Engaging ESLs – Teaching Listening and Speaking

Foundations of the ESL Classroom

This semester I am taking two ESL courses.  What I am discovering is the need to scaffold the ESL learner specifically, but on a grander level – how to better serve all students.  This week, one challenge is to discover activities to promote listening/speaking skills for the non-native student.  One of my favorite ideas is using flockdraw.com.  This website allows real time collaboration via an interactive drawing tool.  Though the concept is driven to collaborate with people in other locations, imagine two children working alongside one another.  One writes the vocabulary word, then draws the image.  Next the other student verbally provides a definition of the word based on the drawing.  The two students discuss the word, along with various methods of describing the word through pictures.  Then the other student takes the next vocabulary word, continuing the process.  Alternative uses are drawing/discussing: events, character descriptions, poetry interpretations, and experiment plans.  (Update, I have since learned of scribblar.com which can save images in a more easily accessible manner, plus has enhanced features, but this site may still prove useful.)

Here’s a version of “decimate”:

Flockdraw vocabulary example










Google Doc Form for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Recently, I attended a conference at Baylor University spotlighting Harvey Daniels.  Concerning literacy, I learned about scaffolding hard text, using

book clubs, and bringing fun back into a system pressured by tests.  Additionally, I attended a writer’s workshop, as well as a classroom technology

workshop.  For the most part, the technology didn’t offer a lot of new information, but I did gain a better look at Google Docs.  I’ve used this tool in the

past, but had never attempted a Google Form or Google Spreadsheet.  I decided to briefly play with creating a form to determine practicality, as well

as ease of use.  I found it highly usable.  I used Grace Lin’s book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon because it’s a favorite.  Check out her website also.

Here’s my short stab at a Google Form; it’s a sample of what would be a series of forms for this story.  The paragraph answers would go into a journal, but by answering

the multiple choice, I know they have seen the essay questions, plus remained on task on the reading assignment.