Voices Vol 41 No 1

Vice-President's Message

Looking Forward to the 2012 Spring Conference

By Cassandra Lawrence

H ow do we engage our youngest language learners? What can we do to make curriculum accessible for elementary and middle grade students? How do we motivate students at the high school level? What do we focus on the most as ESL and bilingual teachers? What, as mainstream teachers, do we need to know? What about language? And content?  How do we bring it all together?

This year’s conference theme - Success for ELLs Across the Curriculumreflects the hard work, expectations, and aspirations of ELL practitioners and their students. While we’re dutifully concerned with the transition to the Common Core State Standards, we’re also charged with meeting language objectives – often within time and program constraints. Our goal for this Spring Conference is to support you in meeting these challenges. I am confident your conference experience will provide you useful insights and tools to help you and your students.

Both days of the conference will open with a morning general meeting and keynote presentation. You’ll get to meet the organization’s leaders, as well as join in acknowledging our scholarship and award recipients. After the morning keynote sessions, we’ll have a great variety of workshops to choose from, as well as poster sessions, exhibitors, and networking opportunities. Here are just some of the conference highlights we’re looking forward to.

We will hear from Keynote speakers Maria Dove and Andrea Honigsfeld on Day One of the conference. Their keynote presentation, Common Core Collaborations, will help us to develop an understanding of how to best meet the Common Core State Standards with English Language Learners in mind, along with supportive instructional and non-instructional collaborative practices. As a follow-up to their keynote, Dove and Honigsfeld will present an afternoon session titled Co-Teaching for the Common Core which will highlight several collaborative teaching models. This featured presentation will interest K – 12 general program practitioners, ESL and bilingual teachers, as well as program administrators. Dove and Honigsfeld are co-authors of “Collaboration and Co-teaching: Strategies for English Learners” (Corwin Press, 2010). Maria G. Dove is Assistant Professor in the division of education at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY, where she teaches courses to preservice and inservice teachers in the graduate education TESOL program. Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld is Associate Dean in the division of education at Molloy College, as well. She teaches graduate education courses related to cultural and linguistic diversity, linguistics, ESL methodology and action research.

On Day Two of the conference, keynote speaker Mary Cappellini will present Balancing Reading and Language Learning, during which she will emphasize the importance of making time for language development during the reading block and focus on highlighting students’ strengths as they learn to read and learn to speak English at the same time. Cappellini will also present an afternoon breakout session titled The Importance of Talk During Reading Block where she will highlight the importance of not only making time to read, but also making time to talk during the reading block. During this featured presentation, she will highlight the different developmental stages of language and demonstrate how to make time for talk, discussion and understanding as ELLs are learning to read. Cappellini, author of “Balancing Reading and Language Learning: A Resource for Teaching English Language Learners, K-5” (Stenhouse, 2005), is an educational consultant who has worked with English language learners and teachers of ELLs for over 28 years. She is also the author of numerous children’s books, bilingual adaptations and chapters in professional books for teachers. Cappellinni’s presentations will be of special interest to teachers of elementary and middle grades.

Raquel Sinai and Lori Ramella will present State Initiatives in Bilingual and ESL Education.  This yearly update on behalf of the DOE will offer our members the most current information on state and federal requirements for bilingual, ESL, and Title III of No Child Left Behind. Raquel Sinai and Lori Ramella are with the Office of Specialized Populations at the N.J. Department of Education.  This is an ideal opportunity to hear what is happening in our field at the state level.

Bonnie Moisan will present Common Core, Objective Driven Lessons, and ELLs.  Moisan will demonstrate how to look at Common Core and ELL Standards and apply those targets while preparing concise objective driven lessons.

Our own Judie Haynes, president of NJTESOL/NJBE, will present Professional Development through Social Networking. During this presentation, you will discover the power of social networking via Twitter, Facebook Fan pages, social bookmarking sites, and other Web 2.0 tools that teachers can use to build a professional learning network to collaborate and connect with educators around the globe.

Judith O’Loughlin and Vesna Radanovic-Kocic will present Preparing Mainstream Teachers to Teach ELLs. The presenters will introduce the organization, planning, and implementation of a year-long mainstream-teacher project, funded by the New Jersey Department of Education.  They will discuss SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) training modules, and share SIOP mini lessons, used in the project. This presentation is ideal for ESL and mainstream program teachers.

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Cassandra Lawrence is Vice President of NJTESOL/NJBE and the 2012 Spring Conference Chair. She is currently an elementary bilingual teacher in the Perth Amboy Schools district.