Carmen Cambeiro, TESOL Masters Degree Candidate at Touro College on the importance of People Mapping

touro-collegeMs. Cambeiro holds a Bachelors degree in Adolescent education with a concentration in Spanish. She teaches foreign language at John Adams High School in Queens and loves her career and students. She finds my job to be very rewarding and loves the diversity within the school. In order to be the best teacher she can be, she is currently working on her Masters degree in TESOL at Touro College. This is her first semester in the program and is looking forward to the rest of the program.

As part of our online discussion forums, my cohort deep-dives into specific concepts and strategies. Ms. Cambeiro’s deeply reflective contribution on the importance of people mapping shows her thoughtfulness as a teacher preparing for a diverse classroom and keeping students well-being in mind.

The discussion question was:

  1. How do you prepare for People mapping at the beginning of the school year?  List 3 specific examples.

Ms. Cambeiro: Before I began teaching, I investigated the demographics and community I would be working in. I looked at what country most of my students would be from and researched as much as I could about their culture. I created a chart for myself to remember some of the cultural difference. The first few days of school, I make sure to observe my students in the classroom and hallways to see what would make them comfortable or uncomfortable. Most of the time, with teenagers, it is very easy to see what makes them uncomfortable and not. Some of the differences I researched I knew would be difficult since I come from a culture where physical touch is completely normal. I knew when parent-teacher conferences came around, I would have to remember these small changes to not offend parents and guardians unintentionally. I found it difficult to figure out which parent did not want to shake my hand, but over time it became much easier. I noticed that many times the students were acculturated in the society, but parents were not, and I had to know the difference once the time to meet them coming. I could imagine this is very different for ELL students and SIFE students. As well, when it comes to culture, I always try to understand the students’ religious holidays, especially when it comes to fasting. Many times, teachers do not take into consideration the holidays in which the students are in the building but may still be fasting. This can easily affect their performance and we must take this into consideration when teaching. Last year, I did not just research the holidays that many of my students were celebrating, but I allowed them to explain it to the class so that they understood the religious holiday as well. Of course, I made sure the students were comfortable with sharing this information with the class and lucky for me, most of them were! Aside from demographics and culture, I teach in an inner-city school where many of the students are going through a lot of personal and family issues at home. The first days of school I try to get a feel for what is going on in their homes. Some of the students may be in government housing or have immigration problems in which they live with family members instead of their parents. It is a difficult task to find this information out since the student may be uncomfortable sharing their personal information with someone they haven’t had a chance to trust yet. I always tried to find interesting ways to do this.  This year I decided to simply ask if there was anything in their life that could affect their behavior or performance in my class in a survey given on the second day. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of students who shared personal information with me. It really helped me find out what the student was like and how they would react to specific tasks or activities in class. For example, one student told me his father had recently passed away and he has been trying to stay strong for his mother. Another student told me about her social anxiety and her need to be in smaller groups instead of presenting in large groups. Just this small information can tell you a lot about your students and what you can do to ensure that they are comfortable and in a positive environment to learn L2. Last year, my student lost both of her parents to gang violence and her grandmother to old age in the same year and as you could imagine she was having a rough time. When reviewing family vocabulary words in class, I realized how upset she was getting and how much this was affecting her. I tried my best to do everything I could to comfort her and make the topic as easy and light-hearted as possible. I found that to be a difficult task, but if it wasn’t for me preparing and people mapping, I may have not noticed how uncomfortable she was in the class. People mapping is one of the most important things we can do as educators in the beginning and throughout the year.


Ortega, L (2009). Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Chapter 3: Crosslinguistic Influences, London and New York, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Nicole Pappas’ Contribution for GSE Touro College, TESOL Program, EDDN 634 Reading and Writing for ELL’s

GSE LogoEvery week my aspiring teacher candidates matriculated in the GSE, Touro College contribute to their online course in discussion forums.  I am struck by the depth and breadth of their analysis, thought processes and connections to their professional teaching practice.  Here Nicole Pappas, one of my students and her contribution to session 5.

Nicole Pappas graduated from SUNY Old Westbury in May of 2018 with a bachelors degree in general and special education grades 1-6. She is certified to teach both special and general education grades 1-6. Currently, she serves as a permanent substitute teacher in the Levittown Public School District.  She started the TESOL graduate program at Touro College as a teacher candidate for the TESOL Masters Degree.

The Common Core State Standards include initiatives for shifts regarding the teaching of literacy to ELLs. Discuss these shifts.

There Common Core State Standards are grounded by three shifts in ELA. According to Overview of the Common Core State Standards Initiatives for ELL’s the first shift is building knowledge through content-rich notification. To address this shift, teachers of ELL must assess and build ELLs prior knowledge about the content and structure of the nonfiction text. The teacher then must integrate the students’ background knowledge into the instruction. The teacher has to teach the ELLs the differences between the structure of informational and literacy text. The teacher must also design appropriate assessments in order for the students to demonstrate what they know and can do. The second shift is reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from both literary and informational text. Teachers of ELLs must be able to build on the students’ background knowledge while using evidence from different types of texts. The teacher must also create appropriate text-dependent questions for students at different levels of the English language. By teaching the ELLs the academic language necessary so that they can use evidence from the text in reading, speaking, listening, and writing. This is important because the students need to gather information from the text to answer or understand the text. The last shift is regular practice with complex text and its academic language. Teachers must analyze complex texts and make ELLs aware of the academic language found in the complex tests. Also, the teachers must be able to teach ELLs strategies to guess words that are unknown to them. Examples of these words are cognates, prefixes, roots, and suffixes. The teacher also has to teach the meanings of words that have multiple definitions. This can be difficult for some students because one word can mean many different things. The student has to use context clues in order to figure out the correct meaning of the word (p.5). 

2.   2.  How can we, as educators, incorporate these standards into our lessons for our ELL students?

We can incorporate these standards into our lessons for our ELL students by differentiating and scaffolding instruction. One way to scaffold instruction is to use visuals, synonyms, and examples to clarify the meaning of words. The teacher can also use sentence starters and guided questions. Also, the teacher can have the student preview the text in their home language. These techniques help the ELL student understand the Common Core State Standards. By pre-teaching the meanings of key vocabulary words, the ELL student already has a knowledge on what the topic is that the Common Core State Standard is addressing.

3. Discuss several instructional strategies that would be beneficial in teaching writing to ELL students.

One strategy that would be beneficial in teaching writing to ELL students’ is by providing feedback to the students. According to the article, “Second Language Writing and Research: The Writing Process and Error Analysis in Student Texts” by Johanne Myles, if the teacher doesn’t provide proper feedback on errors, the improvement of the students writing will not happen. The teacher needs to teach the students self-corrections and regulation. The students also need to be motivated to want to write. If a student is not motivated or interested in writing, the student is not going to want to try and write. The teacher should also have the students talk out loud with one another more. By having students verbally discuss the answers, and then writing it down, it can help the students process the information and then correctly write it down on paper. The ELL students should first brainstorm ideas by using an outline. The student then writes these ideas out and has the teacher revise them and look over them. The writer translates their plans into a representation of their goals. Teaching writing to ELL students can be beneficial and help students write to the best of their ability.

4.     How can we encourage our students at all levels to become proficient in writing arguments?

We can encourage our students at all levels to become proficient in writing arguments by reminding students that argument skills are used in their everyday life. According to the article “Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs” by Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull-Sypnieski, teachers can create a word chart and include words like problem, cause, effect, and solution. Students would then translate these words into their home language, and develop a list of common English synonyms. The teacher should also give the student’s sentence starters to help them start a sentence. For example, when given the question: what is the problem? The sentence starter would be, the problem is ___. The students first verbally address the problem, and then they write down the answer on paper. If the students are writing a persuasive essay, it is essential to pre-teach the vocabulary that the students might need in their writing. The students will need to research the material that is necessary for the persuasive essay. The teacher should put examples on the board with correct grammar and spelling in a sentence and also the incorrect way to write a sentence in English. For example, under the yes column, the teacher could write: The boy is tall. Under the no column, the teacher could write: The boy are all. This is teaching the students the correct and incorrect form of are and is. The teacher should help the student connect their prior knowledge to make inferences to the material they are learning. 

5.   Analyze (not describe) briefly Vygotsky Scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development with an eye to implications to YOUR professional teaching practice.

According to Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development: Instructional Implications and Teachers’ Professional Development by Karim Shabani, Mohamad Khaib, and Saman Ebadi (2010), Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development was used to describe the current level of development of the learner and the next level that is attainable through the use of environmental tools and adult or peer facilitation. Individuals learn best when working together with others during collaboration. I use this implication in my professional teaching practices because I ask my students to do turn-and-talks often. This helps students bounce ideas off of each other and students may feel comfortable to share and express their ideas with one another. Vygotsky perspective is to provide students with meaningful learning and problem-solving tasks that are slightly more difficult than what they do alone. I incorporated this into my teaching practice by creating STEM projects that are difficult for a student to solve alone, but easier when with a partner. One of the STEM activities I had my students do was to create a car using a water bottle, balloon, CD’s, string, and tape. The students had to draw their design of the car and had to think of ways to make it go as fast as it could. The students were able to bounce ideas off of each other and think of ways to make the car go as fast as it could. The students then raced the cars to see which car went the fastest. All of the students were familiar with what the purpose of a car is, they just had to use the recourses and tools to create the fastest car. 


  1. What fun activities do you do with your students that incorporate the CCSS into your lessons?
  2. How do you help your students organize their writing? What types of graphic organizers do you use? 

Ferlazzo, L., & Hull-Sypnieski, K. (2014, April). Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs. Retrieved October 12, 2018

Myles, J. (2002, September). Second Language Writing and Research: The Writing Process and Error Analysis in Student Texts. Retrieved October 12, 2018.

Shabani, K., Khatib, M., & Ebadi, S. (2010). Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development: Instructional Implications and Teachers’ Professional Development. English Language Teaching.


TESOL International Association. (2013). Overview of the Common Core State Standards Initiatives for ELLs. 1-13. Retrieved October 12, 2018.

Highlighting Touro TESOL Masters Candidate Michelle Mannino’s Discussion Contributions in EDDN 634 – Teaching Reading and Writing to ELL’s


GSE LogoWhat is the best teacher education, and how can we make sure that programs cater to teacher candidates needs, are vital issues that facilitators, professors, lecturers, colleges and universities around the world are struggling with.  One area that I focus on is highlighting teacher candidates contributions to classroom discussions to encourage continued research, publication and motivation to submit exemplary coursework.  Michelle Mannino is one of my teacher candidates in EDDN 634, and her contribution in our discussion board shows not only depth of text analysis but also connects the reading to personal and professional experiences. These personalized connections form a bridge between the academic knowledge and internalization of the readings.

Here Michelle, Mannino, a Masters Candidate in the TESOL/Bilingual Department at the Graduate School of Education, Touro College.

My name is Michelle Mannino, and I am an educator who has always loved working with children both in and outside of the classroom, which is where my dedication for teaching comes from.  Years later, I now enjoy and live my passion as a Special Education Teacher in Manhattan.  This is my second year teaching in an ABA 6:1:1 classroom, in which my students are diagnosed with Multiple Disabilities or Autism. I am currently certified in New York State in both General and Special Education (1-6).

I am looking forward to having my third certification in ESOL, as I am in my second semester at Touro College for my Masters Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

The Guiding Questions are in bold and refer to text reading (see references) of week 4 in the online course.

  1. Many studies conclude that there are five essential elements of reading instruction.  Discuss these elements.

The five essential elements of reading instruction are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. According to the article by Suzanne Irujo, “ELLs cannot develop phonological awareness in English until they are familiar with the sounds of English. This means that before explicit instruction in phonological awareness begins, children should have extensive experiences with fun and appealing songs, poems, chants, and read- alouds that will allow them to hear and reproduce the sound patterns of English.” (Irujo, 2007). Irujo also states in the text, “What Does Research Tell Us About Teaching Reading to English Language Learners?” that “…Phonics can be problematic because ELLs often have difficulty discriminating between similar sounds, and because the English language does not does not have a regular system of correspondence between letters and sounds.” (Irujo, 2007).  He also writes;  “Most ELLs will need additional time to master phonics.” Fluency is another element that is “…difficult for ELLs because their lack of proficiency in English slows down their ability to decode words and hinders their ability to understand the meanings of the words and how the words combine to produce meaningful sentences and discourse.” (Irujo, 2007). Next is vocabulary. The text states “Vocabulary is difficult for ELLs; even for quite proficient learners, the extent of their knowledge of vocabulary is only a fraction of what it is for native speakers of English, and the failure to understand even a few words of a text can have negative effects on comprehension.” (Irujo, 2007).  What the text says about comprehension is “Reading comprehension is more difficult for ELLs than for native speakers for various reasons.” (Irujo, 2007).  

Comprehension, in general, can be challenging for English speaking students.  For example, when in school myself, I had to go to the resource room for reading comprehension.  I read fluently, but had a hard time comprehending what I was reading. Still, to this day, I need to re-read texts more than once to fully comprehend them.  During this session, I was having difficulty understanding what the questions were asking.  So, I had to re-read slowly a few more times to fully understand what the questions were asking. 

2. What components make up an effective reading program for ELLs?

One important component that makes up an effective reading program for ELLs is picking an appropriate text.  According to the article “Integrating Strategic Reading in L2 Instruction”, it states “From the standpoint of teaching strategic reading, while interest is crucial, an equally important factor is the students’ proficiency levels in their L2 and the consequent choice of a text that is at an appropriate level of difficulty.” (Janzen & Stoller, 1998).  Finding a text that is not too easy and not too difficult for the learner, will allow them the opportunity to utilize more strategies in the daily routines.  (Janzen & Stoller, 1998).  Once a text has been chosen, the teacher needs to implement different strategies into the instruction. Some examples that are given of different strategies are predicting, asking questions, checking predictions or finding an answer to a question, summarizing, and rereading.  A lot of these strategies can be linked together as well, and incorporated into small group activities.  (Janzen & Stoller, 1998).  Janzen & Stoller state in their text that the most important part for a teacher is that they “…must be able to enable students to monitor their comprehension and to become more self-aware readers.” (Janzen & Stoller, 1998).  Comprehension is very important, because if a student cannot comprehend a text, then they are not understanding what they are reading and are unable to answer the questions incorrectly.  All teachers should differentiate and plan their lessons according to the strategies and their students as well.  (Janzen & Stoller, 1998).  

3. There are many theorists who have researched the question of how to teach reading to ELLs. Choose one from our readings and discuss his/her theory.  

When reading all of the texts, the one passage that stuck out to me the most was “Interacting and talking about text in particular ways is essential (Casanave 1988). Heath (1984),Vygotsky (1962), and others found that students develop literacy skills when teachers encourage them to talk about written language, when teachers model comprehension strategies for them, and when students have opportunities to talk to each other about how they make sense of a text (Hoffman and Heath, 1986).” (Mikulecky, 2008).  

I believe these theorists make a lot of sense.  I believe a student should talk about their written language as long as the teacher makes the students feel comfortable by supporting and modeling comprehension strategies for their students.  Then the students will have the opportunity to talk to their peers and help make sense of the text.  An important difference is “encouraging” and not “pressuring” the students to talk about their written language.  Maybe, a student can explain something more thoroughly when they express it.  With the guidance given to these students, it will allow them to become more independent readers.  Working in small groups and talking to one another about what they made out from the text, will help guide them through this reading process.  As teachers, we need to implement many strategies for our learners and put into consideration that their prior knowledge is very important especially in their native language.  


Irujo, S. (2007, January). What Does Research Tell Us About Teaching Reading to English Language Learners? Retrieved from

Janzen, J., & Stoller, F. L. (1998). Integrating Strategic Reading in L2 Instruction. Retrieved from

Mikulecky, B. S. (2008). Teaching Reading in a Second Language. Retrieved from RES-Mikulecky-Reading Monograph .pdf


Colleen Geraghty’s ELL Resources

As part of my continuing quest to feature Touro GSE teacher candidates work I chose the exemplary resource directory of my current teacher scholar Colleen Geraghty. I believe involving one’s teacher candidates in publication creates a bridge to continued, life-long teacher research in their chosen field.

Colleen Geraghty is certified in general education and educating students with disabilities both birth through 6th grade in her second year of teaching as a 4th-grade special education teacher at P.S.134 in Brooklyn. She is currently completing her third semester at Touro College as a part of the TESOL program.

Resource Repository for ELL Students

  • Student-Friendly Rubric (ex: Writing Rubric 4th Grade)
  • Videos (ex: Let it Go/Theme Lesson Plan)
  • Game-Based Learning (ex: Candyland)
  • Project Based Learning (Reading the Weather)
  • Use of Explicit Checklists
  • Imagine Learning
  • Folders for Mini-Charts with visuals (one side reading and writing, the other math for each chapter)
  • Colorin Colorado:
  • Readworks:
  • ESL Games World:
  • Color-Coded Self-Assessment System
  • Clothes-Line Anchor Charts

Student-Friendly Rubric (ex: Writing Rubric 4th Grade)Student Friendly Rubric: Description and Reason:   This is a resource that I made for my students.  I created this student-friendly rubric because I feel like it gives students a better idea of what is expected of them.  I tried to take out as many of the extra words as possible.  This a resource that they keep next to them during writing and can use to self-assess their own work.  It has definitely eliminated the confusion about what is expected from them in each category.  I think it is especially beneficial for ESL students because it explicitly tells them what they need to do in each category in order to get a 4.

Student Friendly Rubric:

Student Friendly Rubric


Videos (ex: Let it Go/Theme Lesson Plan)

Video link:

Lesson Plan: Reading Workshop- Thursday

Aim: Readers learn life lessons by thinking about difficult decisions that those characters make during their time period.

Connection: Readers, we’ve been in our historical fiction book unit for some time now. You’ve been getting to know your time period, your characters, and your stories. I need you to think back to our last unit, interpretation book clubs. During this unit, we did a lot of work on finding themes.

What is a theme?

I’m going to show you a video to help you refresh your memory about finding themes. As you’re watching the video, think about what lesson we can learn from it and what it is teaching us.

STOP AT 2:37

Before we go any further I want to ask you:

What are some ways that you already know to determine the theme when reading? T&T

Well, those are all great strategies. Today, we’re going to use a different strategy to learn life lessons when reading.

Teach: Readers, today I am going to show you another way we can learn the theme or life lessons. Readers can learn life lessons by looking at the decisions a character makes.   This is a really important strategy when we’re reading historical fiction because we want to study our character and see what decisions they make during a stressful time. These decisions were difficult for them.

We are going to use a chart to help us think about our characters and organize our information so we can more clearly see the life lesson.

Character Character’s Decision Outcome (Result) Life Lesson (What this teaches me about life)

Model:  Today we are going to our Holocaust Book, The Hermonica, to interpret a lesson learned.  We are going to be focusing on the boy.

  • Teacher answers question about character decision:
  • What is a stressful decision the boy had to make in the book?
  • What was the outcome or result of his decision? (What happened?)
  • What lesson does this teach us about life? Use these prompts to help you speak. T&T
    • In life…
    • It is important to….
    • You should always….
    • Now I know that…..
Character Character’s Decision Outcome (Result) Life Lesson (What this teaches me about life)
The Boy Even though he is locked up in a concentration camp and his family died, he decides to keep playing the harmonica for the guards. The other prisoners say, “Bless You.” They are grateful. In life, hope can get you through tough times.

Active Engagement: Readers, I want you to practice using this strategy. You are going to try to do it with Rose Blanche. You are going to be focusing on the character, Rose With your partner don’t for get to:

  • Think of an important decision the character made.
  • Think of the outcome or result of that decision.
  • Think about what life lesson this teaches you.
  • Remember to use your prompts to help your discussion grow.
Character Character’s Decision Outcome (Result) Life Lesson (What this teaches me about life)
Rose Rose decides to sneak her own food and bring it to the Jewish people in the concentration camps. Rose feeds the prisoners but ends up shot. It is important to help others even if it’s not easy.




It’s important to always listen to your heart and do the right thing.


Link: What did we do today? How did we do it?

How does noticing character decisions help us learn life lessons? T&T


Mid-Workshop Interruption: Readers, you want to keep in mind that some books have common themes or life lessons.  Even though we are studying the Holocaust as a class, when you go back and read about your own time periods, there may be common themes or themes that are the same. As you read, try to make text-to-text connections to see how the characters actions differed, but how they ultimately reached the same life lesson.

Teaching Share: Readers, I hope some of you tried using this strategy today where you think about a difficult decision your character made, think about the outcome of this decision, and think about a life lesson you learned.

I want you to do a self-assessment. If you tried this strategy and think you did a good job, put your thumb up. If you tried this strategy and need some more work with it, give me the fix it sign. If you tried this strategy and it was tricky and you need a lot more help, give me a thumbs down.

Now I want you to assess your partner. With the person next to you, Partner 1 show them how you found the life lesson in your book. Remember to tell them what strategy you used. Ok, one minute for partner one. Ok, now switch. Partner 2 show them how you found the life lesson in your book. Remember to tell them what strategy you used

-What decision did you character make?

-What was the outcome?

-What lesson did this teach you? Why?

Share aloud

Description and Reason:   This is a lesson that I made for my students because I know that visuals are extremely helpful and many of them are interested in Frozen.  Using something that they were familiar with to introduce the lesson, gave them the pre-knowledge that was necessary for this lesson.  They were able to use what they knew about Frozen (and what they learned from the video) and apply it to the unit of study.  The visuals supported them and helped them generate life lessons.  I also like to include the use of graphic organizers within my lessons to help support them when they go back to their seats to work independently.

Game-Based Learning (ex: Candyland)

Description and Reason:   The students in my class love to play games so I try to use as many as I can to make learning engaging for them.  This is a printable Candyland game board, I also have a large Candyland board on a science board.  Based on the lessons, I make the game cards based on the content we are learning.  I make the game cards on index cards.  We use this a lot in math, for example, to review our basic multiplication facts.  We also use games a lot when learning about grammar.  This is an engaging way for students to learn and they like competing with one another to win.  It is a great resource to help ESL students collaborate with other students and practice listening and speaking.

Project Based Learning (Reading the Weather)

(This is a model from last year that I will use to show my class.)

project-based.jpgDescription and Reason: I try to incorporate Project Based Learning into my reading and writing units.  This is a great way for students to build content and language because they need to perform research in order to complete their projects.  Students are required to display their project through a print source (board, PowerPoint, etc.) and they are also required to use an arts approach (song, skit, art) to teach the class about their topics.  We also invite the parents to come and watch the presentations, which encourages students to do their best work because they want their parents to be proud of them.  This is a great way for ESL students to collaborate and work in groups to help develop their language skills.

Use of Explicit Checklists

Reading Word Problems Checklist (RUNS)

____ Read the problem.

____ Underline the important information

____ Name the problem type: “This is a __________________problem.”

____ Strategy Sentence: “I am going to use the ________ strategy    because_____________________.”

Revised Checklists (highlighted important parts):

Description and Reason: The first checklist is a checklist that I made to help my students with reading math word problems.  Checklists help my students complete various strategies in the correct order.  I also like to support my ESL students by providing them sentence stems on the checklists that they can use to help them complete their work.  The second checklist is a checklist with pictures that I highlighted so they know the important parts of each section.  I like to make checklists and revise them for my students because it explicitly tells them what to do for assignments.  It is a great tool for them to make sure they are doing their work correctly and self-assess themselves.

  • Imagine Learning

Description and Reason: Imagine Learning is a website that consists of over 4,300 engaging activities that teach critical language and literacy concepts such as reading and listening comprehension, basic vocabulary, academic language, grammar, phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency. Kids love the program because it’s fun and challenging. This program is differentiated, standards-aligned, rigorous, and effective.  ESL students are given a username and a password, so they can access the program in school and at home.  They are given at least two 20-minute periods a week to go on Imagine Learning and practice whatever skills they need support with.  They love it because they able to learn and have fun at the same time!

  • Folders for Mini-Charts with visuals (one side reading and writing, the other math for each chapter)

Description and Reason: I constantly provide my ELL students with mini-charts so they can use them as reference tools.  Last year, I kept finding them on the floor and then they were not useful.  I started a strict system with these folders so that students can keep their charts neat and so they are easily accessible when they need to refer to them.  For math, I give out a pack of mini-charts at the beginning of each chapter.  For reading and writing, I gave my students daily charts specific to the day’s lesson.  I love seeing my students take these out to refer to them when they are stuck when I may not be available right at that moment.  It is also great because they have a reminder of the lesson we did during the day when they go home.

Description and Reason:  This is a website that has many ELL resources separated by age.  It contains a lot of great resources for educators and families.  It includes articles about teaching ESL students, resources for families, literacy calendars, book recommendations, and so many more great resources.  I decided to include this because before I started my masters and did not know a lot about ESL students, I would use this to help educate myself on the topic.  I think it has a lot of great resources for teachers and also has a lot of resources for us to help parents of our ESL students.  I try to help my parents out as much as I can in ways such as providing resources and trying to find local programs at libraries for them.


Description and Reason: Readworks is a website that I started using years ago while I was completing my student teaching and didn’t always have access to a lot of books.  This website is free to join and has many fiction and non-fiction articles separated by grade level.  Each passage has comprehension questions attached to this.  I find these articles great for small group work or if students need extra practice and I can send it home as a study packet.  It is a good resource to have because sometimes we may forget to get a text ready and this is easily accessible.

ESL Games World:

Description and Reason:  This is a great resource for students to play games on the computer or IPAD.  This website has games on the website, downloadable games, printable games, PowerPoint games, and many great resources!  The games are separated by grade levels.  They offer a wide variety of games including math, reading, grammar, vocabulary, and much more.  This website offers a great way to engage students in learning.  I like using this in my classroom because I can easily differentiate the games based on what my students need support with and depending on their levels.  Students love playing these games and I can also help support their language development even more by having students collaborate in teams.

Color-Coded Self-Assessment System

Description and Reason: I think that it is important for students to self-assess themselves, so I have some practices in place to allow them to.  Students self-assess themselves many times a day using these assessment rings.  I also have a parking lot on my door where student place their exit tickets (post its) and self-assess themselves on the back of their post it notes.  I was a little hesitant at first, but my students are honest in their assessments and it is a benefit for me when deciding who to pull for small groups.  I also have checklists for math for each lesson where I assess students on 3 math problems and they are assigned a color: green, yellow, or red.  It is a great way for me to record student data and see where they are struggling in order for me to pull my small groups.

Clothes-Line Anchor Charts

Description and Reason: Anchor charts are a great resource for ESL students.  Since space in my classroom is limited, I decided to place clotheslines across the room.  I am able to hang about 30 anchor charts at a time which is a great resource for students.  They know that they are able to get up in order to see the charts and use it as a reference when they are doing independent work.  I also have all of these charts shrunk and laminated in a binder and have multiple copies for students to keep.  I have separate clotheslines for reading, writing, and math.  I think it is a great way to get the most beneficial use of anchor charts.



The English Article System or An English Article System? Determiners and ELL’s

TESOL-direct states “It is almost impossible to discuss the noun phrase without referring at some stage to the class of words known as determiners, since more often than not a noun will occur with one or more words from this grammatical class. Determiners include articles (a/an, the) and quantifiers.” DEFINITE AND INDEFINITE ARTICLES IN ENGLISH GRAMMAR

According to Julia Miller, the English article system presents many problems for non-native speakers of English, particularly when they do not have an equivalent in their first language (2005)  “…identifying countability may be problematic for the learner”. John M. Lipski, an American linguist writes “Articles in English are one of the key indicators of native speaker competence, and the ease with which native speakers use articles can lead them to ignore the complexities of the system and often be unaware of their importance to English syntax.” (Lipski, 1978, p.13).

The term indefinite article refers to a or an. The term definite article refers to the. Once the noun is identified by an ELL as noncountable or countable, the student will need to determine if an article is necessary. The indefinite article is stated to be less problematic for most students because its use is restricted to singular, countable nouns (Miller, 2005). A study in 2002 by Lui and Gleason’s indicating that students may initially overuse the definite article even after the following instruction on its use and the use of the may be generic or non-generic (Miller, 2005). Definite articles are used when talking about or referring to something specific and indefinite articles are used when referring to something non-specific.

For example:


“The duck” (Definite) vs A duck (Indefinite)”. ‘The duck’ refers to a specific duck; however, referring to ‘a duck’ it refers to any duck.

Other struggles for Emergent Bilinguals include linguistic interference and cross-linguistic influence with quantifiers such as little, few, many, and much (Pesce)  and singular and plural noun determination as native langue nouns may be plural in their mother language but not in English (Miller, 2005).

Liu, D. & Gleason, J. L. (2002). Acquisition of the article the by nonnative speakers of English: An analysis of four types of use. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24, 1–26.

Lipski, J.M. (1978) On the use of the indefinite article. Hispania, 61, 105-109.

Miller, J (2005). Most of ESL students have trouble with the articles. International Education Journal, 5 (ERC2004 Special Issue), 5th ser., 80-88.  J. Miller Text

Pesce, C. How to teach countable and uncountable nouns