bi·lin·gual    /bīˈliNGɡwəl/


  • (of a person) speaking two languages fluently.

    This definition is from Google. If you type the word “bilingual” into the search engine, you will be hit with more than 86 million results! According to Francois Grosjean in his book Bilingual: Life and Reality, being bilingual is when a person “uses two or more languages (or dialects) in their everyday life” (Grosjean, 2010, p.4), not necessarily speaking two languages fluently, like most people envision. Being bilingual doesn’t mean being rare and having a mystical superpower, but being able to interact and communicate with more people and in more ways than if you were simply monolingual.
    Check out these two websites to learn more about being bilingual:

The Advantages of Being Bilingual

Bilingual is Better






Cultural Resources for Afghanistan

For teachers who are looking to learn more about the culture and history of Afghanistan, I found two fantastic websites. The first is from the University of West Florida (2016) and features an interactive presentation about the history, geography, social etiquette and other cultural aspects of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The second website has a document from the University of California, Davis that summarizes a variety of aspects of Afghan culture called An Introduction to Afghanistan Culture (Merrill, Paxson & Tobey, 2006). Both of these resources will be beneficial for teachers who want to learn more about Afghanistan, especially for those of us who have students who are immigrants or refugees from this interesting country. afghanistan flag

Serving English Learners: Laws, Policies, and Regulations

“As educators serving this diverse population, we need to know the laws, policies, and regulations governing the education of English learners so that we understand what we are required to do. We also need to be able to explain these requirements to our students, their parents, our colleagues (both teachers and administrators), and the community in ways that are meaningful and accessible.” Source: Serving English Learners: Laws, Policies, and Regulations

Source: Serving English Learners

Engaging ELL Families

I am reblogging this from Mollie. 🙂 Thanks, Mollie!! Can’t wait to share this with my school!

This is a great resource for Administration and other ELL leaders in the school. This document by ColorinColorado provides ways for leaders to connect with ELL families, communicating important information, eliciting parent participation, encouraging parents to take leadership roles, community partnerships, and planning this all out. (

Engaging ELL Families PDF – Colorin Colorado

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

“Students approach learning, not as cultural blank slates, they bring into the classroom all of those cultural experiences. It is compatible with what we know about good teaching…. Culturally responsive pedagogy builds on students’ prior knowledge. In this case we’re talking about cultural prior knowledge.”

It takes a village…

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

It is no surprise that the demographics of the United States have become increasingly diverse (see my pages on culture for more specific statistics.) Many people are often surprised to find out that it’s not just urban areas like Chicago, LA, Miami, New York and border states that are changing. This NPR article Helping Immigrant Students Catch Up Fast – It Takes a Whole Schoolby Sophia Alvarez Boyd shows an example in Maryland where at Langley Park, “87 percent of students are Spanish-speaking. Out of 176 students, 24 countries are represented and 15 languages are spoken at home, not including English.” Teachers and students are faced with problems that are “two-fold. Not only are they dealing with trauma, but they also belong to one of the most marginalized student populations.”

Some people may see articles like this and focus on the negatives like “How can teachers meet the needs of so many diverse students?” “How can teachers help students overcome trauma, learn English and content and be successful in their new countries? There are too many barriers!” This article has a more positive mood however, because it highlights that every teacher at the school is a language teacher (although it has its challenges!) and that community partnerships are critical in helping students.

ELL Leadership, Advocacy & Collaboration – Middle School Level

As part of my coursework at Georgetown College under Dr. Broady for EDU585, I researched a middle school in central Kentucky and collaborated with teachers to make recommendations for their ELL program. As part of my research, I analyzed the school report card, Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP), school website, conducted teacher interviews and gave an anonymous survey to get a better idea of the climate and needs of the school. This video shows how I collaborated with the teachers and provided their SBDM council with recommendations for increasing parental involvement, providing teachers with professional development in SIOP (sheltered instruction – an approach to teaching language through content instruction) and promoting a more culturally responsive environment. This class is part of the coursework toward the ESL endorsement at Georgetown.


EDU585 ESL Leadership & Advocacy Video – Tolson