Week 13: Curriculum and Instruction

April 13, 2014

Building curriculum can sometimes be a challenge. I have found while working with my ESL students it is better for me to build curriculum around things they do not have prior knowledge of. I build curriculum around things that are not taught in their native countries that are academic requirements in our school system and by the state. I have built my curriculum around World History, US History, Earth Science, and writing strategies. My students seem to able to grasp Biology, Geography, Math, and with some help Reading, but struggle in the areas I focus on. My students have no prior knowledge of US History or World History, they just have never learned the history of the world.Earth Science is not focused on in other countries and for ESL students writing is the last skill that develops for them. I have tried to meet their needs and often help them with grammar questions and problems. I have tried to model good use of grammar and help students with sentence structure problems and use of punctuation and capitalization (which they never use).

I use backward design lesson plans to help me develop well planned and thought out lesson. I generally include 4 or 5 activities to help students remember the lesson and apply what they have learned. I frequently repeat information for them and often use some of my activities as warm ups to help my students keep the information fresh in their minds. I also obtain information from their other teachers to help keep my lessons on track with what is going on in other classrooms. I think this extra collaboration helps my students work through some of the difficulties they have been facing.

I think for each of us curriculum is something different and has different elements that are unique to all of us. We all have our strengths and we should be able to build off of those to develop a strong curriculum that works for us and our students so they can excel!

Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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Week 9: Blog Reflection: Cuture, Socialization, and Education

March 16, 2014

I have had the pleasure of teaching an ESL class since November, 2013 and I can say that I have been pleasantly surprised by my students and have enjoyed teaching this class. With that being said, I can also say that it has been an interesting excursion for me and I have encountered many elements along the way. Some good, some bad and some quite unexpected!


Culturally I think I have learned quite a bit from my students, I have students from eight different countries and they all have differences. I have some male students who find it difficult to take instruction from a female teacher. I have experienced them telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about because their male teachers didn’t tell them that (they later apologized and said they asked their teacher and I was right). I’m glad they were able to move past this incident and now we are able to discuss most topics without having problems of this nature.

I have students from gang-infested countries that find it difficult to be in school and are struggling with basic content. Several have had limited experience with school due to the violence of their countries and have a great deal of difficulty catching up and learning a new language and how to read.


I find it very unfortunate that several of these students do not socialize with other students in the school. I have found that ESL students who were in the US from an early age have socially made a better adjustment than students who have been here for only a few years. I also think that Asian students are able to adjust better than some Hispanic students (maybe because they have fewer people from their background to associate with). I think some of my students hide out and avoid socializing with other students, because they just don’t feel comfortable with them.


My students love technology, I a few students who don’t speak very good English that I allow to express themselves visually through apps on the iPad and they love and seem to excel. They are able to communicate visual and have started to communicate better verbally. I also use a lot of SmartBoard games, which they love. I like having the students work together to solve problems, not only are the communicating, they are collaborating and working through problems and barriers together.

I’m sure that other people have had varied experiences in their journey of teaching, but I must say that it has been an enjoyable experience and one that I hope to continue and build a better classroom off of.

Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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