Summer school started yesterday, and it's great! I have all the same kids I had during the year, so it was a breeze to get back into the routines we had. Finding the stuff I packed away was not so easy. Why do I put things where I think I'll remember them, instead of in a more obvious spot? Do you do that too?
We got a brand new, off-the-plane kid in summer school, and word on the street is we're going to get more soon. He's in a state of culture shock, as he's only been here about 3 weeks and really knows just a few words. He speaks a dialect of Burmese which many of my other Burmese speakers do not speak, so we have a little bit of a language barrier even within the same culture. This happens often in my school- we can't get a bilingual aide who speaks all our dialects.
All the different colors are different ethnic minorities within Burma/Myanmar. Each one has several dialects and various differences in dress, religions, and customs. In our school, certain ethnic minorities don't mix with certain others, which causes tensions, as you can imagine. We are doing our very best to bring them together through community building activities.
Anyway, yesterday at 8:57, while the kids were standing outside, my teaching partner and I scrambled to download some apps and hunt through our shelves for stuff to do with him! Today was a little bit better, since we've figured out our routine, but I'd rather not have that happen again, so I am going to share with you the websites that we found for our newcomer while we got our long-term ELL's settled down to work.
ESL Games Plus is a new-to-me website. I had been using ABCYA.com almost exclusively, but now I think I will switch, just based on the language level that ESL Games provides. I like the content in ABCYA but my students need a lot of speaking and listening practice so this is a great addition to my toolkit.
This is a PDF document we came across that explains expectations for newcomers based on their experience, months in the country, and language level. Definitely give it a read- it has lots of good information and I was happy to refresh my own memory.
On to the app!
This just shows you how much is out there, and how much I didn't know was out there!
A Burmese language app ($2.99)! We were over-the-moon excited to find this. I have the younger kids and my teaching partner has the older kids so she got to work on this with our newcomer, but we played with this app after the kids left and it's amazing. It has all the essential social language you need for a teenager and up. It doesn't have school language, but that's ok- we're not worried about teaching those words yet. He just needs to learn to communicate. Some ELL professionals will tell you that's wrong, but all this kid wants to do is be 11 and talk to his friends who can't remember Burmese anymore, so we're going to help him do that.
We had our student on Starfall for a while as well, but the Burmese app seemed to be the best fit. It was good for him to hear the word in Burmese, then hear the word in English. The only thing missing was a visual, so we are on the hunt for something that meets all our needs. *Hint Hint* all you app developers out there!
Help us out! What language and vocabulary apps have you used in your classroom? Feel free to share! I'll let you know what other great ones we come across as well!