Blogs on English-Language Learners

Blogs on English-Language LearnersRSS
Larry FerlazzoFebruary 27, 2014

Editor's Note: This blog was co-authored by Katie Hull Sypnieski. Portions of this post are excerpted from their book, The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching English-Language Learners of All Levels.

Helping English-language learners develop proficiency in academic language has always been a priority for K-12 educators, and its importance has only been heightened with the advent of the Common Core. To better understand academic language, let's examine the distinction between two terms introduced by Jim Cummins, basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP), that have impacted both policy and practices in second-language education:

Read More
Todd FinleyJanuary 2, 2014

"Change your language and you change your thoughts." -- Karl Albrecht

Understanding Academic Language

Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields.

Read More

I'll admit, as the mom of a toddler I may be excessively preoccupied with the alphabet. But truly, letters are the building blocks of the English language and early literacy. Since November is National Novel Writing Month, I indulged in sharing a few of my favorite ABC videos. I started this playlist just for fun, and quickly found that the constraints of the 26-letter sequence provide a great framework for engaging lists of all kinds. As an exercise for your students, little and big, ask them to use the letters of the alphabet as a structure to get creative around a topic -- just see what they come up with!

Read More
Monica BurnsOctober 9, 2013

While it's possible to connect with educators around the world, language barriers can often get in the way of effectively communicating ideas.

This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to meet likeminded teachers from across North America at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in Austin, Texas. English, Spanish and French were spoken by the more than 200 tech-savvy attendees.

Read More
Marc AndersonJuly 18, 2013

I wanted to talk to someone. But who? It's moments like this, when you need someone the most, that your world seems smallest. -- Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Let's face it -- everyone has something to say some time or another. ESL learners are no different. As a teacher of either online English or classroom ESL instruction, it is important to make your students feel comfortable speaking. They may feel embarrassed about their inability to speak English fluently. Or perhaps they are just shy. As an instructor, you need to ask yourself how you are impacting the learning environment:

Read More
Maurice EliasJuly 9, 2013

In a recent blog, I interviewed Dr. Brad Lerman about the Inclusive Schools Climate Initiative (ISCI), which he directs. Here, I share with you examples of some specific ways that several New Jersey schools have used SEL-related approaches to foster best practices for school-wide inclusion and the creation of norms of acceptance and support.

Read More
Margaret BridgesJuly 2, 2013

This post stems from New Journalism on Latino Children, translating new research for activists, journalists and policy analysts. The project is based at the Institute of Human Development at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with the Education Writers Association and the Latino Policy Forum, and funded largely by the McCormick Foundation.

Read More
Monica BurnsMay 8, 2013

One of my favorite aspects of integrating technology into instruction is the availability of resources to support students with different learning needs. Students who are struggling can benefit from the excitement and engagement offered by a tool like the iPad. Teachers of English-Language Learners (ELLs) can use technology to promote growth in their students. Developing a strong vocabulary is an important area of focus for ELLs who are building their reading comprehension. Educators use a variety of strategies to grow readers in their classroom, and there are many free iPad apps that support vocabulary acquisition.

Read More
Larry FerlazzoOctober 4, 2012
"A picture is worth a thousand words."
-- Unknown

Though the origin of this popular adage is unclear, one thing is clear: using photos with English-Language Learners (ELLs) can be enormously effective in helping them learn far more than a thousand words -- and how to use them.

Read More