Family Literacy/ABE/ ESL
http://www.funsci.com/fun3_en/toys/toys.htm - In many countries around the world, children can't buy toys because they're too expensive. So these children learn to build them themselves. We can learn from them. Build a self-propelling car, a cable car, a motorboat, a go-cart, a city cart, a bicycle, a blow pipe, a button whisk, a phone, and more. Materials? Heck, get some sewing spools, buttons, cans - lots of stuff you usually throw away. For ESL students or low-level native readers, you know what to do. Copy and paste the instructions on your computer. Rewrite the instructions at a lower reading level. How? Follow the basic rule: short, short , short: simple, short sentences; short, familiar words; and short, active and familiar verbs (no passive voice!!!). Long means more difficult in all reading-level assessments. Pictures help, too.
For example, take a sample from the site above and shorten everything:
1. "Spools are little wooden cylinders with raised edges which kept thread in place. A hole in the middle holds them to sewing machines. These supports, today hard to find, were used to hold thread. In every house there were seamstresses, so often these spools were everywhere, and because they were reusable, they certainly were not thrown away."
Well, you get the idea. Lots of repetition of new words, too.
If you want to get serious, you can find information on my two favorite methods at the following sites:
GED (and other students with assistance in reading instructions, as seen above)
http://www.funsci.com/fun3_en/ucomp1/ucomp1.htm - Build a One-Dollar Microscope - Very interesting and fun.
http://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle_wheel_gyro.html - Build a Bicycle Wheel Gyro - Super cheap and fun.
http://members.aol.com/filmgroup/china.htm - Construct a simple, reusable Chinese Lantern
Some may say, "Why bother with all of these projects? My students need to improve levels not have all of this worthless fun!" For a very good reason:authenticity.
In other words, we need to get real. Abstract concepts work with some people: the "A" students. Most of those we teach need to connect "rules" to something in their lives. Let's give them a hand.
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Pam Smith has again provided funding to help AEFLA-funded programs apply technology in teaching and learning. Last year, 4CVRC offered the following topics for training, which are still open for choices: (I had a great time wandering around the state with my computer show.)
This year, we have added the following topics, along with any topic of your choice that relates to using technology for learning:
How it works
Your cost? Commitment. That's it. Pam has done her part. Now it's your turn!
Hope to see you soon. Leecy