Community – Government Buildings

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In the next few weeks we are going to have some coordinated posts with the Civics and Culture blog! You will get two posts; one will be for students, and the other for the teachers. When teaching your lessons about places around town, prepositions of place, or just strictly “community places” vocabulary, make sure to also check out the Civics and Culture blog. You’ll find practice materials for your students on that site!

Today’s post is about government buildings in Raleigh. Use the links on this site to help plan your lessons. You can also direct students to the Civics and Culture page for additional practice. There are follow-up questions on the site that your students can do as homework if desired.  Here’s the link to the Civics and Culture page:

Government Buildings in Raleigh:

  • City/town hall-offices for government officials
  • Municipal Building-similar to city/town hall, with many offices and different gov. departments
  • Courthouse-where legal issues are managed, such as criminal and civil trials, marriage, divorce
  • Capitol Building-the governor’s office is located here.
  • Legislative Building-where NC laws are discussed and processed
  • Downtown Raleigh map

List of places to see in Raleigh:

What are some ways to use this information in your class?

What other ways can you use this information? What do you teach your students about government? Do your students know the government places downtown?

Save Time by Using These Websites

If you want to spend less time lesson planning, and more time engaged with the students, we’ve got two websites that might help you:

North Carolina Learning Object Repository

The North Carolina Learning Object Repository is a  news and learning portal. The website says “This service is available to all North Carolina educators but it is managed by the North Carolina Community College System with allocated funds from the North Carolina State Legislature 2+2 initiative.” This site is RICH with resources such as lesson plans, videos, topic lessons, grammar, reading and writing.

The topics on the site are listed below. The most relevant for us is, of course, Language Arts, but there is other information within some of the other categories that could be of use in your classrooms!

Agricultural and Natural Sciences (4,179)                             Arts and Humanities (3,384)
Business, Management & Economics (546)                          Career and Technical Education (477) Computer Science (214)                                                                            Design (39)
Education (317)                                                                        Engineering (3,325)
Health and Medical Sciences (1,318)                                    Information Sciences (37)
Language Arts (381)                                                                 Mathematics (2,665)
Physical Sciences (3,202)                                                         Social and Behavioral Sciences (722)
Other (26)

Additionally, there is a “Resource Series List” available. Just a small sampling of these resources are the BBC, ReadWriteThink, Khan Academy, NCCCSS Virtual ESL Library, LearnNC, and many, many more. Think of it as a giant conflomeration of information! Search under “Resource Series” and you’ll find the entire list.

Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Again, a wealth of information covering a multitude of subjects. For our students, click on the “What’s New” link, next, the “LINCS Learner Center”, and follow the links according to your interest. There are several sites here for your students to use.

As you go deeper into the site you’ll find even more resources for the classroom and also research papers!

Help Me Understand the “Green Cards” and Educational Gains!

Let’s say you are a new, or newish teacher, at Wake Tech. Tomorrow is your first class! You’ve prepared a thorough lesson plan that covers all the four skills and includes creative, communicative activities. You even have a brand new pack of markers! You are READY!  With anticipation and excitement, you arrive at your classroom a bit early that first day.  Once you are settled into your class and awaiting the students, the intake folks throw some green cards your way and say “ Have a great class!” Um, um….….huh? If you’re like me, you probably thought, “What are these for? And why do I need them?”  So my dear teachers if any of that sounds a wee bit familiar, then you’re going to love today’s post. It’s all about those green cards, and why, you do, indeed, need them!

First things first.  What happens at registration? Each new student takes both a written and an oral test.  A file is created for each student which includes the following forms:  a permanent record, publicity release, attendance policy agreement, ability to benefit, and a green card. The permanent record includes personal contact information and is also where the student’s test scores are recorded. Now, about those green cards………

They are a tool to help you track your student’s progress. They are another record of test scores, and provide some insight into the student’s personal history and education. It includes the following information:

  1. Name, Address, Phone
  2. Native country and language – Do they know the Roman alphabet?
  3. Number of years of education- Do they have a solid academic background, or are they coming to ESL with limited educational experiences?
  4. Student’s identification number-This is the number that the students use to sign in to class at many of the sites.
  5. Test scores and dates-Both the written and speaking score will be included. You can take a quick glance at the green card to see if the student is making progress, has achieved an educational gain for the year, or when the most recent test was administered.
  6. Class level placement-Each time a student is placed in a class, their level and time of day is noted.

Let’s take a look at our student named RICKY MARTIN.

First test:         7/15/14 Ventures writing test (VW) and Best Plus (B+) test

Date                Lit                    Oral                 Form

7/15/14           50                    420                  VW/B+

9/10/14                                   471                  B+       ( Gain)

RIcky Martin Green Card

A note about educational gains……..The NRS (The National Reporting System for Adult Education is an outcome-based reporting system for the State-administered, federally funded adult education program.). It is the organization that manages and reports educational outcomes in adult ed. As you know, our funding is now predominately determined by educational gains, and not only by the number of students attending class. What that means for us as teachers is that we need to demonstrate to our funders that our students are improving. Students are expected to make an educational gain each program year. An educational gain is when a student goes to a higher NRS level. Let’s look at Ricky Martin’s test results.  Use the NRS chart to evaluate his test results.

Best Plus Score NRS Education Functioning Level
Below 400 Beginning ESL Literacy
401-417 Low  Beginning ESL
418-438 High Beginning ESL
439-472 Low Intermediate ESL
473-506 High Intermediate ESL
507-540 Advanced ESL

5/15/15   Ricky Martin got a Best+ score of 420, which placed him in the “High Beginning ESL” NRS level.

9/20/15   After 80 hours of class, he got a Best+ score of 471. This placed him into the “Low Intermediate ESL” NRS level. This is an example of a “gain”. He has moved up one level within the NRS.

Each student is expected to advance one NRS level every program year. These NRS levels don’t correlate exactly to our class levels, just fyi.

If Ricky Martin had scored 438 on his most recent Best+ test he would NOT have gotten an educational gain.

The next time you look at your students’ green cards, I hope the information makes a little more sense!

In the near future I’ll be reporting on the NRS.

Any questions you have about educational gains, green cards, or the NRS should be put in the COMMENTS section. I look forward to your feedback!

Government Resources

When diving deep into the internet I found some interesting sites that are “government funded”. I use that term a little loosely; some are actual government agencies, and others work with the government, or are funded by the government.   They are sites that can send you deep into the black hole of the internet, going deeper and deeper, until you can’t remember where you started your search.

These are some of the sites you might be interested in seeing. The resources are unlimited!

ESL Globe. This site is filled with news about the ESL program at NCSU, and more importantly for us, it has resources, research, and general ESL news. Click on the links on the left side of the page to access the information.

American English. A website for English learners and teachers.

Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.  Pondering the best way to use technology in the classroom? Visit this site!

U.S. Department of Education. Focused on public education with much information about leadership, policies, and careers. It is more focused on policy issues and guidelines rather than specific lesson plans and tools for the classroom.

Office of Career and Adult Technical Education. As part of the D.O.E., it provides resources and information about adult learners and career pathways.

National Education Association. This site is geared towards K-12, but there are quite a few things that could be adapted to the ESL classroom. Click on the “Tools and Ideas” drop down box, and you can investigate topics such as classroom management, teaching strategies, lesson plans, school life, and advice and support.

Center for Applied Linguistics.  This organization is well known to many, and for good reason. Visit the site, click on “Resources” and you can be busy for days. It’s got lists and lists of professional organizations, research, advocacy, and policy information. Seriously. If you are prone to spending hours reading, set aside some time, and go for it!

Community Partnerships for Adult Learning.  This organization is supported by government funds, although it is not “of” the government. It has links to lesson plans, “how-tos”, research articles, and technology in the classroom. Many well known ESL organizations are linked on this page, and it is worth your while to take a look at it.  Click on the toolbox link to see resources.

United States Customs and Immigration. Some of our students will go the citizenship path, and others won’t. Knowing the process, and what they must do to become citizens is worth knowing, and you can get a fairly quick overview of the process on this site.

CIA Factbook. This is one of my favorite websites for getting a quick overview of any country in the world. Demographics, literacy rates, average life expectancy, government, etc.