BAP108 QSSSA Resources ft. Chris Hagy

In this episode, Chris Hagy joins me to explain a strategy and also to talk about how his district is supporting teachers to support their Multilingual Learners.

Christopher Hagy is the Assistant Director for Multilingual Learners in Charleston County School District in Charleston, South Carolina.

You can watch, listen or read about this content.

To listen, just go to your favorite podcast app or listen right here:

Listen to “BAP108 QSSSA Resources ft Chris Hagy” on Spreaker.

The show can be watched on YouTube or right here:

The links we mention are all below. I’m excited to share Christopher’s padlet which contains some of our favorite resources around the QSSSA strategy.  Another reason I’m excited to have Chris on the show is that he is a strong advocate for supporting teachers.  This show and padlet, for example, are being offered to his teachers in Charleston as one idea for self-directing their learning about supporting Emergent Bilinguals.

He offers the padlet for anyone who would like to use it or share it with their staff.  The padlet address is:

We begin the show by explaining the QSSSA strategy.  Chris’s educators in Charleston are being directed to this show and this padlet to learn more about it.  So here is a quick overview of the technique that was first introduced to us by John Seidlitz and Bill Perryman in their 7 Steps to a Language-Rich, Interactive classroom:


  • Question – Ask a question based on a key concept.
  • Signal – Offer a way for students to indicate readiness
  • Stem – Offer the sentence stem or sentence starter to answer the question.
  • Share – Turn and talk / Share with a partner.
  • Assess – Get a formative assessment by randomly calling on someone or having students write something.

The technique has been very popular for over a decade because educators recognize that it helps overcome some of the common challenges we face when trying to faciliate an effective “turn and talk.”

To make things as easy as possible for his teachers, Chris is offering them a padlet with several different resources to learn about this strategy. For example, we discuss some of the 2 to 4-minute videos that explain the technique and show teachers using it in class.

We also point out that you can copy a slide deck by Molly Lang that serves as a “starter-pack” for facilitating a conversation this way.

And we also describe a very effective script created by Michelle Gill from Abbotsford, Canada.

Another great resource we pointed out was created by Cherry-Ann Gildharry for her math teachers.  It has several stems that make sense for any content area.

Chris explains that all of these resources are in one place because he recognizes that educators are busy.  They may not have time to take 5 graduate classes to get an ESOL endorsement.  He explains that he is happy that teachers have that option and that Charleston County School District supports them to do that.  But he is also glad that they offer other options like book studies and 1-hour webinars.  This padlet that we are explaining today is just one of multiple entry points that Charleston County SD is offering to their teachers.

I applaud Chris for taking an innovative approach to professional learning.  He is offering CCSD teachers different options for how they can personalize their learning journey.

In fact, earlier this year Charleston Co SD and Berkely Co SD teamed up to bring me for a day of learning with all of their ESOL teachers.  I brought the DIYpd4MLs training to their teachers to help them see all that is available to take your professional learning to the next level.  Tan Huynh, Dr. Katie Toppel, and I wrote the DIYpd book so that educators of Multilingual Learners could see multiple entry points for their self-directed learning. And we offer a workshop to teachers see how easy it is to get bite-sized, powerful professional learning.  I am inspired that these two districts would empower their teachers with it.

Big thanks to Christopher Hagy for coming on the show and for all he is doing for the field.

We wrapped up the conversation by talking about the fact that language acquisition strategies are not ‘one more thing’ as some teachers may fear.  What we know is that many of the strategies that are necessary for multilingual learners to succeed are strategies that boost the learning of the entire class.  A strategy like structured conversations results in higher achievement for the average learner.  It is good, Tier One instruction.

That is it for this episode! Please reach out to let me know what you think of the show or if you have any suggestions.  Chris also offers this email address if you have questions for him:

Thank you for stopping by this blog!

Please take good care,


“Language acquisition strategies are not one more thing.  They are THE thing.”

PS:  I mentioned the TexTESOL conference and the TABE conference this fall.  As soon as I have links for these events I will post them here and also send them out to subscribers of this blog.

BAP107 ESL/ELL Ferlazzo and Sypnieski on ESL ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide

Are you interested in really amazing free resources??  You’ve come to the right place. Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski join me on this show to discuss their new book, ESL/EL Teacher’s Survival Guide, 2nd Edition.  And there are a ton of free resources and learning opportunities available around it.

You can listen to the audio on your favorite podcast app or right here:

Listen to “BAP107 ESL/ELL Survival Guide ft. Ferlazzo and Sypnieski” on Spreaker.

You can watch the YouTube version of this interview here:

Or you can just browse through the notes to get a gist of what we discussed.  My learning reflections from the conversation are at the end of this post.

Larry & Katie’s bios are extensive.  They do much more than this, but here are the bios from the back of this new book:

Larry Ferlazzo teaches English Language Learners and English-proficiency students at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. He is the author or editor of 12 books on education and writes a weekly teacher advice column for Education Week.  (Top Tip: Subscribe to his blog here.)

Katie Hull Sypnieski teaches English Language Learners and English proficiency students at Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School in Sacramento California. She is a Teacher Consultant with the Area 3 Writing Project at the University of California, Davis, and is a co-author of the ELL Teachers Toolbox and Navigating the Common Core with English Language Learners

As you’ll hear in the interview, there are several contributors that wrote new content in this new edition.  Larry and Katie dedicate a few pages of the book to our bios but you can click on these links to follow them and learn more about them right now:

Laura Gibbs

Stephen Fleenor

Cindy Garcia

Valentina Gonzalez

Antoinette Perez

Jessica Bell

Tan Huynh

Carol Salva

Jenny Vo

In the interview, we get a chance to hear about how different this edition is from the first ESL/ELL Survival Guide that was published 10 years ago. It still includes how to get started, teaching beginners, teaching intermediate multilingual learners, curriculum, daily instruction for MLs, and more.

The new version has a lot of new content around things like:

ELs with Learning Differences, Adult ELLs, Long Term ELs, ELs in Mainstream Classes, Social Studies for ELs, Math for ELs, Science for ELs, Culturally Sustaining Practices, Home Language of ELLs, Using Learning Games, Assessing ELLs, Reflective Teaching/Professional Development, Additional Opportunities, Common Challenges and more.

How you can plug in right now

I wanted to publish this interview ASAP because thanks to Dr. Katie Toppel, we are about to start a month-long #MLLchat_BkClub book study on this resource and you can plug in right away! Now sure how? Larry published an “Everything You Wanted to Know about The Month-Long Online Book Chat about our New Book But Were Afraid to Ask” post.

My strong recommendation is whatever you do, follow the buzz around the hashtag:  #ESLgs

There are many folks sharing about this book, so you can catch a lot of the learning just by following that hashtag.  You might also get a lot of the learning from the excerpts that Larry & Katie published in a slow chat recently. 

OH! And check out these free downloadable student handouts and free chapter downloads from the book!

The first book was a true survival guide for me and I am so excited to be part of this new version.  Along with several other contributors, I had the honor of writing one of the new chapters in this new version!  I’m so happy to share some thoughts on being reflective about our teaching and how powerful that can be for our own professional growth.

Many thanks to Larry & Katie for spending time talking through it all with me.

My reflections from this show:

I often recommend that people follow Larry and Katie because they are still in the classroom and they are very generous in what they share for our collective growth.  There is no question that they are at the top of their game with classroom instruction, research, and best practices.

Larry and Katie had agreed to the interview a few months before we actually sat down to record.  As the days grew closer, tensions in Sacramento were mounting for educators.  The teachers in Sacramento City Unified School District were at odds with the district over a crisis and other issues.  You can read more about that here.

I was concerned for both of these Sacramento teachers and not sure how this interview would go given all they were dealing with.  But as it turns out, we had a great conversation full of reflection and sharing and even several moments of laughter.  The interview begins with what they are both doing now (day-to-day routines) and our acknowledgment of the incredibly difficult times educators are facing.

By the end of the interview, we are all reflecting on HOW an educator is supposed to be able to move forward in these challenging times.  They both offer advice about giving yourself grace and looking forward with hope.

I find this so important.  Now, more than ever.  We are at a time when so many teachers are leaving the profession.  New teachers, new teacher-leaders need a guide like this.

And they need the HOPE that Larry & Katie spoke about.  WHY are they still motivated to stay in the classroom??  Despite all the challenges they are facing this year?  I reflected on what Larry (and several researchers) tell us about motivation.  And then I could see the direct connections to how we are all connected and learning this year:

  • Relevance:  Our conversation in this interview, our collaborations on Twitter/Facebook are relevant because we all teach the MLLs and we are passionate about it.  If you are still reading, it is relevant for you too!
  • Relatedness: Katie mentioned that she is surrounded by other educators and they help each other.  This relatedness piece is about relationships.  Our PLN is about relationships.
  • Competence: THIS BOOK, the free downloads, the free book study all of it is helping us build a sense of competence.  They talked about how they themselves use the book for their own learning and growth.
  • Autonomy: Larry and Katie are champions of self-directed learning.  All that they share for free and their constant interaction with our PLN offers all of us SO MUCH choice in how we learn.  They are obviously capitalizing on choice in their own learning as well.

I find these parallels so important.  What we want for our students who are going through hard times, is the same thing that keeps US going through hard times.  That was a good take-away for me.

Thanks for tuning in!

My very best,

BAP106 Voices of Newcomers ft Dr. Denise Furlong

I had the pleasure of interviewing author and educator, Dr. Denise Furlong.  What a treat to talk with such a passionate advocate.  Scroll down to see the resources she is sharing to help you serve Newcomer students.

You can listen to the show in your favorite podcast app or right here:

Listen to “BAP106 Voices of Newcomers ft. Dr. Denise Furlong” on Spreaker.

I have been following Denise for years and I appreciate her passion for supporting newcomers.  She is a teacher educator currently serving in what she calls her dream job at Georgian Court University in New Jersey.  In addition to her work at the university, Denise offers professional development and consulting through Furlong Educational Consulting.  She is very active on Twitter where I have been following her for years.  Denise came on to share some tips for serving Newcomers and also to share about her new book, Voices of Newcomers; Experiences of Multilingual Learners. 

I had many takeaways from this conversation.  Denise is one of the people you want in your PLN to remind you that our newcomers and #SLIFE students can do SO much if we create the right conditions.  As you can tell if you listen to this episode, Dr. Furlong and I are very like-minded. We talk about keeping an asset lens for all students and we also offer ideas for inclusion in language arts classrooms.  She talks about how the students don’t need to read word-for-word to be engaged meaningfully in text (thank you!).  When we spoke about writing, you can hear the passion in Dr. Furlong’s tone.  A favorite quote is “…they may be at the word level, it might be at the paragraph or the drawing level… but whatever they are producing, it is VALUABLE.”  This is so true!  She says that anything they are producing is a representation of their voice.  That is the lens we need as we include students WHILE they are gaining literacy and language.

The following was sent to me by Dr. Furlong for readers/listeners to be able to use immediately.  You can also access the following graphics and information in a Google folder right here.

Here are a few words Denise sent over to me to include in the notes:

If you would like further professional learning on MLs, my book is Voices of Newcomers: Experiences of Multilingual Learners:

Link to Dr. Winokur’s book:

If you prefer a signed copy, you can email me at Mention that you listened to Dr. Salva’s podcast and I will give you a 20% discount.

If you would like to start a book club in your district, there are bulk discounts on books available through EduMatch Publishing:  I can set up a Zoom meeting with your book club at the end to discuss your findings and questions if you are interested.

Link to Georgian Court University, Lakewood, NJ: We have many graduate programs that are entirely online with access to caring, knowledgeable professors who work in the field. If you and your colleagues are interested in setting up a cohort of ten or more adding ESL or Reading Specialist endorsements to your current teaching certs, we can talk!

Thank you for all you do to meet the diverse needs of all your learners! We all need you to elevate your voices and your advocacies for our students. 

-Dr. Denise Furlong

In this show, I also mentioned Pam Broussard and her Leading ELLs Facebook group.  Pam is a fierce advocate for moving students into positions of leadership.  I hope to have Pam on the show soon!  Check out her website.

I want to say another big thanks to Dr. Denise Furlong.  How fabulous that she is offering a discount to readers and listeners of this show!?  Dr. Furlong gives so much to the field.  I am so happy to know her and so happy she decided to write a book to amplify the voices of newcomers, their teachers, and their families.

I closed this show by mentioning a few places we can connect IRL.  Here are links to those events:

FREE EVENT on April 21:  I will be sharing some of my findings from my dissertation at this zoom event sponsored by CALD and Seidlitz Education.

I am the keynote speaker for Colorado TESOL’s Spring Conference on April 23 in Colorado Springs.  This is a very affordable, in-person event:

Also, mark your calendar for November 4 & 5th.  The TEXTESOL conference will be in Houston, Texas and I will be the keynote speaker for that one.  Follow TEXTESOL IV for updates that will be coming soon. Come to TEXAS!  It’s going to be amazing!

Thank you again to Dr. Furlong and as always, thank YOU for listening or reading or both.  You’re going above and beyond here.  And you are really helping my learning.

Take care,



BAP105 Ambassadors and Leadership ft. Margaret Rutaquio

If you want to make a difference for all the newcomers enrolling in your schools, I have a great show for you with lots of free resources.  Our guest is Margaret Gisala Rutaquio, a Multilingual Programs Newcomer Facilitator from Garland ISD.

You can listen to the show in your favorite podcast app or you can play it right here:
Listen to “BAP105 Ambassadors and Newcomer Leadership ft Margaret Rutaquio” on Spreaker.

Margaret Rutaquio is a national speaker with classroom and district-level experience supporting newcomers and their teachers.  Earlier this year, she presented at our Seidlitz Education What’s Working conference and was also an invited speaker at the Inlier learning SLIFE conference.

She shares some great insight about how she was supported by Deb Tietjen and the Multilingual Department in Garland ISD.  She also talks about ideas from her classroom and also about how she was supported work with her district to improve programs for newcomers.

A powerful part of this interview was when Rutaquio shares her own journey as a newcomer to the United States and how she felt that she was a “cultural survivor.” Her reflections offer us so much to think about.

The second half of the show includes details about the Ambassador program Margaret and her colleagues implemented across the Garland ISD school district.  It is such an impressive program!  She explains how they name an individual at each campus to be the official ambassador for new students.  She also shares ideas for programming and templates for implementation that support Newcomers to ensure that they feel a sense of belonging and have someone to support them in their first experiences.

Margaret mentions Dr. Michelle Yzquierdo who is an amazing educational consultant.  I have learned so much from Dr. Yzquierdo.  Margaret adapted some of her intake materials from Michelle’s book, Pathways to Greatness. 

Rutaquio generously shares these two documents for districts to use in their own intake processes.

Newcomer Achievement Plan Interview Document

Margaret spoke about her students’ blogging and how this was featured in Dr. Lora Beth Escalante’s book: Motivating ELLs
She also mentioned a project of sending books to impoverished schools and has offered this video that shows the “Journey of the Box” of books.

The Journey of the Box – EL Leadership Students of South Garland HS sent boxes of books to schools needing support in poor areas in the Philippines (This video was put together with Margaret by her student Mauricio Rosales, a former Newcomer student.

How can you mean these four essential messages, if you don’t get to know the students?  That is a great point offered by Rutaquio.
I often mention Dr. Ilene Winoker when I think about “belonging.”  I have learned a great deal from her about the power of creating a sense of belonging.
Thank you, Margaret Rutaquio for all you are doing in the field!

I appreciate Margaret so much.  I also appreciate YOU.  Thank you for checking out this show.  Please reach out with feedback or if I can help you.


BAP104 Leadership and Change ft. Derek Rhodenizer

Many thanks to Derek Rhodenizer for pushing our thinking once again.

We talk about so many things in this interview with one of my favorite education leaders!  If you’re not following Derek, stop reading this and go follow him right now.  I’ve been following Derek for years and doing so is one of the best things I can do for my own self-directed professional learning.  You can listen to the show in your favorite podcast app or right here:

Listen to “BAP104 Leadership and Change ft. Derek Rhodenizer” on Spreaker.

We talk about so many things in this episode that can support teachers of Multilingual Learners.  And because of where Derek is in his career, it helps us look at our learning through the eyes of an education leader.   He has always done that for me.  But now is an especially interesting time because Derek is making a big move from his independent/private school to a public school in Ottawa.

His thinking around this is great for my mindset.  We reflect on why we make moves like this, on some of the things that are important to keep in mind as you leave a position of leadership and how we might all be thinking to best support students and our colleagues in these challenging times.

He has so many “Mic-Drop” moments in this show.  One of them is when he is talking about leaders needing to know when to move aside for others to step into leadership.  Also when he talked about how we need to put our roles into perspective.  We are not the ONLY person that can be a leader in any school, team or group.  This is an interesting image that he shared with us those lines:

We laughed about that visual.  But we also talked about the power in it.  Sure, you could take this image and feel like your impact is small.

But we would rather look at this in terms of how important it is to take new risks.  It is okay if we make mistakes.  We are having an impact on those we serve but if there are mistakes in that effort, the world continues to spin.  And we can move forward from it having learned something.

Derek is looking at this image to help him put his role into perspective as he leaves a school where he has been for 6 years.  While I recently learned that every student drew a picture of him and staff recorded sentimental messages to him.  He certainly had an impact!  But others can also have an impact on that space.  The world is big enough for that.

That was one of my major take-aways from this conversation. The fact that we can all go forth boldly and with vulnerability so that we can realize that it will be okay if we make some mistakes.  I am asked to model strategies in front of teachers all the time.  I can do that because I know it doesn’t need to be perfect.  My willingness to take risks will help me try things with educators and give them opportunities to reflect.  That is where I feel we can have the biggest impact as instructional leaders.  Helping everyone grow as we partner with them.

Derek and I mentioned several other things and here are the links to those:

MADpd:  The free and amazing conference created by Derek & Peter Cameron.

Here are a few specific MADpd resources from Emily Francis, Jennifer Hunter Dillon and me that might be of interest if you teach Multilingual Learners.  Click on the image to see more about our presentations:


A few other things we mentioned were:

“Positive” doesn’t necessarily mean “happy.”  Positive is having hope that things will get better.

We reflected on this show about having ONE Newcomer arrive in a mainstream class in the middle of the school year (it is an old show but someone JUST tweeted about it).

Another FREE PD I highly recommend is the MLSummit.  Tan Huynh, Dr. Katie Toppel, and I put this conference on each summer after taking a page from MADpd.  You’ll find so many free sessions for teachers of MLs at that link!

So don’t forget some of Derek’s advice:

Teachers feel like they are on the last kilometers of a marathon right now.  Let’s not pretend we are supporting if all we are doing is giving them “encouraging” words.  Try not to  pay lip service by only saying things like “take care of yourself.”   Derek recommends calling things what they are and then looking for ways to actually lighten their load or other means of support. 

In other words, figure out how to be more straight-shooting.  That is more respected.

And please remember that we would love to have you at the DIYpd4MLs workshop on March 3rd & 4th.  This one does have a fee but we are getting great feedback on the workshop!

Thanks for stopping by this blog.  I appreciate all you’re doing and I appreciate you supporting my learning journey.  Please reach out and let me know if you found something useful here.

Be well,



BAP103 Motivation and Engagement for SLIFE

Motivation is everything.  If we don’t have engagement, what do we really have?  We might have fake readers & students who are doing the bare minimum.  But how would their learning change if they were engaged and intrinsically motivated to learn even when they are not with you?

I’m working around the US and Canada training, coaching, and modeling.  I’m seeing some amazing things for new arrival students.  This podcast is in response to feedback I’m getting from newcomer teachers I support.  MANY are telling me:

“I’m struggling with engagement.”

Well, we have solutions!  You listen to this show right here or in your favorite podcast app:

Listen to “BAP103 Motivation & Engagement for SLIFE” on Spreaker.

You may prefer to watch this show on YouTube or right here:

And you can always just read through the notes below.

In this episode, I am standing on the shoulders of Dr. Lora Beth Escalante, who wrote “Motivating ELLs,” Researchers like Daniel Pink, and also the work of Larry Ferlazzo who is a practitioner, blogger, and author of many books on the subject. In fact, I’m following 4 things recommended by Larry Ferlazzo in this article.

Larry has shared this in more than one article.  Check out more of his articles, books, and posts here.  In the podcast, I mention the good news and the bad news about motivation.   The bad news is that we can’t MAKE students be motivated.  The great news is, just as Sir Ken Robinson tells us, we can create conditions where things should grow.

And we know what we need in our “garden” for optimal motivation conditions.

According to Ferlazzo, these are the 4 things that help students become intrinsically motivated:

  • Relatedness

  • Relevancy

  • Competence

  • Autonomy

In the show, I talk about each of these things and how we can foster them for multilingual learners.  While this applies to all students, I am always specifically speaking to the teacher of SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education).  Here are some of the things I mentioned for each:


Relationships!  Does my teacher respect me?  Do the other students respect me?  How do we get along?  How do I feel as a person?  Is my culture appreciated?

Here is a show on creating a social contract if you feel that your classroom needs a reboot on how we treat each other.

Also, don’t underestimate how volunteers can support a sense of relatedness.  Don’t have volunteers, ask your principal or PTA to send out this video to the community:


Ask yourself if students understand WHY you’re asking them to do _______.  Whatever you want them to do, do they see the relevance for them and their lives?  As an example, I want students’ eyes to go across text when things are read aloud to them.  I need to explain to them why that is.  For example:

If I am reading aloud to emergent readers, I want them to track the print with their fingers when they are first gaining the language.  I want them to understand that if they track the print with their eyes 👀, they will see high-frequency words over and over again.  This will support their decoding skills in a powerful way.  They need to understand that 1/2 of all print is high-frequency words and gaining them will impact their language and literacy development dramatically.  They need to read WITH me.  We can absolutely chunk the text and help them negotiate meaning and be analytical about the text.  But as emergent readers, they need to track the print to get more high-frequency words.  This is the WHY.

Here is another example of relevancy from Kim Thyberg on Twitter:

I love how Kim is teaching grade-level concepts (claims/evidence/reasoning) but also helping her students understand how quickly they can begin to decode text as they gain these high-frequency words.


If I have a sense of competence, it means that I feel myself getting better at this activity.  Before we think our kids lack grit and give up too easily, let’s remember that these same students will fail over and over again at video games.  Why?  Perhaps because they’ve had a little win at that level.  They feel that they can figure out the level.. that they can master it.  They don’t have mastery YET, but they are improving.

We can also think about ourselves and something we are trying to learn to do.  Perhaps you want to bake your grandmother’s cookie recipe.  The first time t

hey don’t look very good but they taste pretty close.  So you try again.  You try again because the small successes in your attempts give you a sense of competence.  You feel that you can master it because you had some small wins.

When we think of our students who are not engaged or motivated… let’s think back to the last time they had an academic win.

There are many ways to give SLIFE little wins.  Examples include:

Showing them growth every time we speak to them.  Using any book and asking them to identify words or sounds of letters and pointing out any growth.  I tried to do this every time I had them in a small group.

QSSSA is also a great strategy that gives your entire class an opportunity to have a win.  See Ep 26 for more on QSSSA.


Autonomy means choice.  We have seen many teachers sharing choice boards lately and as you can imagine, this leads to more engagement from learners.  All of us want some choice in what we do.  So perhaps we offer choices in how they participate in a task.  ie: with a buddy, on their own, with the teacher:

We can also offer choice in how they reflect on what they read:

But one of the most important places they need autonomy is in WHAT they read during free voluntary reading time.  We only had a few minutes a day to read for pleasure.  But I was always emphasizing that they needed to read on their own whenever they could.  For this to happen, they need LOTS of things to choose from.  If you chose to read something, because it is of interest to YOU, you’re less likely to fake read or abandon the text.  Stephen Krashen tells us that free voluntary reading is key to language acquisition.  And YES, our SLIFE can read… with support!

What can SLIFE, who have low to no literacy in their first language read? A lot!

There are many things they can choose from.  Examples include:

  • Re-reading things we wrote in class together for fluency. Explain why this will boost their ability to decode text.
  • A book they chose from the library or your classroom. We can show them how to negotiate meaning from any piece of text with technology (Google Images, Google Translate, Chrome Read Aloud Extensions)
  • Ergo-Hi-Lo Ebooks  These are high-interest, easy-to-read books that you can print or have e-versions.
  • If you have the budget, get a library of Saddleback Hi-Lo readers! Saddleback books are my favorite Hi-Low readers if you have the budget for materials.
  • A top tip is  I did a show about it here.  That free website is so important once the students understand how to level up within the same article.

Two Examples of Highly Engaging Activities that Boost Literacy & Language Acquisition


News in Levels offers so much choice.  This is not a little bit of choice… it is a TON of choice. It requires no login and they can choose from current or hundreds of prior articles.  Here is how it relates to what we are talking about today:

  • Relatedness:  I will conference with new students and show them how to use it. I have faith in them that they can quickly learn the skills to make this meaningful.  They can do it with a buddy or me or as a whole class for the first few times.  I want to know their interests so I ask about what they are choosing to read about… RELATIONSHIPS & HOW WE REGARD THEM.
  • Relevancy:  The link I am giving you explains to you and to the students HOW to use it and WHY it works for older emergent readers. I even made a quick 5 min video to show students how to use the site.  THIS OFFERS RELEVANCY for using this site and because they chose what they read about, and it is the actual news, it is by nature relevant to them.
  • Competence: If they follow my advice, they will go through all three levels of an article before they move on to a different new story.  They should be able to master level 1 with support (it is read aloud to them from YouTube, it includes images, they can use Google images & Google translate as well… they can even get support from others).  When they go to level 2 & level 3 it is just about exposure to more complex language.  They feel themselves getting better with word recognition the more they do of this.  It offers an opportunity to level up, small wins, A SENSE OF COMPETENCE.
  • Autonomy:  As I mentioned above… this site offers a great deal of choice.  The students need to have the autonomy to choose what they read and this site offers hundreds of articles.


I follow Noa Daniel and her Building Outside the Blocks philosophy has made a huge difference in my classroom.

  • Relatedness:  I model a choice project presentation.  Students learn about me and get the message that I want to learn about them.  All students learn about each other and throughout the year we are learning about each other and reinforcing appreciation for our diversity.  Choice projects offer voice. RELATIONSHIPS
  • Relevancy:  Students choose what to present about. They are RELEVANT by nature.
  • Competence: They practice, practice, practice what they will say.  They read & re-read & re-read their scripts for their presentation and what they turn in.  We can point out their progress in identifying and recognizing English words and sounds. This leads to a SENSE OF COMPETENCE.
  • Autonomy:  Students choose what they want to present about and they choose a day during the grading period that they want to present. There are many opportunities for autonomy.

Here is a video of a newcomer presenting her Personal Playlist project.  More projects with resources can be found here also check out Noa’s site.

I hope this has been helpful.  Shout out to all the teachers who are collaborating with me this year. I love all I learn with them!

Please take good care!

❤️, Carol

PS:  Here are resources including a free chapter download for DIYpd4MLs book:

Other resources I used for this show:



BAP102 Journeys to Belonging ft Dr. Ilene Winokur

This show should be relevant to all educators.  The book “Journeys to Belonging” by Dr. Ilene Winokur is now out and available.  This show includes research and practical ideas for supporting ALL students including marginalized learners.

You can listen to this episode right here or in your favorite podcast app:
Listen to “BAP102 Journeys to Belonging ft Dr. Ilene Winokur” on Spreaker.

Dr. Winokur has led a fascinating life and was on our show earlier this year. You can listen to that episode right here.  She is someone I have followed for years.  I appreciate all I learn from her and I’m grateful to have cited her in my doctoral research regarding what has an impact on the persistence of marginalized students.

Journey to Belonging

The hashtag is #Journeys2Belonging.  Check that out to learn so much about Ilene’s book and her work. She joined me and Stephen Hurley of VoicEd radio for this live show in September and you can now get your copy of this book on Amazon or through Edumatch Publishing.


She discusses her own journey, the research behind a sense of belonging, and how important it is for educators to set the tone of safety in our learning spaces.  You can learn so much by following Dr. Winokur on Twitter or on her website.

She also has her own great podcast and you can get links to all of that from the website.

Neuroscience and Psychological Safety

Ilene mentions a show with Stephen Hurley and Dr. Stephen Porges.  The body’s physiological response and need for safety is discussed in depth in that show.  Ilene references Dr. Porges more than once so here is that show for your continued exploration of the subject.

I am always fascinated to here Ilene’s thoughts about how we can create a safe space where everyone feels welcome.  We talk about what is practical and how we can support the emotional needs of our students and of our teachers.

I’m so grateful to Dr. Winokur for writing this book, for spending time with us, and for all she shares regularly.

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode. You add so much to my journey!

Please connect with me on Twitter or Facebook.


PS: Our new book, DIYpd: A Guide to Self-Directed Learning for Educators of Multilingual Learners is out and you can download the first chapter right here.  We hope you’ll interact with us on Twitter for the current round of #MLLchat_BkClub.  Use the #DIYpd4MLs hashtag to engage.



BAP101 Dr. Margaret Aisicovich on her 100 Ways to Kill a Teacher Book

Dr. Margaret Aisicovich returned to talk about her new book, 100 Ways to Kill a Teacher: Cautionary Tales about Public Education in Canada.

You can listen to the show on any podcast app or right here:
Listen to “BAP101 100 Ways to Kill a Teacher” on Spreaker.

I follow Dr. Aisicovich because she challenges my thinking.  While working on my own dissertation, I cited her research on teacher and administrator perceptions of multilingual learners.  Her new book, 100 Ways to Kill a Teacher; Cautionary Tales about Public Education in Canada, shares pitfalls, heartbreaks, and limitations teachers can expect to face in the field.  On the show, she shares about this raw take on the field and how she hopes it will add to the profession.

In the show, we talked about some of the realities outlined in the book.  Many of us can empathize with the challenges teachers face.  Margaret hopes her book will help jumpstart conversations and serve as a call to action that can support change.

I agree that we need to constantly examine how we are functioning systemically. I was particularly drawn to the chapter on professional development and some of the challenges she describes. On the podcast, we had a great conversation about the possible pitfalls and how they might be avoided.

As we mentioned on the show, this book can help educators feel that they are not alone.  There are many situations that people do not expect when they enter the field. I appreciate Dr. Aisicovich for her candor and her passion.

Thank you Margaret and Stephen for the conversation and thank YOU for tuning in.

Take good care,


PS: Our DIYpd4MLs book is now on the shelves and you can join us for the launch party on November 15 at 4pm PT / 7PM ET.  Register right here to attend.  We are excited to offer a free chapter download to all attendees.

BAP100 Kid Inspired Classroom with John Carlson

Welcome to Episode 100!  In this show, you get to hear ideas and insight from John Carlson of Kid-Inspired Classroom. John joins us for a live show to share a practical tip that has had a huge effect in ESL classrooms.  We end up in a deep conversation about the value of sharing content and ideas.

You can listen to the show in your favorite podcast app or right here:
Listen to “BAP100 John Carlson of Kid Inspired Classroom” on Spreaker.

I purchased his book, Kid-Inspired Teacher; Organizing Wildly Productive ELL Classrooms and I can tell you that it is full of great ideas for teachers of Emergent Bilinguals.

I would also recommend that you check out his website.  You can subscribe to his blog and check out the site where he shares curriculum, strategies, advice, and more.

John is very active on social media where he shares free content and also lifts up others that are doing the same.  We talk about this on the show. 

He and I are both convinced that it is in our best interest to share what others are doing…even if that thing is in competition with what you’re doing for the field.

I respect John so much and I’m grateful to get to learn from him on a regular basis.  A great example is that in this show, he shares a “Choice Board Challenge” that is a great twist on an old favorite.  Tan Huynh, Dr. Katie Toppel, and I loved the idea so much that we will be using it for our Twitter book study on our new book.  That book study will be happening in November (more to come on that).

A big thanks to John Carlson.  I appreciate his willingness to do a live show with us on  And I also appreciate his willingness to support the field in so many ways.

And as always, I want to thank YOU.  Your passion has you listening to education radio.  I’m honored that this show is part of your journey.

Reach out and let me know what you think of this episode!

Take good care,


BAP099 Strong Start to 2021 – TOP 5 Tips for the Newcomer Classroom

Are you ready?? In some parts of the world, we are already in Back-to-School PD!  So, as I do every year, I share my top tips & how they may look in the current reality.

You can listen to this new show right here:
Listen to “BAP099 Starting Strong for Newcomers in 2021 – TOP TIPS” on Spreaker.

I was able to talk about the 2021-2o22 school year with Stephen Hurley on a LIVE Boosting Achievement episode and that show is a big chunk of this podcast episode.  In the Fall of 2021, you can catch us on Friday mornings at 7am ET on 

I explain WHY they are my non-negotiables in this podcast.

*** THIS ALL BEGINS WITH A WELCOMING TONE, SMILE, WELCOMING BODY LANGUAGE.  My first goal is to be sure they each realize that I WANT THEM THERE.

  1. Name Tents (and activities we do with them)

  2. We play a Kahoot Quiz game about me (#SelfieKahoot)

  3. We create Class #SelfieKahoots to play

  4. We learn about the “Instead of IDK Poster”

  5. We create a Social Contract.

Here is the video I promise you iin this show:

I also mentioned that I have done this same “Beginning of the Year” tips show in 2019 and 2020.

In 2019, because of politics it was a more challenging climate than we had been used to.  (For serving immigrants, I mean)  That show reiterated these tips but offered a way to look at what we were taking on that helped me be more productive.  You may find that content helpful:

Then came the school year that started in a raging pandemic.  Last year’s Top-Tips for Starting the School Year had the same tips, but we needed to think about how we would do them in a remote/distance learning environment.

My hope is that you are teaching remotely *IF YOU WANT TO* and that you are not if you don’t want to.  But just in case you ever need to do that again, know that you have that Covid edition video & blog to reflect on how you can do these things when you’re not in the same room with your students.

In this show, I dropped a lot of names!  Each of the following people was mentioned because they have amazing content that they shared and they came to mind as I spoke to Stephen or reflected on my learning.  Here is how you can follow them:

Sara Sparks

Dr. Ilene Winokur

Lynmara Colón

Tan Huynh

Roland Chidiac

Maneka Brooks

Emily Francis

Jess Bell

Stephen Krashen & the Affective Filter Hypothesis

Here are a few visuals & a video of my high school students that I talked about:

Many teachers like Roxi Adkins have great ideas on how to welcome students and it goes beyond a trite name activity:


Of course, we talked about our Kahoots!  I have shared SO MANY things we can do with Kahoot here and on Kahoot’s website. 

Starting the year with a SelfieKahoot has never failed me.  Including this year in my summer school class:

Paper templates for the Class Selfie Kahoot can be downloaded from this padlet I use in my “Using Tech with ELLs” workshop.

We will have our next show with a deeper dive into the social contract.  Stephen Hurley has some ideas about it and we ran out of time.  Be sure to tune in for more on Social Contracts.  If you’d like all the scoop on how to create a Social Contract in the Newcomer Classroom (and why you want to), check out this episode or p. 47 from the Boosting Achievement book.


Last but not at all least, I will ALWAYS create a “What to say instead of IDK” poster.  Google image that idea and you’ll see many examples.  It is STEP 1 in Seidlitz 7 Steps to a Language-Rich, Interactive Classroom.  This is always the FIRST thing we work on, no matter when a student shows up in my classroom.

Thank you for tuning in or reading this post.

I am sending you positive vibes and gratitude.  Have a great school year!