Click on the hyperlink and check out this fabulous list of activities created by ReadWriteThink to learn about the Olympics  and different cultures around the world. Your English Language Learners will really enjoy these unique activities such as:

  • Write and perform a speech after winning a gold medal.
  • Be a reporter
  • Design a stamp to commemorate the Sochi 2014 Olympics.
  • The Olympics are a great time to study the world.  Use a variety of maps and flags to learn about the location and symbols of different countries. Imagine a new country has been formed – where would it be located? What would the flag look like?
  • Make and decorate cookies representing the Olympic Rings.


Happy 2014 ELL educators! I hope you all had a blessed holiday break and are inspired moving into 2014.

I wanted to be sure to tell you about this informative group that just started called Digital Citizenship. I have explored the resources and was fascinated by the research the group (Common Sense Media) has uncovered on the impact of mobile devices on our children. My son is quite keen to play his iPad and as a parent I want to stay informed about how the types of apps and the amount of time he spends on his iPad affects his development. Then my 14 year old is using Social Media sites so this group also provides tips on how to keep her safe. I highly recommend taking a look at this group!

Here is a description:

Digital Citizenship is a professional learning community (PLC) hosted by Common Sense Media, that provides ideas and discussions about how to help kids be safe, responsible, and respectful participants in our digital world. This community will help you stay connected, share ideas, and get support from colleagues on issues such as:

  • cyberbullying
  • privacy
  • digital footprints
  • copyright and plagiarism
  • information literacy
  • Internet safety

Access free webinars, discussion threads, curricula and other online learning resources from Common Sense Media to support teaching students how to participate respectfully and responsibly while harnessing the educational promise of our connected, digital world. Become part of the conversation today!


A call to action

Posted by tofubeth Nov 28, 2013

I recently presented at NNETESOL and asked others in our tri-state region to help with my project. Although the idea got a great reception, the follow-up has not been as amazing as I had hoped.


SO I so I thought I'd bring my plea here...


ELL PD for everybody


This is my presentation.


And here is is where my videos are posted: ELL Teaching Tips


The idea is that I create 3-minute videos hat have to do with ell specific issues, post them to YouTube, and then send the link out across the district. It's one way we can get our voices heard. Imagine how much louder I could be with your help!


I want to collaborate with you! Join me!



Hello ELL group members, Let's add our multicultural focus to the Holiday Challenge by posting some of our creative language arts, math, and Google tips.


Here is a link to the original post giving instruction on how to enter the Holiday Challenge.


Below is what the original post states:


"The holidays are upon us and it’s a great time for engaging students in creative writing and problem solving. We’re sure that you have designed some great activities to take advantage of your students’ enthusiasm and excitement for this time of year…so join in and share them with us. We’ll feature some of the best within the community.


Here’s what to do:


  • If you have designed a creative writing or language arts activity, join the Reading and Language Arts group and then describe your activity in detail within the discussion topic located there called, Holiday Challenge.
  • If you have designed a math activity, join the Learning Math group and then describe your activity in detail within the discussion topic located there called, Holiday Challenge.
  • If you have thought of an interesting activity involving Google Drive, join the Everything Google group and then describe your activity in detail within the discussion topic located there called, Holiday Challenge."


I look forward to reading your ideas!


Welcome to our new "May" members!

Posted by mso May 27, 2013

Welcome to Ada, Eva and Eileen!

We look forward to learning about your interests in working with ELLs...

Please share a bit about yourselves with the group...and don't forget to add me (mso- marie) as a friend.

This will facilitate postings and communication with members.

Enjoy our list of documents and resources...

Marie (mso)



Posted by mso Feb 20, 2013

Hi everyone,

Here are a few opportunities from TESOL...

For the latest on books and resources:


For professional development and virtual seminars:


For upcoming convention:


Are you a member? There is a fee...if interested just follow any of the above links for membership information...

The New Year has brought Reaching English Language Learners some new members.

Welcome to Kristi, Barbara and tengrrl!

Welcome to Louise our first member to join in February!

Please take a moment to introduce yourselves to the group...share your interests and questions about working with ELLs.

We look forward to your valued participation.


Also, look for invitations to be friends with other members from our will allow us additional avenues for communication.  Be sure to check for updates and to add our group to receive notices/track.

Thanks and welcome again...

Marie (mso)

TESOL has posted some new offerings for professional development in working with ELLs.

I thought these might be of interest to you...

Two that caught my attention are



I hope you find this informative and helpful!

Mso (marie)

Hi everyone,

Does anyone work with younger children?

Thought you might be interested in learning about WIDA's proposed new standards for pre-schoolers.

They parallel K-12 English Language Development Standards, will contain the following components:

  1. Six Early Language Development Standards
  2. Two language domains (receptive and productive)
  3. Three early language development levels in English
  4. Three age groups
  5. Two features of developmentally appropriate academic language
  6. Performance definitions that define each level in each age group
  7. Model Performance Indicators (MPIs)

These are the six Early Language Development Standards for children between the

ages of 2.5-5.5 years (30-66 months):

1.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Social-Emotional Development

2.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Language Arts

3.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Mathematics

4.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Science

5.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Social Studies

6.    Dual language  learners:

communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for success in the area of Physical Development


The following link provides a complete article/blog post from WIDA...


What do you think of the term "dual language learners"?

Please share your thoughts? 

How will this help you?

Marie (mso)




What are you thankful for?

Posted by mso Nov 21, 2012

During Thanksgiving we take a moment to reflect on our blessings.  In light of so much strife in the world - hurricane damage, or disputes between countries and peoples or families, what is it that you are thankful for?

My students and their families provide me with such blessings and enjoyment as I see them grow and we share our cultures.  This is one step toward making a peaceful world.

Stories of people on the East Coast helping each other in storm ravaged areas, bring a sense of faith in humanity.  This morning I heard of a woman who is combing on of the beaches in NJ, picking up "small treasures" and photos being washed back to the shores after they were carried out to sea.  She repairs, stores and finds their owners through social media.  This is truly heartwarming, especially since she, too, lost her home.  She has found a way to bless others.


What stories do you have to share about Thanksgiving sharing and blessings?

Thanks, and may you all have a peace filled Thanksgiving Day,

Marie (mso)


Resource Available

Posted by mso Sep 30, 2012

Hi everyone,

Just thought you would like the following link to TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

This organization offers membership and a host of workshops and activities for educators who work with ELLs.



Hope you are all having a great start for the school year...I have been enjoying a new family from Sweden...twins!

They are in second grade and are so enthusiastic to learn English...of course we really have to work on phonics and reading skills.  Though English and Swedish have many similarities, there are major differences in vowel sounds that are challenging.  Any suggestions?


Mso (marie)


Have you seen our new look?

Posted by mso Aug 24, 2012

Thinkfinity has taken on a new look! Sign-on and navigation has been streamlined and resources for extended networking with facebook and twitter are strong.

Our updated group page includes additional information about new members and recent activity.  Items are larger, making them easier to find and review.

What do you think? 

We can customize our group page, too...what would you like to see or add on? Please send suggestions...just respond to this blog or send a private message...

Customizing and making this your group page is important to us and our group's continued success. We really want to meet your needs and interests. So please share your ideas....

Thanks and enjoy exploring the new look...

Marie (mso)

PS...I have attached a file with a link for videos to help learn about the new Thinkfinity format...

Also - there will be a webinar on September 4th (hosted by Marcia Torgrude)...all about the "new look" for Thinkfinity....Hope you find this helpful...

Hi everyone,

Summer break is fast approaching along with concerns about our students spending less time speaking English.  Often, many of my students spend 6-8 weeks in their native countries, then return in September and need several weeks to renew confidence and skills that they had gained during the previous school year.

I give them folders of materials to review during the summer...vocabulary flash cards, phonics sets....and recommended interactve websites....of course, Thinkfinity and its partner sites are always first on my list....

One of my favorites (Rhonda just mentioned it) is Wonderopolis, with all its visuals/videos...


How do you support your students and help them maintain their skills during the long summer break? 

Suggestions anyone? Please share...


mso (Marie)

Let's keep our wonderful Thinkfinity Community growing. Please Invite colleagues, parents, friends & family to join.


Here is a short statement you can use to spread the word. Tweet it, add it to your Facebook page and email it out:


Click "Join Now" at to be connected to 1000's of educators and great resources. U won't be disappointed!

I recently read an article in Education Week Online...dealing with curricular changes in ESL/Bilingual instruction, addressing the need for teachers to differentiate instruction and align to Common Core State Standards Initiative.

It is important for our ELLs to be able to express themselves across content areas, making connections, presenting points of view, and analyzing similarities/differences. This is something that is essential for success in our society.


What can we do to help our students achieve such proficiency?

Do you have specific resources that may be helpful?


Please share your thoughts on these changes that we, along with our students, are facing.


Link for Education Week Online article:


Also, take a look at an excerpt from this article that I attached and added to our documents collection....I look forward to your responses and reactions...



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