Concurrent Sessions

WITESOL will be offering a variety of concurrent sessions throughout the conference. As our presenters confirm their presentations, we will add their session information to this page. Check back often as we plan to feature over 15 sessions to choose from!

Abstract: Leadership development is a vital principle of public education, but how well are multilingual learners being prepared to lead? Drawing from research and two decades of experience, this presentation will identify elements of youth leadership development, outline a leadership unit, and discuss ML leadership development challenges through an equity lens.

About the Presenter: Matthew W. Miller has taught English and ML courses at the middle school through college levels in New York City, Mexico City, and Wisconsin. A state representative to the National Teacher of the Year program, he is a frequent presenter on leadership development and SEL-centered teaching for diverse adolescents. Mr. Miller currently serves as the ML department leader at Sheboygan North High School and founding director of the Hmong Leadership Council.

Abstract: Do you notice a failure to thrive among multilingual students in English-dominant settings? In this session, translanguaging is offered as an antidote to subtractive schooling where students are losing their home language and culture. Most importantly, translanguaging pedagogy offers more strategies to help language learners access literacy and all learning.

About the Presenter: Charissa Considine has taught second grade for 19 years. In her inclusive classes, 20-50+% of her students were from multilingual, multicultural families. Working in an English-dominant environment and wary of the potential harms of subtractive schooling, she cares about helping students realize the benefits of their bilingualism and share it with their peers. Considine advocates to make it easier for multilingual students and families to navigate school and community systems. Considine’s delight in multicultural and multilingual communities began in infancy when her family hosted Vietnamese boat people and grew through childhood experiences all the way to the university. She has participated in multilingual education on three continents. Considine completed her master’s degree, earning her ESL and BE licenses to better serve multilingual students and families.

Abstract: Multilingual learners can be marginalized and even silenced when speaking in languages other than English in monolingual spaces, such as schools. In this presentation, learn through examples how digital storytelling can be used as a way to raise up multilingual voices and build understanding and community with non-multilingual audiences.

About the Presenter: Heather A. Linville, Ph.D., is Professor and TESOL Director at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, U.S.A. Her current research explores how digital storytelling can support and encourage translanguaging in English language teaching. Heather has several publications, including Advocacy in English Language Teaching and Learning (Routledge, 2019; co-edited with James Whiting). She has traveled and worked in Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, and Panama, and has served the TESOL International organization in various ways. Her other research interests include how teachers advocate for English learners (ELs) and how personal, experiential, and contextual factors influence advocacy beliefs and actions, critical language awareness, and social justice for ELs.

Abstract: In this presentation, we share results from a qualitative research study done with elementary multilingual learners participating in Global StoryBridges. We share lessons learned from the process of facilitating this after school project, along with recommendations on how to better achieve equity in after school programming for multilingual learners.

About the Presenters: Gordon Blaine West is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Second Language Acquisition, where he also works with the Assessment Team at WIDA. He has an MA in Second Language Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He worked previously as an English language teacher and teacher educator in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. His work focuses on test development for young learners and analysis of written and spoken language of young language learners. He also has research interests in multimodality, narrative analysis, and critical pedagogy. His work has been published in Applied Linguistics Review, Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Linguistics and Education, and International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.

Sara J. Goldberg is a Bilingual-Bicultural/English Learner Teacher with CESA 6, one of 12 Cooperative Educational Service Agencies in Wisconsin. Through this role, she serves as an instructional leader and provides support for language learners and families for school districts across the state. She is an Ed.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Educational Sustainability in conjunction with pursuing a Wisconsin Director of Instruction license through Viterbo University. Sara has an MS in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Global Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her research interests involve utilizing technology to facilitate projects that strengthen educational equity and global citizenship initiatives. She explores language, culture, and context in formal and informal learning environments with experience in both rural and urban communities.

Abstract: Teacher education programs in less linguistically diverse environments struggle to offer teacher candidates experiences with English learners (ELs). Two teacher educators discuss how using a virtual, multilingual classroom space with EL avatars supports teacher candidates as they learn about ELs and how to teach them in their future classrooms.

About the Presenters: Dr. Matt McParker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. He earned his EdD from Portland State University in 2016, researching the experiences of female, Muslim students who were resettled after fleeing Myanmar. He was a middle school social studies and language arts teacher in Portland, OR from 2006-2019, where his students spoke over 35 different languages. At UWL, he teaches social studies methods, TESOL courses, and is a Professional Development Liaison at a local elementary school. His broad research interests include social studies education, inquiry, preservice teacher preparation, and equity and social justice.

Heather A. Linville, Ph.D., is Professor and TESOL Director at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, U.S.A. Her current research explores how digital storytelling can support and encourage translanguaging in English language teaching. Heather has several publications, including Advocacy in English Language Teaching and Learning (Routledge, 2019; co-edited with James Whiting). She has traveled and worked in Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, and Panama, and has served the TESOL International organization in various ways. Her other research interests include how teachers advocate for English learners (ELs) and how personal, experiential, and contextual factors influence advocacy beliefs and actions, critical language awareness, and social justice for ELs.

Abstract: This session will provide a brief overview of translanguaging pedagogy. Possible uses of translanguaging in post-secondary education contexts will be described, including ESL and mainstream classes, undergraduate and graduate levels, and whole class and individualized instruction. Finally, tips will be provided for advocating translanguaging to mainstream colleagues.

About the Presenter: Sheryl Slocum has taught English as a foreign or second language for over 30 years at the middle school, adult, college, and graduate levels. She began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chad, Africa. Since then, she has taught in New Mexico, Virginia, Washington DC, Louisiana, and Wisconsin. Most of her work has been with adults, college students, and pre-service teachers. Sheryl’s MA in Linguistics/ESL is from the American University in Washington, DC, and her PhD in second language writing is from UW-Milwaukee. Sheryl has presented at TESOL affiliate conferences and at the international convention and has served on boards and committees at the affiliate and international levels. Her professional interest is in how first language and culture inform subsequent language learning.

Abstract: While peer feedback is commonly used for writing assignments to complement instructor feedback, promote self-reflection, and enhance audience awareness, this approach can serve the same functions for pronunciation courses and assignments. The presenter will share practical frameworks and suggestions for implementing oral skills focused peer review and summarize student experiences.

About the Presenter: Heidi Evans has taught ESL and EFL since 1996 and currently teaches academic ESL and teacher training courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also taught intensive English and teacher training courses at WESLI, and she spent eight years teaching at the university level in Japan.

Abstract: The Jigsaw technique is a classic collaborative activity that engages all students as they become “experts” of a section of a larger material, and then teach it to others. After participating in this workshop, participants will see just how easy it is to utilize this interactive activity in F2F and virtual instruction.

About the Presenter: Christine has worked in the English language field for thirteen years. She currently teaches ESL at Waukesha County Technical College and Madison College, where she prepares immigrants to successfully enter higher education and fulfilling careers. Previously, she served as a U.S. Department of State English Language Specialist in Mexico and as an English Language Fellow in Panama. She has also provided professional development workshops to English as a foreign language (EFL) instructors in Turkey, as well as to a virtual worldwide audience. Christine holds a Bachelor of Science in International Studies-Global Security from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Arts in Linguistics with a TESOL graduate certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Abstract: In this session, participants will practice how to uncover this language within a math unit in Bridges. Participants will determine the Math ELD KLU that must be integrated, instructed and assessed for the unit standards and assessment. They will also practice identifying the unit-specific language functions and unit-specific language features.

About the Presenter: Gretchen Lettau is a consultant in the Language and Culture Center of Excellence supporting the areas of Language Development, English Learners, and Dual Language Education. Gretchen has worked as a teacher and coordinator for 19 years with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. She comes to CESA 2 after working in the Menasha Joint School District as the coordinator for the EL and Bilingual Programs, and previously teaching high school history, ESL and dual language. Prior to Menasha, Gretchen taught in the Madison Metropolitan School District as a high school history and ESL/Bilingual teacher. Gretchen has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and holds administrative licenses for the principalship and director of curriculum and instruction. She is the proud mother of Finn and Marit and lives with her husband and children on a Century Farm outside of Neenah, Wisconsin. She loves to be outdoors and spend time with family and friends.

Abstract: How can we work with DPI, our schools, our communities, and our legislatures to ensure that there are enough qualified teachers for all our multilingual learners? During this interactive session, we will share information and resources and invite ideas and collaboration to address the ESL/ELL teacher shortage in Wisconsin.

About the Presenters: Rhonda Petree is a lecturer in the English and TESOL department at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She has been teaching English and working as a teacher educator since 1999. She has taught learners of all ages and levels in Wisconsin and Minnesota. She was a TEFL Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan from 1999-2001 and a Fulbright Scholar/Visiting TEFL Lecturer in Narva, Estonia during the 2018-2019 academic year. 

Gabrielle Hill serves as a Spanish teacher and curriculum developer for Woodlands Elementary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated in 2021 from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in TESOL and Spanish. She has worked in the past as a second grade teacher, third grade teacher, and ESL aide all within the K-8 setting. In the near future she intends to begin working towards a Master’s in Educational Administration.

Natalija Krsteva is a Bilingual Resource Teacher at the Verona Area High School. She works primarily with students who have recently arrived in the United States. Previously, she worked as a tutor for international students at UW-Whitewater. Natalija earned her bachelor’s degree from UW-Whitewater and holds teaching licenses in English Ed., ESL, and Spanish Ed. Natalija is passionate about working with EL students since she also learned English as a second language. In addition to English, she also speaks Macedonian and Spanish. Her goal is to provide equitable educational opportunities for multilingual students and improve the quality of the ESL and Bilingual/Bicultural Education programs.

Catherine Wilson has been teaching at Fort Atkinson High School as an EL teacher since 2016.  Before teaching full time, Catherine worked in Sheboygan Falls Elementary School with EL students on a part-time basis.  She has also taught overseas in Kazakhstan where she learned Russian as a second language.  

Abstract: We share selected experiences of a dual language teacher’s first year of teaching, focusing on two critical incidents that helped shape this teacher’s professional identity and her career choices. These critical incidents and their outcomes are described from the dual perspective of the teacher and the researcher in the study.

About the Presenters: Melanie Schneider is Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, where she coordinated the ESL and Bilingual Education Licensure Program and advised the Student Teaching in Mexico Program. She is interested in promoting collaborations between IHEs and school districts that lead to professional growth among teachers, university students, and university faculty. In addition to teaching students of all ages, she enjoys working with practicing teachers. A long-time member and supporter of WITESOL, Dr. Schneider has served on the WITESOL Board in various capacities.

Rocio Aburto is a dual language teacher (Spanish-English) at Hackett Elementary in Beloit. Prior to her current role, she taught Science and Social Studies in the dual language program at an intermediate school in South Central Wisconsin in grades 6-8. Rocio was born and raised in Mexico City and moved to the United States in 1998. In 2010, she went back to school to finish her undergraduate degree. She graduated in December 2020 as a nontraditional student, married with five children, and an English language learner who, despite all the obstacles, managed to fulfill her dream of becoming an educator.

Abstract: Are you wondering how English Language Development Standards can work in dual language classrooms? In this workshop, we will demonstrate how the Key Language Uses and the Language Expectations in the 2020 edition can be used in your classrooms. The workshop will illustrate how to design a unit of instruction drawing on the ELD Standards to support students’ language development to explain, argue, narrate, and inform. Participants will see examples of explanations and arguments in Spanish in different content areas.

About the Presenters: Dr. Ruslana Westerlund is a Ukrainian-born educational consultant at CESA 2. She supports Wisconsin school districts by developing resources for DPI and Wisconsin schools in implementing the WIDA Standards using Implementation Science. She also supports school districts in understanding Ukrainian families who are here in Wisconsin on the humanitarian parole. In her previous role she was a researcher at WIDA where she contributed to the writing of the 2020 ELD Standards. The development of those standards was informed by her research she conducted in Wisconsin schools to support them in writing in the disciplines. She is a co-editor of Scaffolding Learning for Multilingual Learners in Elementary and Secondary Schools with Luciana de Oliveira available from Routledge. Her publications appear in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, WIDA Focus Bulletins, MinneTESOL Journal, Journal of English Language Education, Language Magazine, ASCD and others. In her spare time, she is a volunteer for Wisconsin Ukrainians, a nonprofit which exists to support Ukrainians in the time of war. She is also an author of From Borsch to Burgers: A Cross-Cultural Memoir.

Fran Veguilla is a transformational leader, committed to equitable practices that help eliminate barriers for our more marginalized students and their families, so that they can fulfill their true potential. Fran is a a consultant with CESA 2 and brings over 15 years of experience as a classroom teacher, bilingual/EL teacher, mentor, instructional coach, PLC facilitator, and advocate for change. She was most recently employed in the Verona Area School District as a Bilingual Instructional Coach. Prior to that, Fran worked in the Racine Unified School District for nine years as a Dual language Kindergarten/5th-grade teacher and bilingual educator effectiveness coach. Fran holds a Master’s degree in Bilingual Education from Rockford University and an Educational Leadership degree from Edgewood College. She is a collaborative leader who envisions schools and programs where diversity, inclusivism, and culture are seen, valued, and celebrated.

Abstract: “Teacher, this is too easy.” “Teacher, this is too hard.” If you have a class with more than one student, you have a multilevel class. Join our session to learn about multilevel classroom practices to differentiate instruction and adapt activities to keep all students engaged and appropriately challenged. We will share ideas and strategies to meet the diverse learning needs of each of your adult English language learners and enrich your multilevel classroom.

About the Presenters: JennaRose Dahl has been a teacher, coordinator, volunteer, Americorps member, and writer, specializing in digital literacy and blended learning for adult students for over 10 years. As a Customer Manager for BurlingtonEnglish, they love solving problems and helping programs successfully implement blended learning, with a special interest in antiracist teaching. 

Angela Donlon joined the BE team as a customer representative after 30 years of teaching Adult Education in MN. She fell in love with teaching adult ESL as a volunteer in St. Paul while in college. Adult learners are her heros. Angela is passionate about helping teachers and students find creative ways to succeed and have fun in the process.  

Olga Tomski is an ELL Adjunct Instructor at Northcentral Technical College. She started teaching ELL in 2011 after earning her Master’s degree in Linguistics and Bachelor’s in Secondary Education. She is passionate about advancing academic and real-world language skills development and cultivating digital literacy skills through setting high-quality standards for students, deploying cutting-edge strategies, and sharing her knowledge with other educators.  Her deep involvement in Next Generation Language Access, The Literacy Center of Massachusetts, and U.S. Department of State English Language Programs has also helped her accomplish these goals and make significant changes in students’ lives both on local and global levels.  

Abstract: In this session, participants will learn about the systems, challenges and successes of bilingual education in the United States and Ecuador, as well as participate in selected activities from a unit about the indigenous groups of the Americas. The unit is classroom-ready, can be used for middle and high school classrooms and focuses on historical thinking skills and content based EL strategies for WIDA level 1-3 students.

About the Presenters: Jenna Putz is a middle school EL and social studies teacher in Arcadia, Wisconsin. She is a proud graduate of Arcadia High School and began teaching in the district in 2015. Kim Severson is a high school EL and social studies teacher in Arcadia, Wisconsin. Previously, she taught EL for 3 years at Stayton Intermediate/Middle School in Stayton, Oregon, and EL for 5 years at Arcadia Middle School. They participated in a Fulbright-Hays trip to Ecuador in June 2022 to learn about bilingual education and indigenous culture.