Friday, June 23, 2017


Technology has become a hot topic in the classroom and a very big focus in education. During my coursework for Instructional Technology I have really begun to think about how there is a lot of talk about the What and How of technology, but very few are talking about the Why. Simon Sinek has a video about starting with you why. I am wondering if teachers and schools took more time to think about why maybe we would be better off.

Teachers of ESL students need to think about why our students would benefit from technology. Our students need opportunities to explore the language in meaningful experiences. They need to have opportunities to be engaged in the language with vocabulary supports and opportunities for connectivity. When learners are learning and exploring naturally with tools that they can manipulate they will be more inclined to take risks. Technology is a tool for learning not a destination. Now that we have our why let’s think about how we might do this and what we might need… thoughts?

Saturday, June 17, 2017


As I was reading this week I stumbled across two different articles that spoke to me. The first was about the need of Professional Development for teachers especially in the areas of TESOL. The second was about how our English Learners need more support in schools.

I sat after reading them and wondered if perhaps the two are not related. We are not doing enough for our students learning English and we do not currently receive enough PD on topics of teaching English as a second language.

With limited funding and lack of time, how can we implement different ways to grow as teachers so that we are meeting the needs of all of our students?

Two years ago I attended a technology conference in Hershey, PA called PETE&C. While there I was at an “Unconference” learning session. When you arrived you could sit anywhere and have conversations about any topic you chose. While there I began talking about professional development and how it is a passion of mine. Another teacher shared with me that teachers in her building were taking time during the school day to discuss topics of their choice with anyone who was interested. It sounded amazing but how does it work?

Teachers would log onto their school Lino board and use color coded sticky notes to share topics they wanted to learn about or topics they felt comfortable sharing about. Once a green and pink sticky note were posted teachers would post on a blue sticky note that they were interested in attending. Depending on the size of the group they would decide their location. After reading the articles about quality PD and finding ways to make our teaching better I thought that this is something that we all could be doing. It is free and often times teachers around you are doing things you do not even realize. Using each other as a resource is the best way to build school culture.

I am excited to potentially continue the Lino board next year. I am thinking about my green sticky note already…

Friday, June 9, 2017

Building Culture For All

This week I stumbled across an article from Castlegar News. It told the story of Emily Kandborg and her journey as she became a teacher of teaching English as a second language. The first quote from her spoke to me immediately. She said,

“Learning and teaching culture is my passion, and while my students are here learning English and what becoming Canadian is about, I get the opportunity to learn everything about them as well. Being able to give them the language tools to express themselves and share their culture is the most gratifying thing.”

As an inclusion teacher for my grade level, something resonated with me about the ability to teach and learn culture. Often times when you think of teaching students who are learning English as a second language you think of the work that needs to be done. The speaking, listening, reading, and writing tasks that need to be taught and learned. You get lost in the "to-do" and can forget that the culture is the core of who we are. There is no place for it on a lesson plan  - maybe there should be. Students come into our classrooms where the culture is very different and the way that we interact can even be different. As a small child I am sure this can be overwhelming and even scary.

Emily made another comment in the article about how resilient her students were despite everything they had been through. I think about that all the time when I look at my students. It amazes me how small children can come to school with all of this “stuff” weighing on them and manage to sit quietly, follow directions, and do as they are asked. Most of the time all while exceeding my expectations.

I have taken time to build culture within out classroom, but this makes me stop and reflect. Have I taken the time to let in my students culture? Have I made time to tell them how proud I am for how hard they work?

Each year is an opportunity to be a better version of yourself. Looking forward to all that the new school year will bring!  

Service, W. (2017, June 08). Selkirk College TESOL program brings international experience home. Retrieved June 09, 2017, from

Friday, June 2, 2017


I began my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida and began taking TESOL classes as a part of my elementary education program. I quickly fell in love with these classes and knew that I had a passion for working with students who speak English as a second language. I began my career teaching first grade in a rural school district with a large migrant population. All of my classes from UCF had paid off and I was able to use everything that I learned with my students.

As I am going into my 6th year of teaching I am excited to continue to work as an inclusion classroom for our ESL students. The journey I go through with my students is different for each of them as they bring different experiences with them. One thing I try to foster in my classroom is a sense of community. While we all are different, on the inside we are very similar. We all want to be heard, included, and loved. I feel that this environment has helped my quietest of students find their voice in our classroom.

I am currently enrolled in a graduate course called Computer Assisted Language Learners. We are using Google Alerts to tag items related to TESOL and Technology. Each week we will reflect on our readings with a blog post about the article and what we have learned. I was nervous to get started because I only had one Google Alert! When I went to my email to read what had been sent I was delightfully surprised.

KJ Kaiser is a professor at Webster University and recently spoke in Uruguay at the LATU Education and Technology. While the article I found was short it led me to look more into KJ Kaiser and his role in TESOL. The LATU website was exciting and very eye opening and had wonderful resources. I decided to Google KJ Kaiser so I could learn more about his work. I found his blog and several videos including the most recent one of him speaking in Uruguay. Then something happened…

I started watching the video and realized that it was not in English. I quickly tried to see if a translation was available for me to read and there was nothing. I tried watching some of it to see if maybe parts of it were in English and none of it was. Sitting along hearing a group of others talk in another language and wishing I understood was an overwhelming feeling. Not one I was expecting to feel as I began my research. My mind quickly went to a former student of mine. It made me wonder how he sat in my classroom day after day doing his very best to absorb this new world around him all while smiling and giving each day his best. I felt guilty, privileged, and a little ashamed. I do not think I completely understood how overwhelming it all can be. While searching about KJ Kaiser I did learn some great strategies for the classroom, but what stood out to me most was thinking about that student.