English Learners

English Language Learners, Classroom Drama

Author: Dana Loy Summary: Through a year-long drama and playwriting project with her bilingual class of 8th graders, Dana Loy and a visiting artist engaged her students in writing stories that could be dramatized, learning about playwriting and working together as actors with the goal of developing a script that...

Meeting the Needs of Racially and Linguistically Diverse Students through Courageous Conversations

Author: South Coast Writing Project Summary: Although conversations about race and diversity are not easy, they can allow teacher leaders to examine and interrogate their beliefs and practices to determine the direction of their teaching and of their writing project sites. Teachers at the UCLA Writing Project found their reading...

Book Review: English Learners, Academic Literacy, and Thinking: Learning in the Challenge Zone

Author: Debra Schneider Summary: How can we best support English learners in classrooms where rigorous curricula focus on intellectual practices across content areas? How can we engage in practices that enable students to construct rather than reproduce knowledge, develop deep understanding of disciplinary knowledge and forge connections between school and...

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...

Preserving the Cultural Identity of the English Language Learner

Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono Summary: With an advocacy goal of helping immigrant students retain their cultural identities and succeed within the mainstream classroom while also learning a new language, the authors share several effective writing practices that validate students’ primary language in meaningful ways and promote a strong...

Community Connections for English Learners: Changing the World Starts with Just a Few Words

Author: Art Peterson Summary: This short article illustrates ways a teacher can engage colleagues in professional learning and provides examples of classroom activities that build connections between EL students, their parents and their community. Engaging students in creating digital movies to document the history of discrimination along with the impact...

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...

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...

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...

Know ELLs: Support for Teachers of English Language Learners

Author: Great Valley Writing Project Summary: This Ning, a social website/blog developed and maintained by several teacher leaders from the Grand Valley Writing Project in Central California, focuses on issues related to teaching English Language Learners. Sites and teacher leaders looking to maintain momentum after the conclusion of an institute or...