General ESL Collective Intelligence Group

ESL Group discussion *Detroit Lakes*

Traci Pederson
ESL Group discussion *Detroit Lakes*
by Traci Pederson - Saturday, 28 March 2009, 4:57 PM

~ESL Discussion Group~

Friday, March, 2009

Detroit Lakes

Management Strategies:

A question was brought up about wether or not is it good to test students immediately or is it better to wait a couple days until they feel comfortable

Ideas that were given to help out in your classroom

  • Pictures of students on their folders so subs and volunteer know who the students were.
  • Laminate all cards (citizenship) and punch holes in them and put them on a ring.
  • Using HS Students for service learning projects
  • Senior citizens groups to help out your students
  • Have advance ESL students help out the new students (Buddy System)
  • Having their buddies help them with transportation to school if needed?

Materials Teachers Liked to use with ESL:

  • Longmans (ES)
  • Laubach 1 & 2
  • Workforce Series
  • Oxford Picture Dictionary
  • Downtown
  • Story by Story

Please feel free to add your idea's on materials that you use with you ESL students.

Problems that teachers are facing in their program:

  • Funding with programs that have refugees.  It was stated that if the state brings in refugees they should have the obligation to serve them.
  • Busing (lack of transportation for Rural areas)
  • Daycare
  • Weather

Susan WB
Re: ESL Group discussion *Detroit Lakes*
by Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt - Monday, 30 March 2009, 11:02 AM

A thought about testing immediately vs. testing after a few days:

If you test (with CASAS) immediately or at registration, it's likely that your students' scores will be somewhat artificially low.  New students are often anxious about testing, they haven't been in school for a while (if ever), and are taking the test "cold".  So, they don't test up to their true potential.

If you test after students have been in class for a few days, you will get a much more accurate test score because they have started to get comfortable and build a trusting relationship with their teacher and classmates, and have brushed up their English and academic skills a little.

On the plus side of having students test at registration, if they test a little below their true skill level, it's easier to get a level gain later!  On the negative side, they might be misplaced in a class that's too easy, or you might start teaching topics that they already know, wasting their time and making them less likely to persist in class.

All the programs I have worked in test at registration, but this is mainly to reduce the burden on the teacher when getting a new student in class.  I don't think these other factors have really been taken into account when creating the placement testing policies of most programs.

PS:  Kirsten, don't enter my name in the drawing!  I am one of the main facilitators on the ABE Discussion Boards so I tend to post whenever I see something that I feel I can respond to.

Traci Pederson
Re: ESL Group discussion *Detroit Lakes*
by Traci Pederson - Wednesday, 1 April 2009, 9:00 PM

I agree with waiting a few days to test an ESL student.  I always wait two or three days especially if they are new to the country or area.   I would like them to feel comfortable in my classroom and with the environment that they are in and with me. If they are comfortable with my classroom when they are first come then they will want to keep coming back to learn and make that next CASAS level change. 

Traci Pederson
Re: ESL Group discussion *Detroit Lakes*
by Traci Pederson - Monday, 30 March 2009, 12:43 PM

Our Discussion Group tried to stay true to the questions for discussion.  But the group was more interested in what the other teachers in the group did with their students who were in the "Little House On The Prairie Multilevel Classroom."   The group wondered how you tested, if you had test dates, if you made appointments for testing, did you do small and large groups or combined groups. 

  • Most of the teachers work together with their ESL in groups as they come in and then might separate them if enough people are there.
  • Some teachers did testing on certain dates.  Others tested as needed.
  • Some teachers had advanced students helping out with newer students.

Technology was a big concern for some teachers.  Their computers and programs were old or outdated or didn't work at all. 

  • Update VCR's to DVD players
  • Look into new programs to work with students as a group and that they can work alone too.
  • Look into getting a SMARTBoard for their classroom.
  • Looking into getting CD's that come with programs they are already using.

We talked about the different websites that were used in the classroom for students to use for listening and reading. We then looked at the various websites and check them out as a group.

Teachers discussed getting the Rosetta Stone.  Some teachers reported that the program is too expensive and couldn't afford it. 

  • Trying using your public library to check it out for your program

Traci Pederson
Re: ESL Group discussion *Detroit Lakes*
by Traci Pederson - Wednesday, 6 May 2009, 8:27 PM

This is an awesome sight.  It has helped me out a lot when I got my new Chinese students.  It is a translator for almost any language possible!  This site has saved me on many occassions.  You just change the language for the first section to English and the second choice would be the language learners language.

Let me know your thoughts or any sites that are helpful in this area! wink

Susan WB
Re: ESL Group discussion *Detroit Lakes*
by Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt - Thursday, 7 May 2009, 1:36 PM

Hi Traci,

There is also Babelfish (used to be Altavista, now it's Yahoo):

These things are handy but I warn you to take their answers with a grain of salt.  Sometimes words have multiple meanings, and the computer won't always give you the one you need.  But in a pinch, they can really help out!


Traci Pederson
Re: ESL Group discussion *Detroit Lakes*
by Traci Pederson - Monday, 11 May 2009, 10:26 PM


I have noticed that in many Chinese words when I was using the English to Chinese.  It appears that a lot of the words in Chinese have quite a few meanings and we really have to be specific on the word.  I saw that it doesn't offer Thai/Lao, which is the majority of my ESL population.  But, I will try out the Chinese/Simple tomorrow and let you which site they prefer.

Thanks for the site!  Keep them coming! smile