English Learners in The Common Core

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in News | 10 comments

You may have heard in the last couple of years about how we in K-12 education, are implemeting an entirely new collection of academic standards. In August of 2010, the California State Board of Education approved a collection of new English Language Arts and Mathementics Standards for K-12 education. In the coming years, we will see new Social Science and Science Standards, aligned to the Common Core ELA and Math standards. Since then, we have been working toward the implementio of those standards. Connected with that adoption of those standards, California has joined the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortiium. We are anticipating a whole new academic asssessment in the 2014-2015 school year.

With both of these new systems having been adopted by our state, we are seriously working at supporting districts in the implementation of the Common Core Standards, with an emphasis on the specific linguistic needs of our English learner population. The English Learner Group is supporting teachers and administrators in their knowledge and focus on the “Depth of Knowledge” (Webb, 2009) componenets and the language needed for our English learners to succeed. We are helping teachers of English learners to understanding the growing importance of the use of appropriate forms and functions in the their lesson objectives, and the specific instructional strategies that promote that kind of academic language in their classrooms, across all ontent areas.

We offer classes, coaching, and guidance in implementation of those critical linguistic areas, to schools and district.

Our English learners are facing an ever growing challenge to show all the knowledge that they posess. Research has shoen us what to do, and now it’s time for us to do it.

Let me know if The English Learner Group can help your educational agency or organization in that pursuit.


Sam Nofziger


The English Learner Group


California English Language Development Standards Process- 2012

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in News | 1,228 comments

Take a look at the DRAFT English Langauge Development Standards that are in process at the CA state level!  They are correlated to the CA Common Core ELA and Math Standards.  Take a look at the three different stages of the new continuum of language acquisition.

I am interested in hearing your first impressions of the new standards. Let’s talk about it!!












Below is a Powerpoint presentation used to explain the structure of the new standards!  Do you think this would be useful to you and your district/school?

Let me know what you think??

ELD standards revision SBE presentation Final for CDE

Transitional Kindergarten and the English Learner

Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 in News | 445 comments

I have to express how exciting it is to be working in the area of Transitional Kindergarten with English Learners!  I have been working with the Fresno County Office of Education and the Merced County Office of Education promoting the use of children’s music to teach and reinforce language development with English Learners.

Here is a list of songs and the literacy skill(s) that are developed as teachers use each song with their students:

The Hokey Pokeyvocabulary related to parts of the body, directional words (right, left), directional prepositions (in, out), rhyming, TPR (Total Physical Response), humor and student engagement!

This Ole’ Man– ordinal numbers (1-10), rhyming, rhyming vocabulary

On Top of Spaghetti– Cause and effect language, rhyming, imagination, humor

Boom, Boom, Ain’t it Great to Be Crazy!– Rhyming, story telling, comprehension, TPR

The Farmer and the Dell- Sequencing, Rhyming and the use of English “nonsence words” (Hi-ho, the dairy-oh)

Apples and Bananas–  Phonemic awareness, rhyming, the power of repetitive language

So, consider the use of children’s music in your Transitional Kindergarten classroom, but be sure to help students and teachers make the direct connection to the Common Core Standards!!  Remember… the currently enrolled students in either traditional K, or those in year 2 of Transitional K, will be the FIRST students to take the Common Core Assessment in 2015! So, be sure the teachers are addressing those standards, as they have some fun with their students!!

Here’s your chance!!  More time with students in Transitional K…       Have fun with them!!   Spend some fun time, learning the Common Core Standards!!  What more can we ask for?!?!

Do you use music on your classroom??  What do you teach with it?? Tell us a great story about you and your students!!

Academic Talk

Posted by on Mar 2, 2012 in News | 53 comments

1.   If you counted the instructional minutes, and sorted them by who is talking during a period or block of instruction, are the minutes that the students are talking the majority on your list? Are you, the teacher, talking more than your students?  I suggest you think about, “WHO is DOING the talking in your classroom?” Think about getting your students to talk MORE!  But NOT JUST ANY TALK!

2.   When the students ARE talking, what are they saying?  Are they using the academic vocabulary that you would like them to be using? Are they talking in a way that, if they wrote like they talk, you would be really satisfied with their writing?

So… Start watching your students… Who is REALLY talking??  What are they REALLY saying?

Here are a few suggestions to get your students to talk the way you want them to talk

1.   Give the student a SENTENCE FRAME. The frame will have the kind of words you want them to say and use.

2.   Ask them to summarize with REQUIRED VOCABULARY. Give them a list of 3-4 words that MUST be used in their summary.

3.    Consider the student’s English proficiency level, and ROLE PLAY a real-life situation, with the appropriate sentence structure of his/her proficiency level in their role.

Let me know what you think!

Classroom Practice

Posted by on Jan 28, 2012 in News | 12 comments

Content and Language Objectives

Those of us in the firld of English Learner student achievement have been working with Content Objectives (what students will learn in a lesson) and Language Objectives (what specific language is required for the students to prove that s/he has learned what they are to learn) for quite a few years now.

The question is…

If you ask a student in your classroom (1) what they are learning, then (2) what s/he needs to do to prove they they have learned it, will the answers to those questions be similar to the communicated objective?

Every student needs to answer that question with an understanding of what you, the teacher, wants as an outcome of your teaching.

I encourage you to find a way to (1) communicate those objecitves to your students in the way you know best, (2) practice having them communicate them with their peers, and (3) work toward the goal of EVERY student in your classroom being able to communicate those important objectives. It may be difficult in the beginning, but I encourage you keep doing it with each lesson. The more you do it, the more it becomes a part of your classroom culture!!

Let me know if I can coach you in this process!