Qualifiers!

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One of my ELD groups have been working on biographies in their regular classroom and I started to notice the awkwardness in their writing and speaking as they prepared their book reports and oral presentations. 
Time for a couple of lessons on Qualifiers! 
WHAT IS A QUALIFIER?
A word or phrase that precedes an adjective or adverb and increases or decreases the quality or meaning of the word.
WHICH WORDS ARE QUALIFIERS?
Here are some of the most common qualifiers in English (though some of these words have other functions as well): very, quite, rather, somewhat, more, most, less, least, too, so, just, enough, indeed, still, almost, fairly, really, pretty, even, a bit, a little, a (whole) lot, a good deal, a great deal, kind of, sort of.
REMEMBER…
·      qualifiers do not modify verbs
·      qualifiers do not have adverb derivational suffixes, with one or two exceptions, like really and fairly
·      qualifiers cannot be made comparative or superlative
·      qualifiers do not intensify
Happy Teaching!

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language http://esleld.blogspot.com/2017/12/qualifiers.html

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How to Overcome Writer’s Block: Ideas from Writing Experts

Writer’s block is a common writing problem. It can occur in any type of writing—academic, creative, professional. It can be experienced by both native and nonnative speakers of a language, and it can surely happen to novice and even experienced writers. I am certainly familiar with writer’s block, and I am therefore very interested in finding out what other writers do to overcome this obstacle. So I asked several experienced writers, who are prominent and prolific scholars in the field of TESOL and second language writing, about how they cope with writer’s block. I hope you will find their ideas helpful.

Neil Anderson, Professor, Brigham Young University—Hawaii

Writer’s block can be a very real obstacle to making progress on an important writing task. I have found that a few things work well for me in overcoming the block. First, I turn on some quiet classical music. I then sit quietly and do some deep breathing exercises and focus on relaxing. This quiet breathing allows me to clear my brain and reset it to zero. After two or three minutes, I then open a blank document and begin typing as quickly as my fingers can go. After about three minutes I stop typing and reopen the document on which I was working when I experienced the writer’s block. I see if what I have written in the previous three minutes connects to any of the ideas that I am developing. I usually find that my thinking has got me into a new area of thinking and gets me excited. The excitement allows me to ultimately return to the original block and move beyond it.

Suresh Canagarajah, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor, Pennsylvania State University

I used to have writers’ blocks in the past. I don’t have them anymore. I am helped by the following three factors: 1. Reflect on my paper for hours and plan my ideas well. So when I start writing, I know exactly what I want to be doing in this paper. I have a clear mind when I start writing. 2. I think of writing as involving multiple drafts. This reduces the anxiety about producing a perfect first draft. I am prepared for the draft to be imperfect as I know that I’ll be revising it multiple times. 3. I write in stages. I plan small sections of the project at a time. This way, I don’t have unrealistic expectations about having to write a lot—or even complete the whole paper or book—in one sitting! These considerations reduce my anxiety and actually help me enjoy writing.

Deborah Crusan, Professor, Wright State University

Something magical happens when you sit down purposefully to write. I first discovered this in 2008 when I participated in my first writing boot camp. As I was driving to the opening session, I mused about what might happen during the week I had committed to, but I really wasn’t very hopeful that anything could happen to change my fear of starting, of the blank page, of the lack of confidence in my own skills and knowledge. But when I arrived, we set a timer and began our first session. By the end of that week, I was a believer and have since participated in hundreds of sessions with colleagues and friends. If you don’t think it can work for you, give it one shot. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Alister Cumming, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

I cannot claim to have experienced writer’s block in any profound way. Indeed, my problem these days (after retiring last year) seems to be trying to stop writing, or at least not agreeing to write things when people ask, so that I actually do retire from academic work. But I can offer some suggestions about ways I have found useful to get myself started writing.

Foremost is being well rested, focused, and with ample time to be ready to write. I am simply not productive when trying to write if tired, overextended, or squeezed in between other tasks or interactions. My productivity is best when writing in the morning when I feel fresh and can focus. Serious writing requires days or weeks to do, so having ample time allocated is equally crucial.

Second, it is fundamental to know in advance what I am going to write. I feel ready to write after I have completed a research project (and know the findings and how to interpret them), thought carefully about ideas for a proposal or a critique, or discussed issues in a meeting or with colleagues to establish my viewpoint.

Third, and relatedly, I need to know who I am writing for and why. Who will read my text, for what reason, in what context, how might they respond, and what actions do I want them to take? This awareness helps me to focus on conveying what I know while also anticipating what others might expect, query, or do about that. Initial presentations orally and visually at a conference are helpful for creating that focus to write. PowerPoint slides are valuable tools for identifying, selecting, and sequencing integral ideas for an interested audience. Then interacting with that audience, and hearing their questions or suggestions, helps me to attend later to key issues in my writing.

Andy Curtis, Professor, Graduate School of Education, Anaheim University; 50th President, TESOL International Association

Earlier this year, Oliver Burkeman, in the UK national newspaper The Guardian, asked the question, as the title of his piece: “Is Writer’s Block a Real Thing, or Just a Figment of the Imagination?” The opening line of his article is also a question: “What do you do when you get writer’s block?” According to Burkeman: “Vast amounts have been written, ironically enough, about writer’s block, both by self-help authors and academics, but to little effect.”

My understanding of this thing called “writer’s block” is that it is based on fear. Fear of the blank page/screen, fear of making a mistake, fear of failing, and other fears. So, one of my techniques, which has worked well for me over the years, is to stop writing whatever it is I’m supposed to be writing, and write, instead, about what it is I’m afraid of. I’ve been surprised sometimes to see that what I’ve written about is not what I thought I was afraid of, and that in itself has helped to unblock me.

Betsy Gilliland, Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa

I have to admit that I have never suffered from writer’s block. This is not to say that I’ve never been stuck with my writing, or spent time actively avoiding writing, or not made time to write, but it’s never been because of writer’s block. When I prioritize my writing, even if I can’t figure out what to do on a particular point of a project, I can always generate text. It’s not necessarily good text, or useful text for this project, but it’s writing. I will write about other ideas I would rather be writing about (the grass is always greener …) or muse on why I’m feeling stuck. I often find that freewriting about why I’m resisting writing or angry with reviewers turns into helpful thoughts that push my work ahead. So that’s my tip for anyone (undergrads, grad students, and new professors alike): if you feel stuck, open a new document or break out a new page in your notebook and write about your writing. Don’t get down on yourself because you can’t figure out what to do in a specific place in your project. Just write!

Aya Matsuda, Associate Professor, Arizona State University

I experience writer’s block when I’m trying to write the first draft and I feel that what I write is not going to be good. I’m afraid to be disappointed and embarrassed. So first I acknowledge that and then tell myself that if I want to produce something that is good and not disappointing or embarrassing, then the quickest way to do it is to produce something that is bad, disappointing, and embarrassing—and then revise. And write. Luckily, I enjoy revising and editing much more than writing the first draft, so things get much easier once I get to that point.

Paul Kei Matsuda (Professor, Arizona State University)

I use several strategies routinely to avoid writer’s block. First, I diversify my “writing investment portfolio” by working on multiple projects at the same time. That way, if I get stuck with one of them, I can continue to be productive by focusing on another project.

Second, I collaborate with colleagues and students. My work happens primarily while meeting with my collaborators. At the beginning, we identify the goal for the meeting and work on planning, drafting, and revising together. At the end of the meeting, we review what we have accomplished and set the date for the next meeting. I don’t usually think about the project outside these meetings, although I may ask my less experienced collaborator to work on specific tasks before the next meeting.

Another strategy is binge writing. For a number of projects (including my article on identity in written discourse for the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics), I was working against a tight deadline. In fact, I was already somewhat behind and had to ask for an extension. To meet the final deadline, I dropped everything else for a week and half (other than teaching) and devoted myself to finishing the project.

Tony Silva, Professor, Purdue University

I find myself encountering writer’s block in three contexts. The first, and most common situation, is just not having enough time, more specifically, not enough large blocks of quiet time (2–3 hours), to write. Unfortunately for me, this is an occupational hazard—my job requires me to do many things other than write, and sometimes these things make it nearly impossible to give a writing task my undivided attention. A second situation involves having an unpleasant writing task to complete. This typically involves what I see as busy work, for example, writing memos or reports requested by administrators. While these are sometimes important documents that need to be written, they are rarely motivating or rewarding. Finally, even if I have enough time to write about something I find interesting and stimulating, sometimes the writing task I give myself seems just too big to tackle. This means I’ve forgotten, again, to take the necessary step of breaking the project into manageable chunks that I can actually complete and feel good about.


I would like to thank all of the above contributors for sharing their experience and providing such helpful suggestions. If you suffer from writer’s block, how do you overcome it?

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/how-to-overcome-writers-block-ideas-from-writing-experts/

TESOL President’s Blog: TESOL Connects!

I had the privilege of attending the two affiliate conferences this month: NYSTESOL, with a theme on  social pedagogy and advocacy, and the 44th MEXTESOL convention, with a theme on strengthening learning communities. TESOL affiliate conferences offer a wonderful opportunity to connect with other English language professionals.

NYSTESOL had a successful convention in Melville, Long Island, New York. Several presenters discussed the importance of empathy and teaching collaborative skills. This is such a timely topic, and learning to take another person’s perspective and understanding cultural differences is so integral to our work. Interesting fact: Research is increasingly talking about the positive relationship between empathy and bilingualism! In my plenary I also noted other benefits of providing our students with the opportunity to learn more than one language, including cognitive benefits (for young children and for older individuals) and economic benefits. Moreover, for minoritized language learners, access to their home language and the dominant language of school improves school achievement and allows for healthier psychological development and stronger identity. (Download an excellent infographic on the benefits of bilingualism.)

The 44th MEXTESOL convention was my next stop. The convention was held in the shoe and leather capital—León, Mexico. The program ran from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm and provided a variety of ways for the nearly 2,400 attendees to participate, including workshops, paper presentations, plenaries, and e-conference presentations. MEXTESOL’s conference theme focused on strengthening learning communities. Talking with attendees, many of whom had been driving for many hours to get to the conference, I realized yet again how important it is that we have these opportunities to connect and share our success stories as well as our challenges. When we talk with colleagues from around the world, we realize we are not alone; others can support and help us and share ideas and possible solutions.

This connectivity is what makes TESOL a special place. It initially drew me to the TESOL International Convention and has kept me coming back year after year. I look forward to TESOL 2018 in Chicago and hope to see you there, too!

Ester de Jong
TESOL President, 2017–2018

TESOL 2018 Logo

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/tesol-presidents-blog-tesol-connects/

TESOL Supports the 25th Korea TESOL-PAC Conference

Last month, on 21 and 22 October, the 25th Korea TESOL-PAC (Pan-Asian Language Consortium of Language Teaching Societies) International Conference was held, in Seoul, South Korea, at Sookmyung Women’s University.

The PAC is made up of

  • English Teachers Association of the Republic of China (ETA-ROC)
  • Far East English Language Teachers Association of Russia (FEELTA)
  • Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT)
  • Korea TESOL (KOTESOL)
  • Philippine Association for Language Teaching (PALT)
  • Thailand TESOL (ThaiTESOL)

Details of all these affiliates can be found on the PAC website.

My first time at an annual KOTESOL international conference was nearly 20 years ago, in 1998, just after completing my doctoral studies and shortly after moving to live and work in Hong Kong. That year, the conference theme was “Advancing Our Profession: Perspectives on Teacher Development and Education,” and my paper was titled “What EFL Teachers Learn from Action Research.” Reflecting the changes that have taken place over the last two decades, this year, the conference theme was “Why Are We Here? Analog Learning in the Digital Era,” and my plenary presentation was titled “Confessions of an Online Instructor: Returning to the Classroom.” My plenary drew on and updated my 16 blog posts on the TESOL Blog about teaching and learning online, posted between August 2013 and March 2014.

One of the main points in my plenary was that, although online technologies have greatly enhanced our connectedness and enabled teaching and learning to move beyond the confines of the physical brick-and-mortar classroom, the full sensory engagement of real-time and face-to-face, in-person, and in-class interactions cannot be simulated, duplicated, or replaced by our current technologies. I believe, therefore, that there will always be an important place for the physical, brick-and-mortar classroom.

Representatives of the Asian Youth Forum, KOTESOL 2017 Opening Ceremony

Between 1998 and 2017, I have attended several annual KOTESOL international conferences, and it was a great pleasure to be back again, this time as a recent past president of the TESOL International Association, and as part of the TESOL’s Affiliate Speaker Request Program. In addition to the celebration of KOTESOL’s  25th anniversary, this year’s KOTESOL international conference was special because it included the 16th Asian Youth Forum (AYF), which is a non-profit, volunteer, international exchange program based in Japan. The AYF is part of the PAC consortium.

One of a number of professional publications produced by KOTESOL is The English Connection (TEC) and the Autumn 2017 special issue is focused on this year’s international conference, with interviews of many of the invited speakers and an article by the other plenary speaker, Nicky Hockly, titled ‘Technology and EFL: Is the Future Tense?’ (pp. 14–15). My contribution to the preconference issue of TEC is titled “Whatever Happened to Peace (Linguistics)?” (pp. 23–24), which highlights the emergence of this important and timely new field in applied linguistics, particularly after a year of especially fraught and deeply dividing politics in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

Conference Chair Sean O’Connor welcomes everyone to KOTESOL 2017

The KOTESOL president, Lindsay Herron, who gave an energetic and enthusiastic welcome, and the conference co-chairs Sean O’Connor and Kathleen Kelley and their teams—which were made up of around 40 volunteers!—did a great job of creating a memorable, worthwhile, and highly enjoyable international conference, worthy of a silver anniversary event. My congratulations to all of the 2017 conference organizing committee members, and I wish KOTESOL all the best for its next 25 years.

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/tesol-supports-the-25th-korea-tesol-pac-conference/

TPT Cyber Monday Sale!

TPT Super Sale 

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As busy teachers we have hectic schedules.  Check out some of these resources that will cover you for upcoming school holidays, events, etc.  Happy Shopping!

 
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from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language http://esleld.blogspot.com/2017/11/tpt-cyber-monday-sale.html

5 Ways School Principals Can Support English Learners

English learners (ELs) bring a wealth of experiences from their families, homes, neighborhoods, and communities to school. Children with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds have stories and experiences that are unique and will enrich the culture of your school. School principals need to use these experiences to help general education staff and students begin to understand other cultures. They should build on the knowledge their EL students and families have of the countries they come from and the cultures they represent.  Here are some five additional thoughts on what school principals need to do to support the ELs in their school and build an optimal educational environment for them.

1. Create a schoolwide environment of welcome and respect for students and parents who are new to the United States.

Principals need to use the expertise of their ESL staff to help their school create an atmosphere of welcome and respect for people from diverse cultures. They need to support teachers to provide a strengths-based environment for ELs.  ELs need a real sense of being safe and valued members of their classroom communities. The need to be seen as capable learners who have something to contribute. These four essential experiences—feeling safe, valued, capable, and worthy—are the basis for creating a strengths-based classroom, especially those who have experienced trauma. Advise your staff not to dwell on what ELs can’ yet do and inspire them to give lots of encouragement and praise for what ELS can do.

Here are some strategies to help prepare mainstream students to welcome ELs into the school and the classroom:

  • Have students learn a few words of the languages of your ELs and have them teach a few words to their classmates.
  • Ask bilingual parents to do cultural demonstrations in classrooms or at a schoolwide program.
  • Display pictures and maps from your students’ home counties around your building.
  • Include funds in your budget for materials in the languages of your school. This includes books, music, and photographs.

2. Get to know your ELs.

Your ELs are not a homogenous group. You may have some newcomers who have interrupted formal education (SIFE) and others who demonstrate grade-level literacy in the home language. You may have a majority of students who are in ESL but were born in the United States. Some ELs may be long-term ELs (LTE).

Ask staff members to avoid the temptation to create a nickname or Americanize a child’s name. Ask parents of ELs or a native speaker to help you learn the correct pronunciation of your student’s name. I suggest that you record the student’s names on your phone so that you can practice them. Determine which part is the given name and which is the family name. Some Asian names are given in reverse order from ours. The family name is first followed by the birth name. Two-part first names are common in many cultures and may appear to be a first name and a middle name. Be sure to use both parts of a two-part name.

3.Develop quality programs for ELs, especially those who are newcomers.

Schools need to provide more ESL instruction to beginning ELs. They need daily instruction in academic English listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This instruction should be tied to what’s going on in the general education classroom. It is not enough for beginning ELs to sit in content-area classes with English speakers. They need to have extra ESL time and should have instruction at their English language development level.

Take the needs of ELs into account when you make decisions that affect all students. For example, one school that I know developed an essential question that excluded the ELs in their school. They asked, “What does being American mean to our school culture?” Decisions made at the district and school level must include all students.

 4. Include parents of ELs in the education of their children.

When families of ELs are actively engaged in the education of their children, those children will attend school more regularly, be less likely to drop out, and be more successful academically. Many administrators and teachers do not know how to communicate with parents who do not speak English and who are not familiar with U.S. school practices, but it is important for schools to engage the parents of ELs.

5.Provide professional development for all staff members on English language development and the culture of your students.

It’s important to provide a specialized program for all staff members who come into contact with your ELs. This includes support staff, school secretaries, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and security. The culture of your ELs needs to be respected outside of the classroom. This includes on the bus, in the hallways, cafeteria and playground.

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/5-ways-school-principals-can-support-english-learners/