English Language Learning

To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world. – Chinese Proverb

Writing Content and Language Objectives (COLO)

Content and language objectives are often recommended as a learning strategy for MLLs but are excellent for all students. Additionally, they are helpful for teachers to make their lessons specific.

General Tips:

  • Display in the same place every lesson
  • Review at beginning and end of learning time
  • Use academic vocabulary and annotate
  • Make age-appropriate
  • Be inclusive (all students can do)
  • Be specific. Use verbs that are action-oriented, observable, and assessable.
  • Avoid general verbs like “review, practice, learn, understand”

Content Objectives

  • use content and curricular competency learning standards
  • use verbs related to the content area


Language Objectives

  • use verbs related to communication (reading, writing, oral language)
  • use the language needed to achieve the content objective


Curricular competency learning standard from English Language Arts 5: Identify how differences in context, perspectives, and voice influence meaning in texts.

Content Objective: We will identify the protagonist’s description of the party in Chapter 6 and predict how the other characters may have described it.

Language Objective: We will identify the adjectives used in the passages and isolate ones related to emotion. We will list the possible emotions of other characters. We will rewrite the passage from another character’s perspective in small groups.






Content Objective Verbs Language Objective Verbs







































Upcoming ELL Events


ELL and MyEd Refresher

Bring your questions and queries to in-person meetings to work on using MyEd with ELL.

Location: Room 8, Canada Way Education Centre

Time: 3:30-5:00pm

Dates:            September 20, 2022 (This meeting will be located in Portable 26 at Brentwood Park Elementary)

November 17, 2022

January 12, 2023

February 16, 2023

March 28, 2023

May 16, 2023

Sign up here: https://forms.office.com/r/59M8nV25BU


ELL Bookclub: 101 Strategies to Make Academic Vocabulary Stick by Marliee Sprenger

Practical ideas that you can incorporate immediately into your practice. Open for K-12 teachers of all subjects.

Location: Room 8, Canada Way Education Centre

Time: 3:30-5:00pm

Dates:            October 18, 2022

December 13, 2022

February 7, 2023

April 4, 2023

Sign up here: https://forms.office.com/r/2pdv5HzbTf


Equity for ELLs

In our second year, we have set a goal to improve parent engagement of ELLs in our schools, communities, and district.

New members will receive a copy of Culturally Responsive Teaching for MLLs by Snyder and Fenner. Open to K-12 teachers of all subjects.

Location: Online TEAMS Meeting

Time: 3:30-5:00pm

Dates:            October 4, 2022

December 6, 2022

February 1, 2023

May 9, 2023

Sign up here: https://forms.office.com/r/pmTth6ye0k

Welcome Back

Welcome back to the start of the 22-23 school year!

We are thrilled to have you with us as a teacher, parent, or student.

Starting the Year Right

We are all learning many new names at this time of year. Take the time to learn our to pronounce people’s names correctly. Begin by asking them to say their name, listen carefully and repeat it until you know it. Teachers, model the correct pronunciation until all students can say the name correctly.

Below is a great series of infographics to share with others about some dos and do nots of pronouncing names.

For teachers, here are some activities around names that you may find useful.

an acrostic poem of their name

an artistic presentation of their name

What’s in a Name? Project

What’s in a Name Template

Name Story

Monday Mash-up, May 9, 2022


3:15pm May 10, 2022- Picture Book Inquiry Group on TEAMS

3:15 pm May 12, 2022-SIOP Lead Meeting on TEAMS

3:00-5:00 May 16, 2022-in-person MyEd Refresher-Room 311 at the School Board Office

3:15pm May 30, 2022-Equity for ELLs on TEAMs


May is the 20th anniversary of Canada celebrating Asian History Month. Danielle Stokes shared these great resources from the National Film Board that highlight the Chinese-Canadian Experience. Please remember to preview everything before sharing with students.

The Chinese-Canadian Experience (Ages 6+) https://www.nfb.ca/playlist/chinese-canadian-experience-ages-6/?utm_campaign=730222_NFB_Education_-_2022-05-06_-_Asian_Heritage_Month&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NFB+Education-All_Users

The Chinese-Canadian Experience (Ages 14+) https://www.nfb.ca/playlist/chinese-canadian-experience/?utm_campaign=730222_NFB_Education_-_2022-05-06_-_Asian_Heritage_Month&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NFB+Education-All_Users

A Taste of SIOP


Who speaks more in a classroom: a teacher or the students? Who gets the most benefit out of speaking?

To increase student engagement as well as student interaction,  Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners: The SIOP Model (5th Edition) (SIOP Series), Echevarria, Vogt, and Short recommend four things teachers can do to better structure student interactions:

  • Provide frequent opportunities for interaction and discussion between teachers and student and among students, which encourage elaborated responses about lesson concepts.
  • Arrange grouping configurations that support language and content objectives of the lesson
  • Afford sufficient wait time for student responses consistently provided
  • Present ample opportunities for students to clarify key concepts in home language as needed with aide, peer, or home-language text






Monday Mash-Up, April 11, 2022


April 11, 2022 at 3:15-Equity for ELLs-See TEAMS Invite

April 12, 2022 at 3:15-SIOP Lead Meeting-See TEAMS invite.

May 5, 2022 at 1pm-ELL Elementary Meeting-See email


Tas and the Gilmore school community are exploring books around Ramadan.  One book is Love Ramadan We are doing the books about Hassan and Aneesa,

Here’s a Youtube link for the first book “Love Ramadan” by Yasmeen Rahim and illustrated by Omar Burgess (Read aloud: https://youtu.be/lDby8qaOPJU  The story’s main characters Hassan and Aneesa, siblings learn about Ramadan.  The book is a good step to discussing acts of kindness students can do.  Some teachers are also doing Ramadan Art (lanterns or Islamic shapes).


The next lesson  they will do is “Hassan and Aneesa Celebrate Eid.”  (Read aloud: https://youtu.be/Y1txbejRA7Q)

Bite Sized Pro-D

Tan Huyhn recently wrote an article Changing the Narrative around Immigrant Families for the Middleweb blog. He talks about his own mom and how she might be perceived by educators. However, they would be wrong.  Take five minutes to read this article challenging the stereotypes that still persist of our parental communities.


The Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees (VICCIR) goal is to provide mental health counselling to immigrants and refugees. They offer their services on a sliding fee scale and have trained interpreters as required. Since the pandemic, they have moved to almost entirely online and offer support through out BC. Check out their website here: https://www.viccir.org/


Monday Mash-up, March 28, 2022

We hope you all had time for rest and respite during this Spring Break. We are in the home stretch of this year!


March 29, 2022 at 3:15-Picture Book Inquiry Group-See TEAMS Invite.

April 11, 2022 at 3:15-Equity for ELLs-See TEAMS Invite

April 12, 2022 at 3:15-SIOP Lead Meeting-See TEAMS invite.


During annual assessments, we may hear students bemoaning that they are receiving ELL support. It is a good time to remind them of the power of being multi-lingual. Valentina Gonzalez (https://www.valentinaesl.com/) has an excellent poster highlighting some of the advantages.

A Taste of SIOP

Comprehensible input is one of the 8 features of the SIOP model. Making content accessible to all students can be challenging and we have a variety of strategies that teachers use. One aspect to remember is to give students multiple opportunities to use the skill they are learning on different topics. Instead of focusing on several graphic organizers, try just using one, for example. The goal of using that one organizer is for students to be able to do it independently with confidence.



Monday Mash-up, February 28, 2022


Equity for ELLs-on TEAMS on February 28, 2002 at 3:15pm

MyEd AIP Mentor Training at DRLC on March 1, 12:30pm

Picture Book Inquiry Group-on Teams on March 1, 2022 at 3:15pm

MyED Training Sessions on March 7-10 9-11:30am. Please see TEAMS for details and links.


Student Spotlight

Batu San (12) and Raha Fani Pakel (11) were studying the novel Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman in the Expanding English Strategies class at Burnaby North Secondary. On their final project, their teacher, Ms. Stokes, asked them to reflect on their learning from the book. Batu identified how the author uses indirect characterization effectively and Raha made connections between herself and the situations the characters are in. Both demonstrated powerful critical thinking skills!

Seedfolks is available as a 20 copy set from the DRLC.

Teaching Ideas

Did you know that BookCreator is an app from Microsoft Office O365? BookCreator is an excellent tool for digital storytelling. You can choose templates like picture book or comic book. You can write texts of all lengths and languages. You can also add images for engagement and visual supports and even record someone reading the book for audio support. You can find this amazing program under your apps on Office 0365.


Linda Peteherych, LINC instructor and Literacy Lead, created this beautiful poster for helping MLLs with letter-sounds. A black and white version as well as different sizes are available on Teams as PDFs. Thank you Linda for sharing with our community!


A Taste of SIOP

Vocabulary Development:

When planning your own lessons or supporting a colleague, consider focusing on only 3-5 Tier 3 vocabulary words at one time. Choose the words that have the most impact on the topic. By focusing on only a few at a time, it allows students to deepen their understanding of the words and makes it more likely that they will retain the words.

Some strategies that can help with this include the use of images or diagrams, providing non-examples and using the word across multiple contexts.








Monday Mash-up, January 10th, 2022

We acknowledge the challenges happening for you right now. Please reach out if we can help in any way. 


January 18, 3:15: SIOP Lead (secondary) meeting on Teams

January 20, 3:15pm: Equity for ELLs  on Teams

January 25, 3:15 pm: Picture Book Inquiry Group on Teams


Teaching Ideas:

Quizlet is a vocabulary website. You can make vocabulary lists, add definitions, and add pictures. Furthermore, you can make the lists in multiple languages or teach your students to do it. Finally, the website has audio capabilities so students can hear the correct pronunciation of the word and definition.  If you make a class (either as co-teacher of a unit or small group) you can track students’ progress. There are a number of activities that students can do independently as well. 

Kahoot is another game-education site. You can make questions in multiple forms and kids can do together or independently. 

Wordwall is another site that allows teachers to make worksheets into video games. The free version allows five games at a time. 

Additionally, please check out the One note on ELL Teams for virtual resources that was collaboratively made by ELL teachers in 2020. 

DRLC Spotlight

The District Resource Library Catalogue has many resources including those for MLLs. Recently DRLC Librarian Carol Lynka shared some great books on the environment for intermediate beginning ELs. They have strong academic vocabulary and visual scaffolds. Furthermore, the writing is age and level appropriate. You can order them to your school through your library catalogue. Two examples are pictured below. 







November 29th Monday Mash-up


December 2-BAA Work Group-English Strategies for Social Studies

December 9-Elementary ELL in-service Meeting

December 9-Equity for ELLs Meeting #3


ELL ideas

Animated Shorts are a great activity for students because they tell a story that is accessible to most learners. I’ve used them to teach K-12 and students always find them engaging. Some of the activities you could do is a story map, act out, tableau, or summary. AI’ve created a playlist on YouTube. Some of my favorites are Hair Love, Feast, and One Small Step. Email Michelle if you would like a set of graphic organizers to go along with some of the videos. The playlist can be found here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYtxV-SNUxZA7W_EjT3NDoU4TQJ88lr5h 

Another great idea comes from Sachiko Omoto at Inman Elementary. JAL Foundation is running the 17th World Children’s Haiku Contest. Poetry can be a great way to teach syllables, imagery without as much concern for grammatical structures. Deadlines for submissions is in February 2022. Information is at: http://www.jal-foundation.or.jp/en/haiku/contest2022/

Student Spotlight

Last year at Brentwood Park Elementary, ELL teacher Tas Ismail was using some of the lessons we created for the students studying from home (ELL Teams). She brainstormed wit h her students different holidays and they noticed that there weren’t books in their library for all the holidays they celebrated. The students asked Tas if they could make their own. Students were given the option to write in English or their heritage language and some students did both with help from their families. Student books are a great way to validate student voice, identity, and language as well as engaging for new writers.


Taste of SIOP

Providing Age Appropriate and Educational Background for Students

While ELL students may not have the academic language to complete grade appropriate work, they often do have the academic knowledge in their home language. Students with interrupted schooling often have life experience that may give them background knowledge of content way beyond their years. Therefore, while we need to adapt the English language, we don’t change the content of the learning. Assignments where all students can access higher order thinking, despite English level is necessary.

When planning consider:

·         Student’s first language literacy skills

·         Student’s second language literacy proficiency

·         Student’s reading level

·         Cultural and age appropriateness of the information

·         Reading level of the content material

Then, you can make adaptations such as:

·         Mini-lessons to provide background knowledge that is missing

·         Texts adapted to teach high level content at low readability levels

·         Mini-lessons to teach important vocabulary

·         heritage language texts

Monday Mash-up November 15, 2021


File Reviews-please check when your school’s is scheduled

Equity for ELLs #2: November 18th


Reading Recommendations:

Thank you to Danielle Stokes at Burnaby North for sharing this article about the necessity of having students actively use the vocabulary they are learning. It is great for sharing out with colleagues as well: https://seidlitzblog.org/2021/11/05/active-and-passive-vocabulary-what-can-teachers-do/


ELL Ideas

Do you have a die? Then you have all the tools for a fun, engaging review activity for a whole class or a small group. On the board, write 1-6 and then next to it, whatever concept you are reviewing.

Academic Vocabulary Relating to Math?




4. multiply


6-Pass to another student


Question forms?








Natural Disaster?




4-forest fires


6-student choice


There is no end to the alterations you can do. You can have students in groups, partners, or solo. They can speak, or read or write.


Another great way for all teachers to support students is to write content AND language objectives and read them together every class. They can be written for units, or individual lessons  and are an effective way to utilize the Tier II vocabulary we talked about last week. They also give students a clear idea of the purpose and goal of their learning.

After teachers decide what they are going to teach, they can consider just two questions:

“1. What language will students need to know and use to accomplish this content objectives?

2.  How can I move my students’ English language knowledge forward in this lesson?” (Echevarría, Jana, et al. Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners : The SIOP Model. Boston, Pearson, 2017.)

Teachers can consider academic vocabulary, language skills and functions, language structures or grammar, or language learning strategies.

Then, post it somewhere visible to all students: We will (content objective) by (language objective).


We will identify the character’s personality by retelling the actions she takes in the story. 

We will determine characteristics of different igneous and sedimentary rocks by writing comparative sentences.

We will identify specific landforms on a map of Canada by presenting an oral report about one landform and its influence on economic development. 



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