English Learners

Building Culturally Responsive Units of Study: From Texas to Mexico and Back

Author: Katie McKay Summary: By crafting units of study that cast immigration as part of the American historical process, a teacher-consultant at the Heart of Texas Writing Project creates opportunities for her bilingual fourth-graders to explore immigration in a trusting and productive classroom environment. This article can support discussions about...

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...

Lost in Translation: Assessing Writing of English Language Learners

Author: Tom Meyer, Fabiola Lieberstein-Solera, and Martha Young Summary: If you are planning professional development on the assessment of writing that involves students whose first language is not English, you may want to read this thoughtful article. The authors, the site director and two bilingual teacher leaders from the Hudson...

Love Ties My Shoes: Long-term English Learners as Thoughtful Writers

Author: Lynn Jacobs Summary: Students in a high school English Language Development class writing a book? Lynn Jacobs’ story of her students success can inform teacher study groups and inspire professional development sessions. For details about the project, powerful student voices describing the process, and ties to professional literature that...

When Third-Grade Writers Do Case Studies

Author: Janet Kiddoo Summary: Bilingual third grade students acted as helpers to first graders in a collaborative writing workshop. The third grade teacher guided her students through a process similar to teacher inquiry–to reflect on their own experiences as writers in order to help the younger writers, to take notes...

“I’m a Writer Now!” The Who, Where, and When of an ELL Newspaper

Author: Joe Bellino Summary: Joe Bellino, a teacher of English language learners, describes the process of publishing “Silver International,” a newspaper written by his EL/International high school students as well as how the paper positively affected readers, writers, and the school. This resource offers inspiration for study groups and teacher...

Digital Storytelling for Language and Culture Learning

Author: Judith Rance-Roney Summary: Interested in introducing digital storytelling in a writing classroom? Rance-Roney, a teacher with the Hudson Valley Writing Project, explains digital storytelling, discusses its strengths in promoting literacy, and, by documenting her own multilingual classroom work, suggests a path for getting started with this technology.

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....

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...

Narrative Writing and the Common Core State Standards, from Helping English Learners to Write

Authors: Carol Booth Olson, Robin C. Scarcella, Tina Matuchniak Summary: In this chapter from Helping English Learners to Write, the authors explain the critical role of narrative writing in helping English learners develop their English language skill and succeed in English Language Arts coursework in the secondary grades. Building upon...