Elcidana Camacho is a graduate student at Touro College majoring in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). As an immigrant student herself, she recognizes the value in providing high-quality education to English Language Learners. Currently, Elcidana teaches second-grade bilingual education at a New York Public School.
As a TESOL Professor, I thought about the Blueprint for English Language Learner/ Multilingual Learner Success when designing this assignment. On page 3 in the Blueprint it states that: Districts and schools engage all English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners in instruction that is grade-appropriate, academically rigorous, and aligned with the New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core and P-12 Common Core Learning Standards by anchoring instruction by strategically using research-based practices (e.g., multimedia, visuals, graphic organizers, etc.). The question was: How can technology and its applications be folded into a course sequence with practical application to TESOL teacher practice?
Assignment description: Course participants will find at least 6 websites or applications. The submitted assignment should include 1) links to the websites, 2) a brief description of each site and its weaknesses and strengths, and 3) how you will implement or apply them in your own professional teaching practice including parent outreach, and ELL advocacy. The writing must be graduate-level and authentic. 12 fonts, double space, minimum 6 pages – 1 page per website.
Starfall is a free website appropriate for children from preschool through second grade. It is an outstanding resource for special education students and ELLs to improve their language. Some benefits of this website are the ample variety of interactive games, activities, songs, and stories for readers in the beginning stage as well as a variety of downloadable materials, educational products, and a kindergarten curriculum for parents and educators. The website is centered around activities that address phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary.
Another benefit of this website is that it is easy for students to navigate at their own pace, permit learners to involve in varied activities, games, and materials independently, in pairs, or with the whole class. Teachers can also project the site on an interactive whiteboard to introduce new concepts (letters, letter sounds, phonemes, blending sounds, and more) to the whole class. For teachers who are ready to go all in, the Parent-Teacher Center is a must. It offers an impressive amount of additional ideas, printable worksheets, and pre-K and kindergarten curricula. Beware, however, that a lot of these extras are behind a paywall.
One weakness found it’s that the website only encompasses from Pre-k to third grade. I think older learners will benefit from this amazing website as well. I am already planning to use this with a newcomer student that I have. She is now learning the letters the alphabet and I have been introducing some of the sound. As I was exploring the website I found a game that focuses on each letter using it different words.
Colorín Colorado: https://www.colorincolorado.org
Colorín Colorado is a website that serves educators and families of ELLs from Grades PreK-12. It is a bilingual website basically in English and Spanish, but it offers basic parent content in thirteen languages, comprising Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Hmong. The website provides free research-based information, classroom videos, toolkits, multilingual tip sheets, newsletters, featured book, activities, as well as advice to parents, schools, and communities in supporting ELLs in the process of the language acquisition.
The Colorín Colorado website is easy to navigate, the homepage has a bar of choices that includes ELLs Basics, school support, includes teaching ELLs, for families, books and authors, videos, audience, and resource library. The resources are included by grade, state, special education. It also offers resources and guidance for new ENL teachers, how to create a welcome environment, strategies for teaching ELLs, vocabulary instructions, how to support ELLs successfully meet the common core standards, as well as information about topics such as reading together at home.
As we see, this is not a website for the students, however, it is a great resource for parents and educators getting informed on how they can best support English Language learners. The only disadvantage that I find is that not all parents are skillful readers, I think the section for parents should include more visuals for them such as videos that includes the information in the articles. This is a website I have used before many times. I have applied information learned on this website in my classroom such as strategies for differentiated instructions and making content comprehensible for ELLs.
Fun Brain https://www.funbrain.com
Fun Brain is a very colorful, energetic, and interactive website. There are over 100 interactive activities to support students from preschool to grade eighth developing skills in English literacy. The website offers the following choices: games, reading, videos, playgrounds, and math zones. The website provides an extensive variety of books children can read directly on the website. As I was navigating, I was excited to find books we read in class such as those from Kate DiCamilo. Having them available online, seems to be a great visual aid for ELLs. Fun Brain’s games allow children an opportunity to practice their reading skills in order to play games effectively. All the games are safe for kids, and they encourage children to manipulate the keyboard and mouse so they can learn to be independent on the computer. However, these educational games allow students to practice but never show them why they get an answer wrong or how to improve it.
One disadvantage I found is that when clicking to read books from first to fourth grade, it shows a book that we read at the end of second grade which I think will be very difficult for a first-grade student. Another disadvantage is the section called playground. This is not an educational activity, it is more like entertainment for kids.
I will use this website in both reading and math. I will use the math zone during independent math where students can practice skills related with the concept being taught. Similarly, during independent reading, my students can read books online.
English 4 Kids: http://www.english-4kids.com/lessons.html
The English 4 kids is an ESL website mainly for families and teachers that are trying to help children and students learn English. In the section of the parents and teachers, there is a guide to the materials needed. According to the website, the resources provided have been created by ESL professionals with at least 5 years of teaching experience. The website provides lesson plans, worksheets, fun game, powerpoints for the lessons, flashcards, and more.
Some strengths of this website are that it offers complete English Curriculum for ELLs who are at different stages in English proficiency with fully developed thematic units Each lesson features animated ESL videos to learn new vocabulary words and grammar. Furthermore, there are engaging English learning games for children and learner-driven interactive tests for every lesson. When reading the lessons, I noticed they follow the template of the SIOP Model. Each lesson includes learning objectives, language objectives, vocabulary, sentence structure, visual aids, interactive activities, and more. I personally like that the content is connected with daily life activities. For instance, there is a whole unit about greetings, another about colors, and so on. This units will help ELLs build and expand their vocabulary because they are exposed to read, listen, speak and write using the vocabulary. Moreover, there apps that parents can download for ELLs to practice phonics. One disadvantage I found it’s that the website doesn’t have an option for languages. Since the website is designed for teachers and parents to help their children improve their English, I think the instructions for the options in the website should include parent’s native language because not all of them understand English.
I will definitely use this website with my students, not just with the newcomers, but with the whole class as well. There are interactive videos we can do together specially when teaching phonics, vocabulary, even grammar. I have to say that this is my favorite website so far. I can’t wait to use.
Literacy Center Educational Network: http://www.literacycenter.net
The Literacy Center Education Network is a website created for parents, teachers and younger students. It provides great resources for students, educators and families of English Language Learners. The website includes beneficial pages such as Play and Learn, Print and Practice, Parents and Teachers, and Resources. The Play and Learn page contains activities that help ELLs practice their writing, spelling, uppercase, lowercase, word matching, spelling and more. Lessons are colorful and very interactive which makes teaching and learning more engaging. Furthermore, the different activities promote the development of the four language skills, Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.
The website is very accessible for parents because it provides an ample variety of language such as Spanish, French, and German. I think this is an advantage. Moreover, when young learners are navigating, it is easy for them to go from one page to the other because the page does not heavy with too many visuals. On the top it shows numbers that indicate a different page. Students just have to click and the page will pop out. One disadvantage I found is that there are not many activities. I wish it had more variety. Since this is a website for young learners, I will use this with students who do not have a strong foundation in their native language as well as newcomers.
BrainPop ELL: https://ell.brainpop.com
BrainPOP ELL is a web-based English language learning program that encompasses animated videos as well as interactive games and activities. In the activities, the website includes the four language skills; reading, writing, listening, and speaking. BrainPOP website was mainly created to support English Language learners acquiring English in all their English proficiency levels (Entering, merging, Transitional, and Expanding.
I believe this website is very beneficial for ELLs since it provides an important visual aid which is movies. Children love the two main characters in the videos Moby and Ben. All these short movies are directly aligned with the common core standards which support students learning the content, practicing their language skills, and developing not just their English language, but also the academic language. Some of the topics students study present progressive, present simple, pronouns & be and so more.
I always use BrainPOP with my class especially in Science and Social Studies; however, I did not know there was one BrainPOP designed for ELLs. One disadvantage I found is that since the website is not free, students will not have access at home to this resource. I will use this website for whole and small class discussions. After showing the video, I will encourage students to have an accountable talk with their partner related to the topic in the vide. As the video is playing, I will stop for students to take notes highlighting the main topic and key details. They will have to support their answers with details from the video.