ELT: Ideas for E.L.L.s: Finding Reliable Sources in a World of ‘Fake News’


Lesson Plan Ideas:  https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/learning/lesson-plans/ideas-for-ells-finding-reliable-sources-in-a-world-of-fake-news.html?_r=0&referer=http://m.facebook.com

ELT: Using Primary Sources for Background Building


Education Connections Tuesday’s Tip

Erik Halvorson  Education Connections

What strategies and techniques do you use in your classroom to help all students develop their background knowledge and interact with primary source documents?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) recommend that students be able to work with a diverse background of complex texts, both primary and secondary, in order to engage with curriculum through a variety of viewpoints, as well as to practice using text-based evidence to develop and support ideas and claims. The CCSS specifically require that lessons in History/Social Studies, Science, and technical subjects introduce students to the outside voices and views of primary source documents.

While finding primary source documents can seem overwhelming, the Library of Congress offers a great primary source analysis tool specifically to help instructors search and gather primary sources for their classroom instruction. The primary source database comes with sheets and guides for how to analyze different types of media, as well as sets and pre-grouped samples of primary sources by subject matter.

For EL students, primary sources can be extremely beneficial in in providing background knowledge that might not be available through textbooks or secondary source texts. Primary sources that are not text-based—for example, photos, films, paintings, music, maps, and cartoons—can help EL students across all English levels to access engaging non-linguistic insights and strengthen background knowledge.

For more ideas on how to include and incorporate primary sources in your classroom to help all students engage with lessons, take a look at this sample lesson plan.

Or, for another look at how to use primary sources with your EL students, try this short activity from TeachingHistory.org.

What is the role of students’ home language in the classroom?


Education Connections

In the past few decades, education policy has gone back and forth in regards to the use and place of students’ home language in classroom instruction. However, recent research suggests that the incorporation of students’ home languages in the classroom, alongside English instruction, can help reduce the stress of the learning environment, allows instructors to use richer and more authentic texts, encourages students to think critically and make connections across languages (which can help deep learning and recall), and provides students with additional support to encourage continued learning and language development (Butzkamm, 2003).

For a discussion of why home language instruction and supports can be beneficial for your students, as well as how you can start including home language supports in your classroom, check out this article.

For some further information and discussion around the place of home language use in the classroom, be sure to hear this 7-minute interview from Larry Ferlazzo.

Finally, for a little more background on the research surrounding home language use in the classroom, try this resource from Colorín Colorado.


Butzkamm, W. (2003). We only learn language once-the role of the mother tongue in EFL classrooms: Death of a dogma. Language Learning Journal, 28 (1), 29-39.

English Resources: Black History Month



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Civil Rights: Then and Now
How Do Issues from the Civil Rights Movement Resonate Today?
This special collection of videos, photos, lesson plans, letters, and interviews lends context to the events and leaders that defined the Civil Rights Movement and illuminates the issues that carry on into the current day. Explore the Collection
Sampling: The Foundation of Hip Hop
Encourage students to discover how music sampling has been used to communicate a social or political statement by musical icons throughout history with this lesson plan by Soundbreaking. Discover More
Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise
Go on an immersive journey through the last fifty years of African American History from the victories of the Civil Rights Movement up to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Discover More
Harriet Tubman: Abolition Activist
Learn about a woman who escaped slavery and became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading or assisting more than 300 enslaved people to freedom, despite great personal risk. Discover More
Are You the Next PBS Digital Innovator?
PBS Digital Innovators are preK-12 educators that are not defined by the gadgets they use but by the unique way they approach education. Visit the website to learn more about the program, opportunities and the PBS Digital Innovator Community. Apply Now
Do You Have Students that Love Science?
Invite your 10th and 11th grade students to enter the Emperor Science Award program for a chance to work with a mentoring scientist and explore the world of cancer research! Enter Now
Explore a collection with your students that highlights fun, imaginative science fair projects. Learn how to make the perfect cookie, how to grow fluorescent flowers, and more! Discover the Collection
This February, PBS invites you to reflect on the impact that black history and culture has on your life. Using the hashtag #MyBlackHistory – tell us about the people, moments, and quotes that inspire you! Join the Conversation
 Start the new year off right by adding to your digital toolkit! Discover how PBS LearningMedia and its collection of over 120K curriculum-aligned resources can be used to create meaningful learning experiences for your students. Register Now
March 16, 2017
Teaching Vocabulary: Word Meanings and Word Knowledge
Grade: PreK-2 | 45 Hours
Design more effective lesson plans by evaluating your students’ word knowledge and incorporating proven vocabulary teaching strategies into your practice. Enroll Now
Giving Voice to My Passion: My Experience as a PBS Digital Innovator
Discover how one teacher’s life changed when he became a PBS Digital Innovator. The PBS Digital Innovator community empowered him to share ideas, engage in professional development, and become a life-long learner.  Read the Blog
Powerful Ways to Explore Women’s Rights Through History
Learn how a high school social studies and English teacher taught her students how to be able to connect women’s roles during the American Revolution to their roles during the Civil War, and onto the sharp increase in women’s suffrage movements during the post-Reconstruction period. Read the Blog
Mercy Street: Season Two
Sundays @ 8/7c
Dive into American Civil War history by following the growing chaos at Alexandria’s Mansion House, the precarious position of the Green family, and the changing situation of the burgeoning black population. Make sure to check out the Education Resource Collection page. Tune In
Spy in the Wild: a NATURE Miniseries
Premieres Wednesday, February 1 @ 8/7c
This series offers a fascinating look at animal behavior in the wild – captured by secret, animatronic “spycams” disguised as penguins, hippos, and meerkats Learn more about animals experiencing emotions and behaviors that are similar to humans. Tune In
The Talk – Race in America
Premieres Monday, February 20 @ 9/8c
Watch this two-hour documentary centered on a common conversation happening in households and communities across America to join the discussion. Discover what parents of color and their children discuss when talking about how to behave if they happen to be stopped by the police. Tune In

Emoji Activities


Great for EL activities


Practical tips and steps, great stuff!  Find them here at http://www.controlaltachieve.com/2017/01/docs-emoji-activities.html

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New Platform: Collaboration, Video Activities, And More


7 sneaky ways to get students reading using technology


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