December 8, 2021

Co-Teaching & English Language Learners

Have you ever wondered about 

Co-Teaching and ESL?  

How does it work?  What does it look like? 

 Let’s take a peak! πŸ‘€

Hello teachers ~ 

I can't believe it is December already!  Whoa!!!  January is often a month of change and if you are thinking about co-teaching, this post will interest you!  Read on :)

Co-teaching is an enjoyable and interactive way to share the responsibility of teaching some or all the students in a classroom.  Teachers with differing expertise, competencies, and /or knowledge come together to create a vibrant classroom full of learning and sharing. Co-teaching is a fun and inspired way for English Language Learners (ELL) and students with differing language levels, prior knowledge, and cultural understanding to learn from two teachers who may have varying ways of thinking or teaching students.

There are three main objectives of co-teaching English learners. 


πŸ’§The first objective of co-teaching is intended to expand the range of instruction. Students who are taught using more than one teaching styles often better understand information presented in the classroom.


πŸ’§Second, co-teaching is intended to enhance participation of ELLs.


πŸ’§Thirdly, it is intended to improve performance outcomes for ELLs.


When co-teaching, both teachers are working together to deliver instruction within one classroom.

The determination of who does what is decided by both the classroom teacher and ELD specialist.  This collaboration ensures a clear understanding about the role of each teacher.


In classrooms where ELD and classroom teachers co-teach both teachers strive to engage ELLs in instruction that is grade appropriate, academically rigorous and aligned with English Language Proficiency (ELP) and Common Core Standards .  Leveraging the expertise of the ELD teacher and the content teacher heightens the success of English Learners.  This collaborative method of teaching assures that English Language Development is integrated into every lesson.


Teachers working together can develop a variety of instructional repertoires. Teaching together brings a fresh and interactive feeling to the classroom as teachers play different, but equal roles in this instructional setting.


When teaching the Language Domain of the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) standards co-teaching elevates the importance of English grammar, conventions, vocabulary in the classroom for all students.


If you are an ELD specialist or classroom teacher don’t miss the opportunity to co-teach.  It is a rewarding experience and so very beneficial to all students in the classroom, especially English Language Learners!




Happy Teaching!







November 23, 2021

πŸƒ I Just Barely Made It!

Hi everyone,

During the previous year I noticed that a group of my ESL intermediate speakers of English were struggling with the phrases ‘just barely’.  

They were substituting ‘just hardly’ for just barely.  I put together a one day  ESL lesson and then created this chant for continued practice, until they became fluent with the phrase.  

I want to share the call back with any of you who might be able to use it.  So here is the little ESL call back chant I wrote to practice the phrase “just barely”.


I just got out of bed,
and barely touched my breakfast.
I just grabbed my books
And headed out the door!

I just barely made it.
I just barely made it.
I just barely made it, to school on time!
Happy Teaching,

Hey everyone it is coming!


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Get your wish lists ready!

This engaging intermediate ESL K-5 English language level bundle is packed with essential EFL, ESL and ELD activities for your English Language Learners (ELLs). The 26 resources in this K-5 bundle will take you through the school year assured that you are teaching the essential foundation of English grammar and vocabulary to your intermediate second language learners.

Included in this explicit EFL, ESL and ELD K-5 intermediate speakers of English activities bundle are:

✅ comprehensive lesson plans

✅ games

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Watch the English acquisition of your English learners soar as you teach with the resources in this effective, fun and engaging bundle.

November 1, 2021

English Learners & Specific Learning Disability

As ESL ELD teachers we are always worried about the misidentification of English learners.  Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is a language and literacy-related disability referring to a psychological processing disorder.  If focuses on understanding or using spoken or written language. 

Determining whether an EL’s learning difficulties are from language or something else is a tangled web.

Like many ELD teachers, I am often asked questions from colleagues and specialists that seek clarification and guidance on deciding how to untangle this web. 

Here is a recent question/inquiry I received:

“For this little person, since you see other students with ELD needs, would you say her challenges are based on ELD needs or that it’s likely she has a learning disability? Any guidance or advice you could offer in this case would be greatly appreciated.”

As teams of educators ponder how to work best with English Learners, they can reflect on many different approaches.

Here is a preliminary list of considerations I offer our staff:

·      What different types of interventions has she had and what were the outcomes?
·      What kind of differentiation has been used in the classroom?
·      Has she been in classrooms with a teacher who has been trained in SIOP?
·   Consider whether the learning environment appropriately supports or has supported the student and her/his language needs.
·      Use the data supplied here to examine student language development and performance.
·      Conference with parents to see what THEY are noticing about their child.  Ask questions about the child’s language abilities in both English and the native language.  This is important because students who do not have a solid foundation in their first language struggle much more when learning English.  Does the student have a strong native language?
·      Analyze student data to compare student progress in relation to peers who are making typical progress over time.
·      Where are the gaps?  If a phonics assessment has been made look for sounds/letter combinations that were incorrect.  Are those errors that are sounds or combinations that are different or nonexistent in the native language?
Click here if you would like to download this quick guideline.

I would love to hear what considerations you offer your school teams when working with ELLs.
Happy Teaching!



September 28, 2021

Do you use Sentence Frames in Math?

Hello teachers! 

Do you use math sentence frames during your math instruction?  

If you do, then you know how they can solidify comprehension not only with second language learners, but all students.  Let’s take a deeper look at using sentence frames in Math.

What is a sentence frame?

A sentence frame is a question or sentence with words removed to provide language or writing support for students.  Usually, the sentence frame consists of a subject and a predicate.  Examples of simple frames are I like___ or I can___.  

Why use sentence frames in Math instruction?

By using sentence frames in math, teachers can offer a method of scaffolding for students as they build and develop math skills.  Sentence frames give students an opportunity to access the math concepts and to engage in the classroom conversation of math by answering questions. Giving students part of the language of a sentence, or the structure of a sentence allows a focus on the concept, not the language.  A sentence frame helps students see what an answer might look like. Sentence frames give students a chance to use the new math vocabulary in a meaningful way.  Sentence frames support students' ability to produce language at a higher language level than they are at.

How to Use Math Frames During Instruction? 

Sentence frames during math:

Teacher models the use of the sentence frames including the new math vocabulary presented in the lesson.
Teacher practices with class.
Partners or small groups practice together.
During the rest of the lesson integrate this practice.
At the end of the instruction, students use the sentence frames to write about what they were learning.

Examples of sentence frames:

Happy Teaching, 

September 14, 2021

πŸ‘€Learning and Literacy CentersπŸ’ƒ

Hello everyone! 

Welcome to a center-based classroom!

Imagine walking into your classroom and seeing students in small groups working cooperatively. One group sits at a center with the teacher for guided reading instruction. Another group of children works at a thematic center sequencing the life cycle of an insect. At the next center, students work together restructuring a story with sentence strips. The teacher signals for attention; the students are quiet for directions. Students clean up their centers and rotate to the next center, going right to work.  Centers can be done simply with the helpful hints we give you here. Read on and
make centers a reality in your classroom!

How is your school year starting off?  Are things running smoothly?  How are your literacy or math centers and stations working out?  Let's talk about centers!

Let's start with the basics! πŸ…±

What does a center-based classroom look like?

A well-run center-based classroom will have small groups of children working independently at all of the centers, the teacher leading a small group at the guided reading center, and perhaps a parent facilitating another center.  The children will be engaged in the activities, well trained about the procedures, and involved in their own learning.

What's the rationale?

Learning centers facilitate growth and learning!
πŸ’­ Learning centers provide an opportunity for small-group
reading instruction.
πŸ’­  Learning centers enhance student learning.
πŸ’­  Learning centers teach students responsibility.
πŸ’­  Learning centers allow you to teach to a variety of
learning styles.
πŸ’­  Learning centers offer a wider variety of activities for
students to learn from.
πŸ’­  Learning centers allow students to work at their own level
while reviewing and practicing skills.
πŸ’­  Learning centers promote cooperative learning

What is a center?

A center is a physical area in a classroom set aside for a specific
learning purpose. The center has appropriate materials and supplies so students can work individually or in cooperative groups.

How many students should I put in each group?

We recommend three to four students in each group at each center.

How long do students spend at each center?

Twenty to thirty minutes at each center is an adequate amount of time for students to complete most center activities.

How do students know where to go when it is time to rotate centers?

By teaching and practicing the routines and procedures you want to be followed at center time, your students will know what you want them to do. We suggest you follow a clockwise rotation pattern to rotate students through centers.

How do I group my students for centers?

To teach to the varied levels in all classrooms, we suggest you group your students by reading abilities. By grouping students this way, you can meet the instructional needs of all your students in language arts. Learning centers will allow you to teach to your low, medium, and high ability groups and move everyone forward.

How does a center-based classroom look?

Many teachers use tables and desks against the walls in
their classrooms. You can use student desks as a center, too.
During center time, the desks will be empty and small groups of children will be sitting at centers throughout the room. The teacher at guided reading will have her/his back to the wall in order to see all centers at a glance from where she/he sits.

How many adults do I need to run centers in my classroom?

 Just you! When you teach the routines and procedures of
your centers well, your students will learn how to work without supervision during center time.

How long is center time?

That depends on you and on how many centers you have
each day. If you have five groups of students rotating through five centers and spending 15 minutes at each center, then you will need 1 hour and 15 minutes for center time. Six groups of children rotating through six centers will need an hour and a half. Remember to add a little extra time for the rotation of
groups when determining the time you will allot for centers.

When it is time to change centers, how do I get my students’ attention?

Ringing a bell or calling out “freeze” or “give me five” are great ways to call your students to attention. Teach your students to “freeze” when the signal is given and to listen for instructions.

By providing a center-based environment in your classroom, you will be able to give your attention to small groups of children during “guided reading.” Research shows that this small-group instruction is one of the primary components that leads to strong readers.  Centers are perfect for differentiation and making sure you are reaching and teaching your
English learners
. Centers also allow you to teach to all the student levels that are in your classroom. Your choice to run centers in your classroom will also teach your students how to work cooperatively in small groups. Learning centers allow you to teach “responsibility” as students work independently, practicing and
reviewing skills and concepts at each center. 
Happy Teaching,

For more in-depth information on running centers in an elementary classroom Click Here! 

August 28, 2021

ELLs & The Language Strand - Common Core

The Language Strand of the Common Core Standards
English Language Learners

Hi everyone,
We are off and running with a brand new school year.  As we head back to school we are all looking for fun and fresh ideas for the new year.  With this in mind, don't forget to review the Language Domain of the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) standards?  This great domain elevates the importance of English grammar, conventions, vocabulary in the classroom.  

It is essential for classroom and ESL teachers to understand this important strand.

As you know, the strands or domains of the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts include:

o  Reading Foundational Skills

o Reading

o  Literature

o  Informational Text

o  Writing

o  Language

o  Speaking and Listening

Let’s take a closer look at this important language domain.  The broad Language standards for K-5 are comprised of 3 subcategories:  

1.    Conventions of Standard English

2.    Knowledge of Language

3.    Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Furthermore, each grade level has specific standards under these three categories, which are hierarchical in nature. These standards define what a student should know or be able to do at the end of each grade level.  

Here is a glimpse of the Language skills that I found of particular interest in each subcategory.  Many of these require continued attention over grade levels.

πŸ’₯Conventions of Standard English

•    Plurals: Regular and Irregular
•    Nouns:  Possessive Nouns, Collective Nouns, Abstract Nouns
•    Pronouns: Possessive, Indefinite, Reflexive Pronouns
•    Verbs; Past, Present, Future Verbs.  Irregular past tense verbs. Perfect tense verbs
•    Complete Sentences

πŸ’₯Knowledge of Language

•    Formal and informal uses of English
•    Choosing words and phrases for effect and to convey ideas

πŸ’₯Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

•    Root words, prefixes, and suffixes
•    Connect words to categories
•    Antonyms, synonyms, and homographs
•    Shades of meanings of related words
•    Figurative Language: similes, metaphors, idioms

It is great to see language as one of the domains of the ELA Common Core Standards.  We all know that language is interwoven with speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  Language now has elevated importance in the classroom with this Standard of the ELA Common Core.

Happy Teaching!πŸ’•

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August 31 through September 1

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August 27, 2021

5 Essential Things For Back to School!

Hello everyone,

August has arrived and one way or another we will be back to school!  

Here are 5 essential things you gotta do before school starts!

1.) Take a look at your ESL pacing guide for the year.  

Gather the supplies, resources, and materials you will be needing for at least the first month.  Organize your files and your grade book so you have a clear path forward.

Whether in the classroom or distance learning it is time to think about classroom rules and consequences.  

2.)  Make and share the rules you and your students come up with and post them for all to see.  

Once you have created your classroom rules and consequences make sure you are consistent with them.  Think about the consequences and make sure they are something you can live with!

3.)  Assemble your substitute plans.  

It is not too early.  Once you have your sub plans created you won't have to think twice about them until and unless you need them.

4.)  Get your grade book ready.  

Don't wait, this is one of those overlooked things.  Then when you are ready to record your first assignments it becomes a big chore.  Do it now and you will be grateful later.

5.) Get a letter ready for parents and students.  

Make sure that your families know what to expect.  Welcome them to school and talk about your routines and procedures.  Ask for their volunteer help and create a 'team' attitude right from the start of the year.

These 5 things will give you a head start to the school year!

Happy Teaching,

Need an ESL ELD pacing guide?

This one is free!

As many of you know, I am a K-5 ELD teacher in Ashland, Oregon.  For many years I did workshops throughout my state for ESL ELD teachers.  Many ELD teachers asked me for a pacing guide so I made this. 


Each month has a combination of ELD units and/or grammar components essential for English learners. Again choose some or all of what I have here. Feel free to mix it up to suit you!


If I have a product that contains all or parts of the language I teach during that month I have listed it. All resource images are clickable links for your convenience. Just click on the image you want to see and it will take you to my TPT store.  I use these products according to language level more than grade level.  Each column represents a language level.  The column has language grammar, forms, and functions I teach for that level.  Under the column heading, I list products I use to teach those language components.  Some of the products may have a grade level on them, but I have used it at that language level based on the language I am teaching students at that level.

πŸ’œEvery classroom is different!

πŸ’œEvery teacher teaches differently, and I tried to create this year-long curriculum map with many different types of classrooms and teachers in mind. 

I know you may need to tweak this to the needs of your students, classroom, and district.


DO IT! Make it work for you. 

For example, March is a testing month for me. If you need to switch months around to meet your testing time, that is just fine. Do what is best for your students in your classroom.

πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œThe whole year is planned out for you!


August 8, 2021

Sentence Starters - Language frames work!

Hello everyone!  πŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’š

  Sentence Frames & Sentence Starters 

Language frames work!

A sentence frame (also called a language frame) is a fantastic teaching tool that offers oral and written language support to English Language Learners (ELLs).  Sentence frames can be used for any subject, ELA, science, history, pullouts (Speech, ELD, and Reading and Math intervention).

Sentence frames or starters should be used as a scaffold, intended to support students in using language that they would not be able to produce on their own.  
 As the language becomes more familiar these scaffolds are gradually removed or replaced with new language the student does not use.  

Sentence frames shift the focus of informal language to higher academic language.

Below is an example of different language frames.  

Classroom teachers or ESL teachers can use.  They are listed by language function with examples at 3 different language levels.

πŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’š Happy Teaching,  πŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’š

July 27, 2021

Back to School with English Learners!

Will you have English learners in your classroom this year?

It can be a bit unnerving for teachers when they first have English learners (ELs) in your classroom.

The following simple ideas will help pave the way to a fun year of learning with your English learners.

The number one thing to know is: 

do what you already do… establish a warm, and supportive learning environment for all students including second language learners.    

As teachers, we know that creating a safe and secure classroom environment includes such things as:
    •Arrange the classroom in a way to maximize interaction with clear     walkways and designated work areas
    •Post student work   
    •Display classroom rules and procedures
    •Model kindness, patience, and respect
    •Smile often, laughing with our students, and giving explicit positive     reinforcement

Establish a sense of belonging: 

by seating ELs in the middle of the room toward the front-facing the teacher to create a sense of belonging in your English learners.  Make regular eye contact.  Some teachers think they should not put second language students on the spot and don’t interact with them.  I feel this allows an ELL to slip to the edges of a classroom, never participating, speaking, or learning. Offer support by asking ELLs to repeat a simple statement from another student.  That keeps the student engaged while lowering the affective filter!

Integrate Ells’ first language and culture: 

incorporate all students into the classroom by putting up posters, books, songs, and pictures of different cultures.

Use Word Walls:

ensure a sheltered and supportive classroom for your English language learners by including labels for your room and classroom objects that include words clearly printed.  This builds vocabulary.  Help limited or non-speakers comprehend by having them draw pictures on the word wall cards so they know where things go and what they are called.
Don't forget to put up your word walls!

Word walls draw attention to the words you are teaching and are used in whole class or small group activities.  Word walls provide a systematic visual vocabulary organizer that aides children in seeing and remembering connections between words and the characteristics that help them form categories and schemas to remember how to use them.

Click here to get your free Back to School Word Wall

Back To School Word Wall Freebie!

Remember to develop and maintain predictable procedures, schedules, and routines.  I model and practice these often during the first weeks of school and adhere to them throughout the year.  Posting a schedule, content and language objectives, rules, lunch menus, and bus schedules gives a sense of security to students.  Try to always include pictures and simple wording.

Further that sense of belonging by designing classroom jobs appropriate for ELL students.  There are many classroom jobs that a limited speaker can do such as:  Handing out papers, posting lunch numbers, etc.

Have fun this year! 
Happy Teaching!

Here is another great product to start out your year! 
 Check it out today!
ESL ELL EFL ELD Curriculum



Make Summer School Fun This Year 🌞

Hello teachers ~ ________________________  Are you ready to make Summer School FUN? With the end of the school year upon us, it’s time to st...