Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, classroom teaching, community, give, giving, literacy, literacy council, northern virginia, professional development, student achievement, student progress, student stories, students, students inspire, teaching, teaching strategies, thank you!, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers
We in the AmeriCorner have just finished our end of session data entry, meaning that our first semester of teaching is officially over! It was a great semester, and a wonderful learning experience for both students and teachers. I saw four of the students at my class sites receive their graduation certificates; all are planning on registering for the Fairfax County ESOL classes this month. Of course, I am extremely proud of our graduates and students, but I also have to express how impressed I am. Seeing my students work so hard and progress is nothing short of inspiring – regardless of whether this progress was officially measured by a test.
One particular student of mine has left a very special impression on my heart. He recently came to the United States from Guatemala. He arrived at registration barely speaking a word of English, but I worked with him to fill out the form and get him tested. Right away, his enthusiasm for learning English was obvious– he went straight home to get his girlfriend and brought her back to register for class! Every single day he came to class with a smile on his face, ready to learn and with his homework completed, despite working long days doing construction. He also pursued his studies outside of class. He would stay after class to ask questions, and I often saw him peruse the ESOL section of the library. By the end of the semester, we were having full conversations about our favorite songs, movies, TV shows, and things he liked about America! He assured me that he was going to come back to English class during the spring semester! I hope that he, and all my students, return for classes at the end of this month and continue progressing.
Visit English for Speakers of Other Languages Learning Centers, and learn more about LCNV’s classroom program. To view the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s Class Schedules, please visit: Learn – LCNV. If you are interested in teaching or tutoring, please write to email@example.com.
Tags: a big thank you, alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, Children, Children's Books, community, family, Family Learning, friends, give, giving, Holiday Party, Holiday Potluck Party, Joe's Pizza, Joe's Place Pizza and Pasta, LCNV, LCVN Holiday, literacy council, literacy council of northern virginia, Single Volunteers, Single Volunteers of DC, student stories, students, thank you!, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
LCNV held its annual Holiday Potluck Party this past December 6, 2011. Over 250 staff, students, and supporters came together in the spirit of the holiday season, and shared a meal and conversation.
An array of mouthwatering foods adorned the serving tables; their aromas drew large crowds, which devoured the eclectic mix of home-cooked dishes. Santa and his AmeriCorps-elf helpers entertained children and passed out gifts. Many children and their parents gathered around the crafts table, cutting and folding brightly colored fans. Mary Ann Nocerino, President of the LCNV Board of Directors, led a mystery prize giveaway; twenty individuals walked away with a LCNV t-shirt, or bookmark and other goodies.
A particularly moving moment of the evening included volunteers sharing their experiences as LCNV tutors and talking about the bonds they have formed with their students. The event ended joyously with full bellies, and children sent home with a book.
LCNV would like to thank Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta in Arlington for the discounted pizzas, as well as Single Volunteers of DC. The LCNV Annual Holiday Potluck Party would not have been a success without Mary Tack, LCNV’s Development Assistant, who organized and managed the event. Thank you so much, Mary, for all your hard work!
To view more pictures taken at the 2011 LCNV Holiday Potluck Party, please visit: LCNV Holiday Potluck.
If you missed this event, come see us at Reading: A Family Affair (RAFA) in March of 2012!
LCNV has a gift for YOU this holiday season – a 40% state tax credit for donors in Virginia! Make your donation by December 31.December 20, 2011 at 2:51 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Announcements, Class, Development, ESOL, Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
Tags: AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, community, donors, give, giving, literacy, Loudon Literacy, NAP, Neighborhood Assistance Program, scholarship, suggestions, tax credit, thank you!, tutoring, virginia tax credit, Volunteer, volunteers
Maribel came to LCNV because she wanted to get a job, and needed to improve her reading and writing in English. Even though LCNV offers classes and one-to-one tutoring at one of the lowest costs in the region – just $50 – Maribel needed a scholarship. She was then matched with a LCNV-trained volunteer tutor, Philip, and quickly obtained a job as a hospital aide. Now, three years later, Maribel is off and running. She and Philip just ended their match this December, so that Maribel could continue to more intermediate and advanced education with Fairfax County Public Schools Adult and Community Education.
Philip proudly reports: “One of her new tutors [at Fairfax County] is a LPN and teaches nursing, so she is really perfect for taking Maribel to the next level of learning and moving towards her certification as a Lactation Consultant. Her other tutor is working with her specifically on the NOVA entrance exam.”
This is exactly why LCNV is here: to help members of our community, who have beginning-level literacy and English language skills, reach the next level. Without the support from people like you, Maribel would have been left behind, unable to obtain the skills she needed to enter even the intermediate classes in the public schools’ adult education program.
Two-thirds of LCNV’s learners fall below 150% of the national poverty level ($33,525 for a family of four), and the median household income of learners is $20,000. That is why LCNV is an approved organization under the Virginia Department of Education’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), which only accepts nonprofit organizations that provide education assistance that benefits a majority of learners with incomes at or below 150% of the poverty level.
Under NAP, business and individuals that donate to LCNV may receive tax credits in Virginia equal to 40% of the donation. Individuals or married couples who donate a minimum of $500 in the form of cash or marketable securities (maximum of $50,000) during the tax year will receive a 40% tax credit on their Virginia State Taxes. Businesses that donate a minimum of $1,000 in cash, stock, merchandise, or real estate (maximum of $437,500) during the tax year will also receive a 40% tax credit on their Virginia State Taxes.
LCNV specially applied to be part of this program for the first time, starting on July 1, 2010, as a way to thank its loyal donors. Make your donation online now using our secure processing system or by mailing a check payable to “Literacy Council of Northern Virginia” and this form to 2855 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042. You may also contact me at 703-237-0866 x 109 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Tags: AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, community, Family Learning, lesson plans, Library, professional development, students, suggestions, teaching, teaching strategies, training, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
The scene is familiar. You are reviewing material from your last class with your student or students. After spending two full hours last week drilling new vocabulary and using it in as many creative and memory-burning ways you could think of, you mention the words again and all you get are blank faces. How is it possible that they don’t remember this word? You were sure they had it by the end of the class meeting. What happened?
If this has ever happened to you, don’t worry – you aren’t alone! Thankfully, we have a multitude of wonderful resources in our LCNV library to help you target what the problem might be and great strategies to avoid it happening again in the future. One of these resources is the Vocabulary Teaching Handbook by Jayme Adelson-Goldstein. Published in tandem with the Oxford Picture Dictionary series, the Vocabulary Teaching Handbook is a 40 page resource meant for teachers just like you – working with adult ESOL learners.
According to Oxford University Press’ website, the Handbook is:
“A self-directed professional development resource which reviews research into vocabulary learning strategies, lesson techniques and activities.”
I highly recommend this resource as a way to get some professional development while at home in your pjs. Check it out from our library today!
Tags: alumni, AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, Children, community, lesson plans, student stories, students, teaching strategies, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers
We all make mistakes. It’s an unavoidable fact of life and language learning. The important thing is to push past those mistakes – learn from them and enjoy them. Looking back at my first semester of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), I’ve certainly made mistakes but I’m a better teacher because of them.
I’ve made quite a few spelling mistakes. My favorite spelling errors include accross and umberella. I am so proud of my students when they don’t let my misspellings stay up on the board. I haven’t found a more effective way to get my students involved in their learning process than getting them to correct me.
As a teacher, I feel it’s important to show my knowledge is fallible, that I am still learning. Language learning is an ongoing process. Except perhaps E.B. White, we all make mistakes and we keep growing from them.
Tags: AmeriCorps, americorps partners, announcement, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, community, lesson plans, networking, teaching, teaching strategies, training, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia will be hosting a Basic Adult Literacy Tutor training, which will be held Saturday, December 3rd and 10th, at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church. The training lasts from 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM and costs $40.
LCNV provides one-to-one free tutoring for adults who speak English, but read and write below a fifth grade level. Training occurs on two consecutive Saturdays where prospective tutors learn the basics of reading and writing instruction, and receive materials to work with adult learners. Tutors are usually matched with a student during the training session. If a tutor is not matched with a student, they will be contacted as soon as an appropriate student becomes available. Participants must attend both sessions of the workshop and complete some pre-study materials in order to be considered for tutoring a student.
Tutors and students meet throughout northern Virginia in any public place. Scheduling is done by students and tutors; pairs are encouraged to meet once or twice a week for approximately an hour and a half. LCNV asks that tutors commit to working with a student for at least nine months. There is a tremendous need for tutors in all areas – please consider joining us!
Tags: AmeriCorps, americorps partners, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, community, friends, professional development, student stories, students, teaching, teaching strategies, training, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
On Saturday November 5, 2011, LCNV hosted an ESOL Writing In-Service, which was presented by Tanya Conover of Prince William County Public Schools Adult Education Program. In addition to providing participants with valuable tools (a binder full of goodies such as research articles, story examples, and lesson plans), Tanya prompted attendees to reflect upon writing as a tool for students to accomplish their goals. Many LCNV learners aspire to obtain a job, a driver’s license, a G.E.D., or American citizenship. All of these goals require writing skills at some level, such as filling out an application or taking a test. Not only is writing a practical skill in today’s world, but it is also a powerful method of conveying life stories. Many LCNV students have stories that they want to share with their teachers and fellow students. Tanya encouraged in-service participants to get students writing by having them write about their most memorable experiences and publishing their stories in a format, such as a class newspaper.
One student’s school story really struck me. Zarghoona wrote: “I am very sad. I have five children. I can’t read and write to teach my children. When I was little I cried to my mother and father: Why not send me to school? In Afghanistan they killed a girl going to school. She was my friend. One day the plane bombed the school. The car burned. One day I went to school. The Taliban tasered my friend’s face. He came to hit me. I threw my books on the floor. He hit me.”
By sharing her story, Zarghoona practiced valuable writing skills, such as sentence construction and expression of ideas. More importantly, she also shared a very powerful memory that reminds us all about the value of education. Learning should be a very personal and student-centered experience, and writing is an integral part of that.
Tags: AmeriCorps, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, family, students, volunteers, Writing
I’m so proud of our Student Assessment Specialists (SASs)! The last two weeks have been a flurry of back to school training and registrations with the whole team standing ready! What is a Student SASs and what do they do? A SAS is volunteer tester for our classroom program, and they use the Best Plus Oral Proficiency Test to help us place students and track their progress. Our SASs are busy with test administrator training and recertification as we begin the classroom registrations. In the last week and half, I trained 25 new Best Plus Administrators from all over VA (7 for LCNV) and recertified 19 others! With the new school year well underway, valid certification is imperative for our funders at the Virginia Department of Education to accept our reports of student progress. We test students at registrations and again just before the end of each session to track their speaking, listening and understanding of English.
Belle, our Director of Volunteers, has great systems and intuition for placing volunteers. Many interested volunteers call her with the passion and talents to volunteer, but might only have selective availability. Often these kinds of volunteers are great candidates for SAS if they have good clear speaking skills, good hearing, and the time for training. Call Belle if you are interested in future training opportunities or would like to learn more about how it works!
Now a special portion of my blog is dedicated to our SAS team: Thank you all so much for all your hard work. Here are a few special messages about new materials available online, please ask me if you have any questions:
New Developing Oral Proficiency online professional development module now available
If you haven’t yet visited the new Developing Oral Proficiency of Adults Learning English free online professional development module at www.cal.org/adultspeak, you may be pleased to learn about the many free resources you can find there. This self-paced module has 5 main sections: Background information on teaching adult ESL, Elements of oral language proficiency, Language assessment, Instructional activities, and Resources for next steps. These sections are designed to be read and followed in sequence, although users are free to browse through the site using the navigation buttons. This interactive online module uses multimedia to provide practitioner resources including:
- Student Performance Levels (SPLs) Audio Sampler, featuring speech samples of adult ESL students at different proficiency levels http://www.cal.org/adultspeak/levels/SPLslider.html
- BEST Plus video clips illustrating features of listening comprehension, language complexity, and communication http://www.cal.org/adultspeak/assessment/index.html
- Downloadable articles, classroom materials, briefs, and related resources included in the sidebars throughout the module
- Instructional activities targeted specifically to beginning and advanced proficiency levels, separated into listening comprehension, language complexity, and communication http://www.cal.org/adultspeak/instruction/index.html
- And for our ESL teachers, they have downloadable Instructional Activity packets http://www.cal.org/adultspeak/instruction/instructional-activity-packets.html
Thank you all, again!
-Katie Beckman, Program Assistant
Tags: best practices, Registration, students, training, volunteers, Writing
Come see the workshop our AmeriCorps loved so much last Spring!
Tanya Conover of Prince William County School’s Adult ESOL Program will presenting a workshop on teaching writing to ESOL students!
Where? James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22046
When? Saturday, August 27th, 10:00 a.m. To 12:00 noon
PWCS teachers and students have developed a curriculum using process writing (a presentation of writing as a step by step journey of internal and external “discovery”). Come learn about their curriculum and text built for use in the classroom at all levels and about how student articles and stories are shared in their own publication Our Voices. (Although this curriculum was designed for use with ESOL learners, it may also be appropriate for low-level students whose first language is English).
Please RSVP by August 24th!
Contact email@example.com or call 703.237.0866
-Katie Beckman, Program Assistant
Tags: best practices, conference, networking, professional development, technology
I happily represented LCNV this Wednesday in Richmond during a meeting with the Virginia Literacy Leadership Council to plan for next year’s conference. The committee has members from community-based literacy organizations all over the state and has planned conferences to bring these non-profit literacy organizations an opportunity to network with colleagues and develop their staff. We talked about the logistics of executing this year’s conference and goals for this conference as well as what we’d like to do in the long-term. For this year, we are working towards creating a conference geared toward building infrastructure. We’re trying to reach for a wider range of presenters and build a reputation about the conference in the surrounding areas including Maryland and North Carolina. In future years, we’d also like to open conference registration up to volunteers and not just the staff of these organizations. There is even hope of video recording the workshops for posting online! If you have suggestions for the conference, especially for presenters or workshops, please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The better we represent your interests, the better we can share what we learn. I’ll be sure to share the progress of the conference in later posts!
To find out more about the conferences past work, read their blog.