Skip to main content

Five Twitter tips for your PLN

Recently, members of the Imagine Learning instructional design and writing teams have started using Twitter to connect with educational communities. In this way we have each developed our own personal learning network (PLN), and we retweet the best of what we discover through our @ImagineLearning account. By doing so we have found a powerful space in which educators can interact with developers. Here we learn about student needs and teacher challenges. These vital conversations allow developers to build pragmatic tools that can ease teachers’ burden of addressing individual student needs, ultimately translating into more effective learning environments. We’re grateful to you for allowing us to participate in these online communities and are excited about our future involvement and the new discoveries we will find together. Using Twitter has helped me stay connected to the educational community. Yet I realize the hesitancy some may have about using Twitter. This post’s aim is to help you maximize your Twitter experience and grow your PLN.
Read More

Share

Eight tips to make your student a back-to-school champ

Summer is winding to a close, and that means a new school year is just around the corner. But back-to-school time doesn’t always mean excitement. Both students who struggle in school and those who excel may be less than enthused about starting a new year. I remember having mixed feelings at the start of each school year: excitement to see old friends, eagerness to escape summer boredom, anxiousness at meeting new people, and fear that I might not know anyone in my classes. Many students face similar fears and apprehensions. As parents, how can you help your students focus on the positive and get excited about going back to school? Here are eight tips to get you started.
Read More

Share

The e-book debate

Working in educational technology as I do, I've observed the recent trend toward e-readers and e-books with keen interest.  Are e-readers truly the wave of the future?  Are printed books really going to die? Although I'm an avid reader, I'm also a technology enthusiast, so I have welcomed the advent of e-books. However, when I bought my wife an Amazon Kindle last year, I didn't know how she would react.  My wife adores books.  Since I first met her in college -- where she was majoring in English literature -- I have always loved that about her.   We don't have enough bookshelves in the house to accommodate her ever-growing collection.  She seems to always have a magazine or a novel in her hand.  She's probably read a book since I started writing this post.
Read More

Share

A game-changing teaching technique you might not be using

There's no secret formula to ensuring all your students succeed. Each student learns in a different way and benefits from different teaching strategies. But what if there were one thing you could do to significantly improve comprehension for all your struggling students, including English learners? In 2009's Quality Counts, David Francis of the University of Texas identified "mastery of academic language" as "arguably the single most important determinant of academic success for individual students." He went on to say that its importance "cannot be overstated." Why all the fuss?
Read More

Share

How to bully-proof your struggling students

During the move to our new building, our office plant broke in half. I was heartbroken, but I put the broken half of the plant into a container of water with the hope that the plant would grow new roots. For the first few snowy months, nothing happened. No roots. Then, spring came and the weather started warming up. Seemingly overnight, my struggling plant was thriving, and all because the conditions were finally right. My plant had to be comfortable before he could really start to grow. So what does a plant have to do with bullying? Like plants, students need the right conditions to really send out their roots and start growing. Unfortunately, many students hold back because they don't feel comfortable in the classroom. One of the big reasons for this is bullying. Bullying can happen to any student, but English learners, struggling readers, and students with disabilities can be especially vulnerable because they may feel out of place or have low self-esteem. Luckily, you don't have to wait for a weather change to banish bullies and strengthen your struggling student.
Read More

Share

Late night karaoke, a magic microphone, and your English learners

My wife (an English learner from the Philippines) loves karaoke. And with it, she taught me a valuable lesson on creating an environment where English learners can thrive. In her home country, baseball isn’t the national pastime. Instead, belting out Gloria Gaynor or Bee Gees tunes is the entertainment of choice. So it wasn’t long after we were married that she dragged me to karaoke night at a local Filipino restaurant. It was a new experience for me. But I did manage to get onstage and warble a fair rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me.” (However, I never did hear back from the Grammy committee…) A few minutes later, my wife took the stage to begin the Whitney Houston song she had chosen. My wife has a wonderful voice and she started singing sweetly. But then, things took an unexpected turn.
Read More

Share

Five strategies for motivating your struggling reader

We all have our likes and dislikes, even when it comes to things that are good for us. One of my children has always liked vegetables, while another loathes them. My wife craves physical activity, and I think of exercise as more of a chore. I’m always reading three or four books at once; my brother can’t remember the last time he read a book. As parents, I’m sure we all have our favorite tactics for encouraging our children to eat healthy foods and stay physically active. But do we have strategies for motivating them to read? I recently came across some great ideas for helping kids to become more successful readers. Ann Lodgson, a school psychologist who specializes in helping parents and teachers help struggling students, offers the following five strategies for motivating reluctant readers with reading activities they will enjoy.
Read More

Share

Ten books to read along with your kids this summer

You’ve been to story time at the library. You’ve been to the pool. You’ve been to the zoo, had a campout, and even gone to the museum—twice! But now that those first weeks of summer are over, the excitement of the break is wearing off and you’re running out of ways to keep your struggling reader from spending hours in front of the television or video game screen. Instead of asking your child to read another book or listen to you read aloud to the whole family, try a different approach: Find a great book that both you and your child will enjoy reading and read it together. Not out loud, but on your own at the same time—sort of like a book club.
Read More

Share

How technology can increase conversational fluency

Video Courtesy of KSL.com Imagine Learning English was recently highlighted as a program that works to help students gain reading skills as part of Utah news organization KSL's Read Today initiative. KSL reported on an elementary school in Utah’s Granite School District that uses Imagine Learning English as a reading solution for their English Learners (ELs). In addition to helping ELs read more fluently, the school’s principal, Ernie Broderick, reported that using Imagine Learning English yielded the greatest conversational gains he had ever seen during his 15 years as a principal, claiming it cut in half the time it takes for his ELs to achieve conversational fluency (read the full article here).
Read More

Share

Increasing awareness of language diversity

Did you know that English learners are the most rapidly growing student population in U.S. schools? (See this report.) As this population continues to grow, it’s important to be aware of other languages and realize the impact language diversity can have on our schools and lives. Yet sometimes it can be easy to feel that the language we speak is the only language out there. What can we do to be more aware that not all students speak the same language?
Read More

Share