going to start using Seesaw – any tips? Is it easy? Can you do a lot on it?’ etc.

I find Seesaw really easy to use as a classroom learning app for EAL. The functionality for slides and templates is like a Jamboard +1 (you pay for the privilege). You can do quite a lot with it – here are some random (very random) screenshots from my Year 4/5 lessons just to give you a general idea. These aren’t all-singing-all-dancing, I just want to reassure the person who contacted me that things will be more familiar than you imagine.

In no particular order…

It’s really easy to model activities/tasks when not doing a live lesson. In this example, I wanted learners to predict the captions for a load of images. I can record myself doing the task and add a voiceover with instructions too (students just click play button to view).

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Jamboard (so far)

Jamboard mentioned a lot recently. I decided to give it a go with my Secondary classes. Started using it last week so this is all new to me. Early thoughts.

Jamboard versus (e.g.) whiteboard.fi

This was the first step for me – working out which one I might find more useful. There were far more tools on whiteboard.fi (wait), but Jamboard won straight away because it integrates well with Google Classroom (wait), so that was that really.

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