Check out the new Digital Literacy Guide Link

The Maryville University’s Digital Literacy: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Education Technology was recently added to the Central Blog’s  Computer and Technology links.

It has links to  MANY digital literacy resources, recommended apps for students, and Online learning tools & resources.  It’s a good resource for any computer  training you may want to give to your students. 

 It  also has a link to which has short but detailed presentations designed to teach users how to do specific actions online.  These videos can be VERY useful in your classroom. I’ve used the online health information to teach my students how to access MedlinePlus. Check out these examples:

They also include PDFs of the complete presentations so you may just take out sections you like as handouts.

Convocation 2017

During our fall Convocation, Ellen Overington and Edith Cowper gave an interesting presentation of the importance of writing in our classes. They discussed that surveys indicated that writing is underutilized and is an area that teachers could focus more on.. 

Please take a look at their presentation here:   Ready to Write 

Community – Government Buildings

permission creativecommons SA3.0

permission creativecommons SA3.0 BZrca8

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?

Refugee Organizations

Our classes include students from all over the globe. With an increasing number of refugee students entering our program, I thought it might be a good idea to shed some light on the facts about displaced persons, what resources are available for them, and what organizations facilitate their settlement. At the end of the post are resources for local refugee resettlement organizations. Like most non-profit organizations, they are in need of donations and volunteers.

The refugee crisis that has erupted around the world has been a mounting problem for some time now. Every year numerous organizations publish status reports on the state of the world’s displaced persons. In June 2015, The UN’s Refugee Agency UNHCR published their annual analysis of global forced displacement, revealing shocking numbers of people who have been forced to flee their homes. Here are just a few of the facts that emerged from the report:

  1. In 2014, global displacement reached historic levels: 59.5 million people were forced to flee their homes: roughly the same number of people in Britain. If these people made up their own country, it would be the 24th largest nation in the world.
  1. In 2014 alone, 8.3 million people were forced to flee: the highest annual increase on record.
  1. That means that 42,500 people were forced to leave their homes every daybecause of conflict or persecution.
  1. Of these people, 19.5 million are refugees, 1.8 million are asylum seekers and 38.2 million were internally displaced within their own country.
  1. 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries.
  1. More than half (53%) of the world’s refugees are from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. The largest source of the world’s refugees is Syria. One in five displaced persons is from Syria.
  1. The top 5 host countries for refugees are:
    • Turkey
    • Pakistan
    • Lebanon
    • Iran
    • Ethiopia
  1. More than half of the world’s refugees are children(51%): the highest figure in over a decade.
  2. In 2014, 34,300 asylum claims were made by unaccompanied children: the highest number since records began.Most of the children were Afghan, Eritrean, Syrian or Somali.

Organizations that Advocate, Educate, and Provide Services

International Office of Migration.

IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. As the leading international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to:

  • Assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management.
  • Advance understanding of migration issues.
  • Encourage social and economic development through migration.
  • Uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.

UNHCR. The UN Refugee Agency.

UNHCR is “United Nations High Commission on Refugees”. They are probably the most well known organization that provides assistance to refugees, but they also do much more:

  • Advocacy
  • Alternatives to Camps
  • Asylum and Migration
  • Capacity Building
  • Durable Solutions
  • Emergency Response
  • Climate Change
  • Assistance

US Committee for Refugees and Migrants.  This organization focuses its efforts in the following areas:

  • Refugee resettlement
  • Human trafficking
  • Advocacy
  • Migrant Children

USCRI North Carolina

Refugees International.  Refugees International (RI) advocates for lifesaving protection and assistance for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises. We shine a light on the real problems, and make recommendations to policy makers at the highest levels that help shape the response to those in need.

International Rescue Committee.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster.

Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration  ORAM is the only international organization devoted solely to advocating on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) refugees fleeing persecution due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Local Refugee Resettlement Agencies

  1. Lutheran Services (Raleigh)
  2. Church World Service (Durham)
  3. USCRI (Downtown Raleigh)
  4. World Relief (Durham)
  5. North Carolina African Services Coalition (Greensboro)

How can you help?

Paid ESL websites…..Are they worth the money?

money to burn

photo by Patricia Fenn @Dreamstime


With all the free information available on the internet, is it worth it to subscribe to a paid website? What are some of the other pros and cons to paying for access to lesson plans? Do you use a paid subscription website or blog? What other sites do you like? I would love to hear your opinion about using these sites. You can always post a comment in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section!  In the meantime, scroll down the page and take a look at some of the more popular subscription sites, their costs, and offerings.


Lots of ideas Cost of subscription which must be renewed annually
Easy to find information Can’t customize content
Content for all levels Sometimes time consuming to find appropriate content
Print and go!  Limited content for beginners
Implementation ideas
Answer keys

Some popular paid subscription sites: $55.00 per year for lesson plans, worksheets, stories, flashcards.  Free to join, $59 for premium seller status. Open marketplace for teachers to buy, sell, and trade lessons.  $22.00 per year for lesson plans and worksheets  $68.00 per year includes lesson plans, worksheets, podcasts, songs. Updated weekly. Database of 9000 lessons.  Starting at $29.00 per year with a variety of plans offered. Worksheets, lesson plans, board games.


Civics Lesson Plans

When you look at the Wake Tech ESL Curriculum you’ll see that American holidays and civics are included. Where is the best place to find this information for our ESL students?  You could dig through books and periodicals, and do many web searches.  But probably one of the best places to start looking is  They have a wealth of information which can be adapted to all levels of students.

On the site you’ll find  powerpoint lessons, stories, worksheets, crossword puzzles, word searches, writing activities, plus many other things. The topics range from American history and government to life skills for ESL students. There are also lessons about American holidays. Additionally, there are links to other sites for even more activities.  Add it to your “favorites” list and you’ll find yourself going back to it time and time again.

screenshot by MFowle

screenshot by MFowle