Meeting the Needs of Secondary Newcomer ELLs Through A Rigorous Curriculum

A guest post 

Teresa Vignaroli, ELL Supervisor, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia; Julie Baye, ELL School Improvement and Accountability Specialist, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia; Giuliana Jahnsen Lewis, ELL Staff Development Trainer, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia

Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author(s) and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.


Imagine Learning secondary ELLs blog photo of Kandahari girls Vignaroli and Jahnsen LewisLike many other districts in the nation, Loudoun County Public Schools has experienced an influx of older English Language Learners (ELLs).

Currently, nearly twenty-seven percent of our high school ELLs are proficiency level 1 students; forty-five percent are combined proficiency levels 1 and 2 students.

These students bring a myriad of situations and challenges that include varying ethnic backgrounds, low socioeconomic status, differing levels of formal education, and special needs status.

The varying language learner types and their unique needs indicate that there is no one-size-fits-all service delivery model nor one intervention that addresses, in its entirety, the best practices in service delivery models for high school ELLs.

Research, however, indicates that ELLs must have access to standards-aligned curriculum that is rigorous and grade-level appropriate. Read more »


Content Spotlight: Finding Evidence

Imagine Learning blog on Finding Evidence suiteAs we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, our Fall 2015 content update introduced a variety of new language and literacy activities for children. We’ll discuss two more of them below.

Today’s content spotlight focuses on the Finding Evidence activity suite, which introduces new literacy skills that cover even more state standards.

These activities teach upper-grade elementary students what evidence is and and how to find appropriate evidence to support the author’s claim.

The Finding Evidence suite consists of two separate activities, What’s Your Evidence and Evidence Needed. Here’s how each activity works: Read more »


A Limerick Is a Rhyme Just in Time for St. Patty’s

Imagine Learning, Nick, The Limerick Song, video screenshot

Nick, the Limerick Maker


Hark, ye lasses and lads, it’s that time of year when leprechauns plan merry mischief in the green fields and woods.

It’s also time for Imagine Learning’s annual limerick contest. Here’s one to get you started:

There once was a young lad named Nick
Who loved to perform a neat trick:
He crafted a rhyme—
So fine; so sublime,
And called it his best limerick.

Can you beat Nick at his rhyming game? We’re betting you can. And you’ll learn all about rhyming in the bargain!

So, what should your subject be? Read more »


Write a lucky limerick

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up quick.
Grab a pen and write a limerick.
Be a rhyming rockstar,
you’re sure to go far,
and a lucky winner we’ll pick.

Want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
You have something clever to say?
Join in the fun,
add in a pun,
And encourage your friends to play.

Try writing your own limerick.
Write it down with a leaded stick.
Make it divine,
and submit it online.
Your limerick we’re sure to pick.

Join in the St. Patrick’s Day fun by entering our annual limerick writing contest. To help you along the way, we’ve created a fun little video about writing limericks, hosted by Nick from the Imagine Learning software. Nick teaches students how to write limericks step-by-step, and explains the process by sharing his own limericks. Teachers, get your students involved! This video is the perfect way to begin an engaging lesson plan on limerick writing.

You can also watch the video on Vimeo.

We hope you have fun trying your hand at poetry writing! Submit entries in the comments section below. We will award prizes to the top three limericks.

Prize Pot-o-gold:

1st prize: a $25 Amazon gift card
2nd prize: a Booster bobblehead
3rd prize: a talking Mike the Microphone plush toy

We’ll accept submissions through end-of-day Monday, March 17th. Special consideration will be given to limericks with an educational flavor, and also to student submissions. Check back often to see the entries—and the lucky winners. You’ll be green with envy.

Good luck (o’ the Irish) to everyone!

Nick’s Limerick Video Lyrics:

Hello! How are you? I’m Nick.
Here to teach you a fun little trick.
To have a good time
when writing a rhyme
try writing your own limerick!

There are limericks of all different kinds.
So how do you write one that shines?
You’ll see that it’s cool
if you follow the rule:
a limerick is made of five lines.

So listen close to this song.
Lines one, two and five are all long.
And in poems of this sort
make lines three and four short
and I promise you’ll never go wrong.

You need to be sure and contrive
to rhyme lines one, two, and five
Then do it once more
with lines three and four
and your limerick surely will thrive!

So let these pointers take hold
And if you’ll write as you were told
at the rainbow’s end
you’ll find there my friend
your own limerick pot o’ gold!