What We Learned Teaching Teachers in Honduras

by Dr. Mónica Lara and John Seidlitz



These are certainly trying times, in the midst of all of this, we wanted to share with you our recent experience working with teachers in Honduras. 

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to join the Catholic Diocese of Dallas on a medical and educational mission trip to Honduras, to the town of Bonito Oriental. On the medical side, doctors and volunteers were there to provide annual healthcare for the citizens. On the educational side, the goal was to help enhance the quality of education. In particular, we were working with one of the Catholic schools in the area to support the teachers there and lay the groundwork for a partnership that we hope will eventually provide training for many, if not all, of the local Catholic schools. Continue reading “What We Learned Teaching Teachers in Honduras”

Guest Post: 5 Structures for Virtual School

by Tan Huynh

This post was originally published on Tan Huynh’s fantastic blog, Empowering ELLs. We’ve reposted here with his permission.


Due to the increase of schools and districts offering distance learning or virtual school in response to the COVID19 outbreak, I wanted to share how my school is structuring online learning for students.  This is not an article directly related to working with language learners, but the suggestions can be applied to working language learners. Continue reading “Guest Post: 5 Structures for Virtual School”

Difference or Disorder?

Simple Steps to Start Your Conversations About Struggling ELs.

by Katharine Muller

English learners face many challenges in school: developing language, acquiring grade level content, and in some cases, adjusting to different social and cultural norms. But what happens when we suspect something more? How do we know it’s time to request a disability evaluation? Continue reading “Difference or Disorder?”

Sketchnoting with Students: The Why and How

by Valentina Gonzalez

Untitled_Artwork 76

Picture your classroom full of students. Are they a homogeneous group? Are they all alike? Do they learn the same way? Do they come with the same educational background? Do they bring the same life experiences? I’m going to guess your answer to those questions was no. In general, our classrooms are filled with students with varied backgrounds and experiences, and in turn, the way they perceive and learn may differ as well.  Continue reading “Sketchnoting with Students: The Why and How”

Raising the Bar for our English Learners

by Marcy Voss

I recently gave a workshop for teachers of English learners and had an interesting conversation with one of the participants. This teacher had immigrated with her family to the United States when she was in middle school. Though she’d had Algebra in her home country, her new school placed her in a remedial math class. She weathered through the boring work, but her high school-aged brother eventually dropped out because he became frustrated when the instruction he received was not matched to his advanced learning needs.  Continue reading “Raising the Bar for our English Learners”

Games for Growing Language

by Katie Toppel

Games for Growing Language, a Guest Post by Katie Toppel

When I asked my fourth and fifth grade students to reflect on what they enjoyed the most from our ELD lessons this school year, the overwhelming answer was games! I was really pleased with this response because, even though my students were mostly focused on the fun factor, the games they’d played were also designed to provide them with opportunities for interaction, language and vocabulary practice, content concept review, and autonomy. Games are a great addition to lessons because they are highly engaging, and students may not even realize the extent of the academic benefit they are receiving. Additionally, Hammond (2015) champions “gameifying” lessons as one way to make them more culturally responsive because, in addition to getting the brain’s attention and requiring active processing, games also incorporate cultural tools found in oral traditions with elements like repetition, solving puzzles, and making connections between unrelated ideas. Continue reading “Games for Growing Language”

Running Your Classroom with English Learners in Mind

by Natalia Heckman

Natalia PostAuthor’s note: I am relatively new to Seidlitz Education, but I am not new to teaching English learners. In fact, I myself am an English learner. The concepts and tools I will share in this blog post are research-based and classroom-tested. I have either used these techniques during the last ten years of teaching or observed them during my instructional rounds as a coach, tapping into my personal experience to reflect on what worked for me as a student.


The dynamics of your room will be as unique as your students, but there are some simple steps you can take to facilitate your English learners’ success. So, how do you set up and run your classroom with English learners in mind?  Continue reading “Running Your Classroom with English Learners in Mind”

Teaching Techniques to Scaffold Reading for English Learners

by Valentina Gonzalez

reading scaffolds

“Learners who know the language can concentrate on the academic content. But learners who do not know the language, or do not know it well enough, must devote part of their attention to learning and understanding the very language in which the content is taught” (Goldenberg & Coleman, 2010). Continue reading “Teaching Techniques to Scaffold Reading for English Learners”

Common Sense or Culture?

by Lora Beth Escalante

Happy Thanksgiving to you all (y’all, for some of you)!

This very American tradition has me reflecting on cultural differences and similarities. I occasionally forget that not all students in our classrooms know why we celebrate Thanksgiving. As teachers who receive and help educate students from across the globe, do we take the time to explain this holiday’s significance to our nation’s heritage? Most students would not be familiar with this national holiday, and yet they are given days or possibly an entire week off school to celebrate. Why do you find it important or unimportant to incorporate these types of discussions in your classroom (and I’m not just talking to history teachers)? What other American traditions or cultural caveats should students learn about?  Continue reading “Common Sense or Culture?”