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Colorado TESOL News


Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

August/September 2011


CoTESOL 35th Annual Fall Convention and Exhibition

November 11-12, 2011

Red Lion Hotel Denver Southeast

3200 S. Parker Rd., Aurora, CO., 80014

"35 Years and Beyond: Creating, Connecting, and Crafting"
Registration Forms ("Early Bird" Deadline: October 15, 2011)

Convention Fees 

 Register Online and Pay by Credit Card (small processing fee applies)

Fill-in and Print-out Form for Mail-in Registration

Printable Form for Mail-in Registration (.html format)

Printable Form for Mail-in Registration (.docx format)

Complete Convention Schedule, Plenaries, and Abstracts (.pdf)
1.5 Continuing Education Units Available from UCD for Convention Attendees


Red Lion Hotel Denver S.E. Reservations and Information

Special $90 Group Rate for Red Lion Hotel Denver S.E. Hotel 

Click here to reserve your hotel room online at the special $90 rate

(Use Group Code COTE1110 or call 800-RED-LION)



Dear CoTESOL members,


We are gearing up for yet another great convention this fall on November 11-12, 2011 at the Red Lion Hotel in Southeast Denver!  Last year's conference was a success and we are looking forward to seeing you all again this year for our 35th Annual Fall Convention "35 Years and Beyond: Creating, Connecting, and Crafting".


The 2011 convention schedule is online and all presentations/presenters have been selected for 2011.  We have some exciting topics for 2011 with presentations from CDE, Intensive English Programs, Adult Education and the Community Colleges with valuable and interesting themes such as music in ESL, Service Learning, Social Media, Corpus Linguistics, College Readiness, Immigration and Digital Technology to name a few.   For an overview of the convention go to the Convention Schedule on our home.  


This year we have more than 100 presentations scheduled, nationally known plenary speakers, wonderful local entertainment and a fine publisher's exhibit as always.  Many thanks to the CoTESOL Board for all their work and support planning for the 2011 conference.


Register Early and plan to stay at the Red Lion!  Looking forward to seeing you all.


Christine Deines, COTESOL Board President


Rita Berberian and Katie Collins

Adult Education SIG Co-chairs


The Adult Education SIG of CoTESOL addresses the needs of educators and adult students who come from a variety of socio-economic, cultural, and educational backgrounds but who share one thing in common: Unlike the adult English language learners who come from other countries to study English in intensive English programs or other academic settings, and who intend to return to their native countries, the students of interest to the Adult Education SIG generally intend to remain in the U.S. permanently. Many of these students are refugees, here as a result of political or economic turmoil in their own countries, and many have very limited formal education in their native languages.


Finding work, getting a better job, and keeping the job they have is consistently cited as the greatest concern to most of the students in Colorado adult education classes.


As a result, and given the very difficult economic climate that makes finding and keeping a job very difficult, even for native English speakers, the current co-chairs of the CoTESOL Adult Education SIG, Katie Collins and Rita Berberian, have decided to highlight Workforce Preparation for Adult Learners at the Adult Education SIG Forum at this year's CoTESOL conference in November. The Forum will take place from 2:30-4:15 PM on Friday, November 11.


Katie Collins
Katie Collins - Adult Education SIG Co-Chair

Katie Collins has been teaching ESL students since 1998. She has experience teaching English to both children and adults. She's been at Emily Griffith Technical College since January 2007, and was voted by her peers as "ESL Teacher of the Year" in 2008 and 2010. Previous teaching experience includes classes in Summit County, Colorado, as well as overseas in Taiwan and Costa Rica.


She received her BA in psychology with a licensure for elementary education from St. Michael's College in Burlington, VT. She holds a Master's in ESL from Adams State College, with a focus on language, literacy and culture. She also earned her LIA certification in 2009. Her passion is teaching literacy to beginning level adult students.


Rita Berberian studied toxicology, earning her M.S. from

Rita Berberian

Rita Berberian - Adult Education SIG Co-Chair

University of Michigan. She then turned her love of plants into a career and did plant biology work for Colorado State Parks, the Colorado Naturals Areas Program, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program and other agencies, before becoming an English teacher. Rita earned a TEFL/TESL certificate from the Colorado School of English and has

taught English in Peru and Colombia. Rita has worked with Spring Institute since 2007 and with Skinner Neighborhood Center since 2009. She earned her Literacy Instruction Authorization in 2010. In her spare time, she hosts the Denver English Conversation Club.




Hilario Benzon

Communications Liaison/Elementary Education SIG Co-Chair



On June 6-7, 2011 Hilario Benzon, Communications Liaison and Elementary Education Special Interest Group Co-Chairman, joined over 40 other TESOL members representing over 25 U.S. based affiliates in Washington, DC for TESOL Advocacy Day 2011. This year was the sixth consecutive year for TESOL Advocacy Day, and featured a new format, along with an opportunity for any TESOL member to participate. The event was expanded to feature a full day of issue briefings and activities around education legislation and advocacy, followed by a full day of visits to Congressional offices on Capitol Hill. The goals of Advocacy Day were not only to lobby on key issues for TESOL, but also to provide an interactive learning experience for affiliate representatives on elements of advocacy. By the end of the event, TESOL members had visited the offices of more than 100 Representatives and Senators.


Responding to recent action in Congress and from the White House, TESOL Advocacy Day 2011 was focused on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently revised as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). To maximize the impact of TESOL Advocacy Day, key members of Congress serving on the education and appropriations committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were identified for meetings. This year, Hilario met with staff from the offices of Senator Mark Udall, Senator Michael Bennet, and Congresswoman Diana DeGette to discuss TESOL's recommendations for ESEA reauthorization and the impact of the current law upon English language learners in Colorado.


To fully prepare for Advocacy Day, each affiliate representative was required to do several things in advance. For example, participants had to set up their own individual meetings with their Congressional representatives. To assist with this, TESOL provided directions and guidance, as well as the list of specific representatives and senators to contact. The preparation for the congressional meetings was truly beneficial in focusing our discussions with congressional leaders. From accessing congressional buildings to tailoring our message to congressional leaders, this training opportunity proved to be immensely valuable.


Participants were also sent talking points and background information on ESEA reauthorization so that they could begin to familiarize themselves with the issues in advance. To help make their Congressional meetings more effective, participants were also encouraged to find examples from their own programs to illustrate the talking points. Citing the 200% growth in the number of English learners (ELs) in Colorado and its impact across educational institutions in the state, Colorado definitely has a vested interest in ensuring that the needs of our ELs are adequately addressed.


TESOL Advocacy Day commenced with a welcome from TESOL Past President Brock Brady, and a welcome from TESOL Executive Director Rosa Aronson. The event was led by John Segota, Director of Advocacy, Standards, and Professional Relations, and Ellen Fern of Washington Partners, LLC, TESOL's legislative consultants. The first day featured a briefing from Congressional staff to present the "view from the Capitol Hill" on ESEA reauthorization and the key issues under debate, as well as a similar briefing with representatives from the National Education Association, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In addition, Dr. Rosalinda Barrera, Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) at the US Department of Education, provided an update from OELA and discussed the Obama Administration's proposal for reauthorizing ESEA.


Following these briefings, a series of activities were held to review aspects of the legislative process as well as how to prepare for meetings with members of Congress. Participants had the opportunity to role play as members of Congress in a mock hearing to discuss a piece of legislation, as well to have a mock debate on the floor of Congress to try and pass legislation. Participants were also provided key information to prepare for their meetings and given the opportunity to plan for their meetings. The purpose of these briefings and activities was to help the participants practice and prepare for their meeting on Capitol Hill that afternoon.


On June 7, participants went to Capitol Hill to have meetings with members of Congress and staff. The meetings with congressional staffers proved to be very successful and well received. Staff members echoed the commitment of our congressional leaders to the achievement and success of both our students and our schools. Understanding the importance of the ESEA reauthorization and its implications on ESL programs, staff members once again made assurances that congressional leaders will work diligently to promote the reauthorization in a timely and productive manner.


At the end of the day, the participants shared their experiences and what they learned over dinner. It was interesting to hear what other people experienced on their visit. Overall, all of the participants agreed this event was a very positive experience for them and for TESOL.

Advocacy Day 2011

TESOL Advocacy Day 2011 Participants


Hilario Benzon, CoTESOL, Participates in TESOL Advocacy Day 2011

Hilario Benzon, CoTESOL, Participates in TESOL Advocacy Day 2011


Shannon Svaldi

CoTESOL 1st Vice President


As many of you know, CoTESOL is but one of many TESOL chapters worldwide. And today, it is healthy, vibrant, and thriving thanks to our members and the community.


Even so, the board is always looking for ways to strengthen the organization which is why we are hoping to form collaborative relationships with other chapters like Puerto Rico TESOL. Like CoTESOL, PR TESOL is thriving and draws large numbers every year to their convention in November.


So, as incoming President, I will be traveling to their convention and meeting with their board to exchange ideas about organizing conventions, arranging and inviting successful plenaries, developing SIG forums, as well as tips and tricks for board members to get and give the most with the time they have on the board.


If there are any special areas of interest that you would like me to inquire about, please feel free to contact me directly at


I would be very appreciative to have ideas directly from our membership that would help me refine the broader questions our board has developed.


For information on the PR TESOL chapter, please access their website at 



Puerto Rico TESOL



Nancy Mitchell, Education News Colorado

From Ed Week


A Denver judge has granted a motion to halt the Douglas County voucher pilot pending further court action, a ruling that could send hundreds of students back to district schools.

In a 68-page ruling issued late Friday afternoon, District Court Judge Michael Martinez finds merit in six of eight legal challenges raised by attorneys representing a handful of Douglas County parents and groups including the American Civil Liberties Union. (more)


Message from CoTESOL President
Adult Education SIG
CoTESOL Participates in Advocacy Day
Reaching Out for Collaborative Relationships
Judge Blocks Colorado District's Voucher Program
Quick Links

If you have an questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact the CoTESOL Communications Liaison.
Hilario Benzon,
Communications Liaison/
Newsletter Editor


This Month's Brain Teaser (from Grammatically Speaking - TESOL CONNECTIONS)


Look at the following sentences. What traditional rule has been violated here? How would you explain this to students?  


  1. Sarah Palin Asia Trip Planned For September: She already saw China on the wall at the take-out in Wasilla!!  
  2. We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle.

Answer to last newsletter's Brain Teaser:


Look at the following sentences. What traditional rule has been violated here? How would you explain this to students? 

  1. Clearly this must of been today because Justin has his new haircut.
  2. These movie stars could of went further during their career but their time has passed.

This is a mistake with mishearing the present perfect:


"Must of" should be "must have," and "could of " should be "could have." The error probably has arisen because a rapid pronunciation in the contractions "must've" and "should've" (or even the quick pronunciation of the  word "have") can sound like "of."  This may even be related to the British dialect variation that drops the initial "h" sound in "have." But I just tell students that they are hearing what sounds like "of." I write the present perfect form on the board and pronounce it slowly and distinctly, and then say it a few more times, each time more and more quickly so students can hear why the mistake is being made.


This replacing have with of can be an issue for first-language users as well because the pronunciation often more closely resembles of than have due to the contraction. Indeed, this confusion has led some speakers to pronounce the of even more clearly when emphasizing as in "She must of!" 




Articles and Links


Teaching Emergency English: Lessons From Japan


Planning a Listening Activity 




ELL 'Shadowing' Brings Instructional Gaps to Light


Opportunity Ripe for Online ELL Ed. 


Five Questions That Will Improve Your Teaching


High-Tech Teaching in a Low-Tech Classroom


Study Finds Learning Gains for Title I Students


Debt Ceiling Deal: Big Questions for K-12 

Ed Week

Teaching Tomorrow's Skills to Today's Students 






From Littleton High School:



We have adopted a new curriculumn and have some free materials for teachers who would like them.  We have some paragraphing class sets of books, Visions materials from Thompson and Heinle, Grammar in Action class sets of books in three levels as well as two sets of headphone for use with tape players for centers of individual work.  If you need more information for me to market these free materials in the upcoming newsletter, let me know.



Teachers can contact me directly via email and or phone:


Linda Kowal


ELA teacher @ Littleton High School


cell 303-921-5422



Executive Board

COTESOL Executive Board


 Past President

 Dieter Bruhn
 President Christine Deines
 1st Vice President Shannon Svaldi
 2nd Vice President Erin Kimmel
 Executive Secretary Larry Fisher
 Publishers' Liaison Ruth Moore
 Socio-Political Liaisons Liz Henry
 Adult Ed SIG Co-Chair Katie Collins
 Adult Ed SIG Co-Chair Rita Berberian
 Teacher Education / Action Research SIG Co-Chair Gaye Horne
 Teacher Education / Action Research SIG Co-Chair Christopher  Tombari
 IEP/Higher Ed SIG Co-Chair Elena Freeman
 IEP/Higher Ed SIG Co-Chair Kristen Sturm
 Secondary Ed SIG Co-Chair Christine
 Loven- Santos
 Secondary Ed SIG Co-Chair Liliana Graham
 Elementary Ed SIG Co-Chair Jennifer Shank
 Elementary Ed SIG Co-Chair Hilario Benzon
 Content Area Ed SIG Co-Chair Leeann Ribble
 Content Area Ed SIG Co-Chair Sandy Stokely

Mission Statement


 CoTESOL supports its members.

  • Encourages participation in professional discourse.
  • Supports collaboration, networking, leadership and research.
  • Provides professional development.
  • Disseminates information


CoTESOL supports students and education.


  • Advocates and fosters respect for language and culture.
  • Promotes high standards.
  • Upholds the profession of English language teaching.  

Contact Information


c/o Larry Fisher

63 UCB

Boulder, CO  80309