Best Year Ever Sale at TPT

Hello everyone!

August is back to school month!

It is time to get inspired and Teachers Pay Teachers is the place to find your inspiration!
August 1st and 2nd is the site -wide sale.  

Pop over to the Fun To Teach Store and stock up on products that will inspire you and ignite your teaching!

Check out some of our best selling products!

Happy summer!

Happy Teaching! 


from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language


Why Pre-K–12 Educators of ELs Should Participate in #ELLCHAT

In June 2012, Linda Hahner, creator of the Literacy Center Education Network, and I co-founded a Twitter chat group called #ELLCHAT and it has been going strong since that time. This chat is specifically dedicated to the professional development needs of educators of ELs in grades Pre-K–12 and takes place on Monday nights at 9 pm ET. Over the past 3 years, Karen Nemeth and I have comanaged and comoderated #ELLCHAT. Many of you know Karen, a nationally known expert on early childhood education, from her contributions to this blog.

Using Twitter Chat Groups to Deliver PD

Karen and I strongly advocate using Twitter chat groups to deliver professional development to educators of ELs. There are important benefits to teachers who participate in Twitter chats, especially if they don’t have a  learning community that supports their professional development in school. It is our opinion that teachers of ELs need to find ongoing PD that is geared to their teaching requirements. Teachers require a venue where they can ask questions, discuss issues, share resources with colleagues, and support the learning of their students. #ELLCHAT gives teachers of ELs access to thousands of educators around the world, and it’s free!

Introducing the New #ELLCHAT Schedule

Although #ELLCHAT is on vacation 16 July through 9 August, Karen and I have taken advantage of this hiatus to collaborate on setting up 12 months of #ELLCHAT topics. (August 2016 to August 2017.) We have scheduled guest moderators and exciting topics. Many of our guest moderators have been or will be contributors to this blog. The schedule for 15 August through 12 December is available on the #ELLCHAT Facebook page.
Questions that relate to the chat are posted on Mondays on the Facebook page.

Here is a preview of the 2016 chat topics for August 15th through December 12th.

  • 8/15 – Designing Classrooms That Support EL Learning
  • 8/22 – Teaching ELs the Hidden Curriculum of Your School
  • 8/29 – The Value of Advocacy (with Shaeley Santiago)
  • 9/12 – Positive Communication With Families of ELs (with Anabel Gonzalez and Rik Rowe)
  • 9/19 – Relationship of Attendance to Graduation Rates of ELs
  • 9/26 – Creating a Culturally Responsive Classroom
  • 10/3 –Teaching ELs about U.S. Elections
  • 10/10– How to Support Equity for ELs
  • 10/17 – Benefits to ELs of Real and Virtual Field Trips
  • 10/24 – Parent-Teacher Conferences With Families of ELs
  • 11/7 –  Key Reading Comprehension Strategies for ELs – Part 1
  • 11/14 –Key Reading Comprehension Strategies for ELs – Part 2
  • 11/28 – Supporting Oral Language Development for ELs
  • 12/5 – Holiday Celebrations
  • 12/12 – Arts Integration in EL Education

Resources for Joining a Twitter Chat

If you’ve never participated in a Twitter Chat, here are some resources to help you get started.

I hope to see you on #ELLCHAT on 15 August.  If you have any questions, please contact me through the comment box below.

from TESOL Blog

♥️ Past Tense Verb Bundle! ♥️

Hello everyone💜.  

I have been asked many times to bundle my past tense verb games and I finally did!  Now you can get all 3 past tense verb games and the ‘Regular Past Tense Verb Song’ in one great package.  So get ready for some fun and click here to hop on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store! ☑️
We know that children learn best through play and this  English Past Tense Verb bundle reinforces the past participle, regular, and irregular past tense with 3 exciting grammar games and an entertaining song with an upbeat catchy tune.  👉🏾I have also included visuals, game cards and activities you can use quickly and easily.  Your students will be singing and playing their way to a higher English level.
This bundle contains 184 pages of exciting academic past tense verb review.  I have included all 3 of my past tense verb games and the regular past tense verb song packet.  It is a bundle of educational activities that will entice students of all ages and increase academic vocabulary, strengthen grammar and build a strong English foundation with games and songs!
This fun and fabulous Past Tense Verb bundle includes:
Irregular Past Tense Verb Game
 • 3 Sounds of “ed” Past Tense Verb Game

•Past Participle Verb Game

•Regular Past Tense Verb Song


So what are you waiting for  
Jump on over to Teachers Pay Teachers (click here) and check out this super past tense verb bundle that needs to be in your toolbox today!

I hope your summer is going well!
Happy Teaching!
Lori Wolfe

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language

ESP Project Leader Profile: Tarana Patel

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

Tarana ​Patel is the​ founder of learnEd, LLC with a base in Los Angeles and an office in Ahmedabad, India. Early career starters and corporate employees are learnEd’s primary audience. learnEd​’s first entrepreneurial effort was an internship program for MATESOL students of The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), Tarana’s alma mater. More than eight MATESOL candidates interned in India to assist in teaching and developing oral skills courses for engineering, pharmacy, IT, and management students at a rural area college campus in the state of Gujrat. For ​this effort and her vision for learnEd, Tarana was awarded the Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2012 by MIIS. Currently, Tarana is building an app for business English communication for engineers and managers in IT and manufacturing industries.


​Tarana Patel, Founder & CEO at learnEd, LLC

Define leadership in your own words.

I’ve experienced notable leadership insights from fields other than mine. I have also learned important leadership lessons from participants in my courses. The most important leadership quality for me is courage or grit as explained by Travis Bradberry and also mentioned by Kevin Knight in a past TESOL Blog Post. Other leadership attributes that stand out for me depending on my context and project experience are:

  • Empathy
  • Foresightedness/vision
  • Collaboration
  • Delegation
  • Trust
  • Consistency (in action and communication)
  • A global vision for impact beyond the classroom and in your professional field
  • Sharing success
  • Sharing knowledge

Tell me an ESP project success story. Focus on your communication as a leader in the project. How did you communicate with stakeholders to make that project successful?


learnEd is currently building an app for business English communication for engineers and managers in IT and manufacturing industries. A prototype of the app is scheduled to launch in Fall 2016. It’s a brand new endeavor for me to synthesize the understanding of on-site training motivators and behaviors in an ESP setting with a gamified design for a mobile learning experience. The goal is to give our learners the practice and help they need—wherever and whenever—beyond their on-site courses.

Project Inspiration Through User Understanding

ESPer Robin Sulkosky included the following point in his summary of the TESOL ESP-IS June reading group: “The discussion narrowed to the importance of embedding oneself in a needs analysis, rather than relying exclusively on knowledgeable insiders.” My experience has been in alignment with this understanding. I learned quickly after my initial on-site experience in India that insiders and decision makers do not offer a complete viewpoint of training needs and that learner stories and field observations are an enlightening source of information to inform course design.

One of the questions in my needs assessments for on-site training asks potential participants to mark what motivates them to work on their English communication skills. Many commonly known factors such as better job opportunities, promotion at the current job, access to online information, communicating with global counterparts, and so on generally rank higher. India has a family-oriented culture; therefore, I also included the item “to help my children with English homework” as a possible choice. Over 60% of the 150 learners surveyed marked that item as one of their top five motivators. This feedback was an enlightening source of information!

I dug deeper through my conversations with my learner groups to further understand what this feedback really meant. Because English is considered to be the language of opportunity in India, they feel most accomplished when they can pass on their learning to their children. We started with this discovery as our motivator as we collaborated to finalize our coursework for that session. Flipped learning and learner training for peer teaching became hot topics in our groups. We drew team building and management parallels with peer teaching and group work and became flipped learning advocates because it allowed family participation. Learners enjoyed watching the TED Talks I assigned in class with family members at home and came prepared to conduct classroom discussions to explore workplace communication principles. Time and budget constraints for ongoing classroom training and the role of mobile devices in our training sessions were simple observations that transformed into an opportunity to build a tech-based solution to assist our learners with their daily communication challenges at work.

Assessing Needs To Create A Value Proposition Design

More than 300 corporate employees have gone through learnEd’s on-site training programs in the past 2 years. In their daily work life, our learners mostly communicate in their local language. They need English to communicate with global partners or to create official documents and presentations. Another important finding for us was that it is challenging for our learners to continue their practice after their on-site training ends. They want a place where they can go to find answers to specific questions about situations in which they need English. They also want to get help for writing high-stakes correspondence, preparing for important presentations, and dealing with negative situations.

We had more conversations with our learners about their learning needs beyond our courses. We understood that two types of needs assessments were extremely important to define and develop an effective app design:

  1. Profiling our potential user—her daily routine, her language needs, and any other factors that would affect how she interacts with the app, and
  2. Breaking down learner feedback to plot their pain relievers and gain creators to further understand their habits and drivers (Osterwalder, Pigneur, Bernarda, & Smith, 2014).

Present Situation Analysis and Target Situation Analysis (Friedenberg, Kennedy, Lomperis, Martin, & Westerfield, 2003) fit perfectly with Osterwalder et al.’s (2014) framework of Value Proposition Design. Thus, we created our own framework for instructional needs assessment, instructional design, and value proposition design for the app as a learning product to gather data in several rounds before starting the design process. In this way, we were able to determine an important value proposition for our potential app user/learner:

  • learn in real-time through real-life experiences
  • enable purposeful and democratic communication in English in any situation

(©2016-17 learnEd, LLC)

Keeping an Eye on the Future

So far, our understanding of our learners’ and stakeholders’ needs reflected in program design has created satisfied clients and new business opportunities (Maslow, 1970; Dörnyei, 2008).

Check out this blog post Q&A to learn more about learnEd’s app project.

After reading Tarana’s inspiring profile above, I am very interested in the types of TED Talks that she assigned because I also use TED Talks in business English and leadership development activities. Do you have any questions for Tarana? Please post those below!

All the best,



Dörnyei, Z. (2008). New ways of motivating foreign language learners: Generating vision. Links, 38 (Winter), 3–4.

Friedenberg, J. E., Kennedy, D., Lomperis, A., Martin, W., & Westerfield, K. (2003). Effective practices in workplace language training: Guidelines for providers of workplace English language training services. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y., Bernarda, G., & Smith, A. (2014). Value proposition design: How to create products and services customers want. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Sykes, J. M., & Reinhardt, J. (2013). Language at play. Digital games in second and foreign language teaching and learning. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Education.

from TESOL Blog

More on Error Correction

I am a strange language learner. Unlike most people, I like to be corrected directly and explicitly—I learn best this way. I explain this with my perfectionist nature and the high expectations I have for myself; in other words, a situation in which I make a linguistic mistake produces an emotional discomfort and displeasure—almost disappointment—with my performance self. So due to the conflict between my critical self and my performance self, I am able to better notice, process the information, and eventually store this episode in my memory. The remembrance of the emotional displeasure makes me consciously aware of the corrected error and thus facilitates my learning. So, frankly, I appreciate the affective filter, which in cases of negative feedback works the opposite way for me.

What I was trying to say by providing this example is that we can’t take a “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to error correction, or any aspects of pedagogy for that matter. But as I was reading Truscott’s (1996) article, I noticed quite a few generalizations that he made about negative effects of error correction, about students’ reactions to teachers’ markings, and eventually about students’ learning. The following statement is a case in point: “Those who do follow the teacher’s advice may well cease to do so as soon as they stop writing for that particular teacher, possibly as a conscious decision or possibly because the advice is forgotten once that teacher is no longer there to remind them” (p. 349). My immediate reaction was: “How do we know?” Truscott only speculates that this might be the case, but this assumption s not empirically verified.

I would certainly agree that in a writing class, there needs to be a space for rhetorical issues, topic development, organization, and so on. But I also believe that accuracy is just another component of writing in a second language, especially when students are learning to write, and as such, it cannot be dismissed. I would never turn my composition class into a grammar class, but if I notice that a student struggles with language, I think that I am in the position to help him or her write more accurately. And some mistakes just need to be pointed out! For example, if I notice that a certain word is misspelled on a regular basis, so it looks like another word (e.g., weird-wired), I would definitely point this out because I know the student is not aware of the mistake he or she makes. Some mistakes that we are afraid to correct because we are afraid of hurting students’ feelings can be even more painful and embarrassing in the future—when students face the real world.

Having said that, I learned from my teaching experience that error correction is a complicated and perhaps even delicate issue, and various factors come into play when teachers deal with error correction—either oral or written. Some of these factors are

  • the relationship between the teacher and the student,
  • teacher’s credibility,
  • student’s language ego and motivation,
  • the way correction is delivered, and
  • the goal of a writing class.

When it comes to individual writing classes and teaching contexts, I sometimes get a feeling that the phenomenon L2 writing is defined somewhat narrowly, especially in conversations happening in universities—among graduate students/future teachers. L2 writing should not only be talked about in relation to first-year composition classes. But L2 writing classes in many EFL contexts and even in intensive English programs are in fact language classes. And in those courses, students learn how to write in English and they learn how to use English to express their ideas. In other words, they are working on their language, so not drawing their attention to language issues would be absurd.

And what about beginning learners? What about students who take business English classes to learn how to compose an appropriate letter of complaint, or a cover letter, or other important genres in written business communication? Accuracy is crucial in those cases, no less important than content. Not helping these students with grammar is doing them a disservice. So, when Truscott (1999) concludes by saying that teachers need to compare both cases—for and against correction—and “decide which is stronger” (p. 121), I’d agree, but that they should also consider the contexts in which they are teaching, the purposes of the class they are teaching, and the goals of the students they are teaching.

What are your thoughts on error correction?


Truscott, J. (1996). The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes. Language learning46(2), 327–369.

Truscott, J. (1999). The case for “The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes”: A response to Ferris. Journal of Second Language Writing, 8(2), 111–122.

from TESOL Blog

Measurement Sort

Hello everyone!
Looking 👀 for some fun and engaging ways to enhance measurement vocabulary around centimeters and inches?  I just added this little unit to Fun To Teach’s  TPT store
 This mini-unit has everything you need to enhance measurement vocabulary in your student. 🐾
We have included black lines for a variety of measurement sorts that build math vocabulary and increase measurement understanding. In addition, our measurement activities and ideas provide fun and interest so your students learn through hands-on experiences. 👋🏾  This unit is ready to work for you!

This 13-page measurement sort contains reproducible black lines! Teaching!
from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language

Know Your ELLs’ Rights: A Quick Federal Law Review

Our training for ESL/ELL specialization covers lots of ground. To make ourselves valuable resources for our students, we learn about linguistics, cultural connections, how to adapt assessments, and curriculum development. What we rarely learn about, though, are the laws behind ESL instruction—and that can be a problem, because a recent Associated Press investigation found that many districts throughout the nation are ignoring federal laws. Sadly, this hurts many students at the secondary level who may start to see dropping out as a more attractive option than dealing with an unwelcoming district, and because their parents may not speak English well enough to advocate for them this may become our responsibility.

There are some set laws about ELL/ESL programs we need to be familiar with to make a case for educating ELLs. Some of the most significant laws and other things you need to know are:

  1. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Students cannot be discriminated against by skin color or national origin. This is the foundation for much of modern U.S. education, although how well it has been implemented in the modern education system is a matter for another debate. A 1970 memo from the Office for Civil Rights clearly spells out that school districts must take affirmative steps to make the instruction available to students with limited English proficiency, and that these measures must be reviewed to make sure they stay in compliance with the law.
  2. Lau v. Nichols – Students cannot be denied equal education or the right to participate in activities based on language. This 1974 Supreme Court Case makes it clear that equal education isn’t telling all students the same thing, it’s making sure all students have the same opportunities, even if they need extra language help to get it. And since students’ first language is often a part of their identity, discriminating against them on this basis is akin to racial discrimination.
  3. Plyler v. Doe – Students’ citizenship status doesn’t matter. Illegal immigration is always a hot issue, and it tends to get even hotter during election years, but for schools it simply shouldn’t be an issue. In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled that denying enrollment or funding to schools that accept children whose families weren’t “legally admitted” into this country is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. So although many angry commentators may say horrible things every time this issue comes into the media, schools should be a safe place for all children, no matter where they were born.
  4. The Office of Civil Rights – You can make a complaint. Communities across the nation vary in how welcoming they are to recent immigrants, and since school boards and administrative roles are filled by people from the community, some may push agendas contrary to the law. If this happens, it may be time to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights with a clear description of what is going wrong.  You can find more information about the federal government’s guidance and requirements here to get the background you need to make a strong case for change.

from TESOL Blog