BILINGUAL LEARNER

Bilingual/ESL/EFL teaching and counseling products that you can't find anywhere else!

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Holidays Galore for the ESL/EFL and Counseling Worlds!

November 7, 2015

Happy November!  In this post, we have tons of holiday resources and ideas to share for your ESL/EFL classroom or counseling office.  Also, a quick update- that we will be signing off here for a few months to focus on getting all the teaching and counseling guides below written.  As always, you can click on any of the green links below for a free resource.

 

 

 

BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES

  • As mentioned above, we won't be posted our regular monthly blogs in the near future in order to free up time to publish all the teaching and counseling guides listed below.  Instead, we will post mini-blog posts here as we come across some resource or info that we just have to share with you.  And, as always, you can follow us on our Bilingual Learner FB page to get real time updates of resources, info, and free downloadables.
  • Here are our latest guides coming at you very soon:

 

 

 

HOLIDAY ESL/EFL RESOURCES

 

 

HOLIDAY COUNSELING RESOURCES

 

 

That brings us to the end of this month's post.  If you haven't done so already, like us at one our Facebook page below to become one of our Bilingual Learner followers where you will have access to real time updates of our latest info, resources, and all our other free downloadables!    As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait!! Did you find this post helpful? Then...One sentence!  That's all it takes to show that our hard work helped you out! If you found a resource here, please show us your love and comment about it below!

 

Red Ribbon Week, ESL Kickoff and Some Halloween Fun!

October 3, 2015

As October rolls in, we are gearing up for Red Ribbon Week on the counseling front to highlight drug and alcohol awareness.  On the ESL/EFL front, we are starting our English classes, so we have some tips and photos for teaching the not-so-beginning beginner English students!  As always, we've included a lot of helpful resources- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below

 

 

 

BUT FIRST A FEW BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES:


 

DRUG/ALCOHOL PREVENTION & RED RIBBON WEEK

Red Ribbon Week occurs at the end of October to honor the life and work of DEA agent, Kiki Camarena, who fought against the drug cartels in Central America and was killed when they targeted him during a lunch date.  At my school. we celebrate this week with students by sharing info with students about Kiki Camarena and his fight against the drug trade.  We also share some info about drug and alcohol awareness from the sources below, depending on the age group.  And finally, we show the incredible, breathtaking animated short, Nuggets, to our older students who can grasp it's meaning.  After showing the video, we use the questions at this link to guide a lively discussion with our classes.

Here are a few other other wonderful drug and alcohol prevention resources to use with your students and clients:

 

ESL/EFL CLASS KICKOFF!

My latest round of ESL classes started up about three weeks ago.  I have 12 students of varying adolescent ages and beginning levels.  They are enthusiastic, wonderful, and full of energy despite the later afternoon hour (our class doesn't start until 4pm and it seems that as I am winding down for the evening, they are just getting more wound up!) 

For this group, I am using my ESL for Beginners Volume Three lessons guide since many of these students have a basic knowledge of English and started their own public school ESL classes 2 months ago.  Currently, we are learning past tense to be verb structures while reviewing present tense verbs.  During the first week, we spent  a lot of time going over the classroom rules and consequences to set the tone- this was after I gave them our daily snack and 15 minutes of playtime outside so they were ready to focus.  Aside from rules and consequences, we mostly just had a lot of fun the first week!  I think it is important to start off on a positive and engaging note to give them a super-positive first impression of the class so they are excited to come to future classes each day.  At the same time, it is crucial to be consistent, clear, and firm with rules, procedures, and consequences.  In order to build English speaking and listening skills, we have been doing the following activities in these first few weeks: feelings vocabulary card games with prizes for winners, sing-alongs with ESL-themed songs, chants with hand claps, read alouds of engaging picture books, pronunciation of numbers to 50, Create Your Own Dialogues, and Word Wall Games.   Next week, we'll continue with instruction on past continuous verb structures, video clip activities, teacher-student oral practice, active listening for pronunciation, and so much more.  Stay tuned for more news on all this good stuff!  Below are pics of my ESL classroom...

My Tiny Classroom-in-a-Closet

My tiny classroom-in-a-closet   

Our Class Songs, Rules, and Daily Agenda on Chart Paper

Class Rules and Consequences

Read Aloud  Book and Grammar Structure Games

Video Clip Activity

Some Students Watching the Video Clip

 

 

HALLOWEEN SCENE!

Whether you are a counselor or teacher, here are some ideas you can use to celebrate the scarier-themed fall festival holidays with your students!  We've had lots of fun reading "In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories," which is full of repetitive scary stories with easy vocab and perfect for the Halloween season.  Along with this book, we also teach students the scary song, "Have You Seen the Ghost of John?", also with easy vocab and lots of repetition perfect for ESL learners or anyone trying to adapt to the US culture.  They love it and we've sang it throughout past Octobers with super-simple guitar accompaniment of just four 'anyone-can-learn-in-an-afternoon' guitar chords (just google them for finger placement).  Additionally, here's a link to Bilingual Learner's own fun Halloween passage to teach about this popular American holiday . 

 And here's a few more Halloween/fall goodies we want to pass on...

  • Spooky Halloween fun from Busyteacher.org: the holiday
  • Buzzfeed's Best Teacher Costumes
  • And, in the spirit of fall and all things slightly scary, you've GOT to see this Youtube viral video- it is hilarious: Spiderdog 

 

That brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in November for our next post on "Staying in Your Lane: How to Gracefully Decline Non- Counseling or Non-Teaching Job Duties."  As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.

 

Wait!! Did you find this post helpful? Then...One sentence!  That's all it takes to show that our hard work helped you out! If you found a resource here, please show us your love and comment about it below!

 

 

 

 

New Kids on the Block: Tips for the Rookie Counselor or ESL/EFL Teacher

August 30, 2015

If you are new to the school environment, the start of the school year is about as overwhelming as it gets!  So our September post is full of tips for helping the rookie counselor or teacher survive and thrive during your first (or fifth) year.  Someone once said that the first year of teaching is just survival....

 

 

BUT FIRST A FEW BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES:

  • Our newest guide, Get Your Goal On: Academic Achievement Group Counseling Guide is here! Order it or download a free preview to motivate your underachieving students to pass those classes! Check it out @ http://bilinguallearner.com/Products.
  • We also just put up our other counseling guide, The Unstressables: Stress Management Group Counseling Guide, on our website.  Check out the free downloadable preview on our homepage @ http://bilinguallearner.com/.
  • Finally, our latest ESL/EFL lessons guide, ESL in the Middle Volume One, is available with lots of lesson plans for your intermediate English learner.  We hope to start cranking out Volume Two after the December holidays!

 

TIPS FOR NEW COUNSELORS AND NEW TEACHERS

The first year of counseling is like the first year of teaching- SURVIVAL!  So our first tip for you is our most simple and most important:

  • Just do your best and go with the flow- you really do need that first full year of school counseling or teaching under your belt before you can have a true understanding of what your job entails.  Unfortunately, you can't get to that understanding until to make it through your first year.  The learning curve is incredibly steep, so as long as your show up everyday, keep a running list of upgrades for your program the following year, and do your best to help kids, you are a shining star!  Which leads us to our next tip...
  • Start a "Things to Do/Modify for Next Year" list right away where you can jot down any ideas or modifications for things you'd like to implement differently the following year.  It is so crucial to jot down your ideas in the moment right as they strike you- trust us, you'll never remember it all if you wait until the end of the year to make your list.
  • Say the serenity prayer or some other form of it often.  Working in schools is truly an experience where you will always see much more need than you can meet.  In addition, you will see things that need to change, but are out of your control.  Just remember to stay positive and change the things you can, accept the things you cannot, and try to know the difference.

TIPS FOR NEW COUNSELORS ONLY

  • Get a copy of your state's counselor manual (here's a link to an example- it's our Texas one) and make it your Bible- everything you do in your day should somehow relate back to the duties in that manual.
  • Join ASCA and make time to read their monthly magazine.
  • Meet with your administration (especially your principal or director) and fill out and sign a school counseling annual agreement for planning your program.  Here's a link to ASCA's template for an Annual Agreement. 
  • Find out your district's protocol for handling student crisis (3 hurts) situations and be ready and well-versed in how to follow it.  If you are in a district or school that doesn't have a protocol for this, use ours by following this link.
  • If you are transitioning from being a teacher to being a school counselor (as we did), keep in mind that you are no longer part of the teacher team and this may sting.  Some teachers think that no one works as hard as they do and some can be forgetful or unwelcoming to non-teaching staff.  If this is your campus reality, just hang in there and be friendly- sooner or later you'll make some close ties with the other non-teaching staff (at my school, we call ourselves the No-team Team) and you'll eventually find some teachers that will be thrilled to have you on their "team."

 

 TIPS FOR NEW TEACHERS ONLY

We also had an equally long list of additional tips for new ESL/EFL teachers, but then we realized... why post our tips when the experts say it so much better!  So here some links to the best new teacher tips we found among the top educational organizations.

 

AND NOW A FEW PICS OF OUR 2015-16 SCHOOL SPACES:

 

   

 

 

That brings us to the end of this month's post.  We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on being a new teacher or counselor (we were all there once!), so comment below!  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in October for our next post on substance abuse prevention in the classroom and Red Ribbon Week activities.  As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.

 

 

Back to School- An ESL and Counseling Plan!

August 1, 2015

It was such a pleasant surprise to go back to school this week. The end of the summer is always a little depressing and this break, in particular, was especially difficult to end since I had such a good time writing some new ESL and counseling books while visiting my parents in Florida.  (Visiting my parents in their "subdivision resort," as we like to call it, is a reverse vacation for us since we live the lifestyle everyday of a camping vacation in our totally rustic 700 square foot cabin on 7 acres of wilderness).  Then, when we got back from the "subdivision resort,"  my husband and I had a great time enjoying our two new horses and newly built screened-in porch. So, after all this, I was NOT feeling ready to go back to school.  But then I walked into my office and two things happened.  First, I started preparing for my new colleague who is so enthusiastic about starting her school counseling career that her enthusiasm just totally energized me!  I felt more professionally excited than I had in a long time.  Last year was especially draining with our very high-need student population always growing and the resulting stressed reactions from staff members.  Second, I was further energized by prepping for a new teaching experience that awaits me- I made plans last semester with our extra-curricular coordinator and Newcomer teacher to start teaching a speaking and listening class to our intermediate ESL learners.  So, I worked  all summer to get this curriculum, ESL in the Middle, ready.  Making plans and prepping materials to teach this class had me buzzing all around my office! So the moral of this story is: embrace the new! Having a new teacher or counselor come on board with you can give your educational world a whole new, rosy glow! Likewise, having a new teaching or counseling program that you are excited about can get you bounding into school with golden retriever puppy energy!

After setting up my office, burning through a summer's worth of emails, getting my ESL/EFL curriculum squared away, and setting up my planner for the year, I was ready to get down to business and update our counselor handbook for the new counselor.  I wrote the handbook several years ago as a guide to keep in our counseling office and I've used it through the years with new colleagues or interns.  However, it hasn't had a major overhaul in years, so it was time.  I felt so inspired thinking of the newness and excitement of starting out in the school counseling profession.  This inspiration got my professional juices flowing and I revised the counseling handbook, adding in tons of new docs that have come into popular use over the last few years, both in my district and nationally .  I'll be tweaking this handbook throughout the year and I hope to publish it on our website here in early 2016.  Here are two free downloadables from the handbook: a very rough Table of Contents (giving a snapshot of some of the documents it will contain) and our Counseling Office Tragedy Plan (God forbid, if one of our students/families suffers a tragedy).  There are many other helpful resources below- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below.

First, a few Bilingual Learner updates...

BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES

And now, onto our main feature:

TACKLING THE FIRST WEEK BACK!

If you are like us and the sight of a disorganized office or classroom is overwhelming and disorienting, here is a list below of how we tackle the first week in order to have things in order and in process by the time everyone returns:

  • Unpack all materials and set up your office/classroom. (3-6 hours...don't spend more than a day on this, even if you are breaking in a new office/classroom because it will all change as the year progresses anyway.  Just put everything you have in a place so that you feel somewhat comfortable in your space.)
  • Change out your summer break phone/email message and return any phone messages you acquired while hanging out at the beach. (30 min-1 hour)
  • Check work email and take care of those over-the-summer emails and any others you just couldn't deal with during the last few days of the 2014-15 school year. (2 hours)
  • Put together your TO DO list and write the tasks in your planner or Outlook Calendar or Smartphone or whatever you use.  This way, you will know when to do them and actually remember to do each task. (1-2 hours if you are continuing from the TO DO list you started for this new school year at the end of 2014-15.  If you didn't start your 2015-16 TO DO list last year and you have to make it from scratch- block out a half day.)
  • Meet with your colleague (if you have one) to coordinate your activities/plan your lessons for the next two weeks and to set a weekly or monthly planning time to continue meeting regularly through the school year.  After, get your materials together. (2-3 hours counselors, 2-3 days teachers)
  • COUNSELORS ONLY: Set up your waiting room/suite/lobby if you have one. (20 minutes- IF you have an awesome student helper who you can call up to come to the school and do this for you.  In our counseling office, we have amazing office aides each year that we painstakingly train- email us if you need training mats.  Because our counseling office secretary positions were cut a few years ago, our student aides are like mini-office managers and know our suite layout better than we do.  So, we bought our student aide lunch and just let her go- 2 hours later, she was all done and our waiting room sparkled.)
  • Set up and make/email copies of your weekly schedule and yearly calendar/syllabus- post copies wherever you work, on your office door, and email/give to your administrators; its also good at this time to set up with admin a weekly or monthly meeting time that runs throughout the school year so everyone knows: what ASCA/TESOL recommends that you do, what amazing things you are actually doing, and what admin needs for you to do. (1 hour- IF you laid the foundation for this at the end of the 2014-15 school year with your admin.  If not and you need guidance- email us as it's too much to go into here.)
  • Start on that TO DO list.   Happy DO-ing!

If you'd like to see some photos of our counseling office or ESL/EFL classroom, you can scroll down to last month's post where we posted photos of last year's classroom and counseling office.  If you want to see current 2015-16 photos, stay tuned- they will go up in our September post here next month!  In the meantime, I will share this awesome self-disclosure poster from NY social worker, Doralee Michaeli- I've already hung it on my office wall- you'll see it in the pics next month! 

 

That brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in September for our next post with ideas for those new PSCs and teachers who are just starting out, plus lots of pics of our counseling office and ESL classroom!  As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.

 

Wait!! Did you find this post helpful? Then...One sentence!  That's all it takes to show that our hard work helped you out! If you found a resource here, please show us your love and comment about it below!

 

 

8 Tips to Prepare Your ESL/EFL Classroom or Counseling Office for the Next School Year!

July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day to all you Americans out there!  Enjoy this little blast-from-the-past video clip in honor of the 4th of July (click on the telescope pic to the left)...

 

 

 

Well, better late than never!  We finally have our July post up and ready for you, just before midnight!  This month, we are full of ideas and tips on getting prepared for the next school year!  So if you'd like some professional food-for-thought to make your program even better once you start up again, this post is right up your alley!  As always, we've included a lot of helpful resources- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below.

But, first, a few Bilingual Learner updates...

BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES

And now, onto our main feature:

5 TIPS TO PREPARE YOUR ESL/EFL CLASSROOM OR COUNSELING OFFICE FOR THE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR

1.  Avoid Burnout-Unless you MUST be in your office or classroom during your break, STAY AWAY!  We know... this can be really hard. There's just something so tempting about the potential to get work done in the quiet and solitary environment of your own empty classroom/office.  But, it is important to stay away in order to recharge yourself so you can start fresh when you do have to return.  Think of it this way- batteries don't recharge themselves while still in the flashlight.

2.  Make a List- Start writing down any changes and additions you would like to make in your teaching or counseling program on a "Things to Change Next Year" list.  Anytime you have a revelation about something that might work better for you and your students/clients, write it on the list.   Then at the end of your break, spend some time transferring the changes you most want to implement into your planner, smartphone, master counseling calendar (here's ours if you need a template), Outlook calendar, or whatever you use to organize and plan out your year.  Here's a link to a snippet of our "Things to Change Next Year" list.

3.  Compile Your Supplies- Staples makes a lot of money off of us over the summer.  They may not see us during the entire school year except for an occasional frantic weeknight run, but we are on a first-name basis over the summer!  Spend some time writing out a list of all the supplies you would like to buy and then shop for them during your break when you have the time to concentrate, take your time, and enjoy your shopping experience.  Here's our shopping list (and a pic!) so far:

  • 2015-16 Academic Planner
  • First-day-of-school outfit (We buy ourselves a new one every year to feel a little extra sparkly on that first day when we throw open the doors!)
  • Stickers
  • Prizes for the treasure chest
  • index cards
  • CD labels
  • padded envelopes

 

4.  Do Your PD (Professional Development) Reading- If you are into this sort of thing, use your break to read, highlight, and take notes on whatever it is you want to improve on in your career.  After reading, review your notes, and red star the 5-10 most important ones and then put them in your "Things to Change Next Year" list. Here's a PD reading list to start with if you need some ideas:

ESL/EFL BOOKS

COUNSELING BOOKS

6. Student/Client List- Make a list of those students or clients who you didn't quite finish your work with last year; include a note about where you left off with them and what more you can do to support them.  Spend some time checking in with them in the beginning of the year to help them get started on the right foot.  Often just knowing that someone cares and is available is all the support they need.

7.  Plan it Out of the Way! Plan as many of your lessons, units, group sessions, and/or guidance lessons as you can.  As mentioned above, the beginning of the school year tsunami is coming and the less you have to do when it hits, the better you will feel!

8. Decorate- Stop doing #1 and return two to three days before your actual official start date to decorate your office or classroom.  Even, better, do it before you leave on break, if you still have that option. Decorating your classroom or office is one of the few things you can do without students, clients, or work systems in place.  All you need is some butcher paper, a stapler, staples and StaplesTM, Pinterest, and your own creativity.  So, knock out this fun and crucial task before the beginning-of-school-year tsunami hits!  Here are a few photos of our decorations below:

COUNSELING OFFICE

 

 

 

ESL CLASSROOM

    

 

 

That brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in August for our next post on the adventures of the first month back to counseling and teaching!   As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.

 

Wait!! Did you find this post helpful? Then...One sentence!  That's all it takes to show that our hard work helped you out! If you found a resource here, please show us your love and comment about it below!

 

 

 

 

 

ESL & Counseling Tips for the End of the School Year

June 6, 2015

Hello Summer Vacay!  Oh, it's that glorious time of the year when US teachers and school counselors throw their hands up in the air in FREEDOM!  Sorry to all you overseas educators who are still slugging away at your schools, but we'll be envying you big time come December and January...

 

 

So, our June post is a shorter one because we have just sent out our quarterly newsletter with 19 different downloadable resources that we'd normally put in this post.  So, sign up to the right asap if you haven't already received our latest newsletter.  However, in the spirit of our monthly post, we do have some updates and freebies for you.  Read on below and, as always...we've included a lot of helpful resources- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below.

 

BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES

  • Look for our new beginners ESL guide, ESL Express, later this summer.  It will be a streamlined version of ESL for Beginners that is organized into 4 weekly units.
  • We just sent our latest ESL teaching guide, ESL in the Middle: Lessons Guide for Teaching Intermediate Students to our editor!  As soon as Anne works her editing magic, we will have it up on the website for order.  A sneak peek and freebie downloadable from this intermediate ESL/EFL teaching guide is now available on the left side of our homepage!
  • The Spanish version of Girl World: Girl Empowerment Group Counseling Guide, Charla Entre Chicas, is FINALLY ready for publication.  Look for it on our products page in the next few weeks. 
  • A huge shoutout to the newest member of the Bilingual Learner team, Monica Briancon, our amazing Spanish editor who we had to go all the way to Bolivia to find!  We've been searching for her for 2 years, but she is definitely worth the wait!
  • Get ready for our latest counseling guides, The Unstressables and Get Your Goal On!  These 2 books on anti-anxiety techniques and academic achievement strategies are starting production this week!!  We are super excited and can't wait to get going on them!  Look for updates, free preview downloadables, and ordering details on our website or FB page below.
  • Another huge shoutout to our fabulously talented illustrator, Michell Schalik, for the new Be Cool: Anger Management Group Counseling Guide illustrations that will go into our revised guide later this summer.  The pics are wonderful and a sneak peak is above. 
  • FYI- we provide free revised editions of all our Bilingual Learner guides to all our customers who request them.  You can find out when we publish a revised guide by subscribing to our newsletter because we advertise updated editions of our books there.  Once you hear of a revised guide, just email us at bilinguallearner@hotmail.com with your name, the name of the guide, the date you purchased it, and where you purchased it from (our website, TPT, Amazon, etc) and we will get an electronic version of your revised guide emailed right out to you!

 

END-OF-YEAR ESL/EFL TIPS

If you are ending your ESL classes for the school year, consider these tips:

  • Keep students engaged in meaningful lessons until the last day of class.  Although the temptation is strong to start showing videos and letting students play games, this will only frustrate you as class time crawls and everyone wastes their time (or worse-misbehavior starts).  Consider incorporating meaningful lesson content into fun activities such as field trips or art projects.  And in case you haven't yet taught contractions... Click on this freebie contractions chart to have some meaningful content to incorporate into your fun end-of-the-year activities! 
  • Give students a reading list of favorite, easy reader English chapter books that they can enjoy over the summer in order to keep their English fresh. 
  • During lunch or off-times, enlist your students to help you pack up your classroom.  Spend an afternoon organizing various jobs for various students, give them a 30 minute training session and let them go!  While your student movers are working, you can use this time to research some dynamic lessons and units for next year!

 

ENDING YOUR COUNSELING SESSIONS

But first, a fun freebie for working with those academic underachievers:  The No Zeroes Race! Do you have students who struggle with passing their classes?  We do and as part of our academic achievement group counseling curriculum, we play The No Zeroes Race with our group members.  For the racetrack and directions, click here!

If you are in the counseling profession, this time of year brings lots of closure.  We wrap up guidance lessons and terminate individual/group sessions as students leave on summer trips or move away.  So, for this post, Bilingual Learner has included a few downloadables to help you with ending your sessions and lessons.  We think there are many different ways to effectively wrap up your counseling sessions, but all should include discussions throughout counseling of when the final session will be and also discussion about how to make future contact with the counselor, if needed.   For all our groups and individual sessions we run, we have students fill out an evaluation during the last session to show us what they have learned, how they have grown, and ways we might improve our sessions for the future-here is the evaluation from our counseling guide, Be Cool! - it is the group evaluation from this guide, but can easily be modified for use with individuals, too.  We use anonymous quotes from the session evaluations in our data presentations to school stakeholders to show them the power and effectiveness of counseling- you can see an example of this from the preview of our Girl World Group Counseling Sessions Guide coming out this summer.  If you would like to see the rest of our group and guidance lesson data tools, just click the “Group and Guidance Lessons Tools” icon link on our homepage.   Alternately, for school-wide counseling programs, we have every student on campus complete this evaluation of our program and the lessons we have taught We also plot all the data collected in our student program evaluations on excel charts/graphs and present them as well to the school leadership team.  While all of these forms work primarily as evaluation tools, we also use them as a sort of needs assessment for future lessons and counseling sessions since we work with many of the same students from year to year.

 

That brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in July for our next MYSTERY post.   As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.

 

Wait!! Did you find this post helpful? Then...One sentence!  That's all it takes to show that our hard work helped you out! If you found a resource here, please show us your love and comment about it below!

 

 

 

ESL/EFL SUMMER RESOURCES PLUS IDENTITY & SUICIDE SUPPORT

May 2, 2015

 

We have lots of interesting tidbits to share today so let’s just jump right into it!  Our post today will feature some of the latest resources we’ve come across this spring in the ESL/EFL and counseling worlds…summer English activities, Memorial Day lessons and other cultural resources, suicide prevention, and LGBT awareness.  More on all this in a bit, but first, let’s start with some updates.

As always, we've included a lot of helpful resources- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below.

 

BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES

  • Get ready for our latest counseling guides, Stress Blasters and Get Your Goal On!  These 2 books on antianxiety techniques and academic achievement strategies are starting production as soon as we begin our summer break in June.  Look for updates, free preview downloadables, and ordering details on our website or FB page below!
  • Our Spring eblast is coming!  If you aren't already on our enewsletter mailing list, sign up by filling out the form on this webpage to the right.  Then, we can send our newsletter filled with free counseling/ESL/EFL resources right to your inbox!
  • We are continuing to churn out our newest teaching guide, ESL in the Middle: Lessons Guide for Teaching Intermediate Students.  A sneak peek and freebie downloadable from this intermediate ESL/EFL teaching guide is now available on the left side of our homepage!

 

ESL/EFL MEMORIAL DAY & SUMMER ACTIVITIES... PLUS CULTURE RESOURCES!

As happens every year in May, schools are gearing up to work with Newcomer students over the summer to give them that extra push into language that will help propel them along for the next school year.  In researching some of our own summer-themed ESL/EFL activities for the latest guide we are writing, ESL in the Middle, we’ve found and created some fun and free summer-themed ESL/EFL activities below that you can use with your ELL or Newcomer students.  In addition, we came across the most amazing set of maps of the English-speaking world and culturePlus, the map explanations sum up our reasoning behind writing the Bilingual Learner Culture Explorer guides where students can learn about and experience various aspects of the "English-speaking culture."

 

 

 

COUNSELING: SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES AND LGBT AWARENESS

A sad but very frequent reality that counselors have to deal with is suicide prevention.  Suicidal Ideation (thinking about, considering, or planning for suicide) is something every counselor will come into contact with as they treat their students/clients.  For that reason, we’d like to include some of the best resources we’ve come across that will help you reach out to your kids who are battling this monster. 

 

And finally, we’d like to wrap up with a few words about and resources for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) movement that is really gaining momentum in reaching out to young people and providing a safe place for countless numbers of youngsters struggling with their own gender identity. 

 

That brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in June for our next post on ending your counseling sessions and wrapping up your ESL/EFL classroom for summer break.  As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL/EFL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.

Wait!! Did you find this post helpful? Then...One sentence!  That's all it takes to show that our hard work helped you out! If you found a great resource here, please show us your love and comment about it below!

 

TESTING, STRESSING, 1-2-3! Latest Developments in the ESL/EFL & Counseling Worlds...

April 4, 2015

Hello and Happy Spring! 

For our April post, we are kicking off with some wise words from Mr. Einstein and the animal kingdom as we hurtle headfirst into testing season!  More on testing, stress, and spring in a bit, but first, let’s start with some updates.

As always, we've included a lot of helpful resources- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below

 

 

 

BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES

 

EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES FOR THE ESL/EFL CLASSROOM

Speaking of our latest ESL/EFL teaching guide, we want to share a fun colors activity from this guide called Color Me Verby in celebration of spring and all the wonderful colors that come with it!   This activity works well in strengthening student application of past tense verbs, while utilizing color vocabulary. In Color Me Verby, students use color cards to show if a sentence is in the past tense and what point of view the subject/verb takes in the sentence. To see and download this free engaging activity, click on Color Me Verby here!

In keeping with the theme of spring, we thought we’d also share some fun Earth Day activities that you can do with your ESL/EFL students.  The Bogglesworldesl site has a whole section devoted to spring activities for use with ESL/EFL classes.  We especially like the spring poems Wake Up and Cherry Blossom Rain; Wake Up would work well as a follow up to our Bilingual Learner Color Me Verby activity described above since the poem also uses color words.  Our favorite Earth Day activity on this site is the spring flash cards  and the spring captions.  We would add some of their spring flashcards into our own Bilingual Learner vocabulary card warmup (example here) and then use their spring flashcards to fill in the spring captions.  While this caption activity works well as a written exercise, we would use it verbally to help strengthen our students’ listening and speaking skills, as is always our ESL/EFL focus here at Bilingual Learner.  To do this, we would put the Spring flashcards on the word wall (explanation of word walls here) and then have students work in partners to caption each spring pic using the vocab in the  spring flashcards.  After students felt comfortable working in pairs on the captioning, we’d call on individuals to go to the word wall and say each spring picture’s caption using the spring flashcards on the word wall.

 

TESTING AND STRESS MANAGEMENT

Anxiety and stress tax all of our body systems and inhibit performance, whether that takes the form of not being able to speak fluently during an oral language exam or not performing to one’s best ability on a state, national, or international exam.

Thankfully, there are all kinds of ways to alleviate the effects of stress caused by test anxiety (or any kind of anxiety, really).   Because so much of test anxiety is linked to a fear of failure, it’s very enlightening for students to watch this fabulous Michael Jordan commercial that views failure from a completely different (and better!) perspective.  Showing this commercial is a great way to kick off a fab discussion about how a test is just a test and how test failure today can lead to academic success tomorrow. 

 

 

 

Moreover, you can show students the Famous Failures poster of how some the world's most accomplished superstars faced a lot of failure before they made it big. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of our other favorite anxiety calming resources:

 

Well, we hope all the goodies above can help get you and your people through this testing season. You can also look for our new book this summer to get you through NEXT year’s testing season:  Stress Blasters: Group Counseling Sessions Guide with Activities.  It will be an 8 session counseling guide for running a calming, anti-anxiety group.  Follow us on Facebook or Twitter (links below) to find out when it is available.  And if all else fails, just show your students this supercool testing version of Bruno Mars Uptown Funk video.

…and just 'cause it makes us so happy here at BL and gets our toes tappin’, here’s the original Uptown Funk for your viewing pleasure!

 

That brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in May for our next post on self harm prevention and Memorial Day ESL/EFL activities.  And don't forget to check out our Bilingual Learner FB page today to get your FREE guidance lesson and/or FREE ESL/EFL lesson in celebration of our 200+ followers!  If you haven't done so already, like us at one our Facebook page below to become one of our Bilingual Learner followers where you will have access to this freebie lesson and all our other free downloadables!    As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.

 

Wait!! Did you find this post helpful? Then...One sentence!  That's all it takes to show that our hard work helped you out! If you found a great resource here, please show us your love and comment about it below!

Crises, Conferences & Culture in the English World!

March 7, 2015

Oh boy, Oh boy! Spring is just around the corner and we have so many resources and topics to share that we don't even know where to begin!  ESL/EFL St Paddy's Day activities, crisis counseling, our 200 FB follower freebies, school counselor conference highlights, and more!  As always, we've included a lot of helpful resources- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below. So, let's get started...

 

BILINGUAL LEARNER UPDATES

  • We just broke ground on our newest counseling guide, ESL in the Middle Lessons Guide for Teaching Intermediate Students!  Look for a sneak peek and freebie downloadable from this intermediate ESL/EFL teaching guide in the next few weeks on our homepage!
  • We've reached our 200 Bilingual Learner FB follower milestone!  In celebration of this achievement, we will be posting a FREE guidance lesson and a FREE ESL/EFL lesson and making it available to all our Facebook Followers.  Like us at https://www.facebook.com/bilinguallearn to become one of our Bilingual Learner followers where you will have access to this freebie lesson and all our other free resources! 
  • Our Winter eblast just came out last month!  If you aren't already on our enewsletter mailing list, sign up by filling out the form on this webpage to the right.  Then, we can send our newsletter filled with free counseling/ESL/EFL resources right to your inbox!
  • Take advantage soon of our post-holiday sale where all ebooks are $6.95 and under, all books are $10.95 and under.  These discounts will end in a few weeks when our product listings will return to their regular prices.  Head over to our products page and check them out!  The only exception to this is The Complete ESL for Beginners.
  • Our newest counseling guide has just been released in both book and ebook formats:  Girl World is full of activities and info to empower girls ages 8-18 to be confident, productive members of society.  Download the introduction and first session with printables for FREE on our home page.
  • We've also published a new ESL/EFL mini-guide on our website for just $3.95!  Check out the ESL for Beginners Activities & Games Guide here!

 

COUNSELING CORNER-CRISES & CONFERENCES

Dealing with student crises is a sad, but very important part of our job as school or clinical counselors.  As mentioned in previous posts, we have a set protocol for dealing with student crises, or "3 Hurts Emergencies" as we like to call them.  Whenever a student, parent, or staff member, sends to/comes to us with a student emergency, we drop whatever we are doing to deal with it right away.  An important part of our counseling program is that we thoroughly train our students and staff from the day they walk through the front doors about the "3 Hurts Emergency" and how they MUST come straight to us with an emergency.  Thus, we rarely get false alarms.  In fact, this school year alone, Counselor Stephanie has handled over 50 crisis situations, of varying severity, at the Title 1 public school where she works.  So, for that reason, we've included our crisis steps here in this link in case you don't have a process for students who make serious outcries.  In addition, we've included a link to our Screening for Self-Harm Threat and Safety Plan.

On a lighter note, we also want to share some of the highlights from the Texas School Counselor Conference in Galveston, Texas that occurred last month. It was a busy, exhilarating, inspiring, and exhausting three days with hundreds of vendors and expert presenters that specialized in everything imaginable related to school counseling.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Went to the best, best, best presentation on advocacy. Huge shoutout to Judson ISD for pulling off a district-wide, COMPREHENSIVE school counseling program. So impressed! Check out their website here if you want to use their model to start building your own comprehensive school counseling program.  Also, here is their PDF about the TRUE role of the PSC (no administrative, secretarial, or testing coordination jobs here, folks!).  Finally, Judson does a fab job of explaining our duties under each of the four ASCA/TEA components here.  No random acts of guidance allowed in Judson, that's for sure! 
  • Another fab presentation was given by a counselor in Katy ISD about helping academically failing students raise their grades.  While it was aimed at high performing schools where students have the resources, finances, and family backing to succeed, there were many good points applicable to any school demographic, such as group evaluations in the form of pre/posttests, the backpack scramble game where students see how much longer it takes them to find a paper with x on it in an organized vs. messy backpack, and role plays to teach/practice appropriate body language in class.  We are currently working on our own Bilingual Learner counseling group guide for academic underachievers, especially suited for those who work with lower to middle SES pops. Look for Get Your Goal On Academic Group Counseling Guide (more info here- after you click this link, just scroll down about midway to the right side of the page) this summer by following us on our FB page!
  • Dr. Carolyn Stone's amazing and incredibly informative keynote speech on legality in school counseling.  We know it doesn't sound exciting, BUT the former ASCA Prez and leading national expert on legality/ethics in the school counseling world delivered her info with finesse and humor and let's just say... no one was texting or checking email during her talk.  Wow, what a brain that lady has!   (The pic here is NOT Dr. Stone, but how we all felt about legal missteps after hearing from Dr. Stone...)
  • Here are some pics from the conference...

    

   

 

 

ST PADDY'S DAY & CULTURAL CONNECTIONS IN THE ESL/EFL CLASSROOM

 

We've been thinking a lot about our BFF Moli from our Moz Peace Corps days this last week since we met a fellow Peace Corps Mozambique volunteer on a bus last Sunday night (we know, W-O-W, RIGHT?!?!  Shout out to you, MarK- so fun to talk with you!).  We found ourselves telling him all about our wild time of reconnecting with Moli while visiting her and fam in her new home of Germany.  So, we thought it'd be fun to repost Stephanie's cultural connection with Moli from way back when we had just started this blog and had about 4 followers.  And now from RPCV Stephanie: 

I met Moli when she befriended me 10 years ago (and subsequently saved me from myself- as I was about to get arrested for not paying my internet connection fee and arguing loudly with the Shoprite security guard over the unjustness of being charged for a bad internet connection).   After that fateful moment in the internet cafe when Moli politely stepped between me and the security guard and paid my 75 cents for the broken internet that I didn't use and then dragged me out of there, our friendship took off like lightning- it was one of those times when you meet someone for the first time, but really- you’ve known them forever.   It blew my mind then and still does as I write this- that this person that I connected with so completely on every level, had been fleeing her country on foot all by herself, at the same time that I was going to my first George Michael concert and trying out Guess jeans and Benetton sweaters!  (One day after I nonchalantly asked Moli how she'd learned such good English in a Portuguese-speaking country,  she answered my question with a matter-of-fact explanation of  how she had been kidnapped by Renamo rebel fighters during the Civil War, but then after living with them for some years, she'd finally had enough of their abuse and fled their camp, walking alone 70+ kilometers to the Zimbabwean border in search of a safer life as a Mozambican refugee.  She wrapped up the story by stating that she was about 12 years old at the time and took full advantage of the English speaking opportunities in Zim).   How could two people with such different backgrounds end up in the same space in life- much less as friends feeling like they had so much in common?  And although Moli might be my most extreme example of this, it happened again and again while I lived in Africa... Lynne, Helen, Rosa, Silvestre, Charity, Amy, Iqbal, Saleem, Farazana, Safi...they all enriched my life so much with their diverse experiences that they generously shared with me.   This phenomenon of connecting so fully with someone even though I couldn't even imagine the life experiences they'd had...well, it continues to baffle and inspire me today- and so I carry it into my work as a teacher and counselor.  On that note, I'd like to share some links to some Peace Corps diversity activities and lesson plans that are fabulous.  Although the language in these resources is a bit advanced for beginning ESL/EFL students, you can definitely modify it to make it more beginner friendly and also use it for your intermediate or advanced ESL/EFL students.

And now for some St Patrick's Day fun!  We've included a link to our freebie mini-unit plan that includes a bilingual reading passage, a vocabulary activity, a drawing activity, a sing-along, a fun quiz, group work activities, and more !  All of this is presented through the cultural theme of St Patrick's Day. Enjoy!

And that brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in April for our next post on suicide prevention and Earth Day ESL/EFL activities.  And don't forget to
check out our Bilingual Learner FB page today to get your FREE guidance lesson and/or a FREE ESL/EFL lesson in celebration of our 200+ followers!  If you haven't done so already, like us at www.facebook.com/bilinguallearn to become one of our Bilingual Learner followers where you will have access to this freebie lesson and all our other free downloadables!  We'd love to hear about your experience of connecting with someone who has a completely different background than you or you can just tell us about your ESL/EFL or counseling adventures-- either way, please leave us a comment below!  Remember, just click on the green links above and we'll take you right to an article, video, or product that you can use after you leave us a comment below. 

200 FOLLOWERS MILESTONE

February 27, 2015

YIPPEE!!! WE HIT OUR 200 FOLLOWERS MILESTONE! WE CELEBRATE WITH A GIFT FOR YOU...

In honor of this milestone, we've posted this pick of some of our Mozambican 2nd year English students who supported each other through a massive group effort to learn English and become part of the nation's second ever graduating class of English teachers! They named their group "Go Ahead" to represent their determination in dominating the English language and in achieving their dream of becoming English teachers. "Go Ahead" and their beautiful pic illustrates just what our Bilingual Learner FB Page is all about: THIS is what we tell our kids when they mess up, THIS is what we believe at Bilingual Learner, and THIS is what has gotten us to our 200 followers milestone!

And to honor our much-loved 200 followers, we are designing both an ESL/EFL lesson and a counseling lesson- they will embody the themes that helped us achieve this milestone- always taking steps forward and supporting each other in our efforts.

Check https://www.facebook.com/bilinguallearn?ref=hl  in the next week or two to find out when our 200 follower gifty is ready!

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