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SuperELLasticlearningadocious: Stretching Learning Opportunities for ELLs With Multimodal Projects and Book Making

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 4

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Technology Teacher
Heidi Shorter is an Instructional Technology teacher with the Howard County Public School System in Ellicott City, MD. She has an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Heidi has presented technology integration strategies at the school, county, and state levels. Her students have won several Maryland state awards for the use of technology in graphic design and multimedia. Heidi prides herself on knowing her students and making learning balanced, meaningful, and engaging whether they are elementary students or colleagues trying to grow and learn appropriate and effective technology integration.
Community Advocate Manager
Carolyn Daly has been working for an educational technology company in San Diego, called Tech4Learning for over 20 years. She has conducted hundreds of presentations at local and state-wide conferences and writes articles for the online Creative Educator magazine. Before working for Tech4Learning, Carolyn taught for 4 years as a bilingual educator in California, in addition to 2 years in schools in Costa Rica and Guatemala. She holds a Master’s of Education in Literacy from California State San Marcos, CA where she conducted her final thesis project on the impact of constructivist technology tools on second language learner’s writing.

Session description

Experience a variety of engaging digital, tangible and sensory activities you can incorporate into your English language classes to boost academic vocabulary and communication skills.

Purpose & objective

Attendees will walk away with a variety of ideas for implementing innovative multimodal and sensory projects with their PK-5th grade language learners to help support and bolster language acquisition from the Pre-production through the Advanced fluency stage.

Specific strategies for using multiple modalities (visual , tactile (clay) etc) to support language development will be shared that have been successfully used with language learners in Central America and in the United States.

The session will provide instructional strategies and lesson ideas for activities that can be easily replicated and incorporated by various digital instructional tools and free resources.

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5 minutes - Introduction
- Hello..
- Survey about participants (title, location, etc.)
- Share an overview of our time together

10 minutes - Why multimodal and multi-sensory learning is critical for ELL’s
When student’s sensory needs are met, the stage is set for higher order thinking and memory.

Research by Mindset leaders Angela Duckworth and Carol Dweck
- Discuss sensory lesson taught in Guatemala for vocabulary
- Discuss clay sculpting- animation as a means for lowering the affective filter and promoting writing (NYC post 9/11 story)
- K-5 student examples

10 minutes - Importance of Visuals in Concreting Abstract Concepts for ELL’s

-Present research by Visual Literacy Expert, Dr. Lynell Burmark and the importance of connecting words, ideas, and concepts to visuals for long-term retention.
- Introduce to free authentic image site- Pics4Learning Site (
- - K-5 student examples

10 minutes - Importance of Academic Vocabulary
Research by Dr. Kate Kinsella on academic vocabulary

- Trading Cards and Interactive Games
- Frayer Model
- K-5 Student samples

15 minutes - Communication
“We can’t really know anything that we can’t communicate.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
Discuss students as authors (creating comics, booklets, and repetitive language books and scaffolds)
K-5 student examples

5 minutes - Resources and Questions

- Questions and Answers (this will be throughout as it is a poster session)

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Supporting research

Armstrong, T. (1994). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria: ASCD.Marzano, R. (2009). Six steps to better vocabulary instruction. Educational Leadership, 67(1), 83-84.

Boaler, J ( 2019) Limitless Mind; Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers. Harper Collins Publishing.

Duckworth, A (2016). Grit; The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Simon and Schuster Publishing.

Kinsella, K. (2005) Teaching Academic Vocabulary, an Aiming High Resource. Sonoma: Sonoma County Office of Education.

Kinsella, K ( 2010) Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches. California Department of Education.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollcak, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works. Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria: ASCD.

Tomlinson, C.A. and J. McTighe. (2006) Integrating Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design: Connecting Content and Kids. Alexandria: ASCD.

Visually Speaking | Edutopia

Wahl, L, & Duffield, J (2005). Using Flexible Technology to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners: What Teachers Can Do. WestEd, Retrieved October 19, 2008, from

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Session specifications

Communication & collaboration
Grade level:
Skill level:
Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Subject area:
ISTE Standards:
For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session