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Megan Tunon ESL 1: Introduction to ESL Spring 2014 Field Study Observation January 14, 15, 16 and February

3 and 4, 2014

Section 1: School Profile

Name of School: The Metropolitan School of Panama School District: Private school Location: La Cuidad de Saber (The City of Knowledge) Clayton, Panama City, Panama Number of Students in the School: 500 Number of ELLs: around 50% Supports, resources, and services for ELLs and families: Content driven and bilingual instruction is used at the MET. The majority of teachers are ESL or TEFL certified. All teachers are fluent in English and most are fluent in Spanish as well. In class and pull-out ESL remediation is given. Parents are a big part of the school community and technology is used to keep in constant contact with them.

Section 2: Classroom Profile

Name of Teacher: Jennifer Kightly Grade Level: 6 Subjects taught: Language Iquiry, Math Inquiry, Unit of Inquiry (science or character building unit) team sports Number of students in the class: 16 Number of ELLS: 8 Gender number of ELLs: 3 girls, 5 boys Cultures represented of ELLs: Mexico, Panama, China, Colombia, India Languages spoken by ELLs: Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, English English language proficiency levels of all ELLs in classroom: Level Two-Beginning, Level 3-Developing, Level 4-Expanding Number of ELLs identified as special education: 0 Number of ELLs identified as gifted: 2 Supports and resources the teacher provides for ELLs and families: Teacher is certified in TEFL and has a masters degree in Specific Learning Differences. The teacher incorporates ESL strategies into each activity. In class and out of class support is offered a learning support teacher certified in ESL. Communication with parents: Parent communication is constant and parents can be spoken to in English and Spanish. For parents who speak a language other than English or Spanish, translators are available

at the school. Grades are available online and the teacher sends home a weekly update and monthly newsletter which is translated. Collaboration with general and specialist school staff- Each 6th grade classroom teacher collaborates with other 6th grade homeroom teachers and special class teachers to make every learning experience integrated. Teachers of all courses uses a central unit as the core of each lesson and all planning is done together. For the core subjects, language, math and science, a learning support ESL certified teacher comes to the classroom to assist the teacher in making sure that the ELLs understand the lesson.

Section 3: Teacher Interview Unfortunately, the teacher who agreed to the interview backed out at the last minute, not leaving enough time to find a replacement. I have included the questions that I developed for the teacher to answer. 1. Can you describe your background/training in teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language? 2. What is the dominant strategy for teaching English to English Language learners at the met? (Content based, bilingual instruction, other) 3. How many ELLs do you have in your 6th grade class? How many native English speakers? 4. At the beginning of this academic year, how did you determine the English proficiency level of your students? 5. Of the levels 1-6 of Language Proficiency (1-Entering, 2-Beginning, 3-Developing, 4-Expanding, 5Bridging, and 6-Reacing) how many are your students currently performing at? 6. Once each students proficiency level was determined, how did that inform your instruction from that point on? 7. Can you describe a tried and true strategy for increasing the communication of ELLs in your class? 8. When beginning a new Unit of Inquiry, what steps do you take to ensure understanding for all of your students? 9. What sorts of remedial work is done to assist your students at the lower levels of proficiency in the classroom? 10. What accommodations are made for students at a lower level of proficiency? 11. What accommodations are made for native English speakers? 12. In what ways, if any, is bilingual instruction used in your class?

13. What type instruction do ELLs receive outside of their homeroom class? 14. Is the 6th grade curriculum at the MET structured or designed to teach ESL? 15. As an IB school, the MET is very dedicated to celebrating cultural diversity. Can you describe how different cultures are explored and respected at your school? 16. In what ways do you help to increase the social skills of your ELLs? 17. How are assessments differentiated to meet the needs of ELLs? What, if any, accommodations are made to assist them on assessments? 18. Can you describe the teaching relationship with the learning-support teacher you work with? 19. What is your contact with parents like? Do you have trouble communicating with non-English speaking parents and if so, how do you work with them? 20. What sorts of outreach programs or policies does the MET have for the parents of your students, both native and non-native English speakers?

Section 4: Classroom Observation Students in the 6th grade began a new Unit of Inquiry called Peace Begins with Me. At the start, students did prewriting in their journals and described with their definition of peace was. The teacher and learning support teacher circulated the room and checked on each students progress, giving additional support to ELLs who had more trouble understanding the concept. Student responses were shared and the teacher made a special not to emphasize how people from different parts of the world view and understand peace differently. The students then gathered on the rug to listen to four short childrens books about peace. The books were each at different reading levels, and the teacher made sure to define tricky language. After the reading, students suggested common themes and messages that they noticed in each of the books as the teacher wrote their responses on a poster sized concept web with the word Peace in the center. Each observation by the students was discussed at length, and each student was called on to elaborate or offer insight. Next, students were assigned partners to work in cooperative learning groups. Each pair chose to read a short biography of a Peaceful Leader i.e. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc. Students also had access to the internet to conduct additional research on the individual they chose. The pairs were then to create a visual representation in the media of their choosing (PPT, poster, brochure, etc.) to depict their Peaceful Leader. The visual aid had to answer the following questions: W-H questions (who, what, where, when why, and how?) What makes this person a peaceful leader? What were the negative and positive aspects about being a peaceful leader in his or her case? Students chose their biography, read it together and defined unknown words, then did additional research on their peaceful leader online. When the information was compiled, students created their visual aids. Once complete, the students will give oral presentation on their peaceful leaders.

Several strategies were implemented in this lesson to ensure understanding of ELLs. To begin, the teacher initiated prewriting about the concept which they were about to explore. This allowed each student to ponder the concept and make connections to its importance in his or her life. It also gave the learning support teacher a chance to work individually with ELLs in the classroom to clarify the concept of the new Unit of Inquiry. Finally, it motivated the students and raised their interest level because they were able to relate it to real life. Secondly, the teacher took time to clarify and simplify difficult words and ideas in the reading. She did this by offering her own explanation and by asking the students to put concepts into their own words. Answers were offered by native speakers and ELLs. The learning support teacher also chimed in if she felt that more clarification was needed for the lower level speakers. Thirdly, when the students were paired heterogeneously for their biography assignment. This allowed a native speaker to help the ELL with comprehension of the text, and it also helped the native speaker with his own understanding because he was compelled to think more deeply about what he was reading. Finally, the assignment was to create a visual aid, or non-linguistic representation of the Peaceful Leader. This gave ELLs the opportunity to show what he learned and understood about the text in a way that wasnt hindered by a language barrier. In the future, the students will be choosing their own peaceful leader to write a report on. The study of the biography in this lesson will serve as a good model for writing for ELLs.

Section 5: Research-Based Best Practices Language Arts: In the book, Teaching ESL Composition: Purpose, Process and Practice, the authors, Ferris and Hedgcock, argue that reading and writing should be taught in tandem based on the premise that strengthening reading skills will subsequently strengthen writing skills, and vice versa. This is also the case for ELLs who benefit from reading texts at or slightly above their proficiency level and then writing about the text. In this manner, students delve into deeper understandings of the text as they reflect on it in their writing. Questions can be asked and answered, the text can be revisited. Furthermore, the simple act of reading the English language will enlighten a student of its structure, grammar and syntax, therefore informing his or her writing. Ferris and Hedgcock offer a variety of instructional methods, or best practices, for achieving this learning relationship between reading and writing in the classroom. Here are three: 1. The Double Entry Journal: Instruct them to divide the pages of their notebooks or wordprocessing files into two vertical columns. In the left-hand column, they will copy or summarize passages of interest to them. In the right-hand column, they will respond to these entries by posing questions, paraphrasing, commenting, and so on. Encourage students to respond in the form of images and metaphors (Ferris and Hedgecock, 2005, pg. 65).

2. Marginal annotation: this may include writing brief comments, notations, or symbols in text margins as a means of anticipating content, paraphrasing, and highlighting key information for future retrieval (Ferris and Hedgecock, 2005, pg. 66). 3. Summarizing and sharing: To aid students in exploring their understanding of the text and its intended meaning or meanings, request that they compose a summary of the reading (see Appendix 4), which they will bring to class to share with small peer groups. Students also could post their summaries to an electronic bulletin board or conference for classmates to preview (Ferris and Hedgecock, 2005, pg. 68). Mathematics: Paula Kluth, Diana M. Straut and Douglass Bilken , authors of the book Access to Academics for All Students, state that the United States continues to face a crisis in the number of children from diverse backgrounds that do not have an understanding of mathematics at a level useful for solving problems they may encounter in their lives (Kluth, Straut and Bilken, 2003, pg. 85). Many ELL students come to us from countries and backgrounds where their understanding of mathematics is very different than ours. They may use a different unit of measurement, different currency, or maybe in their native country they have no idea of the mathematical concepts taught in our public schools. Judy Haynes, author of Getting Started with English Language Learners: How Educators Can Meet the Challenge suggests some best practices for the instruction of mathematics to ELLs. 1. Break down the language: when describing complex mathematical process, it is important to use a simple form of English to help ease confusion. Also, before teaching new concepts, all new vocabulary and mathematical jargon must be defined. 2. Model the process: Before ELL students can be expected to complete equations on their own, the process of finding the answer must be modeled, reinforced, and practiced with supervision. Some ELL may get caught up in finding the right answer and miss the importance of the process itself. Teachers should break down each step, reinforce vocabulary, and model the process several times. 3. Use manipulatives: Offering something tangible that students can, touch, see, and manipulate can go a long way in their understanding of a concept. Teachers should use manipulatives whenever possible to teach abstract concepts in math. Teachers should be aware that students from other cultures may have no idea how to use a math manipulative and will need to be taught. (Haynes, 2007, pg. 65)

Science: In an article for Multicultural Magazine, a high school science teacher recounts the day when the principal brought two new students from Colombia into her science class. When she was told that the

new students spoke no English, she began to research the best practices for helping these ELLs to succeed in her science class. Here are three of her best practices: 1. Previewing: For ESL/ELL students, time spent in previewing will assure greater comprehension and retention. It will prepare them not only for reading, but also for participation in class discussions, collaborative work, and individual group projects (Sandefur, Watson and Johnson, 2007).

2. Graphic organizers: Creating a visual representation of information gained from the text supports both students' comprehension and their short and long-term memory of what was read. As part of a teacher's lesson plan, s/he could demonstrate to the entire class how to take information from the text and integrate it into one of three general organizers that will accommodate all six text structures: an outline of the hand will serve as an organizer for sequenced text, story structure, explanatory text, or descriptive text. A semantic web would serve equally well. The T-Chart will organize the thinking and note-taking of students reading cause/effect or problem/solution text. Finally, the Venn diagram helps organize the students' thinking during or after reading expository text that compares and contrasts objects or concepts (Sandefur, Watson and Johnson, 2007).

3. Rewrite the text: After the teacher's numerous rich demonstrations of finding a topic sentence for the text and then determining supportive important details, the responsibilities of summarizing chunks of the text could be transferred to the students working in pairs. ELLs could be paired with native English speakers to complete this task collaboratively (Sandefur, Watson and Johnson, 2007). Social Studies: I my district, Marzanos Classroom Instruction that Works is all the rage. It seems entirely logical that this list of effective teaching strategies could be modified for fulfil the needs of ELLs. For a social studies classroom, many of the strategies that Marzano describes could be adapted and applied. In their book, Classroom Instruction that Works for English Language Learners, Jane D. Hill and Kathleen M. Flynn give many suggestions for how to apply these effective strategies for ELLs. Here are three. 1. Non-Linguistic Representations: Use symbolic representations, such as pictures, pictographs, maps, and diagrams. In order for ELLs to understand text, they must make connections between what they already know and the new information presented. As they make these connections, they construct meaning and begin to comprehend the material. Figures 4.1 and 4.2 are examples of pictographs, which help students visualize information, recognize patterns, and remember new content, such as vocabulary (Hill and Flynn, 2006, pg. 36). 2. Cues, Clues and Advanced Organizers: Use explicit cues to access prior knowledge. A K-W-L chart directly asks students what they already know about a topic. English-dominant students as well as Speech Emergence, Intermediate, and Advanced Fluency learners can write about what they already know in a K-W-L format, while Preproduction and Early Production students can

draw what they know. Use explicit cues to find out what students do and do not already know (Hill and Flynn, 2006, pg. 47). 3. Summarizing and Note-Taking: Use summary frames. There are six types of summary frames (narrative, topic-restriction-illustration, argumentation, problem/solution, conversation, and definition (see below). All summary frames have a set of questions that extract important elements from the text. The answers to the questions are then used to summarize the text (Hill and Flynn, 2006, pg. 64).

References
Ferris, D. R., & Hedgcock, J. S. (2005). Teaching ESL Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Retrieved from http://www.questia.com Haynes, J. (2007). Getting Started with English Language Learners: How Educators Can Meet the

Challenge. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Retrieved from http://www.questia.com Hill, J. D., & Flynn, K. M. (2006). Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://www.questia.com Kluth, P., Straut, D. M., & Biklen, D. P. (Eds.). (2003). Access to Academics for All Students. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Retrieved from http://www.questia.com Sandefur, S. J., Watson, S. W., & Johnston, L. B. (2007, Spring). Literacy Development, Science Curriculum, and the Adolescent English Language Learner: Modifying Instruction for the English-Only Classroom. Multicultural Education, 14(3), 41+. Retrieved from http://www.questia.com

Section 6: Student Profile Name of student: Karelly Gender of student: Female English Language Proficiency Level: Level 2 Beginning

Number of years at the MET: 6 months Special learning needs: ESL pull-out sessions Academic performance of student in subject area: Student receives accommodations for most subjects and is performing well at her proficiency level

Questions for Karelly: (Responses were somewhat paraphrased)

What is our country of origin (where are you from?) Mexico How long have you lived in Panama? A few months. 7 or 8. Do you like going to school at the MET? Yes I like it but it is hard. What do you find hard about going to school here? I dont understand everything. My English is bad. Do you get special help with your English? Yes I go to Ms. Sholls room every day. What kinds of things does Ms. Sholl teach you? Letters and sounds, sight words. We read books. She comes into class and helps me, too. Do you think that you are getting better at English with Ms. Sholls help? Yes it is getting better. What is your favorite class at the MET? Art! What is your least favorite? Spanish!

Really? But you are fluent in Spanish. Yes but it is boring!

Parent Interview with Karellys mother, Marisol. (Responses were somewhat paraphrased)

Karelly tells me that you live in Mexico. Why did you send Karelly to school in Panama? I have family in Panama who agreed to help with Karellys tuition. In Panama City she can go to an English speaking school. Why is it important to you that Karelly learns English? Speaking English will give her many opportunities for her future. Is this her first time at an English speaking school? Yes, she took courses in English in Mexico, but she is just learning English now. Do you think the MET does a good job accommodating Karellys needs? Yes she gets special help and takes extra English courses. Does the teacher and administration do a good job of keeping you informed? Yes, many teachers at the MET speak Spanish. Karellys teacher writes to me in Spanish. I can look at her progress online. The school sends me letters about what they are doing there.

Section 7: Development of activity for ELLs

Requirements Title of activity Grade level Subject/content area Act I of The Crucible 10th grade

Content

American Literature and Composition

NJ academic standards

English-language proficiency standards

Can-Do descriptors

3.1 All students will understand and apply the knowledge of sounds, letters, and words in written English to become independent and fluent readers, and will read a variety of texts with fluency and comprehension. 3.2 All students will write in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes. 3.3 All students will speak in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes. 3.4 All students will listen actively to information from a variety of sources in a variety of situations. Standards for Language Arts: Level 3-Developing general and some specific language of the content areas expanded sentences in oral interaction or written paragraphs oral or written language with phonological, syntactic or semantic errors that may impede the communication, but retain much of its meaning, when presented with oral or written, narrative or expository descriptions with sensory, graphic or interactive support English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts English Language learners will make connections between themes and messages in literature to real life. English language learners will read with fluency and accuracy English language learners will role play a drama, using gestures, intonation and props to convey meaning English Langue learners will communicate insights about characters, plot, and themes to one another. Students will make connections to the text and predictions about plot based on character motivations and authors intent. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Common core

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5 Analyze how an authors choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10 By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 910 text complexity band independently and proficiently. The class will be studying Act I of Arthur Millers play The Crucible today. For homework the night before, students were given a series of vocabulary words that they will come across in todays reading to define. The teacher checks each students work for completeness, then the class discusses their definitions, making sure that each are accurate. To begin the activity, each student will be given a series of questions asking how he or she would react in a certain situation, or if he or she has had any experiences that align with the themes of the text. In this way, the students can connect the themes of the play to their own experiences, which will make the text more meaningful. The teacher will review all of the questions with the class, clarifying any confusion about vocabulary, and student volunteers can explain the question in his or her native language to help other students in the room who do not understand the concept being asked. Students will then answer the questions individually as best as they can in English, using their native langue when necessary. The class will have a discussion about student responses, gaining insights and perspectives from the diverse backgrounds and experiences in the room. Students receive a modified copy of The Crucible that is more in line with their proficiency level (in this class, Level 3), and will be given roles to read aloud from their seats. The class will read chapter 3 together guided by the teacher who stop to clarify and ask questions when necessary. The teacher will give insight into how the parts should be acted out and the emotions connected with the dialogue

Procedures for Activity

Students will then work to create a few props for their characters, and the class will plan how the act will be performed in the classroom. Students will work on making scenery and a run through will be done before the final performance. Students will then act out their roles on set, using intonation and movements to communicate the text dramatically. After the reading, students will break up into cooperative groups to answer questions about the characters, plot, themes and symbols. Students will make predictions about the following acts based on character motivation and author intent. The class will discuss the responses to the questions. Students will be engaging in a class discussion, working together as a class to stage their performance and in cooperative groups to discuss different aspects of the play. During this time, students will be using academic and social English, and can clarify messages in their native language when further clarification is necessary. Reading and writing skills will also be utilized when reading the play aloud, and responding the critical thinking questions. Throughout the lesson, clarification will be made at every step. Student will define vocabulary words before they are encountered in the reading, questions will be explained in English and in the native language. While reading, the teacher will question for understanding and elaborate on the text to offer insight. Students will practice the act and have a full understanding of it before they perform, ensuring that the dramatization is meaningful to all. Finally, students will be grouped heterogeneously to answer critical thinking questions so that they can help each other understand the big ideas of the text. The L1 can be used at every step of the process to clarify meaning. While English will be primarily used for the discussion, reading, performance and reflection, the L1 can be used to fill in the gaps of understanding.

Communicative activities

Support for ELLs communication

Strategies that recognize the L1

Family involvement

Family contact will be maintained at a constant rate for the duration of this course. Before beginning the reading of The Crucible each student will take home a schedule of assignments and activities for the unit along with a description of the play of parents to read. Students will record all homework assignments in their assignment book which parents should check each night and sign when the homework has been completed. Grades will be posted online throughout the unit, and parents will be notified if their child has missed an assignment or of any issues that arise. Finally, a monthly update will be sent home and translated when possible to keep families in the loop.

Section 8: Reflecting on the course This introductory course has taught me a lot about what is require of a PDE ESL program sepcialist. It goes far beyond planning and instruction and takes a great deal of understanding, compassion, and flexibility. I learned what a significant role language plays in our lives. It is more than just a tool for communication, it is part of our identities. Acquiring a new langue is an extremely difficult endeavor, and there are many stages to language acquisition that I was not aware of, such as the silent period that can be really misconstrued. So many misunderstandings can occur because of a language barrier, and it is important to be aware of those barriers so that you can meet challenges together. The diverse cultures of ELLs should never be overlooked, especially because there are many cultural norms that can be taken the wrong way and reacted to negatively. This in turn can severely damage a relationship between the teacher and the students or parents. Cultural diversity should be seen as a strength in the classroom because it can open us up to world of different perspectives. The observation, planning, implementing and managing of instruction is key in an effective ESL classroom. There are many different methods for acquiring language, and there is no one method that is more effective for every student. Because of this, getting to know your students through close observation and evaluation is key to determining which method of teaching will be right for them. If you have the language skills, perhaps a successful bilingual classroom can be created, if a student is struggling in his or her other courses, then a content driven approach could be the most beneficial academic success. As for assessments, this course informed me of the different types of assessments used to evaluate and assess ELLs. I learned that the W-APT exam is what is used to determine a students level of English language proficiency, and the ACCESS and Alternative ACCESS exams are used to measure yearly progress for ELLs and ELLs with cognitive disabilities. This course also helped to reinforce the importance of professionalism, and it gave me a different perspective of what that means in an ESL classroom, such as having respect for people of all cultures, and understanding the differences in the way that diverse people think and behave. Reflecting on ELL, Karelly I believe that Karelly is receiving an appropriate amount of ESL intervention in her classroom. She participates in all of the regular classroom activities and there is almost always an in class support teacher there to assist her with her language acquisition. She is fully immersed in English at the MET, and receives remediation out of class to reinforce and build on the basics of her study of English. One thing that I would focus more on in class is making her a bit more accountable for her work, as I did observe her letting her high level English speaking group mates do most of the work when she was working in small groups. This way, the teacher could ensure understanding every step of the way.

In the area of langue arts, Karelly needs to be able to define unknown vocabulary words and clarify all complex ideas. She should continue to read books at and slightly above her reading level and respond them both orally and in written form. She should continue to journal about her life to give her motivation to practice her writing skills, and she should continue to get remedial help outside of class to strengthen her basic language skills, such as letter sounds, sight words, and writing skills. Karelly excels in math, and so more word problems should be introduced into her math routine so that she can use her math skills and also strengthen her English language skills. In science, Karelly should be using graphic organizers to help make sense of her science text, and she should continue to do hands on experiments so that the langue becomes more meaningful. In social studies, Karelly should be given guided notes to help her understand the text, and should continue to be grouped heterogeneously so that she learn from her peers and strengthen her social language skills. Karelly should have access to books at her reading level that are not baby books, texts that interest and motivate her to read. She should also always have in class support to clarify assignment and directions. She should be given organizers and simplified instructions for her regular classroom work, and she should continue to receive remedial classes in English instruction. Karelly should continue to work in heterogeneous groups in the classroom, but should be held more accountable for her participation in them. Her work should be evaluated at the group and independent level so that she doesnt fail to contribute to the group. Her group assignment should be one that allows her to work with different classmates so that she can continue to work on her interpersonal skills. Also, Karelly participates in team sports and should continue to do so because she has the opportunity to interact with students from other classes. Reflecting on the observed 6th grade class: This 6th grade classroom was rich with resources for ELLs: books, manipulatives, charts and posters with formulas and sight words. Also, there was an omnipresence of the ESL in class support teacher. It really is a great environment for ELLs, which is no surprise since half of the class is made up of them. I might suggest that some Spanish langue books were introduced into the class, as well as books with topics that would be of more interest to 11 and 12 year old boys to motivate them to read rather than take out their laptops and play a video game. More English-learning board games could be of use to solve the problem of the over-use of laptops, and perhaps a rule about video games being downloaded on school-issued laptops should be implemented. In my ESL classroom, I would keep in contact with parents at a near constant rate. The teacher I observed did a great job of that and she was able to write to parents in both English and Spanish. I would send home monthly calendars detailing our classroom activities and school events. I would also have students keep a daily assignment book for homework something I noticed that these students did not do, and have mom or dad sign off on it each night. Finally, regular parent meetings would be scheduled and a monthly newsletter updating parents on accomplishments could be sent home.

Families are instrumetnal in the laearning process and I would make a point to ask parents and families to contribute to the class, either by volunteering their time to help with a special activity, or coming in to discuss their culture, history, occupation, or transition to our community. One thing that that each class at the MET does which I think is a brilliant idea, is they set aside an hour each week for a classroom meeting in which students are asked to share with each other what is going on in their lives, what are they interested in lately, and it also gives the class time to discuss any issues they have with the class, the teacher, or the content. It really helps to create a positive learning environment for everyone and opens up the lines of communication. Students get to know each other at a more personal level and feel like they have a real voice in the classroom. The teacher I observed was on-point with each of her students unique backgrounds and cultures. Upon meeting my ELLs, I would take some time to ask them about their backgrounds and gain some insight into their personalities and character. I would also do some research outside of school to learn more about the cultures represented in my classroom. If the student agrees, he or she could do a presentation on his or her culture to the class so that everyone can benefit from each students diverse background. In my ESL classroom, I would involve my students in any community events that would benefit their learning. Getting ELLs out into their neighborhoods can be instrumental in their language acquisition, both academic and social, and in helping to build their confidence. Going to see a play or volunteer in the community could be a great way to improve their language skills and motivate them. Here in Panama, this is an easy thing to get involved in and the MET does a good job of getting its students out into the community.