English Learners

ELLs at the Center: Rethinking High Stakes Testing

Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono Summary: How do we nurture intellectual curiosity, prepare students for a global economy, and validate and celebrate students’ cultures, language diversity and multiple literacies in an era of accountability and high stakes testing? The authors offer suggestions for ways teacher leaders can be advocates...

Literacy, ELL, and Digital Storytelling: 21st Century Skills in Action

Author: Yumi Matsui and Clifford Lee Summary: This inspiring video documents how an English and a history teacher collaborated to have their high school history students created digital stories as part of the American Immigration Project. The semester-long multimodal project incorporated interviews, transcription. discussion, writing voiceover scripts, and digital production....

Understanding Community Literacies as Foundational to Teaching Excellence

Author: Toni M. Williams, Diane DeFord, Amy Donnelly, Susi Long, Julia López-Robertson, Mary E. Styslinger, and Nicole Walker Summary: This article from the NCTE journal Language Arts reviews several professional books that explore issues of equity and access. The books reviewed share the view that, as educators, we can support...

A Fourth Grade Service Learning Project Engages English Learners

Author: Robert Rivera-Amezola Summary: In this video, a teacher of fourth-grade English learners describes how he integrated service learning and digital literacy in a civic engagement project. They used “My Voice,” a service-learning framework, as a guide to choose a project about water conservation and pollution. The teacher made information...

Supporting English Language Learners: What Happens When Teaching in Students’ Native Language is Made Illegal?

Author: Art Peterson Summary: This inspiring story of Floris Wilma Ortiz-Marrero, a teacher-consultant with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and 2011 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, describes how she became a vocal advocate for her ELL students in a time when the state made it illegal to teach students in...

Writing in Home Dialects: Choosing a Written Discourse in a Teacher Education Class

Author: Eileen Kennedy Summary:In exploring how to encourage her Caribbean teacher education students to use their vernacular dialects (vernacular Englishes, Spanish, and Haitian Creole) in narrative writing, Kennedy discovered reluctant writers who lacked confidence, in part because their use of home languages had always been suppressed. Over time, she helped...

A Social Networking Space for Teachers of English Language Learners

Author: Lynn Jacobs Summary: This article provides the background story of the development of the Know ELLs Ning, “a space where teachers come together to share resources, support one another, and discuss their successes and challenges in teaching English language learners.”  The Know ELLs Ning is a useful resource for individual...

Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction for Adolescent English Language Learners

Author: Leslie Patterson, Carol Wickstrom, Juan Araujo Summary: Sites looking for examples of how to design a study and/or plan professional development focused on the impact of culturally mediated writing instruction (CMWI) for adolescent English learners may find this report by the North Star of Texas Writing Project a helpful...

Responsive Teacher Inquiry and Innovation in Teaching ELA with Diverse Learners (NWP Radio)

Guests: Steve Athanases and Juliet Wahleithner Summary: In this clip from NWP Radio, Steve Athanases and Juliet Wahleithner describe a preservice program at UC-Davis that incorporates teacher inquiry. The speakers provide a rationale for including inquiry during field experiences in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms as a way to turn students’ attention...

Creating Intentional Communities to Support English Language Learners in the Classroom

Author: Judith Rance-Roney Summary: How can teachers support English learners, including recent immigrants, in language acquisition while also investing all students in creating a classroom culture that encourages shared experiences, knowledge construction and the integration of resources that ELs bring? Judith Rance-Roney’s answer was to create the Culture Share Club...