WHAT a whirlwind! I can’t believe this is my last blog entry! FIVE courses completed in over FIVE years while living in ….. (that would be so cool if I could say FIVE countries, but….) THREE COUNTRIES!
If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you know I kinda like to stick with THEMES or ALLITERATION, or MOVIE LINES, or FUNNY YouTube videos and …well, pretty much anything that will bring a smile to the reader. The theme for my last blog post and the final project is….. (drum roll please)…..BEING A RISK TAKER!
Now even though this comes pretty easy for me (I literally JUMP for JOY when I hear about a new ADVENTURE), I too have my limits and can say that there are things that are out of my comfort zone. Many things in my COETAIL courses created a little tension in my high soaring spirits. I would THINK I was pretty tech savvy and then spend hours on one new little technique that we were learning. My sails were deflated and my risk-taking meter would empty a few notches every week. Now the great thing about these courses is they would never cause you to feel crushed for too long. COETAIL has the power to raise you up each and every week as you would find those limits that you never knew possible. I LOVE adventure and being a risk taker, so it just seems fitting that my final project encompasses English Language Learners doing the same thing.
My video has a more creative take on the final project, but the nitty-gritty details can be found here:
- What were your goals for your lesson/project (Standards)? See my detailed unit plan HERE . Along with my learning objectives. I wanted to see how ELL’s learn best – what was/is their preferred method of learning a new language? Does that include technology or not? We are an IB school so my standards are the MYP English Language Acquisition Standards.
- What tools did you use? Why did you choose this/these tools for this/these task(s)? EAL toolkit HERE. I am so grateful to Dr. Regina Rojas for all of her valuable resources. At the conference, I attended she gave hundreds of ideas, tools, differentiation strategies and scaffolding techniques for teachers to use. I chose these tools because they were relevant to the task and the assignment and you can’t go wrong with using resources from someone how has been researching ELL’s for over FOUR DECADES! My EAL team even created a website to share with our colleagues that have some of our favorite EAL tools. Also, in regards to my pictures/media or anything that appeared in my iMovie that did not give credit to the owner, they were all personal photos or material created by myself, or I took screenshots of my personal resources or I used the Google ADVANCED search tools with FREE TO USE photos. (Jeff Utecht showed me this time saver back in 2013).
- How did you go about introducing your lesson/project? (see iMovie)
- How did the students react? Include actual samples of student reflection (video, images, etc). Students were able to record their reflections on FLIP GRID or by using a bilingual process journal. They were always eager to debrief after the activities which is great, but I think they were also too NICE in their reflections, maybe telling me what I wanted to hear rather than how they actually felt all the time!
- What was the outcome? Did you meet your goals? Did this implementation meet the definition of Redefinition? YES and NO. The outcome was for the students to be able to determine their preferred method of learning for the various criterion. Louis (one of my students in the video) provided feedback and said that he enjoyed the TRASH and TREASURE game over the website Grammar Ninja since he felt that the game was fun and provided a larger variety of learning. For the most part, the students were able to identify HOW they learn best and maybe gravitate towards that. The goals weren’t entirely met because saying that they liked the NON-TECH strategy better than the TECHNOLOGY version doesn’t mean that technology still can’t enhance learning. There, I think, lies the flaw in my overall project. I wanted to provide variety and build an awareness for how ELL’s process tasks, but I am still not sure the GOAL of redefinition on the SAMR model was met. Actually, I am totally sure it was not met! 🙁
- Evidence of learning? Remember to include student evidence like video, images, reflections. (see iMovie)
- What would you do differently next time? What did you learn? (Reflection)
The hardest part for me with the video was the small sample size I had. My English Language Acquisition classes are small with only 2 or 4 students in them. The idea is that intensive English instruction bodes well with smaller class sizes. Even though I am still happy with the outcome, I would have liked to have a larger student size to work with to introduce more strategies and see a more lasting effect.
Making the iMovie was a difficult task for me – I do not feel confident with the program and it took much longer than I thought it would. I have made iMovies before, but they were not as detailed, and not for a professional/educational target. Overall, it was a great learning experience as I now can identify with the students when I require the same product from them.
8. How do/did you plan to share this with your colleagues? Being an EAL Coordinator does have its perks. I am always asked to share information at our whole school professional development sessions, so this video is very relevant to the needs at GSIS. Our ELL population is becoming larger and larger so teachers need to be more equipped with ways to enhance their learning
9. What was your greatest learning in this course? I hate to be cliche, but there were MANY takeaway nuggets for me. #1. I was really impressed with my students and their eagerness to take on this challenge with reckless abandonment. They were not SHY, they were not NERVOUS, they really behaved exactly like the iMovie shows – sometimes they were engaged in the process and other times they acted like silly, teenage boys! #2. I learned that it is important for students to identify and own their learning styles. My middle school students tend to be much more hands-on – might have to do with their attention span, might not, but my high school students would rather have the information fed to them – they like a lecture or flipped classroom quite a bit more than the younger students. #3. You are NEVER too old to learn something new. Whether that is learning how to use iMovie or using Google docs for the first time. That is why I loved these COETAIL courses – the technology literally met us where we were. #4. Being a RISK taker will take you on GREAT ADVENTURES! In my video, I only show one adult ELL that I interviewed. I chose her because at first, she said NO to my initial question of an interview. She didn’t want to make mistakes and be embarrassed. In Korea, there is a part of the culture that is all about “saving face.” Generally, it is not customary to take risks knowing that you might make mistakes – or at least, not to do it in front of others. So, when three adults said YES to my interview and let me ask questions about how they grew up as English Language Learners, it caused me to get emotional. They are being RISK TAKERS and stepping out of their comfort zones which is a very difficult thing to do. They are practicing what we preach to students day in and day out. Witnessing their steps of faith was a huge honor for me and the whole process was just downright poetic. My final project would have been too long with their stories, but if you are interested, take a look!