I teach kindergarten in a high needs elementary school. Many of my students are English language learners who do not have access to technology at home. As children enter kindergarten, it is important that they have access to a computer center with a library of developmentally appropriate software. I think it is important to use the computer for activities that match children's specific learning objectives. For example, to enhance language skills, children can work in small groups using software such as Scholastic's Magic School Bus. This program explores the Rain forest and other ecosystems in the world. Students would then be able to share their discoveries and write about what they learned. Through exploring computer experiences, children build memory skills, learn how to seek out information from multiple sources, and integrate their knowledge of how things work. In the process, children learn to delegate responsibility, interact with others, solve problems, and cooperate to reach a goal.
The English language learner (ELL) student population continues to grow more rapidly than the student population as a whole.
ELL students face the challenging task of mastering a new language while also learning subject area content. Student M is 5 years old. She has just come with her grandmother, to join her mother and two older brothers. M and her family speak Spanish at home. M is usually at home with her grandmother while her mother is at work. She loves to listen to her grandmother tell stories of what her life was like as a child. M is learning how to speak English in Kindergarten. Her learning is supported with the use of technology in her school. I believe that with the additional support of a classroom computer computer, M's progress will soar. She has already made leaps and bounds this year and she is ready to take the next step.
My class has a high percentage of English language learners. This has been a challenging year for them as they are making a difficult transition from home to a big elementary school. With technology in our classroom, young writers will be able to devote concentration to exploring their ideas and to interacting with others. The computer becomes a discovery process which aids in developing logical thought. Collaborative, computer-based activities facilitate children's use of functional language by establishing a context for experimenting with oral language and print. Through this kind of work and with observations of peers, children can learn that their pictures could be accompanied by print. This is where the ELL students and the English speaking students will work together to type some "labels" (this a a kindergarten term for inventive spelling) to go along with their drawings. The possibilities are endless.
It is a necessity to draw from a range of research-based strategies, pedagogy, and instruction to support the ELL students in building language proficiency.
Technology supports many effective strategies, such as using non linguistic representation, helping students recognize patterns, giving them opportunities to practice communicating complex ideas, and bringing their home culture into the classroom through digital images, music, and other media. I hope you will consider funding my project.
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