How to help English Learners Improve their Reading At home

This link provides access to a 20-minute interview conducted by one of the best parents resources, that presents reasons why reading in the native language support reading in English. I am excited to share this resource because often time parents feel that not knowing English they can’t help their children in school. In fact, by reading in any language you are supporting language development including fluency in reading, comprehension, decoding practices, and a general enjoyment in reading. The webinar is in Spanish so feel free to share with Spanish-speaking parents in your classes.

Please visit Understood for more information on how to support the 20% of children with learning and attention issues.  Their mission in their own words:

Understood aims to give parents a direct path to the support they need most to make them feel more confident and capable, less frustrated and alone:

Understood aims to give parents a direct path to the support they need most to make them feel more confident and capable, less frustrated and alone:

Understood promises:

  • We promise well-researched, practical information that’s easy to apply to everyday life.
  • We promise daily access to expert advice that’s free of charge, clearly communicated and never influenced by commercial interests.
  • We promise a secure community where parents can trade tips and experiences with other parents like them.
  • We promise to help parents recognize and develop their children’s strengths—and to address their challenges.
  • We promise to share resources and tips to help parents work constructively with schools, professionals and others in their community.

New Graduate Certificate Program in Teaching Bilingual English Leaners with Disabilities

As part of Lasell College, we have developed a post-baccalaureate certificate program in Teaching Bilingual English Leaners with Disabilities.  The certificate program encompasses four 6-week courses and it is 100% online.  The courses are:

  1. Fundamentals of Bilingual Special Education: Policies, Laws, and Practice
  2. Removing Barriers for Classroom Assessment and Instruction of Bilingual Students
  3. Assessment for Equity and Inclusion of Bilingual Students with and without Disabilities
  4. Culturally Responsive Individualized Educational Planning for Bilingual Students with Disabilities

The goal of the certificate is to better prepare teachers- general, ESL, and special education teachers to work better, more informed and more efficiently with English learners who are struggling.

The need

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For more information please visit

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Interview on the Forefront of Education in the Lasell Leaves Alumni Magazine

I wanted to share this article that they did on what we are working on in my current position as Chair of the Education Department at Lasell College.  The two main initiatives are integrating the TeachLive simulators into our courses and the recruitment of minorities students into the field of education.

We currently have first-year students interact in the TeachLive classroom by having them introduce a lesson while managing typical classroom behaviors.  For second year students, we will be engaging the delivery of a reading lesson or reading assessment.  For third year students, we will get the opportunity to practice a parent-teacher conference Finally, seniors will move the parent-teacher conference to a referral to special education.  The video shows a short demonstration.

The other aspect of the interview focused on developing a pipeline fro high school to college by encouraging minority students in neighboring districts to become teachers.

Dynamic Assessment for the Evaluation of English Language Learners with Potential Disabilities

SAVE THE DATE MAY 30-31st, Boston, MA–

SAVE THE DATE MAY 30-31st, Boston, MA– Proud to announce that Professor David Tzuriel, PhD -an international expert on Dr. Ruven Feuerstein’s Dynamic Assessment of Learning Potential – will conduct a 2-day workshop on the Assessment of ELLs with Disabilities Using Dynamic Assessment. Dynamic Assessment is the most culturally and linguistically responsive method of cognitive evaluation.  The method uses specific methods embedded in teaching and learning processes. More information to come.

Dynamic Assessment is the most culturally and linguistically responsive method of evaluation.  The method uses specific methods embedded in teaching and learning processes.

More information to come.

Study on Dual Language Programs in Portland Demonstrate Benefit for ALL

A study conducted by the RAND Corporation, Portland Public Schools, and the American Council for International Education supported by an Institute of Education Science grants evaluated the benefits of dual language two-way programs in reading, math, and science outcomes.  Although they are not done with the study analysis, they published initial findings November 2015:
” the study examines the effects of dual-language immersion (DLI) on student achievement. The study’s goals are to
1)estimate the causal impact of immersion education on student
achievement in mathematics, English language arts, and science,
2) examine how this effect differs for native English speakers versus native speakers of other languages,
3) illuminate the variation in instructional practices among immersion programs and between immersion and non-immersion classes in DLI schools, and
4) document the costs of immersion instruction in the district

Main finding– students in dual language two-way program were 7 to 9 months ahead of student in non-dual language programs in reading outcomes according to state data.  Great finding supporting the need for more dual language programs around the country

To read the executive summary findings click here

What is dual language education? by Coloring Colorado

The following youtube video explains what is dual language education.  The Colorin Colorado website, division or Reading Rockets, a national literacy organization just post it a short description of what is dual language.  The speaker explains that there are a variety of dual language education programs and that all focus on developing bilingualism and biliteracy for students.  This means the goal is to be fully bilingual and biliterate in two languages.  Many of these programs exist across the U.S. with the majority of them teaching Spanish and English.  The Center for Applied Linguistics keeps a good record of programs if you are interested.  If you are interested in learning more here is the link to one school in the Boston, MA The Hurley K-8 School.

Reading Rockets Shares How One District Supports English Learners

Reading Rockets has a great article that summarizes how a school in Clark County, NV supports English learners.  Researchers call what students do everyday to learn English and learn the academic standards we teach a Double Burden.  The Double Burden of trying to understand what the teacher is teaching as they are dealing with new vocabulary, new syntatic structure, and oral comprehension.  There are many teachers that implement effective teaching strategies, but often times teachers find it easier to not engage the English learner and just hope they get the material.

This articles provide a summary of what some teachers are doing to alleviate this and engage students to learn both interpersonal and academic skills more effectively and quicker.

Top Eight Ways to Re-energize Your Teaching for Next School Year

Top Five Ways to Re-Energize Your Teaching for the Next School Year

Summertime is a great time to re-energize your teaching career by taking some action and being proactive for the next school year. Many teachers keep notes on what worked and what didn’t. Others promise to read an inspirational educational book like “Teaching Like Champion”, and others set to start a masters program in a new area of education.

As a leader in the teacher preparation arena and consultant for school districts, my recommendation is that teachers begin to think about summertime as an opportunity to review their credentials and dig deeper into their area of expertise. Teachers can begin this process by creating a plan ahead of time and perhaps even engage a peer group. Below find the 8 recommendations for a summer professional development plan:
1. Explore and seek licensure requirements and college/university level programs in your area of expertise.
a.If you are looking to change careers and you would like to find out how to obtain initial licensure look for universities with masters programs in the area you like (e.g. PreK-2, 1-6, moderate disabilities, ESL, etc.).
i. Ensure that they are program leading to initial licensure
ii. Ensure that they are state approved
iii. Ensure that they support you in taking the teacher licensure tests (e.g. MTEL, Praxis, etc.)
iv. Read the fine print for the details on completing your student teaching/full practicum required for licensure
b. If you already have an initial license but would like an additional initial licensure in a new area look for universities education programs that offer multiple types of programs. Your goal is to increase your training and make yourself more competitive when seeking a new position. For example, you have an elementary license but would like to add a license to work with students with moderate disabilities.
c. You already have initial license and you are between your 3 to 5 year of teaching, you need to seek out Professional licensure. Programs towards meeting professional licensure requirements can be found at the district level and university programs. Ensure that the program is approved by the state and that it meets the requirements in the same area as you initial license. For example you have an initial license in elementary education and now you need your professional licensure in elementary education to continue to be licensed. The courses are designed to take you more in depth in your area of licensure and experience and explore the latest innovations and pedagogy in the field.

2. Seek a professional organization in your field and read the latest white papers, position papers published that year, or perhaps read a few research-based articles on a topic of your interest from their educational journals. Share those articles with you peers and create a “book club” of sorts where you can all go deeper and do inquiry on what it would be like to implement this practice in your class next year (get really excited about a new research-based practice).
a. Make a plan of action and develop a few lessons that you can share with your peers
b. Identify ways to measure progress of students to ensure they learned what you intend for them to learn.
c. Plan to visit your peers classrooms once the school year begins so that you can give each other feedback
(Professional Organizations include: National Education Association (NEA), International Literacy Association (ILA), National Association of School Psychology (NASP), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and there are many others.

3. Sign up for webinars via the professional organizations or non-for profit organizations. There are many of these that are pre-recorded and free access in many cases. For example the New England Regional Educational Library has many of supporting English learners with and without disabilities. Another is webinars from the RTI Action Network who has video webinars on many topics related to helping students with learning and attention issues in schools doing innovative school-wide methods
One last example are those published by the Institute of Education Science What Works Clearing house (, Success at the Core (, and the IRIS Modules from Vanderbilt University who has more than 100 online modules on every area of instruction and socio emotional learning Create a toolkit that you can start the year with.

4. Sign up for Education Week ( and other education news outlets that let you keep abreast with changes in the field. You can do this via email or Facebook (my favorite). You can follow their recent articles, position papers, real stories from the classrooms, and upcoming conferences.

5. Develop a plan of materials and supplies that you will need this year and prepare a Donors Choose Grant that can launch the first week of class when your community and parents are excited to start the year on the right foot. The application is very short and the rewards are many and long term for your teacher materials toolkit. Last year, Google supported all DonorsChoose grants the first day of school in many district across MA (

6. Create a class webpage or blog via a school district learning management system or a free blog page.
a. Google Sites can help you create a free one or visit other places such as: Weebly for Education (, School Rack, Kafafa among many others.
b. Blogs can be another options that is free as well. Visit WordPress at or Blogger at
c. Learn one technology tool that can improve your teaching. For example you can explore to spruce up their teaching presentations.

7. Explore national and local conferences coming to your area and have a plan to share with your principal to get support. For example, one coming to Boston soon is The Building Learning Communities Educatoin Conference 2015 in July (

8. Identify new resources for parents for your welcome back packet/information. For example share information from Understood, a new website supported by 15 organizations and foundation whose goal is to help millions of parents of children and young adults struggling with learning and attention issues. This website has a new Parent Toolkit that teacher may find helpful to send home (

I hope you find these helpful to keep you engaged and ready for new students who need you next year!

Great new Website for English Learners- Level 1, 2, & 3

Finding a great new resource for ELLs is always exciting. Brain Pop is a website with online games for kids. It has been around for a long time but it has changed greatly. The webpage also has great tools for teachers as well. It allows teachers to create quizzes and puzzles that are printable.
My favorite new section is one for English learners. I have been asked many times by principals and teacher what they can do with newcomer English learners the first few weeks of school. This is a great tool for them to begin getting some English, feel engaged, and practice new necessary words. Yon can select by Enlgish language proficiency level 1, 2 or 3. It includes a list of words at that level and games to practice.

If you have other websites please post them here.