Sponsored by the Southern Illinois Professional Development Center - part of the Illinois Community College Board Service Center Network

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Adapt this "Read and Say" Strategy for Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Readers!

Thanks to Mandy Paquette of Joliet Junior College for this reading strategy.

"Some of my best results and student input have come from the simplest strategy, called Read and Say. Just as it says, the teacher and students collaboratively read a text (usually aloud, with partner reading), and then use sentence starters to say something about what they're read. Sentence starters include: "I wonder... This reminds me of... I was surprised that... I am confused about... I think this means... I learned that..." You really do get the best answers from students, and it works extremely well for students who love being verbal instead of in writing."

Although this strategy is successful for beginning students, the concept can be adapted for more advanced readers to teach critical thinking skills and college reading aptitudes.

Mandy is Literacy Support Specialist for volunteer tutors in the JJC district area and a participant in the northern group for the Institute to Credential Special Learning Needs Resource Specialists.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Use Your Classroom as a Teaching Tool

Dwayne Daniel from Safer Foundation shares the following: I have used a variety of ideas and strategies to ensure that my students were getting math such as using the entire classroom itself including the floor, walls and ceiling to provide an understanding of measurements. Some of my students had difficulties with fractions, decimals and proportions. The floor tiles of our classrooms are usually a certain size such as 12 inches by 12 inches or 16" x 16" and their familiarity with this can translate to our math lesson. Painting a wall for some students helps them understand how much paint is needed to cover the walls of a rectangular room. For example, a room that has 9 feet ceiling height by 15 feet width needs a certain amount of gallons and the gallon can of paint tells us how much area this one gallon will cover. This uses your fractions, basic arithmetic and geometry as well as measurements. Be sure to give them a measuring tape for this hands-on assignment because they’ll enjoy learning this way. 

In addition, the walls can be used to covers fractions and proportions for your visual and interactive students. Don’t’ focus on what we do not have in the classroom, but what we CAN USE to deliver the quality services our students deserve and need to BEST LEARN. So, look around the room and use it as a tool for your assignments. 
Thanks Dwayne for sharing some tools from your educator tool belt! Dwayne is a current participant in the Special Learning Needs Resource Specialists Institute in the northern portion of Illinois.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reading Strategies to use with ESL Completers now in Adult Basic Education Classes

Thanks for the following submission from Annette Barker of Waubonsee College for sharing her great approach to teaching reading! Annette is a current participant in the northern group of the Special Learning Needs Institute.

"I usually read the passage to the students first or have an audio of the author or another person reading it. The point is for students to hear the passage being read correctly. While I, or some other audio, reads to the students, I have them highlight words they are not sure about and underline the words that are difficult to pronounce. When I’m finished reading, we go over the vocabulary words the students marked in the passage. Students then read the passage with a partner taking turns reading the paragraphs. During pair reading, if possible, I try to not have ESL students pair with readers with the same native language. Without student awareness, I also try to pair a weak reader with a stronger reader. When students have finished reading with their partner, I again ask if there were any words they struggled with. Following reading, I immerse the students into studying the passage for meaning. I ask comprehension questions of the students, have students tell me the gist/point/main idea of the story, make inferences, and talk about the author’s approach to his/her writing. I also try to ask discussion questions that generate a reaction to the passage response."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Math Game to Teach Fractions, Decimals, and Percents

Thanks to Carolyn Markel from Jane Addams Resource Corporation for sharing this fun and easy math idea! Carolyn is part of the northern Special Learning Needs Institute group.

For teaching fractions, decimals and percents, I write different fractions, decimals and percents on index cards (maybe 30 or 40).  I shuffle the deck of cards, and I have my students gather around a large table.  I tell the students that one end of the table is "0" and the other end is "1".  Each student takes turns selecting one of the index cards.  The student has to place his/her card at the appropriate spot on the table.  For example, if one student selects 1/10, the student would put the card towards the "0" end of the table.  If the next student selects  55%, the student would put that card between the 1/10 card and the "1" end of the table.  It gets harder and harder as more students put more cards down on the table because the students have more choices as to which two cards their card should be placed between.  At the end of the activity, the whole table is full of fractions/decimals/percents in order from least to greatest - it sort of creates a giant number line.  The students find it helpful to see how the values of different numbers are related to one another.  As a teacher, I learn a lot about my students because I get to watch their decision-making process in action, and correct misunderstandings immediately.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Upcoming webinars on Accommodations for the GED®

 Presenter: David Haugen, M.Ed., M.P.N.A
Date of Webinars: Friday, January 23rd, 2015
            Part I: 9:00 – 10:15 a.m. CST
            Part II: 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. CST

Please note that it is possible to attend just one of the sessions (I or II) and both will be recorded to be made available for future use by programs/educators.

Background of Presenter: 
Dave has a teaching license in Adult Basic Education and has master’s degrees in Education (University of MN) and Public Administration (Metropolitan State University). He previously worked at Pearson VUE/GED Testing Service® L.L.C. in the area of testing accommodations, where he developed an understanding and passion for helping students/professionals to navigate the accommodations process in order to ensure that access is available to all learners with disabilities. Dave currently works in adult education for Minneapolis Public Schools, where he counsels, assess and supports GED® learners daily. Dave likewise presented at the regional conference in Effingham, IL this past November 2014 on testing accommodations for the GED® and will present again this March in Springfield at the regional conference.

Summary of January 23rd Accommodation training webinars:

Part I Session (9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. CST)
Webinar Title: Testing Accommodations and the GED®: An Overview and Update for program/service providers
In this part I of II webinars, participants will receive a general overview of the accommodations process for the GED®.  Specific attention will be directed at differences between the 2002 paper based GED® and 2014 computer based test with respect to accommodations (i.e. process, role of staff, practice testing). This session will likewise explore examples of computer based testing accommodations and discuss how the new format may effect issues of access for learners. The webinar will conclude with an overview of key questions and factors for ABE programs to consider if assisting students in seeking accommodations on the GED®

Part II Session (1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. CST)
Webinar Title: Documentation Essentials: A how-to-guide for disability coordinators and advocates assisting students applying for accommodations
This session builds upon the earlier accommodations webinar but spends most of the time delving into the accommodation request forms and documentation guidelines for the GED®. The webinar provides many screen shots of sample requests/documentation examples and outlines what exactly is needed for a request to be considered complete (i.e. rationale, functional limitations).  The session concludes with a broader overview of the ADA legislation and a consideration of additional measures to assist/advocate for learners beyond applying for accommodations.

Sign up on Go to Training using the following web address:


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Check out this youtube link on neuroplasticity

Christine Decker of Parkland shares a great link they use in their new student orientation:
During new student orientation, we share new research shows that the brain is actually more like a muscle; it changes and gets stronger when you use it. When you practice and learn new things, connections in the brain get stronger and multiply. In the scientific world this is called NEUROPLASTICITY

Then we show this video:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Using a self-monitoring chart to teach responsibility and build self-esteem

Submitted by Janet Young of Spoon River College, Adult Education Advisor
Janet is part of the central SLN Institute

I am trying to teach students responsibility.  Part of that responsibility is coming to class.  The teacher and I both give lots of positive verbal feed back to those that are sitting in their seats, notebooks out and ready to start class right on time.  We also try to build their self-esteem by showing them where they were at at the beginning of class, to where they are now by using the progress they have made on their writing, post-testing, vocabulary and math.  Everyday we have them fill out a self-monitoring chart on the progress they have made just for that day.  We started at the beginning of class by having them write down the reason they wanted to come to GED class.  Then at the end of each class period, they have to write down what they accomplished that day towards their goal, one thing they learned that day and what they could do to improve something they are struggling with.  We do this in the last 15 min. of the class and then ask anyone if they want to share.  We have found when they are proud of themselves for something they learn, they love to stand up and brag about it.  The rest of the class usually claps and is excited for them.  The students that maybe struggling will sometimes talk about something that is going on with them that is making it hard for them to reach their goals, but the rest of the class is supportive and encourages them to keep trying.  I have found that they are willing to help each other and work better in groups by doing this self-monitoring chart this year. Plus it also helps us know our students better and how we can help them.  It is a good monitoring tool for us, because if the student keeps writing down the same thing that they are struggling with, day after day, it helps us to see that we need to teach in a different way, or go back and spend more time on that subject.