Going Back to Basics
After using the collaborative learning software, let's go back to the traditional way of teaching ESL in class. Isn't it that we so often hear the "back to the basics" cry in education? In my classroom, you can easily spot my answer--the Word Walls. I find teaching the basics such as spelling, phonics and conventions important and they're all in the walls!
I don't buy the ready-made charts in bookstores. I build the Walls with my ESL kids. The Walls grow each day. We post new words that they have learned, new stories that they have read and new conventions being introduced! With our Word Walls, I am confident that necessary skills and strategies are being learned.
Word Walls are necessary in every class. They are there to serve as comfort walls for students who are struggling with new lessons taught. They are just there, silently inviting kids to learn at their own pace, saving them when they are lost with spelling, need rules of conventions, searching for word meaning and so on. Word Walls are talking walls saying, "Need help? Look at me!"
1. The Vocabulary Wall
The words in the Vocabulary Walls are harvested from meaningful contexts. After reading a story, singing a song, reciting a poem or role-playing, I ask my students to post on the Wall the new words they learned and then we talk about the meaning of the words again. I make sure that the words posted are written in their correct spelling. Soon, these words will be used as references as they write or do other assignments in class.
2. The Help Wall
This is the most popular wall in class. This is the students' quick guide for language conventions such as capitalization, punctuation marks, antonyms, synonyms, spelling and subject-verb agreement reminders. This wall gives a user-friendly reference for developing different skills of the second language learners.
In conclusion, the use of SMART board lessons for ESL with Word Walls is an excellent way to aid students' learning.