I am a secondary EL teacher in Chesapeake, VA. A National Board Certified Teacher. I’m a learner. And I have learned that if I’m interested, my students are too!
I began in adult ESL, moved to early childhood ESL for 9 years, and have been teaching secondary EL for 4.
Year 1 in secondary was a learning curve. Year 2, the pandemic hit, and we were buried by the storm of closures. Year 3, hybrid teaching. We started to crawl out. I hunted for high engagement that could work on both sides of the screen and uncovered Code.org’s free curriculum. I fronted my lessons with language support, and then we began to explore their coding modules with themes that dug into ELA standards the language of science, the language of social science, the language of ELA, the language of math, the language of art, and social and instructional language. We thrived. Now I had a new tool, coding. I took the brush and uncovered reason after reason why I should incorporate computer science in English language development instruction.
When we returned in person, I wanted for my students to be able to physically touch and see the results of the code that they wrote. I applied for and won a Chesapeake Public Schools Educational Foundation’s instructional grant that laid out my vision of learning English through introductory robotics.
Year 4, we’re back! We purchased Edison bots and once again, my students and I began to uncover connection after connection to relevant topics they needed. Need to learn the 5 senses? What are the eyes of a robot? The light sensor. The light sensor is like the eyes. What are the ears of a robot? The sound sensor. The sound sensor is like the ears.
Walk my journey with me as I reflect on all the additional connections and skills and opportunities that coding and robotics provide EL students. Computer science education is for all, but especially the multilingual learners and EL teachers!