Paulina Araya on the ESL Textbook Project EDDN 634, Touro College

A textbook in a classroom is essential for the teacher and students as a guide throughout the school year. A textbook gives a teacher an idea of different ways to teach a certain topic. If the school you are working for has a curriculum, they provide the textbook which makes teaching a lot easier. Unfortunately, not all schools have a curriculum and many teachers must make up their own curricula including choosing using the textbooks best for students.

Paulina Araya has been teaching for four years with two years in Queens (D.O.E).  She is currently in her second year in Suffolk County, Long Island. Ms. Araya taught ELLS during Summer School in Queens for two years in a row and absolutely fell in love with the ENL population so she decided to pursue her career in TESOL. Plus, her husband along with her parents are former ELLS. She is at my second to last semester at Touro, currently taking an online course along with a Monday night class and next semester all that remains is the Practicum. She is excited and can’t wait to graduate in June 2019.

At my school district, the most common textbook used for ELLS is called EDGE Reading, Writing and Language. EDGE consists of 7 Units. Each unit has an Essential Question that follows a Genre Focus, a Focus Strategy and implications for Grammar and Writing.

Unit 1: reflects on What influences How you Act? Genre Focus: Short stories, character, plot and setting. Focus strategy: Plan and Monitor the grammar and vocabulary, sentences, subjects and predicates, Subject-verb agreement and personal narrative for writing. Unit 2: focuses on How do families affect us? Genre focus is Nonfiction: Author’s purpose. Ask Questions for Focus Strategies and for Grammar Subject pronouns, Present tense verbs, and subject-verb agreement. For students writing the focus is news articles.
Unit 3: Do we find or Create Our True Selves? Short stories: Narrator’s Point of view for Genre Focus, for Focus strategy: make inferences Grammar: Present, Past, and future tense, subject and object pronouns and for writing short stories.
Unit 4: How much should people help each other? Genre Focus is Nonfiction: Text structure and features. Focus Strategy is to determine the importance of structure. Grammar: possessive words, prepositions, and pronoun agreement. For their writing students will write a problem solution essay.
Unit 5: Do people get what they deserve? Genre focus, Short stories: Theme for Focus Strategy Make connections, Grammar adjectives, and adverbs. Writing is the description of a process.
Unit 6: What rights and responsibilities should teens have? The Genre Focus is Nonfiction, Structure of Arguments. Focus strategy is synthesizing information. Grammar focuses on indefinite pronouns, word order in sentences and compound sentences. The writing assignment is a Persuasive Essay.
Unit 7: What do you do to Make an Impression? Genre focus is Drama and Poetry, focus strategy is visualizing. Grammar aspect is compound and complex sentences, present perfect tense. The writing assignment is a literary analysis.
All seven units are common core structured and are preparing students to focus on specific strategies for the ELLS to pass the English Regents. There’re multitudes of visuals, graphic organizers, sentences starters, rough draft instructions for essays, key vocabulary review, critical thinking questions, and short stories that relate to ELLS. There is also a website that helps students facilitate their learning while at home or out of the classroom.

EDDN 634 ENL UNIT PLAN Introduction to Argumentative Writing by Touro Teacher Candidate Luis Colón

Luis Colón “Many of my ENL students are on the school soccer team which just won the State Championship or play outside of school on travel teams. They show passion for sports and many have played competitively since they were very young. Their passion for sports caused me to reflect and reconsider which argumentative topic to use with my group this year and I was excited to put it into action.”

In my course EDDN 634 this weeks assignment is a Unit plan with ELA standard alignment. It is always a pleasure to highlight my teacher candidates work. You will find the complete unit with all the hand-outs in this article.

Luis Colón is an 8th and 9th grade English teacher on Long Island as well as a graduate student working on obtaining his MS in TESOL from Touro College. This year marks his second and final year in the program as he anticipates finishing before the end of 2018.

Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash

Luis Colón “Many of my ENL students are on the school soccer team which just won the State Championship or play outside of school on travel teams. They show passion for sports and many have played competitively since they were very young. Their passion for sports caused me to reflect and reconsider which argumentative topic to use with my group this year and I was excited to put it into action.”

Next Generation ELA Standards
Reading Standards
9-10R1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly/implicitly and make logical inferences; develop questions for deeper understanding and for further exploration.
● RH1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the time and place of publication, origin, authorship, etc.
● RST1: Cite specific evidence to support analysis of scientific and technical texts, charts, diagrams, etc. attending to the precise details of the source. Understand and follow a detailed set of directions.
9-10R2: Determine one or more themes or central ideas in a text and analyze its development, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; objectively and accurately summarize a text.
● RH2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop within a text.
● RST2: Determine the key ideas or conclusions of a source; trace the source’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the source.
9-10R8: Delineate and evaluate an argument and specific claims in a text, assessing the validity or fallacy of key statements by examining whether the supporting evidence is relevant and sufficient
● RH8: Analyze the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
● RST8: Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a source support the author’s claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem.
Writing Standards
9-10W1: Write arguments to support claims that analyze substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
● 9-10W1a: Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from counterclaims, establish and organize clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaim(s), reasons, and evidence.
● 9-10W1b: Develop claim(s) and counterclaims in a balanced manner, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both, anticipating the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
● 9-10W1c: Use precise language and content-specific vocabulary to express the appropriate complexity of the topic.
● 9-10W1d: Use appropriate and varied transitions to make critical connections and distinctions, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
● 9-10W1e: Provide a concluding statement or section that explains the significance of the argument presented.
● 9-10W1f: Maintain a style and tone appropriate to the writing task.
9-10W7: Gather relevant information from multiple sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas;
avoid plagiarism and follow a standard format for citation.
● WHST7: Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and Research

ESL Learning Standards
Standard 1: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for information and understanding.
Standard 3: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for critical analysis and evaluation.
Unit Introduction
As high school students in my district, there is a shift in curricular focus from how students are taught English / Language Arts in the lower grades (which follow the Teachers College Reading and Writing Workshop Curriculum) to one that is designed to prepare students for
the demands of the New York State Regents Exam. I specifically chose these articles and designed these activities for my groups of students since I have classes with many athletes who play competitively and many of which have hopes of playing sports in college. The argumentative question “Should college athletes be paid as professional athletes are?” asks students to consider where and if a line should be drawn between what is considered
professional sports and what is not since a lot of money is made from college sports through admission to games, merchandising and even airtime on television and radio.
Many of my ENL students are on the school soccer team which just won the State Championship or play outside of school on travel teams. They show passion for sports and many have played competitively since they were very young. Their passion for sports caused me to reflect and reconsider which argumentative topic to use with my group this year and I was excited to put it into action.

Essential Questions
● What is an argument?
● What makes a good argument?
● Where do we see arguments in our day to day lives?
● What is the intended audience of argumentative writing?
● What literary techniques do good writers use to convince their audience?
● How do I select effective evidence to support the claims I am making?
● How is argumentative writing similar and/or different to other styles of writing?
● What are the different mediums of argumentative writing in the modern day?
End of Unit Assessment (Performance Task)
Argumentative Essay
Main Objectives
By the end of the unit, students will be able to…
● Define the academic language of argument writing: Claim, Counterclaim, Argument,
● Become familiar with and utilize argumentative conventions in their writing
● Cite textual evidence from multiple texts that supports and refutes the argument that the writer is intending to deliver to their audience
● Analyze how writers use the elements of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos when supporting their claims in their writing
● Analyze how writers explain evidence that they have gathered through research to support their claims
● Revise and edit their written work to create a final draft that includes the
conventions of argumentative writing as well as the structure and organization of a final draft
Critical Thinking Questions (Bloom’s)
● Interpret texts from different authors on the same subject matter by analyzing textual evidence, identifying who the intended audience is, and analyzing how the author uses rhetorical devices to support their claims
● Evaluate how effective an argument is based on source material, the validity of sources, and voice of the author of the text
● Analyze the typical language of argumentative writing and determine what the intended purpose behind the author’s use of specific diction in their writing
● Discuss in either pairs or groups how the evidence found in argumentative articles supports the claims that the author is attempting to make in their writing
● Appraise argumentative evidence based on the credibility of the source material, quality of textual evidence cited, and validity of that textual evidence
● Compile evidence from various sources that reflect both evidence that supports our claim and evidence that refutes our claims.
● Compile and organize evidence for an in-class debate that effectively and strongly supports the claims that student groups are defending.
Central Texts Paired Texts Paired Film
“Students Who Lose Recess are the Ones Who Need It Most”
“School Suspensions Don’t Work. It’s Time for Something Better” 
“The Surprising Truth About Discipline in Schools”
“How One Middle School Cut Discipline Referrals By 98 Percent in Just One Year”
“Should Athletes Be Paid to Play?”
“College Athletes are Being Educated, Not Exploited”
“How the N.C.A.A Cheats College Athletes” 
“It’s time to pay the tab for America’s college athletes”
Texts Film
“21 Reasons Why Student-Athletes Are Employees And Should Be Allowed To Unionize” 
“A Day in the Life of a Student Athlete”
“Why Shouldn’t We Pay Student-Athletes?”
A Day In The Life of NFL Running Back
Latavius Murray

● Graphic organizer for organizing evidence and in-class debate
● Sentence frames on chart paper to assist with writing
● Verbal as well as visual modeling on the SMART Board
● Incorporation of various media including diverse articles, video clips, etc.
● Seating in a manner where students have a speaker of their native language in the area
● Explain directions at a slower pace and simplify them for all students

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.

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