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Dr. William Snyder is an English professor at Concordia College who has contributed his teaching skills and expertise to adult literacy students by volunteering in the Moorhead Adult Basic Education program for the past 10 years. He volunteers Thursday mornings in an ESL classroom, where he and his students sit around a conference table and discuss a pre-selected news article. William does this so his students are more comfortable with colloquial and newer vocabulary, and so they are up–to-date on current events.

cast of a chain link bracelet

Purpose:  Reviewing a text in a small group setting can prompt learners to recall a greater amount of points and details than they would if they reviewed it independently. Additionally, turning the review into a fun and challenging game helps to engage leaners in the reviewing process.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  Reading text

Procedure:

Give and Take spelled out in tiles

Purpose:  To encourage learners to practice brainstorming and interacting with their classmates

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  None

Procedure:

  1. Give the learners a topic, and have them brainstorm a list of words associated with that topic for 1-2 minutes.

Examples:

Things you find in a school

Fruits and vegetables

Founded in 2006, the mission of the Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership is to improve the health of all Minnesotans through clear health communication.As part of that mission , the organization has just released a new Health Literacy Toolkit.

a hand being held up to an ear to listen

Purpose:  To give learners practice listening for key information

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Materials Needed:  Several different audio tracks with listening comprehension questions for each of them, mini-whiteboards

Procedure:

mathematical graph

Graphing calculators have been a staple of the standardized testing organizations for years with several having approved the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus calculator for use on the PSAT, SAT, and ACT college entrance exams, IB and AP tests. That may change due to developments in app technology. The software company Desmos has developed a free graphic calculator app that can be embedded into online tests freeing students from having to purchase an expensive (around $100 new) device to aid them in their education.

a hand tossing a yellow tennis ball

Purpose:  This activity focuses on phoneme isolation and helps learners to become more confident at “sounding out” words when they are writing.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  A soft ball, list of vocabulary words

Procedure:

Kris Trelles has been volunteering at Centro Guadalupano in Minneapolis since she retired from her job teaching ESL in Minneapolis Public Schools. She started at Centro four years ago to fulfill the requirements of an Adult Basic Education teaching licensure program and has been volunteering there ever since. She decided to continue volunteering at Centro, rather than to take a paid position in a larger classroom, she says, because she likes the smaller classes and the informal and friendly structure.

crystal ball on a yellow background with the word predict in the middle

Purpose:  Fluent readers naturally make predictions about a text before reading. This activity guides learners through the process of making predictions prior to reading a text, and also helps learners to activate prior knowledge about the topic.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials Needed:  A reading text with 3 sentences from different parts of the text selected

Procedure:

hands in work gloves holding a trowel and building a brick wall

Purpose:  Saying final consonants and particularly final consonant clusters can be very difficult for learners who are not used to words ending in consonants. Oftentimes those learners struggle to hear the consonants because they are not familiar with those sound patterns. Starting with the sounds at the end of the word can make it much easier for learners to produce final consonants as they build onto them.

Preparation Time:  none

Materials Needed:  Vocabulary words from weekly unit

Procedure:

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