I teach English Language Learners (ELLs) in level 1 ESL classes. They come from very diverse backgrounds. The majority of my students speak either Spanish or Portuguese and come from South America. Some of my students also come from Asian and Eastern European countries.
Minorities make up 59% of our school’s population.
It is one of the biggest and most diverse high schools in the state, largely due to our ELL population.*
Economically disadvantaged students make up 46% of our school’s population.* ELLs significantly contribute to this statistic. My students often do not have regular access to computers/chromebooks at home or at school, which also explains why my ELL students have very low computer literacy compared to their US-born peers.
Like all teenagers, ELLs learn the most when they are actively engaged. It is not uncommon to have a student absent due to either a suspension or lack of interest in school. Many of my ELL students need a better reason to be in the classroom than grades alone. They need to become a part of a system that will prepare them for the technologically-native and ever-changing digital age.
Last school year, I raised money through Donorschoose.org to create a Chromebook station for my classroom. It was the best decision I made all year! My students improved typing and formatting skills and learned to navigate the internet and language learning programs with ease. I integrated the Chromebooks into rotations and group work. Many students even stopped by my room during free periods to use the chromebooks to complete homework. The students and I developed a system for sharing the Chromebooks, as my classrooms cap at 30 students.
My new goal is to give each of my students access to a Chromebook at all times in my room, enabling me to create 100% technology-driven lessons that are engaging, tailored to each student's needs, and GREEN.
By adding more Chromebooks with google licenses to my room, I will reach this goal and make an even more profound impact on student learning.
Most of my new students are unfamiliar with English learning applications and typing comprehensible English with correct spacing, punctuation and formatting. These skills are generally taken for granted in mainstream classes. The lack of engagement I have observed in my ELLs is often linked to the overwhelming burden of overcoming learning gaps, especially when it comes to technology.
Google applications, essay writing and the state-required online testing are just a few examples of how important computer proficiency is to success at school. As my ELLs become more comfortable using the chromebooks, they also become more confident as students.
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