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I thought it would be useful – at least, to me – to spend a few minutes reviewing how my professional year has gone and think about what the new year might bring.


The beginning of the year brought the publication of my ninth book, The ELL Teacher’s Toolbox (co-authored by Katie Hull). It’s been my most successful – by far – and it’s been gratifying to see how useful it’s been to teachers.

Unfortunately, shortly after the book came out I suffered a severely herniated disc on the basketball court, which I wrote about in How Recovering From A Herniated Disc Increased My Empathy For Students. Though I didn’t miss a single day in the classroom, the challenges of pain and rehabilitation did force me to delay writing what was going to be my next book, Building Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom: A Practical Guide. Happily, I’ve defied predictions of medical professionals and have almost fully recovered without requiring surgery. Though I’ve retired from league basketball play, I am back on the court several days a week with friends.

Because of the success of our Toolbox book, Jossey-Bass agreed to have us recruit teachers in other content areas to write books using our format and have us become editors of the series.  We were able to get that arranged over the summer and have been editing the books every weekend since that time.

In the fall, we created a popular animated video with Education Week called Differentiating Instruction: It’s Not as Hard as You Think, and have more to come.

In the fall, I was able to help design and begin teaching a pilot Support Class for Long-Term English Language Learners. We have a control group, and the District is carefully tracking data to see how successful – or unsuccessful – it turns out.

That class, and the rest of my classes (ELL U.S. History, International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge, and a small Newcomers course), have all been going well. However, there was a short time when I became a bit too lazy and comfortable with most of them and we didn’t have the optimal learning atmosphere. I was able to rectify those situations.

Also in the fall, Sue Waters and the Edublogs staff did a great job redesigning this blog. You can see the results yourself.

My Ed Week columns, BAM! Radio Shows, and British Council posts all kept me busy, too.



Katie and I will continue to edit the next three books in the Toolbox series.  The completed manuscripts should be completed by late August, and the books should be out in early 2020.  I think teachers will find them helpful.

We’ll also continue with our Ed Week video series on differentiation.  The next two videos should be released in January, and animated ones on other topics should be available later in the year.

In May, I should be able to share the results of our Long-Term ELL Support class.  We’ve been implementing just about every researcher’s recommendation we can find, plus more we came up with ourselves.  I’m hopeful.

In the fall, Katie and I will begin work on the second edition of The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide.

Simultaneously, I’ll begin working on the book (Building Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom: A Practical Guide – the fourth in my student motivation series) that was delayed by my herniated disc.

Our District has suffered from terrible financial mismanagement and, as a result, we are in danger of being taken over by the state of California in the fall. I hope that action can be averted. Either way, who knows what the next school year will look like for us, our students, and their families?

Of course, I’ll continue blogging here, writing my Ed Week Teacher columns, authoring British Council posts, and hosting my radio show.

I’m sure a lot more not listed here awaits….