I worked with some teachers of ESL and LEP students after school today. I had been invited to show them how to use some of our online resources and some technology to aid in improving the students' English. We looked at things across the curriculum---lots for reading and things like vocabulary-building, but we also looked at several things helpful for social studies, science and math.
We took content samples from our subscription databases including Facts on File, Teaching Books, Tumblebooks, Discovery Education videostreaming and worked in PowerPoint. Not that we produced slideshows, but we looked at how users can use visuals...be they clipart, photos, maps, etc. and manipulate them for use in PPTs and other things. The participants also found out how easy it is to download and use pieces of videostreaming.
One of the things I also emphasize in this type of staff development is to look "outside the box"... think about how a historical photo can be used to teach word meanings or use a science video to explain a particular idiom. And my favorite part...using picture books to introduce a concept or ideas for end products the students can create themselves!
Another idea that came out was that by including lots of visuals and silly bits of video, a teacher will have captured the attention of his or her students so that even MORE learning can take place. Our kids are visual learners these days and it is a shame not use as much "stuff" as possible.
And yes, we had an oops moment...something to always expect when working with technology. You gotta learn to roll with the punches. What was our oops?...the screen shot I made would NOT paste to the PPT so we could manipulate it. That was a first for me! But that's ok..we still practiced with the crop tool and the grouping technique and turned our "pretend" screen shots into the weirdest new bird---a wingless chicken with a Sphinx head! Names anyone?
One other thing I did...I challenged the group to "play" 15 minutes a day...mess around in an online resource, play with PPT tools, READ blogs (yep---showed them the blogroll!), but do SOMETHING with technology or explore an online resource EVERY day. Sounds simple enough, but I know...even 15 minutes will be hard to squeeze out of the days of most of these people...their plates are very full...but it WILL be worth it...they will benefit...and more importantly, so will their students!
How did we end this action-packed day? Animoto of course!
(I can't get it to embed!!)
I hope some of the participants will share their classroom ideas here in the comments...
...and you know what else...these things will work with ALL students!