How to Write Great Content and Language Objectives

Far too many teachers ask themselves 5 minutes before class, “What am I going to teach today?”

I believe the vast majority of teachers want to be great and know they should have learning objectives.

But the truth is…writing learning objectives are hard.

Although learning objectives are usually the starting point for course reform, Wieman (2017) discovered that faculty often struggled with writing learning objectives and that beginning with teaching strategies was often an easier place to start.

Given its difficulty, it is no wonder teachers often default to “winging it” rather than writing learning objectives.

This difficulty is compounded for teachers who teach in content-based language teaching (CBLT) settings, which requires both content and language objectives.

In this post, I will demystify the writing of learning objectives step by step, giving you an easy to follow list for creating content and language objectives for your classroom. Continue reading “How to Write Great Content and Language Objectives”

The Connection Between Math and Language

This morning I was reading an article titled “How to make math a key part of your ELL curriculum.” In the article the author writes,

It also helps that numbers are numbers, and working with them is natural to speakers of any language.

It is a common assumption that math will be easier for English language learners. It’s just numbers, right?


While it seems on the surface that math would be transferable between languages because of numbers, it is actually a lot more complicated than that.

In this post, I will discuss some of the research that addresses the issue of language and math.

Continue reading “The Connection Between Math and Language”

Examining Identity & Culture as a Teacher

Our identity and culture have great influence over our teaching.

But how often do we think about these influences?

It’s quite normal to sit in workshops about a new pedagogical technique or attend meetings about the latest curriculum, but rarely do we take the time to reflect on how our teaching practices have been formed.

In this video, I talk about the influences of identity and culture on us as professionals and present an exercise that you can do either individually or as a grade level team.

I encourage you to take 5 minutes out of your day to do this exercise. I think you’ll be surprised what you discover about yourself.

Don’t forget to share your insights in the comments!

The Work of Dr. Marguerite Ann Snow

One of the top scholars in the area of content-based language teaching (CBLT) is Dr. Marguerite Ann Snow.

For decades, Dr. Snow has published on how to better integrate language and content in the classroom.

As such integration is one of the major struggles for CBLT teachers, especially in foreign contexts, I thought it would be helpful to post a little about Dr. Snow’s work and discuss a few takeaways for my CBLT readers.

Continue reading “The Work of Dr. Marguerite Ann Snow”

Is This Text Comprehensible for my ELLs? Let the Vocabulary Profiler Help!

Using authentic texts with English learners is great…

…unless, of course, they are way too hard for the students.

This is actually one of the top challenges for teachers in content-based language teaching (CBLT) systems, finding texts that are both authentic and comprehensible.

In a study on CBLT teachers, Cammarata (2010) commented, “The difficulty for the teachers was to find the right equilibrium between authenticity and complexity as they struggled to find a way to simplify the content in order to make it comprehensible for the students while keeping it interesting, cognitively engaging, and within the realm of the proficiency level of the learners (Cammarata, 2010, pp. 102-103).

But how do we know if the text we have chosen will be appropriate? That’s where the vocabulary profiler on can help.

Continue reading “Is This Text Comprehensible for my ELLs? Let the Vocabulary Profiler Help!”

Encouraging Students to Read

How does a student get better at reading?

Simply put…by reading.

Plenty of research supports the idea that extensive reading leads to better reading and language growth, but many kids just aren’t doing enough reading.

It’s our jobs as teachers to encourage our students to read. But the big question is how?

In this post, I will offer a few ideas to help create a community of avid readers in your classroom.

Continue reading “Encouraging Students to Read”