ESL Newsletter

November/December 2021



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  • Native American Heritage Month
  • Happy Diwali!


  • Self-Registration for Ellevation Platform
  • Ellevation Strategies - Guided Notes for Writing
  • Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE)
  • Bridging Content Connections
  • Schools' Spotlights
  • Top 15 ESL Newsletter Viewers


This newsletter will be longer than previous ones because it has two months worth of information.
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Native American Heritage Month (November)

November 1 - 30 is Native American Heritage Month. It is also referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.


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Happy Diwali 2021! (November)

What is Diwali?

Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.
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Self-Registration for Ellevation Account for Teachers ONLY

If a teacher needs to create an account for ELLevation, there is a feature to self-register for an account. It will not work for other accounts (Administrator, Specialist and Principal). Please follow these instructions:

  1. Click on the following self-registration link:

  2. Enter your EMAIL ADDRESS in the "Your Full Name" bar.

    • Please use your district email address

  3. Your name should show up in the dropdown below - select it

  4. Enter and confirm your desired Password

  5. Accept Terms and Conditions

  6. Create Account

  7. You will receive a confirmation email sent to the above email address - please click on the link in the email to be directed to Ellevation and successfully complete the activation of your account.

Here is a link for the recording of the process.

You can always contact Ivelisse (Me) if you have any questions. My information is at the bottom of this newsletter.

Accessing the Ellevation Platform

  • Log in into Ellevation. (You must have an active account in order to be able to see items in the platform.)
  • Enter your work email address
  • Enter your password

Once you are logged in into Ellevation:

  • Go to "Instruction"
  • Choose from the "Collections" and "Activities" provided in the menu.
  • You may filter information by grade level, subjects and topics.

Be A D V E N T U R O U S !!!!!

Ellevation - Domain: Writing

Writing Instruction Tips for English Learners

The speaking and writing domains are the most difficult ones for English Learners to master and to obtain a proficient score in the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 state-mandated test. The range of grammatical skills that students must know is extensive. Speaking and writing are both productive domains. If the students develop proper ways to speak English, it will transfer to their writing, too.

They need to practice often, in different subjects, the following skills:

  • Use graphic organizers to plan their writing. (The test deducts points when students do not show that they have planned their writing first.)
  • Write a complete and detailed sentence.
  • Use transitional words.
  • Understand and practice that a paragraph consists of 3 to 5 sentences (for elementary students) and 5 to 8 sentences (for secondary students).
  • Use capitalization and punctuation properly.
  • Understand that a summary consists of several paragraphs (for elementary students)
  • Understand that an essay consists of 5 paragraphs of 5 to 8 sentences (for secondary students).
  • Understand the words: graphic organizer, plan their writing, sentence, details, paragraph, summary, essay

(Spelling is not penalized in elementary grades as long as the meaning of the word is understandable. The main purpose on this test is to account for the amount of logical language production that the student generates during the test.)

Today's strategy has a focus on writing.

Ellevation Strategies

Writing Informative and Explanatory Essays

Students write informative/explanatory essays, introducing and developing the topic clearly, grouping related information, linking ideas with transition words, and providing a conclusion. Students demonstrate understanding of the parts of an essay through a vocabulary game, think collaboratively to group ideas, and use note taking to organize writing.

Strategies with Activities

*** Activities and examples are provided.

* Navigate the other suggested strategies in the Ellevation platform.

Guided Notes - K-12

Grades: 1-12

Domains: Listening, Writing

Grouping: One-on-One, Small Group, Full Classroom

Learning Targets

Students will:
  • Listen for specific details during lesson delivery
  • Complete a graphic organizer with notes from the lesson
  • Discuss content learning with peers

Before Activity

  • Prepare instruction and identify key pieces of information.
  • Choose graphic organizer and partially complete for students.
  • Identify necessary vocabulary, providing a word wall or pictures for students to reference during instruction.

During Activity

  • Preview the key ideas, allowing students the opportunity to write them in their graphic organizers.
  • Deliver instruction to meet objectives.
  • Explicitly state each idea and detail that should be noted on the graphic organizer.
  • Allow time for students to turn and talk or process information in an interactive way.
  • Facilitate a discussion to review the lesson.

Quick Tips

  • Encourage students to predict or share background knowledge about the topic.
  • Guided Notes would also be a good strategy to use when showing a video, or after reading a text.
  • Encourage students to use colored pens or markers to jot notes, draw, summarize, and record references on their organizers during instruction.

Evidence of Success

  • Students are able to participate in academic conversations about the content, using notes for support if needed.
  • Students have written down the key points in their graphic organizers.
  • Students are able to identify and repeat main points they heard during instruction.

Watch Out For

  • This activity requires thoughtful teacher preparation before the lesson. Teacher should thoroughly plan his/her lesson and then prepare an outline/graphic organizer to accompany the concepts.
  • Ensure that pacing of the lesson provides time for students to digest and interact with the new content introduced.
  • This activity can be used during a lecture but also after students have read a text. Depending on the focus of the lesson, students can work to improve their listening or reading comprehension.

Guided Notes Strategy for Grades K-2 Example

Content Objective:

Students will understand the contributions George Washington made to the United States.

Language Objective:

Students will develop writing and listening skills when taking notes during and after reading about George Washington.

  • Teacher will place students in pairs and provide a graphic organizer that has prompts/questions on the left and keywords and page numbers listed on the right, related to George Washington.
  • Students will read the book, National Geographic Readers: George Washington by Caroline Crosson Gilpin.
  • Discuss the prompts and questions verbally and then have students fill out their guided notes about George Washington.
  • Teacher will review the guided notes with the class, allowing for students to fill in any additional information.

Guided Notes Strategy for Grades 3-5 Example

Content Objective:

Students will understand the principles and ideas in the Bill of Rights.

Language Objective:

Students will develop writing and listening skills when taking notes during and after reading about the Bill of Rights.

  • Teacher will preview the Bill of Rights and give students a copy of the graphic organizer, with the amendments in the left column.
  • Teacher will have students read the book, The Bill of Rights (True Books: American History) by Christine Taylor-Butler.
  • Students will partner read and fill out their guided notes on each amendment in the Bill of Rights.
  • Teacher will review the guided notes with the class, encouraging students to correct or note any additional information.

Guided Notes Strategy for Grades 6-8 Example

Content Objective:

Students will interpret a variety of primary and secondary sources, including maps, charts, and/or photographs.

Language Objective:

Students will write an explanation interpreting several primary and/or secondary sources.'

  • Teacher will assign students in pairs or small groups and give them a graphic organizer and 3-5 primary or secondary sources (e.g., chart, map, or graph)
  • Students will describe the artifact, and tell why the artifact has historical significance.
  • Students will share their explanations with one another.
  • The artifacts on the graphic organizer can be used as examples in an essay written at a later time.

Guided Notes Strategy for Grades 9-12

Content Objective:

Students will determine the meaning of key vocabulary in a primary source.

Language Objective:

Students will write definitions for key vocabulary in a primary source.

  • Teacher will provide students with a list of key vocabulary and divide them into small groups.
  • Each student will be assigned a particular set of terms and will write a definition for each term.
  • As a class, discuss each definition in student-friendly language and reflect how the term is used in the text.
  • After students have written their terms, they will share their definitions with the rest of the group so students have all necessary vocabulary.

Guided Notes Strategy - Levels of Support for ELs from Ellevation

High Support - Levels 1-2
  • Provide students with the appropriate graphic organizer and partially completed notes, reducing the number of words they need to write.
  • Model note taking strategies for students.
  • Pre-teach key vocabulary using pictures.

Moderate Support - Level 3

  • Pre-write key words or phrases written in the graphic organizer.
  • Review the signal words for the organizer to assist with key vocabulary.
  • Invite students to share what they wrote in the graphic organizer before moving on with the lesson.

Light Support - Levels 4+

  • Challenge students to write a short summary of the lesson using notes from the graphic organizer.

Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE)

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Resources for Teachers and Counselors About SLIFE Students

SLIFE Support 1: Intake/Pre-Assessment Form for Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE)

Many of our schools in the district have received an influx of newcomers that are also SLIFE students. In order to get to know our students, Dr. Carol Salva, prepared a Pre-Assessment that will get schools to get to know their SLIFE students better.

Students will take the regular WIDA Screener and will get a score from his or her performance during the test. The Pre-Assessment Form from Dr. Salva goes deeper in areas that each teacher that has a SLIFE in their class should know more about him or her.

Read and save a copy for your own reference. Counselors at any grade level could use this form to administer it to the student prior to assigning courses. Teachers should definitely have a copy of this document to learn more about their students.

Intake/Pre-Assessment Form for SLIFE

SLIFE Support 2: Tips to Work with SLIFE

SLIFE Support 3: Planning and Instructional Considerations for Supporting SLIFE

SLIFE Support 4: Steps to Implementing a Social Contract

Motivating ELLs

The three pillars of building strong, motivated students in the classroom:

  • Amplifying Language Development (previous ESL Newsletter)
  • Bridging Content Connections (in this Newsletter)
  • Cultivating Relationships (in the next Newsletter

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"We can ignite that chispa, that spark, and pull them into the lesson."

~Lora Beth Escalante~


Escalante, L. B. (2018). Motivating ELLs: 27 activities to inspire and engage students. Seidlitz Education, Irving, TX. p. 43.

Bridging Content Connections

Dr. Lora Beth Escalante shares her research with many suggestions to reach English learners to become more engaged in the content taught in classes. Getting to know your students will help students to be more receptive about learning. The recommendations provided here are good for ALL learners.

"Bridging content connections involves encouraging students to connect content and language objectives to meaningful experiences within their classroom community and beyond the school walls." (p.20)

The "use of creative and engaging activities help students to pursue compelling and "outside-the-box" opportunities to enjoy learning new things." (p. 20)

"Motivated students emerge as teachers base their practices on the idea that students have the ability to think, reason, and contribute to their school community not just memorize or regurgitate information." (p.20)

"ELLs need a reason to be involved in the lesson. Tapping into prior experiences by asking them questions they can relate to, and encouraging them to participate in meaningful conversations that will launch the lesson, will give them a reason to become personally invested." (p. 44)

"The United States of America is quite large and culturally diverse, even among native English speakers. That is why taking time to clarify any unfamiliar or ambiguous terms can benefit all students, not just those at the beginning stages of English proficiency." (p.44)

Long-term English language learners (ELLs)

"Keep in mind that [ ] Long term ELLs face their own challenges when it comes to bridging content connections. Long-term ELLs may have missed important concept development or content knowledge in their early years in school due to limited English proficiency. As older students, their English language proficiency is at a level where they can participate meaningfully in RtI interventions appropriate to their needs. Their lack of academic success is likely due to this gap in concept development or content knowledge rather than linguistic difficulties. With these students it is particularly important to bridge content connections." (p. 44)


Escalante, L. B. (2018). Motivating ELLs: 27 activities to inspire and engage students. Seidlitz Education, Irving, TX. p. 20.

Strategic Use of Native Language

This is a great tool for English learners but it needs to be strategic and structured.

These are Dr. Escalante's recommendations:

  • Have native -language peers briefly describe assignment or relay information between student and teacher.
  • Pair students so that the more proficient student is challenged to relay the lesson's goal.
  • Avoid concurrent translation, as it can hinder language development.
  • Utilize technology for translation purposes to allow participation by students who may not have native-language peers.


Escalante, L. B. (2018). Motivating ELLs: 27 activities to inspire and engage students. Seidlitz Education, Irving, TX. p. 45.

Meeting Content and Language Goals

The content and language goals and objectives "are predetermined expectations that guide lessons and help students focus on specific goals during the lesson."

Language Objectives

They "are the goals we set to help students develop language through the content."


Escalante, L. B. (2018). Motivating ELLs: 27 activities to inspire and engage students. Seidlitz Education, Irving, TX. p. 52.

Example of Content and Language Objectives

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Escalante, L. B. (2018). Motivating ELLs: 27 activities to inspire and engage students. Seidlitz Education, Irving, TX. p. 53

It is crucial to read aloud and unpack objectives in each lesson with the class in order for students to understand the expectation on their performance tasks and to know the goal they must meet for the day.

Example of Unpacked Content and Language Objectives

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Escalante, L. B. (2018). Motivating ELLs: 27 activities to inspire and engage students. Seidlitz Education, Irving, TX. p. 55.

Activity: Interactive Lecture

Access the link and review the activity to bridging content connections:

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The language lens makes the invisible visible.

Ottow, S.B. (2019). The content lens for content classrooms: A guide for K-12 teacher of English and academic language learners. Learning Sciences International, West Palm Beach, FL. p. 44.

Schools' Spotlights

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Embracing Diversity

I focus on the diversity lens around the schools and classrooms as I tour the buildings. I want to share what I have observed throughout the district during my visits.

I will continue focusing on the display of diversity in all schools as I continue to stopover to see teachers and administrators.

I want to see an "explosion" of diversity exhibitions at all schools:

  • Elementary
  • Middle
  • Secondary

Be C R E A T I V E and S U R P R I S E me !

I appreciate the acknowledgment of D I V E R S I T Y!

I know your students and their families will feel the same way!

Butner-Stem Middle School

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Northern Granville Middle School

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West Oxford Elementary School

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Wilton Elementary School

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Top 15 ESL Newsletter Viewers

  • Trimain Green - 9x
  • Demetrice Moye - 9x
  • Dr. Janita Allen - 7x
  • Leah Powell - 6x
  • Terilyn Hester - 5x
  • Jennifer Hinkle - 5x
  • Samuel Branch - 4x
  • Ernie Conner - 4x
  • Mechelle Conner - 4x
  • Daniel Dulany - 4x
  • Conley Glenn - 4x
  • Nancy Gray - 4x
  • Rebecca Heagy - 4x
  • Leonard Peace - 4x
  • Megan Sealy - 4x


ESL Program Instructional Facilitator

Ivelisse Rosario de Marín