Last month I had the opportunity to attend a two-day conference to help me improve my instruction for ELL students. I found the Iowa Culture and Language Conference to be a motivating and eye-opening experience.
One of the keynote speakers was Dr. Danny Brassell. He discussed the importance of engaging students through humor and visuals. He gave ideas for activities that incorporated body movement and music to engage all learners. Here is a link to some of his videos for educators: http://education.dannybrassell.com/videos/quick-tips/.
Another keynote speaker was Cesar Moreno Perez. He spoke about the harsh immigration realities that are happening in our country and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. I walked away from the conference that day, being more culturally sensitive to the realities some of our families are facing, which is something I was oblivious to up to that point.
Dr. Michelle Yzquierdo spoke about growth mindset and maintaining high expectations for our ELL students. I loved that she used humor and personal experiences to stress the importance of making sure ELL students do not feel like their teachers think they’re dumb.
My favorite presenter was probably Dorina Sackman. She was realistic and provided hands-on activities that I could apply in my classroom writing instruction right away.
This was the first time I had attended a conference like this and I was definitely not disappointed. Since then I have tried to use more visuals and teach more vocabulary to help my students become more successful in the classroom.