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ESL Secondary

Your New ESL Secondary SIG Representative

By Caia Schlessinger

M y name is Caia Schlessinger and I am thrilled to be the new ESL Secondary S pecial Interest Group (SIG) Representative. After serving on the NJTESOL/NJBE Executive Board as secretary for four years, I am excited to step into my new role. I currently teach ESL and English for ELLs for grades 9 through 12 at Colts Neck High School, part of the Freehold Regional High School District. 

I thoroughly enjoyed attending this year’s NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference. The Hyatt was a wonderful new venue and the presentations that I attended were outstanding. I always feel spoiled attending this conference, as the vendors, poster sessions, presentations, and attendees are all so passionate about English language learners and their successes.

My high school students always comment on my energy whenever I return to the classroom after attending the spring conference. I feel rejuvenated and inspired, as if I had just graduated and was entering the classroom for the first time. On Thursday, the day after the conference, I was already implementing some of the ideas and strategies that I had just learned.

I would like to share with you exactly what inspired me – Christina Namendorf’s workshop titled ‘Building a Community of Learners through Technology.’ Christina served on the NJTESOL/NJBE Executive Board as ESL Secondary SIG Representative and teaches ESL at Sayreville War Memorial High School. Christina presented on various websites, including Edmodo (www.edmodo.com), a social media site that is a free (yes, free!) and secure social learning network for teachers, students, and schools. Through Edmodo, teachers and students can connect and collaborate. Edmodo looks like Facebook, but the teacher has complete control over the content that students post. I signed my students up on Thursday, and immediately they were posting back and forth, reading and voting on polls, accessing assignments – all in English! I am so excited to start using Edmodo from the very first day of school next September.

As your ESL Secondary SIG Representative, I am looking forward to sharing ideas and collaborating with all of you. Over the next few weeks I would like to collect other suggestions that you have for using technology and the internet in your work so that I can share them in an upcoming issue of VOICES. Please don’t hesitate to contact me personally or through the Hotlist. I look forward to hearing from you.

Caia Schlessinger is the NJTESOL/NJBE Secondary ESL Representative. She teaches ESL at Colt Neck High School for the Freehold Regional High School District. She may be reached at cschlessinger@njtesol-njbe.org .

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