Session Descriptions & Presenters

AMTESOL 2021 Virtual Conference

The Silver Lining: ESL Teaching During a Pandemic

January 29-30, 2021

Friday January 29: 9:00am-4:00pm

Saturday January 30: 9:00am-1:00pm

[All times are USA Central Time]

Thank you for attending our virtual conference!

Information about our 2022 conference is coming soon.


Friday, January 29th


Most Effective Digital Tools for English Learners: Using Virtual Instruction? No problem! This presentation has the digital tools for you! A compilation of digital resources to assist teachers with virtual learning opportunities for English learner students.

Presenters: Mayté Cotton, M.A. is a Regional ESL Specialist with the ALSDE. She has taught K-12 students for 20 years. Susan Penton, M.A. is a Regional ESL Specialist with the ALSDE. She has taught grades 6-12 students for 15 years.


Staying in the Loop: On-ground to Online and Back Again: Being prepared to shift lesson delivery from on-ground to virtual to hybrid - at a moment's notice - has become an essential skill. This session will focus on three specific elements of instructional design to help you make sure everyone stays in the loop as we all navigate these ever-changing conditions.

Presenters: Andrea Word, Ed.D. is a teacher educator and linguist at UAH with over 20 years in educational linguistics across P-16 contexts. Evdoxia Tsimika-Chronis, M.A.T. has worked with ELs at the P-12 levels both in the States and abroad for over a decade. Their collaboration focuses on training for mainstream teachers who serve ELs in U.S. schools.


Supporting Parents in a World of Change: Helping our parents during remote learning is a crucial component for the educational success of ELs. Come join the discussion on supporting EL families during these challenging times in our world.

Presenters: Sevim Whitaker, Ed.S. has supported administrators, teachers, and families for 20 years through a variety of educational leadership roles. Beth Massey, M.A. has served in various educational roles, building relationships with students and their families, to support academic growth.


Network with EL Professionals: The Discussion Forum provides ways to connect with other EL professionals. Use this time to network with others about topics of interest to you. Visit the "Live Chat Invitations" forum to invite others to a live chat or join one someone else has set up.


Reaching SLIFE Students with Classic Literature: SLIFE students often lack the background knowledge and experience to make classic literature accessible and understandable. This presentation shares ways to help high school students understand the classics and reach the state objectives.

Presenters: Nancy Turbyfill, M.A.Ed. teaches high school reading and language arts at the EXCEL Center sheltered instruction program in Decatur, Alabama. Joni Sue Bair, M.A.Ed. currently teaches newcomers at The EXCEL Center and her experience has ranged from Pre-K to high school, teacher to ESL Coach.


An Arts Integrated Approach to Literacy Lesson Sequences: Using a 5 day lesson sequence, participants experience how to use an arts integration approach to take students from speaking, to writing, to reading. With this approach, students are reading text significantly above their instructional level.

Presenter: Kelly Reider, M.A. has 26 years' experience in public education including consultant, ESL district program coordinator, school administrator, instructional specialist, and teacher.


Creative Co-Teaching: A Springboard for Non-English Speakers in Science: By simply reaching across the hall, the presenters have established a successful co-teaching experience fostering a learning environment conducive for SIFE and non-English speakers to access challenging science standards. Authentic materials and assessments will be presented. Audience participation is encouraged through the Zoom Q&A.

Presenters: Monica Farris, Ed.S. is a Guatemalan native, former English Learner with 18 years' teaching experience and National Board Certification. Dana Crummie, M.A. is a 4th grade science teacher with 18 years' teaching experience and a passion for hands-on instruction.


Saturday, January 30th


Different and Innovative Reading Strategies for All English Language Learners: How can I teach my English Learners to read along with my regular education students? Teach your English Learners with the same passion as your regular education students but with some added techniques to better meet their needs.

Presenter: Kimberly Clark, M.A. is an Ed.S. student in the TESOL program at UAB. She is a 25-year veteran teacher at Carlisle Elementary.


Keynote: Find That Time and Energy You've Been Missing: 10 Time Management Best Practices for Teachers That Work

See full Keynote description and Serena Pariser's bio


AMTESOL General Membership Meeting (everyone invited)


Reaching Out to English Learners during the Pandemic: This presentation will describe areas that provide challenges to ELs during the pandemic. The session will include practical culturally and linguistically responsive teacher strategies for addressing these needs. The session will conclude with participant discussion about providing support for ELs.

Presenter: Gwendolyn Williams, Ph.D. is an associate professor of ESOL Education at Auburn University. Her research focuses on instruction of English learners.


Abilities Beyond the Classroom: Education delivery is evolving, and teachers need to learn new things. 21st century teachers need all the skills required to develop the four abilities in their students and they must be able to apply them to virtual learning environments. Creating an efficient and effective virtual classroom requires online teachers to develop exceptional skills. As the evolution progresses, the overriding challenge for educators and administrators will be finding ways to embrace new technology and teaching environments in a responsible, practical, and educationally friendly manner.

Presenter: Luis Albert Fernandez, M.A. is the General English Coordinator for 7 campuses in two different states of Mexico at Unidades Basicas UPAEP, where he has been the coordinator since 2007. He has extensive experience as an educator and international certification preparation. He is also the president of Puebla Tlaxcala Mextesol Chapter.

Differentiated Instruction: Strategies to Engage and Motivate ALL Students: In this presentation, you will learn about strategies that promote student engagement in the learning process. These strategies are designed to integrate different modalities of learning with multiple learning intelligences, and are appropriate in all content areas and grade levels. [20 minutes]

Presenter: Lori Shelton, M.Ed. is a retired educator with over 28 years of experience as a classroom teacher, reading facilitator, academic interventionist, state literacy coach and community college adjunct instructor. Lori is currently an Associate Trainer with the Center for Teacher Effectiveness in the area of Student Motivation and Engagement Strategies (SEAM). 

Double-Communication Lines Using Zoom: It is possible to adapt the successful in-classroom activities and strategies used to teach remotely and promote interaction among second language learners. This variation of Double-Communication lines provides a clear description of how to use this activity using Zoom and its breakout rooms to increase students' confidence, engagement, and motivation while improving their speaking skills. [14 minutes]

Presenter: Beatriz Erazo, M.A. is a committed, energetic, and collaborative teacher trainer. She has taught in several educational establishments in Bolivia, and at Hotel Training Center in Boston, MA, and World Learning, VT. Currently, she teaches at Bolivian Catholic University and Mayor de San Andres University, is the Academic Director of EnglishTech SRI, and a freelance consultant for Pearson Education.

Dynamic Collaborative Writing: In this modified version of the Academic Writing Process, students work on writing while developing the other three main skills within a Collaborative Learning Framework. They also are provided with freewriting and assessment opportunities using rubrics. More importantly, this is an activity that helps learners avoid frustration when writing. [14 minutes]

Presenter: Beatriz Erazo, MA - see bio above

EL or Special Education? Is it a Learning Disability?: ELs are overrepresented in Special Education in the areas of Speech/Language Impairment and Specific Learning Disability. This presentation explores factors that contribute to the overrepresentation of ELs and provides practical guidance for PST and referral teams. Finally, how to establish the validity of special education assessment for ELs is discussed. [20 minutes]

Presenters: Emily Day, Ed.S. has worked for Gadsden City Schools as a special education teacher for the last 20 years. She recently completed her Ed.S. in TESOL from UAB. Amber Hipps, M.A. is a School Psychometrist for Gadsden City Schools and serves as the special education coordinator in a residential treatment center.

Forming Family Partnerships through an EL's Perspective: Creating a more welcoming school environment with the perspective of ELs and their families in mind. This session will include scaffolding strategies with a focus on the significance of understanding your students and their families' cultural and linguistic backgrounds. [16 minutes]

Presenters: Robin Stutts, Ed.S. has been a Regional EL Specialist at the ALSDE for 5 years and an educator since 1997. Rebecca Padin, M.A. is a Regional EL Specialist for the ALSDE. She has been an educator for over 23 years.

Language Learning and Academic Outcomes of SLIFE Learners: Increasing numbers of English Learner newcomers have been enrolling in schools at all grade levels. Many have limited or interrupted education in their home countries. This presentation discusses issues related to SLIFE and proposes educational strategies for meeting their needs. [16 minutes]

Presenter: Hollie Alldredge, M.Ed., M.S. is a Speech Language Pathologist employed by Gadsden City Schools. She is a member of ASHA and TESOL.

Redesigning Pronunciation Teaching for a Virtual Classroom: Reimagining Kinesthetic Activities: Even in virtual classrooms, kinesthetic activities can help English learners overcome pronunciation challenges. In a redesign of pronunciation teaching for online classes, the presenter leads viewers in using their entire body to enact English stress patterns.

Presenter: Susan Spezzini, Ph.D. is professor and program of teacher education in English as a Second Language (ESL) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA).

Social Emotional Learning for English Learners in a Pandemic: This presentation will focus on understanding social and emotional learning, essential teaching practices for supporting the social and emotional health of English learners, essential messages to share with students and essential messages to help teachers maintain their own social and emotional health as they continue to face and deal with the current pandemic. [20 minutes]

Presenter: Sandra Elliott has served as a classroom teacher for over 25 years for grades 2 through middle school in Ohio and in Mississippi. She is currently the English Learner Intervention Support Specialist for the Mississippi Department of Education (PK-12). In this role, she provides professional development and technical support to teachers and administrators throughout the state on best practices, instructional guidelines, intervention strategies and instructional strategies to support English learner students.

Translanguaging: Unlock Your Emergent Bilingual Student's True Potential: When teaching English to emergent bilinguals, unless we use their first language, we can only access part of their linguistic range. Join a discussion of how to use a student's mother tongue to deepen their understanding.

Presenter: Charles Zeller, M.Ed. is an ESL teacher in Madison County, Alabama, and an Ed.S.-TESOL candidate at UAB. [14 minutes]

Virtual Projects for Teaching Critical Thinking Skills: This presentation includes a few ideas and sources for implementing virtual projects which encourage students to analyze information, synthesize information, and create while developing their understanding of language and culture. These projects and resources have been implemented at the university IEP level, but could also be adapted for secondary level students. [20 minutes]

Presenter: Tracy Koslowski, M.A. is the Associate Director of Recruitment and Development of the Intensive English Program at The University of Mississippi, where she has been on the faculty since 2008. She has extensive experience as an educator and administrator and has served in leadership positions in various professional organizations pertaining to language and pedagogy. Tracy is the Immediate Past President of AMTESOL.

Download the Conference Program