Voices Vol 41 No 2

Vice President's Message

Success for ELLs Across the Curriculum: A Spring Conference Preview

By Cassandra Lawrence

The start of spring reveals purple and white crocuses, birds singing happily in the earliest hours, the urge to spend more time outdoors – and for me – the realization that my students have made great strides, both academically and in their English language development. It’s so exciting to watch them engage in lessons with their peers, take creative risks in their writing, and become stronger in their analytical skills. Student progress blooms suddenly at this time of year inspiring me to seek even more ways to bridge learning.

The NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference offers bilingual and ESL practitioners from across our state the kind of professional development WE want and need. With that in mind, the 2012 conference theme – Success for ELLs Across the Curriculum – expresses our goal as educators of ELLs: to provide the most optimal learning experiences for our students in all aspects of the curriculum, while including appropriate strategies, experiences, and materials. As a conference participant this year, you’ll find relevant and practical information about how to lead your students toward success.

On both days of the conference, we will begin with a General Session at 8:45 am, with opening remarks and a presentation by NJTESOL/NJBE President Judie Haynes. Both days will also feature a one-hour Keynote presentation, scheduled to begin at 9:15 am. Arrive early and sign in, grab some coffee, and get a good seat.

On Wednesday, May 30, the Keynote will be delivered by Maria Dove and Andrea Honigsfeld,   co-authors of Collaboration and Co-teaching: Strategies for English Learners(Corwin Press, 2010).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. 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.

On Thursday, May 31, we will hear from Keynote speaker Mary Cappellini, author of Balancing Reading and Language Learning: A Resource for Teaching English Language Learners, K-5 (Stenhouse, 2005). During her keynote presentation, Balancing Reading and Language Learning, she will emphasize the importance of making time for language development during literacy, and 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 reading.

Workshops and meetings will start at 10:30 am, following the keynote presentations. Here are just some of the sessions we are offering this year:

Raquel Sinai and Lori Ramella will present State Initiatives in Bilingual and ESL Education on both days of the conference. 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. We have Judith O-Loughlin and Vesna Radanovic-Kocic, who will present Preparing Mainstream Teachers to Teach ELLs, where they will introduce a teacher project which utilized SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) mini-lessons. Our own Judie Haynes, president of NJTESOL/NJBE, will present Professional Development through Social Networking where you will hear about the power of Twitter, Facebook, and other Web 2.0 tools, and learn how to build a professional learning network.

Don’t miss Madeline Franco-DeFaria, and her well-known co-presenter Dr. Jim Cummins (joining us virtually via Skype), who will present 5 Principals for Teaching Math and Science to ELLs.  Joining us this year is Ivelis Sanfilippo, who will share games and activities for enriching language during her workshop Having Fun In A Dual Language Classroom. Bonnie Moisan will present Common Core, Objective Driven Lessons, and ELLs, during which she will demonstrate how to look at Common Core and ELL Standards and apply those targets while preparing concise objective driven lessons. Have you heard of www.ColorinColorado.org ? Claudia Navarro will share this amazing website’s wealth of resources for both teachers and parents of ELLs.

The needs of Newcomer ELLs in High School will be discussed by Marcella Garavaglia and Mariana Sierra, and Preparing High School ELLs for High-Stakes Tests will be examined during a workshop presented by Susan Bova and Susan Harrison. Our own Caia Schlessinger will round out these discussions in her workshop Sheltered Language Arts at the High School Level.

On Wednesday, May 30, we will host our second Higher Ed Mini-Conference. A series of concurrent workshops will take place,  addressing the specific needs and interests of our Higher Ed population. Make sure to look at the schedule on our website for a listing of these workshops.

Our liaison, Sandee McHugh-McBride, has worked diligently to gather a great group of exhibitors for this year’s conference. Be sure to visit the hotel atrium, where you can peruse the materials and resources at the exhibitors’ tables. This time well-spent will earn you an extra hour of professional development.

Be sure to join us on Wednesday evening, May 30, at 5:30 pm for our Awards Reception. Our annual student awards presentations will take place at this free event. Join your NJTESOL/NJBE friends and colleagues for some light refreshments while we support some of our star students.

Make the most of your conference experience! Arrive early and start your day with the morning General Session and Keynote presentations. Select the workshops you’d like to attend, and plan on meeting up with colleagues or make new friends at the buffet lunch, which will be served continuously 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get more updates about the Spring Conference! And stop by the registration table to say Hi – I’d love to meet you!

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