Home Web 2.0 Tool A Newbie to the TCEA Convention Reflects After the First Day

A Newbie to the TCEA Convention Reflects After the First Day

by Lori Gracey

This is a guest blog post by Tosh Mcgaughy, a Digital Learning Specialist from Birdville ISD. Tosh is attending her first TCEA convention and has a blog full of great ideas and resources here.

After years of teaching writing in middle school, the needs of ESL/ELL learners and other struggling readers have become even more important and relevant to me. A full day ESL/ELL Academy was a no-brainer choice when I registered for the TCEA 2016 Convention months, ago even though all my friends were heading to the Google Academy. I know there are digital options and best practices out there that could benefit these unique learners, and I was excited about discovering them at the convention.
Four sessions later, I’m waiting for the closing and door prizes to complete my full day of learning. Not surprisingly, I’m reeling from all of the resources and takeaways that I have gathered today in this academy. I’ve pasted links in our district shared folder, emailed teachers and ESL coaches back home, and tweeted as much as I could without getting off-task. All four sessions I attended yielded information that I will be able to use with specific teachers to help many students when I get back home.
My personal top two favorites of the day were “Sheltered Instructional Strategies: Transforming How ELLs Learn Best” and “Universal Design for Learning with Google and Beyond.” Both of these sessions had interactive elements (always a plus,) and focused on practical strategies for differentiation for these learners using technology as the catalyst for increased language interaction. SIOP strategies made fully interactive with digital tools from United ISD ESL Coaches Dr. Liendo and Dr. Solis included:
  • Jigsaw with QR codes for collaborative grouping
  • Quizlet for student vocabulary building using the “pick a definition” function
  • A clever Google Form template for the SIOP strategy, Alphabox, that allows students to submit responses via a simple Google Form and then creates a visual digital wordwall that ELL students can access throughout a unit on their own devices.
  • Tracy Clark’s non-stop relevant resources are housed here.

My favorite resource was Prism, where students can close-read and highlight text with digital tools that can be shared with the whole group and analyzed and discussed based on frequency of highlighting with a “text visualization” function. This is a brilliant tool to help these students see the complex thought processes that go into reading comprehension while also giving them practice using digital tools to do this, just like the online STAAR A assessments.

This is exactly what I was hoping for, and I am hopeful that the rest of my week here in Austin will be as productive and full of learning as today.


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