ESL Newsletter - Peters Colony ES

March/April 2016

Did You Know . . . ?

Integrating Language and Content: Science for Dual Language Learners

Ed Central

To better support dual language learners (DLLs), education leaders must keep in mind a commonsense truth: language is fundamentally, necessarily embedded into all content. Consider: when a DLL is asked to explain the science of how seeds grow into flowers or why governments have laws, she needs a system of words to do so. That's the very point of language -- to communicate content, to communicate ideas.

Wordless Picture Books Perfect for Read-Aloud

Ithaca Journal (NY)

Wordless picture books are perfect for read-aloud and can be adapted to many levels of understanding. Model story telling and talk about the emotions of the characters in the book. Can your child imagine how the characters are feeling? Together, predict what will happen next. You will be stretching your child's thinking and using the pictures to expand your child's vocabulary. Look for the beginning, middle, and end to this story–the sequence of events. Ask questions and soon your child will be asking questions about the pictures too. Take your time and really look at the illustrations. Your child may see little details in the pictures that you miss.

When the Whole Family Goes to Pre-K

The Atlantic

A meaningful pre-kindergarten experience is increasingly seen as a critical part of a child's education, and parents are expected to play a much more significant role. In this city, like many around the country, poorer families must first overcome powerful hurdles to be more present in their children's education. That’s why Pre-K for San Antonio was designed to support and engage parents and extended families in ways that bolster their pre-schoolers' chances to excel.

Response: Teaching English Language Learners with Special Needs

Education Week

Larry Ferlazzo has compiled a number of responses to the question: What are the best instructional strategies for working with ELLs who have special needs?

Integrating ELL Students in General Education Classes


Most general education teachers of ELLs (English-language learners) will tell you they are usually doing one of two things to support their readers. They are figuring out either the best way to teach them within a full-class inclusion, or what kind of activities can suit their abilities within a full-class framework. That's the only way to ensure engaging them in a situation where it's often very easy to lose them.

Hope for English Language Learners

U.S. News

The Every Student Succeeds Act finally prioritizes the progress of English-language learning students.

ELL Strategies That Work

Peer Learning and ELLs

Colorin Colorado

Classmates are a valuable resource in helping English language learners succeed, whether by showing students around the school on their first day or serving as a buddy in the classroom. Peers can help build student confidence and also act as language models, giving ELLs a chance to practice their new language skills in a low-stress setting.

Successful Field Trips with ELLs

Colorin Colorado

English language learners can benefit from field trips that provide an experience that enhances classroom learning. It can be overwhelming for a teacher to think of organizing all the details of a field trip, but with some planning beforehand and a few extra steps, field trips can be very successful! This article offers some ways to make the field trips with ELLs go more smoothly and to provide students with a meaningful academic experience.

Reader’s Theater: Oral Language Enrichment and Literacy Development for ELLs

Colorin Colorado

ELLs can benefit from Reader's Theater activities in a number of ways, including fluency practice, comprehension, engaging in a story, and focusing on vocal and physical expression. Kristina Robertson offers a number of approaches to Reader's Theater with ELLs in this article.

SIOP & Kagan Strategies

SIOP Strategy of the Month - Building Background

Why is Building Background so important . . . especially with ELLs? This article may be able to "fill-in-the-blanks" you may have. Click the link for more information.

Building Background - Video

Kagan Strategy of the Month - Circle Chats

Easy to use strategy and highly recommended. Clink the link for more information.

Cultural Corner: El Salvador

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and is smaller than the state of Massachusetts. This mountainous country is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, and Honduras. Known as the Land of Volcanoes, El Salvador has frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. It is the only country in Central America that does not have a coastline on the Caribbean Sea.

El Salvadorans in the U.S.:

By 2008, there were about 1.1 million Salvadoran immigrants in the United States. Salvadorans are the country's sixth largest immigrant group after Mexican, Filipino, Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese foreign born. The immigrant population from this tiny Central American country is now nearly as large as the immigrant population from much larger China. More than half of all Salvadoran immigrants resided in just two states, California and Texas, although they are also concentrated in New York, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Fast Facts:

  • Official Name: Republic of El Salvador
  • Capital: San Salvador
  • President: Salvador Sanchez Ceren
  • Currency: US Dollar
  • Official Language: Spanish, Nahua
  • Land Area: 8,123 square miles
  • Population (est.): 6,383,067

Salvadoran Recipe:

Pupusas are traditionally made by slapping the dough back and forth between well-greased palms. A tortilla press is quicker and easier for beginners.

Makes 4 or 5 pupusas


  • Masa harina -- 2 cups
  • Warm water -- 1 cup
  • Filling (see variations) -- 1 cup


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina and water and knead well. Work in more water, one tablespoonful at a time, if needed, to make a moist yet firm dough. A ball of the masa should not crack at the edges when you press down on it. Cover the masa and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. On a clean, smooth surface, roll the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
  3. Press an indentation in each ball with your thumb. Put about 1 tablespoon of desired filling into each indentation and fold the dough over to completely enclose it. Press the ball out with your palms to form a disc, taking care that that the filling doesn't spill out.
  4. Line a tortilla press with plastic and press out each ball to about 5 or 6 inches wide and about 1/4-inch thick. If you don't have a tortilla press, place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin.
  5. Heat a well-greased skillet over medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and blistered. Remove to a plate and hold warm until all pupusas are done. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.