Course Profile: The colourful world of adjectives

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Target Student Population

The target student population for this course is a group of six, grade four English as an Additional Language (EAL) students ranging in ages from 8-10. These students are at an A2.2 CFR level.

Course Timeline

The course is designed to run over a six-week period of time. It can be adjusted by the teacher depending on student needs.

Demographics

The lessons will be delivered at a Regina Catholic Community School, where most newcomer students have little or no experience with blended-, or online learning, depending on the length of time they have been living in Canada for. Some students have little access to digital devices and Wi-Fi at home. The students have access to shared devices in the classroom, that can be booked by the classroom teacher through a centralized booking program. For students who have limited access to technology, there will be suggestions for possible accomodations.

Course Format

The course on Adjectives is designed for blended learning in order to provide support to the students when accessing and engaging in an online space. In order to better assist the students to connect with the content, the asynchronous format of the course will include both face to face discussions and online videos and projects that can be accessed from home or school. The flipped format of the course will give students the opportunity to listen to instructional videos before class, providing more time for group work and addressing questions.

Course Toolset

The course will be housed within the Regina Catholic Schools platform, which utilizes Scholantis Portal as its Learning Management System (LMS). Scholantis Portal was chosen since some students may already be familiar with it. Since Regina Catholic Schools utilizes this online learning platform, it is beneficial for students to become comfortable navigating it.  It also has easy access, students having Office 365 accounts, which makes student set up faster. There is also available online and in-person training and support regarding this platform. 

Assessment Strategies and Tools

In order to meet all students’ needs, there will be various assessment strategies incorporated. The formative assessment will include anecdotal records on student participation and assignments, quizzes on Menti and Kahoot. As part of the summative assessment, students will create a culminating project by describing the content of a short video applying correct usage of various types of adjectives. The assessment rubrics will be provided and linked to the module.

Course Content

This course is made up of ten modules starting with an overview and expectations for the course that will be delivered through a Power Point presentation accessible to the parents as well through My Site (Scholantis LMS). All student will receive the classroom website information via agenda, note home, email to parents and online reminders.

There are ten course content modules. All modules will incorporate the content-, and learning/ language objectives. After exploring the content as part of flipped lessons consisting of a brief video lecture (3-5mins), the students have the opportunity to implement their knowledge through both, face to face and online activities to enhance understanding (2-4 mins). There will be also room for asking questions and discussing difficulties as well as successes regarding the content. 

Learning Objectives

In the field of English as an Additional Language, we mainly focus on the four domains, such as: listening, speaking, reading and writing as part of our Language Objectives. All activities and assessments will focus on the following outcomes taken from the Common Framework of Reference Global Scale Data Wallhttps://www.spiritsd.ca/cfr/

  • Students use enough vocabulary to briefly describe an aspect of daily life, an event or personal experience using simple language.
  • Students use adjectives to provide descriptive detail.
  • Students begin to use increasingly advanced adjectives, with support (e.g. smooth, shiny, etc.

Overview of the topics covered in the content modules

  • Identifying adjectives and their role in the sentence.
  • Learning and using adjectives to describe people, places, things, and events.
  • Expanding written and oral vocabulary by demonstrating understanding of words, by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
  • Expanding sentences following the royal order of adjectives in order to improve written skills and quality conversation.
  • Converting adjectives into their comparative and superlative forms, incorporating irregular comparative superlative adjectives.
  • Examining spelling rules related to the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives.

Considerations for common concerns

The two major concerns are lack of devices and absenteeism. For students who have minimal access to technology, there will be possible accommodations made either by referring the family to Community Computers to provide them with a used device, or giving them access to the shared devices in the school building. Absenteeism can be addressed by the wealth of opportunities blended courses offer. The benefit of this blended course on Adjectives is that students can have access to most of the course content as part of the flipped lessons. In case students are travelling back to their country of origin for a longer period of time, they can engage in the online lessons, responses and collaboration activities, providing they have access to devices and Wi-Fi. Students who are absent from school, will be asked to complete what they can at home and if they are unable, can be given time at school.

English Language Learners
In order to best support English Language Learners, the instructional videos will include subtitle to improve both reading-, and listening skills. The asynchronous nature of the course will also allow students to spend as much time on the content as needed.

Rationale

The topic of the blended course on Adjectives was chosen to help foreign language learners express themselves with a full range of emotions. The goal of the blended model incorporating flipped lessons is to accommodate a variety of learning styles, as well as providing additional support regarding both content, navigating- and engaging online in order to help students become successful digital citizens.

Thank you for reading my blog and special thank you to Logan Petlak , Jennifer Stewart, and Ellen, Angela, and Sam

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My experience with blended learning and technology

As an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher, I work with over one hundred students from grades 1-8 who are at different English level proficiency, with CFR (Common Framework of Reference) levels varying between A1.1 and B1.2. Being a resource teacher, I work in small rooms with not a whole lot of access to technology. If I choose to incorporate technology into my lesson, I need to borrow devices from a classroom teacher, having only one Ipad of my own. On previous occasions, many of the laptops were not charged, we had difficulty with student log ins, or Internet access. It seemed that I always had to have a backup plan when technology use was planned. Having the students for half-an-hour sessions doesn’t give a lot of time to work on projects involving technology either.

In order to avoid frustration, as part of my blended learning instruction, I provided my students with accounts to an online reading program consisting of leveled books. Students have the opportunity to listen to native-like reading and pronunciation, read the books and record their reading, as well as answer comprehension questions. This program is a very effective tool since the learners can work at their own pace on books that are at their level. Students can use it independently, even if their parents are at work, or do not understand English. I think this form of blended learning is engaging and motivating since the majority of the students enjoy using technology and they can read about topics they are interested in. At the same time, I have access to the students’ detailed skill report, that shows their performance in all areas. This helps me shape my lessons to better address my students’ needs.

One of the biggest challenges I have experienced regarding blended learning was that some of my families do not have devices, or internet access. There are also parents who believe that anything the child works on the computer is equal to “screen time” which is “bad” for the child.

In the past, with the help of our Edtech person, I had a chance to use Adobe Spark to record the story called “Sugar Snow” that my students read in different languages as part of celebrating diversity. We also did a Flipgrid presentation. Both were interesting and safe ways for students to showcase their experiences and learning without being put on the spot when presenting in front of guests at school functions. For foreign language learners, talking in front of big crowds can be intimidating and scary, always fearing of being judged. Looking back, both projects were very time consuming, but at the same time great learning experiences for both, my students and me. These experiences prove that in order to make blended learning effective, exceptional design and implementation are crucial (Bates & Poole, 2003) which require significant effort and time.

As I reflect on my relationship with technology, honestly, I do not feel that I am knowledgeable enough in this area. I am here to learn more about what the world of blended-, and online learning is offering and how to implement them into my practice to make learning more effective and engaging. Reading about the “unprecedented capabilities” of technology (Oblinger & Hawkins, 2006), I am hoping to find an effective way, to reach my students, especially the ones who travel to their countries of origin missing school for months. I also feel that it is my job to gradually introduce technology and help my students on their journey of becoming independent learners.

Thank you for reading my reflection! Looking forward to hearing your comments and suggestions.

Introduction

Hello!

My name is Melinda Demeter. I am an English as an Additional Language teacher working with students from over 20 countries. Coming from a small town in Transylvania, I had the opportunity to face the difficulties of learning different languages and dealing with culture shock. I am fortunate to be able to help my newcomer students adapt to their new home environment and help them on their journey towards a successful life.

I am thankful to my students for sharing their personal stories, cultures, traditions, and beauties of their previous home. I am grateful to God for helping me live for my passion and learn more about the world through travelling, and seeing life from different perspectives. And the two most important people in my life who give me hope, joy and strength to live my life to the fullest, are my amazing children, Mariska and Daniel.

Being a teacher and a mom of two young children, I feel that becoming more familiar with technology is crucial. It not only opens up the world, but it also helps to connect with my students in an unconventional way. I think sharing my experiences through a blog would help my students get to know me on a different level. It also gives them an opportunity to share their ideas and build trusting relationships. Beside learning how to create and maintain a blog, my goal is to learn ways to incorporate technology into my teaching. At this point, the world of technology is quite new to me and I am thankful to my professor Dr. Alec Couros and my fellow colleagues for helping me on my journey towards learning an “additional language” with its unique vocabulary.