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on September 20, 2012
I'm not an ESL teacher - but after 25 years teaching high school history and another 10 years in instructional administration - I can recognize great teaching. "The ESL / ELL Teacher's Survival Guide" is filled with practical strategies that teachers can immediately implement in the classroom. (I have to admit I've always been turned off by education theory books that required me to translate some abstract into a workable lesson ... "partial assembly required?")

The book opens with "the big picture" on ESL and key elements in the ELL curriculum, but quickly turns to strategies that would ensure "survival" for both a rookie and experienced teacher. The book also details ideas for working with ELLs in the core areas.

I could tell that these were strategies that the authors had real experience using. That's apparent in the details that accompany the strategies - pacing guides, exhibits of student work and a section on "handling potential challenges." These are classroom-tested strategies from seasoned master teachers.

I learned many years ago that I can get some of my best teaching ideas from watching my faculty peers in action. This book meets that test by providing solid teaching ideas for the ESL and non-ESL teacher as well.
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on August 12, 2012
First impression: I like the larger, easy-to-read font choice. Thank you!

So far, the "I am" Project (page 21), Chapter 3, pages 198, 199, Chapter 11 = are those that have the most penciled in margin notes and/or post-it reference tabs.

It is one of those books that even a very experienced ESL / ESOL / ELL / EFL (whatever acronym you use) teacher/facilitator will be likely to find useful to review, even if just to be reminded of a few tricks that she or he has not used in awhile, to become more aware of research supporting the "why we do and try to do what we do and try to do."

As someone who has been a fan of Larry Ferlazzo and his prolific blogging and tweeting for years, I felt I owed it to him -- and to visitors to my bookshelves -- to purchase a copy of this text. As an adult ELL educator, even though the book is marked for Grades 4 -12, many chapters and much of the information has relevancy.

This is a text that is not likely to overwhelm newbies and/or classroom volunteers -- a quick flip-though may well lead to a careful reading of the Contents pages, and then to self-selected study.

The Afterword is well chosen.

The Notes section will make you wish for access to a hyper-linked copy of same!
This is a great text to have near you while lesson-planning, at hand during peer-to-peer / staff committee meetings, a text to revisit frequently.

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on June 15, 2013
I love this book because it is well organized with relevant information about teaching ESL to ELLs. There are great sample exercises and the best websites with even more information and resources to study. I needed something to update me on the latest research and effective methods for teaching ESL, since I've been living abroad for 5 years and felt "out of touch" with the world of formal education. There are many classes for learning English in the country where I live, but they use outdated methods which I find to be ineffective, as the students have difficulty applying their knowledge into practice for work or travelling. The students feel frustrated and like they have wasted their money. This is not a book for a teacher who wants day-by-day planning or a specific curriculum. It is more about how to teach better and create programs based on empirical evidence.
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on August 12, 2013
This book is potentially a career-saver for me. I am a teacher of ELL students in Taiwan, transitioning from year one to year two. Coming out of my first year, I have reflected on what I did well and what I could do better. The former, too little...the latter, too much. I returned to the U.S. for two weeks and brought back books similar to this one. Of the books I brought back, this has proven to be most effective, and I am excited about using the lessons I learned from this book, modifying them for my classroom, and, I hope, seeing some real progress from my students!

There are a number of helpful game ideas, unit plans, and even relationship-building and classroom-management tips that I hope will prove highly beneficial to both me and my students.

The reason for 4 stars rather than 5 is that, after a few chapters, the authors tend to recycle ideas and re-word their plans and lessons; the repetition is important, but I did skip a couple of pages here and there.

Overall, a very helpful resource for teachers of all abilities!
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on August 1, 2014
This book isn't exactly a survival guide. It's mostly a compilation of very broad, general strategies that may work if you modify them enough to suit your personal needs. There are many great web-resources that are recommended in this book, but there's actually no direct explanation on how best to integrate these resources into the classroom. There aren't even any anecdotes on what other people have tried. Sure, you can have the students post on a blog, but how are you going to get the students to do that for homework? How will you introduce the idea of doing web-homework in the first place?

On the whole, there's none of the "meat and potatoes" on how to get students socialized into writing for the classroom blog, social media website, or anything else multimedia-related, save for the occasional reference to taking a trip to the computer lab; rather, in this book, much of the techy-stuff is just taken for granted--as if teachers have been using these social media tools since the beginning of time (which I assure you they have not). There's also no explication on how grading would be determined by the content created on social media sites, and ultimately, the recommendations end up feeling shallow and vapid, and, at least for me, leave me wanting more.

It was also really frustrating for me to have to flip back and forth between the book and the authors' websites where most of the great links can be found. When I would eventually arrive at the website, for example, I would have to spend another 10 to 15 minutes searching through the vast archives just to find what I was looking for (I don't think the website is very user-friendly)--does this sound like an ESL-life raft to you?

I've already tried incorporating some of the recommended strategies in my own classes, like for example using some of the resources for games that the authors recommend. The students have liked them well enough, but they didn't exactly bring the level earnestness that I was looking for when I first introduced these e-games; at least it wasn't on par with the level of energy they normally bring to the class when introduced to a standard PowerPoint or even an old-fashioned worksheet.

One of the biggest problems with this book, as far as I can tell, is that the strategies that the authors recommend haven't become fully mainstreamed into education yet. Therefore, many students and faculty alike treat such innovations as social media, games, and cyber maps, as "less-than," the other material typically seen in the classroom--PowerPoints, projectors, whiteboards, worksheets, etc. I'm not saying that this material shouldn't be incorporated, but I think a little more explication is required as to how to gently socialize people into seeing the worth and value in such devices and tools. Until this happens, incorporating social media will be an uncomfortable struggle for both the teacher and the students because using it, as of 2014, requires waaay too much modification of the normal teacher-student social contract (as most people understand it), not to mention the fact that using it also requires way too much bureaucratic oversight.

In sum, the authors don't provide enough explanation as to how to bring the ESL classroom into the Twenty-First Century (despite their less-than-subtle recommendation to do so). The authors also don't provide any solid material that can be directly applied to students--no game boards and no recipe-like activities with procedures that teachers can use on the fly if they're strapped for ideas. As such, the ESL/ELL Survival Guide reads more like a thought-experiment than an actual survival guide.

If you're looking for "standby activities and games" to improve your students' reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities--which is what I think of when I think "survival guide"--try any one of the following resources below. These resources have proven far more useful to me in ensuring my survival than the ESL/ELL Survival Guide:





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on August 12, 2012
This book is filled with practical ideas that are easy to implement. Every teacher with students whose first language isn't English should have this book.
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on October 4, 2012
I think this really is a survival guide for ESL/ELL teachers. So much care was taken to design the book so any busy teacher could find help and inspiration easily. I would recommend this for any teacher who has one or many children in her class who speak different home languages. The strategies and activities are valid, valuable and easy to use.
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on August 12, 2013
This is the best resource book I've got for teaching ESL. Even though it's written for secondary school, I find I can use a lot of the ideas, as they are researched and tested in classrooms. Want to improve your own teaching and the learning environment in your classroom? Want to foster an environment of active learning in the classroom? Get this book and begin implementing a lot of the learning activities. You won't be disappointed.
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on November 13, 2012
I liked this book, as it gives teachers useful tips and suggestions about tools and activities for teaching English all levels. It a pratical guide, which can be used by any ESL/EFL/ELL teacher in the world.
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on March 3, 2016
If you have absolutely no idea what you're doing, this is probably the perfect book for you. He walks you through in excruciating detail every single step of doing every single thing . However, if you are an experienced classroom teacher , and the extent of the detail is way way too much . He presumes you know absolutely nothing and need to be told every tiny thing and gives 43 examples when all he has to do is say, " do this type of exercise with the students ." Experience teachers will know how to do that type of exercise and don't need 14 examples of it . But he does cover a whole range of topics that are very helpful and it would be a nice resource to have in your classroom .
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