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Reaching English Language Learners

18 Posts authored by: mso

Welcome to our new "May" members!

Posted by mso May 27, 2013

Welcome to Ada, Eva and Eileen!

We look forward to learning about your interests in working with ELLs...

Please share a bit about yourselves with the group...and don't forget to add me (mso- marie) as a friend.

This will facilitate postings and communication with members.

Enjoy our list of documents and resources...

Marie (mso)



Posted by mso Feb 20, 2013

Hi everyone,

Here are a few opportunities from TESOL...

For the latest on books and resources:



For professional development and virtual seminars:



For upcoming convention:




Are you a member? There is a fee...if interested just follow any of the above links for membership information...

The New Year has brought Reaching English Language Learners some new members.

Welcome to Kristi, Barbara and tengrrl!

Welcome to Louise our first member to join in February!

Please take a moment to introduce yourselves to the group...share your interests and questions about working with ELLs.

We look forward to your valued participation.


Also, look for invitations to be friends with other members from our group...it will allow us additional avenues for communication.  Be sure to check for updates and to add our group to receive notices/track.

Thanks and welcome again...

Marie (mso)

TESOL has posted some new offerings for professional development in working with ELLs.

I thought these might be of interest to you...

Two that caught my attention are



I hope you find this informative and helpful!

Mso (marie)

Hi everyone,

Does anyone work with younger children?

Thought you might be interested in learning about WIDA's proposed new standards for pre-schoolers.

They parallel K-12 English Language Development Standards, will contain the following components:

  1. Six Early Language Development Standards
  2. Two language domains (receptive and productive)
  3. Three early language development levels in English
  4. Three age groups
  5. Two features of developmentally appropriate academic language
  6. Performance definitions that define each level in each age group
  7. Model Performance Indicators (MPIs)

These are the six Early Language Development Standards for children between the

ages of 2.5-5.5 years (30-66 months):

1.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Social-Emotional Development

2.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Language Arts

3.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Mathematics

4.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Science

5.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Social Studies

6.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Physical Development


The following link provides a complete article/blog post from WIDA...



What do you think of the term "dual language learners"?

Please share your thoughts? 

How will this help you?

Marie (mso)




What are you thankful for?

Posted by mso Nov 21, 2012

During Thanksgiving we take a moment to reflect on our blessings.  In light of so much strife in the world - hurricane damage, or disputes between countries and peoples or families, what is it that you are thankful for?

My students and their families provide me with such blessings and enjoyment as I see them grow and we share our cultures.  This is one step toward making a peaceful world.

Stories of people on the East Coast helping each other in storm ravaged areas, bring a sense of faith in humanity.  This morning I heard of a woman who is combing on of the beaches in NJ, picking up "small treasures" and photos being washed back to the shores after they were carried out to sea.  She repairs, stores and finds their owners through social media.  This is truly heartwarming, especially since she, too, lost her home.  She has found a way to bless others.


What stories do you have to share about Thanksgiving sharing and blessings?

Thanks, and may you all have a peace filled Thanksgiving Day,

Marie (mso)


Resource Available

Posted by mso Sep 30, 2012

Hi everyone,

Just thought you would like the following link to TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

This organization offers membership and a host of workshops and activities for educators who work with ELLs.




Hope you are all having a great start for the school year...I have been enjoying a new family from Sweden...twins!

They are in second grade and are so enthusiastic to learn English...of course we really have to work on phonics and reading skills.  Though English and Swedish have many similarities, there are major differences in vowel sounds that are challenging.  Any suggestions?


Mso (marie)


Have you seen our new look?

Posted by mso Aug 24, 2012

Thinkfinity has taken on a new look! Sign-on and navigation has been streamlined and resources for extended networking with facebook and twitter are strong.

Our updated group page includes additional information about new members and recent activity.  Items are larger, making them easier to find and review.

What do you think? 

We can customize our group page, too...what would you like to see or add on? Please send suggestions...just respond to this blog or send a private message...

Customizing and making this your group page is important to us and our group's continued success. We really want to meet your needs and interests. So please share your ideas....

Thanks and enjoy exploring the new look...

Marie (mso)

PS...I have attached a file with a link for videos to help learn about the new Thinkfinity format...

Also - there will be a webinar on September 4th (hosted by Marcia Torgrude)...all about the "new look" for Thinkfinity....Hope you find this helpful...

Hi everyone,

Summer break is fast approaching along with concerns about our students spending less time speaking English.  Often, many of my students spend 6-8 weeks in their native countries, then return in September and need several weeks to renew confidence and skills that they had gained during the previous school year.

I give them folders of materials to review during the summer...vocabulary flash cards, phonics sets....and recommended interactve websites....of course, Thinkfinity and its partner sites are always first on my list....

One of my favorites (Rhonda just mentioned it) is Wonderopolis, with all its visuals/videos...


How do you support your students and help them maintain their skills during the long summer break? 

Suggestions anyone? Please share...


mso (Marie)

I recently read an article in Education Week Online...dealing with curricular changes in ESL/Bilingual instruction, addressing the need for teachers to differentiate instruction and align to Common Core State Standards Initiative.

It is important for our ELLs to be able to express themselves across content areas, making connections, presenting points of view, and analyzing similarities/differences. This is something that is essential for success in our society.


What can we do to help our students achieve such proficiency?

Do you have specific resources that may be helpful?


Please share your thoughts on these changes that we, along with our students, are facing.


Link for Education Week Online article:



Also, take a look at an excerpt from this article that I attached and added to our documents collection....I look forward to your responses and reactions...




Hello New Members....

Posted by mso Dec 22, 2011

Hello and WELCOME!

Since October, we have had a major "growth spurt" in our group's membership. I have been a bit remiss in welcoming each of you individually...Please accept my apology for that and my warmest welcome! 

We look forward to a building a collegial relationship with you and to answering your questions, sharing in your discussions and growing with you as we all Reach Out to English Language Learners...

Be sure to check out our set of documents and join in any of the ongoing discussions...


Please use this opportunity to introduce yourself to the group...just share a bit about yourself, what drew you to joining us and your interests in working with ELLs.


You can reach out to me any time...with questions/concerns...always glad to hear from our members...


Since collaboration is a major component of any successful and productive group, please help me create a list of monthly discussion topics for our group, Reaching ELLs, to consider throughout the 2011-2012 school year. It is so important that you have a voice in these discussions topics and their relevance to your interests and needs.

Your thoughts and ideas are valuable and will help me create a new Calendar of Topics to post in our documents section.

Perhaps you can reach out to other colleagues and mainstream teachers for their questions and concerns, also.

Thanks so much!



April - Best Practices

Posted by mso Apr 4, 2011

Hi everyone,

We all have lots of expertise and at least one favorite or "best practice" lesson.  April is the month for us to take a moment to explore our "personal best" and share with each other.  These can be single focus or interdisciplinary lessons.


One of my favorites with ELLs of all ages is refining fluency of oral language skills - pronunciation, enunciation, speed and volume.  I like to introduce oral fluency with a Scholastic paperback - Sally's Seashells - a book of tongue-twisters. Kids have lots of fun trying to say these - our goal is to say each on 5x with speed while being clear enough for others to understand. 

We also have fun listening to each other using a microphone - I have Easy-speak which plugs into computer and downloads student recordings, which we playback and assess. There's a rubric for oral language to help provide feedback on these oral skills. 

I attached a copy of some of my favorite tongue twisters...Hope you enjoy these! Let me know if you try them.

Looking forward to seeing some of your ideas, too...


Hi everyone,

Math is Everywhere - great discussion topic on Thinkfinity's Community Home page,

it ties in perfectly with our March Discussion Topic on Math Strategies for ELLs..


Try out some of the resources and let us know your favorites!

I just discovered two that I plan to use...

Draw a Math Story: From the Concrete to the Symbolic - ReadWriteThink


Math and Literature     (from Illuminations partner site)



Enjoy and keep us posted with your recommendations...




March Discussion Topic

Posted by mso Mar 4, 2011

Hi everyone,

Our discussion topic for March is:

Mathematics Resources for ELLs


How do you help your ELLs achieve success in mathematics, especially with regard to their solving word problems? 

With numbers being a fairly universal symbol, most ELLs have less difficulty with computation and struggle more with the reading and understanding of multi-step word problems, as well as the explanation of the process they use to solve those problems.




One web activity that I like to use for elementary students is -

Illuminations - Bobbie Bear - an adorable interactive site that helps ELLs visualize concept of creating an organized list to solve a word problem.  You have to figure out how many outfits Bobbie Bear can wear, with a given set of clothing items. The visuals help them with their solution and explanation of how they arrived at their answer.

Check out the link above...


Others??? - Please share...


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