Oregon Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

  • 22 Jan 2021 9:10 AM | Anonymous member

    On January 23rd from 9-10 am EST (2-3 pm UTC) CALL-IS and colleagues from across the association will present "Open Educational Resources 101: Finding and Using Free Resources in Your Classroom," a free professional development webinar that will explore the exciting world of OER for TESOL educators. Please join us!

    Webinar description:
    English language teaching and learning communities around the world are facing educational inequity. In developing countries, English teaching resources are critically limited (Modisaotsile, 2012) and teachers face many challenges, including lack of textbooks, libraries, and exposure to language usage (Kuchah, 2016). Developed countries also face educational inequities exacerbated by the digital divide and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed millions of students into remote and online learning situations. Open educational resources (OER) address many of these needs because they can be downloaded for free, revised by teachers to meet the needs of their students, and redistributed to students without fear of infringing on copyright protections. In this webinar, participants will learn about:

    What open educational resources are and how they are different from traditional copyrighted educational resources
    How to find OER via OER portals, access OER textbooks, and search OER repositories
    Teacher and student perceptions about OER
    Wikieducator and the OER Foundation
    Presenters: Charity Davenport, Dr. Nellie Deutsch, Dr. Christine Sabieh, and Sharon Tjaden-Glass

    Please register here: https://tinyurl.com/CALLIS-OERwebinar

    Check your local broadcast time: https://tinyurl.com/CALLIS-webinartime

    With best wishes,
    Heather Benucci
    Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (CALL-IS) Chair, 2020-2021

  • 11 Jan 2021 11:03 PM | Anonymous member

    The CoT February 2021 | The 7th Annual Celebration of Teaching Conference

    Theme: Teaching ONLINE in K-12: Best Practices, Challenges, and Perspectives

    Conference Date: February 20, 2021 | Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm EST

    Location: Online

    Call for Proposals submission deadline January 18, 2021


    The CoT February 2021 CALL FOR PROPOSALS.

    Submit a Proposal

    The CoT February 2021 seeks 10-minute practical demo lessons addressing this year's theme - Teaching Online in K-12.

    The presentation should focus on one of the online aspects of instructing ELLs/MLLs in the online environment and may address (but is not limited to) the following components of the lesson sequences:

    Scaffolding and Differentiation:

    - managing different language levels in one content area class;

    Facilitating group work:

    - mediating student-student interactions,

    - transitioning between whole-class and small group instruction;

    Giving every student a voice:

    - making sure we are hearing from everyone,

    - translaguaging in online settings.


    Website: https://tcot21.weebly.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cot.tesol/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cot.tesol/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/CelebrationofT1

  • 27 Nov 2020 9:03 PM | Anonymous member

    The LSA's Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics (CEDL) is sponsoring "travel" grants to enable students from underrepresented groups to attend the LSA's annual meeting. In most years, it's an actual travel grant. This year, since the conference is virtual, it will cover registration. 

    More about the annual meeting can be found here: https://www.linguisticsociety.org/event/lsa-2021-annual-meeting

    The purpose of this award is to fund registration for participation in the 2021 annual LSA conference. Preference will be given to applicants from the following groups:  African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Americans with an Asian and/or Pacific Islander background. You must be a US Citizen to apply.

    Download the Application

    To apply, please complete the application, and send it to sdhanker@umd.edu

    All applications must be received before midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on December 4, 2020. Incomplete applications and applications received after the December 4 deadline will not be considered. Any questions should be addressed to the CEDL Registration Awards Committee Chair, Dr. Shenika Hankerson at sdhanker@umd.edu.

  • 9 Nov 2020 10:24 PM | Anonymous member

    Thank you for your patience as TESOL International Association has been working on the best way to hold the 2021 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. Recently, the TESOL Board of Directors voted in favor of holding a 100% virtual TESOL 2021 Convention due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that this may be disappointing to those expecting an in-person or hybrid event, but nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors, and this decision was made with that in mind. The dates of the TESOL 2021 Convention have also changed slightly to 24–27 March, beginning with the opening evening keynote on the 24th.

    After hosting our first-ever TESOL Virtual Convention last July, we are ready to build on our success and bring you an even bigger and more engaging virtual learning and networking experience this March! During the 2021 TESOL Virtual Convention, you will be able to connect online with thousands of English language professionals from around the world, while participating in interactive keynotes, sessions, exhibits, and more. You can find an overview of the schedule, keynote speakers, registration rates, and FAQs on our TESOL 2021 Convention website.

    Registration for the TESOL 2021 Convention will open the week of 16 November. Please regularly check your email, the TESOL 2021 Convention website, and TESOL’s social media channels for more information and the latest updates.

    Warm regards,

    Rosa Aronson

    Interim Executive Director

    Deborah J. Short


  • 23 Jun 2020 8:20 PM | Anonymous member

    The Portland ESL Network is calling out for videos with their 1-Minute Tip Challenge. Create a one-minute video with a quick ESL teaching tip. These videos will be featured on the ESL Network YouTube channel and their Facebook page. 

    See their YouTube channel for examples. Also subscribe to their channel to receive updates about new videos.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC07ICj_72wCrsQ0mSpQ0bRg

    To add your tip, use wetransfer.com to send your video to PortlandESLnetwork@gmail.com.  Please do not directly email the video because the video files will be too large for their email account.

    For more information: email linda.bonder@gmail.com or go to  https://portlandesl.wixsite.com/wixsite/post/1-minute-teaching-tip-challenge

    Here are some video examples.  We hope you have fun with this challenge.

  • 20 Jun 2020 9:02 PM | Anonymous member

    This post written and submitted by Eric Dodson, Luciana Diniz, Nanci Leiton

    Are you teaching low-to-mid intermediate level communication skills classes? Green Tea Intermediate English Communication OER may help with the need for materials that meet our students' needs.

    Matcha Love by Unsplash user MJ TangonanThis OER is still under development, but we wanted to share it out because of the extraordinary circumstances involved in planning and holding classes these days.

    This OER includes many materials that have been adapted for remote teaching, including:

    • 6 units on topics connected to personality, culture, and more
    • Lectures on topics created by ESOL teachers at PCC
    • Curated links to other videos and listening activities online
    • Vocabulary activities and resources
    • Online interactive activities with automatic feedback
    • Pronunciation materials, including some multi-media
    • Additional recorded speeches and materials for assessment

    The google doc (also linked above) has the full list of resources, which are shared with a Creative Commons license, meaning that they are ready for you to adopt, adapt, or otherwise use, as long as you keep a "from Green Tea Intermediate English Communication" attribution.

    You can bookmark the google docor link to our Pressbook site, which may be a more convenient package to link to, if you need to embed things in an LMS.


    The Gregarious Green Tea Team

    Eric Dodson

    Luciana Diniz

    Nanci Leiton

    Portland Community College

  • 16 Jun 2020 8:07 PM | Anonymous member

    The RISE Program: Addressing the social emotional impact on students that have experienced interrupted formal education (SIFE)

    Written and submitted by Patrick Ahern 

    We had finished reviewing the simple present verb tense and some common adverbs of frequency, and it was time to begin our daily RISE meeting. I stood in a circle with smiling high school students from all over the world. Negin Naraghi, the RISE facilitator and director, chose a student to be the leader and we invited the student waiting in the hall back into the room. The leader began a disco movement that everybody in the circle mimicked. The student that had been waiting in the hallway, Rich (not his real name), stood in the middle of the circle and whipped his head around trying to locate the leader. All of the sudden, we simultaneously started running in place. Baffled, Rich spun around to see if he could catch the leader, the one who clandestinely initiated running in place. We were all laughing and collectively enjoying ourselves as we followed the leader through multiple motions or movements. By the time Rich spotted the leader, we had gone through several different motions and probably looked like the most off kilter, diverse dance group you will ever see! What was happening and what happened to the English lessons? 

    What is RISE?

    As part of my practicum experience on my way to earning my Masters in TESOL, I had decided to volunteer and teach at David Douglas High School in Portland, Oregon during their summer school program. David Douglas works in conjunction with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) to serve a diverse community of immigrants and refugees in the high school. Under the larger umbrella of IRCO,  RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Student Empowerment) is unique because it provides a space for refugee and immigrant students to access a caring support system on site at the high school. While there are several organizations across the country that provide services for immigrant and refugee families, RISE is especially impactful. When students attend RISE, they not only gain access to tutoring but also conversation practice and a community that links students together in an uncommon bond among such a diverse group. 

    RISE began small, serving only level one and level two EL students with academic support. At that time, its primary focus was providing in-class support and after school tutoring twice per week. It was operating with funds provided by a two-year grant, and it looked like it might not survive beyond those two years. Afterall, the school was already providing extra support and tutoring through the educational assistants, and there did not seem to be a great need for additional support. It was then that Naraghi came on board. Based on her own investigation from her dissertation on what immigrant and refugee students found helpful as they transitioned to life in an American high school, she slowly started making changes. She found that when after school tutoring had been provided in the past with the sole purpose to help with homework or to deliver additional language lessons, it had garnered little success. Attendance was inconsistent and the numbers were not high enough to sustain RISE. It was not until Naraghi began to shift the focus of RISE from a strict tutoring model to a model that addressed the social emotional needs of the students along with their academic needs. She explained that before they got to anything academic, they focused on relationship building, routine building, and community. Once the program had made this shift, attendance began to grow and became more consistent. The school district saw the benefit of solidifying a relationship with RISE to continue serving the immigrant and refugee population with a more holistic approach.

    SIFE population

    Students at RISE that have experienced interrupted formal education (SIFE) or limited and interrupted formal education (SLIFE) not only have to overcome obstacles of a new country, but they also find themselves starting at the beginning or near the beginning of their educational journey. As preservice teachers or grad students like myself were discussing how to teach vocabulary and grammar, the social emotional well-being of the students often was overlooked. How can we educate and prepare SIFE students when their head is likely spinning due to a life altering transition to formal education in the United States?  We did not often discuss how to build community and relationships with our students that crossed cultural and linguistic boundaries. Many of the vocabulary and grammar lessons might very well be lost on those students that have nothing that they can connect to the lesson from their experience in their native country. The premise of RISE is to begin with what the students bring with them to the United States and then to learn with them how they can be successful in high school. This starts with relationship, routine, and community.      

    Practical Application for Teachers

    Relationship: Building relationships with students takes time and investment in the students. EL teachers have the unique opportunity to build these relationships with SIFE students that regular education teachers might not. RISE tutors and facilitators create bonds with students by engaging the students in meaningful, enjoyable conversation practice and games. The conversation and games are frequently centered around the students’ lives, and they are purposeful in the sense that they are designed to create student to student connections along with student to teacher connections. 

    EL teachers can create a similar classroom environment that implements meaningful instruction that connects to the students’ experiences through structured conversation and games. A simple competition that asks students to remember and express the likes and dislikes of their peers can be a motivating way for students to use their language skills, have fun, and build relationships with their peers and teachers.  

    Family engagement is another piece that can be important to building relationships with SIFE students. The students and their families are likely to have experienced trauma throughout their lives. It is important to have the resources or staff available to communicate with families in a variety of languages to make sure the families can get the help they need in a safe environment. Parents and caretakers can sometimes share background information that enables teachers and school staff to have a better understanding of what the students need. This understanding also helps create a deeper connection to the students and fosters the social emotional well-being of the students. 

    Routine: Life for SIFE students can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. When they enter the doors to the school building every day, they begin to become accustomed to the stability that comes with a predictable routine. Creating predictable routines provides a sense of calm and security that is essential to meeting the social emotional needs of SIFE students. When students enter RISE, they are expected to participate in the conversation practice or game for the first ten to twenty minutes before beginning tutoring. There are no exceptions. Providing this routine builds structure and predictability that helps to keep students coming back to RISE.

    In the ESL classroom, this can be done with academic routines as well as conversational and relationship building routines. Starting every class with a simple greeting or check in is a simple way to begin every class. It is during this time that teachers have the opportunity to engage students in authentic conversations, and it creates a routine that will facilitate a safe space for interaction to occur. In addition to daily routines, establishing a weekly routine that students can look forward to is a helpful motivating factor. Playing language games or incorporating art at the end of the week is an especially effective strategy to engaging students.  

    Community: SIFE students arrive in the United States without much of a sense of belonging. The classroom community during the school day can be hard to connect with at first, and it is helpful to provide a space where immigrant and refugee students can draw on one another’s shared experiences. Even if it is only the shared experience of learning English as a second language, students can find support in this commonality. At RISE, students have the opportunity to be part of a community that becomes a large part of their high school experience. Not only students but also educators and volunteer tutors quickly realize that the RISE community is special. Both Meg Dale and Stephanie Ramella began volunteering as tutors at RISE only to become program coordinators. ESL teachers and school administration have also contributed to the prosperity of the RISE community and are an integral part of its sustainability. Furthermore, the values and beliefs that are the foundation of RISE have followed me throughout my teaching practice and inspired me to strive to create community in my own classroom. 

    Creating a community in the ESL classroom will take time and leadership to build trust between teachers and peers. Teachers and facilitators should set clear expectations and norms that establish a community built on respect. Each individual needs to know that they are safe to make mistakes and that they will be supported while they are in the classroom. Students need to know how to operate respectfully with appropriate academic discourse. Language on how to clarify, ask questions, build on others’ ideas, and disagree/agree should be explicitly taught to not only build language capacity but also to create a community that respects the beliefs and ideas of others. Teachers should model this and guide students toward appropriate academic discourse, so it becomes part of the classroom culture. Finally, inviting volunteers and/or educational assistants to be part of the community and take part in the academic discourse sets a positive example for the students. I believe that the education of any one student is not the responsibility of the teacher alone but of the entire community made up of the individual students, teachers, peers, and volunteers.

    Relationship building, routine, and community are the backbone of RISE and a crucial part of ESL programs that serve the SIFE population. Although it is undoubtedly necessary for ESL teachers to be passionate and knowledgeable about language and language teaching, without meeting the students’ social emotional needs we are missing the mark. SIFE students have found a community in RISE that has empowered them with a sense of agency that they bring with them to face the everyday challenges inside and outside of the classroom. My experience at RISE and David Douglas High School has inspired me to incorporate and attend to the aspects that support social emotional wellness of especially SIFE students but also all students that I work with.   


    First, I would like to thank RISE and especially Jen Healey, ESL teacher at David Douglas High School, for allowing me to take part in their 2016 summer program. Jen helped me to see the value of both strong ESL teaching and community building. It takes a village. My experience working with the students, teaching lessons and participating in conversation club is never far from my heart and mind.  Also, a big thank you to Meg Dale, Negin Naraghi, and Stephanie Ramella for allowing me to interview them through Zoom and sharing a video and wonderful pictures of the RISE community. Finally, I would like to thank Greer Mancuso and the Collaborative Action Research (CAR) team that helped gather research and share experiences of working with SIFE students. Visit the links below to find out more information, and if you are interested in volunteering or learning more about RISE or IRCO click here.


    RISE video made by the students and staff at RISE

    SLIFE/SIFE resources put together by Greer Mancuso and the CAR team

  • 10 Jun 2020 11:39 PM | Beth Ronk (Administrator)

    ORTESOL stands with Black lives and the Black Lives Matter movement. We acknowledge the protests that are happening across the country and around the world in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, in addition to the many police killings of Black community members that have come before. We are putting forth a renewed call to action against the racism and anti-Blackness that has rooted itself across our societal systems, particularly our system of education--pre-K through higher ed. 

    As TESOL and EL educators, we acknowledge our responsibility and ability to the following actions: 

    • to meet the demands of this moment

    • to educate ourselves more deeply on racism in education and its effects on our students and teachers

    • to recognize the intersectionality of race, language acquisition, and English language education

    • to connect with other education professionals in clarifying our organizational attitudes and best practices

    • to advocate on administrative and governmental levels for our professions, our students and their families, and our communities. 

    Even as the school year comes to a close, we must maintain a growth mindset about becoming fervently anti-racist in order to adequately support our BIPOC students and teachers to begin to reform our educational systems. For many of us, this is a renewed commitment. Perhaps now we are taking the opportunity to move beyond one thematic unit or lesson and instead integrating social justice as a daily and fully comprehensive foundation of our teaching practices in order to eradicate inequities and abuses that exist throughout our communities and our classrooms. We must remember and acknowledge that language development and racial justice cannot be separated. 

    With this, we move forward and activate our privilege, declaring that ORTESOL is committed to anti-racist education and advocacy. 

    We encourage action over words, and have included five to consider:

    1. LISTEN & FOLLOW. Now is the time to listen to Black voices and amplify their messages. Follow #BlackintheIvory on social media to hear about Black experiences in academia or The Conscious Kid to learn about “parenting and education through a Critical Race lens.” Read or listen to leaders Tamika Mallory (activist), Patrisse Cullors (co-founder Black Lives Matter), Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (co-chair Poor People’s Campaign), Rodney Robinson (2019 National Teacher of the Year), Dena Simmons (Educator).

    2. READ, LISTEN, & SHARE. Update your professional subscriptions to include publications such as Teaching Tolerance or Rethinking Schools. Form a virtual book club with fellow educators, administrators, or friends. Read books from the Coretta Scott King Book Award list with your students or family. Add podcasts to your playlist such as Seeing White, Teaching While White, or Code Switch.

    3. ENGAGE. Host an open house with students, administrators, and community organizers to hear concerns, needs, and suggestions. What supports do your Black students, teachers, staff, and families need and expect right now and in the future?

    4. ADVOCATE. As TESOL educators, our student population is often learning American history and civics, perhaps more in-depth than ourselves. It’s important to be informed and engaged in the political processes that directly impact our work. Contact your Oregon State Senator or Representative, mayor, school or district leaders to find out how they are making changes to policing, social service funding, and education policy. Share your personal stories with them and ask for specific changes. Encourage other members from your neighborhood and schools to do the same.

    5. DONATE. Consider supporting an organization that speaks to your heart: Black Immigrant Collective, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Black Lives Matter, Freedom to Thrive, National Bail Fund Network, Color of Change.

  • 30 Jan 2020 1:17 PM | Anonymous

    ORTESOL Board Report

    January 2020

    The ORTESOL board met for the first of our 5 annual meetings on Saturday January 25th at Portland Community College, Southeast Campus.  President Delpha Thomas moved into the Post President role.  Davida Jordan moved from Vice President to the 2020 President, and Jessie Jimenez stepped in to become the Vice President.  Beth Ronk became the new Refugee Concerns SIG Chair. Santiago Gustin became the new Communications Chair. Nanci Leiton will be continuing as Treasurer.  Susan Caisse will be continuing as Conference Co-Coordinator. Josh Schultze will be continuing as Higher Ed Co-Chair. Patrick Ahern will be continuing as K-12 SIG Co-Chair.  We also said goodbye to Secretary Kit Emens-Hesslink and Publishers’ Liaison Julie Vorholt. 

    We welcomed four new board members.  Lily Cordero joins us as the Workshop and Conference Co-Coordinator, Naila Bairamova as the Volunteer Coordinator, Annie Ittner as the K-12 SIG Co-Chair, and Sarah Coffer as the Advocacy Chair.

    The board spent the first portion of the meeting with transitions and introductions.  We began a list of the other group affiliations on the white board. By the end of introductions, we’d covered almost 3 white boards with the groups, connections, and affiliations of board members.  

    Our first order of business was to make tough decisions about 2020 priorities.  We’ve seen a decrease in membership since the last TESOL convention was in Portland in 2014.  We’ve seen a decrease in the number of adult and higher education job opportunities. However, we have seen an increase in the number of K-12 job opportunities and the dire need for ESL education and training by K-12 teachers.  Diversifying the theme of our professional development opportunities to include more K-12 activities was decided upon. The board discussed many ways of encouraging more participation from busy K-12 teachers.

    In addition, ORTESOL seeks to have more engagement from members.  We saw powerfully how the Immigrant Action Workgroup was able to organize a thread of sessions at our 2019 fall conference.  We’d like to cultivate that spirit among members. The board voted to forgo the traditional spring workshop in order to organize smaller, but more frequent opportunities for professional development.  We will be talking more about this for the future, so stay tuned!

    Additionally, the board discussed ways to increase our efforts reaching students to bring vitality, growth, and connections into the organization.  ORTESOL membership isn’t just an opportunity to support our advocacy efforts, or a way to ensure conferences, but it’s also a way to demonstrate members’ commitment to the field and interest in continual professional development.  As an aside, we’ve already announced that TESOL 2023 will be in Portland, but few people realize that without ORTESOL, TESOL wouldn’t be coming. This awesome PD opportunity wouldn’t be available without the continued work that ORTESOL does every day.

    ORTESOL members are welcome to attend board meetings.  Our next board meeting will take place on March 7, 2020 at 10:00am at Portland Community College, Southeast Campus.

  • 25 Jan 2020 4:47 PM | Anonymous


    New ORTESOL Advocacy Chair Sarah Coffer connected with keynote speaker Patrice Palmer at our fall conference, and Patrice wrote an article about the school where Sarah teaches!


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