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Final Blog for 2014 and Holiday Reading Gems

Hi everyone

I want to thank you all for being a part of the primary ESOL online community over the past year. A special thank you to those who have taken the time to post, thank you to those that forwarded posts to others; and thank you to those that read our posts. Without all of you there would be no community. It is always a challenge to know what it is best to write about but I hope that each one of you has found at least one idea to implement or an idea to challenge you.

Reflecting back I am pleased that we have started the guest posts. I hope you have enjoyed reading someone else’s point-of-view and I hope that we can continue with this feature in 2015. 

I am always aiming to improve the forum so please share any ideas you would like featured, or suggestions for improving it, just drop me a line when you find time.

It is also great that we reached the new milestone of 600 community members. Membership tends to drop at the end-of-the year as people retire, change roles and change schools. Please remember to update your email address if you are changing schools in order to keep receiving these updates. Just go to this page http://esolonline.tki.org.nz/ESOL-Online/Community-discussions/Primary-ESOL and unsubscribe from your old email address and re-subscribe under your new email.

As you reflect on 2014 you may like to re-look at my post from last year, End of Year Reflection. You may also like to end the year on a high by posting something to our community.Simply something you gained from being a part of this community, or sharing what you have learnt in 2014. it might be a gem you have discovered, a challenge overcome, or something you are proud of. All contributions are welcome.

I also want to wish you all a very special Christmas, shared with loved ones; and a restful holiday break. I hope that you manage to come back refreshed and recharged ready for 2015.

Latest Gems from Around the World.

To finish the year I thought I would share a few more gems from the collection that I have gathered and that I have not already shared.  You may like to dip into them over the summer as you find time or when you want some new inspiration.


·         Summarizing the Research on Dual Language Learners, Conor Williams, New America, Ed Central,  October 27, 2014,

·        Oh, Boy, This Is Great! Researcher’s Scans Show Brain Connections Growing When Learning New Language, November 17, 2014 by Larry Ferlazzo.

ESOL Teaching

·         Support English-Language Learners with Scannable Technology, Monica Burns, Edutopia, NOVEMBER 26, 2014, Scannable technology provides opportunities for students to quickly and easily interact with a variety of content. In a differentiated classroom, children should have access to resources and support materials that will push them toward success.

·         Using sentence frames, sentence starters and signal words to improve language, Erick  Herrmann, Multibriefs. This article provides a very clearly written explanation of how to support written academic language.

·         Integrating ELL Students in General Education Classes, Dorit Sasson,  Edutopia, DECEMBER 1, 2014. How to include ELL’s in mainstream classroom lessons with an example of different levels of differentiation in a reading lesson.

·         Key Strategies for Teaching Ells powerpoint, by Laura Stevens. You may like to explore her whole webpage packed full of ideas.

·         ESL Games Plus offers interactive online games for learning and teaching English as a Second Language, mostly suitable for teaching ESL Kids and Teenagers.

·         Using Pair and Group Work to Develop ELLs’ Oral Language Skills, Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder,  Common Core and ELLs on Colorin Colorado, November 17, 2014.

·         Speaking VolumesNovember 2014 | Volume 72 | Number 3. Talking and Listening Pages 18-23  Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey on ASCD Educational Leadership

·         8 Strategies for Teaching Academic Language, JANUARY 2, 2014, Todd Finlay Edutopia.

·         Key considerations for mainstream teachers of newcomer ELLs, Holly Hansen-Thomas, Wednesday, November 05, 2014, MultiBriefs.

·         FOSTERING ACADEMIC INTERACTIONS Academic Language Development Network.

·         Unlocking Language for English-Learners, By Justin Minkel, Education Week Teacher, November 4, 2014.


·         How-To: Add Your Own Voice to a QR Code Monica Burns, July 1, ClassTechTips.com. How to add your own voice to a QR code.  RecordMP3 is a fantastic site that lets users record their voice using the microphone built-in to their computer.  You can then share the link – or turn it into a QR code – so that anyone who opens the page can press play and hear a recording of your voice.  Great for adding verbal instructions to an activity sheet or definitions to new vocabulary words for English Language Learners.

·         Using the webcam to develop pronunciation Nik Peachy, Macmillan, EnglishUp blogpost, 03 Dec 2014.

·         The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels” , November 16, 2014 by Larry Ferlazzo.


·         Considering Children who are DLLS in Emergency planning. Karen Nemeth, Language Castle, January 18, 2013. I think I may have shared this last year but it is a useful resource to use when thinking about the new school year.

·         Innovations in the continuing professional development of English language teachers,Edited by David Hayes. British Council, Teaching English, 2014. With thirteen stimulating papers covering a wide range of geographical areas and educational contexts, this publication will interest anyone involved in the continuing professional development of English language teachers wishing to reflect on and refresh their practice. it can be downloaded in pdf format from this page.

·         ESOL supplementary Enrolment Form, UC Education Plus, ESOL advisors. If you don’t already have one this may be a useful starting point in order to think about what other information you could gather at enrolment.

·         English as an Additional Language or Dialect: Teacher Resource (EAL/D) it is sometimes interesting to read what other countries have developed. Australia has developed these resources support equity of access to the Australian Curriculum for all students. They have developed the English as an Additional Language or Dialect Teacher Resource (EAL/D) for teachers with Foundation to Year 10 students. These resources include some teaching pedagogy (and a set of progressions.) I especially like to support offered in Maths, Science and History.

·         Global Education: Resource Roundup, Edutopia, Looking for ways to help students appreciate cultural diversity, build awareness about global issues, and develop global competence? Explore these resources for ideas on bringing global dimensions into the classroom. NOVEMBER 17, 2014.

·         Welcome to Global Conversations in Literacy Research (GCLR) 2014-2015 Web Seminar Series. Global Conversations in Literacy Research (GCLR) is a series of interactive open access web seminars that feature cutting-edge literacy research conducted by international literacy researchers, Including in March 2015 Dr Jim Cummins. You can also listen to past recordings.   

Our Communities

Don’t forget the new 175 Years, Treaty of Waitangi resources as these should be useful in February just as school goes back. It is useful to teach ELL’s, the history of NZ holidays and celebrations.

Literacy online: In her latest weekly update Anne shared some great ideas and links for reducing the summer slide. They have started a Crowded Sourced Doc - Reading through summer to gather together ideas to support, inspire and encourage our learners to read through summer, it is well worth checking out and you may like to add to it as well.

In the same update she also shared some great Literacy links and look ups. These would be great to look up over the summer break.

Recently they have also shared:

·  Book Recommendations which are being recording in Literacy Online Book Recommendations.

·  Connected 2014 titles which are arriving in schools now.

·  Juliette MacIver, showcased in the Children’s authors around New Zealand series.

Secondary ESOL: Recommendations for resources to teach sentence-level writing skills?

Secondary Literacy: Secondary literacy observations from MAGS John’s  insightful reflections on the effective use of e-asTTle within his large urban school is a gold mine for teachers. Each year he has refined the process to best meet the purpose of the tool and the needs of his students (and teachers).

VLN: Manurewa's Pasifika Collaboration Here's a great example of cluster collaboration from a group of Pasifika Principals working closely with their non-pasifika staff bridging the gap of better understanding Pasifika learners and communities.

Final Thoughts

This is my last weekly update for 2014, I will restart my Weekly Updates in the new school year. The community mailing lists will remain open this week and throughout the holidays. However from time-to-time there may be a gap before your email is posted to the community, as we also need a holiday break. I hope that this will not be an inconvenience.

 Do have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and enjoy the holiday break.


Kind regards