snappy Words is a pretty cool Visual Thesaurus.
By Lesli A. Maxwell on July 2, 2012 12:10 PM
There’s a robust body of research that has examined how the various forms of English-language instruction impact the ability of ELLs to acquire English and achieve academically, but a group of researchers is taking a completely different look at this question.
How, they ask, do bilingual education programs—in which some instruction is delivered in an ELL’s native language—spill over to impact the performance of students who are not learning English?
The researchers use Texas—home to the second largest concentration of ELLs in the nation and where Spanish bilingual education programs still exist in public schools across the state—to try and answer this question. Their findings were released in a working paper today from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
What they found is sure to be the equivalent of a “Hey Martha,” story, the term my old city editor at The Sacramento Bee used for those surprising or provocative front page stories that would get everyone talking.
This is a rather technical study for an academic layperson like me, but the findings are clear and fascinating. Essentially, the researchers compared student outcomes in school districts that offered bilingual education to ELLs with those for districts that use ESL for English-learners. They drew on publicly-available data from Texas elementary schools that enrolled slightly fewer or slightly more than 20 ELL students in a given first grade cohort.
Here’s the upshot:
In districts offering bilingual education, the test scores of non-ELLs whose home language is not Spanish were raised “significantly.” Because these kids were not Spanish speakers, they never would have been candidates to participate in bilingual education, therefore, researchers conclude, there were “program spillover effects.” How, you ask?
The researchers offer some possible explanations, many of which can be boiled down to differences between the composition of classrooms in bilingual programs versus those in ESL programs.
When ELLs are in bilingual programs, they are typically grouped together in a separate class and tend not to be in mainstream classes with non-ELLs(ELLs in ESL programs are more often in mainstream classes and are pulled out for English-language instruction). With fewer or no ELLs in their classes, non-ELLs perhaps benefit from teachers not having to focus extra help and attention on English-learners and from not having as much exposure to ELL students who may need lower levels of instruction in order to understand content.
On the other hand, the researchers point out, there are positive peer effects for non-ELLs who are exposed to English-learners. Non-ELLs can also benefit from bilingual programs because of the additional resources that such programs tend to bring to a school, the researchers said.
The study also found that bilingual education had “generally positive,” but less significant effects on the achievement of Spanish-speaking ELLs than for their non-ELL peers.
Aimee Chin from the University of Houston, N. Meltem Daysal from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and Scott A. Imberman of Michigan State University are the authors.
By Matt Levinson
For schools that are about to deploy the iPad as their main mobile learning device, there’s wisdom to be learned from others who’ve gone down that road. At Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, Calif., the first year of a pilot iPad program for sixth-graders has just ended, and some clear lessons have emerged. Here are some tips to help smooth the transition.
START CLASS WITH GOOD HABITS. Start out the day with a learning challenge like Google a Day to get students using and searching the iPad in a productive manner, instead of coming in to homeroom, advisory, or classroom and going into their own applications or searches.
ASK KIDS FOR HELP. Don’t hesitate to lean on kids for tech support and assistance. Tapping a student to come up with a way to fix a problem with the iPad is a great way to empower students, and gives them a sense of ownership.
INVEST IN A DURABLE CASE. The initial investment will lower costs down the line if devices are are broken, and will cut down insurance premiums.
IDENTIFY DEVICES. Use laminated name tags and have kids personalize their cases with a key chain. You can also ask each homeroom have a different key chain for easy identification. Also ask kids to put their names on their home screens. This is an easy way to identify ownership of the iPad and allows kids the opportunity to personalize and customize their devices.
PROVIDE A FEW WIRELESS KEYBOARDS. Though most kids will opt to use the iPad keyboard, the wireless keyboards will come in handy now and then. That said, kids who have mobile phones and text a lot are quick iPad typists and their fingers are smaller and more nimble than adult fingers. Watch how they explore the split keyboard feature to enable and mimic texting like typing.
DECIDE iTUNES POLICY. Determine whether the school will control iTunes or whether students and families will have ownership and control to purchase apps — there are pros and cons to each. In the first year of an iPad deployment, having the school control iTunes allows for equity and access for all students. Students and families can always suggest apps for the school to purchase. On the other hand, giving full access to iTunes to students and families allows for greater personalization and exploration and releases the school from having to widely upload new apps for use. Each community is different and needs to do what fits best and is most appropriate to the needs of its community.
FIGURE OUT WORKFLOW APPS. There are many different options, like Box, e-Backpack, Evernote or DropBox to name just a few. Whichever system you decide upon, have everyone use the same system to ensure consistency and to minimize the need to troubleshoot different systems.
The Miami Herald
Posted on Mon, Jul. 02, 2012
Immigrants celebrate July Fourth by combining native, American traditions
By Lidia Dinkova
Special to The Miami Herald
Carlos Borges, originally from Brazil, and his daughter Amanda Borges in their home in Fort Lauderdale, Thursday, June 21, 2012.
DANIEL BOCK / FOR THE MIAMI HERALD
Carlos Borges, originally from Brazil, and his daughter Amanda Borges in their home in Fort Lauderdale, Thursday, June 21, 2012.
Nothing says July Fourth in South Florida like a Nicaraguan family gathering over carne asada and gallo pinto, a Pakistani family munching on chicken biryani while watching fireworks, and Chinese Americans enjoying a traditional sweet soup dessert at a park.
“We have people from all over the world living in Miami,” said Carlos Borges, who emigrated from Brazil more than 20 years ago. “People come and bring their food, their colors, their culture.”
People from every corner of the world have made South Florida their home, and when it comes time for the all-American holiday, it has a deep significance to them. Many celebrate the traditional way but add a hint of their native culture, usually in their meals.
“This nation was created to open the doors for whoever wants to be part of it,” said 36-year-old Edda Jiron, who emigrated from Nicaragua when she was a child. “The word ‘independence’ means a lot to me. I feel that this country gives me power,” said Jiron, referring to her right to vote and ability to give back to the community.
With the approach of this July Fourth, The Miami Herald’s Neighbors section talked to U.S. immigrants about what significance the day has for them and how they celebrate.
First-generation Chinese American Winnie Tang uses a metaphor to describe how American she feels: She is a tree planted in China that now is deeply rooted in the United States.
“We are living in the U.S., and this is our country,” said Tang, 50. “We need to be part of this country and not the outsider.”
That is why every July Fourth she gathers with other Chinese Americans, part of the South Florida chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, at Topeekeegee Yugnee Park in Hollywood to celebrate Independence Day over hot plates of barbecue chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers, followed by a cooling Chinese dessert of sweet green-bean soup or almond tofu.
“This is the day we show our appreciation that we are part of this country,” Tang said. “Let’s demonstrate our love and respect.”
Tang came to the United States from Macau in 1978 with her family. In 1987, she moved to South Florida, where she now works as an office manager at a homecare business and is involved with community organizations, including the Asian American Federation of Florida and the United Chinese Association of Florida.
Fluent in both English and Cantonese, Tang sees herself as a bridge between the Chinese community in America and American society. Much of her community service is helping other Chinese Americans make the transition to American life: finding schools, getting a job permit, assimilating with the community.
“We try to bring people into the thought that this is our country. We are not just a traveler here,” she said.
Every July Fourth, Tang hangs a U.S. flag outside her Kendall home.
She said that many immigrants who come to the U.S. at later stages in their lives hold on to a thought that they will one day return to their native country.
That is not the case with Tang, who immigrated when she was a teenager.
“We need to participate in what is near you and not what is far away from you,” she said. “Water for fire coming from afar will not help.”
Edda Jiron said that like many others from Central America, where some countries have been plagued by political turmoil for years, she feels empowered in the U.S. “Coming to this nation means a lot to us,” said Jiron, who was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and immigrated when she was 12. “It’s a big deal, and many of us feel blessed that this is our home.”
“And why not celebrate, it’s Independence Day?” she said.
Every July Fourth, she gathers with family and friends over plates of carne asada and gallo pinto, then later watches the Bayside fireworks display.
But for Jiron, 36, it is not enough to show her love and appreciation for the U.S. only once a year. That is why she dedicates herself year-round to community-service work. Jiron teaches a citizenship-exam class at The English Center near Coral Gables, part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She puts an emphasis on American history and civics. She also works with PICO United Florida, or People Improving Communities through Organizing, an association that advocates for low-income families.
“It’s not that we are just living in this society — we are part of this society,” said Jiron of West Miami. “This is a nation that has very much welcomed our culture.”
July Fourth at the Borges’ Fort Lauderdale home may seem standard — a large gathering of family and friends, food and fireworks-watching. But wait until you see their menu.
Barbecue chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers … caruru, vatapá and bobo?
A native of Brazil and resident of the United States for 23 years, Carlos Borges’ July Fourth meal includes staples from both countries.
“We set up two different tables: one for American food and one for Brazilian food,” said Borges, 56. “It’s a way for you to celebrate both cultures and the fact that we have two countries.”
Caruru is a hummus-like dish made from okra, dendê oil, shrimp, onion and toasted nuts. It is often served with acarajé, made from peas deep-fried in dendê oil. Vatapá is made from shrimp, bread, dendê oil and coconut milk.
And the “queen of the table” is bobo, Borges said. Bobo is a dish made with shrimp and yucca cream. All are dishes traditional of the northeast state of Bahia, where Borges is from.
Borges left Brazil for Tampa and later moved to South Florida, where he began a marketing, consulting, advertising and events production company called Plus Media & Marketing.
July Fourth took on a new meaning for Borges when his daughter Amanda was born, two years after he came to America.
Amanda was about 6 months old when the family celebrated their first July Fourth together — they watched the fireworks at Bayfront Park.
“She (Amanda) is my patriotic link,” Borges said.
Mohammad Shakir sat in his downtown Miami office and remembered the day he became a U.S. citizen.
It was about 40 years ago, and he was a green-card holder from Pakistan and a U.S. Army private first class stationed at Fort Knox, Ky. He and his buddies crammed in a car and drove to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was sworn in. As he came out with the rest of the people who had just acquired citizenship, a large group of locals greeted them with American flags and sweets.
“I think that really generated a sense of pride in American citizenship,” said Shakir, 62.
The unique family feel in the military gave Shakir a “great sense of patriotism,” he said.
“I am a brown-skinned guy. This is a white-skinned guy over there. This is a darker-skinned guy there, and that’s a blond, curly-haired guy there. But when we face a common enemy, they are my angels that will protect me. And I will protect them,” said Shakir, who was in the Army for about two years before being discharged for medical reasons.
He celebrates every July Fourth by raising an American flag over his Miami Shores home, and by reflecting on the history and meaning behind Independence Day.
Like with many other immigrants, at the Shakir home, the July Fourth meal is a mix of American dishes and staples from their native country: barbecue chicken is followed or preceded by chicken biryani.
Shakir came to the United States 42 years ago from Karachi, where he grew up. He was born in Lahore. Now he is the director of the Asian-American Advisory Board, part of the Miami-Dade County Office of Community Advocacy.
Shakir said that part of July Fourth’s importance is that it paved the way for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
“We are grateful that that day is part of our history.”
Please access this website to get information on the below topics, also available in Spanish:
The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4th, 1776.
Here on USA.gov, we celebrate by providing you with information on firework safety, laws and celebrations; facts about the history of this great holiday and a variety of holiday tips to make your 4th of July a fun day for the entire family.
Declaration of Independence
Fun Facts About July 4
Today in History – July 4
U.S. Flag History and Facts
Help Your Country
Travel and Recreation in the U.S.
Firework Safety, Recalls, and Regulations
Firework Laws by State
National Mall Celebration
Find Celebrations at National Parks
Skin Cancer Prevention
Live from #OPENNYT: Productivity tips from 5 people who do plenty
By Brooke Howell on June 26th, 2012 | Comments(7)
One of the hardest things we all deal with is how to get everything done to be successful and productive, said Jane Applegate, producer of the Applegate Group, at the opening of a panel at The New York Times Small Business Summit on how to get more done.
But “don’t mistake being busy with being productive. They’re two different things,” warned author, speaker and consultant Barry Moltz.
Applegate, Moltz and other panelists offered up several smart strategies for being more productive in the finite time we’re given, including:
“Multitasking fries your brain,” said Moltz. Instead, you need to do less and focus on the things that are really going to make a difference toward accomplishing your primary goals.
It may seem counter-intuitive to do less, but “you can get incredible power in your life by just doing one thing and not trying to do multiple things,” Moltz explained.
Categorize your days
Applegate said that when she was working from home, she started dividing her days into “in days” and “out days” to make the most of her time and not waste it driving around or shifting from task to task.
On the in days, she would hunker down, not leave the house and work hard. Out days would be packed to the brim with errands, meetings and other activities that had to be done out of the house.
Use “time chunking” — setting aside chunks of time for completing specific tasks to get everything done, advised Lena West, founder, CEO and chief strategist of Influence Expansion. She designates each day of the week for a specific type of activity and sticks to it.
“When we obsess over perfection, that’s where the stress comes in,” said Wendi Caplan-Carroll, a senior regional development director with Constant Contact. She had to learn to do things well enough, because most things don’t need to be perfect.
Be smart about checking tech
“Never ever, ever check” your e-mail, voice mail, social media feeds or other forms of electronic communication first thing in the morning, said Moltz. “It will totally derail your day” and send you down a wormhole of busyness where you won’t actually be productive.
Also just check everything less frequently, said Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital. Pick a few specific times of the day to check and don’t cheat.
Change in five-minute increments
It’s hard to totally overhaul your entire way of getting things done the way that some productivity guides suggest, so try making one change a month that will save you five minutes a day, advised Neher.
Those smaller changes are easier to make and easier to stick to, plus the time saved really adds up fast, Neher explained.
Take advantage of time-saving tools
One easy way to save five minutes a day is by taking advantage of the many productivity tools available these days, said Neher, who suggested a few of her favorites.
Evernote, which allows you to take searchable notes in a variety of formats that you can share and access from all your devices.
Tungle.Me, which helps you find a time to meet, instead of going back and forth with everyone involved to find a mutually agreeable time.
Oh Don’t Forget, which lets you send text reminders to yourself and others.
Rapportive, which allows you to connect social networks to Gmail so you can see additional information about the person you’re writing to or whose message you’re reading.
Google Voice, which is a free voice mail service that forwards to any cellphone, and e-mails and texts you when you have a message.
Make a plan to manage social media
“You need to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish with social media and then dedicate your time to that goal,” said Moltz.
Then, “you need a specific plan for managing your social media and you need to follow it, so that you don’t get off track,” said Neher.
And don’t get overwhelmed by the endless number of social media sites out there because you don’t have to be on them all, said West. “You need to only be where your market is on social media. That’s all that’s required.”
Not sure where your customers are at on social media? Then just ask them, advised West.
Photo credit: Brooke Howell