Marissa Leis, graduate TESOL student at Touro College on Cross-linguistic Influences

Many experts on student-centered online learning agree that the discussion board is the place where some of the most important learning can happen. Robust Discussion Board contributions not only show an engagement with the material read but also analysis and reflection. This requires thoughtfully crafted questions by facilitators for candidates to respond to.

Many experts on student-centered online learning agree that the discussion board is the place where some of the most important learning can happen. Robust Discussion Board contributions not only show an engagement with the material read but also analysis and reflection. This requires thoughtfully crafted questions by facilitators for candidates to respond to.

Marissa Leis is a graduate student at the TESOL program at Touro College. “My goal is to continue my education to get new strategies to better assist my students in a forever changing world.”

Understanding Second Language Acquisition by Lourdes Ortega – Class Discussion for Chapter 3: Cross-linguistic Influences

From reading Ortega and thinking about your own experience/observations as a teacher and a learner, how can an L1 negatively influence an L2 (e.g., L1 Mandarin Chinese and L2 English)? What about the other way around (e.g., L1 English and L2 Mandarin Chinese)? Are there any interesting asymmetries? (The Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis would predict reciprocal influences.) In your written response, please choose two languages to exemplify your discussion.

A way in which Mandarin Chinese can negatively influence English would be in writing.  In Chinese, there are different characters used that can sometimes represent more than one letter which is different from how we write in English.

From reading Ortega and thinking about your own experience/observations as a teacher and a learner, how does L1 positively influence L2 (e.g., L1 Arabic and L2 English)? What about the other way around (e.g., L1 English and L2 Arabic)? Are there any interesting asymmetries? (Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis would predict reciprocal influences.) In your written response, please choose two languages to exemplify your discussion.

From my experience, L1 has positively influenced L2 in the sense that both languages require a noun and a verb.  This basic knowledge of sentence structure is beneficial when learning a new language because it gives you a simple template to create sentences.  This, depends on the language.  I can only speak for learning Italian.  I know that other languages have different sentence structures.

The text explains the differences between learning pronoun placements in French and English.  Someone learning English rarely shows difficulty learning this placement however it is the opposite when learning French if you are a native English speaker.  “By contrast, for L1 English learners of French, the learning of what is essentially the same difference but in the opposite direction poses much more difficulty, and the error Je vois les is indeed attested.” (Ortega 32)  The reason for this is in fact similarities of the two languages that causes the confusion.  Since the languages are similar, this leads to misconceptions.

What other issues, such as language universals, complicate crosslinguistic influence? And how is it that sometimes, even if negative transfer occurs, it does not result in ungrammaticality? Please give examples to support your claims.

When a language is similar in the way the words are arranged, this can cause confusion and misconceptions which leads to a hindrance in learning the language.  Language universals can also complicate language acquisition.  They can also lead to new learnings about L1.  “There are also attested occasions where the benefits accrue from rather abstract similarities, as when a grammatical category in the L1 sheds light on a different grammatical category in the L2, thus facilitating the discovery and learning of the new category.” (Ortega 43)  If a student is learning about grammatical likeness in L1 and L2, this can result in the student learning more about their native language and the rules.

Even if a negative transfer occurs, this does not always result in ungrammaticality because students sometimes remember the sentence structures.  If they are pronouncing a word incorrectly, it does not affect the grammar of the sentence.

How can understanding these phenomena better inform our understanding of cross-linguistic influence? Please give examples to support your claims.

Understanding these phenomenons can help me in my teaching methods.  Before reading this chapter I thought that having a language that is similar in its grammatical form will cause the language to be more easily understood and acquired.  After reading this chapter, I realized that this can actually have the opposite effect.  When instructing students, I will first become acquainted with their native language and focus on the similarities and differences.  For similar characteristics, I will point out how English is similar and the small ways in which it may be different.  I will focus my Sheltered Instruction curriculum around these issues and common misconceptions. If I know that in French the pronoun comes before the verb, then I will work on questions techniques in my lesson.  I will gear my lessons so that they revolve around these techniques.

What do you think of Michael Long’s Interaction Hypothesis? What type(s) of corrective feedback do you use the most, do you think that is the best to use? How does this affect your students?

According to Michael Long’s Interaction Hypothesis, language learners learn from comprehensible input which requires them to determine and draw meaning from interactions.  I believe that this is beneficial for language learners.  When learning something new, it is important to understand the meaning of what you are doing or saying.  This promotes a deeper understanding and will allow the learner to remember what they are learning.  A comparison of this would be when one is learning math.  If the math problem is on paper, a student may be able to do it. When the time comes for the student to generalize the information and execute it to a real-life situation, it may be more difficult.  When the student is allowed to perform the math problem a few times during a real-life situation such as measuring the perimeter of a yard to buy fencing, this will create a true and deeper understanding that the student will remember long term.  The same goes for learning language. If a student is studying vocabulary words on flash cards, they may remember the words temporarily.  If students are spoken to and are required to find out the meaning of a sentence, they will most likely have a long-lasting understanding of the information.

A way to use this with the students is to repeat a sentence in L2 and allow the student to interpret the meaning of the sentence along with the vocabulary that is used.  A method that is effective is TPR. (Total Physical Response)  This method allows students to use their whole body to act out words and phrases that create a lasting impression.  As a teacher, I can recite actions and phrases in L2 and have the students act out the action after I model it.

Work Cited:

Ortega, L. (2009). Chapter 1-3: Introduction. In Second Language Acquisition (pp. 1–50). New York, NY: Hodder Education.

The Collaborative for Inclusive Education Workshop by Dr. Jasmin Cowin: Transcending Boundaries through Family Literacy: An Exploration of ENL Learning and Teaching with Technology

The Collaborative for Inclusive Education envisions a time when all public schools welcome and successfully educate all students, regardless of their abilities or background. To achieve this goal, they empower NYC charter schools to develop high quality inclusive educational environments by providing professional development opportunities, resources, school-based guidance and access to local and national best practices and renowned special populations’ experts. Here my workshop presentation as a share to anyone interested in Family Literacy: An Exploration of ENL Learning and Teaching with Technology.

The Collaborative for Inclusive Education envisions a time when all public schools welcome and successfully educate all students, regardless of their abilities or background. To achieve this goal, they empower NYC charter schools to develop high quality inclusive educational environments by providing professional development opportunities, resources, school-based guidance and access to local and national best practices and renowned special populations’ experts. Here my workshop presentation as a share to anyone interested in Family Literacy: An Exploration of ENL Learning and Teaching with Technology.

Workshop Collaborative for Inclusive Education Public

Touro TESOL Teacher Candidate Christine Agnello’s website review for EDDN 639 – Trends and Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition

Christine Agnello is currently a TESOL candidate at the Touro College TESOL graduate program. She has worked with children for over fifteen years and looks forward “to becoming a classroom teacher who can help my English language learners succeed in their academic career.”

Ms. Angelo’s submission is exemplary as it focuses on 6 websites or applications featuring:

  1. The Common Core Standards as they relate to ELLs
  2. The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT)
  3. The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), the Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English Protocol (SDAIE), and the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach Protocol (SIOP)
  4. NCLB & AYP requirements and RTTT
  5. Bilingual Education

Website 1: Common Core 

This website is about the New York State common core standards and how they apply to English language learners. This website offers a wide variety of information to help guide parents and guardians in understanding the common core standards and how they apply to ELLs. When you first click on this link, you are brought to a page that showcases a video of a bilingual classroom; from there, you will find information regarding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It is explained that the CCSS are meant to make sure that all children succeed once they graduate from high school. This website explains that the CCSS are essential because they help all children, regardless of their age, race, gender, or background. The website offers a description of the CCSS, which states clear expectations for what each student should know in key critical areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This website is meant to provide parents and guardians with the standards as a way to help them work along with their child’s teachers in guiding their children to be successful. 

A positive aspect of this website is that it provides a ‘Parent Workshop Backpack Guide’ in multiple languages. This will allow all families to become familiar with the CCSS, regardless of their home language. The backpack guide is a two-page information sheet, which details the CCSS and what they should expect to find in their child’s backpack in regards to learning. This information is vital to helping parents keep up to date on what is going on in their child’s academic learning. This website also offers a wide variety of information about ELLs regarding their education. Parents and guardians can navigate the website and view extra details by clicking on the links located on the left side of the screen. While it is significant that the website offers so much information, I do believe a negative is that there might be too much information which will cause parents and guardians to become overwhelmed. 

In the future, I would use this website to help guide the parents and guardians of my English language learners. I may reference this website during parent/teacher conferences, and use it as a guide to show parents and guardians where their children are in terms of their academics and what steps we could take together to get them on the level they need to be in regards to the common core standards. 

Website 2: NYSESLAT 

This website is designed to detail The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT). This website offers a wide variety of information in regards to the NYSESLAT, such as a description of the exam, how the exam is measured, and a checklist for review. This website provides a lot of information regarding the exam, and on the left side of the screen, you can view resources and materials that will be used to assess the exam. 

While this website is full of a lot of information, I do believe that it could be overwhelming for English language learner parents and guardians. The website is only in English, which will make it difficult for others to read and understand. At the bottom of the screen, this is another link which brings you to a ‘Parent Brochure.’ Once you click on this link, you are brought to another website which provides a brochure detailing the exam in a variety of languages. 

Although this website may be more geared towards teachers, I believe it is helpful for parents and guardians to view the information provided here. This information can help parents and guardians understand what the NYSESLAT is and what it entails for their children. In the future, I would love for my school’s main office to provide the information regarding this website to newly registered parents, as they can view the data before their child takes the exam. 


Website 3: The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) 

This website is designed to offer you information regarding The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP). As stated on the homepage of the website, it is understood that The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol approach is for teaching content to English language learners in a strategic way which will make the subject matter and its concepts comprehensible while promoting student’s English language development. This website provides information on the eight components of SIOP, as well as resources that can be used to implement. 

This website is very clean; there aren’t many areas to explore, which makes it easy to navigate. When you view the eight components link, you are brought to a well thought out PDF that details the eight components that you can use. This information can be useful for future teaching and is easily accessible. A negative to the website is that unfortunately, some of the links do not work, and you are brought to a website that is not helpful. 

In the future, I would use this website to help reference how I could use the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) in my classroom. With its clean interface, I feel like I would access it more often, as all the information easily laid out for me. 

Website 4: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act 

This website provides an article detailing the information regarding the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act, and how it especially applies to English language learners. The article explains that the NCLB act requires all English language learners to receive quality instruction for learning English and grade-level academic content. This act allows flexibility for choosing programs of instruction, especially for ELLs. The article explains that states are required to develop standards for English language proficiency, and to link those stands to the state’s academic content standards. The article goes on to list the requirements of the NCLB act in correlation to English language learners. 

This website provides short but very insightful information regarding the No Child Left Behind act and its relation to English language learners. It gives details that I believe would be beneficial to parents and guardians of English language learners. The website provides alternative links to some terms which are not easily understood by parents or guardians unfamiliar to the act. While I find the site useful, I do find it disconcerting that the information is only provided in English.  

In my future, as an educator, I would use this website to inform parents/guardians about the No Child Left Behind act. I think this website would be excellent if it were used during a parent/guardian workshop, which could be set up for the beginning of the school year. This workshop could be conducted during the parent/guardian outreach time, which is mandated by the Department of Education for all teachers on Mondays and Tuesdays. I think it would be beneficial for there to be translators available, as each translator could assist in helping parents and guardians of a variety of languages understand what is being discussed. 

Website 5: 

This website provides information regarding the requirements for bilingual education and English as a new language program. This website offers a fact sheet, which gives you an outline and guide on these requirements. The website starts off by providing a background in bilingual education and English as a new language program and explains the amendments that are required of school districts in order to provide English language learners with opportunities to achieve the same educational goals and standards established for all students. The website also contains resources for English language learners, as well as definitions of key terms regarding English language learners. 

This website provides a lot of information and has it broken down into easy to follow sections. I believe that this information is vital for any teacher of English language learners, and it is essential to be knowledgeable of this information to reach your students. The definitions of the key terms are a positive aspect of this website, as they can be referenced frequently for clarification. Along the top of the site you can find resources that lead you to another page that has more information regarding educational news. The website itself is self-explanatory and easily accessible. There is also a PDF fact sheet, which is beneficial for understanding the information. 

In my future endeavors as an educator, I will use this website to reference the NYS requirements for bilingual education and English as new language programs. I think it is essential to keep yourself abreast of any new information regarding these programs, as that knowledge will help me better understand the opportunities available for my English language learners, and how I can apply them to my teachings. 

Application 6: NY State Learning Standards, developed by MasteryConnect, for ios.

This application provides you with an overview of the New York State Common Core Standards. Upon opening the application, you are brought to a straightforward screen which states the standards and information regarding the developer of the application. Once you click on standards, you are brought to a screen that allows for a personal search, or you may click between standards for mathematics, language arts, social studies or science. Each standard provided you with a list of kindergarten through high school, and as you further explore the application you will be brought to the common core standards for each grade in each subject area. You can change the font, and you can make notes that can be referenced at a later time. 

I believe that this application is extremely beneficial to teachers. This application provides you with all the information you need regarding the New York State Common Core Standards, at the tips of your fingers. They are easily accessible, and the design of the application is clean and clear. There isn’t much to get confused by, even there are a lot of standards to reference. I believe that the ability to add notes and providing the user to do their own search is especially helpful. The only negative that I found was the lack of a bookmark of some sort just so it is easier to find the next time. 

I know that I will be able to implement this application in my future teaching practice, as it will provide a guide for myself to ensure that my lessons are aligned with the New York State Common Core Standards. I will be able to reference this application when designing my lessons and use the information provided to me to confirm that I am indeed teaching the information I need to help my students become successful. 



Touro TESOL Teacher Candidate Lissette Lara’s website review for EDDN 639 – Trends and Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition

Assignment Purpose TESOL STANDARD 3: PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING INSTRUCTION 3.e. Candidates use and adapt relevant materials and resources, including digital resources, to plan lessons for ELLs, support communication with other educators, school personnel, and ELLs and to foster student learning of language and literacies in the content areas. Analysis and implementation into teacher practice of websites specific to TESOL Field.

Lissette Lara earned her Bachelor Degree from City College of New York in Bilingual Childhood Education. Currently, she pursues her Masters in TESOL at Touro College. This is her third year teaching 5th grade in a bilingual class.

Assignment Purpose TESOL STANDARD 3: PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING INSTRUCTION 3.e. Candidates use and adapt relevant materials and resources, including digital resources, to plan lessons for ELLs, support communication with other educators, school personnel, and ELLs and to foster student learning of language and literacies in the content areas. Analysis and implementation into teacher practice of websites specific to TESOL Field.

Lissette Lara’s website collection and description for classroom activities:

Website  – Go Noodle –

This website provides SEL and Mindfulness, Sensory and Motor Skills, Curricular, School Life videos that usually last about two to four minutes.  These videos require exercising or dance and sing along with the songs. Or help the students with skip counting are reading strategies.  The students can take a yoga or breathing break.  Gonoodle offers kids an opportunity to act silly or learn the coping skills they need in life. The bottom line is that it helps the students relax and focus on classroom lessons.   “The benefits of physical fitness and relaxation on learning are well documented, and GoNoodle provides teachers with a fun, interactive way to get students moving” (Common Sense Education). One of the weaknesses of Gonoodle that if you don’t have steady internet connection it won’t work.

I use these videos early in the morning when students arrive from lunch or any time the schools need a mental break.  When I play the videos, I turn on the closed caption so that my ELL are able to read along with the song.  I have also noticed that this helps them understand what is being said.  After several times of listening to the song, they can sing along with the song.  I believe this activity helps students because they practicing different parts of language such as speaking, reading and listening.  It is stated that  “watching short videos on art, music, dance, science or other relevant themes reciting rhymes, jokes, and poetry using music, rhythm, songs, tongue twisters, or a mnemonic device that reinforces the meanings of challenging words” help develop language skills for Entering and Emerging students (Best Practices for Teaching ESL: Speaking, Reading, and Writing).  These practices are beneficial for all students who would need to take The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) because there are listening and speaking components on the test.

Flocabulary –

Flocabulary is one of the websites I use the most in my classroom. Flocabulary videos are “hip-hop videos and creativity tools give teachers new ways to captivate students while engaging them in academically rigorous content” (  The website includes learning videos in different areas of content.  Teachers can find lessons on math, reading, writing, science, social students and vocabulary content.  These videos are a great tool to connect with prior knowledge or to reinforce topics covered in class.   Along with the video lesson, the website a list of vocabulary, a reading passage related to the video lesson and lyrics to the songs, which could be printed for students.

I utilize these videos during my lesson to build understanding or connect with students’ prior learning.  For example, in 5th grade, our first unit in math is place value.  The student have prior experience with place value (one, tens, hundreds, thousands…) but not right of the decimal (tenths, hundredths thousandths). Before my lessons, I would hand out the vocabulary words to my ELL and struggling students, review with them to ensure they understand.  Then I would play the video reinforcing what I just taught my small group students.  By using these strategies of pre-teaching vocabulary, I’m setting up my students for success. “SIOP teachers increase attention to vocabulary instruction across the curriculum so students become effective readers, writers, speakers, and listeners.   My students who are learning the language will have an entry point because they will able to use the vocabulary words in their writing and speaking with peers.   In addition, prior visual support for students who may different learning styles and need another point of view of the content being taught.

Reading A-Z –

Reading A –Z that offers leveled text for students. This program offers on-line text with comprehension questions.  Students are able to read along with the text using the audio feature the program provides. Teacher enter their students’ name and assign them with a user name and password.  Students can log on at school or at home.  Teachers can track students’ progress, review the comprehension question scores.  Once have read and pass test, the program automatically levels the student to the next level. One of the benefits of this program is that they can use a range of device to use it, for example, it can be downloaded to PC and Apple computers, tablets and phone.  One disadvantage of the program is that the student needs internet at home to access the program.

As an educator of ELL and different levels, using this program during reading ensures that every student is reading. Most of my students are reading between M-U reading levels, however I have two students that are entering student and are reading at D and K levels.  In my school, we dedicate one hour for independent reading.  During this time, I designate a place in my room where they can go with a computer (each) log on and read. Students are encouraged to read English text, but they can also read text in Spanish.  I believe that listening to the text more than once and reading the text to each helps with comprehension, pronunciation and development of language. I also use this program because it prepares to for future assignments and test they will need to take in the future.   “Audiobooks also help students engage in text and gain exposure to more words, ultimately improving vocabulary, comprehension and critical thinking skills.” (Moran). In addition to practice their reading, this students begin to develop independency and ownership over their learning.

CommonCore Lit –

I accidentally found this website late last year when looking for text for my small groups.  I believe its’s a new website.  This website offers different types of text such as essays, poems, short reads at grade level. One of the features of the website is that you can select text based on grade, genre, and common core standards.  Teachers decide whether to assign text to the whole class or to individual students.  The time I’ve used it, I search for text that address standards my students are struggling.  The website also offers text in Spanish for ELL students.  A weakness of the website the need to add more text for 5th and 6th level.

Like I mentioned earlier, texts are accompanied by common core aligned questions.  The main reason I use it is that my students will be taking the ELA State Exam.  The structure of the questions are similar to the ones on the state exam.  I believe that if the students have opportunities to practice these questions and become familiar they will know how to answer the question on the test.

I try to incorporate text during science, social studies, read loud and small groups.  I model for the class how I close read the article, keeping in mind what the question is asking me to answer.  I give the students the opportunity to discuss and explain their thinking with their partners.  I believe that giving children a chance to discuss because answer allows them to explore answers.

Brain Pop – 

Brainpop is a website that offers animated video on a range of topics which include quizzes, games and additional activities.  The topics are geared for grades 3-12 in areas of ELA, math, science, social studies, health, art and technology. The main characters of the videos are Moby and Tim. Teachers or students search a topic and an animated video (three –five minute) explains describes or analyzes the topic. Some of the activities Brainpop offers are sorting tasks, vocabulary review and interactive games.  Just like many of the websites mentioned earlier, teachers can search video using state common core standards.  Brainpop has several subgroups that are more specific to students’ needs. For example, Brainpop Jr, Brainpop Espanol, BrainPop ESL.

In my class I usually utilize Brainpop to provide additional information for my students on a topic we are learning in class. I usually play the video three times to ensure we understand the topic.  The first time, I tell the class we are just watching to get an overview on the topic.  I put prompts that promote discussion (What was this really about, what makes you think this, What in the video makes you think this?)  The second time, I have the students take notes on certain parts of the video, during this time the students are practicing their listening and writing skills.  Once they have finished the video, I ask the students to turn and talk again.  However, this time around they need to share what new information have they learned. Again, displaying prompt to encourage discussion (Before I thought,______ now I know _______,  I realized that __________).  The last time we watch we try to make connection throughout the video, or practice summarizing skills.  I would send the students back to their seats have them writing about the topic.  I believe the more opportunities ELL practice reading, writing, listening and speaking language the higher chances they will have to develop L2.

Kahoot –

Wow, finally my favorite website to use with my students.  Kahoot is highly engaging and interactive. This program offers quizzes or teacher-specific made quizzes in which students compete one on one or in teams. Teachers create a free account and search through quizzes on related topic or standards.  Once teacher selects the quiz, teacher displays quiz pin. Students need a laptop or tablet to join the online quiz.  Next, students create a username and enter the game.  Teacher begins the game when all students have logged on.  The question is displayed on the smartboard for all students to read with four possible answers.  Students use their computers to enter their response.  Once all students have answered, the score board displays who is in the leading, and shows the correct answer.  If I were to say the only negative thing about Kahoot is that teacher needs to have enough laptops or tablets for all students or enough for students to share.

I use Kahoots during all content area, but mostly in math.  Using Kahoot is a quick assessment that I can use to identify who are my students who need extra help.  For my entering and emerging ELL I have them work with partners at the beginning, but usually by the end of the year they are playing independent.  I choose quizzes which address heavily tested standards in math and ELA.


Gonoodle Review For Teachers, Ericka D

Best Practices For Teaching Esl: Speaking, Reading, and Writing,

Components Of the Siop Model,

7 Ways Audiobooks Benefit Students Who Struggle with Reading, Kimberley Moran –

Touro TESOL Teacher Candidate Elcidana Camacho website review for EDDN 639 – Trends and Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition

Elcidana Camacho is a graduate student at Touro College majoring in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). As an immigrant student herself, she recognizes the value in providing high-quality education to English Language Learners. Currently, Elcidana teaches second-grade bilingual education at a New York Public School.

As a TESOL Professor, I thought about the Blueprint for English Language Learner/ Multilingual Learner Success when designing this assignment. On page 3 in the Blueprint it states that: Districts and schools engage all English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners in instruction that is grade-appropriate, academically rigorous, and aligned with the New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core and P-12 Common Core Learning Standards by anchoring instruction by strategically using research-based practices (e.g., multimedia, visuals, graphic organizers, etc.).  The question was: How can technology and its applications be folded into a course sequence with practical application to TESOL teacher practice?

Assignment description: Course participants will find at least 6 websites or applications. The submitted assignment should include 1) links to the websites, 2) a brief description of each site and its weaknesses and strengths,  and 3) how you will implement or apply them in your own professional teaching practice including parent outreach, and ELL advocacy. The writing must be graduate-level and authentic.  12 fonts, double space, minimum 6 pages – 1 page per website.

Website Review


Starfall is a free website appropriate for children from preschool through second grade. It is an outstanding resource for special education students and ELLs to improve their language.  Some benefits of this website are the ample variety of interactive games, activities, songs, and stories for readers in the beginning stage as well as a variety of downloadable materials, educational products, and a kindergarten curriculum for parents and educators. The website is centered around activities that address phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary.

Another benefit of this website is that it is easy for students to navigate at their own pace, permit learners to involve in varied activities, games, and materials independently, in pairs, or with the whole class. Teachers can also project the site on an interactive whiteboard to introduce new concepts (letters, letter sounds, phonemes, blending sounds, and more) to the whole class. For teachers who are ready to go all in, the Parent-Teacher Center is a must. It offers an impressive amount of additional ideas, printable worksheets, and pre-K and kindergarten curricula. Beware, however, that a lot of these extras are behind a paywall.

One weakness found it’s that the website only encompasses from Pre-k to third grade. I think older learners will benefit from this amazing website as well.  I am already planning to use this with a newcomer student that I have.  She is now learning the letters the alphabet and I have been introducing some of the sound.  As I was exploring the website I found a game that focuses on each letter using it different words.

 Colorín Colorado:

Colorín Colorado is a website that serves educators and families of ELLs from Grades PreK-12. It is a bilingual website basically in English and Spanish, but it offers basic parent content in thirteen languages, comprising Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Hmong. The website provides free research-based information, classroom videos, toolkits, multilingual tip sheets, newsletters, featured book, activities, as well as advice to parents, schools, and communities in supporting ELLs in the process of the language acquisition.

The Colorín Colorado website is easy to navigate, the homepage has a bar of choices that includes ELLs Basics, school support, includes teaching ELLs, for families, books and authors, videos, audience, and resource library. The resources are included by grade, state, special education.  It also offers resources and guidance for new ENL teachers, how to create a welcome environment, strategies for teaching ELLs, vocabulary instructions, how to support ELLs successfully meet the common core standards, as well as information about topics such as reading together at home.

As we see, this is not a website for the students, however, it is a great resource for parents and educators getting informed on how they can best support English Language learners.  The only disadvantage that I find is that not all parents are skillful readers, I think the section for parents should include more visuals for them such as videos that includes the information in the articles. This is a website I have used before many times.  I have applied information learned on this website in my classroom such as strategies for differentiated instructions and making content comprehensible for ELLs.

Fun Brain    

Fun Brain is a very colorful, energetic, and interactive website.  There are over 100 interactive activities to support students from preschool to grade eighth developing skills in English literacy. The website offers the following choices: games, reading, videos, playgrounds, and math zones. The website provides an extensive variety of books children can read directly on the website. As I was navigating, I was excited to find books we read in class such as those from Kate DiCamilo.  Having them available online, seems to be a great visual aid for ELLs. Fun Brain’s games allow children an opportunity to practice their reading skills in order to play games effectively. All the games are safe for kids, and they encourage children to manipulate the keyboard and mouse so they can learn to be independent on the computer. However, these educational games allow students to practice but never show them why they get an answer wrong or how to improve it.

One disadvantage I found is that when clicking to read books from first to fourth grade, it shows a book that we read at the end of second grade which I think will be very difficult for a first-grade student. Another disadvantage is the section called playground. This is not an educational activity, it is more like entertainment for kids.

I will use this website in both reading and math.  I will use the math zone during independent math where students can practice skills related with the concept being taught. Similarly, during independent reading, my students can read books online.

English 4 Kids

The English 4 kids is an ESL website mainly for families and teachers that are trying to help children and students learn English. In the section of the parents and teachers, there is a guide to the materials needed.  According to the website, the resources provided have been created by ESL professionals with at least 5 years of teaching experience. The website provides lesson plans, worksheets, fun game, powerpoints for the lessons, flashcards, and more.

Some strengths of this website are that it offers complete English Curriculum for ELLs who are at different stages in English proficiency with fully developed thematic units Each lesson features animated ESL videos to learn new vocabulary words and grammar. Furthermore, there are engaging English learning games for children and learner-driven interactive tests for every lesson. When reading the lessons, I noticed they follow the template of the SIOP Model.  Each lesson includes learning objectives, language objectives, vocabulary, sentence structure, visual aids, interactive activities, and more. I personally like that the content is connected with daily life activities.  For instance, there is a whole unit about greetings, another about colors, and so on. This units will help ELLs build and expand their vocabulary because they are exposed to read, listen, speak and write using the vocabulary. Moreover, there apps that parents can download for ELLs to practice phonics. One disadvantage I found it’s that the website doesn’t have an option for languages.  Since the website is designed for teachers and parents to help their children improve their English, I think the instructions for the options in the website should include parent’s native language because not all of them understand English.

I will definitely use this website with my students, not just with the newcomers, but with the whole class as well. There are interactive videos we can do together specially when teaching phonics, vocabulary, even grammar.  I have to say that this is my favorite website so far. I can’t wait to use.

Literacy Center Educational Network

The Literacy Center Education Network is a website created for parents, teachers and younger students. It provides great resources for students, educators and families of English Language Learners. The website includes beneficial pages such as Play and Learn, Print and Practice, Parents and Teachers, and Resources. The Play and Learn page contains activities that help ELLs practice their writing, spelling, uppercase, lowercase, word matching, spelling and more. Lessons are colorful and very interactive which makes teaching and learning more engaging. Furthermore, the different activities promote the development of the four language skills, Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.

The website is very accessible for parents because it provides an ample variety of language such as Spanish, French, and German. I think this is an advantage.  Moreover, when young learners are navigating, it is easy for them to go from one page to the other because the page does not heavy with too many visuals.  On the top it shows numbers that indicate a different page. Students just have to click and the page will pop out. One disadvantage I found is that there are not many activities.  I wish it had more variety.  Since this is a website for young learners, I will use this with students who do not have a strong foundation in their native language as well as newcomers.

BrainPop ELL

BrainPOP ELL is a web-based English language learning program that encompasses animated videos as well as interactive games and activities.  In the activities, the website includes the four language skills; reading, writing, listening, and speaking. BrainPOP website was mainly created to support  English Language learners acquiring English in all their English proficiency levels (Entering, merging, Transitional, and Expanding.

I believe this website is very beneficial for ELLs since it provides an important visual aid which is movies.  Children love the two main characters in the videos Moby and Ben. All these short movies are directly aligned with the common core standards which support students learning the content, practicing their language skills, and developing not just their English language, but also the academic language. Some of the topics students study present progressive, present simple, pronouns & be and so more.

I always use BrainPOP with my class especially in Science and Social Studies; however, I did not know there was one BrainPOP designed for ELLs. One disadvantage I found is that since the website is not free, students will not have access at home to this resource.  I will use this website for whole and small class discussions.  After showing the video, I will encourage students to have an accountable talk with their partner related to the topic in the vide. As the video is playing, I will stop for students to take notes highlighting the main topic and key details.  They will have to support their answers with details from the video.


The UN SDG Corporate Guidebook Series Meta Project

UN SDGs Meta-Project Call for Contributors: 100+ Case Studies for 17 Corporate Guidebooks

I am honored to be selected to become a CISR Scholar, contributing to the UN SDG Corporate Guidebook Series Meta Project.

SHERPA Sustainability Institute CEO, Rob Wilson explains their commitment to publish the remaining 16 SDG Guidebooks throughout 2020. “We’re coming up on ten years left for the 2030 Agenda, and we can’t expect government agencies and NGOs alone to carry the ball. The time has come for the private sector to step up. Some corporate leaders understand the benefits of focusing on specific SDGs – it makes sense for their business. More companies are taking action, but too many are sitting on the sidelines. The Corporate Guidebook Series aims to break through that inertia.”

Endorsed in 2015 by all 193 United Nations Member States, the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals focus global efforts and attention on 17 pressing issues. The 17 UN SDGs have been lauded as a galvanizing force for a more socially responsible global community. However, with 169 underlying Targets, the UN SDGs have been characterized by many thought-leaders as overwhelming.

Co-Authors for two separate textbooks published by CRC Press, Agustiady and Hoffmeier had been seeking an opportunity to collaborate on a book for some time. Agustiady gives a lighthearted take on the expanded scope of the project. “We had talked about co-authoring just one, single book. Amazingly, our aspirations grew exponentially into an entire UN SDG series!” The duo will co-author one textbook in the series, while taking responsibility for recruiting co-authors and editing the remaining 16 titles. Agustiady adds, “We’ve taken the approach to ‘begin with the end in mind’, with SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals.”

Hoffmeier describes the first Guidebook to be released Q4 of 2019. “Starting with SDG 17, Tina and I provide a primer for the rest of the series, as well as guidance on how to prioritize the goals and integrate the SDGs into corporate strategy. Companies need to understand what’s in it for them, when it comes to the SDGs – we’ll answer that question, then provide the roadmap to get started.”

About SHERPA Sustainability Institute
We are a non-profit institution, devoted to global collaboration, education and research, advancing continual improvement for social responsibility to build sustainable organizations and communities.

About CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group
With over 100 years publishing textbooks, references, encyclopedias, handbooks, monographs, and professional books, CRC Press aims to broaden thinking and advance understanding in the sciences, providing researchers, academics, professionals, and students with the tools they need to share ideas and realize their potential.

Teaching as an Act of Love by Prof. Jasmin Bey Cowin, Ed.D.

Touro College, Graduate School of Education featured my philosophy on teaching via a video clip with the following observation: Touro’s Graduate School of Education Professor Jasmin Cowin’s Lessons Go Beyond the Classroom:

Jasmin Cowin, Ed.D., wants the students in her Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program to know that language isn’t only grammar and vocabulary.

“My focus is not just on the acquisition of grammar and vocabulary, but also the understanding that language is a culture,” explained Dr. Cowin, an assistant professor at Touro’s Graduate School of Education (GSE). “You have to meet people where they are and help guide them so that they can fulfill their potential.”

“I’ve always thought of teaching as an act of love,” continued Dr. Cowin. “The students are coming here for something that is important to them, not only professionally, but also personally.”

Watch the video:

Teaching as an Act of Love