Join me at the Emerald Coast TESOL conference in Pensacola

A highway with road signs with the words Emerald Coast TESOL 2019>Exploring Paths to Literacy Proficiency

I serve as the professional development officer for the Emerald Coast Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ECTESOL), which is a chapter of the Sunshine State TESOL of Florida. Our local conference for the Gulf Coast area will be held in Pensacola on February 9th from 9:30-3:00. It will take place at the International Center, Building 71, at the  University of West Florida (UWF). Registration costs $25 and includes lunch. The theme is Exploring Paths to Literacy Proficiency. See the itinerary below.

9:30 – 10:00 Registration (and refreshments)

10:00 – 10:10 Welcome General Session: Ms. Rachel Hendrix, Executive Director, International Affairs, UWF;
Overview of Conference: Dr. Arlene Costello, President, ECTESOL

10:15 – 10:55 Keynote Speaker: Ms. Ginger Alberto, Program Director, Student Achievement through Language Acquisition, Florida Department of Education, Topic: Meeting the Needs of English Learners in Literacy Proficiency

11:00 – 11:30 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: Engaging English Learners, Dr. Arlene Costello
Room 2: The Pragmatics of EFL/ESOL, Dr. Laureen Fregeau, University of South Alabama

11:35 – 12:00 Lunch & 12:00 – 12:15 Cultural Performances & DOOR PRIZES

12:20 – 1:00 General Session
Featured Presentation: Dr. John Pecore, Associate Professor, University of West Florida, Topic: Writing a winning TESOL grant proposal

1:05 – 1:35 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: ESOL Professional Development & Career Opportunities, Dr. Sandra Rogers, Spring Hill College
Room 2: Room 2: Reaching for the Stars, Mrs. Milagros Sessions, Escambia County School District

1:40 – 2:15 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: Language Writing Frames to Aid ESOL Elementary Students’ Research Projects, Dr. Sandra Rogers, SHC
Room 2: Supporting Non-Literate Adult Learners of English on Paths to Literacy, Dr. Meg Smith, SHC

2:20 – 2:50 Special Presentation General Session
The Dynamics of Literacy: Language and Science Dr. Vanessa Mangual, Bi-literacy Consultant, Benchmark Education

2:50 – 3:00 Business Meeting: Report by President; Paper Report by Treasurer; Ms. Vicki Murphy, ECTESOL Conference Chair, DOOR PRIZES

3:00 – 3:20 ECTESOL Board Meeting, Conference Room

Please register by January 29, 2019. You may bring your payment onsite on the day of the conference. Visit the ECTESOL website to download the registration form and learn more about our organization. Contact Dr. Arlene Costello at aces103@cox.net for more information. We hope to see you there!

Join the Educause Games and Learning Book Club Twitter Chat

EverQuestII Paladin character is a human-like female puma in armor at home near Frostfang Sea

I serve on the Educause Games & Learning Steering Committee. One of our new activities is to host book clubs on this topic via Twitter. You do not need to be an Educause member to participate. See my co-committee members invite below.


Please join us for the January Games & Learning Twitter Book Club. This month, we will be discussing Chapter 5: Remodelling Design of Rethinking Gamification (Fuchs, Fizek, Ruffino, & Schrape, 2014). Per the book’s copyright terms, you may download a free digital edition from the publisher’s website: https://meson.press/books/rethinking-gamification/.

As usual, the book club will be hosted on Twitter at 6:30 EST (5:30 CT |4:30 MT |3:30 PT) on Wednesdays. Use the hashtag #read4games to participate.

  • January 16: Why Fun Matters: In Search of Emergent Playful
       Experiences by Sonia Fizek
  • January 23: Exploring the Endgame of Gamification by Scott
    Nicholson
  • January 30: Eudaimonic Design, or: Six Invitations to Rethink
       Gamification by Sebastian Deterding

Please join us!

Tiffany Taylor Attaway

On behalf of the EDUCAUSE Games & Learning Book Club Committee

Tiffany Taylor Attaway, Casey Davis, & Kae Novak

https://sites.google.com/view/educause-glbc/

Peace Corps’ Third Goal is a Charm

Peace Corps Honduras 1985-1987

This article originally appeared in the Peace Corps Hotline on 5/15/2010. It has been updated to reflect my past decade of work/life.

The Peace Corps has remained on my mind now for 30 years, fresh as the memory of the first homemade, thick, warm, corn tortilla that I ate with crude salt or the first taste of green mango with hot sauce, lime, and (more) salt!  Looking back, I realize that I have been involved in various Third Goal activities both formally and informally since my volunteer service in Honduras from 1985-1987.  I guess you really never stop being a Peace Corps Volunteer! For those of you unfamiliar with the Peace Corps’ Third Goal, here are all three goals of service with this US government agency: (Peace Corps, N.D.)

To promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:
  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

My actual first Third Goal activity was while I was still serving in Honduras.  I submitted a quilt to the 25th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. The quilt was designed as a flag, with each stripe an arm, reaching out to help someone.  The arms got progressively shorter as the ‘collaboration’ was made with the receiver, and the last arm ‘shook’ the hand of the recipient. The design signified governmental agencies’ past efforts of distribution of goods and services, in contrast with the Peace Corps’ effort of working with host nationals to bring about change.

When I returned home from service, I asked that my family hold a reunion.  It was a great way for me to share my experience and give them all the gifts that I had brought back.  I didn’t’ realize it at the time, but I influenced one of my nieces to join the Peace Corps. Her name is Rachel (Rogers) Miller, and she served in Lesotho from 1999-2000. You really never know who you might persuade to serve, even at informal gatherings. In my case, I returned in 1987, and my niece volunteered 12 years later.

While pursuing my masters in teaching, I used a poem that I’d written about my Honduran neighbor, as part of a dance/spoken word performance I choreographed for the theater department.  If my Honduran neighbor only knew the profound impact she had on me with her small-framed presence, smoking her hand-rolled cigar, sitting quietly in her backyard among the banana tree fronds! It was such an honor, not only to participate as a choreographer but also to share my Peace Corps’ experience visually and orally with the university students.

After I became a teacher, I would share my Peace Corps’ photo album which included trinkets and a copy of Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” with my elementary students in Los Angeles. I’ve used it many times in the classroom. In addition, I shared my story with the whole school by organizing other returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to collaborate on a display for career week. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) recruits former RPCVs for their bilingual skills, so at my school in East Los Angeles, there were three of us. The display case had photos and souvenirs from each of our countries of service. The students really enjoyed learning about their teachers’ work in the Peace Corps.

I’ve blogged about my PC experience on this WordPress site. I also attend Peace Corps informational events at my alma mater to answer questions and encourage others to join. Most importantly, I stay in touch with my fellow Honduran RPCVs not only to reminisce about the past but also because they became such good friends. PCVs become like a fraternity of friends because of the shared experiences and closeness that serving in a foreign country brings, especially during the hardships of second language learning and working in an underdeveloped country with norms very different than your own.

In closing, I don’t go around talking about the Peace Corps all the time.  Instead, I’ve embedded it into my life, work, and artistic endeavors.  As Shane Townsend (RPCV Bolivia 2003-05) said in a previous Hotline article, “The pursuit of the Third Goal is much like the Peace Corps’ experience itself; you’ll get far more out of it than you can imagine.” Part of that has been realizing that the third goal has been a charm for me. The Peace Corps is firmly a part of who I am even now.

References

Peace Corps. Retrieved from https://www.peacecorps.gov/about/

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The Multilingual Mozambican: Remembering my U.S. English Language Fellowship

The English Language Programs of the U.S. Department of State is celebrating their 50th anniversary of the Fellow Program. As a former English Fellow to Mozambique, I want to share my teaching English experience as part of the celebration. I wrote about my fellowship in a newsletter while working elsewhere. Sections of the article are provided below. Please note that this information is outdated. It’s a snapshot of the early 1990s in Maputo, Mozambique from the perspective of a foreign worker.


Sandra is standing between her students and her supervisor is beside her in the living room.
Sandra hosted a house party for her students. Her supervisor, Public Affairs Officer David Ballard, is standing behind her. Student Aboobakar Patel is standing at her other side.

The Multilingual Mozambican (Rogers, 1995)

I miss Africa. It was as great a pleasure as a hardship to teach in Mozambique. From September 1992 to December of 1993, I was employed by the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo, the capital city. After interviewing at TESOL Vancouver, the (USIS) United States Information Services provided me with an English Teaching Fellowship (ETF) contract for one year. Having always wanted to visit Africa, the stability of a US government contract made my adventure-in-the-wait a job reality with roundtrip airfare, medical insurance, and a generous stipend. In addition, UEM provided me with housing.

…My (US) salary as a visiting teacher was better than that of the host nationals. Monthly, I received $600 and the equivalent of $200 in their currency (Metical), which suffered from superinflation: one dollar equaled 5K meticais. My first check was for a million meticais.

Mozambican money in $10,000 bills

When I first arrived in Maputo, the country was still at war. There were numerous war orphans and amputees on the streets. During my stay, I witnessed the uneasy steps towards peace that eventually led to a peace accord and democratic elections. I saw the UN tanks replace their army’s. I experienced the rebel leader leaving the bush and taking up residence in the city (my neighborhood). I talked to teachers who after being restricted from traveling outside the city for 15 years, finally got to go visit their hometowns. It was an amazing time in Mozambican history, one that I’m glad I can share. The UN Mission (UNOMOZ) was a success and the troops pulled out. The country was a tropical paradise in ruins that needed to be rebuilt. The major obstacle to rebuilding the infrastructure and a normal lifestyle was the litter of hundreds of landmines. Mozambique had the largest landmine problem in the world.

…Portuguese, as well as many African Bantu languages,  are spoken in Mozambique. Spanish is understood by the Portuguese speakers and vice versa. It’s very close. I think it’s important to mentions this because, like most Americans, I was completely unaware of this fact. However, in my humble opinion, Portuguese is a more structurally complicated language.

Being fluent in Spanish helped me meet the language requirement to get the job. Also, my volunteer work with the Peace Corps (PC) in Honduras (1985-87) and an internship in Guatemala (1991) showed my ability to adapt to harsh conditions. Due to severe droughts and a sixteen-year-old civil conflict, Mozambique was one of the poorest countries in the world.

Teaching conditions at the university were definitely third world: no window panes to keep the dust out, sometimes no running water to wash hands or flush toilets, and frequent power outages. Most importantly, transit was limited for the students. Public transit was nonexistent in Maputo. Given these hardships, one must wonder why anyone would want to work there. Well, I knew from my PC experience that no matter how much I put into a job like this, I would gain more from it; and I strongly believe I have.

As a light-skinned, American female raised in a democratic society, I underwent a complete minority immersion. Placed in the Engineering faculty to teach English for Specific Purposes (ESP) to beginners, I encountered a majority of black males as well as a host of visiting professors from Communist countries. Mozambique was a Socialist/Communist country undergoing political change. In the past, they received assistance from Russia and Cuba, as well as other former East bloc countries. Some of my students had received military training in these countries and thus spoke Russian, German, and Spanish. Additionally, many Mozambican professionals had studied abroad…Not many Mozambicans spoke English, but a good number of them were multilingual. One charming example of this was the night I went out with some German backpackers to a simple open-air bar and had half the locals buying drinks for us and speaking German.

Another factor adding to the multilingualism in Mozambique is that many educational materials had been donated to the university in languages other than Portuguese… So learning how to read in English (the language of the largest selection of books) is necessary for third and fourth-year students at UEM. Hence, ESP programs focused on reading proficiency.

To add to the multilingualism, many visiting professors didn’t speak Portuguese and thus lecture in their native language. For example, my students were used to receiving math classes in Spanish because of the numerous Cuban professors employed at the Engineering faculty. Visiting professors make up about 50% of the staff due to the  ‘brain drain’ caused by the civil conflict and previous war of independence. In such a case, the majority of management and PhDs are very young and abroad obtaining their credentials.

As for the communication in my classroom, students received instructions only in English at first, but they were informed of my Spanish fluency and consequent comprehension of Portuguese. We exchanged English for Portuguese during free periods. The only formal instruction for non-native (adult) speakers at that time was the Brazilian Cultural Center downtown. I attended classes for one month, but the accent was so different that I decided it wasn’t a good idea. Mozambican Portugues is truer to Portugal given the colloquial insertions and accent. This is because Mozambique was Portugal colony until 1975.

Eventually, I learned to communicate in Portuguese. My students were at ease after my acquisition. It led me to question the ‘English only’ rule: If I’m to be the facilitator, how can I help them if I can’t speak their language? That year (1993) an article appeared in the TESOL Journal questioning the validity and general acceptance of such rule with no empirical basis. In my opinion, this rule creates a high affective filter. I was made aware of this by reading hundreds of my students’ journals each week.

To further expand on my minority immersion, I was the only American teaching English in the city, probably the entire country. British English dominated Africa. This is due to…their colonization…and their continued outpouring of funds for English programs throughout the continent. For example, the British Council had a wonderful library and resource center in … Maputo.

I taught these students English for Specific Purposes (ESP), which included vocabulary on the subject of civil engineering.

…Teaching Mozambicans was a great pleasure. They were very receptive and gracious. I miss my students and the Mozambican teachers. Together they showed me how to relax and have a good time despite the harsh conditions. Thanks to them, I too have become multilingual. Initially, Mozambique was at the end of the world for me, as it appears to many based on their global location, but now it seems somehow closer with the education I carry of the land and its people.

Mozambican student's note on back of class photo

#ELPalumni #Mozambique #TESOL #fellowimpact

Dr. Sandra Annette Rogers

Reference

Rogers, S. (1995). The multilingual Mozambican. The Teacher, 1(2). Recife: Brasil: Association Brasil America.

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My K-5 Elementary School Literature Products on Sale at TPT

I’m a teacher-author on TeachersPayTeachers.com (aka #TPT). I’m having a 20% off sale for the holidays from 12/18/18 to 12/21/18. Here are the descriptions of a few of my seasonal elementary products aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Gingerbread Man with bow tie near stack of other cookies says, "Catch me if you can, I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

K-2 Story Illustration: The Gingerbread Man

This is an 18-page document with text from story retold by Sandra Rogers in which students are provided space to illustrate the story to match the meaning described in the text. Twelve vocabulary words are boldface typed within the story with definitions provided on a glossary page. It includes a vocabulary pretest.  The end purpose is to have students read it to their parents or other students in the school.  Students will be eager to learn new words such as plump, almonds, and hay so that they can accurately illustrate their self-made booklet.  This activity correlates to the following Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on Speaking and Listening (SL): Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
Kinder: #5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
Grade 1: #5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Grade 2: #5. Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings. (Note: The text and drawings can serve as the storyboard for recordings.)

Other similar products include the following:

Image of Santa on sleigh pulled by reindeer

K-3 Poetry Illustration: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas #CCSS SL.K.5, SL.1.5, SL.2.5, SL.3.5

K-3 Holiday Literacy Pack Bundled product includes those mentioned in this blog post plus 2 literacy center posters (Reading and Writing), a literacy activity checklist, and a generic strategy usage form for self-evaluation. #CCSS SL.K.5, SL.1.5, SL.2.5, SL.3.5


Pine Wreath with burlap flowers from Colonial Williamsburg

Wintertime in Colonial Williamsburg 5th Grade PowerPoint Presentation

The 15 images in the presentation are photos taken of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia in the winter. The purpose of the presentation is to give students a glimpse of colonial life. The photos include children’s toys, holiday wreaths, a bedroom, chamber pot, a kitchen, a dining room, a coal-burning furnace, a cellar, a garden maze, the Governor’s Palace (The Wythe House), the Royal Capitol, a home, wallpaper, a horse-drawn carriage, and a soldier’s drum. The PowerPoint slides include brief lecture notes.


*These literature activities are also available for sale individually. Other products include Spanish language editions.

Thank you for shopping Teacherrogers store!

Happy holidays,

Sandra Rogers, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer

Minimum Technical Skill Requirements for Online Learners

Embed from Getty Images

One of my tasks as an instructional designer on my college campus is to provide learning guidelines and protocols for distance education. One way to prepare students for online learning is to provide a list of minimum technical skills required and make recommendations on where they can seek help if they do not possess such skills. Below is what I prepared for our students. I’d love your feedback on it.


Students,

The following is a list of basic technical skills you should have to engage productively in an online course:
● use the learning management system (e.g., Schoology) tools to post
discussions and upload assignments;
● use different browsers, clear browsing history, cache, and cookies, and refresh the screen;
● use email with attachments;
● create and submit electronic files in word processing program formats;
● copy and paste text;
● download and install software (e.g., media applications);
● download a media file for viewing or listening;
● use spreadsheet programs (e.g., Excel, Google Sheets, etc.);
● use presentation and simple graphics programs;
● use collaborative tools like Google Docs and shared folders on Google Drive; and
● use search engines to access digital books and articles from library databases.


Sandra Annette Rogers, Ph.D.

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Facebook is Unsafe

Embed from Getty Images

As an educational technology evangelist at work (school), in my service projects, and research, I keep abreast of the latest technology innovations, instructional integrations, and issues. So when email servers such as Yahoo are hacked, and I am a subscriber, I close my account. Initially, Yahoo stated  1 billion users were hacked in 2013; the latest account states that all accounts were hacked totaling 3 billion (NPR, October 2017).

If you’re a techie, especially someone who promotes the use and safeguards of technology at the workplace, what does it say about you if you’re still using it? For me, it was difficult to close my Yahoo account because it was tied to many professional Yahoo Groups such as my alma mater’s outreach to instructional design alumni and the TESOL Electronic Village Online virtual moderating group of educators for training. I also closed my Tumblr account because Yahoo owns it. To protect our online data, we must take precautions and desist from using potentially dangerous technology even as seemingly mundane as a free email account.

Social media networks such as Facebook are definitely more difficult to stop using when they place user’s data at risk because of the connections we built with friends, family, and organizations. Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, to access the data of 50 million users without their permission (TechCrunch, March 2018). Of particular rancor, besides the possible effect on the 2016 US election, is that Cambridge Analytica was able to access your friends’ and family’s data. This means your use of Facebook could put other people’s data at risk and vice versa! Grandma may be having a great time on Facebook connecting with everyone, but has she configured her settings to safeguard her data?  This year, 50 million Facebook accounts were also hacked  (CNN Business, October 2018).

Facebook is unsafe because of their misuse of our data for financial gain and system vulnerabilities to hackers. Furthermore, they can do better! We should expect more from tech giants especially for platforms that we want grandma to use. I closed my Facebook account in May after downloading all my photos and letting my connections know other ways to reach me. Facebook also owns Instagram, so I closed it, too. No, I don’t plan on going back. Instead, I’m connecting via other means. It has been extremely difficult to not be connected on FB with my friends and family. On the bright side, I’ve noticed I have real conversations with family regarding milestones because, otherwise, I’m out of the loop.

“Facebook can feel relatively benign and passive. It’s a tool we use to procure information, camaraderie or great products. We forget, all too often, that it is a business, with interests and purposes of its own. We forget that it can leverage our information for profit. Its power over our lives is largely hidden under a veneer of passivity and algorithmic detachment (The Washington Post, March 2018). Technology is only useful if it’s consistently helpful, and its misuses are minimalized through rigorous safeguards.

P.S. To keep up with Facebook’s and other sites’ security breaches, see Wikipedia’s List of Data Breaches. It is current.

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