February Trainings: Long Term ELLs and ESL Academy

Come learn with the Region 13 Bilingual/ESL Team this month! We have two instructional-focused sessions coming up with our Bilingual/ESL Specialists.

Long Term ELL Training with Anna Briggs: February 24, 2016 from 9-12, e-Campus #SP1632371

Long Term English Language Learners (LTELLs) represent a growing number of struggling language learners in Texas. These students show significant gaps in their schooling, and have unique literacy and linguistic needs that are different from recent arrival ELLs. LTELLs’ number of years in US schools can also pose a challenge with regard to the latest accountability measures. If your school district has seen an increase in your LTELL population, this workshop will provide participants with the background knowledge and tools for reaching the needs of these learners.

ESL Academy with Ivonne Santiago: February 24-26, 2016, e-Campus# SP1631811

This three-day workshop provides a foundation on language acquisition and explores best practices in ESL instruction while preparing participants for the TExES Exam #154: English as a Second Language Supplemental.


Anchor Charts: Let the Walls Teach

One of the first things I notice when I walk into a classroom is a teacher’s use of wall space. Having always taught multiple grade levels – in some of the smallest classrooms on campus-in one school year, I had to learn how to maximize the little wall space I had available. I learned a few weeks into my first year teaching that as glossy and sleek as the content-area and motivational posters (think that ubiquitous “Hang in There” kitten) I purchased for my classroom were, or how well-decorated my classroom was the week before school was even back in session, very little of what was on my walls was actually useful for my students in reinforcing the concepts, skills, and academic vocabulary I was working so hard to teach them. Sadly, it took a few more years for me to discover the magic of anchor charts.

What I’ve learned over a decade in this profession is that when used correctly, anchor charts are one of the most effective, engaging, and student-friendly ways to support instruction by reinforcing key concepts, skills, and vocabulary. One good anchor chart can not only replace an entire word wall, it can make the connections between concepts and terms visibly come to life for students.  A great anchor chart can truly be like having another teacher in the classroom. Students can review the steps of a skill, strategy, or process during guided or independent practice using cues from an anchor chart (Harmon & Marzano, 2015).


So what exactly is an anchor chart and what constitutes a quality one? If an anchor is “a source of stability and security, used to hold something in place”, then an anchor chart is a sort of classroom artifact or record that provides a visual reference or cues to support students as they progress in their learning throughout the course of a unit or topic (Seger, 2009). Simply stated, anchor charts make the teacher’s instruction “clearly visible to students” (Newman, 2010). They are visual reminders current learning for all students and are indispensable for English Language Learners who benefit immensely from visual cues for academic concepts and vocabulary.



The following are some helpful tips for creating and maximizing the quality and effectiveness of your anchor charts. A quality anchor chart is:

  • Relevant-Include only the most relevant/key information to keep from confusing students.
  • Clear-Make the chart as clear, neat, and organized as possible.
  • Focused-Stick to one focus per chart to avoid overwhelming students.
  • Evolving-Allow the chart to evolve throughout the course of a unit by adding information learned as the unit progresses.
  • Integral/Useful-Refer to the anchor chart frequently to model its use for students.
  • Prominent-Display the chart where in a prominent place in the classroom where all students can see it.
  • Current-Keep on display only charts that deal with what is currently being learned in order to eliminate clutter.
  • Vibrant-Make the anchor chart colorful and easily visible using dark colors.

Author: Esmeralda Alday, Bilingual/ESL Specialist, Region 13 ESC.

Newman, L. (2010, October). Anchor Charts: Making Thinking Visible. Retrieved from Expeditionary Learning: https://www.engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/anchor_charts.pdf

Seger, W. (2009). Anchor Charts: The Environment as the Third Teacher. Retrieved from Cornerstone Literacy: http://www.palmbeachschools.org/ec/ElementaryCurriculum/documents/Reading_Elementary_AnchorCharts_Sept42009.doc

Harmon, K., Marzano, R.J., (2015). Practicing skills, strategies, & processes: Classroom techniques to help students develop proficiency. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences International.


Limited Time Left to Register for Sheltered Instruction Plus with John Seidlitz!

Seats are quickly filling for next month’s Sheltered Instruction Plus training with John Seidlitz!

Register today for your spot to join us for two days of engaging, interactive, research-based Sheltered Instruction strategies that are transformative in our practice of reaching all learners in the classroom, but especially our ELLs.

Dates: February 9-10, 2016. 9am – 4pm

Cost: $235

Region 13 eCampus #: SP1631774


Instruction for Newcomers

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 – 9am to noon


Course Number: SP1632322
In our world, new second language learners arrive fresh in classrooms on a regular basis.  Is your school ready to work these beginner and intermediate students?  Come participate in a discussion and share resources to accelerate language learning.  In this session, we will explore ways to help these students access our content as well resources to help teachers work with beginning students.newcomers

Sheltered Instruction Plus with John Seidlitz , February 2016

Two months from today, John Seidlitz will join us here at Region 13 once again to deliver Sheltered Instruction Plus! Seats are expected to fill quickly, so register now for this two-day training opportunity and learn how to bring researched-based, interactive strategies for all ELLs into the content area classrooms.

Dates: February 9-10, 2016. 9am – 4pm

Cost: $235

Region 13 eCampus #: SP1631774


Working with ELLs (WELLS) & Words of our World (WOW) Training

This two-day presentation features Dr. Elsa Cardenas-Hagan’s Working With English Language Learners (WELLS) and Words of our World (WOW) program and addresses the five components of literacy instruction with the special considerations necessary for effective reading instruction among English Language Learners.

Participants will understand how to collect data across languages in order to better design and implement instruction. The transition from Spanish to English in each of the five areas will be explored. Participants will also understand first and second language and literacy development. In addition, cross-linguistic exercises will be demonstrated and practiced.


February 17-18, 2016
Workshop ID: SP1633472
Location: ESC Region 13
9:00 am– 4:00 pm
Fee: $225.00

Katharine Muller
(512) 919-5184

Breakout Sessions at ELL Institute 2015!

Come learn with us! The following breakout sessions are scheduled to be offered at the ELL Institute on Tuesday, November 3.  Join us after the much anticipated keynote session by Marie Moreno to engage with speakers and specialists from around Region 13 as they present on topics such as:

  • Helping Newcomers Succeed Across the Content Areas
  • Classroom Conversations
  • Multi-Sensory Vocabulary
  • Cross-Linguistic Strategies for Reading and Spelling
  • Teaching a Language Acquisition class: Accelerating the BICS
  • Math/Science Gestures and Motion
  • The Power of iPads
  • Differentiating Academic Tasks Using Foldables
  • Seven Steps for the Bilingual Classroom
  • Using the ELPS Resources to Meet the Needs of ELLs

Please make plans to join us for a full-day of interactive sessions, and lunch! See our flyer here: ELL_conference_2015 (1)

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Cost: $135

eCampus: FA1531502

The In-Sight Newsletter

The latest edition of Region 13’s In-Sight Newsletter has been posted. The In-Sight Newsletter features articles by ESC Specialists regarding curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Please feel free to share the following articles with others:

What Makes Science Science?
How Well Did Our Math Resources Align to Our TEKS?
Explicitly Teaching Literacy Cognitive Processes
Supporting the Young English Language Learner
Why We Filter Out: Understanding the Affective Filter
STEM Essential Elements to STEMify the Classroom
The Global Read Aloud: Connecting Through a Love of Literature