Monday, March 31, 2014


I've written a blog post before about the difference between the acronyms ESL, ELL, ESOL, etc. (It can be accessed here.) This particular post has proven to be one of my most popular posts, standing as one of my most-accessed posts found organically via internet searches. Having a background in linguistics, however, I'm not naive to the fact that with time, terminology trends change. So, I'm curious: Which acronym/s do you use most often to refer to your non-native English speaking students? Take my poll at the right to share your opinion! I'll post the results after I close the poll at the end of the month.

Friday, March 28, 2014

TESOL 2014 in Portland, Oregon: Phonics in English Language Learning Contexts

I'm currently attending the TESOL 2014 conference in Portland. It is common each year I attend to recognize "themes" or areas of growing interest based on the presentation topics and the number of attendees drawn to each presentation. One of the popular areas of interest I've noticed at this conference has been phonics as it relates to language competency and enhancing learning in various language skills.

I attended a session yesterday by three TESOL graduate students from Florida State University. They presented on the use of an explicit phonics program over the last year in their Intensive English Program at FSU. I was happy to see that the results of their implementation have been positive.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Free, Engaging 2014 Winter Olympics Activities for ELL Classrooms

With the 2014 Winter Olympics rapidly approaching, teachers are gearing up for ways to integrate the excitement of the games into their English Language Learner classrooms. A colleague recently informed me of a free Winter Olympics Activity Toolkit created by VIF Learning Center that can be downloaded on their blog here. The toolkit provides engaging activities to bring global learning into the classroom. You can also upload photos and videos of students engaging in the activities onto the VIF Learning Center website to be entered into prize drawings. You can learn more information by reading their blog post here. The toolkit was developed for students in grades K-12, but activities are also relevant to older learners.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reading Fluency Webinar by Neil Anderson for ESL Teachers

My colleague Neil Anderson recently presented a webinar hosted by Reading Horizons entitled, "Holding in the Bottom While Sustaining the Top: A Balanced Approach for L2 Reading." This informative webinar is one of the most practical webinars I've ever heard with regards to maintaining a well-balanced, interactive reading curriculum for English Language Learners. He discusses the use of both top-down and bottom-up (phonics) instruction in the L2 reading classroom.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

English Language Learner Strategies

Visit my ESL teaching tips blog post to learn about pronunciation, spelling, grammar, decoding, and listening strategies. Also, come back to my blog soon to see the launch of my new YouTube channel where I will be demonstrating decoding strategies using a tablet and screen captures!

Specific strategies taught elsewhere on my blog can also be accessed here:

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Educational Literacy App for Children (Part 2)

I mentioned in a previous blog post that Reading Horizons developed an app for children called Card Match available in the Apple app store for use on iPads. Since that blog post, the company has now released an additional app for kids called Whack-a-Word, which was recently featured on the History Channel and Ion Networks. You can view the spot here.

A special shout-out goes to all who are helping to improve literacy efforts around the world!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Adapting Online Apps in the Classroom

With the rise of social media and online apps, an increased interest from educators in how to utilize these online resources in the classroom has surfaced. I have blogged before about using technology in the classroom. Two of these blog posts include Free Online Videos for the ESL and ELL Classrooms and Five Free Technology Tools for ELL/ESL Teachers and Students. I am always interested in learning new ideas about how to integrate and adapt useful technology and online resources in the classroom.

A colleague reached out to me this week and inquired about whether I would be interested in sharing a link to an online article she authored which examines the use of the Vine app in classrooms. This app could be used in a variety of ways, including use for demos and tutorials. Links to tutorials and practical tips are included in the article, which can be found here:

I have not yet used this app myself, but I am interested in your thoughts. Would you find this resource useful? What other online apps are you adapting in your classroom? Feel free to share your insights!