U.S.Civics: The United States Declaration of Independence

This is a compilation of information regarding the development of the United States Declaration of Independence and some of the immediate consequences to the signers of the Declaration. The presentation is for adult ESL students studying civics and U.S. History and can be used at any level starting with high- beginning. Questions on Poll Everywhere are included at the end of the presentation to elicit conversation and check for comprehension of the main points. My students enjoy using their cell phones to answer these questions!

How to Pronounce the “S”

To open the slides in Google, click on ” Google Slides” in the bottom right corner of the presentation. Once it is open, be sure to click on “Present” in the upper right-hand corner to be able to advance the presentation.

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions or suggestions! I promise to get back to you.

Can I Use This in My Project by @jasonrobertshaw

Before including someone else’s picture, video, or music in your project, take a look at this chart put together by Jason Robertshaw and shared with us on Twitter.

Can I Use This

Follow Robertshaw on Twitter:  @jasonrobertshaw

Weekly Performance Self-Assessment for Students

This self-assessment on Blackboard should take each student no longer than five minutes each week.  By recognizing the weekly “energy”  they put into their learning, students should begin to see a correlation between this “energy” and their weekly academic achievement.

1.  True or False     I attended class each day this week.

2. True or False     I was in class from (8:00-8:55) each day without arriving late, leaving early, or leaving class to answer a phone call or use the washroom.

3.  True or False     I completed all assigned work for this class.

4.  True or False     I spoke English, watched American television, or worked on the computer in English a minimum of three times this week for at least 30 minutes each time.

5.  True or False     I studied English with a “study buddy”  at least once this week.

6.  True or False     I got  _____ out of _____ points ____ on this week’s quiz.

We’ll see if helping the students stay on target each week helps them reach their language goal a little faster and recognize more aptly the power they have over their own learning.

Weekly Performance Rubric for Adult ESL Students

It is not uncommon for me to use rubrics to evaluate student projects.  But, as we’ve become increasingly concerned about our environment and our budgets, I’ve made every effort to run my class paperlessly by using technology.  Putting more online has also helped me and the students stay better organized and on task.  So, it was time to update my rubrics from paper to digital.

I was looking for an online rubric template which would eliminate paper, total scores, allow for easy modifications, and provide me with a duplicate of the individual rubric given to each student.  What I found was right in front of me on Blackboard, the course management system used by my college.  In addition to all of the above, Blackboard automatically sends a copy of the rubric score into the grade book, and even has space for individual feedback.

My plan is to use the rubric to evaluate the students’ weekly performance.  I have incorporated in it, together with the college and departmental core abilities and the course competencies, the skills that my last semester students valued and asked collaboratively to have emphasized in their performance reviews.

The rubric will change as our needs change, and I expect to have to do some tweaking sooner than later.  But, I am confident that weekly use of it will help my students better understand what the college and I expect of them for them to be considered successful in class and move on to the next level of education.

  Levels of Achievement
 Criteria   Novice   Competent   Proficient
Demonstrates level six (course)competencies as indicated on the syllabus 10 Points
Exhibits minimal understanding of new structures; frequent use of native language
20 Points
Demonstrates ability to use new structures correctly some of the time; infrequent use of native language
30 Points
Demonstrates ability to use new structures and vocabulary most of the time; always uses English in class
Participates in class: acts responsibly, values self and is respectful of others’ rights, needs, and opinions 10 Points
Participates when called on, but is usually unprepared,   frequently absent or late to class
15 Points
Participates when called on successfully some of the time
20 Points
Participates actively and successfully most of the time
Works productively and efficiently: completes daily work using  resources successfully, makes up work due to absences in a timely manner 10 Points
Takes tests but rarely completes other assignments; has trouble meeting due dates
15 Points
Takes all tests and completes most of the assigned work within given time frame
20 Points
Takes all tests and completes assignments by due dates
Works cooperatively: completes tasks, solves problems, resolves conflicts, provides information, and offers support 5 Points
Contributes minimally, accepts others’ solutions,
not dependable
7 Points
Completes most tasks, strives to participate and contribute, dependable
10 Points
Completes tasks, facilitates discussion, synthesizes information, valuable
Uses Technology: Uses technology taught including Blackboard to access course  materials, complete assignments, and take tests. 5 Points
Needs assistance with all technology including Bb
7 Points
Uses Bb but needs continual assistance with other technologies
10 Points
Uses Bb and new technologies independently
Demonstrates creative thinking: constructs knowledge, and develops innovative products and processes with or without technology. 5 Points
Does not yet show fluency, original thought or unprompted elaboration.
7 Points
Shows some evidence of fluency, originality, and spontaneous thought
10 Points
Shows consistent evidence of fluency, originality, and spontaneous thought

Resources used for this rubric in conjunction with the Milwaukee Area Technical College core abilities are:
1)  Blackboard Rubrics http://library.blackboard.com/ref/a86c3648-80a5-43cc-8fed-b3f5d24518ce/Content/as_r7_3_Instructor_Manual/rubrics.htm#Create
2)  Collaborative Work Skills Rubric http://course1.winona.edu/shatfield/air/grouprubric.pdf
3)  Core Abilities http://www2.honolulu.hawaii.edu/facdev/guidebk/teachtip/cor-abil.htm4)
4)  Penn State Rubric Cubed: Rubric Builder, Interactive Grading Rubric, Rich Feedback Generator  https://www.e-education.psu.edu/facdev/id/assessment/rubrics/rubric_builder.html  (No longer an active site)
5)  Rubric Use and Development http://www.bused.org/rsabe/rsabe05.pdf
6)  ToGa Learning http://togalearning.com/2011/09/13/rubric-descriptors-for-information-literacynets-benchmarks/

Backing Up Google Docs with Insync

It seems my brain must be on high alert in the middle of the night because that’s when I wake up processing “unresolved issues.”  This morning I woke up processing an unresolved issue I didn’t even know I had!  I woke up realizing that I hadn’t backed up any of my attendance rosters, all of which were on Google Docs!  What if they disappeared?  What if Google went down?  Etc.  The thought of backing up my Google Docs, I’m embarrassed to say, hadn’t even occurred to me–at least not that I can consciously remember (oh, dear…) until about 3:00 this morning!  A serious oversight I know…clouds dissipate.

But, a funny thing happened this afternoon. I received an email advising me that there was a new post on ProfHacker by Ryan Cordell titled Backup Google Documents with Insync.  Divine providence?  Intuition?  Telepathy?  Luck?  Anyway, I immediately downloaded the free Insync software and signed into my new account using my Google information.  Within a minute or two, I had a back up of all my docs including those shared with me.  Another attribute of Insync is that, according to Cordell, it “…works in both directions—new documents added online are downloaded to your hard drive, and documents added to the synced folder are uploaded to Google Docs.”  What could be better?  Well, a comment left for Cordell by one of his readers was that Syncdocs is another good program to try for backing up your Docs.  There is a free download of that program, but it encourages us to buy it for $1.66 a month.  For now, I’ll see how Insync works.  I haven’t seen anywhere that they’re asking me for money, so that is the program I will be inviting my Google Doc fan-friends to try.

If I Ruled the World – A Listening Activity for Learning Conditionals

My high-intermediate/advanced students have told me how much they enjoy learning grammar and vocabulary with music, so I decided to develop another fill-in-the-blank listening activity for them, this time stressing the conditional tense verbs in the song, “If I Ruled the World” sung by Tony Bennett and Celine Dion, and written by Leslie Bricusse and Cyril Ornadel.   I believe that this song will become a favorite of many of my students who have come from war zones since it offers such calm and peace-loving ideas.  This activity is another activity using Google Doc Forms.  I hope you like it!

Due to limited space on this blog, there are scroll bars for you to use as read through and complete the lyrics. You may prefer to go directly to the form by clicking on this link:   If I Ruled The World.