Saturday, February 28, 2015

Growing with C.I.E.S. - C.I.E.S. President M'Liss Edwards

As The Calgary Immigrant Educational Society moves into its 27th year of existence, our Board of Directors President M'Liss Edwards sat down to talk about the history of an organization that has helped well over 200,000 immigrants settle into the city of Calgary. Her vision for the future of CIES is the same as it has been from day one; to serve newcomers and help alleviate the effects of dislocation and trauma through English, employment, and skills-based training, all while finding the peace and safety found in being a part of Canadian culture.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

C.I.E.S. Peer-to-Peer Update

Thank you to the several teachers who have signed up for the Peer-to-Peer Observation program thus far. With the official shift to PBLA coming at the end of next month, observing your lead teacher would be a great way of seeing the practical application of the varied information and training we have been receiving during our many professional development sessions. Jana and Richard are available in our Southeast location and we have Peter Byrne in the Northeast. That being said, sharing your classroom with any member of our teaching staff will surely prove to be a valuable experience. CLICK HERE to register.

Blending Google Forms and YouTube - LINC 5 Listening Activity

Please click on the video below and complete the listening exercise. Your answers will automatically be submitted to a quiz bank after which we will go through them together.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Increasing Speed and Fluency in Second Language Reading

Image result for reading for speed and fluency
One of the areas of interest that came up during the needs assessment in my class this semester was the need to increase reading speed and fluency. The speed at which students are reading has started to affect comprehension. As materials get longer, students seem to have a harder time comprehending the material as a whole. In 2009, I attended a presentation at KOTESOL in Seoul, South Korea where a researcher by the name of Paul Nation was presenting his research on speed reading and it's benefits for ESL Learners. After attending this presentation, I used the materials provided in the link below to see if the students I was teaching at the time could improve their reading speed and fluency.

After competing the process for four weeks, a significant change in reading fluency could be seen. It is something I believe works and I do encourage everyone to have a look and see if it may be something of interest. "Reading for Speed and Fluency" by Paul Nation is available at the library in Both C.I.E.S. and the Welcome Centre for teachers' use. It is also available for purchase online. The themes covered in the book are different than the samples provided in the link above.

Essentially, the program aims to have the first 1000 words in English transformed into sight words so that the learner is able to increase speed and fluency. It is indeed beneficially and once familiar to the students, takes a mere five minutes per day. 

Basically, the teacher's job is to time the students as they read the passages. Everyone starts at the same time and raises their hand upon completion. The teacher then jots down each students time on the board and students record their time on the Reading Speed Chart provided to them (See below). 

Students then answer very basic comprehension questions to ensure that the material is also being understood. The number of questions correct is also recorded on the chart. This process should be repeated everyday. 

Over time, students should be able to see an increase in their reading speed and fluency. 

If you any questions, feel free to ask!


Friday, February 20, 2015

C.I.E.S. Peer to Peer Observation to Begin in March

Next month, C.I.E.S. teachers will begin their first round of Peer-to-Peer observation, a new 2015 initiative. Peer observation will also be incorporated into orientation and training for all newly arriving teachers at C.I.E.S. and is and exciting opportunity for LINC instructors to see the wonderfully diverse landscape that is teaching English as a second language. And as our summary on the initiative states:

"Peer-to-peer observation is a professionally supportive exchange, minus the intent to judge. The growth in trust and respect that comes from sharing ideas and skills in such a manner can truly help all involved, as well as fostering an overall positive effect on the atmosphere of the school. It’s very beneficial to talk through an experience with a person who can both empathize and understand in a way only a fellow teacher can.

Experienced teachers are often surprised when their peers identify their strengths; many even think that what they do well is little more than routine and not worthy of commendation. This is why peer-to-peer observation, at its most fundamental level, is about encouragement and support."

For a full copy of our Peer-to-Peer summary please CLICK HERE.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

C.I.E.S. Video Series Demos with Donna Volume II

The Calgary Immigrant Educational Society continues its original video production with Volume II of Demos with Donna. Donna Clarke, a teacher of English as a second language for more than 15 years, including the last 5 with C.I.E.S, this time shares a classroom activity we call "Food For Thought." Sometimes referred to as Read, Run, Recite, students are out of their desks and up and down hallways. Patricia Sadurska's CLB FT 3-5 class also joined in the learning and fun. Hope you enjoy the show! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pot Luck Lunch

With Family Day giving students and teachers a long weekend and Valentine's Day coming the next day, some teachers took the opportunity to have a bit of  celebration with their classes on Friday.  Patricia's CLB FT 3-5 class at the NE location had a pot luck lunch and as most everything at C.I.E.S. is, it was yet another display of interculturalism. Dishes from Asia, the Middle East and more were enjoyed by all and a fun day to end the week was on the menu. If you would ever like to share your classroom celebration with the C.I.E.S. Blog let me know. All it will cost is a plate of food! Have a great long weekend everyone.
Patricia Sadurska's WC CLB FT 3-5

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Class Wikis, Blogs and Webpages

Hi all, Here is a link to the class wiki that I use for my CLB 6/7 class:

It's made up of links organized according to theme, and I use this wiki pretty extensively during computer class.

I know that many of us use wikis, blogs or other on-line tools in our LINC classes. Please share a link to your website if you have one - it's an easy way for teachers of similar levels to share resources.

PD Day at C.I.E.S.

On Wednesday February 11 C.I.E.S held its fourth PD session of 2015. With changes to the LINC programs delivery and assessment criteria in the the form of portfolio based learning assessment (PBLA) set to officially begin in April, all teachers are receiving ongoing training. In addition to PBLA, the internal C.I.E.S. mandate to shift more towards on-line communication and sharing was the catalyst for the second half of the days professional development, in the form of training on Blogger use and cloud storage. Another new C.I.E.S. initiative, the Peer-to-Peer Observation Program, was also shared and discussed and will be set to launch March 1st of this year.  In the end, it was another successful day dedicated to instructor and overall organizational improvement. With six more PD days scheduled before the end of March, C.I,.E.S. is providing ample opportunity to its staff to learn and grow as immigrant sector professionals.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Feb 11th C.I.E.S PD Day - Blogger Video Tutorial

Effectively reading and writing online are no less than basic foundation level skills for the literate 21st century populace. Teaching and even simply communicating with blogs provides the opportunity to engage students in online literacy, and supplies the additional benefit of empowering students to publish their own work easily sharing with an authentic audience in the process.

Blogs thus become central in a local literacy community. Teachers can post assignments, instruction and reminders, while students can post feedback, questions, journal entries, reflections on the learning process, and details on their research projects.

Feb 11th C.I.E.S PD Day - PBworks Video Tutorial

Bring your classroom into the 21st century by encouraging real world communication with PBworks. PBworks is an online storage and collaborative cloud based site that currently hosts over 300,000 educational workspaces, and has helped transform teaching and learning for millions of students, parents and teachers.

Above all else, PBworks encourages sharing. Even the most inexperienced can easily embed images & video, and post documents. PBworks empowers its users with unfettered access to information sources, book lists, and links to good articles where resources stored for repeated use.

Teachers can use these resources to build a network of online relationships, which improves accountability and communication. More specifically, teachers can create class resources such as publishing class notes, presentation, and schedules. Teachers can be organized benchmark targets into collaborative goals and activities and have common pages with shared comments and discussions. Because this collaboration resource is online, all have access 24/7.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Video Series - Ready to Launch: Inside the C.I.E.S. Classroom

Sharing ideas and activities we use - the running theme behind our second video series, Ready to Launch: Inside the C.I.E.S. Classroom.  If there is something you're doing in the classroom that you would like to share with your colleagues, its never been easier to do so. It can be as simple as pulling out your phone, recording a few minutes of an activity and then submitting the raw video to your coordinator. Conversely, if you would like someone to come to your class and do the filming on your behalf, all you have to do is ask.  Accompany this with a brief break down of the activity and you're done.  The video and the summary below was submitted by C.I.E.S. Welcome Centre teacher Patricia Sadurska. Enjoy and keep the ideas coming! 

Post Activity- Government Role-Play/Skit
After one week of studying the Canadian government topic, which included learning about the different roles and responsibilities of politicians at all three levels of government (federal, provincial, and municipal) as well as how bills become laws and the process of bill passing, students were given the opportunity to participate in a role-play/skit scenario.  In order to test the students understanding of such roles and the process of passing a bill (both federally and provincially), the students had to act it out with in a real life context.  For example, the Prime minister creates an idea to present to the Cabinet, Cabinet presents the idea to the House of Commons, then the House of Commons votes and it passes to the Senate for the final vote, lastly, the Governor General signs the bill and makes it law.

Split the students into two groups (federal and provincial) Assign roles to each student in both respective groups and make name tag labels, i.e. Prime Minister/Premier, Governor General/Lieutenant Governor, House of Commons, Senate, Cabinet, MLA's, MP's, etc. Groups  create a new bill/law and role-play the process of passing a bill Students introduce their roles (name tag labels are pinned on them) and present their dialogues and presentations to the class.