For Educators

Professional Development Workshop Resources Organized by Topic

The resources below were generated by the facilitators of our free Professional Development Workshops for ABE and ESOL teachers, administrators, and counselors and our First Literacy Lab grant recipients, and are posted here to be shared with organizations across Greater Boston and the state.

Some of the categories contain resources relevant to both ESOL and ABE programs. Feel free to adapt them for your own use, and please cite the original authors if you share the material outside of your classroom. Thank you.

Teaching ESOL

This introductory course in pronouncing General American English (GenAm) will help educators provide instruction for students who want to acquire GenAm speech patterns. Material focuses on a subset of GenAm phonology including “Problem Pairs”, vowels and consonants that are similar and often present as accented to native General American English speakers. Material includes techniques for practicing these phonemes with students, and tips for explaining sound articulation.

First Literacy – Pronouncing General American English Part 1 (.pdf)
First Literacy – Pronouncing General American English Part 2 (.pdf)

This material describes how to present the six syllable types and syllable division patterns in English for multisyllabic words to help students unlock each syllable’s vowel sound for more accurate decoding and spelling.

It’s All About the Vowel Sounds 9-25-2020 (.pdf)

These workshop materials put the teacher in the role of language learner to provide successful instruction and classroom management methods for varying levels of low-literacy adult ESOL students. Included are differentiated instruction methods and accessible materials to provide an animated learning environment for three levels of low-literacy ESOL classes that scaffold upon each other.

Low-Literacy Presentation Slides – First Literacy 2-14-2020 (.pdf)
3-Step Method (.pdf)
Appropriate written materials (.pdf)
Session 1 Assignment (.pdf)

This workshop material describes a simple and replicable method for ESOL teachers to bring music to their classrooms.  It is based on a collaboration between Rosie’s Place Women’s Education Center and Berklee College of Music. The material introduces the Rosie’s Place model, method and the theory behind it with suggestions on how to include group song-writing in the ESOL classroom. No musical training is necessary.

ESOL and Song-Writing PPT
Music and Language Acquisition (.pdf)
Childhood – Conversation Starters (.pdf)
Teen Years – Conversation Starters (.pdf)
Tips for ESOL Conversation (.pdf)
Rosie’s Place – Easy Melodies for Song Writing (.pdf)
You Are My Sunshine (.pdf)
Berklee Students at Rosie’s Place Metro Article (.pdf)

The use of frequent improvisation in the classroom gets students thinking and talking “on their feet,” enhances their confidence and ease of communication, and reduces their fear of making mistakes.  This material includes a variety of improvisation activities appropriate across any ESOL curriculum. 

Bringing English Alive through PPT (.pdf)
Improv Theater Was Invented to Help Immigrants Assimilate (.pdf)
The Benefits of Improv for Adult Education (.pdf)
Improvisation Activities to Wake up and Move (2) (.pdf)
Improvisation Techniques (.pdf)
Navigation Improvisations (.pdf)

This workshop material was created for ESOL teachers who want to incorporate some math into their existing or new lesson plans but are unsure how to do so. Stress-free and CCR-aligned math activities are designed so teachers can incorporate the language of math for everyday life into the lessons they are already doing.

Glossary of Common Math Terms (.pdf)
Math Classroom Realities_A (.pdf)
Math Color the Cells_G (.pdf)
Math How Do You Feel Handout_B (.pdf)
Math Low Level Charting_F (.pdf)
Math Support for ParentsQR2(.pdf)

This workshop material presents approaches to speech/pronunciation instruction involve areas such as intonation, linking, word stress, and thought groups.  Sample exercises and activities for students at various ESOL levels are included as well as strategies for integrating lessons into your the classroom.

Session 1 – PowerPoint (.pdf)
Session 1 – Agenda (.doc)
Session 2 – Power Point (.pdf)
Session 2 – Agenda (.doc)
Planning Your Implementation (.doc)
Implementation Worksheet (.docx)

Sample Exercises and Student Activities:

Five “T” Sounds (.doc)
Intonation Practice Exercise (.doc)
Linking Practice Exercise (.doc)
Content Words Exercise (.doc)
Thought Groups Exercise (.doc)
Compound Word/Phrase Exercise (.doc)
Reducing Vowels in Structure Words (.doc)
Intonation Practice Using Kazoos (.doc)

This workshop material addresses how adult education students can benefit from phonics instruction, the assessment of students’ decoding and encoding skills, and instructional techniques and activities.

Incorporating Phonics Techniques – First Lit (.doc)
Phonics Workshop Agenda (.doc)
Schwarz Using Phonemic Awareness with ESL Students (.doc)
Greene phonics inventory assessment (.pdf)

A variety of approaches to pairing students’ personal photographs with storytelling are presented to help adult English learners express themselves in English, improving their vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills.

Resources from Session 1:

Visual Storytelling PowerPoint (.pdf)
Visual Storytelling Short Guide (.pdf)
Producing and Reading Images in the Adult ESOL Adult Classroom (.doc)
Workshop Storytelling Exercise (.doc)
The Pedagogical Possibilities of Photo-Story Production (.pdf)
Photography and Writing Teacher’s Reflection (.pdf)

Resources from Session 2:

Photographs Lesson Plan (.pdf)
Visual Storytelling Additional Resources (.pdf)
Text Messaging (.pdf)
Who Am I? (.pdf)
Reporting The News (.pdf)
Freedom Trail (.pdf)

Teaching ABE/ASE

This material covers the new remote testing options provided by HiSET® and GED®, including strategies for preparation and the differences and similarities between the tests.

Remote Proctor Testing: HiSET/GED Comparisons 9-2020 (.pdf)

Working with adult students with different background knowledge and aptitudes is always a challenge.  This material provides some strategies and tools for differentiating your HiSET/GED curriculum to challenge and engage each student while teaching them the subjects and skills they need to earn their high school equivalency diploma.

Differentiated Instruction for HiSET Session 1 Handout (.pdf)
Differentiated Instruction for HiSET Session 2 Handout (.pdf)
Differentiated Instruction for HiSET – more resources (.pdf)
Differentiated Instruction for HiSET PPT (.pdf)

If you had questions about the differences between the HiSET and GED tests or how to best advise students on which test to choose and how to prepare them for success, this material covers the basics and beyond.

HiSET-GED Power Point for First Literacy 9-28-2018 (pptx)
GED Formula (pdf)
GED Score (pdf)
Sample Comprehensive Report (pdf)
Mathematics Formula Sheet (pdf)
Individual Test Report (pdf)

Teaching Reading and Writing – ABE and ESOL

This workshop material introduces The Change Agent is an excellent resource for online-accessible content that you can use to teach basic skills in a way that is aligned with the College and Career Readiness Standards. The material explores how to use the articles in three formats (PDF, audio, and Google slides) to teach reading and writing at multiple levels, including teaching strategies, free teaching packets, and tips for how to bring the new Call for Articles to their students and work with them to develop submissions.

First Literacy 2021 Pt 1 — TCA and writing (.pdf)
First Literacy 2021 Pt 2 — TCA and reading (.pdf)

Morphology study can increase students’ vocabulary and comprehension skills. The material presented in this workshop explores the utility of teaching morphology to students; how to label words from the Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Greek layers of the language and identify base words, root words, prefixes, suffixes; and introduces strategies to teach basic Latin ;morphemes and how to plan lessons to practice them in isolation and in context.

First Literacy Morphology PD Feb 2021 (.pdf)
UNO Prefixes (.pdf)

This material is intended for teachers with high intermediate or advanced students and is suitable for transitions to college, HiSET, and GED level learners. It includes strategies to help students read and write effectively for academic purposes by

  • engaging in activities that help students comprehend complex texts;
  • exploring rubrics that help students track their own progress in expository writing; and
  • reviewing the basics of academic language, including how to understand an assignment.

Academic Word List (.pdf)
Common Terms Used on Exams (.pdf)
High Incidence Academic Word List  (.pdf)
Indigenous People Level 4 (.pdf)
Indigenous People Level 8 (.pdf)
Letter Writing Template Sample and Rubric (.pdf)
Pre-read, Read, Review Reading for Academic Purposes (.pdf)
Purposes of Academic Reading (.pdf)
Reading and Writing for Academic Purposes PPT (.pdf)
SQ3R-Organizer (.pdf)
Strategies for Reading Textbooks (.pdf)

This material is based on reading research and offers practitioners a wealth of relevant reading material selected from The Change Agent magazine. Included are a number of lesson ideas and strategies for teaching reading, as well as support for developing an action plan to implement these strategies in your classroom. 

Focus on Basics_Reading (.pdf)
Krudenier_Reading Research (.pdf)
NCSALL Understanding What Reading Is All About (.pdf)

Activities presented in this material address a variety of Pre-ASE and ASE learning objectives for both native and non-native speakers of English, and include students’ writing for different purposes: personal, professional, and academic. Student self-assessment and teacher feedback are also addressed.

Some Objectives of Pre ASE, ASE Writing (.doc)
Perfect paragraph checklist (.docx)
Ideas for Teachers, Pre-ASE, ASE Writing (.doc)
Interview for Wacky Paragraphs (.doc)
New Writing Rubric (Oct. 2005) (.pdf)

This material presents strategies and practices to create a culture of writing in the classroom for English language learners, including approaches for experiential writing activities and projects, and writing for communication and expression.

Overview and Planning Materials:

Session 2- Experiential Writing Agenda (.doc)
Approaches to Experiential Writing (.doc)
Notes on Audience and Editing (.doc)
Creating a Culture of Writing (.doc)

Sample Exercises and Student Activities:

Personal Description (.pdf)
Writing about a Friend (.pdf)
Developing a Sense of Place (.doc)
Table of ESOL Writing Activities (.doc)
Images of Home Countries (.doc)

Student Engagement

Due to the COVD-19 pandemic, educational systems and adult learners have found themselves immersed in remote learning. What are the implications for student persistence? This material examines the research on persistence and online learning, factors that support persistence and barriers that mitigate against it, issues of self-agency and motivation, the racial and economic disparities that are sharpened in online learning, and how adult students and teachers can best approach this new world. 

First Literacy Student Persistence and COVID-19 Part 1
First Literacy Student Persistence and COVID-19 Part 2

This workshop was designed to assist educators who are in a full virtual model due to COVID-19. It included several community building activities through Zoom, and different ways to establish virtual classroom norms and facilitate content-connected activities with a focus on ESL. The presenter did not use a slide presentation.

Creating Community in Virtual Spaces Parts 1 & 2 activities outline
Virtual Fisher Handshake

The road to fluency in reading and writing is a long and bumpy one. What can one-on-one tutors do to encourage their students to stick with it? Research shows that students who establish realistic goals, monitor their progress, use relevant curricula, develop effective learning skills, and have a sense of agency in their learning are more likely to persist in their educational pursuits. This workshop material includes instructional approaches and learning tools to focus student resolve and improve the chance of educational success.

Implementation Worksheet  
Building a Learning Plan
Persistence 1 Activities Handout
Further Resources for Student Persistence Workshop


What can we do as classroom instructors to encourage students to stick with it? Research shows that students who establish their learning goals, monitor their progress, feel connected to their classroom community, learn effective study skills and strategies, and have a sense of agency and control in their classes are more likely to persist in their pursuit of education. These workshop materials include research-supported classroom activities and practices that foster the resilience, agency, and grit our students need to achieve their educational goals.

Session 1:
Strengthening Student Persistence and Resilience Part One (.pdf)
Student Persistence Class Activities (.pdf)
Learner Persistence Program Self-Assessment Landscape
Further Resources on Student Persistence (.pdf)

Session 2:
Strengthening Student Persistence and Resilience Part Two (.pdf) 
Persistence Handout Session 2 (.pdf)
Possible Log Items (.pdf)
Language for Group Work (.pdf)
Voice Level in the Classroom (.pdf)
Goal Setting Contract Low level (.pdf)
Intake Intermediate on Learning English (.pdf)
Monthly Contract (.pdf)
Planning Worksheet for 5 Year Goal. Simple (.pdf)

This material explores approaches to managing and improving adult students’ short term and long term attendance. Among the issues considered are different types of attendance policies and ways to administer them, establishing and maintaining relationships with students, and using tough love and flexibility in attendance counseling.

Overview and Planning Materials:

Session 1 – Managing, Improving Students’ Attendance
Session 2- Managing, Improving Student Attendance (.ppt)
Approaches to Attendance Summary (.doc)
Managing Attendance, Sample Scenarios (.doc)
Classroom Environments and Practices (.doc)

Sample Exercises and Student Activities:

Sample Attendance Policy 1 (.doc)
Sample Attendance Policy 2 (.doc)
Sample Attendance Policy 3 (.doc)
Sample Attendance Policy 4 (.doc)
Your Action-Plan Activities (.doc)

This workshop material focuses on approaches to keeping students connected and even engaged during those “down” summer months, when classes are not in session. User-friendly practices and resources are presented and discussed.

This workshop material presents ways that students may become true leaders within our programs: in student advisory councils, as mentors, tutors, teaching assistants, teachers and program ambassadors. Also considered are ways that student leadership may be extended beyond our program, into our communities.

Overview and Planning Materials:

Cultivating Student Leaders Agenda – Session 1 (.doc)
Cultivating Student Leaders PowerPoint – Session 1 (.pptx)
Cultivating Student Leaders Agenda – Session 2 (.doc)
Cultivating Student Leaders PowerPoint – Session 2 (.pptx)
Action Plan (.doc)
Globalization and the Role of Adult and Continuing Education – article (.pdf)

Sample Exercises and Student Activities:

Skill Bridge Handout (.pdf)

This workshop material introduces the science of trauma and learning and the art of incorporating trauma-informed approaches in the ABE/ESOL context. Strategies and activities for promoting resilience and reducing stress in the ABE classroom environment are included.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (.pdf)
DOs and DON’Ts of a Trauma Informed Classroom (.pdf)
ESOL toolkit Mental Health (.pdf)
RacingACEsPyramid2016 (.pdf)
Effects of Trauma and Chronic Stress – PowerPoint (Session 1) (.pdf)
Trauma Informed Teaching and Advising – Resource Guide (.pdf)
Trauma of Racism Report (.pdf)
Fidgets Can Enhance Concentration (.pdf)
Effects of Trauma and Chronic Stress – PowerPoint (Session 2) (.pdf)

Digital Literacy and Technology

This material — a follow-up to “Engaging and Effective Tools for Online Assessments” which included sessions on Google Forms, Quizizz, and Padlet – explores Nearpod and Pear Deck, two innovative tools to integrate instruction and assessment. Learn how to combine slides, videos, readings, and other types of content with polls, open-ended questions, drawing activities, and more.

First Literacy Nearpod and Pear Deck workshop 3.12.21

Assessment is a key aspect of effective instruction, perhaps even more so in the context of distance learning. This material introduces several engaging tools for assessing students online, including Google Forms, Quizizz, Nearpod and Padlet.

First Literacy Online Assessment Workshop Part 1 slides

Part 2 slides in the link below include several more Padlet examples, the link to the first Padlet from workshop participants’ collaboration, examples of Nearpod lessons (try the one about advice with “should,” in particular), links to the feedback forms, and resources for more information. 

First Literacy Online Assessment Workshop Part 2 slides

Thanks to Andrea Frank, who created this padlet to share ideas about how you might use Padlet with your classes. And, here are participant drawings as they tested the tool!

This material was designed for ABE administrators and tech helpers to share what Framingham Adult ESL Plus learned through the process of setting up Google’s G Suites for Education which offers a wide variety of services available to schools and nonprofits at no cost.

Setting up Google G Suite for Education in Public ABE: Part 1 (Oct 21, 2020)
Setting up Google G Suite for Education in Public ABE: Part 2 (Oct 30, 2020)

These materials introduce new ways to use YouTube videos — an invaluable resource for online learning — with students, including recording teachers’ and students’ own videos using screen recording programs like Screencastify, creating original videos using slideshows and narrated texts, and how to share videos via Google Classroom and other methods. 

Doing More with YouTube: Edpuzzle and Screen Recording(October 2020)

This material is an introduction to the ways in which teachers can use Google Classroom and Google products like Docs, Slides, and Forms in their ESOL and ABE classrooms to promote digital literacy, develop English language proficiency, and strengthen content knowledge. 

Doing More with Google Session 1 slides Google Suite Tools
First Literacy Doing More with Google Session 1 handout
Doing More with Google Session 2 slides Google Classroom
First Literacy Doing More with Google Session 2 handout

Most of the students in our ABE classes have access to a smart device. This workshop material presents ways that ESOL teachers can use these devices to promote speaking, listening, grammar, and vocabulary skills in the classroom.

Cellphone App Links for ESOL – Paysnick – November 2018 (.pdf)
Please Don’t Put Away Your Cellphones: Using Mobile Technology in the Classroom (.pdf)

All adult education teachers and administrators want to create a community and provide support for their students and staff, both during and outside their time at the program. This workshop material introduces the free and easy Weebly website builder to construct a web space where students and staff can access activities and resources on a web page, meet via webcam, and share work and ideas with each other via a blog.

Resources for this workshop are located online: click here to access.

General Teaching Approaches

Working with adult students with overt or hidden disabilities is always a challenge. This material explores some mindsets, strategies and tools for working with students with disabilities, including learning disabilities. Also addressed are the Universal Design for Learning, disability rights, and accessing accommodations for the HiSET/GED. 

No ADULT Left Behind Part 1 11-6-2020
No ADULT Left Behind Part 2 11-13-2020

This workshop material, presented by the International Dyslexia Association of Massachusetts for First Literacy, addresses what dyslexia is, common signs of dyslexia, dyslexia in English Language Learners, and what teachers can do to support adult learners with dyslexia. 

Dyslexia and the Adult Learner (.pdf)

According to Sandra Kerka (1997), “Popular Education is a form of adult education that encourages learners to examine their lives critically and take action to change social conditions.” This workshop material addresses the relevance of Popular Education to adult education today, the opportunities and constraints within the current context, and some concrete applications going forward.

Popular Education PPT- First Literacy (.pdf)
Immigrants and Taxes (.pdf)
The IEP (.pdf)
Family Literacy Activities (.pdf)
Background of Popular Education Principles (.pdf)
We Are change_Gimbel_Pop Ed (.pdf)
Popular Education Housing Lesson comparison (.pdf)
Popular Education Questions to Consider (.pdf)

Session 1: An Overview on the Brain and Learning
Learn about recent research on the mind, memory, and learning, and translate these findings into effective classroom practices. Explore which activities enhance student learning and strengthen student memory.

Learning and the Brain – An Overview (.pdf)
Info Gap on Spaced Practice (.pdf)
Further Resources for Learning and the Brain (.pdf)
Implementation Worksheet Learning and the Brain (.pdf)
Learning and Brain Retrieval Activities (.pdf)

Session 2: Student Speak – The Essential Role of Elaboration in Student Learning
Learn why “student speak” is essential to learning.  Explore several simple and engaging classroom activities to help students make connections essential for remembering their learning.

Sarah Lynn PPT 2 Student Speak (.pdf)
Implementation Worksheet (.pdf)
Teacher-talk (.pdf)
InfoGap. What is Memory? (.pdf)
Jigsaw. The Surprising Effects of Retrieval Practice (.pdf)
Language for Collaborative Work (.pdf)
Tips for Collaborative Learning (.pdf)

Session 3: Developing Student Resilience – Encouraging Effortful Learning
Explore simple techniques in teacher feedback, student questioning, and pair/group work to increase student focus on effort, learning strategy, and critical thinking and to reduce performance anxiety.

Developing Student Resilience (.pdf)
Implementation Worksheet (.pdf)
Info Gap. Handwriting & Learning (.pdf)
Info Gap. Researchers create new font designed to boost memory. (.pdf)
Resilience. Error Correction Handout (.pdf)
Sorting Activity for Practice vs. Performance (.pdf)

Session 4: Multimodal Learning – Engaging the Whole Brain in the Classroom
Learn some of the science behind multimodal learning and explore a broad variety of ways to enrich your teaching by using all the modalities in your classroom

Multimodal Learning PPT SL April 2019 (.pdf)
Combining Voice and Text (.pdf)
Multimodal Checklist (.pdf)
Multimodal Spelling (.pdf)
Multimodal Feedback Sounds of English (.pdf)
Quiz & Trade (.pdf)

Grounded in research and practice, this material focuses on the roles of both teachers and students in the context of English language acquisition, keeping how students learn front and center in the teaching process. Special attention is given to instructional approaches that promote student recall and articulation.

Overview and Planning Materials:

Session 1 – Brain-Based ESOL Instruction PowerPoint (.pdf)
Resources for Further Learning (.doc)
Action Plan (.doc)
Session 2 – Brain-Based ESOL Instruction PowerPoint

Sample Exercises and Student Activities:

Retrieval Practice Guide (.pdf)
Dictation of Quotes
Multisensory Approach to Spelling (.doc)
Multisensory Checklist (.doc)
Reading, Oral Fluency Activities (.doc)
Recall Activities (.doc)

Citizenship and Civic Participation

This material is designed to help providers better support the immigrant students and families with whom they work. It provides an overview of the current immigration landscape, legal updates, immigration rights, a brief overview of the immigration court process, and resources that can be provided to students and families, including bilingual “Know Your Rights” cards, a “Know Your Rights” summary sheet, and a list of legal services organizations. 

Be Empowered and Know Your Rights

The 2020 Census provides a picture of our nation that helps determine how federal funding is distributed; and how congregational seats are apportioned. It also shows us how our communities have changed over time. That’s why a complete and accurate count is so important. This material will help you to talk to your adult students about the importance of being counted. Included is an explanation of the job opportunities available for which many adult students may qualify.

CENSUS 2020-MA PresentationFL 2-28-2020
CENSUS 2020 Lesson packets from WorldEd (#19-22)
National Coalition for Literacy Pledge to Be Counted campaign
New England Literacy Resource Center Stand Up and Be Counted
Language Support in 59 Lanuages:
Avoiding Fraud and Scams:
Statistics in Schools Program:

This material is designed for both beginning and experienced citizenship teachers working with mixed-level students with a minimum SPL (Student Performance Level) of 2.

Student Group Assessment Table (.doc)
Citizenship Preparation SLIDE SHOW (.pdf)
Citizenship Preparation NOTES (.pdf)
Citizenship Preparation MATERIALS (.pdf)
Citizenship Interview Preparation Process (.pdf)
Sample Citizenship Interview Script (.pdf)
Literacy Volunteer Guidebook 9-2-18 (.pdf)
Citizenship Interview Preparation and Methodology (.pdf)
Session 2 – Multi-level Citizenship Prep Class Management (.pdf)

The material for this workshop is designed for both beginning and experienced citizenship teachers interested in differentiated instructional methods and materials for multi-level classes and for lower-level English and literacy students.

N400 P12 Terminology Grid 4-22-18 (.pdf)
Additional Information About You Study Table N400 P12 4-22-2018 (.pdf)
Differentiated Citizenship Instruction 11-16-18 (.pdf)
100 Citizenship Questions Study Table (.pdf)

This workshop material is designed to help students understand the voting process in Massachusetts, including how to register to vote, and covers how Congress is constructed, what is meant by the terms red, blue, and purple/swing states, and how the Electoral College works.

How a Bill Becomes a Law (multiple pages) (pdf)
The Electoral College (multiple pages) (.pdf)

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project compiled this material to better inform teachers about where to direct their students for accurate information. This material covers the current immigration landscape including the current state of DACA and the termination of TPS, the rights of all people under the US Constitution regardless of immigration status, a person’s rights during various encounters with immigration agents, how to be prepared in case of detention, and where to go to find free and low-cost immigration legal services.

Know Your Rights Presentation – English 10.27.18 (.pdf)
Know Your Rights Presentation – Spanish 10.27.18 (.pdf)
Red Card-English (.pdf)
Red Card-Haitian Creole (.pdf)
Red Card-Portuguese (.pdf)
Red Card-Spanish (.pdf)
Statewide Referral List 9.26.18 (.pdf)
PAIR Know Your Rights one-pager English (.pdf)
Mayor’s Office Clinic List English (.pdf)

College and Career Readiness

This material focuses on the three main components of applying for a job: creating a resume, writing a cover letter, and practicing for an interview. It includes interactive lesson plans to help ESOL students move forward with job-readiness tools and skills to support their language learning, as well as components to help students develop computer skills, conversation skills and research skills to support their career goals.

First Literacy – Resume Writing (.pdf)
First Literacy Workforce Dev and ESOL with BHCC Presentation Agenda Part 1 (.pdf)

By intentionally building and establishing a college-going culture from intake, teachers will be able to help broaden their students’ educational expectations and career possibilities.

Overview and Planning Materials:

Session 1- Agenda for College and Career Readiness (.doc)
Session 2 -Agenda for Project-Based Classroom Activities (.doc)
Session 2 – PowerPoint Overview (.ppt)

Sample Exercises and Student Activities:

Suggested Activities (.doc)
Employer Hiring Exercise (.xlsx)
Question Worksheet (.doc)
Handout on Lecture Note-Taking (.doc)
Note-Taking Sample Quiz (.pdf)

Many adult students need help to develop the basic skills required to effectively transition to college and succeed in their careers. Topics addressed in this material include the identification of skills needs of individual students, recommended progression of tasks keyed to personal career goals, creating action plans to reach those goals, and documentation of students’ work.

Overview and Planning Materials:

Action Plan (.doc)

Sample Exercises and Student Activities:

Session 1 – Handouts (.pdf)
Session 2 – Handouts (.pdf)
Transferable Skills Self-Assessment (.doc)

This workshop material introduces ESOL teachers and tutors at all levels to the new “Life Skills, College, and Career Readiness Guide for ESOL Learners” developed through a collaborative effort of ACLS, SABES, ESOL practitioners, and the national Center for Adult English Language Acquisition Team. The Guide describes a wealth of ESOL classroom activities that prepare students for their “next steps” by developing their life skills and college and career readiness skills while addressing the Mass. ESOL Curriculum Frameworks.

On Life Skills, College, and Career Readiness Guide (.doc)
What We Learned from Research (.doc)
Agenda – Life Skills, College (.doc)
CAELA Guide 2011 (.pdf)

Classroom and Program Management

Session 1 of this material, Train the Trainers, introduces the essential training checklist, key planning questions and frameworks to guide volunteer training design, and suggestions for modeling a few tested training activities. 

Developing Engaging, Effective Volunteer Training – Session 1 11-20-2020

Session 2, Training Design Work Sessions, outlines a deeper look at setting training content and process objectives and matching topics to the right interactive activities to create a training plan that’s tailored to the organization and its volunteers. 

This workshop addresses the challenge facing teachers and program coordinators who have enthusiastic volunteers, but want to put their skills to better use in the classroom.  Material discusses expectations and concerns of the teacher and the volunteer, how to craft an effective volunteer role, the variety of tasks that classroom-based volunteers can do, and integrating volunteer roles into a few sample lesson plans.

Leveraging Volunteers in Adult Basic Education Classrooms (.pdf)

First Literacy Lab 2020 Project Resources

This project engaged parent learners in weekly literacy workshops and close integration with the library, including a family/community literacy event. The project added a curricular component to increase families’ understanding and utilization of the local library in addition to supporting parents’ English language development, providing for print-rich home environments, and fostered cultural transmission in multigenerational homes. 

Brookline ESOL Family Literacy in the Library 2020 First Literacy Lab

Research shows that iPads are a very effective tool in teaching literacy to students who have no reading or writing experience because they are not unlike students’ phones. Center for New Americans used their grant to develop a curriculum using the iPad for pre-literate students and to share curriculum and best practices with other teachers, thus building organizational capacity. 

CNAM Emerging Literacy and iPads 2020 First Literacy Lab

FAESL used their grant to develop and implement a program-wide curricular initiative that helped immigrant parents learn how to guide themselves and their children through the challenges of today’s social media environment. The many extant resources that aim to inform parents on digital citizenship and raising digital natives assume higher levels of cultural and linguistic proficiency than many adult ESL learners possess. FAESL assembled a curriculum writing team to make sheltered materials to be piloted by teachers in Framingham Adult ESL Plus classes, then revised and shared with others as well.

FAESL Hip to SMS – Helping Immigrant Parents to be Social Media Savvy 2020 First Literacy Lab

This program strengthened the impact of existing skills training and employment programming by providing refugees and immigrants with English-language learning focused, practical financial education and tools to maximize their financial health as they work toward career and educational goals.

IINE Money Talks and Your Voice Matters 2020 First Literacy Lab

This class focused on the college experience in the United States and was intended to help students decide if college is the right choice for them and then, if yes, to give them the tools required to achieve this educational goal. The curriculum spanned from an overview of the U.S. education system, to different types of higher education and college programs, to alternatives to college, to methods of paying for college, and to strategies for succeeding in college.

MUA College Para Ti Y Para Mi! 2020 First Literacy Lab

QARI used this grant to adapt its current Family Literacy curriculum for parents with lower levels of English to help this underserved population navigate the American school system, become involved in their children’s schools, and teach their children at home.

QARI Pre – Family Literacy – ESOL for Parents and Caregivers 2020 First Literacy Lab

With its grant the YMCA ILC established a summer program to introduce its adult English language learners to Massachusetts’ history 1620-1863 through classroom lessons, assessments, and field trips. They made comparisons to what was happening in other parts of the world at that time and to current events. Field trips to Plymouth Plantation, The Freedom Trail, Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, Lexington Green, The African Meeting House, and the East Boston Immigrant Station solidified the lessons and helped students to make connections to their community.

YMCA ILC Making Connections to Massachusetts through Historic Tourism 2020 First Literacy Lab
Massachusetts Historic Tourism Book YMCA ILC 2020 First Literacy Lab

First Literacy Lab 2019 Project Resources

The purpose of this grant project was to create ESOL curriculum to be used for student and family field trips to Boston cultural sites, exercising their English skills to build connections to the city and its history.

Blackstone Literacy Lab Presentation 10.25.19
Take Advantage of Boston’s Cultural Resources Curriculum Packet-First Literacy Lab

Teachers used their grant funding to develop curriculum to teach English language skills using children’s literature and involve students in a digital storytelling project. 

Brookline ESOL Family Literacy Project Samples

The purpose of this project was to incorporate poetry into the ESOL classroom, create a school literary journal, and provide opportunities for students to present their poems publicly. 

Poetry is Power First Literacy Lab Presentation 10.25.19
Acrostic poem lesson across levels
Lesson Plan – Emotions-feelings poem across levels 
Lesson Plan – Parts of Speech poem across levels
Student Poetry Anthology 2019

This project was developed to provide the opportunity for beginner ESOL students to attend live classical and dance performances and crate a corresponding curriculum.

The goal of this grant project was to offer two sessions of the DRIVE Learner’s Permit Preparation course to help refugee and immigrant students pass the driver’s permit exam. This is the continuation of a successful year 1 grant.

IINE DRIVE First Literacy Lab Presentation 10.25.19
IINE DRIVE 7-Week Syllabus
IINE DRIVE Practice Tests

This project’s objective was to implement a service-learning component within an ESOL class to encourage students to play an active role in their communities and learn more about Boston resources.

MUA Service Learning First Literacy Lab Presentation 10.25.19
MUA Service Learning Photos

Teachers organized and directed a group of ESOL students to perform a play, with performances held for the community and recorded for use by other programs. 

We Are All Immigrants Lesson Plan
We Are All Immigrants – Questions to the audience 

The instructor’s goal was to design and implement a hands-on science curriculum, including lab work, for High School Equivalency students. 

SMOC-JBALC – Science Encounters First Literacy Lab Presentation 10.25.19
SMOC-JBALC-– Science Encounters Teacher Notes
SMOC-JBALC – Science Encounters Student Samples

The goal of this project was to implement a program-wide “one book” community where all ABE students and teachers would participate in reading books that share a common theme. Independent reading would be supported by student journals, classroom activities, and discussion.

What Page Are You On? First Literacy Lab Presentation 10.25.19
Additonal JW Book Survey Student Input
Dialectical Journal – Back Page/Wide Margin to the Right
Dialectical Journal – Front Page/Wide Margin to the Left
Dialectical Journal – Cover Page
Harbor Me Student Invitation & Project Overview
Pre-Project Student Survey
Post-Project Student Survey
Think Aloud Bookmarks

First Literacy Lab 2018 Project Resources

This project focused on creating a space where ESOL students could read extensively and for pleasure. The lead teacher, Caitlin Jacobs, helped students select whole books at their appropriate reading level and to cultivate the habit of reading independently.

BCNC Choosing Books For Pleasure Reading (.pdf)
BCNC Huck Finn (.pdf)
BCNC New Yorkers – Stories from O Henry (.pdf)
BCNC The Wizard of Oz (.pdf)

The goal of this project was to implement a writing project—in Haitian Kreyol and English—across all classes at the GACC, culminating in the publication of two volumes of student writing. Along the way, teachers engaged in on-site professional development on teaching writing.

GACC Student Writing Survey (.pdf)
GACC Writing Tips low level (.pdf)
GACC Teacher Writing Survey (.pdf)
GACC Magazine Jan 2018 (.pdf)
GACC Magazine June 2018 (.pdf)

This grant allowed the Haitian Multi-Service Center to develop and implement a technology curriculum to provide ESOL students with the basic computer skills they need to become independent learners.

HMSC A Collection of Student Stories (.pdf)
HMSC PowerPoint Presentation Assignment Final Report 2018

IINE developed and delivered a curriculum that equipped students with the knowledge needed for the Massachusetts Learner’s permit exam. The curriculum was designed to engage English language learners and to place emphasis on safety while driving.

IINE DRIVE Consolidated Worksheets and Quizzes (.pdf)
IINE DRIVE Final Consolidated PowerPoints (.pdf)
IINE DRIVE Literacy Lab Project Presentations PPT (.pdf)

Teachers at the JPCCALP engaged in professional development to gain knowledge about and comfort with integrating math vocabulary and concepts into their ESOL classes.

JPCCALP From Exposure to Mastery Literacy Lab Project Presentations PPT (.pdf)
JPCCALP Math_ESOL Resource (.pdf)

MUA created a project to assist and support students with health-related English language and literacy skills to better prepare them for admission into the program’s Home Health Aide training.

MUA ESOL for the Home Health Aide (HHA) Career(.pdf)
MUA HHA ESOL Curriculum (.pdf)
MUA Old MacDonald Injury Lesson  (.pdf)

With this grant, QARI created a project that provided English language learners with the opportunity to learn about and experience the cultural and recreational resources available to them in Quincy and the surrounding areas. Students researched sites, planned visits, and practiced English skills through enjoyable, experiential activities.

QARI Lit Lab 2018 PowerPoint (.pdf)
QARI Survey on Local Community Recreation (.pdf)

Through research, site visits, and oral presentations, ESOL students at St Mark explored the wealth of public art Greater Boston offers and developed increased confidence in using English both inside and outside of class.

St Mark Public Art PPT (.pdf)
St Mark Curriculum Outline (.pdf)
St Mark Survey (.pdf)
St Mark Webpage URL:

Teachers at the Joan Brack Adult Learning Center at SMOC provided basic computer instruction to ESOL learners on their waitlist to help them use USA Learns as a way to study independently and to enhance their employability.

SMOC Computer Basics (.pdf)
SMOC Student Pre-Post Self-Assessment (.pdf)

First Literacy Lab 2017 Project Resources

Our summer gardening project will have two components. ABCD Mattapan will provide ESOL instruction to a multi-level group of students. We will focus on vocabulary related to the environment, gardening, plants, and vegetables. We will help students use language to describe and talk about their gardening process, and compare gardening in their home countries and in the United States. Once a week, students will work with a garden educator at the City Natives teaching garden where they will learn hands on skills in gardening and farming.

Gardening Pre and Post-Evaluation (.pdf)
Resources for Gardening and Language Learning (.pdf)
Planting Flowers Story (.pdf)
Know When to Plant What – Mother Earth News (.pdf)

Established in 2003, the ESOL Program increases self-sufficiency of ATASK clients, all Asian women who are survivors of domestic violence. The program serves at least 30 women each year, 30% of whom are residents of ATASK’s shelter and another 30% of whom are former residents. The proposed project will reduce the proficiency level range of learners in each ESOL class, increase the time spent in reading and writing instruction, and the frequency of this instruction. As a result of the project, FY 2017 learners will make greater gains in English proficiency, particularly in reading and writing skills, and those entering the program at SPL 0 and 3 will have increased program persistence when compared to learners in FY 2016.

Tips for Developing Reading Comprehension (.pdf)
Lesson Plan Form (.pdf)
CBC Business Problems Worksheet (.pdf)
CBC Business Problems Worksheet #2 (.pdf)
ATASK Class Levels Work Worksheet (.pdf)
ATASK Class Levels Worksheet (.pdf)

Established in 2003, the ESOL Program increases self-sufficiency of ATASK clients, all Asian women who are survivors of domestic violence. The program serves at least 30 women each year, 30% of whom are residents of ATASK’s shelter and another 30% of whom are former residents. At present, 3-4 volunteers from Suffolk University plan and teach courses to small groups of learners each semester, the proposed project will maximize the impact of these volunteers on English acquisition by ESOL Program learners. FY 2017 learners will benefit through: (1) more engaging, more effective volunteer-led instruction; (b) more timely intervention by the ESOL Teacher when volunteers are struggling and/or learners are dissatisfied; and, (c) fewer weeks over the program year without volunteer-led instruction.

College Student Volunteer Recruitment Flyer (.pdf)
College Student Volunteer Applicant Interview Questions (.pdf)

This project aims to provide video lessons targeted towards Chinese learners of English who want to improve their pronunciation and learn more outside of the classroom. The videos will be accessible via WeChat, a very popular social media application, and will include instruction, practice, and assessment of various pronunciation topics that are particularly challenging for Chinese speakers due to language transfer. The instruction will be light-hearted, fun, and involve pop culture and current events to keep students’ interest and make learning enjoyable. Students will also be able to engage with the videos by asking questions, commenting on the videos and sharing with friends.

BCNC Contrastive Stress Card Game (.pdf)
Instructions for WeChat Video – Intro (.pdf)
WeChat Survey (translated) (.pdf)
Listening Quiz (.pdf)
BCNC Literacy Lab Presentation Handout (.pdf)
BCNC Instructions for WeChat Video – Lesson 1 (.pdf)

BCYF is seeking to develop a program that will assist students in learning more efficient techniques of writing. Students will develop proper habits of writing for use in both passing the state HSE exam as well as developing confidence to express themselves at the next step (community college/skills training) in a manner that is acceptable to academia or workforce development. In this project, we will combine evidence-based techniques for teaching writing with keyboarding as these are necessary skills for passing high school equivalency and obtaining success in community college and/or skills training. Research indicates that 50% of HSE candidates failed the exam the first time. 25% of those failures are on the ELA Writing exam. Many of these failures are due to poor essay writing skills.

Original Synopsis: The Digital Memoir Project will support 16 low-income immigrant seniors in recounting and preserving their experiences through authentic images and text. Students will meet 1 ½ hours weekly for facilitated conversation and writing exercises using carefully selected prompts. At the end of the 12-week project, students’ stories will be professionally assembled into an e-book that can be shared online or printed for purchase. Ultimately, the Digital Memoir Project participants will improve the oral and written English skills and confidence while creating a meaningful keepsake that can be passed on across cultures and generations.

Immigrant Memoir Project Stories (.pdf)
First Literacy Lab Presentation 2017 (.pdf)

This class will teach skills needed to effectively carry out the responsibilities of an administrative assistant. The class will run for 1 or 2 cycles depending on interest and will be 10 weeks per cycle. The students will learn skills such as filing and record keeping to phone etiquette and computer skills. We will connect with employers looking to hire administrative assistants and connect students to those hiring.

Charlestown Administrative Assistant Course (.pdf)

This class will teach proper articulation and grammatical skills while introducing tier 2 vocabulary words. The purpose is to enhance students’ chances of making a good impression on a job interview and obtaining employment while reducing the use and need for slang and increasing academic language in order to be successful students in college.

Computer Tool Tech Project “Free Way” will be a simulation of an Information Technology (IT) lab, where students from Mujeres Unidas Avanzando’s (MUA) ESOL/Computer class will work under the supervision of the ESOL/Computer instructor as an IT company. Twelve students will work on MUA’s staff and lab computers over a six-month period to upgrade, maintain, secure, customize/personalize, and back-up. If students run out of computers on which to work, students and staff will bring their machines from home.

Back Up (.pdf)
Internet Browser Security (.pdf)
Maintenance Sheet (.pdf)
Wheel Game (.pdf)
Mujeres IT Tools Tech Free Way (.pdf)

This project is the development and assessment of a digital spaced repetition system for beginner level English learners. Using Anki, an open-source program for combining text, image, and audio into digital flashcards, Project Literacy’s Beginner 1 teacher will develop decks of cards that will be accessible from any computer, tablet, or smart phone. These decks will help students recognize and distinguish English sounds, learn the spelling of sounds, learn 150 of the highest frequency vocabulary, and learn 6-12 basic grammar rules. While just 15 learners benefit in FY 2017, many more are likely to benefit thereafter.

Project Literacy Anki Resources (.pdf)
Project Literacy Deck 1 (.pdf)
Project Literacy Deck 2 (.pdf)

Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. (QARI) seeks additional funding to extend and fully integrate the extensive reading project funded by our successful FY16 grant. This will primarily consist of common planning hours during which teachers will collaboratively integrate the activities and strategies developed in FY16 into the broader ESOL curriculum.  Further, we will continue to share our findings with the field locally and, where possible, further afield.

Extensive Reading Curriculum (.pdf)

SCALE Connections is a program that will use volunteers to run small English conversation groups at SCALE in Somerville. Based on the experience of a successful model at an organization called Intercambio in Boulder, CO, SCALE Connections will also organize social and cultural events that will be open to the public, including potlucks, dances, and outings to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for English language learners (ELLs) to practice speaking and for English speakers to get to know members of the immigrant community as individuals.

SCALE Fall 2016 Newsletter (.pdf)
SCALE Pre and Post-Assessment Likert (.pdf)
SCALE Spring 2017 Newsletter (.pdf)

To strengthen our ESOL curriculum through integrating current curriculum into the Ventures textbooks to make sure the curriculum properly aligned with textbooks and be more practical for the adult immigrant learners. We want to adopt core practices, curricula, and methodology that are effective and replicate, and are based on methodologies that have proved successful at VACA. To purchase Venture textbooks for immigrant students, those are just arrived in the U.S., struggling to make their ends meet and have very little source of income.

Curriculum with Teacher Feedback (.xlsx)

We plan to provide two semesters of computer classes, 2.5 hours per week, starting with computer basics in the fall, and advancing to intermediate computer use skills in the spring. We hope to serve a combination of those adults already in our ESOL classes as well as others in the community seeking to enhance their computer skills. In the fall, we will provide introduction to computer basics for those with no computer familiarity, including the English terminology to describe hardware, software, functions and processes on the computer; introduction to MS Word and basic typing skills; and introduction to the internet, including opening an e-mail account and learning how to use it. In the spring, we hope to help students use parts of the MS Office Suite more effectively, including more advanced usage of MS Word, introduction to Excel, and the basics of PowerPoint including a final presentation.

Welcome Project Final Course Booklet (.pdf)
Welcome Project Teacher Resources (.pdf)

First Literacy Lab 2016 Project Resources

Original Goal: Students in intermediate to upper level ESOL classes, after choosing a topic of interest, will meet weekly to discuss works of fiction and non-fiction. They will benefit through improvement of subject content knowledge, develop critical reading skills, and increase their vocabulary, together with experiencing the joy of reading in English for personal enrichment.

CLC Book Club Evaluation (.pdf)

Original Goal: Hands-on experiments grounding students in science fundamentals will be researched, developed, and tested in class, part of students’ Hi-SET preparation. Experiments and lessons developed will be incorporated into the program’s curriculum.

Addressing Stem Through Science Experiments (.pdf)
Percent And Snow Fall (.pdf)
Percents and Smoking (.pdf)

Original Goal: Students will be connected with volunteer and job-shadowing opportunities. Curriculum will be developed and tested, developing students’ survival and employment skills through targeted vocabulary, math, and use of technology.

Career Exploration PowerPoint (.pdf)

Original Goal: To create a book that includes ten historical East Boston immigrant stories with accompanying illustrations that students can relate to.

NOAH Community Voices – Part I (.pdf)
NOAH Community Voices – Part II (.pdf)

Original Goal: Material to develop students’ problem-solving and employability skills will be developed, tested, and incorporated into the program’s ESOL curriculum and shared with the field.

Problem-Based Learning (.pdf)

Original Goal: A curriculum for low-level English learners will be developed and piloted. Curriculum will be shared with the field.

Basic Life Skills and Digital Literacy (.pdf)
Digital Resources For Life Skills Curriculum (.pdf)
Trip To CVS (.pdf)
Rubric For Life Skills Field Trip (.pdf)

Original Goal: Material to be used for one-on-one tutoring of literacy students will be developed and tested. Project includes the initial and follow-up training of tutors.

Basic Literacy Tutor Training (.pdf)
Tutor Training Grid Agenda – 4 Sessions (.pdf)
Binder Index (.pdf)
Books and Print Resources (.pdf)

Original Goal: Program students with interest in becoming teachers in childcare, pre-school, or K-12 settings will be provided with information, career guidance, and volunteer placement, enabling them to explore and begin careers as bilingual, bi-cultural educators. The model and materials will be shared with the field.

Teaching Track For ESOL Students (.pdf)
Careers In Education and Childcare Application (.pdf)
Careers In Education Flyer (.pdf)
English For Careers In Education and Childcare – 1st Class (.pdf)

Original Goal: A writing curriculum designed for individual students and used in one-on-one tutoring will be developed and tested. This curriculum will prepare program students for the Hi-SET high school equivalency test and strengthen writing skills for future education and employment.

Individualized Writing Curriculum (.pdf)