Touro TESOL Candidate Michael Kollmer’s Materials Critique for EDDN 673 Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language

This assignment focuses on Touro TESOL candidates enrolled in Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language to make well-informed decisions of ELL materials that feature equity, enrichment, engagement, and empowerment. 

This assignment focuses on Touro TESOL candidates enrolled in Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language to make well-informed decisions of ELL materials that feature equity, enrichment, engagement, and empowerment. 

Michael Kollmer received his bachelor’s degree at SUNY Cortland in Physical Education. He is currently enrolled as a graduate student at the TESOL and Bilingual PRogram at Touro College to pursue his Masters in TESOL. “This is my first year working as a physical education teacher in an elementary school and I plan on taking what I learn at Touro and applying my knowledge into my lessons to ensure all of my students have the greatest opportunity to learn.”

Students background:

For the purpose of this assignment, I chose a group of five ELL students to focus on. The five students attend the Mount Sinai School District. The five student’s native language is Spanish. Three of the ELLs are on level 3, transitioning, and the other two ELLs are on level 4, expanding. All five students are in the fourth grade. The three ELLs on the transitioning level receive both push-in and pull out services, while the two ELLs on the expanding level just receive push-in services. All five ELLs are able to communicate with their peers in English. The five ELLs communicate with each other in both English and Spanish. All five students were born here in the United States and all speak just Spanish at home. Their goals are to become better immersed in the English language and to be able to function in the classroom with less assistance from the ENL teacher. I have all five students in my gym class and when observing them in a more relaxed environment, they are very outgoing with their peers and always want to help demonstrate the rules of the games being played. While observing them in the classroom, it was like I was seeing totally different students. They are shyer and tend not to participate in discussions unless they are called upon to share. Their affective filter is much lower in the gym where the environment is more relaxed whereas their affective filter is much higher in the classroom where their English skills are put on the spot in front of their peers and teachers. They prefer group work where all five are in the same group and tend to use their L1 when the teacher is not listening. All five students are performing at grade level. They utilize the use of guided notes, graphic organizers, and sentence starters to enhance their writing organization, skills, and comprehension. They also use visual aids around the classroom to help with comprehension during content lessons. All five students have excellent BICS skills and can communicate with their teachers and peers with ease. The students are working on their CALPS and need assistance with new vocabulary in content areas. The ENL teacher pushes in during the social studies and science block during the day. The teacher pulls all five students to a back table to work together during these content-area lessons. The two students at the expanding level are stronger in reading and speaking in their L2, while the three students at the transitioning level are stronger in listening and reading in their L2.

“Neema’s Reason to Smile” by Patricia Newman


The book I chose was recommended to me by an ENL student’s fourth-grade teacher. The book is called “Neema’s Reason to Smile” by Patricia Newman. This book is about a young Kenyan girl named Neema who dreams of one day being able to afford to go to school. Throughout the book, Neema and her mother come up with a plan to save money and make Neema’s dream come true. Eventually, Neema goes to school in a red skirt and white shirt and dreams of all the occupations she could have.

With this book, I created a lesson with the objective:

Students will be able to compare and contrast the daily tasks of school in another country to the daily task of school here in Mount Sinai.

In groups, students will pick a country to focus on and research what school is like for students in that country. A list of countries will be provided to the students. To do the research, students can use the school library to check out books, the geography section of the classroom library, or use Myon or Epic! on their Chromebooks to find books about their country of choice. To start this lesson, I will first read the whole class text, “Neema’s Reason to Smile”. Next, I will model how to record the important information, what school was like for Neema in Kenya, on a graphic organizer. The graphic organizer will be on chart paper and left up for the remainder of the project for students to look back at during their independent research work. Students will need to use the skill of recording important information when they are researching and recording their own information within their groups. After the “I do” portion of the mini-lesson, as a class, we will fill out the “we do” portion. This consists of filling out a second graphic organizer as a class on what school is like for us here in Mount Sinai. The students will help me fill out the class graphic organizer, as well as filling in their own graphic organizer. This graphic organizer will be part of the student’s final project since they all attend the same school, in the same class. Next is the “you do” portion of the lesson. This is when the students will break off into the teacher assigned groups to research their country of choice and find out how school is similar and different from their own school day. Each group will have a mix of ELLs and non-ELLs.

This lesson will be student-driven with me as the facilitator. Within the gym, I have noticed that most, if not all, students enjoy student-driven lessons. They have more responsibilities and are in charge of their own learning. They get out of the lesson what they put into it. With this being said, I feel like the students would also enjoy being in charge of their own learning within a classroom setting. By being a facilitator in this lesson, the students will look to me for support and guidance when needed. While students are working in their groups conducting their research, I will be walking around the classroom monitoring for progress. If I come across a group that seems to be struggling, I will pull that group aside and conference with them. If groups are struggling with recording important information about schools in a different country, I will refer back to the mini-lesson and the whole class text to help the students out.

The techniques being utilized in the lesson advocate for achieving the state’s objectives most effectively. This is because students are being supported and guided through their learning with the “I do, we do, you do” model and with me being the facilitator. The students will be working on the state standard of compare and contrast schools in another country to school in their own country. They will be supplied with texts that have visuals, as well as it is similar to their own lives when applicable.  During the “I do” part of the lesson, students are shown and taught the important skills they will use when it is time for them to research their own country. The students will also be prompted and provided materials that will help them succeed during this lesson. These materials include graphic organizers, teacher conferences, materials in the classroom library, materials in the school library, materials on student Chromebooks, and the help of student’s peers. With the students being in charge of their own learning, this will help with student engagement in the lesson. With me being in the facilitator role, the students will have more independence throughout the lesson and will then have to advocate for themselves and their group.

The techniques being utilized during this lesson is appropriate for all types of learners. The lesson will be modeled using the “I do, you do, we do” method with checks for understanding and appropriate wait time for all students. The materials and graphic organizers will be left up in the front of the classroom along with the whole class text for the students to refer back to. Also, graphic organizers can be easily adapted to fit the needs of my ELLs. I will provide them with a copy of the class graphic organizer, and I will also provide them with a graphic organizer specific to the country they choose to research. The ELLs will be provided with guided notes and sentence starters, along with vocabulary cards with pictures of the words and the words in their native language. This method is appropriate to the situation in the classroom because these students enjoy working in groups and enjoy the responsibility being placed on them. With the students working in groups, this allows me to be in the facilitator role and check-in with students when needed to monitor their progress.

Key Vocabulary:

            Different, Similar, Country, Savanna, Mango, Government School

TESOL Standard:

Key Ideas and Details

Standard 2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Text Types and Purposes

Standard 2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Bloom’s Knowledge Matrix

Michael Blooms

Author: drcowinj

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today,” determined Malcolm X at the O.A.A.U.’s [Organization of Afro-American Unity] founding forum at the Audubon Ballroom. (June 28, 1964). (X, n.d.) Dr. Jasmin Bey Cowin a Fulbright Scholar, SIT Graduate, completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP™) at Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Cowin served as the President of the Rotary Club of New York and Assistant Governor for New York State; long-term Chair of the Rotary United Nations International Breakfast meetings; and works as an Assistant Professor at Touro College, Graduate School of Education. Dr. Cowin has over twenty-five years of experience as an educator, tech innovator, entrepreneur, and institutional leader with a focus on equity and access to digital literacy and education in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Her extensive background in education, administration, not-for-profit leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and technology innovation provide her with unique skills and vertical networks locally and globally. Dr. Cowin participates fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline as elected Vice President and Chair-Elect for the New York State, NYS TESOL organization, for the 2021 conference. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publications, presentations, and participation in academic conferences, blogging, and other scholarly activities, including public performances and exhibitions at conferences and workshops. Of particular interest to her are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education; Current Global Trends in TESOL; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English; E-learning; Micro and Macro-Methodologies in TESOL; E-Resources Discovery and Analysis; and Language Acquisition and the Oculus Rift in VR.

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