Saturday, December 31, 2011

Care to Greet the New Year With a Look Back at the Past? 365 Days Covering From 18th Century to Date!

With the start of a new year, we can't help but look back a bit at the past. Reviewing major events over time can open up the floor for lively "what if" conversations with students. For ELLs, such activities give them a chance to explore some of the nuances of English in these unreal scenarios:) Remember that ELLs need to have time to play with the language. Dr. Jim Cummins addressed this at the California Association of Bilingual Educators in March 2011. ELLs must have many ungraded opportunities to develop their English in all content areas. Through lively verbal interactions with peers on open-ended questions ("what if" discussions), ELLs learn to use the language to strengthen their use of academic language. As the oral skills become stronger, so do the reading and writing skills.

offers choices of dates covering 365 days. Once you click on a date, you will see several topics surface over several centuries. In fact, I went to 12/31/1981 and found a story on my old hometown in the Hudson Valley (New York). It was one on the sitings of UFOs. I remember seeing strange lights which moved in patterns never before seen, but never thought much about it after the event....until I found it here on this site:)

What could your students do here? How about having them find the month and day of their birth? Then they could find one event of interest to them to share with the class. This would be low stress since they would not have to write on it. Also, as the teacher, you could take several events that they students uncovered of interest to them (key here), and have kids discuss in groups how that event could have been changed. For example, what if the Titanic didn't sink?

There are two other sections to this site which may interest you. Go to POPULAR TOPICS. If you want your students to zero in on specific people or wars and conflicts, go to this section. Once they click on the topic/person, a timeline is generated just on that topic/person. The readings are not overwhelming and might serve as a major support for writing for ELLs.

The last section is TRIVIA QUIZZES. I don't think it offers as much as the other sections of the site, but for those students who finish doing assignments early, this may give them something to do while the rest of the class focuses on completing their work.

Well, I hope you like the sites and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all:)



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