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

EDDN 638 Teaching English as a Second Language through Modern English Approaches to Grammar – Teacher Candidates Final Projects

This fully online course reviewed the structure of American English. Teacher Candidates learned about diverse theories, approaches, methods, and practical techniques of grammar instruction for English language learners. Special emphasis was placed on developing instructional strategies to assist English language learners in meeting the current English Language Arts standards. The course included 5 hours of fieldwork.

Touro students at the Graduate School of Education enjoy flexible options in completing their degree. Many GSE students work part- or full-time, and have commutes or family obligations that limit their schedules. To accommodate our students’ needs, we offer afternoon, evening, Sunday, and online courses, and our campuses are conveniently located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island.

Whether you’re an experienced educator seeking professional or advanced certification or an aspiring teacher looking for a rigorous—and affordable—program, Touro will help you learn how to make a difference in the lives of children.

Here some of the teacher candidates work with educational technology this semester in EDDN 638 – creating a blog, a website, an infographic. Consolidation of their semester work into one place for professional showcasing.

Beatriz Martine created an informative Weebly site as a final e-project.

Rebecca Gulino created a multitiered blog.

Marisa Simoncic created this fantastic infographic.


Admissions Requirements

We welcome applications from NYS-certified teachers who would like to pursue TESOL certification. This program is designed to strengthen teachers’ capacities to effectively serve children for whom English is a second language.  Courses are scheduled to accommodate working students. Applicants should be aware that they are required to complete 100 hours of Student Teaching Experience in grades PreK-12.

Academic Requirements

All applicants to the MS program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages must have:

  • Completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited academic institution (official transcript must be submitted).
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4-point scale).
  • Provisional or initial NYS Certification in Education.
  • All applicants who plan to enroll in our teacher education, leadership, and counseling programs after July 1, 2016, must submit their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) official test scores, or a nationally-normed equivalent. Applicants who present MAT scores will be asked to complete a writing sample administered by Touro. It will be another criterion within a candidate’s application that each program weighs appropriately. Touro’s GRE test code is 2902 and MAT test code is 3346.

Ready to Apply?


Visit admissions to find out how to apply and start your application.


212-463-0400 ext. 5288

Leticia Castillo
Assistant to Chair

Dr. Lucia Buttaro



Beatriz Martine, Teacher Candidate at Touro College on Prepositions and Articles

11102782_10152791417766381_2687658104203970642_nBeatriz Martine is a certified 7-12 Mathematics teacher currently working in the Roosevelt Union Free School District. She has had the experience of teaching in the 7th and 8th grades for four years and is looking forward to teaching many more. Beatriz has found a love in working with ENL students because of the predominantly high ENL population in her school district. She is currently pursuing her Masters in TESOL at Touro College to better support her students. Beatriz is hoping to continue her studies and work towards her Bilingual extension after graduating with her Masters.

Here the questions for the Discussion Board of our Touro online learning environment with Ms. Martine’s answers. Ms. Martine has given express permission to use her discussion board postings in my blog.

Why do you think learning correct prepositions, articles and when a noun needs an article or not takes so long to learn? Is this also true for native speakers?  

I think the reasons why learning correct prepositions, articles and when a noun needs an article or not takes a long time to learn is that the rules are complex, have many exceptions, and in certain situations interchangeable. Most of the time, practice is the key to learning these grammatical components. Tara Arntsen explains in Gerund vs. Infinitive, that “it takes a lot of practice to recognize which words this applies to and there is no rule to help,” referring to specific words that must be followed by infinitives or gerunds (2011). Prepositions are hard to learn because they have multiple meanings. Take the preposition on, for example, we can use this for different situations: to be in physical contact with something (on a shelf) or to participate in something (on a team). There are also instances where depending on where you are geographically, prepositions are used differently (standing in line vs. standing on line). Prepositions can also be interchangeable. When someone is waiting inside a restaurant, they can be in or at the restaurant.

Create a short worksheet requiring your students to demonstrate their proficiency in the use of prepositions, infinitives and/or gerunds. Post this on the discussion board for your colleagues to address.
I would use this as a Do Now for a succeeding lesson on when to use gerunds or infinitives. 

Name: __________________________     Date: ________   Period: _____

Gerund vs. Infinitive

Directions: Fill in the blank with the correct gerund or infinite


1. I enjoy (play)  ________________  hide-and-seek with my friends.

2. My teacher always says, “Keep (try)  ________________, next time you’ll get it right!”

3. I need (clean) ________________ my room this weekend, it’s a mess.

4. I don’t like (go)  ________________ to the store with my mom, she takes forever!

5. When my mom walks in my room, I pretend (sleep)  ________________ but I’m really on my phone!

Post two, thoughtful and insightful questions about grammar proficiency for your colleagues to discuss.

1. Does anyone have a good classroom resource for practicing gerunds and infinitives?

2. Matthew Lubin explains, “It’s easier to explain to an ESL class that gerunds sound more natural than infinitives when used as subjects or complements of a sentence” (2017). How would you model this to your students?


Arntsen, T. (2011, August 22). Gerund vs. Infinitive: How to Explain the Difference. Retrieved from

Arntsen, T. (2016, October 30). How To Teach Prepositions Of Place (8 Simple Steps). Retrieved from

Lubin, M. (2017, July 27). How to Teach Gerunds and Infinitives to ESL Students Without Confusing Them. Retrieved from

Bitcoin, Blockchain and IoT for Educators accepted conference presentation


NYS TESOL 48th Annual Conference in Albany, November 2nd, 2018

This poster session will explain and present in easy to understand non-technical language and infographics: 1. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which represent much more than digital economic innovations. 2. The Blockchain and Blockchain principles. 3. Potential applications for to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Systems for educators and educational institutions.

Blockchain can be implemented within individual educational institutions, groups of educational institutions, and both national and international educational bodies. This technology makes it possible to securely store badges, credits, and qualifications through a decentralized system. Blockchain has the potential to morph into a massive open, online, secure database used for certification and achievement repositories with payment in cryptocurrencies. Blockchain can be implemented within individual educational institutions, groups of educational institutions, and both national and international educational bodies. As education becomes more diversified, democratized, decentralized and disintermediated, we still need to maintain reputation, trust in certification, and proof of learning. The increased focus on relevance and employability may also push us in this direction, as we also need more transparency. Blockchain could provide just such a system: a massive open, online, secure database embedded in the IoT and Smart Systems.