BILINGUAL LEARNER

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Caught Stress Handed!! Feeling Words in the Testing World...

April 2, 2014

 DURING TESTING, TEACHERS BE LIKE:

 

Ahhhh, the testing season is upon us!  We thought this Dr. Evil testing meme would be a great way to kick off our post this month on dealing with test stress and general anxiety. Whether you are a frazzled counselor trying to deal with the collateral damage of high stakes testing on students, a TEFL teacher trying to get your own students ready for their fluency exams, or a stateside ESL /bilingual teacher bravely facing down the state exams in L2 with your students, this time of year means...

S-T-R-E-S-S! 

For that reason, we've included a lot of links in this post as helpful resources for dealing with anxiety, stress, and calming the two- the blue ones will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use and the red ones will take you to a freebie that you can download after you leave a comment below (once you leave a comment, the download automatically gets sent to you within a day). 

Okay, so let's get started!  Stress and anxiety tax all of our body systems and they feel terrible.   Here’s a little info from the American Psychological Association on how stress harms the body in both the short and long term.  Anxiety, in particular, also inhibits performance, whether that takes the form of not being able to speak fluently during an oral language exam or not performing to one’s best ability on a state, national, or international exam.

Thankfully, there are all kinds of ways to alleviate the effects of stress caused by test anxiety (or any kind of anxiety, really).   Because so much of test anxiety is linked to a fear of failure, it’s very enlightening for students to watch this fabulous Michael Jordan commercial that views failure from a completely different (and better!) perspective.  Showing this commercial is a great way to kick off a fab discussion about how a test is just a test and how test failure today can lead to academic success tomorrow.  Here are some of our other favorite anxiety calming resources:

Well, we hope all the goodies above can help get you and your students/clients through this testing season. You can also look for our new book this summer to get you through NEXT year’s testing season:  Stress Busters: Group Counseling Sessions Guide with Activities.  It will be an 8 session counseling guide for running a calming, anti-anxiety group.  Follow us on Facebook or Twitter below to find out when it is available.  And if all else fails, just remember the meme below:

 

 that awkward moment during a test

 

 

NEW PRODUCT ALERT!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have just finished our latest counseling guide- in both book form and PDF!!!  It is the Spanish/English version of Cope Into Hope: Grief Counseling Sessions Guide with Activities.  Look for more photos of it on our Products Page where it is available for purchase at a discounted price.  The book is also available on Amazon and TeachersPayTeachers.com at full price!

That's all for today, Folks!  We'd love to hear your thoughts on helping students deal with anxiety, so please leave a comment below! Remember, we'll trade ya a comment for a freebie resource- comment below and we'll send you the code for the resources in RED above so you can download it for free from our Google Docs account.  Hope to see you back here the first Saturday in May for our next post on super summer ESL topics, needs assessments, and running effective individual counseling sessions.   In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page.

 

Winter Eblast & Sexting 101!

March 1, 2014

Good morning!  Today's post is going to be a short one because most of the resources we would normally put here will go out this week in our quarterly Eblast newsletter- more about this below.  As always, we've included a lot of links below as helpful resources- just click on the blue lettering links and we'll take you right to the article, resource, or product you can use.

 So!  A question came up on a recent forum over what to do regarding students/minors posting suggestive pictures of themselves (or others) online.  We have an entire lesson we present to students in the spring over how to handle situations involving sexting and cyberbullying.  You can access the basics of our lesson here or just wait for our newsletter which includes a more detailed lesson with additional cyberbullying materials.  Also, here is a super helpful cyberbullying resource from Facebook.  In a nutshell, we educate students that any nude or semi-nude image of a minor can be considered child pornography and the serious consequences of that.  We remind students that if they ever receive a suggestive picture they should immediately: tell their parent/guardian and then delete the picture.

Ok, onto a lighter topic:  In a positive followup to last month's post about professional advocacy, here are two fantastic articles showing some positive outcomes of recent advocacy: one for teachers and the other for counselors.  Also, an interesting tidbit on ratios for all you PSCs out there.  Enjoy!

We came across two super ESL resources that we wanted to share:  50 Basic English Questions and How to Address Special Education Needs in the ELL Classroom .  We are already putting many of the 50 questions to use to enhance our own ESL lessons!  And we've started implementing some of the academic interventions in the 2nd article with our special education ESL'ers- our favs are bullets 2 and 4!  Stay tuned for a future link to a thought-provoking article on ESL and dyslexia!

If you are not already on our mailing list and would like to receive our newsletter, as well as other alerts about our ESL/counseling posts, freebies, promotions, guides, and other materials- please send an email to bilinguallearner@hotmail.com with NEWSLETTER in the subject line and we will add you to the mailing list.  Or you can look to the right of your screen and sign up for our email newsletter there. Below are some of the resources and freebies you can look forward to in this week's newsletter...

  • St Patrick's Day ESL Cultural Activity
  • Anxiety/Test-taking Stress Reduction Activity
  • Cutting Edge Tips for Teaching Grammar Structures
  • Preview Activity from our New GIRL POWER! Group Counseling Sessions Guide
  • Anti-Cyberbullying/Sexting Guidance Lesson
  • Dealing with Self Injury with the S.A.F.E Manual
  • Ideas for Using Games to Engage ESL Students
  • and More!

That's all for today, Folks!  We'd love to hear your thoughts on helping students deal with sexting/cyberbullying or on any of your fav ESL Qs or special education interventions, so please leave a comment below!  Hope to see you back here the first Saturday in April for our next post on strategies for dealing with text anxiety/life stress and related ESL & guidance lessons (sorry, it got pushed off this month's post by the Eblast resources).    In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page.

 

Making It Work For Y-O-U!

February 4, 2014

Happy School Counselors' Week to all the PSCs out there!  We appreciate you!  Here at BL, we always say that our posts are about the latest developments in the ESL and counseling worlds.  Well, in the last few months, there’s been a real flurry of activity on the topic of professional advocacy.  So, for our first official post of 2014, I’d like to talk about this- both as it applies to counselors and to teachers.  Let’s start off with 2 very powerful articles to show how this is a B-I-G issue that resounds throughout the teaching and counseling worlds. As always, I've included a lot of links below as helpful resources- just click on the blue lettering links and we'll take you right to the article, resource, or product you can use.

Just click on the blue lettering links and we'll take you right to an article, resource, or product you can use.
Read more at http://bilinguallearner.com/-blog#fr12Bvev5ckmSmfw.99

First of all, what is professional advocacy?  Well, since both teachers and counselors are in professions that tend to dump huge caseloads on individuals and expect more time given than is compensated for, there is a big need for advocacy or the practice of educating those in power about what duties our profession entails and what conditions we need to best teach or counsel our clients.  The hope in advocacy is to bring about positive change by creating more of a balance between the reality of our jobs vs. what we can reasonably do in a work day with the resources (including salary) with which we are provided.

Here's an article from counselorsoffice.org which is an amazing piece on the importance of counselor advocacy and how our duties are being taken over by less qualified personnel because our counselor:student ratio is too high for us to effectively advise on college/career choices.  The author mostly focuses on the unsettling situation where the College Advising Corps are replacing the college/career advising aspect to the professional school counselor's (PSC) role.  My own personal example to add to this is how I see counseling agencies like Communities in Schools being contracted by school districts to take over many of the ACTUAL COUNSELING duties of the PSC like individual and group counseling, which then frees up the school counselor’s time for more administrative or (gasp!) clerical/data entry duties.  Instead, I ask:  why not give us counseling secretaries or data clerks who can take care of the system support aspects of our jobs that should only take up 10-15% percent of our time anyway, according to the ASCA model.  Don’t get me wrong, I am totally for school districts bringing in a family/crisis counselor to be employed by and housed on campus for the serious counseling issues that require therapy, which PSCs don’t provide.  It would be so wonderful to refer a child/family in need right down the hall to say, Room 305, when they are in crisis…rather than have to send them to the overcrowded psych emergency room 30 minutes away or have to refer them out where they may have to wait weeks for an outpatient appointment.

Now I’d like to share an article from the National Council of Teachers of English that highlights some key issues in teacher advocacy.  I especially like the part of this piece that talks about obstacles to teacher advocacy and the think-outside-the-box advocacy ideas #17 and #18.  As for my take on teacher advocacy, I didn’t really have one until I started teaching on the international school circuit 10 years into my educator career.  Wow!  What an eye opener!  I was treated (and compensated!!) like a valued professional with housing and airfare provided, and there was a real sense that our time was valued and we were compensated for ALL the time that we worked with lots of planning time/staff days built in so we didn’t have to work for free at home planning our lessons.  For example, students had a half day every Friday so staff could meet for the first hour (negating the need for afterschool staff meetings) and then plan in their professional teams for the rest of the day. That being said, my return to public education stateside in 2008 was a bit of an unpleasant shock.  I learned a lot, spoke up for myself, and tempered some of my higher ideals.

And so the million dollar question becomes: how do we get to this professional Utopia?  Well, ironically enough, Edutopia gives us counselors an excellent tool for facilitating this (check out this article in #2 below).  And so that brings us to some ideas about how to advocate for yourself as a teaching or counseling professional:

1.  Join a professional organization that has a great reputation for speaking up for its members- there is so much strength in numbers and attending a rally at your local government or having a chat with their legal staff if you find yourself on the dark side of the moon is priceless and VERY empowering.  Here are links to some of my favs: ASCA, NABE, TESOL, NEA, ACA

2.  Meet regularly (monthly, or even better, weekly) with your administration or with your team of colleagues and:

  • Follow an agenda.
  • After the meeting, send the agenda minutes to your admin with points about:  the great things you are doing, struggles you are having as a result of lack of resources, links to professional articles that advocate for your profession, and data points (see #3 below).
  • Bring and refer to your state, national or accreditation manual on how you should be carrying out your job duties- offer to give your admin a copy of this manual, too.  For example, I take my Texas Education Agency Model for a School Counseling Program wherever I go and I call it my Bible.
  • Share professional articles that advocate for your profession- here’s the Edutopia one I was referring to above.  And make sure that the links to the articles or the actual articles themselves make it into those minutes that you send to admin.

3.  Send your admin weekly or monthly data reports- nothing speaks truer than hard and fast numbers and administrators LOVE to see numbers.  Here are some ideas for how to keep your numbers:

  • If you are a teacher, this might look like a spreadsheet of your students weekly assessment scores (either district or state driven if you have these OR just send a spreadsheet of your student’s assessment scores on your own test instruments that you use in your class).  Always link your needs and requests to any problematic scores you provide.
  • If you are a counselor, I can’t recommend EZAnalyze enough- it’s an easy, FREE downloadable!  I’m not going to lie- it definitely takes a bit of time and effort to learn it and set it up (maybe a half day to a full day’s worth of time), and you do have to keep up with it daily which can be tedious sometimes, but all these minor inconveniences are NOTHING compared to the amazing data reports it generates with the click of a button…I share it with my admin monthly so they can see that I am spending my professional time effectively.
  • If you are a counselor nervous about jumping into the tech world with both feet to use EZAnalyze, you can also visit my link (once there, just scroll down and click on the first free downloadable called "Weekly/Monthly Counseling Reports") to see the simpler, less techy data charts I used very effectively before I started with EZAnalyze
  • I’ve heard glorious rumors that there is EZAnalyze for teachers now too- check out this link to see if it will work for you.

4.  Take care of yourself!  Leave work at work, make time for yourself and your family, and carve a bit of time out EACH DAY to do what you enjoy whether it’s a short walk, watching your fav sitcom, reading that trashy novel in bed, or just some deep breathing.  Here are links to great articles on self-care from the experts who explain avoiding burnout and enjoying your job a lot better than me…Teachers Slowing Down and 10 Ways to Slow Down.

5.  Put your state or accrediting agency education code of what teachers/counselors do on your office or classroom door.  Here’s mine and pic of it on my door, my bulletin board, and my counseling lobby (yellow-green poster).  I point to it often when people ask me why I’m not disciplining a student, or in charge of testing, or creating the master schedule, etc.  It’s so nice to be able to point like that. 

        

6.  And last but not least- just say no.  Like my wise and retired educational administrator Dad used to tell me as a child- NO is the easiest word to say.  Of course, you’ll have to pick your battles and you can’t say no all the time.  But if you have stellar workmanship that follows the framework set by your professional organization and you have a few examples up your sleeve of how you have recently “taken one for the team,” it’s ok to say no.  Here are professional frameworks from some of the big guns, if you need them: TESOL and ASCA.

And that brings us to the close of our Feb post.  We'd love to hear about your experiences with or opinions about advocacy, so please leave us a comment below.  Just an FYI if you are one of our weekly readers- we will be changing from weekly Saturday posts that alternate between ESL and counseling issues to first-Saturday-of-the-month posts that combine the two.  We are revving ourselves up for the Spring rush of new counseling and ESL guides to unleash on the market and so we will be spending less time blogging and more time writing guides and creating other new products such as counseling kits, ESL song books, and more!  You can look forward to Cope Into Hope Grief Counseling Guide- Spanish Version, Girl Power! Group Counseling Guide, ESL for Beginners Lessons Guide Vol 3 and other products to start appearing on our products page, our Bilingual Learner FB page, and Twitter page sometime in March!

We hope to see you back here the first Saturday in March for our next post on strategies for dealing with text anxiety/life stress and related ESL & guidance lessons!    In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page.

 

Happy Early Valentine's Day!

 

 

 

 

 

We're (Almost) Back!

January 24, 2014

Happy 2014 Counselors and ESL'ers!

We are almost back to sharing our weekly Bilingual Learner counseling and ESL posts! Check us out here next Saturday to read our first post of the New Year about counselor/teacher advocacy and self-care.

Advocating for ourselves as professionals and taking care of ourselves is CRUCIAL in a busy, mile-a-minute work (and life) culture. An endlessly stressed out/overworked teacher or counselor is NOT an effective teacher or counselor.  More on this topic next Saturday, same time, same place!

In the meantime, we've been busy settling into our new place!! Here are some of the things we've been doing during our writing hiatus, in case you wanted to have a look...

Clearing brush...


 

Fixing fences...


 

Deciding which project to tackle next...


 

Trying not to fall off our cliffs...


 

Taking a moment to catch our breath in the midst of all these JOBS...


 

Admiring the view every now and again...


 

And, last but BEST, finding the perfect writing spot to crank out our next counseling and ESL guides!

 

 

See ya next week...here's a preview of coming attractions for our next post:

 

Our Final 2013 Post!

November 30, 2013

You read it right, folks!  This is our last post of the year.  As many of you know from reading our previous posts or following us on Facebook, we are moving our office in December and January.  So, we will be super busy situating ourselves in our new home AND working on all our holiday/end of the year projects such as new pages to our website, new guides, and some free giveaways.  You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to get real time alerts of when these things occur.  So... yes, this will be our last post of 2013.  You can expect us back full force with our weekly Saturday posts in February.

Onto today's post with some really good stuff to share- for both counselors and ESL'ers!  Just click on the blue lettering links and we'll take you right to an article, resource, or product you can use.  In my last ESL lesson, I tried out a new game called "Guess It!" which is an activity from the book ESL for Beginners Volume Two.  This activity is like an ESL version of Charades and my students loved it!  In fact, they got so into it, that the activity took over the entire class period and I had to reschedule all the other English activities I had planned for that class.  It would have been easy to cut the activity short, giving each student one turn... but they were just having so much fun and getting such awesome practice with the present continuous verb tense that we all played on and on. 

In other news, here is a fab article for new ESL teachers from Busyteacher.org.  I wish I'd had this when I started teaching ESL back in early 2000 in Mozambique!  My own favorite is number two, and I am trying out number five myself this week- I never even thought of having students use all five senses in English language learning- great idea!

And for counseling, I thought I'd leave you all with two great articles on advocacy to wrap up 2013.  It is such an important part of our profession and I never realized how much I'd have to advocate for my position, my profession, and myself.  But, it is what it is...so here's something to help you out:  an article that's great to present at staff meetings any time of year to win over teachers AND an article to share with your administration so they can support you at best practice counseling per national standards.  At my school, we presented the first article at our beginning of year staff meeting and it went over smashingly (for those teachers that were still awake after a full day of meetings since school counselors got the last 20 minute block of the day).  As for the second article, it is on my list of things to present to my own admin over Winter Break when we all have a moment to breathe and read more than just the parent/student/supervisor memos that are right in front of us!

 

And, now, a final 2013 thought to leave you with...good for both counselors and ESL'ers...

And PS- The shack in the pic above is NOT our new office...just a funny photo.  Here's an actual photo of our office-in-progress:

 

 

 

Happy Holidays and see ya'll back here in February!  And in the meantime, don't be a stranger- look for our daily alerts on our Bilingual Learner Facebook Page, our Twitter Page, or our Pinterest Page.  We'll be posting brief comments about our Facebook Follower Free-Product-of-Your-Choice Giveaway, our new sessions and teaching guides, and our newest fav resources/reviews added to our website.  See ya on the flip side!

That's all, Folks!

Success in School

November 24, 2013

Let the good times commence!  Here at Bilingual Learner, we are on vacayyyyyyyy!  Our "real job" in public ed has just gone on Thanksgiving hiatus for one whole, glorious week.  We hope you are just as lucky!  Anyway, this week's post is about working with chronically underachieving students.  These are the kiddos who have the ability to succeed in school, but continue to fail their classes throughout the school year.  In our counseling office, we have been working all semester on getting these students on track so they are passing their classes and we use various strategies to achieve this goal.  It's so exciting to report that the stars have aligned this year and with the right mix of interventions (after many years of research, trial and error), we are finally seeing some consistent success with our underachieving students. Below is our program for helping students find success in school with links to helpful resources- click on the blue ones to take you right to an article, video, or product you can use and click on the red ones to take you to a Bilingual Learner freebie that you can download after you leave a comment below (once you leave a comment, the download automatically gets sent to you within a day). 

The first thing we do is handpick the students to go into our group, which we call Middle School 101, though it might be renamed Success in School, since our program is applicable to any age group- elementary, middle, high, or even post-secondary.  The criteria for the student to be admitted into the group is quite specific: failure of two or more subjects, a desire on the part of the student to improve their grades, no chronic attendance problems, and no undiagnosed learning problems.  Of course, we have other means for supporting students whose absences or ability to learn interfere with their success in school, but that is a topic for another post.  Since this psycho-educational group is primarily goal-based and focuses on building good work/study/organization habits, it would be unfair to include students who cannot raise their grades no matter their goal or how hard they work because of learning or attendance issues.  Further, if the student does not WANT to improve their grades, there's not much we can do in this group setting....you know what they say- you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!  We provide other supports for these type of students who are indifferent or resistant (see page 18), but, again, that is a topic for another post. 

Once we have our list of potential group members, we send home the group permission slips and the first ones to return them go into the group (our counseling office ALWAYS has a waiting list for groups and we see A LOT of failing students as poverty and high stakes testing really impact our kids and their grades).  In my experience, it is best to run this group as a weekly, yearlong process, cycling the students through 3 stages: 

  • as a beginning group member who is mentored in group by a more "expert" member (for the first set of group members in September, the group leader can serve as the mentor)
  • as an "expert" member where they get their own mentee
  • and finally, after consistent success and goal achievement, the member is ready to exit the group

In order to facilitate our 3 stages model, I start with a smaller number of group members, spending a month or two to get them achieving their school goals and then gradually increasing the group by adding new group members where the "expert" original group members can mentor the new ones.  And after a month or two of this, I exit the expert members who are showing consistent improvement/ success in school.

Here at Bilingual Learner, are working on a new counseling sessions guide that details and provides materials/activities for all aspects of running this type of Success in School group-- look for it Summer 2014!  However, in the meantime, here are some guidelines for running each session:

  • Start each session by giving the students a report of their current term class/assignment grades that they have earned  with a copy of their goal they created in the last group session; members can also sign in at this time on their progress chart which is displayed in the group room  to keep track of their goal achievement and use of minilesson strategies. 
  • Allow students time to review their grade sheets and goal and then share with group a success (no matter how small) they have had with their goal
  • Allow students to continue working towards their same goal or model for students how to create a new improving grades goal based on the low class grades on their grade sheets
  • each group member reads their new or continued goal to the group
  • teach a 5-10 minute minilesson on study skills, organization, or good work habits
  • if time, play a game such as Great Grades BINGO to wrap things up in a fun way and keep the overall mood of the group very positive

There are so many more exciting aspects to share about facilitating a group like this, but of course we can't fit it all into one blog post.  So, I will sign off here with a promise of our Success in School Group Counseling Sessions Guide with Activities coming in Summer 2014 (if not earlier!) and of future Bilingual Learner posts about details/updates of our experiences with this group as the school year progresses. 

And, finally, in honor of Thanksgiving coming in just a few days (YUM!), here are two cool Thanksgiving resources I just came across from busyteacher.org- one is a Thanksgiving PPT  and the other is a history of Thanksgiving.  Also, you can scroll down or just click here, and read our Bilingual Learner post from last week as we have several Thanksgiving resources embedded in that post.  To close, here's a silly poster by Carrie Keplinger that combines a little psychology humor with some English/ESL humor...

 

And that brings us to the end of this Saturday's counseling post.  Catch up with us again next Saturday for our post focusing on the ESL world.  So, see ya back here next week, same time-same place!  We'd love to hear about your experiences in working with underachieving students/clients, so please leave us a comment.  Remember, we'll trade ya a comment for a freebie resource- comment below and we'll send you the code for the resources in RED above so you can download it for free from our Google Docs account.  In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page.

 

 

 

El Dia de Gracias- in English & Spanish!

November 16, 2013

Happy November, Everyone!  We were so excited to see some actual fall colors in the trees today on our drive through Texas!  It got us in the mood for Thanksgiving (we even bought a pumpkin pie on the way home!), so I thought I'd include some ESL Thanksgiving activities in today's post.  We've included a lot of links in this post as helpful resources- click on the blue ones to take you right to an article, video, or product you can use and click on the red ones to take you to a Bilingual Learner freebie that you can download after you leave a comment below (once you leave a comment, the download automatically gets sent to you within a day).  One of the students in my Culture Explorers class asked me this past week, Cuando es el dia de pabo? (When is Thanksgiving?), so that was my own cue to line up some  Thanksgiving activities for our sessions next week!  In our ESL Survival Skills guide, we include a Thanksgiving booklet & funquiz for teachers or counselors to make with their ESL students to introduce them to this fabulous American holiday.  Knowledge of major holidays is such an important part of feeling comfortable and accepted within a culture.  It is a great way for newcomers to gain understanding of that culture.  Moreover, this is something all young nationals get as they go through the school system in their own culture, but our newcomers often miss out on this important cultural knowledge when they transition in after all the fun grade school holiday instruction is finished.   Here are some other Thanksgiving activities we've found that you might want to use with your ESL students...

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Kids Talk about Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Flashcards

Free Thanksgiving Worksheets

Teaching a Thanksgiving Lesson Outside of the USA

If You Were at the First Thanksgiving

And finally, from andertoons.com, a funny Thanksgiving cartoon for all the bilingual counselors out there:

  

And that brings us to the end of this Saturday's ESL/counseling post.  Catch up with us again next Saturday for our post focusing on the counseling world.  So, see ya back here next week, same time-same place!  We'd love to hear about your counseling and/or ESL experiences, so please leave us a comment.  Remember, we'll trade ya a comment for a freebie resource- comment below and we'll send you the code for the resources in RED above so you can download it for free from our Google Docs account.  In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child Abuse Prevention and Girl Power!

November 9, 2013

http://www.dumpaday.com/random-pictures/funny-pictures/thursdays-funny-pictures-64-pics/As October came to a close, we wrapped up our Red Ribbon Week activities in our October guidance lesson.  And now we move into activities and info on Child Abuse prevention.  I've included a lot of links in this post as helpful resources- the blue ones will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use and the red ones will take you to a freebie that you can download after you leave a comment below (once you leave a comment, the download automatically gets sent to you within a day). We are also wrapping up our Fall group counseling.  This past week, I had the last session of my Girl Power! group (Girl Power! counseling guide coming soon).  I want to share a great, great video by talented artist, Jesse Rosten, that I showed in my final Girl Power! group to illustrate the unhealthy,  unnatural, and unattainable standard of "beauty" that our culture propagates in the media.  Discussion of this video is a great way to process with students that the way girls and women appear in the media is not a healthy ideal that we should aspire to in our own lives.  Check it out below!

Fotoshop by Adobe

So, in many states, educators and counselors are mandated to give students info on child abuse prevention.  At my school, we work this info into our November guidance lesson.  We read some real-life stories about child abuse and then we present basic assault prevention tips from this Prevention and Early Intervention site.  After this, we discuss unhealthy anger responses and we hand out a card with 9 great anger management tips from our Be Cool! Anger Management Counseling GuideWe wrap up the lesson with some fun role plays where I try to make the student mad with whatever they say bothers them and they have a chance to use their preferred anger management strategy to deal with my 'bothering'.  Usually we like to do role plays in groups, but in the case of anger role plays, I like to do the 'bothering' myself so I can control the role plays and keep them light and funny, rather than creating actual anger in the student practicing their calming strategy.  

And that brings us to the end of this Saturday's counseling post.  Catch up with us again next Saturday for our post focusing on the ESL world.  So, see ya back here next week, same time-same place!  We'd love to hear about your counseling experiences , so please leave us a comment.  Remember, we'll trade ya a comment for a freebie resource- comment below and we'll send you the code for the resources in RED above so you can download it for free from our Google Docs account.  In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page.

 

Who is the English Language Learner?

November 2, 2013

Happy Belated Halloween, Noche de Brujas, Dead of the Dead, and  Día de los Muertos!  I had lots of fun with my students reading "In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories," which is full of repetitive scary stories with easy vocab and perfect for the Halloween season.  I also taught them the scary song, "Have You Seen the Ghost of John?" (page 46), also with easy vocab and lots of repetition perfect for ESL learners.  They loved it and we sang it throughout October with super-simple guitar accompaniment of just 4 'anyone-can-learn-in-an-afternoon' guitar chords (just google them for finger placement).  There is lots more Halloween stuff to share but, alas, the holiday has passed so I thought it better to focus on a different topic instead....

So, last week, I came across the article, "Who is an English-Language Learner?", and it really caught my attention!  In my 20 years in public and private education, I've seen the moniker for ESL students change at least 4 times!  According to this article, the confusion is widespread from state to state as well-- everything from names to entry criteria, exit criteria, and level of support offered to ESL students varies from state to state.  Even worse, all this variation exists from school district to school district within each state.  This lack of consistency in best practice standards is, of course, a big concern in how we teach our future US workforce.  The article goes on to explain some in-progress solutions for this confusion and disorganization in our educational structure, but the obstacles to the solutions are very scary and all too real:  The task likely will take years, given the political and policy thickets that need to be cleared.   And with the current state of politics in Washington DC, this is indeed a dismal, but reality-based prediction!  Unfortunately, in my travels around the world,  I have seen this same lack of best practice consistency with immigrant students in other countries.  It would be so nice to find one country that does provide consistent, best practice second language instruction to their citizens and immigrants-- if you have experienced one such country, please comment below!!  Maybe if we have a good model to copy, we can get a move on here with our consistency in best practice ESL!   Finally, the most concerning part of the article (IMO), was that many of the comments after the article were racist, elitist, and just generally hateful towards immigrants, and especially Hispanics.  This is so disturbing to me since our duty as citizens is to level the playing field for ALL students so that we can guide them to be productive members of society.  Don't you think?

 

In keeping with this theme of the ELL, here is a little joke about how public education has changed in the US over the last 60 years:

SIXTY YEARS OF MATH

1950 - 2010 (in the USA ) 

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $2.58. The counter girl took my $3.00 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried. Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

1. Teaching Math In 1950s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?

2. Teaching Math In 1960s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Math In 1970s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Math In 1980s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Math In 1990s

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's ok. )

6. Teaching Math In 2010


Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?

 And a silly English grammar comic posted by Chris Peck from the FB group TESL-EJ: Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language,  to wrap it all up:

And that brings us to the end of this Saturday's ESL post.  Catch up with us again next Saturday for our post focusing on the counseling world.  So, see ya back here next week, same time-same place!    In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter PageWe'd love to hear about your ESL experiences and opinions (especially regarding the awful responses to the Huff Post article link above), so please leave us a comment below!
And that brings us to the end of this Saturday's counseling post.  Catch up with us again next Saturday for our post focusing on the ESL world.  So, see ya back here next week, same time-same place!    In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter PageWe'd love to hear about your counseling experiences, so please leave us a comment below!
Read more at http://bilinguallearner.com/-blog#2eldKbfOvJcOf1GK.99

Subpoenas and District Attorneys, Oh My!

October 26, 2013

Good evening...  Our topic today is the ominous  and rarely discussed...subpoena!  Two weeks ago, I was called to the front office see a sheriff's deputy waiting for me with a subpoena!  She informed me that first thing Monday morning, my presence was required at family law court, possibly to testify.  After consulting with my principal and then the school district's lawyer and HR director, I thankfully did not have to attend court that Monday because my district's lawyer was able to get an extension.  A few days later, the Assistant DA in charge of the court case started calling me...so again, after consulting with my principal, I called her back and answered her questions as briefly as I could.  I guess my answers were sufficiently uninteresting enough that she told me I wouldn't have to testify in court and I was off the hook.  I felt very lucky to have dodged that bullet.  So... after my own trial and error in handling this situation, I thought I'd share with you some tips and resources I found while researching  subpoenas in counseling.

First of all, accept the subpoena if it's in front of you since, well, it's the law.  Then, march it right over to your principal/director who should immediately call their boss to consult with the district/company lawyer.  If you are in private practice, call your attorney right away and if you don't have one, find one right away.  Oftentimes, the attorney will want to advise you, accompany you, or even go to court INSTEAD of you, so consulting with them is an important step.  Finally, call the courtroom or clerk number on your subpoena to find out where you are in the line of people to testify, as this may help you avoid showing up and waiting for hours on end for your turn (if it ever even materializes) to testify.  If you do have to actually testify, here are some resources I found that might be helpful for you:  What to do if you are ever in the subpoena situation and  ASCA'a take on dealing with subpoenas.

In closing, I'd like to sign off with with my new favorite counseling YouTube video.  It has a delightful counseling or teaching message about never giving up and it's super for both teens and young kids alike since it features Bruno Mars showcasing his fabulous pop idol self with the Sesame Street puppet gang singing backup.  I just LOVE it and it gets my toes tapping every time I listen. 

And before I sign off, a fun therapy cartoon for all you dog lovers out there:

And that brings us to the end of this Saturday's counseling post.  Catch up with us again next Saturday for our post focusing on the ESL world.  So, see ya back here next week, same time-same place!    In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter PageWe'd love to hear about your counseling experiences, so please leave us a comment below!

 

 

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