Voices Vol 42 No 1


From The Editor

You Asked, We Changed

By Roselyn Rauch

YYou asked for it and we changed— our printable format, that is. We want to be more reader-friendly.

Several Voices editions ago, we moved from a hard copy publication to an on-line, eco-friendly, financially smart e-newsletter. We save trees, we save whatever it is that makes ink, and we save a hunk of money that is better spent on our mission than on printing and postage fees.

But not every member was happy. They missed holding the paper issue and were unhappy about reading articles on a screen- too much time spent in front of a monitor, they said. Portability was another issue, no pun intended. And printing a personal edition was a pain because you had to keep clicking back to each article one at a time- both time consuming and annoying, we were told. Our readership may have even dwindled.

Well, your voices were heard, and here we are, thanks to the talents of our technology expert, Marilyn Pongracz, and Dawn Arthur, our layout designer, with a different cover page layout. Now we are a 5-click publication: Contents, Features, Special Interest Groups, About, and Contact UsContents lists what is on each page, and each heading links to that page.  The menu at the top links to the other pages, and there is a drop-down menu for the contents on each page, so you can easily jump to articles that interest you most.  If you do not want to read the articles consecutively, a “Back to Top” button at the end of each article will bring you back to the top of the page to the menu for reading and/or printing.

Our headings and departments are the same; now the articles below them will scroll continuously as you read/print.  It isn’t necessary to go “Back to Top” after each article to go to the next should you want to keep reading or printing. But, you can still print individual articles as you desire. If you would like to print all of the articles on any page, you can just click on Print, but if you want to print just one article, you will need to highlight the article, click on Print, and then click on Selection and then Okay.

This written explanation may seem complicated in so many words, but it is easy to use when you use it. Try out this new format. Please tell your NJTESOL/NJBE colleagues about our renovation. If they haven’t been reading their issues, they have missed quite a lot.

And for those of you who may read Voices on a cell phone, or who may need to enlarge the print, we are trying to make the newsletter compatible with as many platforms as possible for your convenience.

In this issue:

Read why our president, Cassy Lawrence, sees herself, and, by association, her teaching peers, as Half Teacher, Half Superhero.

Vice-President and Spring Conference Chair Sandee McHugh-McBride introduces Dr. Nonie Lesaux and Dr. Mary Ellen Vogt in Announcing Our Spring Conference Keynote Speakers. Caia Schlessinger also is Previewing the Spring Conference and Updating the NJDOE Model Curriculum.

Barbara Tedesco, our historian, met with  Kenneth Bond, Ericka Reed’s replacement at the state department of education, and reports back in An Interview with Kenneth Bond, the New Bilingual/ESL Specialist at the NJ DOE.

In our Technology section, Marilyn Pongracz reviews The Corpus of Contemporary American English where teachers can find examples for use in teaching grammar, vocabulary, or writing. Tugba Hoguet, an occasional contributor, reports on 17  iPad apps for ELLs.

We always love to hear from our chapters, and in Chapter News, Bergen-Passaic submitted reports on their October and November meetings, Tips: Off to a Good Start and So You Want to Publish Your Work, respectively.  The description and registration form for their upcoming March 16, 2013 Saturday Workshop, Using Internet Resources to Connect, Collaborate and Share: New Ideas for Teachers of ELLs with Judie Haynes and Karen Nemeth,  are printed here for your convenience. The workshop is open to all and allows you to earn 3 professional development hours.

In our Special Interest Group (SIG) section, meet Gregory Romero, the new Bilingual Elementary Special Interest Group Representative,  in his introductory piece for Voices. Yasmin Hernández-Manno, Bilingual SIG Representative researched Best Practices for Adolescent ELLs. Learn why Monica Schnee is enthralled by The Magic of Books; how Noreen Drucker discovered Parallel Lessons: Sailing and Teaching ESL; and why Tina Kern reflects on What My Mother Taught Me or Another Perspective of the Challenges of our ELLs.

Karen Nemeth, Parent and Community Action SIG Representative, writes about Times of Crisis and offers 5 reasons to get your ELLs involved in community outreach. Nemeth was inspired by events after Hurricane/Super Storm Sandy on the east coast. Soon after her submission, the horrific events of Newtown, Connecticut’s tragedy occurred: these current events are not lost on our students and provide rich material, sadly though realistically, for language development.

Before long, it will be testing season again. Claudia Plata, SIG representative for Special Education, reports on Accommodations/Modifications for Special Education ELLs During State Testing.  In Using the New Teacher Evaluation Models to Start Conversations about ELL Achievement, JoAnne Negrín, Supervisors’ SIG, discusses the Danielson Framework for Teaching which “emphasizes the importance of equity and high expectations for all students in every classroom” and its relationship to the Common Core State Standards.

Wow, we certainly cover a lot of territory in this edition, all of it relevant to the positive development of our ELL students and best practices for teachers. As usual, I encourage you to read what is going on in all of the SIGs since we don’t live compartmentalized lives. And now that we have a reader/user friendly platform for you to do your reading and printing, it should be your pleasure. Let us know what you think about our change, and, please, spread the word.

Looking forward,

Roselyn    rrauch@njtesol-njbe.org

Roselyn Rauch, Ed.D., is the editor of Voices and a retired ESL/ESL Resource teacher from the Paterson Public School System. She is a consultant with ESL Unlimited and may be reached at rrauch@njtesol.org .

Cassy Lawrence

President's Message

By Cassy Lawrence

Half Teacher, Half Superhero

Most of us are required to wear an ID badge at school. I wear mine on a lanyard, to which I’ve attached a large white button with black lettering, stating: “HALF TEACHER, HALF SUPERHERO”.  I’ve felt that way for a long time, but this past year I believe it even more. I wear these words as a mantra, a shield, and a shout-out to all my fellow educators. Who else but a teacher can know what it’s really like?

We pay our respects to the children and educators lost in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14. While the grim news affected our entire country, it touched teachers in a most profound way. Who would ever imagine that the joyful place called school would one day invoke the saddest of tears? And, are we even surprised that teachers would step forward to protect those in their charge?

I’m even more determined to make it known that ours is the most humbling of professions. The huge expectation placed on our students as indicated in the new standards, and the incessant testing that robs us of teaching time, wears at us. Teachers are more burdened than ever with district mandates, tight schedules, and the urgent need to reach every student. A typical school day with its ups and downs: bad behavior, laughter, the discovery of a weeks-old muffin in a desk (and an accidental science lesson!), multiplication facts that make you shake your head, great discussions, no homework and MIA parents, and the collective “Nooooo!!!!” when the bell rings and it’s time to go home, is tiring, overwhelming, heart-breaking, and inspiring.

I often tell myself “I’m done!” with this exhausting work, it’s just too much sometimes. And yet, I fall in love with it again day after day. Right before we broke for the holidays, my newest student - who has only been here a few months – laughed at a joke I told in class. His eyes lit up and he guffawed! Another student, who refused to speak since September, began to bloom during guided reading, as she shared the story of her arrival to the U.S. – a connection she made after reading When Jessie Came Across the Sea. Moments like these mean a lot to a teacher, especially a teacher of ELLs.

It’s been too easy to criticize teachers lately. But when it gets really tough, and when it counts the most, we stand firm. And so, in the New Year, I recommit to being the best teacher I can be. I’ll teach my kids with energy and enthusiasm. I’ll prepare engaging lessons. I’ll keep myself informed. I’ll have high expectations of my students, but I’ll also be sensitive to their needs. I’ll watch over them.

I’m half teacher, half superhero.

Cassy Lawrence is a 4th grade dual language teacher in the Perth Amboy Schools district. She is President of NJTESOL/NJBE.

Vice President's Message

Announcing Our Spring Conference Keynote Speakers

By Sandee McHugh-McBride

Greetings! As we look forward to the springtime, plans are in place for our 2013 Annual Spring Conference. We are excited to announce that our keynote speakers will be Dr. Nonie Lesaux and Dr. Mary Ellen Vogt.

Dr. Lesaux is a professor at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, where she leads a research program that focuses on increasing learning opportunities for students from diverse linguistic, cultural, and economic backgrounds. She has completed research on reading, vocabulary development, and instructional strategies to prevent reading difficulties and is the main investigator on several large research projects. In 2008, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Her research has dealt with various levels of education, from early childhood through adult education. Her writings include articles and books on the subjects of second and bilingual language learners, literacy, assessment, and learning challenges/disabilities.

Mary Ellen Vogt is Professor Emerita of Education at California State University, Long Beach. Dr. Vogt has been a classroom teacher, reading specialist, special education specialist, curriculum coordinator, and university teacher educator. She received her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a co-author of fifteen books, including Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches in the Real World (3rd ed., 2011) and the SIOP® book series. Her research interests include improving comprehension in the content areas, teacher change and development, and content literacy and language acquisition for English learners. Dr. Vogt was inducted into the California Reading Hall of Fame, received her university’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, and served as President of the International Reading Association in 2004–2005.

We are looking forward to hearing the expertise offered by these keynotes at the conference this May 29th and 30th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick.

Sandee McHugh-McBride, smchugh-mcbride@njtesol.org
Vice President, NJTESOL/NJBE


Scholarships will again be granted in a few short months. Apply, apply, for your students, for yourself!

As part of our annual gathering, NJTESOL/NJBE will be offering awards to outstanding English language learners and those teaching in the field. One of our proudest Spring Conference moments is when we support our ELLs and teachers in this celebratory way. The 2012-2013 school year means another opportunity for you and/or your students to earn one of the six scholarships:

Details and applications will be available soon on our website, www.njtesol-njbe-org.

with Kenneth Bond, the New Bilingual/ESL Specialist at the NJ DOE

By Barbara Tedesco

Kenneth Bond was recently hired to replace Ericka Reed Okafur who left the Bureau of Bilingual Education to become the Bilingual Supervisor in Bridgeton. Here are a few facts about Ken.

Where did you go to college?
I went to college at Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University).

What are your major, minor, and post-graduate degrees?
For undergrad, I was a Biblical studies and education major.  My post-graduate degree is an M.Ed. with a concentration in TESOL. I heaped on a ton of credits every semester so that I could get it all done at once.  My master’s thesis was about best practices in training volunteer ESL teachers. 

What experiences did you have with ESL before you entered the field full-time?
My parents hosted ESL exchange students for most of my childhood.  All-in-all, we had about 20 students from 3 different countries stay with us.  I learned so much from these students about their countries and about how to navigate cultural and language differences.  We also had missionaries stay at our house almost every month.  Many of them would talk about the English camps they ran and about the impact their teaching had.

What solidified my decision to go into ESL was a teaching experience I had in China.  I taught at a public middle school outside of Shanghai with an organization called English Language Institute China.  The “aha moments” that my students had made me want to seek out more.

Where have you worked?
My first job was at my family’s chicken processing plant.  During high school and college, I worked at a lot of after school programs, summer camps, and schools.  I also taught in China and did some consulting/training during this time.  I was hired by the Somerdale School District as the ESL teacher/coordinator after I graduated.  I also have been a faculty member at Eastern and Rowan Universities.  

What made you decide to apply for the position at the DOE?
Students, like the ones I had at Somerdale, were the reason I applied for the position at the DOE.  Their strength and courage in the face of overwhelming odds continues to inspire me every day.   

Do you have a goal or mission that you hope to accomplish there?
My goal is equity for all students, which is fostered by current policies and initiatives.  No matter where they are born, what language they speak, or what school they go to, students need to be given the tools to be college- and career-ready.

Recently, a graph was posted on the DOE website charting the intersection of proficiency levels and achievement on State standardized tests.  Are you a numbers person?
I am no statistician, but I do enjoy analyzing numbers.  One of my math education professors influenced me greatly in this area.  I took an educational research class with him that opened up my eyes to the world of statistics in education.  Since then I have always tried to use that knowledge to empower myself and others so that we can truly understand what needs exist and what has the potential to address those needs.  It is so important to take a look under the hood to truly understand how research should influence teaching. 

Barbara Tedesco is a Past President of NJTESOL-NJBE and its current Historian.


iPad Apps for ELLs

By Tugba Hoguet

iPads have become one of the main resources to use in our classroom. They provide endless possibilities for lessons, activities, and games for students K-12. Here are some of the IPad apps that I use in with my students:

iTranslate allows you to translate words in 50 languages. It is quite efficient, especially if you have students from different countries and you need to [use] a translator that can recognize speech.

StoryBuddy, Tabtale Books, Learn to Read, Cat Lite, Toy Story, and Hallmark Books, are some of the free apps you can use with a class. By searching, other free children's books for iPads can also be found. The graphics and story designs are catchy and fun. Students like to read along and play the spelling games at the end.

Spelling Grade 1-5 is engaging, fun, and challenging. Each grade costs $2.99 and comes with various activities to practice spelling. Students can move letters to create words.

Spelling City is free and can be used for upper grades and high school. Students have access to thousands of word lists that are created by their teacher so that they can practice their lists as they like. One of the best activities of the app is TeachMe. Students can click on the new words to hear pronunciation and letter by letter sounds.

Listening & Speaking:
ESL Listening is a collection of books on various topics. Each topic is told with pictures and a story. Students listen to the speaker and answer the questions on the screen. Fourteen collections of topics are free. If you are willing to purchase more topics, each costs $ 4. 99.

Busuu is a language learning app that has 20 free lessons: vocabulary, reading, and listening selections with interactive tests.  The paid selections allow you to submit the answers to writing exercises and get them corrected by native speakers; they allow you to interact with native speakers to practice your English.

SpeakText Free is a useful app for older students. Students can highlight the text they read and the app reads the text aloud. If the student is a low-beginner, the SpeakText Free will translate the selected section as it reads it.

Bluster by McGraw Hill is a word matching game that helps develop vocabulary, grammar, and word understanding for elementary and middle school students. Depending on the host, the school providing this app allows students to compete in teams.

ShowMe allows students to learn as they listen to and watch their teachers’ presentations on white board. Teachers can save their lessons on ShowMe with the voice over tool and save it in the classroom account. Students will have access to the lessons whenever they need to review the lesson.

Interactive English is a free monthly app designed for ESL students mainly for older students to practice their English. Each monthly lesson has three levels- basic, intermediate, and advanced. Each story is based on current events and comes with a glossary.

GetAcross Free is a free phrasal verbs app designed for ESL students to practice prepositions and phrasal verbs. It can be used for students of all ages (K- Adult). It is great for classroom use as there are four levels of difficulty.

Grammar Express has a variety of collection of lessons on parts of speech, prepositions, tenses, nouns, articles, active and passive voices, and figures of speech and so on. Each collection had a free version of sample lessons. The full version costs $ 2.99-$ 3.99 depending on the lesson.

English Idioms Illustrated is a free website that is interesting and fun. Students enjoy the illustrations as they study the meaning of 163 idioms.

Tugba Hoguet is the ESL Program Coordinator and Teacher at LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden.


Favorite Websites: The Corpus of Contemporary American English

By Marilyn Pongracz

The Corpus of Contemporary American English http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/ is a concordance of a vast number of sources for finding authentic examples of grammar and vocabulary.  Teachers and students can search in a choice of genres: newspapers, magazines, literature, speech, and academic texts.  The site is free for linguists and English language learners and their teachers although registration is required after fifteen queries.  The optional searches include synonyms, collocates, comparisons of words, and words or phrases preceded or followed by designated parts of speech.  All searches can be viewed within the context of a few of the surrounding sentences.

Teachers can find examples for use in teaching grammar, vocabulary, or writing.  High intermediate to advanced students can find examples to share with their classmates.  For instance, after studying a topic in grammar, students could use the website to find examples of that topic.  They could analyze the structure of their sentences and then rewrite part or all of the sentences keeping the structure but changing the content. 

The teacher, however, must be prepared for the “messiness” of real language.  I have been using this site to find sources for a weekly “Writing Puzzles” workshop that I conducted in the fall semester in the ESL Resource Center at Bergen Community College.  A student asked about the structure, “not only … but also.”  Not only did a search of uses yield the usual grammar book format, but also produced alternatives such as “not only” preceding nouns or prepositional phrases and even un-inverted word order.

Another use of the website is a study of collocations, which is a powerful tool for helping students learn not only vocabulary but also the limits of word use.  A student asked me why solving his shyness was incorrect.  A search of the word, solve, shows it associated with problems, social ills, murders, puzzles, or troubles, which helps the student grasp the definition.

Along with answering students’ questions in the “Writing Puzzles” workshop, I helped students practice useful word patterns for writing.  One such pattern, “is that” as in “The first reason is that…” helps students to introduce main points in their essays.  I used sample sentences from the corpus to create the “puzzles,” dividing each sentence into phrases and putting the mixed up phrases in list format on the board.  The students copied each phrase onto a piece of index card and then had to reconstruct the sentence.  Through focused activities, exposure to authentic language from the corpus can help students improve their syntax and vocabulary.

Marilyn Pongracz is the Technology Coordinator for NJTESOL/NJBE and the English Language Resource Center Supervisor at Bergen Community College

News: Bergen-Passaic Chapter

Tips: Off to a Good Start

By Janice Silvia Acosta

The Bergen-Passaic NJTESOL/NJBE Chapter kicked off the academic year with two informative and well-attended meetings in Paramus, NJ.  The first was held on October 23, 2012 entitled “Tips: Off to a Good Start.”   The meeting offered ELL teachers the opportunity to ask important questions related to the job of the ELL Specialist, especially at the beginning of the year.  The meeting sparked much discussion and highlighted common concerns shared by ELL teachers.  Discussions included ACCESS results, monitoring ELLs, and the newly published 2012 WIDA ELD Standards. Monica Schnee shared several resources for all ELL teachers including:


So You Want To Publish Your Work

By Janice Silvia Acosta

O n November 27, 2012, in Paramus, NJ, attendees had the opportunity to hear Judie Haynes. This highly engaging and interactive presentation offered attendees a unique opportunity to brainstorm ideas for writing a book along with strategies to turn those ideas into reality.  Judie walked through the writing process from concept to print.  Her presentation included tips on how to brainstorm ideas for content, finding and working with an editor, preparing a proposal, and how to pitch your idea to a publisher.  The benefits of self-publishing were also discussed.  Attendees left with concrete steps, tools, and sites to make their dreams possible.  Judie is the author of seven books, including her newest release, The Essential Guide for Educating Beginning English Learners, co-authored with Debbie Zacharian.   

Janice Silvia Acosta is the current chairperson for the Bergen-Passaic Chapter of NJTESOL/NJBE

News: Bergen-Passaic Chapter

The Bergen-Passaic Chapter NJTESOL/NJBE Presents a Workshop with Judie Haynes and Karen Nemeth

Using Internet Resources to Connect, Collaborate and Share: New Ideas for Teachers of ELLs

There is a wealth of information available via the Internet to support teachers who work with English language learners (ELLs) in general education, bilingual education, and ELL classrooms.   Join two nationally known authors, Judie Haynes and Karen Nemeth, to explore some of the best resources the Internet has to offer. Websites and Web 2.0 interactive platforms provide many options to find teaching ideas and solutions that will allow you to incorporate technology into your classroom and differentiate instruction for ELLs.  Learn about the many online opportunities to satisfy your district's professional development and professional learning community requirements.  Discover useful websites, interactive platforms, and social networking such as blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In.  Join us for this highly interactive and participatory workshop that will give you a refreshing new look at your work with students who are English language learners.  You are encouraged to bring your laptop, iPad or smartphone. Free Wi-Fi access will be available.

Date: Saturday, March 16, 2013

Time: 9:00 AM – Registration/ Buffet Breakfast

9:30 AM to 12:30 PM - Program (3 Professional Development Hours)

Place: William Paterson University  in the  Atrium Auditorium (Building 42 on the campus map) 300 Pompton Road, Wayne, NJ 07470                               

Driving Directions/Campus Map:   


Cost: $30.00 for Members / $45.00 for Non-members

Open to: All Teachers, Administrators, Child Study Team Members

Questions: Call Joan Pujol   (201) 634-9503



Bergen-Passaic Chapter NJTESOL/NJBE
March 16, 2013 Workshop

Using Internet Resources to Connect, Collaborate and Share:
New Ideas for Teachers of ELLs

Registration Form

Return with your check for $30.00 (members) or $45.00 (non-members)

Mail to: Joan Pujol—136 Stuart Street, Paramus, NJ  07652   by March 1, 2013.


School District_________________________________

NJTESOL /NJBE Member:    Yes   /   No                   

Amount Enclosed:      $30.00 (member)           $45.00 (non-member)

Home Address _________________________________________________________

Position  _______________________     Telephone #____________________________

Telephone # for Saturday AM in case of Emergency  Cancellation _______________

Professional Development Certificate:  Needed__________   Not Needed__________

*Email __________ 

*(Do not use a school email address; it is recognized as spam. Please write clearly.)

Mail by March 1, 2013 to:
    Joan Pujol 
    136 Stuart Street  
    Paramus, NJ  07652