Wednesday, September 23, 2009

personally, drowning

Hey folks. Sorry for such delays. As you know, life gets in the way. I guess I'm not such a fantastic regular blogger; but I'm trying. Either way, as the title suggests, I'm personally drowning. I feel a little suffocated by my middle school class, to be honest. It's my own difficulties with timing, but other than that, I'm pretty ok in how I deal with things. There's lots of work that I'm lacking (how to guide my high schoolers and middle schoolers towards interpreting their own data as an interim assessment for that matter. Maybe I'll work on that soon?), and I'm feeling like I'm not quite sure what to do about it. Prepare, prepare, prepare, I suppose.

In general, my main concern is that I have ESL/ELL students who are having an eternal struggle with expressing their thoughts. So, I put it out to my educator folk: does any know any strategies for helping students put together sentences? It's just incredible how difficult it is--you try and use sentence starters, and they don't even know what those mean, for that matter!

So, again, the question: how much do you allow the student (how much lee-way), and how much do you allow them to try and figure out for themselves?


...and Enide said...

Have you tried diagramming? I don't know how basic the level you are looking at is. (AWK!) You could start with a sentence in their language with a subject and a verb. Andrew|escribe and translate it into English Andrew|writes. Then ask them to put together subjects and verbs as very simple sentences. Then you could add direct objects, adjectives. But if you did it graphically, a visual fill-in-the-blank, it might make things easier for them.

Might not work. Just a thought. You're the expert. ;-)

PS-My ESL student wrote an adorable story in Spanish about a boy named Bobi who fell into the monkey cage at the zoo!

P.S. Montessori said...

I've been reading your blog and enjoying it :) I'm a Montessori teacher (thus the name) and have a few suggestions that we do to help young children "experience" sentence so that they understand grammar without even realizing it.

There are so many (wonderful!) grammar lessons that I couldn't possibly explain them here. Take a look at this link. Within it, there are links to 3 more posts that explain how to do the grammar lessons. I would recommend reading parts 1, 2,3 and then the given link. I'm not sure if this will help, but at least it's something to think about!

Anonymous said...

I am the husband of a talented and passionate young teaching fellow who was riffed today after more than two years of dedicated service to her students.

Her urgent dedication to helping raise the achievement of high need and disadvantaged students has been a theme of her career. In rural Nepal, aged just 18, she creatively led a class of primary students through an uninspiring national curriculum (often protecting them from the headmaster's cane). In east London, she worked patiently to improve the employment prospects and English language skills of impoverished Bangladeshi immigrants. In Sudan, she developed a practical curriculum to improve the spoken language skills and cultural awareness of thousands of primary school children and hundreds of university students. On arriving in the district, she worked to train teachers for placements overseas before being accepted into the DC Fellows program, where, for the last couple of years she has worked tirelessly to raise the achievement levels of DC's young men and women.

I am so angry about the turn of events that led to her dismissal and so totally exhausted by the lack of support and appreciation by the successive administrations of her school that my faith in the DC school system and its leadership is all but gone. I question both the competence and strategy of its leadership at both a district and school level, but most of all I cannot understand the turn of events that led to her being evaluated as teacher that should be dismissed under any circumstances.

I am the fortunate position to have witnessed her inspirational teaching and her tireless dedication to her students. I include myself amongst the many teachers she has trained, and was impressed and inspired when I taught alongside her in Sudan. She was observed for no more the five minutes by her current administration.

The DC public school system is truly in a sorry, sorry state. Today, in my humble opinion, DC students lost one of their most caring and committed advocates. They cannot afford to loose many more.

Reading the District said...

PS Mentessori, i've been reading your blog too for quite some time (long time reader, first time caller)!

man, i'm honored to have you comment! how're things going with the firings? hopefully alright...

good to see suggestions. thanks ...and Enide for the help as well!