Watch & Learn: ELL Strategies in Middle and High School

Colorín Colorado is pleased to present Watch & Learn, an online professional development series for educators of ELLs! The series presents four video modules featuring strategies from secondary ELL classrooms and interviews with experts on ELL best practices. Additional classroom videos featuring these educators are also available in our classroom video library.


This series was produced with the generous support of our founding partner, the AFT, and is a winner of the Telly Award for Online Educational Video..

Classroom Video Modules

What to do first: Creating a welcoming ELL classroom environment

Learn about these important first steps that will help ELLs feel welcome and get them on the path to academic success. Strategies include creating a print-rich environment and connecting content to students' cultures and experiences. (St. Paul, MN)

Chapter walk with me!

Previewing content is an important step in scaffolding new content for ELLs. One way to do this is through a "chapter walk" - not only does it prepare students for what they are about to learn, it gives them the tools for previewing content independently in future academic coursework. (St. Paul, MN)

Story set-up: Pre-reading strategies for comprehension

These pre-reading strategies will help lay the groundwork for ELLs before tackling a new text. Strategies include previewing vocabulary, activating background knowledge, and introducing academic concepts (such as literary elements) important to the text in an ELL-friendly way. (Buffalo, NY)

Making connections: Creating an active & engaged reader

Learn how to engage ELLs as readers through strategies such as frequent comprehension checks and higher level thinking activities. (Buffalo, NY)


Interviews with Featured Teachers

Michelle Lawrence Biggar

Michelle Lawrence Biggar is a high school ESL teacher at the International Preparatory School at Grover Cleveland High School in Buffalo, NY. In this interview accompanying her classroom videos, Michelle discusses her use of classic works of literature with newcomer ELLs, demonstrates some of her favorite writing strategies, and discusses ways that ELL teachers can advocate for their students.

Amber Prentice

Amber Prentice Jimenez is an ELL and Spanish teacher and professional development leader. In this interview accompanying her classroom videos from St. Paul, MN, Amber offers strategies for making newcomer students and their families feel welcome, tips for working with refugees and middle school ELLs, and activities for developing ELLs' reading and academic language skills.