Just A Saturday With Friends

Re-posted from Beth’s blog, NNETESOL President-elect Beth Evan’s blog about teaching ESL in Vermont.

We were so lucky today to have about 20 people join most of the Vermont Northern New England TESOL board members.

It was great to see some familiar faces, and good to make connections with some new ones.

For two hours, some Vermonters who went to TESOL in Baltimore last month talked about what we saw, and one of our board members talked about taking part in the WIDA item review meeting in Washington, D.C.  I went over my Meaning in Movement presentation once again. It’s always fun to dance with friends.

One of the things that came out of the meeting was that people wanted maybe to meet more and to share what we are learning on a more regular basis. I would personally love that. Teachers too often close the door and teach alone.

We all work better when we steal ideas from each other.


TESOL Talks!


Click on the picture above to find out about a free professional development opportunity next weekend. Some Vermonters who went to TESOL would love to share what they learned with you! The event is free, and you’ll get 2 hours of professional development for coming. Coffee, carbs and conversation on us.

NNETESOL 2016 Conference Call for Proposals

NNETESOL invites proposals for our upcoming conference. Consider sharing your expertise with your colleagues and present at our annual NNETESOL Conference. Please submit a proposal application via our 2016 conference page.

When: Saturday, November 5, 2016

Where: University of Southern Maine, Gorham

Proposal Deadline: May 31, 2016


Please peruse our grants page for a list of grants and awards given by NNETESOL . Hope to see you at the November conference. For more information about NNETESOL check out our website.

Questions? Contact your state reps! You can find their contact information here. And thanks for your participation!



Beth Evans,

President-Elect NNETESOL



NNETESOL 2016 Annual Conference Announcement

We are happy to share some exciting NNETESOL 2016 Annual Conference News with you.  Firstly, we’ve chosen the location for the November 5, 2016 conference. We’ll be returning to the University of Southern Maine, Gorham. Look for the call for proposals within the week, and check the 2016 conference page for news.

Most importantly, we are proud to announce that our NNETESOL 2016 Keynote Speaker is

Dr. Margarita Calderón.


Dr. Margarita Calderón, Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University has served on national preschool-12th literacy panels and advisory boards (National Research Council, ETS, WIDA, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth). She is a consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of Civil Rights. Her research interest focuses on professional development, effective schools, and language and literacy development of English language learners.  She was principal investigator in a 5-year study in middle and high schools called ExC-ELL funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York that developed a program to train math, science, social studies, and language arts teachers on integrating academic language, reading comprehension, writing skills and content knowledge to help ELs achieve in the mainstream classrooms.

She was Co-PI with Robert Slavin on the 5-year randomized evaluation of English immersion, transitional, and two-way bilingual elementary programs funded by the Institute for Education Sciences/U.S. Dept. of Education. Other research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, National Institutes of Health, and Texas Education Agency, several school districts, and State Departments of Education. She has over 100 publications, is an international speaker, is invited to do keynote speeches at major conferences, and conducts comprehensive professional development programs throughout the country.

For more information, please visit Dr. Calderon’s web site.

Join us in Gorham, ME on November 5th!

Connect With NNETESOL at the TESOL Convention!

Going to Baltimore? Connect with NNETESOL. Our board members are attending and presenting! We hope to see you there.


When? Where? Who? What?
Wed PM 4:30-5:30 NNETESOL affiliate booth Visit the booth and speak with Past President Anne Wright Shank and President-Elect Beth Evans
Thurs AM

9:30 –10:15

Hilton Baltimore, Latrobe President-Elect Beth Evans presents on Meaning in Movement: Dance Gets Students Talking
Thurs PM 3:00–3:45 Hilton Baltimore, Johnson Maine Representative Alec Lapidus presents on Multimodal Social Semiotics as an L2 Cultural Negotiation Learning Tool
Fri AM


Electronic Village, Technology Fair:

Classroom Tools

President-Elect Beth Evans presents on Apps Help Teachers Document Student Growth in All Domains



TESOL Talks Vermont

The 50th Annual TESOL Convention in Baltimore is right around the corner.tesol-50

Are you going?

Northern New England TESOL (NNETESOL) is looking for 2016 TESOL conference attendees to share their new knowledge with fellow Vermonters who may not have been lucky enough to attend.

We are hoping to host another “TESOL TALKS” in Burlington this April and need educators willing to present out on workshops from the national conference.

If you are willing to do so, please contact Anne Wright Shank or stop by the NNETESOL affiliate booth at TESOL 2016 Baltimore on Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 to speak with either Anne or Beth Evans.

We’re also gauging interest for similar gatherings in Maine and New Hampshire, so DON’T despair if you can’t make it to Burlington, but DO contact us if you’re from ME or NH and interested in reporting out.

See you in Baltimore!

Plymouth State Professional Development Opportunity

Our colleagues at Plymouth State are coordinating an excellent PD opportunity. Check out the graphic for more info.

For a PDF version of the graphic, visit this link.

TESOL Professional Devlopment 04-16-16

A Cellphone-Free 10 Minute Teaching Break

by Stephanie N. Brown

Teachers seldom have time to reflect or regroup during the hectic workday. Students coming from every direction, office-620823_960_720lesson planning, and grading takes up most of the day. But, do you ever find yourself needing a quick 10 minute break? Or, do you find yourself with 10 minutes among a sea of responsibilities and don’t know how to best utilize it?

Often, when I have a free few minutes the first thing I grab is my cellphone. I might check my emails, texts or social media. I find that I blink and my 10 minutes is over. But what did I actually do besides ignore my body’s need to relax. What if you took one of your 10 minute breaks and distanced yourself from work and life responsibilities (while also ignoring your cellphone)?

Here are some helpful ideas to reflect, regroup, and realign your energy.

  1. Walk out to your car and put your lunch box away. Even if you will be leaving for the day soon, just take the time to walk outside for a few minutes. Take 10 full deep breaths while outside, and then walk back inside.
  2. Quickly walk up and down a set of stairs nearest you. Walk up and down 2 or 3 times before going back to your desk. While walking try to focus on your movement and clear your mind of other responsibilities.
  3. Take a piece of paper and write for 10 minutes about things that make you happy. Put this list in a visible location to look at later.
  4. Reflect on the day. What is going well? What would you like to change? How can you do to make this change happen? Consider starting a journal for these 10 minutes writes, so you can track them over time.
  5. Walk around your classroom and office. Notice things that are often overlooked (student work, colleague accomplishments, books or anything else you might see). Try to let your mind relax as you focus on your immediate surroundings.
  6. Go into the hallway with 1 purpose, talk to someone new or that you seldom converse with. Have a cellphone-free conversation about anything. Stay present in the conversation and ignore other responsibilities.
  7. Organize one drawer in your desk. Sometimes cleaning and organizing can be therapeutic. Take 10 minutes and just sort through some of your things. Maybe you will find something surprising under all those old papers.
  8. Make a cup of tea and drink it. Focus on just enjoying the warm tea and allow your body to relax.

Teaching can be a busy and stressful job. But, this profession is always rewarding. Try to find 10 minutes a day where you can distance yourself from technology and your responsibilities. I honestly believe that you will have a fresh perspective on teaching and life! Enjoy and happy relaxing.


by Diana Garcia-Lavigne


image courtesy ed.gov

On 12/10/15 American educators added ESSA to their ever-expanding repertoire of acronyms. That day, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act. It’s the latest re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and will replace 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act.

What are the implications of ESSA for ELLs? This has been a topic at our last two Upper Valley TESOL monthly meetings, and I’m certain our discussions are being echoed across the NNETESOL region and the country.  While it’s already clear that the implications will be significant, there are many issues and questions remaining as state education agencies begin the process of implementing the new law.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, here’s a very short list of resources that have been shared by my UVTESOL colleagues along with one I’ve found useful as I try to familiarize myself with how ESSA will impact my teaching.

  • In January, Colorín Colorado published a useful blog post entitled “What does ESSA Mean for ELLs?”. It includes a link to a webinar a UVTESOL colleague found informative. Despair not if you missed it – you can still follow the link to view the archived version.
  • The Council of Chief State School Officers just released Major Provisions of ESSA Related to the Education of English Learners. Not only does the Council offer an excellent summary, but also identifies outstanding issues and questions.
  • Here is the U.S. Department of Education ESSA Page for general info about the law.

Do you have additional resources to add to this list? Want to attend an upcoming Upper Valley TESOL meeting? Email Diana Garcia-Lavigne.

Deconstructing Quotes in the Classroom

by Stephanie N. Brown

quotation-39628_960_720Have you ever used quotes in your class? I am confident when I say that most of you reading this…have used quotes in your class one way or another. Well, you might be thinking, “I already know quotes are interesting, I don’t need to read this.” But, I want you to think about how you picked your quotes, how you used these quotes, and how your students reacted to these quotes. This kind of reflection, can be key as you spice up your lesson plans to help motivate your students. Lets take a look at these questions…

How did you pick your quotes?

There are many ways to pick a quote to use in class. You could pick a quote from something the students are reading, from a related content area that you are studying, from inspirational people and more. But, picking the right quote means that you have to think about your students and your desired outcomes for the class. Do you want your students to learn how to quote correctly? Do you want your students to demonstrate critical thinking? Are you interested in using a quote for a reflective activity? As the teacher, what are you looking for?

I have used quotes in many different ways, but selecting the right quote can be difficult. Often, I want to pick a quote that has relevance to both my students and the classroom as a whole. I want to make sure that my quotes are coming from people of diverse cultures, identities, and backgrounds. I want to select quotes that are relevant to my students lives and interests.

How did you use your quotes?

So now, you have picked the perfect quote. Now it time to really layout what you want the classroom outcomes to be. There are countless activities that you can to with your students related to any quote. You could have them connect it to their life, the classroom, or specific content. You could ask students to deconstruct the quote to get at the authors meaning in a given context. You could have students draw a picture that depicts the meaning, to share with the group. Again, there are countless actives that you can do.

With my quotes I think, what is the focus of this quote for my class? What will they do to demonstrate their understanding? How can I structure this activity to create a memorable learning activity?

How did you students react to these quotes?

At this point you have a quote and you have outlined how you want to use it. But, how will students react to this quote? Is the language accessible? Is there a learning moment in this quote that will be beneficial to all? Try to think about your quote from all angles. Will everyone in the class enjoy this quote? If not, why will they dislike this quote?

Often, I use quotes for inspirational moments and classroom motivation. I try to structure quote activities to demonstrate critical thinking, therefore I want students to think about themselves and others. I want everyone to walk away from the activity with a quote that they want to remember.

Quotes can be a great way to liven up the classroom and creating meaningful learning experiences for students. quotation-39627_960_720However, selecting the right quote, outlining its use, and predicting the reactions of students takes a bit more work. Teachers shouldn’t just throw a quote at students, but instead use a quote to enhance a teachable moment.

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