EAL Testing

Next week we will be starting the end of year English proficiency tests for all EAL students.

All of the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced EAL students will be tested to determine their current English language ability. They are being tested for Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing using the WIDA Model test (which is widely used in international schools around the world).

After testing, I will be discussing the results with homeroom teachers to start the process of deciding which levels the students will be for Grade 4. When making these decisions the test results are only one part of our assessment as we also look at how students are performing in class generally and their current DRA reading levels. Final decisions will be made in early May.

It will be very interesting to see how all the students have progressed during Grade 3.

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Mother Tongue Books Online

You may be interested in this resource that was shared by another teacher at UNIS today. It is an online collection of books for children in numerous languages which can be used for free. Some books are available in several different languages so you could read together with your child or children in your mother tongue and then in English and compare the two versions!

International Children’s Digital Library

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Unit of Inquiry:  How We Organise Ourselves

Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable, peaceful and fun winter break.

This week your children have started a new Unit of Inquiry. In this new unit your child will be learning in the homeroom about this central idea: Our economic activities affect people and impact the environment.

To help your child learn English and the content of this unit, please practice ideas and key vocabulary with your child using your mother tongue.

This handout (see link below) is intended for you to help activate your child’s ideas in his or her own mother-tongue before we start studying the unit in English. There is no need to send it back to school for me to see. I have sent it to you as research shows that children learn more effectively in a second language if they are pre-taught vocabulary and structures and introduced to ideas in their mother-tongue first.

How We Organise Ourselves – Parents as Partners, January 2019-11wliog

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Just a note to wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday wherever you may be heading.

If your children have time to fill, why not have them write a diary in two languages over the break? This could be as simple as just writing a sentence a day in their home language and then writing the same one in English. They could even use Google Translate to help with any difficult vocabulary.

Here’s an example of what I might be doing, in English and Thai (a language I struggle with but enjoy):

Today I went out to my favourite restaurant. After that I went to see my brother and his two children.

วันนี้ฉันออกไปที่ร้านอาหารที่ฉันชอบ    หลังจากนั้นฉันก็ไปดูพี่ชายและลูก ๆ สองคน

Reading is also a great way for your children to keep up with their two languages over the break and keep learning new vocabulary in context.

Have a great holiday!

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Language Talks and Noticing

One of the theories about language acquisition is that you only learn something about a language deeply when you have noticed something about its structure. Noticing the way a language works in a given example means you have acquired that part of the language. Learning happens through noticing.

I have started doing language talks for children in the Beginners class to see what they notice about example groups of sentences. The sentences are presented to the class one by one and students are told in advance that all the sentences are correct. Then they are simply asked this question: What do you notice?

Discussion naturally evolves through answers to this question and from the discussion learning starts to take place.

Here is a video of one session we had this week. Part of the lesson was also about how to speak clearly and loudly when a camera is pointing at you: a very difficult skill. The students had fun with trying to articulate their thoughts while being filmed and this is something they will also be doing in homerooms next week as part of the assessment for the current UoI.

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Open Day – Parents of Beginner EAL Students

If you are available on Friday morning between 8:40 and 9:20 please come along to my classroom to see your children in action.

We will be doing a quiz about the current Unit of Inquiry focusing on things we have learned about elephants, key vocabulary for the unit and some grammatical problems, too.

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Conferences and the Beginner Class Today

Thank you to all of you for sharing your thoughts about your children and their learning of English at the conferences on Monday. The information you gave is very useful to me as we continue on this learning journey together.

Below you can see some photos of what we were learning in the EAL class today.

After playing a game of sight-word bingo, three of the students then wrote a procedural text about how to play the game. It’s always important to have concrete, shared experiences to write about and, having played the game first, this was ideal. By playing first key language can be introduced and rehearsed and the structural pattern of the procedure can be repeated, too.

Other students worked on building sentences using cloze sentences and words on cards. They did a great job of working together to produce some very good quality sentences.

Have an enjoyable holiday!

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The Week in EAL

This past week we have been working on Word Inquiry and comparing two words – learn and play – and investigating how suffixes can be added to them to create new words (for example: player, learner, playing, learning).

You could maybe help your child understand suffixes by thinking about how you might use them in your own language.

We have also started looking at  vocabulary from the Unit of Inquiry (How The World Works). We have started to think about these words: pulley, wheel and axle, screw, lever, inclined plane and wedge. It will be a great help if you could help your child understand these words by talking about them in your home language.

Finally, we have been checking the names of individual letters of the English alphabet. There was some confusion about this – especially letters like j and or i and e – and so this is something you can also follow up with at home.

Have a great weekend and I hope the coming storm (Mangkhut) doesn’t cause us any problems!

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Welcome to Grade 3 EAL!

Thank you for finding us here. We hope you will enjoy our blog.

During the year, I will be posting photos of student work and activities in the classroom, suggestions for supporting your child’s language acquisition and general information about EAL.

My name is Mr. David and I am the EAL teacher for Grade 3.

So far this year I have been getting to know all of the students in Grade 3 and I have also started taking the Beginner groups for their pull-out English lessons.

If you are new to UNIS here is a short summary about the EAL programme.

There are three levels of EAL: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Each student is in the best level to suit his or her language learning needs.

I will be working mainly with the Beginner and Intermediate students, both in the EAL classroom and in each of the homerooms (this is called ‘in-class support’ or sometimes ‘push-in’). All Beginner EAL students will spend time with me each week working on language structures and vocabulary in pull-out classes to help them gain confidence and improve their ability in all the main skill areas of reading, speaking, listening and writing. EAL Intermediate and Advanced students will be working with their respective homeroom teachers but I will work with them when homeroom teachers and I co-teach lessons.

Next week we will be starting the DRA reading assessments. Once we have these completed we will be grouping students according to ability and then starting on our guided reading programme. In the Beginner EAL class we will be working on basic sentence structures, vocabulary and building confidence with oral expression.

I look forward to working together with you, your children, and the UNIS teachers to help EAL students gain access to the curriculum to the best of their ability while improving their command of English. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss anything about your child’s learning of English. My email address is dcarter@unishanoi.org


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