I found the
hand out on Developing Phonological Awareness
that I got from the Iowa Culture and Language Conference (ICLC) 2015 to be very
useful in teaching the ELL pre-literacy class we are now offering in
Muscatine. Most of the students who are
attending this class are illiterate not only in English but also in their own
awareness is the awareness of sounds and speech that a person makes or
hears. Here are the different types of
phonological awareness in English:
Word Awarenessis the knowledge that words have meaning. Example: a student needs to
know that the spoken worddogrepresents a creature that has four
legs and barks before he or she can understand the meaning of the printed worddog.
Rhyme Awareness is the understanding that certain word endings sound alike, and therefore
contain the same sounds.
Syllable Awareness is the awareness that words are divided into parts, each part containing a separate vowel
Phonemic Awareness is the awareness of the smallest units of sound in a word.
I presented my master’s thesis at the MIDTESOL 2015 conference in October. The foci of my presentation were on Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theories, curriculum design, and instructional strategies for teaching adult English learners.
SLA theories provide insights into how adult English learners acquire a new language. The foremost goal of any ELL course curriculum and instructional strategies is to assist English learners in acquiring the ability to communicate in English. Therefore, the available SLA theories should be examined when exploring second language development and learning outcomes of adult English learners.
Here are some of the insights that I keep in mind when I teach my ELL students:
Collaborative learning encourages learners to use prior knowledge and experiences to construct new knowledge
Adult learners accumulated a growing reservoir of experience which is rich in resources for the purpose of learning
They acquire the grammatical features naturally, when learners are engaged in a meaningful use of the language
Comprehensible input is important for second language acquisition
Modified instruction should include elaboration, slower speech, gesture and provision of contextual clues
Language competence acquisition occurs when second language learners acquire language one step beyond the level language that has been acquired by the learners.
While many of you may know how to divide a fraction, how many of you understand why you use the steps that you do? At the Adult Numeracy Institute they gave me an excellent explanation, so I turned that into a video that you can watch below.
Growing up I was taught math in the traditional way. The teacher gave me some symbolic notation such as 1/2 * 1/4 and then gave me a step-by-step process to follow to the solve the problem, and then we moved on to the next thing with more notation and procedure. At ANI they present how that should be just one of three approaches. We need to add in visual models and real world situations and experiment with starting in one of those modes instead.
Attached is a worksheet "Operations with Fractions" that asks the student to make pictures out of fraction problems. Take a look, give it a try and reflect on how it goes.
Not having enough materials/resources is a common complaint among teachers. I love following how a young teacher in rural Oklahoma, Sarah Hagan, is finding a way to thrive without using textbooks. Back in March NPR did a feature story about Sarah titled " The Teacher Who Believes Math = Love."
Since hearing that story, I have been a regular follower of her blog Math = Love. If you ever need tips on how to make the classroom interactive or how to help students create their own textbooks, then look no further. She updates her blog almost daily (where she finds the time, I have no idea) and she is truly passionate about her students and how she can help them learn.
Holly Hunter was one of the student speakers at the HSE May
2015 Graduation Ceremony. Holly told
her fellow graduates that “we got here . . . finally”. She said her fear of succeeding, fear of
failing, fear of what if I can’t do this and fear of what if it never goes
anywhere kept her from getting her High School Equivalency Diploma in the past.
In September, Holly’s father-in-law
passed away. He was a very important
person in Holly’s life, and she promised him she would do it this time. She said this is for him, her four children,
her husband, and her grandmother. Holly
for a better future is what brought us here.
She ended her inspirational speech by telling the other graduates,
“Let’s do this, let’s graduate!
Holly said she ran away from home in January of her junior
year of high school. She said she was basically staying in a park and living
out of her car. She became ill because
of malnutrition and improper care. She
developed bacteria in her throat that causes infections. It was first thought
she had mumps in her throat. Eventually she ended up staying with her aunt and
uncle and sometimes friends. She
eventually dropped out of high school at the beginning of her senior year as
she was unable to keep up with school work. Holly did have an IEP for extra help as she
had been determined to have a reading disability. Her mother stopped special services for Holly
at the end of her junior year. In April
of her of her junior year her aunt helped her through the process of becoming
an emancipated minor. Holly eventually
met her husband and they married when she was 18 years old. She became a stay-at-home mom, eventually
becoming a home day care provider for children of other family members. Over the years she had jobs with a cleaning
company, gas stations, and eventually AllSteel where she worked for 4 years. She quit working there to care for her
father-in-law who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
After lots of hard work and many hours of study and
preparation, Holly earned her High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) on April
24, 2015. She began attending Muscatine
Community College in August 2015. She is
now studying Business Management with an emphasis in Accounting. Holly said she and her husband hope to
eventually start their own business: an Arcade and Party Center where customers
can hold birthday parties and other life events.
The Iowa Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the
Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) administered by Region 9 IowaWORKS are
helping to cover Holly’s college tuition costs.
As a HSE program completer, EICC awarded her a voucher for 3 credit
hours. Holly’s hope for a better future
has brought her far. We wish her the
best and many successes in the future.
I was lucky enough to spend two days doing math as if I were a student. All of the teachers at the workshop were given some data that we care about -- HiSET testing data for all the states that use the HiSET test.
Our task was to tell a story. Think about that. We had pages and pages of numbers to look at and it all looked official and concrete and factual. We had two stories to tell, actually. The first was to use the data to say how Iowa was doing really well and deserved continued monetary support. The other story we had to tell was how Iowa is actually struggling and needs money to help bring it up to par. Below are a few examples of what we created and presented.
My group's effort. On the left side we left out all the other states in-between to make it look like we were doing way better than everyone else. On the right-side notice how we manipulated the size of the bars to make it seem like Iowa had a really tiny percent..
Infographics are a powerful way to present information.
Here they added a few sentences to make the story more explicit.
Always question the data!
Teachers can easily adapt this to their classrooms using data that their students care about.
This week I'm spending two days in Des Moines for the Adult Numeracy Institute. The focus is on number sense (fractions, decimals and percents) and Data, Statistics, and graphs. I enjoyed the first warm-up activity that was a match up. This activity could be tailored to any level of math learner. The directions are as follows:
Beforehand, the facilitator creates pairs of cards with equivalent values (for example 1/4 and .25 would be paired cards or 1/8 on one card and a picture of 8 connected bars with one bar shaded in on its match). You can make the task more difficult by using pairs of more complicated numbers or concepts such as having the golden ratio on one card and 1.61803398875 on another.
When you get to class, hand out one card to each student
Students then find the person in the room that has the equivalent card
Once they find their partner, they go to the board and place their cards on a number line
Facilitate a discussion about how they know the cards are equal
Since this activity has an anonymous factor it's safe to discuss whether cards are placed correctly and then move them if needed
Doing this activity gets students out of their seats and thinking. They have to talk to each other to problem-solve what constitutes a match, and then they have to conceptually understand where the numbers belong on a number line, which prepares them for more advanced math down the road. Any errors in mathematical thinking are quickly corrected in a safe environment.
While the article should state HiSET instead of GED, the Muscatine Journal does a good job of covering our new partnership with Franklin Elementary School. We are hoping to grow this partnership and recruit volunteers for instruction.
While I have done similar projects to this one, on a more limited scale, it's nice to see HiSET do some of the heavy lifting. Below you will find a new resource from HiSET copied from their website.
Academy Math Videos In collaboration with Khan Academy, the HiSET® program has
identified videos and exercises that can assist you in preparing for the HiSET
Math test. These training videos can improve the fundamental skills in Numbers
and Operations, Geometry, Data Analysis and Algebra that you need to be
successful on the HiSET Math test. See the Khan
Academy Instructional Support Videos and Exercises (PDF) for more
Starting in January 2016, HiSET is changing the Writing exam.
Switch Freely Between Parts
While the test is still 120 minutes total, they will now allow the student to switch back and forth between the multiple-choice part and the essay. For most test-takers this will allow more time for the essay because the majority of people finish the first part with time left over. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this extra time due to the other major change. . .
Essays in Context
The essay prompt is now in the context of two opposing-sides essays. The test-taker must read the two essays and write a persuasive essay defending their side while acknowledging the opposition and citing the original texts.