Kara B. (a.k.a. Bollywood Blogger Filmi Girl) and I have been friends since we attended college together at Berklee back in the early part of the millennium. We were in several bands together, and we have stayed friends for the past decade plus.
Fast forward to 2013.
This morning, Kara B. granted me this interview about the effects of the government shutdown on a federal librarian working in our nation’s capital.
KB: There was a very strange mood in the city yesterday. Many employees were required to go into work for a few hours in the morning in order to shutdown their offices and when I went out for a walk around lunch time I saw a lot of aimless looking people in suits. Rush hour on the subway in the evening was eerily quiet.
KB: Because my family and friends are in similar situations, we’re going to try and get through it together. I spent yesterday afternoon having coffee with a furloughed friend from IRS and today my father, who is also furloughed, and I are going on a little day trip to Southern Virginia. I plan to spend as much time away from my computer and the television and the news as possible.
KB: Unfortunately I was too busy on Monday to assemble a reading list of work-related books to check out but I may use the time to catch up on the stack of books on my bedside table, which includes:
- It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism by Mann and Ornstein
- The Smartest Kids in the World And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley
- Searching for Icons in Russia by Vladimir Alekseevich Soloukhin
Below you will find three wonderful video clips from Japan’s NHK Television Broadcast about Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the United Nations in July. It was interesting to watch and re-watch these clips in Japanese. Although I do not speak any Japanese, the images alone served to tell Malala’s story and how it has affected children in Pakistan and around the world.
In a recent comment on the post “Letters to Malala Yousafzai”, veteran teacher Amethyst asked about lower lexile texts for ELL students. Adapted texts are a valuable resource to ELL teachers as they allow for us to convey grade-level content to our students with comprehensible language. Although I have found decent adapted or modified texts on the subscription sites Achieve3000 and EdHelper.com, these sites do not offer texts on more current events nor do they provide articles on the more controversial or deep topics that peak my students’ (and my own) interest.
I have found that it is sometimes easier to simply adapt authentic texts myself, rather than wade fruitlessly through the depths of a search engine. In preparing adapted texts for ELLs, I have found the guidelines in this article from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) extremely helpful.
In summary, the TEA advises teachers to adapt text by employing the following steps:
1. Identify main ideas and key words in the original article.
2. Use a clear topic sentences followed by supporting details.
3. Shorten sentences.
4. Simplify grammar and vocabulary.
5. Rephrase complex ideas.
6. Clarify by giving examples or giving the meaning of a word in parentheses.
7. Make the text easier to look at by using bold headings and larger font sizes.
I would also advise adding some graphics and some words for discussion.
Since it is summer and my text adaptation skills are a little rusty, I created a sample adaptation. I began by printing out, reading, and marking up the original article. I marked the main topics of each paragraph or section and also wrote some ideas for key vocabulary words.
Next, I used Microsoft Word to type up my own adaptation of the text (click the link to download it). The most time consuming part was thinking about the paragraph organization and headings.
Although it does take some time to adapt a text for ELL students, it is worthwhile to create an engaging text appropriate for your own students’ levels. Also, by the time you introduce the text to the class, you will be very prepared for your lesson because you will definitely have familiarized yourself with the content.