Top 3 Posts from This Year

Do you know about these three posts?  Hundreds of teachers are using the content and links in these posts so I thought you might want to know about them if you don’t already.

The Number One TOP POST: WIDA 2018 Breakout Session on Video Plus Resources

This post with all the resources from my WIDA 2o18 session is likely popular because it has an embedded video of my Hacking Literacy breakout session and most of the tips I shared.

That post makes it super simple to turn around a PD just like the one I did at WIDA.  You have visuals and explanations for Reviewing Objectives, QSSSA, The IDK Poster, Differentiation and a lot more.  I presented the session from that exact blog post and you can too.  Or you can just review the post & or watch the video to get what the participants got who attended.

The 2nd Most Popular Post is My Interview with Tan Huyhn on How Lessons Fail ELs

In this post, Tan Huynh helps me review a great infographic he created to remind us of what things we might be doing that would fail our English learners.  I find the 6 reminders so powerful and Tan explaining the thinking behind each of them is a great listen to help us all reflect. This post offers the uncut video I did with Tan and also the podcast version of that conversation.

I’m grateful that Tan puts out so much great content and I strongly suggest you follow him on Twitter and on subscribe to his blog if you don’t already.

Top Post #3 is The Interview with Sarah Williams about Starting out Strong in the ESL Classroom.

Be sure to bookmark this one for the beginning of the school year! Sarah Williams reached out about how to set up her classroom and had a great conversation to go along with my top tips for this. I’ve had SO MANY teachers reach out about this post and episode.  The post has a 30 min video embedded that had over a thousand views in just a few weeks.  I believe this is because the advice on setting up your classroom for the first day of school is practical and so many teachers want to get off on the right foot but are not sure where to start with language learners. Others tell me that there are some great reminders there on what is fundamental to a safe, productive space. Thanks to Sarah for helping me recap it all.

The Videos Page and the Podcast Page were viewed more than anything so you may want to check those out as well.

Thanks for dropping by this blog.  I hope you are able to find content that is useful to you.

Please reach out. I’d love to hear from you!

Big Hugs!


PS: Thank you to everyone contacting me about doing professional development in your district!  If anyone wants more information about that, you can email me at or reach out to me on Twitter.  I’m at @MsSalvaC

PSS: Did you know I have a facebook page?

Can you join us at one of these upcoming Rapid Literacy conferences?

Waxahachie / North Texas – Rapid Literacy Saturday, December 1, 2o18

Des Moines, Iowa Rapid Literacy Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Detroit, Michigan Rapid Literacy Tuesday, January 29, 2019

BAP039 DIY Online PD Conference

Do you love the free online VirtuEL conferences? Want to do something like that on your own?

Tan Huynh joins me this week to speak to Deborah Brey about getting her own Online conference off the ground.

You can listen to the show on Soundcloud or right here

Listen to “BAP039 DIY Online Conference with Tan Huynh and Deborah Brey” on Spreaker.

Tan and I are both grateful to Deborah for joining us to talk through different ways this can be done. 

Here are links to some of the things we reference in this episode.

We mention Tan’s awesome website:

We reference #MADPD – This is the virtual UnConference that inspired our #VirtuEL online conferences.  We talk about Peter Cameron and Derek Rhodenizer who are the founders and definitely worth following! (Also, there is a special cameo by Derek Rhodenizer in this episode!)

Deb and I connected at the WIDA conference this year in Detroit.  It’s a fantastic conference for teachers of ELs to attend!
Tan references Tony Vincent alot in the show with good reason. He learned a great deal from Tony by following him and taking some of his online courses.  For example, we mention Loom for screen recording.  Tan shared that he learned that directly from Tony. Here is Valentina Gonzalez using Loom in her VirtuEL18 session:
A huge win for listeners is that Tan is sharing the slide deck he created to help us all get up on our tech skills to present in this last conference.  This will save your MONTHS of work!
Here is the link for the slide deck to support teachers who will present LIVE:
And here is Tan’s slide deck he created to support presenters who would be pre-recording their sessions:
Tan also mentions PD held by ELLSA and gives us this link for more on that:
As you listen to this show you realize that there are MANY different ways people can put on a virtual conference or use the idea to augment their current PD efforts.  Again, super grateful to Deb for helping us think through some of them.
We talked about using some of the VirtuEL videos along with a live Keynote along with other ideas that help folks take baby steps toward giving your own online conference.
We mention Twitter Chats and how Shaley Santiago is getting folks together for tweet-ups!
Slow chats like #Ellchat_BkClub and how you can borrow ideas from those.
Deb also asked about the archived #ELLChat_BkClub questions so we have a like to Katie Toppel’s blog about that here:
We can’t forget the great example by Michelle Shory & Irina McGrath gave us for extending learning with a choice board for teachers.  Here is a tweet where they offer links to that:


NCTE18 Resources for My Connected Learners Session

Downloads of paragraph frames, planning pages, links, and all the resources for my NCTE18 session are here for you!

This year’s theme is Raising Student Voice.  Yes! I’m all over that!

When I taught middle school we discovered the power of using students’ authentic curiosity and questions to propel language and literacy.  We often Skyped with archeologists to ask questions about the heritage and history of the world around us.  We also created videos with questions for students from surrounding schools who were learning about history.They gladly created answer videos for us. This can now be done more easily with Flipgrid and other free technology.  For my students who were gaining literacy and language, their authentic interest in the subject matter enhanced their engagement.  Watch this 3 minute video where Emmanuel gains speaking and reading practice in preparation for a class visitor:


I was recently teaching high school and for the past two years, I had invited our newcomer students to share their migration stories.  We first begin by sharing migration stories of people like Emily Francis who have overcome challenges to find success in this country. Her story is inspiring and compelling for immigrant students who may not realize what is possible with persistence and a growth mindset.

We begin the year working with sentence frames that scaffold up to paragraph frames. This google folder has several documents that will lead students through steps to writing about the similarities and differences in their country and the USA.

We then offer students the option to present on this topic or another topic of their choosing.  Many chose to share their migration stories. The planning pages for those projects are below.

These presentations are shared with classmates but in 2017, one of our World History teachers had the idea of bringing his class to hear the stories.  They also brought food and we allowed time for socializing.  After the presentations, there was time for Q&A. Some of the native-born students were visibly moved. Their comments and questions revealed the deep impact these stories had on the native-born students.

Many of our students are compelled to explain the hardships they have endured to find a safe place to live and the luxury of a free education. It is a time to build empathy but also appreciation and respect among students who may never meet otherwise.

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Other choice projects include “What’s in a Name” and the “Personal Playlist.”  Both of these projects were adapted from Noa Daniel’s Building Outside the Blocks approach to project-based learning that offer voice and choice for students.  These documents are the paragraph frames and planning pages we use to support our English learners in planning what they’d like to share.

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Our migration stories are also being shared with a classroom in Laos so as to add to global funds of knowledge.  We are grateful to Olwen, an educator in Laos, who invited us to share out thoughts in a collaborative google slides presentation about migration.  My students were eager to share.


I will also share how my students create Kahoots (online multiple choice games) about their cultural holiday traditions. PLAY OUR KAHOOT

These quizzes are shared with other classrooms via Twitter and Facebook. This is a picture of Katie DiGregorio’s class in Long Island playing our Kahoot.  We connected with her class and Emily Francis’ class after these Kahoots.  Katie’s class of newcomers made a Kahoot about Long Island for us and we were compelled to write Emily’s class after they sent us questions.

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The students are honored with the questions but it also serves as a way to begin creating assessments with content. Sharing the quizzes offers another way to connect our classrooms with learners around the world.

Finally, we will explain the power of Mystery Skype. We can instantly create dialog and promote higher-order thinking with a Mystery Skype.  Through Skype, we connect to another classroom somewhere in the world and play “20 Questions” to determine their location.

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Those questions are from Scholastic and they have a great step-by-step post here if you want to know more about Mystery Skype.  But honestly, you can just go out on Twitter and type in #MysterySkype to find another class that would like to play.  It’s VERY student centered!  In fact, all of these activities are student-centered, honor our students and are the catalyst for discussion, further research, and reflective writing.

I will also show some writing samples of a first year newcomer here:

And also of a 3rd year student who is new to literacy in any language.  This video is the spirit of the mindset we are trying to get our students to own.

I hope you’ve found this helpful!

Reach out and let me know how you use them or if you’d like any help.  Coming to work with districts is my passion!


Carol Salva

Iowa Culture & Language Conference 2018 Keynote Address

I’ll be presenting the opening keynote at the Iowa Culture and Language Conference.  #IowaCLC18

I’m happy to share the highlights with you below.

We will start with a reflection about what we believe.

Do those beliefs carry over for Under-schooled learners?  I’m privileged to know many students who come to us with limited education and I have had opportunities to reflect on what is helping them be successful in comprehensive schools.

My topic will be the Four Essential Messages that we need to send to every language learner.  I did a podcast on this a few months back that you can listen to here. 

Each of the following videos will offer an example of how we have conveyed the messages... not just told the students these messages.

First I’ll explain some of the hardships that these students have faced.  We must realize that they have so much to deal with but we can support them with lessons that heal and also have high expectations for their learning.

I’m using this one for YOU ARE IMPORTANT:

I’ll talk about One World Club and other ways we help students know that they are important.


This one will be shown for WHAT YOU ARE LEARNING IS IMPORTANT:

That video will help me demonstrate that we can make connections to grade level learning and with the background our students DO have.

The following video will be used to show YOU CAN DO IT:

This is a video where we received our Saddleback Hi-Low readers.  We do a lot of Language Experience Approach and soon they are able to also read low level books. But we need them to have high interest, readable text.

And this last one will help me demonstrate what is possible when students realize that WE WILL NOT GIVE UP ON YOU:

I’ll end my keynote by reading an excerpt from a guest post for Larry Ferlazzo by Wendhy Rodriguez who we saw in one of the above videos.


I’ll take a moment to honor the students who are working hard buy might not make graduation requirements.  Those students need even more attention from us. They need to see people like me and like Emily Francis, who may not have graduated with our peers but we did eventually find success.  They can too.  They all can.

Hope some of this is helpful to you!

Thanks to everyone here at Iowa Culture and Language Conference. Follow it at #IowaCLC18!



BAP038 VoxCast with Derek Rhodenizer. What Else Can We Build Outside the Blocks of Time?

Not enough time? Maybe you have more than you think.

Listen to the show right here and the links are below:
Listen to “BAP038 VoxCast with Derek Rhodenizer. What Else Can We Build Outside the Blocks of Time” on Spreaker.

Because we couldn’t find common podcasting time, Derek Rhodenizer and I decided to use Voxer to communicate and document a conversation that was spread over several days.  In this show, we realize that we may not have a common 1-hour block together but we could certainly find 3 minutes here and there to communicate back and forth.

This leads us to think about what else we might be able to do where we thought we could not.

This concept reminds me of Noa Daniel and her Building Outside the Blocks approach to instruction.  Her projects changed EVERYTHING for me and my students.  It was so liberating to allow them to build their projects outside the blocks of time we had in school. Noa’s projects were so engaging that they WANTED to do them.  They were not forced to do any of them.  Check her out here.

We talk about the medium we are using and how this technology might support the learning of our students.  We talk about wait time and why it helps us reflect.  So then, of course this would be good for our students.

I mention the QSSSA strategy.

Universal Design for Learning was mentioned and I admited that I needed to look that up. It took us into some reflection about what “good teaching” is.  We also reflected about our “WHY.”  I feel that mine is to empower people.  Derek feels that his why is to help kids get better.

Here is the 1 min of audio of me and Emily Francis at #WIDA2018.  It was in an awesome session by Michelle Shory.  Emily’s WHY sounds way better than mine.   :-/

I look forward to more conversations like this with Derek and with others in my PLN.  It showed me that where there is a will, there is a way!  And it inspired me to think about what else we might need to rethink!  Derek and I thought we did not… but we obviously DO have time to podcast.

Let me know what YOU think!



Most Requested Videos for your PD Efforts

Here are some of my most requested videos that people use to offer PD or for their own reflection. Hope they are useful!

Newcomers and SLIFE tell you what helps them most in their classes (1 hour video):

Effective Questioning in Social Studies (QSSSA Deep Dive) 30 min:

Language Experience Approach and QSSSA modeled. Non-Example and Example (30 min):

High School Newcomer explains how he gained so much English in 7 months. (4 min):

After watching that video, Uri is inspired and puts incredible effort. In the following video, he explains how he went from Beginner to Advanced High in reading  in less than one school year (6 min):

In this video, he explains his 2 top tips for teachers of newcomers (3 min):

Uri talks about the importance of Voice and Choice for students (3.5 min):

A middle school student changes his mindset so we can get literacy off the ground (3 min)

Using Kahoot with Newcomers (30 min)

For your PTA to blast to the community if you need volunteers (6 min)

There are many more videos you can use on this page of my blog.

Thank you for your interest in these videos and for all you do to help our ELs! Contact me with any questions.





Do you need any support in your district?  We are currently booking engagements for training, coaching and speaking so just reach out at  I’d love to hear from you.