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Collaborative Conversations*

New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages


That effective collaboration benefits students (and teachers alike) is affirmed by the well-deserved attention it has received most recently in the professional literature (see, for example, DelliCarpini, 2008, 2009; Honigsfeld & Dove, 2010; NACTAF, 2009; NEA, 2009; Pawan & Ortloff, 2011) and in the TESOL educational community (e.g., themes of 2011 New York State and Kentucky TESOL conferences). Acknowledging the importance of collaborative exchanges among teachers is not a completely novel idea, though. Close to three decades ago, Judith Warren Little (1982) examined the differences between more and less effective schools and found that the more effective ones had a greater degree of collegiality. She noted four unique characteristics of collegiality (or collaboration) in successful schools, where teachers participate in the following activities: • Teachers engage in frequent, con- tinuous, and increasingly concrete and precise talk about teaching practice. • Teachers are frequently observed and provided with useful critiques of their teaching. • Teachers plan, design, evaluate, and prepare teaching materials together. • Teachers teach each other the practice of teaching (pp. 331– 332). Consider what Warren Little’s (1982) frequently quoted four key ideas could mean for ELLs in today’s schools. What if we translated her seminal findings into a contemporary framework of four Cs, in which “collaborative” serves as a defining adjective, followed by a key activity or desired teacher behavior necessary for improved student learning? • CollaborativeConversations: Through enhanced communica- tion, all teachers have the oppor- tunity to develop ownership and shared

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responsibility for ELLs’ learning. • CollaborativeCoaching: Through an encouraging school climate and supportive framework, teachers offer and receive feed- back on their teaching practices. • Collaborative Curriculum De- velopment: Through curriculum mapping and alignment and col- laborative materials development, teachers match both their long- term and day-to-day instructional goals and activities. (continued on page 20)


NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

by Andrea Honigsfeld

Contents Collaborative Converstions......................1 Conversations in Support.........................3 Acting...................................................................4 Resources for the Common Core.....6 Talking is learning.........................................10 Small Talk..........................................................14 Conversation Table.....................................24 Regular Features/ Special Announcements

Promising Practices.......................................8 Book Review..................................................12 SIGs and Regions.........................................17 Members Only Website .........................18 Editorial Notes..............................................22 Upcoming Idiom Themes........................22 Calendar and Announcement..............22 NEW Membership Form.......................23 • • • • • NYS TESOL Annual Conference Oct. 28-29 Marriott Hotel Melville

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Conversations in Support of High School ELLs by Victoria Pilotti

Officers and Executive Board 2010-2011 President, Nanette Dougherty NYC Public Schools

First Vice President, Rebekah Johnson LAGCC, CUNY Second Vice President, Christy Baralis South Huntington School District Second Vice President Elect, Olivia Limbu Pace University

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

Past President/TESOL Liaison, Constance Dziombak Mount Vernon City Schools SIG Coordinator, Laura Van Tassell South Huntington School District SIG Assistant Coordinator, Jennifer Scully Consultant Regions Coordinator, Tina Villalobos Hicksville Public Schools Assistant Regions Coordinator, Lynn Ellingwood Brighton Central School District Membership & Marketing Chair, Patricia Juza Baruch College, CUNY Assistant Membership Chair, Drew Fagan Teachers College, Columbia University Curriculum and Standards Chair, Maria Dove Molloy College Assistant Curriculum and Standards Chair Position Open Professional Concerns Chair Porfi rio Rodriguez, East Ramapo CSD Professional Concerns Assistant Chair Position Open Publications/Technology Chair, Fran Olmos Yonkers Public Schools Idiom Editor, Cara Tuzzolino Werben Nassau Community College Dialogue Editor, Sue Peterson St. John’s University Webmaster, David Hirsch New York City Business Manager/Treasurer L. Jeanie Faulkner, Cornell University Certified Public Accountant Jim Stotz

NYS TESOL Executive Board Meetings and General Information Members are welcome to attend Board meetings. For information, contact: NYS TESOL Box 185 Teachers College, Columbia University 525 W. 120th Street New York, NY 10027 Tel./Fax: (212) 678-3074 E-mail: Web site:

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Dear Colleagues, I hope you have been enjoying a happy, healthy and restorative summer. I would like to update you on some changes and challenges facing educators. On July 13, I attended the Bilingual/ESL COP (Committee of Practitioners) meeting at Teachers College, Columbia University. The most major changes include the New Evaluation Law for K-12 teachers and principals: 1. Annual evaluations for all teachers and principals 2. Clear, rigorous expectations for instructional excellence, prioritizing student learning 3. Multiple measures of performance 4. Multiple ratings: Four performance levels to describe differ ences in teacher effectiveness 5. The new system should encourage regular, constructive feedback and ongoing development 6. Signifi cance: results are a major factor in employment decisions. You can view all documents discussed at the COP Meeting at the following link: For more information about the Common Core Standards, please consult the website at: and see the article in this issue. Though it was not considered at this meeting, the 14 Bilingual/ESL Technical Assistance Centers (BETACs) across New York State closed permanently on June 30, 2011. This puts both our schools and our LEP/ELL populations at risk of not having the appropriate resources to meet their educational and programmatic needs over the next fi ve years. Our new Commissioner of Education, Dr. John B. King, Jr., may not be familiar with the importance of the resources offered by the BETACs.You may email him directly at: In addition, you may email the NYS Board of Regents on this issue at: RegentsOffi At the Melville Marriott October 28-29th, I will be passing the gavel to our incoming President, Rebekah Johnson. I would like to thank the many wonderful members of my Executive Board and the many SIG and Region Leaders for their service to the organization. Special thanks to Cornelia Randolph, a constant support and inspiration, and Fran Olmos, for her guidance. You will be receiving ballots for the Executive Board slate in the mail shortly. Thanks to our Nominating Committee, led by Cornelia Randolph and Terri Brady-Mendez, for their time and efforts. Members, please do not forget to vote for your new leadership in our organization by returning your ballots. As always, please continue to keep in touch with issues, concerns, and ideas on how our organization can best serve you. Best wishes for a great school year to all. Peace and blessings to you, Nanette Dougherty, President, NYS TESOL P.S. We’re so very excited to be launching our new Members Only website please read more about it in this issue and log in soon to check it out. Please contact us with ideas!

Adolescent ELLs are second language learners who are still developing their profi ciency in academic English. Moreover, they are learning English at the same time they are studying core content areas through English. Thus, English language learners must perform double the work of native English speakers in the country’s middle and high schools. At the same time, they are being held to the same accountability standards as their native English-speaking peers (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007, p. 1). Conversations with ELLs and colleagues are viable ways for ESL teachers to help their students navigate academic challenges. My short time at Jamaica High School has been filled with conversations that have driven my instruction to best support the ELLs in my charge.

litical cartoons; English language arts topics of idioms, formal versus informal language, and dictionary/glossary skills; and academic readiness in test-taking strategies, study skills, time management, notebook organization, public speaking skills, and computer skills. I also taught graph skills across the disciplines. This class was one of a select few JamaicaHigh School English and ESL classes that benefited from TeenBiz3000 (Empower3000), a Webbased individualized reading program by Achieve3000. Conversations with ELLs form part of the data collection that drives my curriculum changes. Several fi rstyear students (participants in Experiment I) reported the lessons and activities helped them pass content-area finals and New York State Regents exami-nations. When asked how the support class could be improved for Curriculum Experiments the following year, ELLs suggested that Based on Conversations with I allot more time to science, continELLs ue teaching math and social studies, At Jamaica High School, an ESL and retain computer instruction on support class is offered zero period, TeenBiz3000. One student, who was 7:22 to 8:06 a.m., to provide interme- particularly resistant to my teaching diate ELLs with additional targeted in- anything but ESL all year, later admitterventions. September 2011 will be ted he benefi tted from content-area the third year I am teaching zero pe- instruction by his ESL teacher. All sturiod, and each year is an ongoing cur- dents expressed a deep appreciation riculum development action research for the bilingual content area glossaexperiment. I conduct the course as a ries I provided. combined resource room and advisoIn the second year (Experiment II), ry class model. Based on daily conver- I spent less time on dictionary/glossations with my students about their sary skills; did not teach idioms; and, challenges, I provide homework help; upon careful review of recent living teach problematic topics in mathemat- environment Regents exams, added ics, science, and social studies; and as- an ecosystem unit, a lesson on pH, and sess and teach diverse skills necessary group activities on bar and line graphs. for academic success. The first year of I replaced the formal versus informal the experiment, my curriculum includ- English lesson with daily academic ed mathematics symbols and word English and everyday English explaproblems; the living environment top- nations and definitions. Students asics of scientific method, evolution, and sessed their multiple intelligences organ systems; social studies topics of (Gardner, 1983; Gardner, 1993, 2996; feudalism, estates, and analysis of po- McKenzie, 1999), and learning styles


(Dunn & Dunn, 1993; Dunn & Griggs, 2003, 2004, 2007; Missere & Dunn, 2005). I added native-language translations of key content vocabulary to my student notebook grading rubric. Groups researched continents and explorers and presented their PowerPoint slide shows to ELLs in other classes. TeenBiz3000 was replaced by Study Island, Web-based instruction built on New York State standards, that provided all Jamaica High School students practice for English, mathematics, science, and social studies Regents exams; and for national Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Based on requests from Experiment I participants for Internet resources for speaking practice, I created lists of Web sites and links with podcasts and speaking exercises. As I gear up for Experiment III in the 2011-2012 school year, I plan to devote more time to dictionary skills, such as alphabetizing, and content area textbook structure, with special attention to textbook glossaries and indices; the participants in Experiment II were lacking in dictionary/textbook research skills and did not make optimum use of these resources. I provided a list of Web sites and links for Regents practice and bilingual glossaries, and will again provide copies of bilingual glossaries in Experiment III. I have decided to step up test-taking strategies and content writing practice in the zero period support class beginning in September.

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)


New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

From the President’s Deskz by Nanette Dougherty, NYS TESOL President

Conversations with Families Individual writing conferences often involve reinforcing the student’s strengths and discussing specifi carreas in need of improvement (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001). I had conversations with each student about his/her multiple intelligences and learning style profi les generated from the Dunn (continued on page 26)

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your students’ spent energy at the end of a long week, or do they sparkle? Do you walk in the room with pizzazz, transmitting vital energy to them, to create the cycle of give-and-take necessary for effective language learning? Do you use gestures, winks, and nods to convey information, emotion, even comedy? These are things worth Good teaching is one-fourth prepathinking about, because one of the ration and three-fourths theater. most important ways you are like an —Gail Godwin actor is in this all-important function. Your energy and presence set the If “acting is energy,” teaching is tone. many things: a combination of knowlJust as audiences must have faith in edge, experience, awareness, experactors and suspend their disbelief to tise, and care. It is also the energy we, fully enter into the world the actors as language instructors, bring into the are creating, your students must agree classroom that absolutely affects the to the unspoken contract of trust that order of the day. As a theater lover bonds them to you in a vulnerable and past occasional performer, I have learning situation. Your ability to creoften thought about the parallels be- ate that atmosphere of trust is importween teaching and acting. Here are a tant; your dynamism helps your class few that come to mind. generate energy that in turn feeds you You’re on stage. All eyes are on and helps the learning environment be you. You’re the initial focal point of dynamic. This is important for learnattention. Your presence shifts the ing as well as for the teacher’s abilenergy in the room. Sometimes, you ity to sustain energy and passion both literally have a podium, with desks ar- within a class and over her entire run. rayed in rows before you like patrons Actors use their voices as tools, at a theater. There is noise, chatter, relying on not just word choice but infl laughter, shuffl ing in the room until ection, intonation, varying volume, and the lights dim. Curtain up! Enter stage the judicious use of pauses to capture left, the professor. Cell phones get the audience’s attention, rivet them, put away, or at least discreetly placed spellbind them, draw them forward in to the side. Chitchat dies down. The their seats wondering “What’s next?” room is hushed a moment, the pause You too can use your voice itself as a of anticipation before the fi rst words tool that weaves the bewitching spell of dialogue are spoken. of energy, dynamism, and trust that All eyes are on you. An actor uses makes for a lively and effective learnher body to convey information about ing environment. her character before she even speaks. The show must go on. There are So do you. How are you days when you can’t imagine generatdressed? Does what you wear convey ing that energy at all. On those days, some message about your position in you have to “act as if”: put on your this play, your role, your persona as teaching persona as an actor dons a teacher, leader, or facilitator of the mask or stage makeup, preparing herenergy in the room? How do you walk self to go before the lights. If you don’t in? Are your eyes downcast, refl ecting show up, or show up without energy,

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

Acting is a sport. On stage you must be ready to move like a tennis player on his toes.Your concentration must be keen, your refl exes sharp; your body and mind are in top gear; the chase is on. Acting is energy. In the theatre people pay to see energy. —Clive Swift

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by Elizabeth Fonseca you might flop. This leads us to the all-important teaching persona. As an actor slips into a role through preparation, curiosity, and the desire to share emotion and information with an audience, you can slip into your teaching persona, comprised of your sincere and genuine self with a soupçon of publicrole poise, strategic sass, and teacher’s tools you’ve learned throughout your teaching days that help you on the way. Is your persona the classic scholar? Do you have a little playful clown thrown in? Are you the compassionate guide, leading students to the knowledge they already possess? Can you switch hats to that of the taskmaster, pushing for and demanding the very best? It can be useful to think of the teacher role as composed of these different personae that serve useful functions in the various processes of learning, including enabling you to reach students of different backgrounds, needs, and learning styles. Even if you are not like that, your alter ego, “Profesor Picky”, can be. Although you are more lenient, “Scholar Strict” can be called upon as necessary to whip an underachieving class into shape. Being a teacher is a public role that requires daily public speaking; why not train for it and fi nd useful tools and approaches that may aid in maintain- ing your interest, creating a positive learning environment, and aiding in effi cient classroom management? If you think some training might help you focus your body as instrument and help you channel energy more effi ciently and effectively in the


classroom, here are some suggestions to get you started: • Take an acting class. Learn how to use body language, breath, and voice to create energy and atmosphere. • Take a public speaking class. Learn relaxation techniques, visualization techniques, and tips for effectively conveying a message. • Join a group such as Toastmasters International, where you’ll learn tips for public speaking. • Listen to and read poetry aloud. Learn about cadence, rhythm, and volume to use your voice more effectively—and to save it from too many of those hoarse, raggedy,“I’vespoken-too-much” days! • Similarly, take a vocal or voice training class. Learn specific breathing exercises to strengthen your voice and to become expert in effectively and efficiently using and saving your voice. Here is a website to get you thinking about your own parallels between acting and teaching: http://www/ actingquotations.html.

NYS TESOL Remembers Jeanette D. Macero

Elizabeth Fonseca is an avid traveler who has taught ESL/EFL in such countries as Italy,Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Her work has been published in the Arabia Review and the Traveler’s Tales series, among others. Her interest in acting stems from high school and community theater days, as well as more recent poetry readings. She currently teaches at Nassau Community College in New York. <>

All those who knew Jeanette are aware of her many accomplishments in professional organizations and her skillful teaching, but those closest to her will remember most her kind and compassionate manner to all she met and worked with, her hearty laugh, and her engaging personality. Jeanette’s friends and colleagues have lost a treasure.

by Vel Chesser

The field of ESOL has lost one of its most revered members, Jeanette D. Macero, who died May 9, 2011. Jeanette was passionate in her dedication to non-native speakers of English as exemplifi ed by her teaching, mentoring and participation in professional organizations. Jeanette, one of the founders of NYS ESOL BEA (now NYS TESOL—see note below), was a leader in that organization nonstop until her retirement from Syracuse University in 1998, as associate professor of English and TESOL coordinator of languages, literatures and linguistics. She moved to Medfi eld, MA to be near her family.

Many NYS TESOL members will testify to the mentoring they received from Jeanette, who held leadership positions in the organization for her entire career. Jeanette graduated with a BA in English from Barnard College, an MA in linguistics from Columbia University, and did doctoral study in linguistics at the University of Michigan. She was president, second vice president twice, and chair of various TESOL committees: publications, paper selection, References awards and nominations. Twice, she received the NYS TESOL Distinguished Godwin, G. (1974). The Odd Woman. Service Award. New York: Ballantine Books. In addition to Jeanette’s full-time teaching at Syracuse University, she published skill books for beginners of English through Laubach Literacy http://www/ known as ProLiteracy), as well as a number of scholarly papers and adlosophy/actingquotations.html dresses, edited books of readings, and acted as consultant to many groups.

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)


All the World’s a Stage: Ways in Which Teaching Is Like Acting

Vel Chesser, retired from Syracuse University, can be reached at <> Editor’s note: With thanks to NYS TESOL historian George Morris: The very fi rst organization was called NY TESOL (No “S” for State), then NYS ESOL BEA. The founding date is 1970 (hence our 40th anniversary in 2010). The split into NYS TESOL and NYSABE was in the early 1980s.

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The Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) have been adopted by dozens of states.The NYS Board of Regents adopted the new P-12 CCLS for ELA, Literacy, and Mathematics in January 2011; it will be phased in over the next year. Beginning in school year 2012-13, NYS assessments for English Language Arts and Mathematics will measure student achievement of the P-12 CCLS. Find New York State’s complete CCLS timeline at www.usny.

• Clear, so that educators and parents know what they need to do to help students learn; • Consistent across all states, so that students are not taught to a lower standard just because of where they live; • Inclusive of both content and the application of knowledge through high-order skills; • Built upon strengths and lessons of current state standards an The initiative began in the spring standards of top-performing naof 2009 and was coordinated by the tions; National Governors Association • Realistic, for effective use in the (NGA) Center for Best Practices and classroom; the Council of Chief State School • Informed by other top-performOfficers (CCSO). The advisory group ing countries, so that all students for the initiative comprises Achieve, are prepared to succeed in our Inc., ACT, the College Board, the Naglobal economy and society; tional Association of State Boards of • Evidence and research based Education (NASBE), and the State(Quay, 2010); Higher Education Executive Offi cers • Application of the Standards for (SHEO). English Language Learners. Common standards can potentialThe Common Core State Stan- ly provide a greater opportunity for dards Initiative released a draft of states to share experiences and best the math and language arts content practices within and across states that standards for public comment in Sep- could lead to an improved ability to tember 2009, and the individual K-12 serve ELLs. The K-12 English-language grade-level content standards in these arts and mathematics standards do insubjects were released for public clude information on the Application comment in March 2010. Both sets of of the Standards for English Language content standards were fi nalized in Learners, located at http://www. 2010. Criteria for Development One segment of the Application of This process differed from past ELA Core Standards recommends standards initiatives because it was that to help ELLs meet high academic state led and had the support of edu- standards in language arts it is essencators across the country as well as tial that they have access to: prominent education, business and • Teachers and personnel at the state leaders’ organizations. The stanschool and district levels who are dards were developed by the followwell prepared and qualifi ed to ing criteria: support ELLs while taking advan• Aligned with expectations for tage of the many strengths and college and career success; skills they bring to the classroom;

by Diane Garafalo

• Literacy-rich school environments where students are immersed in a variety of language experiences; • Instruction that develops foundational skills in English and enables ELLs to participate fully in gradelevel coursework; • Coursework that prepares ELLs for post secondary education or the workplace, yet is made comprehensible for students learning content in a second language (through specific pedagogical techniques and additional resources); • Opportunities for classroom discourse and interaction that are designed to enable ELLs to develop communicative strengths in language arts; • Ongoing assessment and feedback to guide learning; • Speakers of English who know the language well enough to provide ELLs with models and support; • Need for English Language Proficiency Standards. The Common Core did not spell out how the standards applied to specifi c levels of English profi ciency. It was left up to states to create English Language Profi ciency Standards that align with the Core Standards or to best be taught to students depending on their level of English profi ciency. In her July 12 blog at Education Week, “Learning the Language,” Mary Ann Zehr recognized this need by reporting that Stanford University has received a $1 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to create English Language Profi ciency Standards for the states’ Common Core Academic Standards. Dr. Kenji

Hakuta, a professor of education at Stanford University, a member of the Common Core Validation Committee, and a long-time expert on ELLs; and Maria Santos, the former director of programs for ELLs for the New York City school system, are co-chairs of this national effort to write standards for ELLs to parallel the Language Arts and Mathematics Standards of the Common Core, as well as the Science Standards that are expected to be developed. This grant award fi lls the gap in the process of implementing the Common Core for ELLs (Zehr, 2011). The grant, which lasts for two years, is called “Building on Common-Core Standards to Improve Learning for English-Language Learners.”

that language instruction is the domain of all teachers, not just English Language Arts and ESL teachers; • Identify your objectives, assessments, and best practices in classrooms and ensure that you’re making progress toward those objectives; • Use the Common Core to recognize and amplify the op portunity for rich language development for ELLs and for all students (Hakuta, 2011). According to Dr. Ha kuta, there are some key elements for ELLs regarding the Common Core, including: The Common Core pro vides a strong incentive to “The effort is to think about the examine the role of language content areas in the common core in content instruction and in that offer strategically fertile areas assessment; there is a role around which language instruction for leadership to take advancan take place,” Dr. Hakuta explained. tage of this opportunity; “The standards will elaborate on • Even though the Common what ELLs should know and be able Core says nothing about the to do in the content areas at different English Language profi ciency English-proficiency levels,” he added. expectations of ELLs, there is a re(Zehr, 2011). quirement that English language profi ciency be aligned to Preparing ELLs for the Comthe Common Core; mon Core—A Webinar • There will be more commonality On May 5, 2011, Dr. Hakuta preacross states in the identifi cation sented a webinar at www.teachscape. of students because there will be com called “Research to Practice: Premore common profi ciency tests; paring ELLs for the Common Core.” • The Common Core has the poHe offered his thoughts and ideas tential to move ELL performance/ during the webinar under the topic profi ciency both across schools of planning for the Common Core, and across the country (Hakuta, including: 2011). • Recognize that language is Criteria for Writing Common necessary to teach, learn, and Core Curriculum Materials demon-strate understand Last summer, the nonprofit group ing in school subjects, and Common Core issued a set of free that this is true for all stu curriculum maps. The maps are de dents, but especially for ELLs; signed to give an understandable se• Engage in the idea that excel- quence of thematic curriculum units lence in instruction and as that connect the skills provided in the sessment around content ELA revolves around the idea of rich language use; • Build the professional devel opment around the idea (continued on page 17)


Some Helpful Resources •

Common Core Curriculum Maps: free/ • Common Core Standards and English Language Learners: www. educators/ common_core • Common Core State Standards Initiative Web site: • Common Core Standards Work for ELLs: The Importance of Linking English Language Profi ciency Standards to the Common Core Standards powerpoint/ELLELPStandardsPPT%20Slide.pdf • K-6 Units in ELA Aligned with Common Core Standards: www. k6-ela-common-core/ • P21 Common Core Toolkit www. toolkit_fi nal.pdf • articles/2011/08/02/ common-coretoolkit-aligns -standards-with21st- century-skills-framework. aspx Websites of the members of the advisory board to the Common Core Initiative:

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)


Resources for Implementing the Common Core for ELLs

Achieve, Inc.: ACT: The College Board: National Association of State Boards of Education: State Higher Education Executive Offi cers:

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Piece of cake! Idiom activities and the importance of proper intonation

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tally you). During the students’ explanations, I stay off to the side and will assist only if the situation calls for it; I have even done this activity remotely via Skype when I was home sick in bed. Having the students in charge of this activity made it quite manageable. It can also act as a springboard for all kinds of culture related discussions.

Where Is the Change? A major obstacle facing our students is intelligibility, especially when using idioms.While pronunciation may by Andrew Edison Schneider Idioms pop up everywhere in Eng- be a factor, an equally important faclish media, often met with confused tor is proper intonation. As the pitch looks by our students. Even more ad- in our voices rises and falls, these vanced students have diffi culty using changes in intonation are processed them with any degree of competence, by the listener (Cruttenden, 1986). If especially if the idioms are culturally you have ever studied Chinese, Thai, different from their own (Irujo, 1986). or Vietnamese, you may be familiar Given their importance, more atten- with the inextricable link between tion should be paid to teaching idioms the proper tone and communication. in ESL settings (Cooper, 1998). It is up In English as well, when language is to teachers to help students not only given the correct intonation, comlearn idioms, but also to encourage munication can be greatly enhanced. their usage in an intelligible manner. To emphasize this point with my stuHow can we incorporate idioms into dents, I imitate the “wa wa” teacher classroom settings in a relaxed, com- from Charlie Brown. I walk around the class, lock eyes with a student, municative, and student-centered raise my hand, and slowly say “Wa, wa way? More important, how can we wa Wa?” What I am actually saying is teach the intonation of idioms to “Hi, how are You?” Students inevitaachieve students’ maximum intelbly guess correctly and are quite surligibility? I have found the following prised that they can understand what three activities to be helpful for my I am saying. Once they have caught on, students. we can then create contextual situaBYOI—Bring Your Own Idiom tions and apply the proper intonation. Each student chooses one idiom A mini-dialogue I might have with a to “teach” the class. They may choose student in front of the class, in which my role would be B, is as follows: from any source, and learn it well A: What are you doing this week enough to be able to explain it in end? front of their classmates. This is a B: This weekend? Nothing special. great warm-up; it’s student-centered I’ll probably just hang OUt. and exciting, since they have chosen A: OK. Give me a call. these idioms themselves based on B: Alright. their own interests. Don’t be surAfter the classmates have heard prised if a number of idioms come the dialogue, I will ask them, “Where from Gossip Girl or Glee, American television programs centering around is the change?” Hopefully, they will high-school students, so idioms relat- hear “OUt” on the first try. I will then mark it on the board. The rise in pitch ing to dating and shopping tend to at the beginning of “OUt” rather than surface quite often (i.e., It’s on me; on the word “hang” is essential to the She’s into him; Those shoes are to-

intelligibility of the idiom as well as to the rest of the dialogue. Teachers play a vital role here. Once an idiom is presented, either the students or the teacher should provide/elicit the proper intonation and then mark it. This marking system is especially important for non-native-English-speaking teachers who may be unfamiliar with the proper intonation of idioms. The good news regarding idiomatic phrases is that there are general intonation patterns. In an emphasized two-syllable word, such as “brainer” in the expression “no-brainer,” the word tends to receive a higher tone or pitch on the fi rst syllable. It’s a noBRAIner. In the case of a one-syllable word, such as “cake” in the expression “piece of cake,” there is a higher tone on the fi rst half of the word: It’s a piece of CAke. In either case, the rising intonation at the beginning is then followed by a falling intonation. Saying the idiom in front of your students in slow motion can really help to clarify this, and it is also good for a laugh. When students know the proper intonation, communication can be achieved even with less-than-perfect pronunciation. This is good news for our students, as it is generally much easier to change the pitch of a word than to pronounce the word properly. Mini Dialogues The mini dialogues written by the students, followed by an in-class role play, are not only a lot of fun but practical and effective exercises for ESL students (Nunan, 2003; Scott & Ytreberg, 2000). They could be done as homework or in class individually, in pairs, or in groups. These dialogues supply the context necessary to achieve natural usage and effective communication (Nippold & Martin, 1989). The task is to write mini dialogues, where each dialogue contains at least one idiom from class, either from our text or from one of the students’ BYOI. There should be just enough

context (4-6 lines) for the exchange to be meaningful (Nippold & Martin, 1989). Make sure the students understand that even though these dialogues are being written down, they should be striving for spoken and not written English. I also ask them to consider the roles of the speakers as in the following student dialogue (the professor is putting on her coat as her student enters the office):

Conclusion English continues to be a global language. Proper knowledge and usage of idioms are powerful tools for anyone requiring English in daily communication. By focusing on the proper intonation for our students to achieve maximum intelligibility, we are better equipping them for the English-speaking world. It is important for us as teachers to go the extra mile.

References Cooper, T. C. (1998). Teaching idioms. A: Excuse me. Professor? Are you Foreign Language Annals, 31(2), busy? 255-266. B: I’m running LAte, actually. I’ll be Cruttenden, M. (1986). Intonation. here tomorrow. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge A: Ok, thank you. University Press. B: Alright. This exchange meets the crite- Irujo, S. (1986). Don’t put your leg in your mouth: Transfer in the ria in that it is a spoken dialogue, the acquisition of idioms in a roles are defi ned, at least one idiom second language. TESOL is used, and the idiom is marked with Quarterly, 20, 287-304. the proper intonation. Once their dialogues are done, I collect, correct, Nippold, M. A., & Martin, S. T. (1989). Idiom interpretation in isola and return them. Afterward, I circu- tion versus context: A de late, taking student questions on my velopmental study with ado corrections. Then, I have each pair lescents. Journal Speech & practice and perform at least one of Hearing Research, 32, 59-66. their dialogues in front of the class. Eye contact, body language (students Nunan, D. (2003). Practical English teaching. New York: McGraw must sit facing each other), and voice management should be emphasized Hill. during practice time. Be sure to circu- Scott, W. A., & Ytreberg, L. H. (2000). Teaching English to children. late, as some students will simply read New York: Longman. the dialogue together. I walk around with a blank sheet of 8½ x 11 paper, which I use to cover up the dialogue Andrew Schneider has been teaching they are working on. This forces them ESL/EFL for 20 years, having taught in Japan, Spain, and the United States. to look up and, hopefully, at each other. The students He currently teaches medical students then perform at the front of the class. in Kanazawa, Japan. <> I act as the director, yelling “Action!” and opening/closing my cell phone like a director’s slate. The class listens for the idiom used in the dialogue. This is always fun, as students enjoy watching their classmates perform. I like to supply props/wigs to spice it up. Be prepared for the cameras to come out! I also quiz them on the idiom and the intonation right after each dialogue.


Introduction from the new Idiom Editor, Cara Tuzzolino Werben

Greetings Idiom readers,

I am delighted to combine my background in publishing with my love of TESOL as the new editor of Idiom. Thank you to my predecessor, Julie Dziewisz, for her great work and help with a smooth transition. I also thank the column editors, copy editor, NYS TESOL leadership and members for the warm welcome. My career began with a B.A. in journalism from NYU. After I switched to marketing, and later fundraising, I volunteered in an ESOL classroom and loved it. I enrolled in Teachers College, Columbia University, graduated with an Ed.M. in TESOL, and began working as an adjunct at Pace, CUNY, and Columbia. Presently, I work in an intensive English program at Nassau Community College. We focus on improving students’ skills through an integrated, holistic approach, so that they can exit our program and be prepared for college-level work. I also instruct and mentor aspiring TESOL teachers at the Literacy Assistance Center. I welcome the chance to meet with interested writers during the Annual conference in October. See you there! --Cara <>

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)


Promising Practices This is an ongoing column, featuring advice for effective teaching. Please send article submissions to the column editor, Ann C. Wintergerst (contact information on page 22 of this issue).

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Come to the

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

by Elaine Caputo Ferrara

ESL teachers employ a variety of instructional tools in the classroom. Conversation can be used to help students practice pronunciation, to pre-pare and develop a well-thoughtout paragraph, and to enhance listening skills. Most important, conversational activities tap into students’ schema to help them fully develop critical thinking skills in English. Below are several activities I have used with my students. To introduce the concept of students’ origins, I show students how to use the Reporter’s Questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How) to gather information. Students partner with one another to ask these questions and record the answers. When the class comes together again, I ask the group, “Who has a partner coming from a country whose name begins with the letter A?” Students might answer Argentina. The class then identifies which continent Argentina is on. Students check the map in the classroom to know more about their partner’s home country. This is repeated until the end of the alphabet. Students work with their partners to see what they already know about these countries. This prior knowledge helps students realize that they know more than they think about geography and other topics. Next, the class discusses the variety of languages spoken by the students. After obtaining this information, students put the names of these languages on the board. This fi rst conversation in class provides information needed for the first writing assignment, which is the biography of a class member. The first draft begins in class and is peer reviewed for content by the student’s conversation partners.Their homework is to review the draft and to rewrite it at home on the computer. The next day, I review the homework with students and focus my comments on a grammatical topic, such as verb tense usage. I choose

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to focus my feedback on one or two aspects of the writing assignment so that a completely marked-up paper does not increase students’ writing anxiety. The next assignment involves reading a biography about a famous American. It might be a commonly known American like George Washington or someone from a particular field. After forming groups and prior to reading, students discuss what they already know about the person and what they expect to see in the article. I introduce the concepts of topic and main idea as well as vocabulary specific to the story. After reading the biography, students individually answer the Reporter’s Questions from the article, and then share their answers with their conversation group. In groups, students generate their own questions using the Reporter’s Questions. When the class comes together, one student from each conversation group writes one question on the board—the questions should not be duplicates of other groups’ questions. Students read each question aloud. I ask the whole class for grammatical corrections to the questions. After completing the exercise, students write a summary of the biography—they can use these questions or the ones from the conversation group—and show this to their conversation partner for feedback. Their homework is to create a revised version of the in-class written summary that incorporates their partners’ feedback. They staple the draft to the top of the rewrite. Using conversation sheets, such as those available at, also provides opportunities for interaction. Each conversation sheet centers on a theme such as seasons, media, habits, and customs. These can be used to talk about the topic in conversation groups, to learn

Annual Conference October 28-29, 2011 New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages 41st Annual Conference “Enhancing English Learning: Connecting Communities Through Collaboration” Marriott Hotel Melville, NY For further information, go to and check your e-mail on the NYS TESOL Listserv If you are interested in volunteering or have questions, contact Conference Chair Christy Baralis at

vocabulary specifi c to a topic, and to practice pronunciation. I ask students to look up defi nitions of highlighted words on the sheets. As an instructor, using these sheets is a way to determine students’ familiarity with American culture and to plan class trips. Students can also conduct research to enhance their knowledge about media. I used these conversation activities with levels 3 to 7 students (as mea- sured by the Best Plus) enrolled in non-credit ESL CUNY courses for a semester or more. Students ranged from 18 to 60 years, were from all over the world, and spoke a wide variety of languages. Some were recently arrived professionals who had university degrees; others had a basic education in their native country. Students developed a sense of community because of the shared conversation exercises. Many good friendships began in class and continued after graduation. These friendships made it more enjoyable for many to attend class on a regular basis and did lead to fewer absences. By the end, students learned how to express their ideas more clearly in English and how to formulate questions for future educational use. Their critical thinking skills were used to evaluate the new information and to compare it to what they already knew. Elaine Caputo Ferrara received a Master’s degree from N.Y.U. in educational psychology, with a specialty in reading and special education. At the College of Staten Island, she teaches reading and writing to college students in ESL classes. Recently, she developed a citizenship class for students. <>



Exceptional Professionals To honor contributions made within our fi eld, NYS TESOL presents several awards annually, including: James A. Lydon Distinguished Service Award Outstanding Teacher Award Recognition Award Lifetime Achievement Award James E. Weaver Memorial Award Special Award Year 2010 2009

Award Recognition Award Outstanding Teacher

Lifetime Achievement Award Recognition Award Outstanding Teacher


James E. Weaver Memorial Award Recognition Award Outstanding Teacher

Honoree Dr. Anita Batisti Dr. Maria Dove

Estee Lopez Dr. Walter Sullivan & Saul Cohen Barbara Suter

Alison O’Neil Sam Hoyt Donna Bove


James A. Lydon Distinguished Service Recognition Award Outstanding Teacher


George Morris Maria Neira Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld & Caryn Bachar

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)


For ELLs, Talking Is Learning

James A. Lydon Distinguished Service Dr. Frank Tang Outstanding Teacher Patricia C. La Rose

2005 James A. Lydon Distinguished Service

Diana Segovia Praus

2011 Award Winners will be presented at the 41st Annual Conference October 28th & 29th, 2011 Please review our available awards and criteria for submission at Submit all nominations and supporting documentation as attachments via e-mail to: Meredith Van Schuyler, All submissions due September 23, 2011.

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This is an ongoing column, featuring reviews of books and other materials for ESOL teachers and students. Please send article submissions to the column editor, Nanette Dougerty (contact information is on page 22).C

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

More Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective and Movement Activities for EFL Students. By Mario Rinvolucri and Paul Davis. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. UK. (2010). 176 pp. ISBN: 978-0-521-46630-1 Reviewed by Kathryn North

Mario Rinvolucri and Paul Davis’ More Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective and Movement Activities for EFL Students provides a revamping of their earlier work Grammar Games, which was originally published in 1984. The authors designed the text to provide EFL/ESL teachers with a framework for games that can be modifi ed to be appropriate for different age groups and varied English profi ciency levels. Therefore, while the usefulness of the book as a supplemental text in the adult ESL classroom is the main purpose of this review, its utility can be applied to various teaching scenarios. The text is divided into nine sections including “Competitive Games,” “Cognitive Games,” “Feelings and Grammar,” “Listening to People,” “Movement and Grammar,” “Meaning and Translation,” “Problem Solving,” “Correction” and “Presentation,” for a total of 81 games, or mini-lessons. As the titles suggest, many lessons are rooted in the principles of wellknown English language learning methodologies including the Silent Way, as well as Counseling-Learning/ Community Language Learning (CLL). The book begins with a table of contents noting the games and page numbers. This is followed by a detailed map of the book with the game titles, grammar topics covered, and levels and time needed. The introduction also includes commentary from

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the authors on how the book can be used and their rationale for the methodologies utilized by section. Each game begins with the title of the game and a box restating the details from the map of the book. If the game can be adapted for other structures and levels, a sub-box states this. To start the main portion of the mini-lesson, the authors note any preparation required before class. This is followed by a breakdown of the in-class procedures of the game. The authors also include examples, variations, a rationale overview, and notes or acknowledgements when necessary. Lastly, any required handouts are provided. On a minor note, the examples and handouts are written using British English vocabulary.

the lesson to be diverted. For this reason, although this section follows the Silent Way method in its purest form (Larsen-Freeman, 2000), the lack of fi nal language destination does not follow the integrated and pragmatic way that the Silent Way is often practiced in the classroom. Sections three and four, which deal with feelings and listening to others, respectively, are arguably the strongest chapters. Here, games are designed to promote healthy interpersonal discussions, which require speakers to make use of a specifi c grammar structure. Many teachers can attest to the positive influence that mutual understanding, respect and personal investment in the classroom can have on produc-

“Many of the games in this section focus on the correction of materia l provided by the teacher. “

In the case of classes in the United States, instructors will need to rewrite these in Standard American English. The first section includes competitive games, which are designed to increase motivation by fostering collaboration within groups while creating a safe, spirited environment. Many of the games in this section focus on the correction of material provided by the teacher. This, of course, means that the instructor must devote time to the preparation of the game. For some this could be less than ideal. The cognitive games in section two are unique in their structure as, according to the authors, the exercises are mostly open-ended ones: this differs from many grammar exercises that require one correct response. The flexibility of the activities allows students to discover various aspects of the language without the direct influence of the instructor. While these types of activities can be very creative and have their place in certain contexts, giving students unlimited control over the types of sentences produced can cause the direction of

tivity (e.g., Counseling Learning and Community Language Learning—see Larsen-Freeman, 2000). Section five is made up of games that incorporate grammar and movement. While there is a modicum of Desuggestopedia inherent in games throughout the text, this section explicitly focuses on the usage of movement to instill language concepts. The rationale seems to be that students are more open to language learning when the preconceived mental and emotional barriers to learning are “desuggested” through lighthearted activity (LarsenFreeman, 2000). In the meaning and translation games found in section six, the minilessons focus on having students develop a deeper grasp of the nuances and root meaning of language by linking English with their mother tongue. While the debate over the use of translation in the ESL classroom continues, using native languages as a resource in the foreign/second language classroom can help to build linguistic abilities in both languages, bridge existing knowledge to the acquisition of the new language,

new language, and give validity to the first language (Baker, 2006; Gibbons, 2009). Therefore, if instructors use these mini-lessons, they may fi nd that when properly administered, deep learning can take place during games that use translation. The last three sections are less substantial. Section seven deals with problem solving. Section eight offers techniques for self, peer and teacher corrections. Finally, section nine recommends alternatives for the presentation of new grammar topics to a class. Both students and teacher have much to gain from More Grammar Games. The authors offer ideas for games that appeal to many different learning styles. With the exception of musical and natural intelligences, this book contains games that promote all the multiple intelligences (Gardner, 2006). The book also lists games specifically designed to strengthen receptive skills to help students become more active listeners and readers. Furthermore, utilizing grammar games, an instructor can adeptly introduce grammar topics without the use of overt grammatical language. Although the discussion of teaching grammatical form vs. focusing on communicative interactions is still very predominant in the ESL teaching fi eld, research has shown that the integration of grammar with contextualized language creates the most effi cient mode of learning (Larsen-Freeman 2001). To offer some criticism, the organizational structure of the text can be challenging. For those who normally organize lessons in a progression of scaffolded topics, the division by underlying pedagogical approaches may be less intuitive. In addition, the organization within the sections is unclear and fi nding a game for a specific grammar topic or level requires some hunting within the map of the text. Further, many of the games, especially in sections one and two, require a fair amount of setup. While an instructor may hope to use a book of games as


a quick reference for lesson ideas, the time required for fi nding an appropriate lesson and setup prevent the book from being used in that manner. Finally, while one would assume that all of the games are related explicitly to grammar, some have a more semantic focus. This does not deter the student from gaining knowledge but should be noted.

2011 NYS TESOL Student Essay Contest by Laura Van Tassell NYS TESOL SIG Coordinator

In coordination with the 2011 NYS TESOL annual conference, “Enhancing English Learning: Connecting Communities through Collaboration,” the topic for this year’s student essay References contest, “How has your community Baker, C. (2006). Foundations of bilin helped you learn English?,” revolved gual education and bilingualaround communities and the role that ism (4th ed.). Toronto: Multi living, working, and interacting in them lingual Matters. plays in the English language learners’ Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelli(ELLs) acquisition of English. gences: New Horizons. New The essay contest was held for York: Basic Books. students who are current or former Gibbons, P. (2009). English Learners ELLs within three categories: students Academic Literacy and Think in grades four through eight; students ing: Learning in the Challenge in grades nine through twelve; and Zone. Portsmouth, NH: students enrolled in a university or Heinemann. anadult education program, including Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000). Teachstudents enrolled in Intensive Eng ing and Principles in Language lish programs, community colleges, Teaching (2nd ed.). New York: degree-based programs, and ESOL Oxford University Press. programs. Larsen-Freeman, D. (2001). Teaching The student essay contest was grammar. In M. Celce-Murcia very successful, with 113 essays re (Ed.), Teaching English as ceived from throughout New York a Second or Foreign Lan State. A winner and an honorary men guage (3rd ed.) (pp. 251- 266). tion were chosen from each of the Boston: Heinkle & Heinkle three categories. The names of the Thomson Learning. winners and honorary mentions will Rinvolucri, M., & Davis, P. (1995). be announced during the Friday lun More Grammar Games: cheon at the annual conference and Cognitive, Affective and their essays will be printed in the con Movement Activities for EFL ference booklet. The winning essays Students. New York: Cam will also be included in the winter bridge University Press. edition of Idiom as well as be posted on the NYS TESOL Special Interest Kathryn N. North is a recent graduGroup (SIG) Student Essay Contest ate of New York University’s Master’s page. Program in TESOL. An ESOL instrucPlease join me in thanking all of tor with the New York Public Library, the students who submitted essays Kathryn also tutors writing and develto the sixth annual student essay conopmental reading at the Borough of test! Watch for news about the 2012 Manhattan Community College. contest in an upcoming issue of Idiom, <> as well as on our website.

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

12 Book Review

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NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

She smiled and impishly replied, “He like (sic) to sleep.” How clever this little girl was! I realized several things during our small talk exchange. This student demonstrated that she by Joy Scantlebury under- stood the word “sleepy”, she Engaging English Language Learn- immediate arrangement of a meetconnect- ed that understanding to ers (ELLs) in a few minutes of small ing with his teacher and the other a different context, and she found a talk prior to the start of ESL class can student. Fortunately, we were able way to make it humorous. None of be a very useful strategy. The purpose to resolve the situation, but it taught these is easy to do, especially at the of small talk is not about gauging how me to become more vigilant when beginning of the language acquisigrammatically correct my students working with ELLs in the mainstream tion process. Later in the day, I had can speak in English -- although I do class- room. this student retell the joke to her make mental notes of students’ gramIt is impressive to listen to a stu- teacher and some of her classmates. matical difficulties for subsequent les- dent retell a story or incident, but the This small talk session was a pivotal sons. It provides the opportunity for most gratifying part is when he or she moment for this student because she my students to be heard in a very is able to connect it to a new concept. was clearly pleased to see that she relaxed setting, while allowing their When studying the concept of cause could be funny in English. English to emerge. It certainly can be and effect during a rea ing lesson, I I have noticed that ELLs have the a challenge to insert those few min- sensed that only a few students un- capacity to dissect words in interestutes during the fast-paced schedule of derstood this concept, while many did ing ways, especially when these words a typical school day, but I have found it not. Suddenly, one student announced, are spoken. When native English to be a source of valuable information. “Do you remember when I told you speakers think about words, we tend I often begin the small talk session the story about how I accidentally to focus on the sum and not the parts. with an informational “wh” question spilled water on the kitchen floor?” When a student was beginning ELL such as “How was your appointment He proudly continued, “That was in second grade, I recall his reading a at the dentist?” or “What did you do an example of cause and effect. The passage out loud. After encountering after school yesterday?” The respons- cause was when I spilled water on the two-syllable word, “awesome”, he es are quite revealing. Some students, the floor. The effect was when my pronounced it as if were a three- sylespecially those in middle school, are mom became angry.” His classmates lable words, “a – we—some”. Prior initially guarded, while others seem nodded their heads in agreement. It to that day, I had never realized that surprised that I want to know more was as if a light bulb had been turned the word “awesome” is comprised about them Gradually as they learn to on! I could not have provided a betof three smaller words: “a”, “we” and trust me as well as their classmates, ter example of cause and effect! “some”. That was a revelation for me. the students slowly open up. It is As ELLs become more confident How awesome! gratifying to see a once painfully shy in speaking English, more of their perI am sure that many ESL teachers kindergarten student now coming to sonalities emerge. During one of our utilize small talk or some variant of it class with daily announcements such small talk sessions, I asked a begin- in their classrooms. It is not a novel as, “You know what? Yesterday, I lose ning ELL in the first grade, “Where concept, but I find that it is valuable (sic) a tooth.” does your brother go to school?” during a limited amount of time. ConThere are other times when stu- Without hesitation, she stated, “My versations, which on the surface may dents express more sensitive issues, brother go (sic) to Sleepy Hollow appear superfluous, are in actuality a which we discuss further in private. School. Zzzzzzzz. Sleepy School. I am gold mine of enriching and relevant One example of this occurred when soooo sleepy!” as she put her head information. an ELL in third grade told me dur- on the desk and pretended to sleep. Joy Scantlebury is a graduate of Smith ing our small talk session that one of Prior to that comment, I had not seen College. She received her M.A. in TEthe other students in the mainstream that humorous side of her. I noticed SOL from Teachers College, Columbia class made fun of his speech and called how thrilled she was that she had University. Joy currently teaches ESL at him “stu- pid.” Neither his classroom made me laugh. I then decided to fol- Pocantico Hills Central School in Sleepy teacher nor I had noticed any tension low her quip with another “wh” ques- Hollow, NY. between these two students. The fact tion. I tapped her on the shoulder as <>  that the her eyes snapped open and her head ELL who mentioned this incident had bobbed up from the table.“What does always felt self-conscious about his your brother like to do at school?” I ability to speak English prompted my asked.

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15 NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)


Small Talk: A Meaningful Conversation Tool

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NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

Sonia Portugal, Peru, performs Floating Words, a dance she choreo- graphed to portray the spirit of English language learning.


NYS TESOL Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Regions Leadership Directory 2010-2011

SIG Leaders SIG Coordinator Laura Van Tassell <>

Regions Coordinator Tina Villalobos <> Assistant Regions Coordinator Lynn Ellingwood <>

Assistant SIG Coordinator Jennifer Scully <>

Buffalo Elena Dokshansky-Zelfond <>

Applied Linguistics Andrew Miller Lindsay Wells <> ESL in Adult Education Tamara Kirson <> ESL in Bilingual Education Co-Chair Lydia Gutierrez <>

Ahmed El-Habashi, Egypt; Tomoko Kihira, Japan; Ufualè Afola Amey, Togo; Osiris Romero, Dominican Republic and Elena Lyumanova ipation of their panel presenttion.

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the Top Assessment funds in 2010. The PARCC Web site can be viewed at Over the next few years, New York and 25 other states will develop a set of English Language Arts and Mathematics as- sessments, which will be finalized in 2014-15 (NYSED, 2011). Common Core Standards Assessment Resources are located at http://education Idiom will work to keep readers aware of all the upcoming changes. References August, D., Cortese, A., La Fonde, S., Leos, K. (2010). Making Common Core Standards work for ELLs: The importance of linking English Language Proficiency Standards to the Common Core Standards. October 21, 2010. AFT Educa(continued on page 21)

ESL in Elementary Education CoChairs Susan Goldstein Diane Howitt <>

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

16 Everyone listens as Ufualè Afola Amey talks about learning English from her teacher Dave, a Peace Corps volunteer.

documents outlining Common Core curriculum criteria. Working under a contract with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a strong supporter (continued from page 7) of the standards, David Coleman standards with recommended stuand Susan Pimentel, co-authors dent objectives, texts, and activities. of the Common Core Standards Examples of these thematic cur- for ELA/Literacy, wrote two docuriculum units include: Grade 1: The ments highlighting the key ideas of Amazing Animal World; Grade 3: The the standards and de- scribing the People, the Preamble, and the Presi- qualities of instructional materials dents; Grade 6: Folklore: A Blast from they consider an accurate reflection the Past; Grade 9: Literary Elements of of them (Gewertz, 2011).Common a Short Story; and Grade 12: Europe- Core Assessments and PARCC an Literature: Renaissance and ReforAccording to the National Govma- tion. Common Core is working er- nor’s Association/CCSSO, the with schools and districts in different Com- mon Core State Standards will states to implement the maps.Arizona also ultimately be the basis for a sysand North Carolina are using them tem of high-quality assessments. New state- wide to help districts put the York State is a governing member of standards in place (Gewitz & Robelen, the Partnership for Assessment of 2011). Readiness for College and Careers Two writers have recently crafted (PARCC), which was awarded Race to

Resources for Implementing...

Lan Ngo <>

Capital Region Co-Chairs Liz Allen Roma Kumar <>

ESL in Special Education Co-Chair Patty Barry <>

Hudson Valley Co-Chairs Katie Werner Rebecca Horwitz <

Teacher Education Co-Chairs Soonhyang Kim Joanna Labov <>

Long Island Vicky Giouroukakis <>

ESL in Higher Education Co-Chairs Dafna Ben Anath Lisa Kraft <>

Teaching English Internationally Co-Chairs Claudette Oliveras Melissa Duquette <>

ESL in Secondary Education

Regions Leaders

New York City Co-Chairs Joe Tillman Elaine Roberts <> Rochester/Syracuse Co-Chairs Gloria Dancause Elaine Ferlicca <>

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Check out the new Members Only website!

We’re very excited to announce the launch of the new Members Only website for NYS TESOL. We are just gearing up, but hope this will become a major resource and networking site for our members. Current members were sent an email alert in early September containing their username and password. Of course, your email system may have fi ltered our message into a spam folder — if you are a current member and did not receive a notice with your login information, please contact us at

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

With annual conference registration already under way, please act quickly to login and verify your profi le data and networking preferences. What’s There • Your profi le page • Membership renewal • Discounted event registration • Members Only online publication, Dialogue • Discussion boards

Coming Soon • Networking options • SIG/Region E-lists • Job Coach/Career Mentoring • Service opportunities and awards

Your PRIVACY This site is viewable only by active members. And, because this is new, we have also blocked your contact information from members. So, unlike Facebook, where you decide what to set as ‘private,’ we’ve already done this. The only information visible to other members is: your Name, Member Type, Region and SIG preferences.You can privatize these, too, if you wish, by updating your profi le. However, for those of you who want to network with other members, there are 2 optional fi elds – an “email to share” and a “website/blog address” both set up as viewable by all members. And you can upload a photo.You control the privacy settings for these fi elds and can edit them at any time.

19 NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)


What’s Next? We’d like you to tell us! Please look around the site, update your profi le, join a discussion board, and send us ideas for additions and improvements.

Discounted Membership Update

NYS TESOL is committed to providing members with the most up-to-date resources, news and educational tools. To enable access by all members of our fi eld, NYS TESOL offers discounted memberships. Recently, we revised the documentation policy for discounts to align with other non-profi t organizations as well as to create greater consistency and transparency. Please check the new requirements when you prepare to renew. For questions regarding membership status and discounts, please contact us at

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(continued from page 1)

• Collaborative Craftsmanship: Through conscious efforts for continuous improvement of the craft of teaching, teachers explore ways to enhance instructional time, language development, and content area resources, and offer support for each other. Table 1 shows how the concept of collegiality and collaboration may offer a system of support in a linguistically and culturally diverse school context by including the four Cs with ample examples.

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

Collaborative Conversations

Talk about • Students’ needs • Students’ lives • Students in and out of school work • Curriculum and instruction • Teachers’ own struggles • Teachers’ own successes • What matters to you, the teacher

Collaborative Curriculum Development Align • • • • • •

Collaborative Coaching Use peer coaching to improve • Lesson planning • Lesson delivery • Unit design • Use of supplementary materials • Adapted content • Modifi ed instruction • Assessment practices Collaborative Craftsmanship

Explore • ELLs’ background knowledge Lesson objectives • ELLs’ prior learning (language objectives and content objectives) • Peer coaching Unit goals • Planning instruction collaboratively or in Curriculum maps thecontext of co-teaching Primary and supplementary instructional • Effective methods for aligning curriculum materials and objectives Adapted texts and materials • Using time more effectively Resources • Making the most of collaborative efforts

Table 1: The Four Cs of Collaboration Collaboration may start out as a small, grassroots effort, involving only two or three teachers who share the responsibility for some of the same ELLs and are concerned about their students’ progress. It may involve an entire grade level. Some examples include grade clusters working together to develop or enhance curricula in elementary schools; an interdisciplinary team of math, science, social studies, English, and ESL teachers (sharing responsibility for a cluster of classes in middle schools); or a discipline-specifi c department (focusing on preparing all students to meet graduation requirements of high schools). Regardless of the local context, all these collaborative efforts start with professional conversations, through which teachers collaboratively explore their students’ needs and responsive practices. References DelliCarpini, M. (2008). Teacher collaboration for ESL/EFL academic success. The Internet TESL Journal, 14(8). Retrieved from

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DelliCarpini, M. (2009, May). Dialogues across disciplines: Preparing English-as-a-second-language teachers for interdisciplinary collaboration. Current Issues in Education (Online), 11(2). Retrieved from volume11/number2/ Honigsfeld, A., & Dove, M. (2010). Collaboration and co-teaching: Strategies for English learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NAC- TAF). (2009). Learning teams: Creating what’s next. Retrieved from http:// ments/NCTAFLearningTeams- 408REG2– 09_000.pdf NEA (2009). NEA reiterates collabora- tion as key to keeping teachers. Retrieved from http://www. nea. org/home/31477.htm Pawan, F., & Ortloff, J. H. (2011). Sustaining collaboration: English-as- asecond-language and content-area teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 463-471. Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld is associate dean and professor in the Division of Education at Molloy College, Rock- ville Centre. She is the co-author with Maria Dove of a recently published book, Collaboration and Co-Teaching: Strategies for English Learners (Cor- win Press, 2010). <> *Sections of this manuscript have grown out of the author’s collaborative conversations with Dr. Maria Dove and are featured in their coauthored book, cited above.


Resources for Implementing... (continued from page 17) tional Policy Forum. http://www. ELL-ELPStandardsPPT%20Slide. pdf Colorin Colorado (2011). Common Core Standards and English Language Learners. Reading Rockets. WETA Learning Media. http:// educators/common_core/

Gewertz, C. (2011). Common Core Writers Craft curriculum criteria, July 22, 2011. Education Weekly. s/2011/07/21/ ml?tkn=UPSFLpcFv4ebJmsg2qZx 2C7B8rKm7AL%2FiacG&cmp=c lp-sb-ascd Gewertz, C., & Robelen, E. (2011). Curriculum maps aim to bring ELA Standards to life. July 25, 2011. edweek/curriculum/2011/07/the_ nonprofit_group_common _cor. html

Hakuta, K. (2011). Webinar: Research to practice: Preparing ELLs for the Common Core, Teachscape, May 5, 2011. http://marketing. ELLMay2011WebinarAccess.html Lopez, E. (2010). ELA Standards: Shifting the focus to the Common Core comments, standards and curriculum, NYS TESOL, October 2010. curriculum-standards/standards. html Nagel, D. (2010). Feds award $330 million to fund alternatives to high-stake bubble tests. The Journal, September 2, 2010. http:// cles/2010/09/02/ feds-award-330- million-to-find-alternatives-to- high-stakes-bubbletests.aspx?sc_ lang-en

NYSED (2011). FAQs—Common Core learning standards. http:// NYSUT (2011). Educational Resources for English Language Learners. xchg/nysut/hs.xsl/k12_13765.htm Quay, L. (2010). Higher standards for all: Implications of the Common Core for equity in education. Civil Rights Research Roundtable on Education, Berkeley Law, April 2010. edu/fi les/Education_Roundable_ Standards_Brief_ 4_10.pdf Washington State School Board (2010). Common Core Stan- dards—Process FAQs. http:// FAQ%20Common%20 Core%Standards%20Process.pdf Zehr, M. A. (2011). Conference: Implementing Common Core Standards for ELLs, Learning the Language Blog, August 11, 2010. Education Weekly. http://blogs. implementing_common.html Zehr, M. A. (2011). Stanford to lead creation of ELL standards for “Common Core” Learning the Language Blog, July 12, 2011, Education Weekly. http://blogs. lead_creation_of_e.html Diane Garafalo is a former ESL teacher at Oswego City School District. She was also a secondary English teacher, with a total of fifteen years of public school teaching experience. Diane’s previous positions include working as an adjunct professor of written com- munications for ITT Technical Institute and a human resources and training manager for a variety of Fortune 500 companies. Currently, Diane is an HR and workforce literacy consultant for DRG Associates. <>  Idiom is a quarterly publication for

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)


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NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

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22 Editorial Notes

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by Sarah Elia

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month’s study of books. —Chinese proverb

Once a month, the Haggerty English Language Program at SUNY New Paltz hosts an informal learning luncheon known as Conversation Table to encourage casual conversation on a range of topics in an inviting environment. The program was established to help promote interaction and dialogue between international students (particularly ESL), faculty, and staff and American students interested in international studies. Occasionally, community volunteers attend as well. Conversation Table is held at the Center for International Programs on a different weekday each month to ensure that students have the opportunity to attend at least once a semester. At the catered lunch, 20-25 guests meet for 45 minutes. Attendees are seated at a large rectangular table conducive to interaction. Faculty, staff, and volunteers may lead discussions with students on topics such as food, cultural similarities and differences, religion and government. If a student seems lonely, the faculty is there to make introductions and initiate dialogue. The program promotes Conversation Table in a variety of ways. At the beginning of each semester, all new students receive an event handout. ESL teachers review it in class, answer questions, and promote attendance. One week prior to the luncheon, fl iers are posted and emails sent out. Students can RSVP and comment on the event’s Facebook page. The day before the event, we remind students to attend. On the day of the luncheon, the event coordinator arrives early at the venue to set

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up and greet guests. At the end of the meal, students are asked to help with cleanup. After the gathering, photographs of the event are uploaded onto the ESL department Facebook page. Students post photos and comments. A student survey on Facebook following the luncheon helps with preparation for future events. A student journalist writes an article about Conversation Table for the ESL department newsletter, which is distributed to all ESL students as well as other departments on campus. Conversation Table has become increasingly popular because of the opportunity it offers for socialization and discussion. Attendees leave having shared dialogue, laughter, smiles, and good food. ESL students also have a valuable language experience and new connections with native speakers. Sarah Elia is a lecturer in ESL at the Haggerty English Language Program at SUNY New Paltz. As the program’s event coordinator, she works to actively promote positive interactions between international students and American students. Elia has a B.A. from Bard College and an M.A. in TESOL from SUNY New Paltz. <>

Timed Conversations By Phillipa Arthur Introduction During Timed Conversations, learners primarily practice listening/ speaking skills and a host of other conversational skills, including but not limited to: turn taking; the language of encouragement and praise; the language of expressing unfamiliarity with topics; comprehension checking; and agreeing and disagreeing. Although generally referred to as Timed Conversations, some specify the time limit in the title, for example: Four

Minute Conversations. Timed Conversations are typically fl uency-based and opportunities for learners to personalize and converse about a topic, for a specified period of time. For the instructor, Timed Conversations can function as: a warm-up activity to activate learners’ schemata, to focus learners on the lesson topic or to connect the previous and current lessons; a follow-up activity to allow learners to expand on and personalize lesson content; a fi ller activity to purposefully utilize ‘extra time’ at the end of a lesson; a stressreliever activity to infuse a sense of fun into a lesson; a review activity for content courses; and a speechsampling activity to gauge learners’ conversational skills.


In order to conduct Timed Conversations you essentially need two things- a timer and topic cards. Conveniently, wrist watches, cell phones, iPads, computers, stop-watches, kitchen timers and classroom clocks can all function as timers. Ideally, the topics refl ected on the cards should complement your lesson topic. For example, if you were planning a lesson on ‘classic baked goods,’ each topic card could refl ect the name of a classic baked good. Format topic cards on a computer, print in color and laminate them (if these are resources available to you and if you will add this activity to your repertoire). Of course, you can also prepare a slide show of ‘topic cards’ to display on a computer or iPad. Topic cards can be word-based (pie, quiche, tart); question-based (“How would you prepareicing?”); statement-based (“Tell me about your favorite baked childhood dessert.”); and picture-based (image of a six-tiered wedding cake). (continued on page 27) 

Let’s Talk about It! by Yanick Chery-Frederic ELLs respond well to lessons in the form of conversations as another way to incorporate some of the same strategies and scaffolds used for writing. As an example, I often give students a prompt of 5-10 words. For all grades I have used “My greatest surprise.” Fourth graders write about justice. The students use the prompt as a starter and begin writing, eventually producing a well-developed paragraph. These same prompts can be used to maintain intelligent discourse among students. The difference with mak- ing conversations the major goal in a lesson is that the discussion will not be based on previous reading and/or writing, but strictly on the present conversation. Self-expression, thoughts, ideas, and opinions will begin and end with clarifi cation through conversation only. Making this an integral part of lessons will address the challenges faced by our ELL population in verbal communication, and can enhance the student’s listening and speaking skills. Another value with conversations as a major focus is that the vocabulary challenges faced by many of our ELLs will be considered. Our students may have divided language skills. They are comfortable with a specifi c lexicon from the home language, but use a different second language lexicon. A stronger emphasis on classroom conversations will allow for a balance and exchange of word comprehension of similar vocabulary in both languages. Conversations will be a major theme in my ESL classrooms this school year in support of enhancing my students’ oral language skills. Further Reading Beck, I., McKeown, M., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford.


Gordon, T. (2007). Teaching young children a second language. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Yanick Chery-Frederic is an elementary school ESL teacher for grades 2-4 in Central Islip, as well as an adjunct professor of ESL at Suffolk County Community College. She has also taught a Methods undergraduate course in TESOL at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. <>

Explicit Communication by Ellen Terry Vandrew-Wald

The manner in which language and writing are understood and misunderstood promotes success or failure. Understanding what is said is the key to communicative competence. Explicit communication is dialogue that is clear, sure, and restated when necessary. Crawford (1993) states that the processes of literacy and language learning require learners to be immersed in meaningful, relevant, and functional situations. In this way, students can learn to handle themselves in various situations. Let’s begin with a kindergartener meeting an instructor for the fi rst time. If the child is asked to describe something, perhaps drawing it is a much better way of communicating what happened. Description may not simply be done by talking. The explicit communication would require that the teacher talk and demonstrate so that this student knows what to do. Middle school students who do not speak English can benefi t from explicit communication as well. Classmates might offer to translate for this student, but that means that every utterance requires assistance. When I write the aim and other particulars on the board (I verbally explain to the rest of the class), I open a newcomer’s notebook and write a few of the words from the board in his or

her notebook, giving the student explicit communication for instruction by demonstration. The student copies what is on the board. Then I say “Copy.” From that time on, this student knows what the word “copy” means and can copy. Explicit communication with parents is one of the most important types of communication. After all, the parent(s) or caretaker is the first teacher and the one who can do the most to facilitate a student’s academic success. In parent meetings, I combine simple words with academic language and have the requisite bilingual dictionaries. By explaining and demonstrating slowly and carefully, explicit communication and a good dialogue can be created. When one speaks with humility and caring, the communication is explicit. Explicit communication is the key to all forms of dialogue; if one method does not work, just keep on trying. References Crawford, L. W. (1993). Language and literacy learning in multicultural classrooms. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

24 Conversation Table

Ellen Terry Vandrew-Wald was born in the Bronx into a multicultural, religious background. Barry Wald, her husband, encouraged her to become a teacher. She got her B.A. from Marymount Manhattan College in 1999 and M.A. in TESOL from Hunter College in 2004. She is a NYC public school K-12 teacher, and also an adjunct. <> 

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NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

(continued from page 3) and Dunn Learning Style Model high school assessment Learning in Vogue: Elements of Style (LIVES) (Missere & Dunn, 2005) and suggested individual study and homework strategies. My students had critical conversations with their families about their personal preferences, strengths, and areas for improvement. Some students discussed their need for a quiet, cool, and brightly lit place to study and complete homework assignments.One student, who was not a morning person, discussed her need for an alarm clock to wake her so she could arrive to class on time. Sadly, her family did not want to be disturbed by the sound of an alarm clock so early in the morning and the student’s guidance counselor suggested dropping her from this support class.

Conversations with Colleagues

My fellow ESL teachers, bilingual guidance counselor, and department supervisor met regularly to discuss parent outreach, truant students, misplaced students, overcrowded classes, credit accumulation, and NYSESLAT scheduling, among the numerous challenges facing our ELLs. These conversations led to solutions and consensus on major decisions and new initiatives. Colleagues who shared students would (a) discuss division of language skill focus—one would emphasize the writing process, vocabulary, and grammar, while the other would provide readings of a broad range of literary genres, teach literary terms and vocabulary, and emphasize listening and speaking, (b) collaborate and share data for each student before making arrangements to call parents on each other’s behalf—each teacher relayed messages of both teachers, and (c) preview and review each other’s lessons so we could reinforce what was learned in each other’s classes. Much to our dismay, we discov-

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ered that students often did not transfer learning between ESL classes and teachers—somehow, the learning remained in the classroom environment and was forgotten in a new setting. Conversations with mainstream English colleagues centered on implementation of TESOL strategies to meet the needs of transitional and postELLs. Conversations with mathematics, science, and social studies assistant principals and teachers helped me focus on topics that they found were the most problematic for ELLs. As the ESL teacher component in a collaborative team teaching mathematics class, daily co-teaching experiences and collaborative conferences led to differentiated tutoring and small-group instruction. I reinforced basic math skills to the students who did not know simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, while my math colleague reinforced higher-level math skills and concepts. Conclusion These conversations take time and energy. High school teachers of ELLs may fi nd they, too, are performing double the work to support adolescent ELLs in meeting the challenges of second language acquisition in an academic environment. This increased responsibility, however, may prove worthwhile when the resulting conversations lead to targeted instruction and interventions as teachers collaborate in assessing ELLs and planning instruction for their students. References Dunn, R., & Dunn, K. (1993). Teaching secondary students through their individual learning styles: Practical approaches for grades 7-12. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Dunn, R., & Griggs, S. A. (Eds.). (2003, 2004, 2007). Synthesis of the Dunn and Dunn learning-style model research:Who, what, when, where, and so what? Jamaica, NY:

St. John’s University’s Center for the Study of Learning and Teaching Styles. Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. S. (2001). Guiding readers and writers grades 3-6: Teaching comprehension, genre, and content literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books. Gardner, H. (1993, 2006). Multiple intelligences: New Horizons. New York: Basic Books. McKenzie, W. (1999). Multiple Intelligences Inventory. Retrieved from MI/inventory.htm Missere, N., & Dunn, R. (2005). Learning in vogue: Elements of style (LIVES). Retrieved from Short, D., & Fitzsimmons, S. (2007). Double the work: Challenges and solutions to acquiring language and academic literacy for adolescent English language learners—A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education. Victoria Pilotti, Ed.D., is an ESL teacher at Jamaica High School. A former Region 3 secondary schools mentor, NYC Department of Education, she has taught TESOL methodology graduate courses at St. John’s University and Hunter College. <>

Timed Conversations (continued from page 24) Preparation Consider your learners’ profile, lesson topic and objectives when deciding if this is an appropriate activity to do with your learners. 1. Consider how much time you want to allot to the activity. Multiply the number of topic cards by the duration of each conversation- 10 topic cards X 2 minutes per conversation = 20 minutes total. 2. Decide which version of the activity you are going to do.You can choose to keep: a. Conversation pairs static and have learners switch topic cards. With static pairs, learners get to ‘bond’ with one convesational partner over various topics while focusing on sharing their ideas and personalizing the topic. b. Topic cards static and have learn-ers switch partners. With dynamic pairs, learners get to interact with diverse speakers while refi ning their ideas about one topic and polishing their delivery. c. Both topic cards and conversation pairs static while reducing the duration of the conversations in set increments. This version lends itself to learners who are preparing for timed oral presentations and assessments, by allowing learners to refine their ideas about one topic and polish their timed delivery. d. Decide how you will pair off your learners and if pairs are going to sit in two rows or stand in two concentric circles facing their partners. 3. Decide what an odd-numbered learner would be responsible for- time keeper or ‘English only’ enforcer. If you choose to have all learners participate (and have them change partners instead of topic cards), an extra chair can allow the odd-numbered learner to ‘rest’


for one turn. Of course, you can always choose to participate in 4. Plan to model activity and deliver clear instructions specifi c to the version of Timed Conversations you are going to do. 5. Plan what you will observe while monitoring learners during the activity. This will consequently direct the feedback you will give learners. 6. Plan the questions you will use to elicit feedback from learners after the activity about their performance during activity. Procedure Use teacher talk appropriate to the profi ciency level of your learners to deliver clear instructions and to confirm your learners’ comprehension of your instructions. 1. Deliver global instructions to your learners which include: the activity title, sequencing/format, purpose and duration, and, if necessary, responsibility of odd-numbered learner or use of ‘rest’ chair. 2. Pair off learners and arrange pairs so that they are either seated in two rows or standing in two concentric circles facing their partners. 3. Model activity for class and demonstrate how: a. you will start the activity by saying “begin” b. pairs will take turns to converse about the topic indicated on the topic card for X minutes c. pairs will converse only in English d. every X minutes, a time keeper will say “switch” indicating that pairs need to switch topic cards by passing them to the pair to the right (or to the left) e. you will end activity by saying “the end.” 4. Model that learners can remind their partner to stay on-task by simply pointing to the topic card 5. Model some of the conversational language you expect learners to use the language of urging and praise; of agreeing and disagreeing and so on. 6. Begin activity and cycle through

the number of topics you have planned. Circulate and monitor learners throughout activity. Follow-up Elicit feedback from learners about their performance. Give learners feedback based on how successfully they completed the activity. Remember, this is a fluency-based activity. However, if you modify it to include specific verbal strategies or a focus on form, you could document the inaccuracies of your learners’ English as you circulate, and do a wholeclass correction on the whiteboard following the activity. 1. Elicit specifi c feedback from learners about how they felt about having to: a. sustain a conversation in English for X minutes at a time b. switch topics every X minutes c. include conversational language d. have a classmate time them or sit in the ‘rest’ chair e. Stand or sit during activity; pass along topic cards; change partners 2. Give learners specifi c feedback about: a. how well they sustained their conversations in English for X minutes at a time b. how well they stayed on task c. their use of conversational language d. how effi ciently they followed instructions 3. Promise to do variations of activity throughout the semester. These fluency-based activities may generate future conversations in your classroom, providing rich opportunities for students to interact and practice English-speaking skills.

NYS TESOL Idiom Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011)

26 Conversations in Support...

Phillipa Arthur has taught ESL/EFL in the United States, China and Korea. She is currently a Language Lecturer at Yeungnam University in South Korea. <>

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