You Don’t Need to Buy More Resources or kill yourself making them.

Do you teach an ESL class?  Do you teach a content class with newcomers? You don’t have to spend endless hours creating materials for your Newcomer ESL classes.

Take a look at this 4 min video. It is an overview of what my NELD (Newcomer English Language Development) high school class looked like last year.

What do you notice?  Many things jump out to me. Authentic opportunities to use English. Collaborating with peers. Reflecting on their learning. Co-created, high interest text and more.  Support for decoding while we also support critical thinking.

It’s no wonder they are highly engaged and making great progress.

For content teachers, the highest priority needs to be your subject and grade-level learning.  But we also need to move language in content classes.  If you haven’t seen this video with Ms. Stokes of Spring Forest Middle School, please check it out.  These 3 minutes underscore one technique for teaching SIFE students in state assessed classes.  And they actually help teach the others!


Are you at a loss for how to structure a class like this? Are you or your teachers frantically creating worksheets because there isn’t enough out there?  That used to be me but let’s reconsider what our students really need:

They need opportunities to listen, speak, read and write in the target language

They need to be involved at grade level.

They need to be engaged and participating.

They need to collaborate with others outside of our classrooms.

They need to feel important.

This blog has many ideas to help you achieve these things for your students.  Check our the videos page to see more examples of how this can look.  Nowadays I am constantly challenging myself to find ways to have my students connecting with others and then reflecting on their thinking.  I also want to create opportunities for cross curricular learning. Our upcoming field trip is an example.  This blogpost outlines the steps I’m taking. 


I hope these videos and step by step outlines add to your ideas for how to move away from formulaic curriculum materials and more toward authentic learning.  Reach out if you have any questions!



PS:  Sometimes we need someone to come look at our situations and help develop a plan.  We need to look at our scope and sequence (or develop one) and then see practical ways to help students engage with the plan. We need examples of these activities and how they can boost grade level learning without exhausting the teacher.

I am now working with districts to show teachers how to do these thing.  I can work with you to structure the newcomer class. Or help with inclusion for newcomers or SIFE in content classes.   If you are interested in consulting, just reach out or send this blogpost to your director or ESL support team.

You can email me at

If you have read this far, I know you are doing great things for your students or your teachers. You are the type of person that goes the extra mile to find more resources to support them.  My purpose with this participar offering is just to make your life easier in that endeavor!


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