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Building Cultural Awareness

Stella Villalba explains how frustrations with the families of English language learners can come from misunderstandings of cultural norms, and gives some tips for building awareness.

The Right to Be Seen

Stella Villalba is at a loss when a teacher is hostile to a new English language learner in her classroom. She considers the unspoken challenges of welcoming students who may have had no time at all in schools in their previous history.

Retelling and English Language Learners

Retelling is an essential skill many English language learners struggle with. Stella Villalba finds tackling vocabulary in context is the key for many.

Picture Book Biographies

Stella Villalba shares some of her favorite new picture book bIographies for bringing history to life for young learners, with a focus on perseverance.

Recharging with My Tribe

Stella Villalba uses the inquiry and reflection skills she has developed as a teacher to pore through her planner and journal for clues to why her energy flagged in the winter and spring, and what she can do differently next year.

Refugees: A Children’s Booklist

There is probably no population more misunderstood or vilified than refugees. Stella Villalba shares a booklist to help young students understand the refugee's plight and experiences.

One Child, Many Stories

Asking the right questions of family members can get you far more valuable information than anything from an assessment, especially when you are dealing with English language learners. Stella Villalba explains why initial meetings with new families are crucial.

A Year of Learning About Student Refugees

Did you know the average length of stay in a refugee camp is 17 years? That’s only one of the many astonishing facts Stella Villalba learned as she worked to learn more about the needs of the refugees in her school district.

Fostering More Rereading in Classrooms

Stella Villalba explains why rereading is especially useful for young English language learners, and shares some simple strategies for integrating more rereading strategies into reading and writing workshops

Getting to Know English Language Learners All Year Long

We spend a lot of time early in the year getting to know students and their families, and often celebrate the diversity of these families late in the year with multicultural festivals. Stella Villalba worries that this is a missed opportunity (especially with English language learners). She shares how teachers can integrate getting-to-know-you activities into regular classroom routines all year long.

Rhyming Words and English Language Learners

Stella Villalba explains why focusing on rhyming words is crucial for young English language learners.

Environment and English Language Learners

Stella Villalba finds English language learners struggle less when teachers understand what adaptations are needed in the classroom environment.

Plans for Writing Circle

Stella Villalba starts writing workshop with her young English language learners by having everyone share their plans in a community circle.

Books That Mirror the Children in Our Classrooms

Stella Villalba shares some of her favorite children’s books that mirror the home cultures of English language learners.

Modeling Nonfiction Writing for English Language Learners: Part 3

Stella Villaba models nonfiction writing for her first- and second-grade English language learners, and in the process integrates vocabulary instruction into her lesson. This is the final video in a three-part series.

Modeling Nonfiction Writing for English Language Learners: Part 2

Stella Villalba models nonfiction writing for her first- and second-grade English language learners, and in the process integrates vocabulary instruction into her lesson. This is the second video in a three-part series.

Modeling Nonfiction Writing for English Language Learners

Stella Villalba models nonfiction writing for her first- and second-grade English language learners, and in the process integrates vocabulary instruction into her lesson. This is the first video in a three-part series.

Learning Vocabulary in Context with English Language Learners

Stella Villalba explores why it is so important to teach vocabulary to English language learners in context.

Modifications for English Language Learners

Stella Villalba shares some modifications that can help English language learners demonstrate skills and knowledge.

Mid-Workshop Conversations

Stella Villalba finds mid-workshop conversations are a terrific routine to add to literacy workshops to promote growth, especially for English language learners.

My Journey with Marcos: Autism and English Language Learners

Stella Villalba finds she needs new strategies for assisting a young autistic English language learner.

I Don’t Want to Know What You Did Last Summer: Rethinking Narrative Nonfiction

Stella Villalba rethinks the seemingly innocuous “What did you do last summer?” writing assignment at the start of the year, especially for children who may have more limited experiences than peers.

Time for English Language Learners

Stella Villalba finds what English language learners need more than almost anything else is patience with silence and time to formulate responses.

English Language Learners First-Grade Guided Group

Stella Villalba leads a guided reading group of first-grade English language learners, beginning with building vocabulary.

The Silent Period

Do you have English language learners in the silent period in your school? Stella Villalba has tips for teachers working with them.

A Classroom for Elementary English Language Learners

Stella Villalba gives a tour of her classroom library and publishing corner designed to support the grades 1-5 English language learners she works with daily.

Habits That Maximize Time

Stella Villalba writes about the importance early in the year of building habits with students that maximize time for English language learners.

Connecting Nonfiction Reading and Writing: Conferring with Hermione

Stella Villalba confers with Hermione, a first grader who is also an English language learner. Hermione is combining research and writing as she writes a nonfiction report.

Nonfiction and English Language Learners

Stella Villalba has advice about connecting nonfiction, young English language learners, and the Common Core.

Rehearsing Informational Writing: Conferring with Jocelyn

Stella Villalba confers with first grader Jocelyn about the information text she is writing about bunnies. Jocelyn is an English language learner, and this conference demonstrates the value of oral rehearsal for young ELL writers.

Integrating Vocabulary and Retelling Strategies into Read-Aloud

Stella Villalba scaffolds the language development of her first- and second-grade English language learners during read-aloud by highlighting vocabulary and providing a tool to assist with a partner retelling activity.

Hearing Carlos: Helping Young English Language Learners Develop Speaking and Listening Skills

Stella Villalba incorporates more speaking and listening activities into her primary classroom for English language learners.

Without Answers

English language learners may have some of the quietest voices in schools. In this poem and narrative, Stella Villalba shares the power of finding ways to bring those voices out in your classroom.

Are Your Writers Talking During Writing Workshop?

Stella Villalba shares practical tips for helping young English language learners collaborate with classmates and receive feedback during writing workshop.

A Poetry Cafe Celebration

Stella Villalba explains how her poetry cafe program brings families together for a festive event, and helps English language learners develop reading and fluency skills at the same time.  This is the first installment in a two-part series.

An ESL Poetry Cafe Celebration (Part II)

Stella Villalba explains how her poetry cafe program brings families together for a festive event, and helps English language learners develop reading and fluency skills at the same time.  This is the second installment in a two-part series.

Raising Readers: Independent Reading, Choices, and Intentional Reading Practices

How can teachers promote good independent reading choices for English language learners? Stella Villalba has suggestions.

Getting to Know English Language Learners at the Start of the Year

If you’re nervous about working with English language learners, Stella Villalba has some reassuring advice for you.

Books and Activities from Around the World to Celebrate the Holiday Season

People around the world celebrate the holidays in different ways, and that diversity provides wonderful learning opportunities this time of year.  Stella Villalba shares literary holiday projects and a booklist around the themes of "peace" and "wishes" that might help students find common ground in family traditions.

Bilingual (English/Spanish) Books that Celebrate Language, Family and Culture

Stella Villalba shares her favorite bilingual (English/Spanish) books for helping young English language learners feel at home in new classrooms early in the year.

Jose the Late Bloomer

Stella Villalba has practical advice for reaching a young English language learner who is reluctant to write and often frustrated.

Photo Booth and Young Readers

Stella Villalba uses the Photo Booth app to build stamina in a young English language learner, as well as reinforce the learning and practice at home.

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