Testing season is well underway across the country. In Illinois, our ELLs finished taking the ACCESS test in February, which measures their improvement and proficiency levels in English.

Ever need a fun activity to jump-start your class or help fill the last 5 minutes after a grueling day? I always kept a few "word puzzle sheets" around for times when we needed a bit of levity in the classroom.

As with many things in life, small changes in how we operate can make enormous impacts on the outcomes we seek. This truth extends itself to our effectiveness as bilingual and ESL educators, especially when it comes to reading and writing.

In high school, it can feel like the holiday season is kicked off with homecoming. The football game, dance, and spirit week festivities happen right before Halloween, and then it's November. 

You know the kids: the troublemakers, the ones who can't sit still, the kids that often make your job more difficult. They may be diagnosed with ADHD, Bipolar or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Or they may just seem disrespectful and willfully disobedient.

Many of us have experienced traveling to a foreign country and having a difficult time understanding the language, but at the same time being exciting to learn about the history, culture, and food of where we were visiting.

Graphic novels get a bad rap sometimes. Some people confuse them with comic books, which tend to be shorter, more action-oriented, and with fewer words (though, don't get me wrong--I quite like reading comics as well and there are some excellent ones out there with vivid artwork, engaging plotlines, and excellent characterization).

In my third period class of 28 students, we speak 14 different native languages and represent 17 countries from five continents. Maybe this sounds exceptional, but in our school, it is the norm for ELL classes.

"I realized if you can change a classroom, you can change a community, and if you change enough communities you can change the world." --Erin Gruwell


Check out this resource from the organization BRYCS about working with refugee children!



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