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Teaching Transition Words

The second-grade team was teaching the unit on writing fairy tales for the first time, and emailed us because they noticed they didn’t have a lesson in the unit that...

Building Reading Identities Across the Year

It was November, and a new intervention cycle was beginning. “What kind of reader are you, Giselle?” Kate asked the student who was new to one of her third-grade intervention...

Conferences with Parents of English Language Learners

In​ ​the​ ​past​ ​decade,​ ​my​ ​school​ ​population​ ​had​ ​shifted​ ​dramatically.​ ​Transiency,​ ​shifting​ ​attendance​ ​lines,​ ​and the​ ​passage​ ​of​ ​time​ ​has​ ​changed​ ​our​ ​school​ ​population​ ​such​ ​that​ ​we​ ​have​ ​a​ ​significant​...

The Right to Be Seen

I would often ask myself: What’s the kind thing to do? What is the right thing to do?                                                                                              Jacqueline Woodson How can anyone forget the face of a child...

Retelling and English Language Learners

Have you ever taught a group of first graders how to retell stories? If you have, then you know it is one of those units of study that requires patience...

Refugees: A Children’s Booklist

How could I ever forget her? Her eyes were full of hope. Her smile had shadows behind it, but I didn’t know her journey. She seemed happy at times. Other...

One Child, Many Stories

Have you ever sat down in front of a student’s data and still felt like you don’t have any answers to your questions? Those moments are too familiar to me...

A Year of Learning About Student Refugees

I placed a pair of scissors in front of her after showing her how to match the pictures as I cut them. I waited patiently for her to pick up...

Fostering More Rereading in Classrooms

Do you ever find yourself reading an email quickly to capture the gist and then putting it away in a folder, only to find yourself pulling it out again to...

Getting to Know English Language Learners All Year Long

After a refreshing summer, many teachers come back to school with a notebook full of ideas about how to kick off the school year. Our plans and notebooks include a...

First-Grade Conferring: A Two-Word Picture Book

Bitsy Parks confers with a first-grade English language learner over a very simple picture book.  

Rhyming Words and English Language Learners

I don’t understand . . . Luis just can’t rhyme, and we’ve been practicing rhymes for weeks. You would think that he would’ve gotten it by now. Right? What am...

Parent in a Foreign Land

For students who are new to the English language, nothing comes easily: they have to work hard to figure out a new language, new customs, new foods, new friendships, and...

Environment and English Language Learners

A child walks into my class and says in Spanish, “Ms. Villalba, can I just come into your room and put my head down? I’m tired." Meet William, a fifth-grade...

Plans for Writing Circle

Stella Villalba meets in a circle with her first- and second-grade English language learners to share plans for writing workshop.  

Books That Mirror the Children in Our Classrooms

A book can show you the world but it can also show you a reflection of yourself.                                   Grace Lin We sat in silence. “Comments? Thoughts?” I asked this group...

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...

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...

Learning Vocabulary in Context with English Language Learners

Student 1: I think Frog is really nice. Me: What makes you say that? Student 1: Because he helped Toad find the list. Student 2: Yeah . . . because...

Knowing Ami: Silent Communication with an English Language Learner

When Ami walked in the door, I wanted to know everything about her. Why did she always have a sparkle in her big brown eyes? Why did she carry her...

Modifications for English Language Learners

The teacher is reading aloud a new picture book to the class. Since the students haven’t heard the story before, everyone is listening very carefully. But as she comes to...