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ExcELLing into a New Year

Ah, September!

My colleague and I are starting a new class this year that is a “soft landing” for ELL students. The purpose is to help students who come to us with very little oral English It’s called ExcELL, and you can look at our course here. It’s modeled off the first level of USALearns, a program that was

“an outgrowth of a project that was conceived by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Division of Adult Education and Literacy (DAEL). DAEL promotes programs that help American adults get the basic skills they need to be productive workers, family members, and citizens. The major areas of support are Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English Language Acquisition.”–http://usalearns.org/index/aboutus.cfm

You can find the scope and sequence, if you’re interested, at the link above.

Our first few days have been incredible and annoying. Nothing like piloting a class on a new learning management system (LMS) with students who cannot understand anything you are saying. And yet, because we are meeting these students where they are, because we are their safe space, because we are trying to teach them those foundational skills that, honestly, nobody is checking to see that these students know in English, I feel it’s been a great success.

JPEG ImageWe also have a fantastic teaching artist, Lida Winfield, from the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington (a list of artists are available here), who will be visiting our class every week for the next few months. What a joy to hear students laugh and to get them to play! Through playing games and Total Physical Response, we learned left, right, shoulders, knees, elbows, hands, backwards, forwards, inside, outside, circle, square, triangle, top, bottom, shirt, pants, skirt…. oh, the list goes on. She is amazing. We are so lucky to have her!

We have so many people who are coming in to see. I can’t wait until we are fully up and running…

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