Advice & Information

We will post helpful tips, articles, resources, etc. that may help you as a student or professional. We encourage submissions from you.

Motivating students in Science classrooms

posted Apr 11, 2014, 7:25 PM by Omar Longus   [ updated Apr 11, 2014, 7:26 PM ]

Two videos for teachers to look at how others are challenging themselves by attempting new methods of engaging students and exploring content.

The first is 3 rules to spark learning:
Chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam talks about how a life-threatening cindition changed the way he taught.


The second is Classroom Game Design:
Biology teacher Paul Andersen talks about how he turned his classroom into a video game and the results of his teaching experiment.

Cutting to the Common Core: Changing the Playing Field

posted Mar 26, 2014, 2:24 PM by Omar Longus   [ updated Mar 26, 2014, 2:24 PM ]

In the two part article Cutting to the Common Core: Changing the Playing Field, Jeff Zwiers, Susan O’Hara, and Robert Pritchard present essential shifts for teaching Common Core Standards to academic English learners.

Part 1 focuses on a shift to get ELLs focuses on getting ELLs engaged in longer, more complex thinking and practice, and Part 2 focuses on building collaborative skills.

The genius and genesis of Google

posted Mar 25, 2014, 11:48 AM by Omar Longus

"Information is powerful, but it is how we use it that will define us."

This quote from a Kenyan farmer who has used Google to overcome problems with his crops and empower his community, highlights one of the core concepts that has driven Google. Regardless of how you feel about the company, Google has been effective in harnessing and unleashing the power of technology to a large audience.

Putting this type of philosophy into practice is something all educators should do in their personal lives and for their students. Enjoy the following two videos about what Google is doing now, and where Google has come from:


Common Core in Action: 10 Visual Literacy Strategies

posted Feb 25, 2014, 3:58 PM by Omar Longus   [ updated Feb 25, 2014, 3:59 PM ]

The article Common Core in Action: 10 Visual Literacy Strategies posts 10 strategies teachers can use in their classrooms. Visual Literacy Strategies are effective ways to work with ELLs because they are not entirely language based.

I personally liked the idea of a modified Photo Analysis Worksheet as a way to tackle complex analysis using visuals before beginning to do so through fully text sources.

The importance of guided practice in the classroom

posted Feb 18, 2014, 4:54 PM by Omar Longus   [ updated Feb 18, 2014, 4:54 PM ]

The article The importance of guided practice in the classroom shares the importance for us as educators to only provide opportunities for students to practice correctly under supervision, and how that might look in the classroom.

What does an ESL teacher do?

posted Feb 16, 2014, 2:45 PM by Omar Longus   [ updated Feb 16, 2014, 2:46 PM ]

Many of you work with or as ESL teachers, and all of you are training to get more expertise in working with ELLs. Thus, it is important for everyone to understand what an ESL teacher does. An ESL teacher helps non-native speakers of English develop social and academic language skills across the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. ESL teachers often take on the responsibility of helping students acculturate and acclimate to their new lives in the United States.

ESL teachers work in a variety of roles and settings. Some push into classes and work with ELLs in one-on-one, small group, or whole class settings. Others pull out students and work with ELLs separate from the rest of the classes. Some ESL teachers have their own classrooms, in which they teach a class dedicated to helping students learn English. Others co-teach with content area teachers and work to make sure that all students - but especially ELLs - receive appropriate English language development. Finally, other ESL teachers teach content area classes that include or are entirely comprised of ELLs and differentiate lessons to ensure that all students understand the content and gain appropriate language development. In bilingual or dual language programs, a teacher may be responsible for teaching content in multiple languages or helping students develop their language skills in another language in addition to English.

While an ESL teacher does not need to know another language, having that background can help teachers better communicate with students and parents. They can gain validity in the eyes of those students and parents as someone who has successfully learned a new language and knows what it takes. However, regardless of whether a teacher speaks another language, it's important for every ESL teacher to learn more about the home culture and traditions of their students in order to better relate to them and understand the right approaches to use in effectively instruction them.

Equity does not mean equality

posted Feb 16, 2014, 6:57 AM by Omar Longus   [ updated Feb 16, 2014, 6:59 AM ]

I attended a presentation recently, in which the presenter used the following graphic to illustrate the point that equity is not the same thing as equality:

As educators, we need to all think about what we are hoping to provide and how we can do so.

Education in the USA Infographic

posted Jan 14, 2014, 9:29 AM by Omar Longus   [ updated Jan 14, 2014, 9:34 AM ]

The editors at Best Education Degrees decided to take a look at education in the United States. They created this Infographic, which provides a visual representation of how different states perform on educational metrics.

Resources for Teachers

posted Jan 3, 2014, 7:26 PM by Omar Longus   [ updated Jan 3, 2014, 7:26 PM ]

The article Fostering STEM vocabulary development in ESL students includes strategies and links to resources for teaching ELLs in content areas. The TESOL Resource Center has lesson plans, activities, tips and more to help teachers working with ELLs.

Characteristics of Highly Effective ESL Teachers & Using Students' Native Language in the Classroom

posted Jan 3, 2014, 7:23 PM by Omar Longus   [ updated Jan 3, 2014, 7:24 PM ]

The articles 10 Characteristics of Highly Effective EF/SL Teachers and Help or hindrance? Use of native language in the English classroom provide good insights on how to teach ELLs and pros and cons of utilizing students' native language during instruction.

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