The Unspoken Communication of Body Language

by Valentina Gonzalez

“What seems logical, sensible, important, and reasonable to a person in one culture may seem irrational, silly, unimportant, and just plain ridiculous to an outsider.”

– Dr. Michelle Yzquierdo

Verbal communication holds value, but what we communicate with our body language also reveals the feelings and emotions behind our words. The tricky part is that the meaning of body language differs around the world. When we work with students and families from around the globe, being conscience of what we “say” nonverbally becomes particularly important. Continue reading “The Unspoken Communication of Body Language”

What Do We Do if We Suspect That Our English Learners May Not Pass Standardized Assessments?

by Carol Salva

“It’s easy to say ‘Don’t give up.’ But you don’t know how the person feels when the failure happens to them.”

Emily Francis

Some of your English learners will not pass their standardized assessments this year. How are you supporting them for this reality? Here are my top tips for helping these students keep moving toward their goals. Continue reading “What Do We Do if We Suspect That Our English Learners May Not Pass Standardized Assessments?”

Target the Talk

by Nancy Motley

Target the Talk

At the end of my first year of teaching, my principal asked what my plans were for the summer. After outlining my still-fuzzy summer agenda, she volun-told me to include getting ESL certified in those plans. She explained that it would be great for my career, that I’d earn a $500 stipend ($84.32 after taxes, right?), and most importantly, that she really needed me to help our English learners next year. Always up for a challenge, I agreed. Despite having had very little professional development regarding English learners, I was a good test taker and earned my certification. Upon returning to school for my second year, I had a class roster that included a majority English learners.   Continue reading “Target the Talk”

Create Public Success for Students

by Nancy Motley


Doesn’t everyone want to be successful? I know I do! I spend the majority of my time trying to be better…a better parent, a better friend, a better employee, and certainly a better teacher. In fact I can honestly say, I have never met anyone who likes to fail. I have, however, encountered many students who, because of their previous school experiences, begin to expect failure. I see it in a defeated look, in a tear falling down a cheek, and in the “eye roll” of my most apathetic student. These students do not like being called on in class, because they don’t know the answer or maybe because they lack confidence. Either way, they expect that they will be wrong. Compounding their uneasiness is the knowledge that all of their peers will be watching them as they fail. Continue reading “Create Public Success for Students”

Leading the Way! What’s Working for ELs in Texas: Call for Proposals

by Valentina Gonzalez

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All of you advocates and educational leaders are doing amazing work on campuses and in districts to support English learners. And because of that, great things are happening in classrooms across the state and the nation. You are planning instruction that is based on student needs. You are delivering quality lessons that invite and empower students. You are coordinating professional development opportunities and instructional coaching cycles that truly affect instructional practices. You are engaging parents and including them in their children’s education. And this is just the beginning. Continue reading “Leading the Way! What’s Working for ELs in Texas: Call for Proposals”

8 Ways to Scaffold Writing for English Learners

by Valentina Gonzalez

Scaffolding Writing 2

Scaffolds are temporary supports meant to be released when no longer needed. Think of buildings that are under construction. When the building is in the early phases, more scaffolding is necessary to sustain the structure. As the building progresses, less scaffolding is needed. Finally, before the construction is complete, the scaffolding is removed. Continue reading “8 Ways to Scaffold Writing for English Learners”

Mastering Vocabulary with Visuals

by Stephen Fleenor

It’s as simple as this: mastering academic vocabulary is essential for mastering content. Granted, this probably marks the one million and twenty-third time that statement has been said, but it merits repeating for three key reasons: first, academic vocabulary is the language by which content concepts are expressed; second, mastering today’s academic vocabulary is fundamental for mastering tomorrow’s content; and last but definitely not least, the ability of a student to master academic vocabulary is directly tied to his or her confidence in the subject. Continue reading “Mastering Vocabulary with Visuals”

The Quick Read Aloud: Creating Rich Literary Experiences for English Learners, 5 Minutes at a Time

by Lora Beth Escalante

Do you have a memory of being read to as a child or a student? Does a particular book come to mind? I can vividly recall coming in from recess during third grade, rosy cheeked and often sweaty, listening to the sweet voice of my teacher read aloud Charlotte’s Web to me and my equally mesmerized classmates. In middle school, it was To Kill a Mockingbird that really stuck with me; in high school, The Outsiders and Hamlet.

When I began teaching, I imitated my own positive experience. It was just a given that I would read aloud to my students. Now that I am an instructional coach, teachers often ask me if it is worth their time to read aloud to students, particularly English learners.

The answer is a resounding YES! Continue reading “The Quick Read Aloud: Creating Rich Literary Experiences for English Learners, 5 Minutes at a Time”