“How Do I Explain Who I Am?” Helping Your Students Write an Effective Resume.

Marilyn McMullan, ABE/GED Teacher, Broward County Schools

Marilyn McMullan

As we continue to build career awareness and lead students toward their objective of excellent English skills, a high school diploma, a GED, and/or a technical center certificate/degree, we need to make sure our curriculum includes assisting students in creating an effective resume.  After all, one of our main objectives in adult education is to help our students move on from our classrooms with the skills to be successful in the workplace.  A resume is the employer’s first introduction to our students, so let’s help them to make it a good one!

Resume writing is a terrific activity to include in your curriculum for many reasons.  First, it is a great way to get your students to practice some of those skills you have been teaching in verb usage, sentence structure, organizing, and spelling.  Second, it helps your students think about themselves in a positive light, helping them to identify and concentrate on their strengths.  Third, they will leave your classroom with a document which will be a great stepping stone for their next step in a job search.

So, how do you get started with your students?  First set the stage.  Include activities which help your students identify their strengths in the workplace.  Help them decide what they are good at.  Is it people skills, computer skills, organizing, listening, working with others, leading others, being on time, attention to details, willingness to learn, or one of many other positive attributes?  Have your students identify and work with action verbs:  managed, coordinated, developed, initiated, developed.  Check out QuintCareers for a great list of career related action verbs.  Help your students to decide what their objective is and to write a positive statement that explains it.  Finally, be sure that your students understand that the reason a resume is so important is that it must convince a prospective employer that he or she should interview them so that they can get that job in their new career.

Once you have set the stage for resume writing with your students, you can lead them into the actual writing of it.  One of the best sources for resume writing is the Florida Choices website.  If your students use this, have them go to the work tab and click on resume builder.  The site will guide them through creating a resume and allow them to save it, amend it, print it, and then get ready to use it!  If you do not use this resource with your students, there are many other sites available on the internet.  Preview them, and pick one that targets entry level or whatever is appropriate for your students.  Assist your students as they create their resume, giving suggestions as needed and monitoring their success.  Be sure to have your students print you a copy to review for word usage, spacing, spelling, and effectiveness.  Help them to make any needed changes.  Make sure they have saved their resume and encourage them to update and edit it as they continue in your class.  When they are ready begin their job search, they will have a super resume ready to go!

Top Stories in Literacy : July 23

Top Stories in LiteracyFlorida introduces computer-based GED testing
The GED Testing Service is partnering with five Florida communities to offer registration, scheduling and testing on a computer.

Florida leads nation with 10% of adults not allowed to vote
Nearly one-fourth of black Florida adults, and one-tenth of the state’s total voting-age population, aren’t allowed to vote because of the state’s prohibition on voting by former felons, the nation’s highest rate of disenfranchisement, according to a study by an advocacy group.

New official at Palm Beach State College is school’s first Latino vice president
Last month, the school hired Peter Barbatis as its new vice president of student services and enrollment management, a job where the 47-year-old New York native will help manage enrollment, make sure students graduate and take a hard look at the college’s student support services.

McGraw-Hill Research Foundation white paper reveals how upcoming state education standards could impact Adult Education
State education departments throughout the country are, for the first time, in the process of agreeing on and establishing new and more demanding educational standards for kindergarten through high school. The nationwide trends and factors prompting this coordinated rise in education standards and accountability affect adult education as much as they will K-12, according to a recently published McGraw-Hill Research Foundation report

Google donates 100 computers to Vermont public libraries and adult education centers
Google has donated 100 computers and funding for software to Vermont public libraries and adult education sites. Vermont State Librarian Martha Reid announced the gift, which is valued at nearly $25,000 combined.


This is my last day in service to Americorps VISTA. It’s been a great time managing social media and learning about what people are doing in literacy. During this time I’ve made friendships and meet really great people doing things for their community. My favorite quote is “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and I continue to be amazed and inspired by students and teachers who are changing their world.

Thank you for reading and sharing with me!

Annie Schmidt

Funding and Workshop Opportunities

Here are a few funding and  workshop opportunities that were recently brought to our attention from the VISTA state office.

1) IRS Exempt Organization’s day-long interactive workshops

  • Designed to cover the nuts and bolts of tax exemption for small- and medium-sized charities and nonprofit organizations. Hosted by universities and academic centers, and written and produced by the IRS Office of Exempt Organizations, these workshops are designed for administrators, volunteers, and staff members who are responsible for the tax compliance of their organization.
  • Twenty workshops are scheduled for the remainder of the fiscal year.  For dates and locations, visit EO’s Calendar of Events on IRS.gov.
  • For more information, please contact: Pilar Jarrin, pilar.jarrin@irs.gov or at (202) 283-8946.

2) US Department of Health 

Promise Neighborhoods Program Planning Grant Competition CDFA 84.215P

  • Description: The purpose of this award is to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth by increasing the number of organizations involved in child and youth issues, building continuum of cradle-through-college-to-career solutions, integrating programs, developing local infrastructure, and learning further about the Promise Neighborhoods program.
  • Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement
  • Last Day to Apply: Last day to submit Notice of Intent to Apply is July 27, 2012.

3) Title: Obesity Policy Research: Evaluation and Measures

  • Description: The overarching goal is to inform public policy and research relevant to (1) diet and physical activity behavior, and (2) weight and health outcomes of Americans. This grant opportunity encourages applicants to:  (1) conduct evaluation research on obesity-related natural experiments (defined here as community and other population-level public policy interventions that may affect diet and physical activity behavior), and/or (2) develop and/or validate relevant community-level measures (instruments and methodologies to assess the food and physical activity environments at the community level).
  • Eligibility: Non-profit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status are encouraged to apply. The opportunity is also available to various governmental entities, local organizations, for-profit groups and small businesses.
  • Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement
  • Last Day to Apply: February 7, 2013

4) MLK Day of Service Grant Opportunities

Phishing scams

A few years ago I got an email from a Nigerian business man saying that I had a great great uncle who was doing business with him and I needed to collect his inheritance of close to $5 million. All I needed to do was provide my checking account information. Most of us recognize that this is a scam, but on the other hand we probably think $5 million isn’t too shabby of a deal. The Nigerian letter scam is pretty well known ( it’s apparently the country’s 3rd largest export and scams 100s of people a day), but there are several other scams that get people on a daily basis. These are called phishing scams. So not only does a lesson on phishing and email scams play into a financial literacy lesson, but also a digital literacy for understanding trustworthy websites.

Here is some information on what you need to know about phishing scams from the National Consumers League:

How does phishing work?

  • The most common form of phishing is by email. Pretending to be from a legitimate retailer, bank, or government agency, the sender asks to “confirm” your personal information for some made-up reason. Typically, the email contains a link to a phony Web site that looks just like the real thing. You enter your personal information on the Web site — and send it into the hands of identity thieves.
  • Phishers also use the phone to hunt for victims’ personal information. Some pose as employers and call or send emails to people who have listed themselves on job search Web sites.

How can you tell if the person or company who contacted you is legitimate or a con artist?

  • Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks for your personal information. It’s a warning sign that something is “phishy.” Legitimate companies and agencies don’t operate that way.
  • Don’t click on links in emails that ask you to provide personal information. To check whether an email or call is really from the company or agency, contact it directly by phone or online. If you don’t have the telephone number, get it from the phone book, directory assistance, or the Internet. Use a search engine to find the official Web site;
  • Job seekers should also verify the person’s identity before providing personal information to someone claiming to be a prospective employer.

What should you do if you got hooked by a phishing scam?

  • If you provided account numbers, PINs, or passwords to a phisher, notify the companies with which you have those accounts immediately.
  • Put a “fraud alert” on your files at the credit reporting bureaus. For information about how to do that and other advice for ID theft victims, contact the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft  Clearinghouse at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or toll-free, 877-438-4338. The TDD number is 202-326-2502.
  • Even if you didn’t get hooked, you should report phishing to company or agency that was being impersonated and to the National Consumers League’s National Fraud Information Center, www.fraud.org or toll-free 800-876-7060. The TDD number is 202-835-0778.

For more information on scams or fraud related to literacy, check out our website! 

Top Stories in Literacy: July 16

Top Stories in LiteracyNew Special Ed. Research will Tackle Deaf Students’ Literacy Skills
A new round of about $60 million in grants from the National Center for Special Education Research awards researchers working to improve the school experiences of students with autism, ADHD, and who are deaf, among other disabilities.

California’s Food Literacy Resolution Sparks Fight Between Grocers and Advocates
Sacramento Assemblyman, Roger Dickinson, introduced a resolution to dub September Food Literacy Awareness Month, the details of the motion set off a virtual food fight.

Family Literacy Program Closes
Last year Walton County’s federally funded Even Start family literacy program shut down. Now a cut in funding has resulted in the closure of Northwest Florida State College’s version of the program at the Crestview Bob Sikes Center.

Has Florida Governor Had a Testing Epiphany?
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who hasn’t seen a test he hasn’t wanted students to take, seems to have come to some sort of epiphany: The state that has been a national model for high-stakes test-based school reform just may be testing schoolchildren too much.

Literacy and Arts

I started with an idea to write a post about literacy and the arts. Sometimes we feel disciplined to certain restrictions and principles of literacy and numeracy instruction. While we attempt to cater to visual and kinesthetic learning styles, sometimes it’s harder than it seems. Adding an art into literacy curriculum helps expand creativity for both you and your student. Images help students remember and learn high frequency words, so why not try to add them to a lesson?

One of the best resources I came across is Literacyhead . Literacyhead has lesson plans for teaching reading, writing vocabulary, basic words, technology and many more. The website itself has a year subscription for $99, but also gives several resources for free. You can download printable graphic organizers and Venn diagrams for your class that make writing in them more fun. When teaching vocabulary, make words fun as they come to life! Practice comprehension skills by having students draw a picture that goes along with the story, or have them write the script for additional dialog that they think would happen between the characters you’re reading about.

Brown University also developed the ArtLiteracy project to reach out to youth at a local high school. The base of the project is the belief that “literacy is more than an ability to do well on a standardized test; it is about finding the words to share our stories with the world and to listen and understand the stories the world has to share with us.” They developed a handbook that can help you create, edit, and interpret text with your student.

There are several ways you can bring the FUN in reading FUNdamentals and help your student increase knowledge in more than one area. Have fun and let us know what you choose to do!

Top Stories in Literacy: July 9

Top Stories in LiteracyFlorida Reading Programs Fight “The Summer Slide”
Florida students can exercise their reading skills over the summer through a free program at their public library. The goal is to mitigate the summer reading loss that leaves some students two years below grade level by the time they reach middle school.

Does Reading Make You a Better Person?
Reading has become much more than just a way to pass the time for inmates in Brazil’s federal prison system. Prisoners who are approved for the program can now reduce their sentences by 4 days for each book they read, up to 12 books a year. Works of literature, philosophy, classics, or science will count toward the sentence reduction.

Their voices were heard: City Council restores adult literacy funding
In reaching the half year mark of 2012, the fight for adult literacy funding in New York City hasn’t slowed down. With adult literacy not originally included in the Mayor’s FY13 budget, advocates have been rallying and petitioning to encourage both the Mayor and the City Council to restore funding for ESL, GED, adult basic education, immigration and job readiness programs.

Student Loans: LA Teacher Has Wages Seized 30 years Later as Government Targets Individuals who Defaulted
Those who default on their student loans are at risk of having their bank accounts drained and wages garnished — more than 30 years after the fact, according to a Bloomberg report.

Corrections and Education

Courtesy of TheSocietyPages

Corrections and education are undoubtedly connected. They play a role in the likelihood of entering and re-entering the system. Here are some national and Florida facts about the correlation.


  • On average, a Florida inmate’s probability of re-offending drops by 2.9% for each higher grade of adult basic education tested.
  • Inmates who earn a GED are 8.7% less likely to recidivate than those who do not complete a GED program.
  • Inmates who receive a GED and improve their TABE score to 9th grade level or higher are 25% less likely to recidivate than those who receive a GED and have a TABE level of 8th grade or less.
  • Of the 32,304 inmates admitted into the Florida prison system in fiscal year 2004-2005, approximately 70% were assessed as having less than functional literacy skills (less than a 9th grade level) and 42% were classified as having only basic literacy skills (1st– 5th grade levels)
  • A higher percentage of prison inmates than adults living in households have Below Basic quantitative literacy (39 percent compared with 21 percent).
  • The average reading level of prison inmates is very low: below the 5th grade in one study and below the 8th grade in another study.
  • About 67% of prison inmates cannot write a brief letter explaining a billing error, read a map, or understand a bus schedule.
  • 9% of all prisoners with low literacy skills receive literacy training while in prison.
  • 49% of adults who have not been in prison education programs are re-incarcerated.
  • If the male high school graduation rate were increased by just 5%, annual crime-related savings to the nation would be approximately $5 billion dollars. The benefits would vary from state to state: South Dakota (at the low end) would save $1.6 million, Oklahoma (near the middle) would save $63 million, and California (at the high end) would save almost $675 million.—Saving Futures, Saving Dollars
  • Nationwide, three-quarters of state prison inmates are drop-outs, as are 59% of federal inmates. Drop-outs are 3.5x more likely than high school graduates to be incarcerated in their lifetime. African Americans are disproportionately incarcerated. Of all African American male drop-outs in their early 30’s, 52% have been imprisoned. 90% of the 11,000 youth in adult detention facilities have less than a 9th grade education.—Every Nine  Seconds in America a Student Becomes a Dropout


Literacy and Corrections- FLC
Florida Department of Corrections 
National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 2003
Oklahoma Literacy Resource Office