It’s Carnival Time

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 01, 2008 3 min read
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For this 8th edition of the ELL/ESL/EFL carnival, bloggers provide answers to some of the questions I presume that educators of English-learners might have. OK, I admit that the first question may not exactly have been on the tip of your tongue, but it could help some ELL teachers to stretch in how they engage students.

Q: What are ways to get ELLs involved in making text-to-speech animated movies?
A: Nik Peachey has put together a tutorial video to help you envision how this technology can work in the English-as-a-foreign-language or English-as-a-second-language classroom. He also has ideas for how to use word clouds and adventure narratives with English-learners.

Q: How can technology for teachers help English-language learners?
A: Alice Mercer, a teacher in an elementary school in Sacramento, explains how she believes a laptop for all classroom and resource teachers at her school, along with digital projectors and document cameras, will help make lessons more visual and engaging for ELLs.

Q: What’s a curriculum for English-language learners look like?
A: In collaboration with local educators, Antioch University has produced a free curriculum for ELLs, complete with strategies and a guide, posted by Mathew Needleman, a K-5 teacher and literacy coach.

Q: How can teachers get ELLs to communicate with other students around the world?
A: Larry Ferlazzo has directed his high school ELLs in making multimedia productions that are shared in Internet exchanges with students who are learning English in foreign countries. See an example of student work and other posts at “sister classes forum.”

Q: What does a blog by English-learners look like?
A: Susana Canelo, an English teacher in Buenos Aires, Argentina, shares a blog, Only in Our Dreams, written by her students.

Q: What does English acquisition look like at the start?
A: Suzanne, a home-schooling, English-teaching mom relays a conversation she had with a child who was just beginning to learn English.

Q: What’s it like to teach ELLs when they first enroll in school?
A: “The lucky thing about teaching kindergarten, is that students who speak another language are not that far behind,” writes Christina Germano, over at Christina’s Classroom.

Q: How has the world’s financial crisis affected countries that are top recruiters for English-as-a-foreign-language teachers?
A: Brazil has been one of the hardest-hit countries that hires EFL teachers, according to ESL Daily.

Q: What are grammar mistakes made even by advanced English-learners and how can they be avoided?
A. Learn English gives an explanation for how to determine when to use “good vs. well,” “its vs. it’s,” “lay vs. lie,” and “who vs. whom.” Even many native-English speakers don’t get these right, the blogger notes. (I have to concentrate myself when figuring out how to use “its vs. it’s.”)

Q: How can English-learners use a thesaurus to its full potential?
A: tells how a thesaurus can be a good tool for expanding one’s vocabulary or improving English comprehension for second-language learners.

Q: How can teachers of English get beyond the “teacher-in-the-front-of-the-class syndrome”?
A: David Deubelbeiss gives strategies for how to get students more involved in learning English. Calling them by name is a start. Another strategy is to let students pose the questions of what they want to learn and build on that.

By the way, Mr. Deubelbeiss over at EFL Classroom 2.0 will be the host of the 9th ELL/ESL/EFL Carnival. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 30 and the carnival will be posted on Feb 1. If you’d like to host this future niche carnival, contact the founder, Larry Ferlazzo of Larry Ferlazzo’s Web Sites of the Day.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.