Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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Go to the Email Archives in the upper left-hand corner on the home page at


Montana Information

1.    HiSET Blast

Stay up to date with Montana HiSET Communication!


Click here on the HiSET Resources to access the most current information.


2.  Montana Technology Community of Practice (COP)


Not a part of Montana Technology COP?  Still want to follow what is happening?

Click here and click on the weekly posts.


This week participants have been discussing the website,

Here are some snippets from the conversation:


Snippet #1

Wow!  What a great site! In addition to all our ABE students,our ESOL students will find this to be an extremely useful tool.  Being able to have their own lists and being able to listen to each word as it is pronounced will be helpful as they work independently in class or at home.


Snippet #2

I find covers words more thoroughly than many other sites. One frustration I have is often the meaning of a word is summarized too briefly or there aren't enough examples to demonstrate how the meanings vary and thus make the word more or less correct in different contexts. This site covers the standards concerned with "interpreting" word meaning better than most sites by giving a variety of examples. I can click on "look up" and from there see how a word might be used with prefixes, used in an analogy, or used in a content area by choosing to see examples from "business, news, sports, science" etc.   


3.  Montana ABLE Math Institute


Math Institute begins this week.  Don’t forget to bring your 3 inch binder and a copy of the Montana Math Standards.  Click here to access the standards.


Click here for more information about the Montana ABLE Math Institute. 

·       Click here for the Directors’ Webinar.


Contact Carol Flynn if you have any questions. 


4.  Montana ABLE Program Highlights:  Mary Moe


On January 14, Swan Song by Mary Sheehy Moe was aired on Montana Public Radio.  During this commentary, Moe refers to the Great Falls graduation program.  Click here to read Moe’s heart-warming commentary.


5.  MPAEA Conference:  Transforming Adult Education – Exceeding the Limits


Click here to access information about the MPAEA Conference in Santa Fe on April 28 – 30.


6.  MTLINCS Research 2013-2014:  Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research




Improving Adult Literacy Instruction:  Options for Practice and Research is very comprehensive!  We have covered the Introduction; Foundations of Reading and Writing; Literacy Instruction for Adults; Principles of Learning for Instructional Design; Motivation, Engagement, and Persistence; Technology to Promote Adult Literacy; and Learning, Reading, and Writing Disabilities.  So what is left before we wrap this up?  Language and Literacy Development of English Language Learners!


Language and Literacy Development of English Language Learners


Even though we have a small percentage of ESOL students within Montana ABLE programs, the research provides valuable information about second language acquisition that may help us improve our instruction – although many of the Montana ESL instructors are cognizant of most of the research.


The adults who participate in ESL classes are diverse in terms of languages spoken, education levels, literacy skill in the first language, and knowledge of English (Burt, Peyton, and Adams, 2003) … The numbers of adults in ESL classes who have limited education in their home countries continues to grow (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2010; Condelli, Wrigley and Yoon, 2009; Purcell-Gates et al., 2002; Strucker and Davidson, 2003).


Limited Success


Despite the need for English language and literacy instruction, adult ESL programs have had limited success.  In fact, 44 percent advanced only one literacy level, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Reporting System for adult literacy programs.  Persistence was also an issue. Half of the learners who did not advance attended fewer than 50 hours of instruction. Most of those who advanced received 50 or more hours of instruction, taking on average 50 to 149 hours of attendance (usually referred to as “100 instruction hours”) to advance one level. 


Persistence!  This is the one underlying theme present throughout most Adult Basic Education programs.  Regardless whether our students are categorized as ABE or ESL, persistence is one of the keys to success.  Most Montana programs have based their improvement plans on persistence.  (Don’t forget there is research about persistence posted at  


Component Literacy Skills of English Language Learners


Strucker et al. (2007) find that adult native speakers and English language learners tend to have different patterns of strengths and weaknesses as beginning readers. Language learners show weaknesses in vocabulary and comprehension but relative strength in decoding, whereas native speakers with low literacy tend to show the opposite pattern (Alamprese, 2009; MacArthur et al., 2010a) …


… adult language learners can develop decoding skills that are equivalent to native speakers (Alamprese, 2009). For both native speakers and language learners, once decoding is efficient, English oral proficiency (usually assessed by vocabulary and listening comprehension) predicts English reading comprehension, in higher grades (Lesaux and Kieffer, 2010) …


Vocabulary and background knowledge are usually underdeveloped for English learners, in part because they lack the English skills needed to learn through the texts and social and instructional interactions in schools, which are in English.


Vocabulary also seems to be a recurrent theme in ABE.  We are finding that we do need to provide more explicit instruction in vocabulary so that our learners can become more proficient readers to succeed.


You may want to consider looking at some of the vocabulary strategies that have been posted on MTLINCS at, the Montana Technology COP is now discussing the value of a vocabulary website: may want to check out what your colleagues are saying at


Influences on Language and Literacy in a Second Language


The research states that there are several factors to consider in the design of effective instructional practices for ESOL:

·       first language knowledge, education level


§  Adults bring an already well-developed system for processing a first language that affects processing specific features of the second language.

§  Transfer from a native language to English depends on the overlap in characteristics between the two languages.

§  For individuals literate in their home language, the first language writing system and how it represents the oral language affects the strategies used in English decoding.


·       English language proficiency


§  One crucial influence on reading comprehension is vocabulary. Grabe and Stoller (2002) and Laufer (1997) estimated that one needs at least 3,000 words in a second language to read independently in that language.

§  Zareva, Schwanenflugel, and Nikolova (2006) found that in order to comprehend a college-level academic text, a vocabulary of about 9,000 words is needed.

§  Explicitly teaching vocabulary can lead to significant improvement in word knowledge and comprehension for both monolinguals and language learners (August et al., 2009; Carlo et al., 2004; Lesaux et al., 2010; McKeown et al., 1985; Vaughn et al., 2009).


·       Age


§  Regardless of the exact timing, it is well established that the ability to learn a second language declines with age. The declines observed do not suggest, however, that literacy in a second language cannot be achieved in adulthood at the levels required for career and academic success. What they do imply is that learning a second language will take more time and practice at later ages, and that even at high levels of second language facility differences in spoken language might be expected between a native and nonnative English speaker.


·       aptitude for language


·       reading and learning disabilities


§  When language learners experience reading and writing difficulties in a second language, it is hard to determine whether the cause is a true disability or not-yet-developed second language skills (Klingner, Artiles, and Méndez Barletta, 2006; Lovett et al., 2008a; McCardle et al., 2005).


·        cultural and background knowledge


§  Decades of literacy research have shown that comprehension involves interpreting the meaning of text using preexisting knowledge, beliefs, and opinions. The more one knows about a topic, the better one comprehends the material (Anderson and Pearson, 1984a, 1984b; McNamara, de Vega,and O’Reilly, 2007).

§  Cross-cultural studies show certain cognitive processes are not necessarily universal, even for highly educated college students. Some basic processes, such as categorization, perception of an object in relation to its background, and making causal attributes, have been shown to be affected by the cultural context in which an individual was raised and educated (Ceci, 1991; Choi, Koo, and Choi, 2007; Choi, Nisbett, and Norenzayan, 1999; Nisbett et al., 2001; Norenzayan and Nisbett, 2000).


          Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 226-236


Based upon the research, vocabulary and persistence are fundamental to ESOL growth:  two factors that Montana ABLE has focused on most recently.


Coming next:  Approaches to Second Language Literacy Instruction!


National Information

7.  Apps

Taken from National Center for Families Learning


Looking for some apps?  Click here to check out apps for STEAM:  Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.  The apps are listed by category and grad level.

8.  Common Core

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways


Jacqui Murray is a prolific K-12 technology blogger. In a recent article, "11 Things I Love About Common Core," she identifies some compelling advantages of using the CCSS (for adult ed the CCCR) Below is her list. To read the whole blog entry, go to .

David Rosen

1.     They teach speaking and listening. Of all the skills that make a difference in a child’s future, their ability to speak and listen to others tops that list. How have we not included this in the past? I have no idea and truly don’t care. I’m happy it’s part of the plan now.

2.     They differentiate between fact and fiction. Too often, Hollywood movies that fictionalize history is taken as fact by viewers. Teachers show the movies as though this is what really happened. The ability to compare two presentations of events and determine truth from Other is a mature concept which appear in the 8th grade Reading-Literature (#7) and Reading-Informational (#9) standards, but the requirement of educated minds to question the world, seek out authentic information, evaluate what they hear/read/see/taste is a common strand throughout the Standards.

3.     They make tech part of a learner’s life. Oh that makes me happy. Considering children enter kindergarten with a love for technology (iPads, parents’ smartphones), it only makes sense that we scaffold on that appeal to educate them

4.     They spiral. Learning builds year to year, each grade level scaffolding the next. If a student struggles on a subject, it is easy to spiral down a level, shore up that knowledge to bring the student up to grade level. Or, conversely, if a student excels in an area, teachers can spiral upward to the next level of learning. Differentiation has never been so clear.

5.     The anchor standards are highly flexible in how teachers achieve them. They encourage ‘flexible learning paths’. Teachers understand the broad strokes and are expected to fill in the picture. For example, I can use games (that’s right–visual) to achieve the goals of reading (literature and informational–not foundational or Language) to accomplish goals like Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3). Wonder how? I’ll be posting on that soon. The bigger point is: Common Core is not a curriculum. It spells out what should be accomplished, but not how. That’s up to the teacher. They can use any method that works for their student group.

6.     It isn’t a curriculum–it’s a guideline. That bears repeating: It isn’t more material to stuff into already over-packed teaching days. It’s a framework to organize thoughts, goals, ideas. A school adopts a curriculum and uses Common Core to implement, focus, and highlight.

7.     It gets teachers thinking ‘outside the-way-its-always-been-done box‘. There’s a lot to accomplish, none of it prescripted. It uses words like collaborate, publish and share, domain-specific language, lead high-level text-based discussions, focus on process not just content, respond to the varying demands of audience-task-purpose-discipline, comprehend as well as critique, value evidence, demonstrate independence, build strong content knowledge, leaving the who-what-when-where-why-how in the teacher’s competent hands.

8.     It concentrates less on hard skills than a way of thinking, asking students to create thought habits, be problem solvers, approach life as critical thinkers. It expects students to integrate and evaluate, interpret, make strategic use of [technology tools], understand other perspectives and cultures, value evidence, comprehend as well as critique. The teacher decides how best to accomplish these goals.

9.     It focuses on not just college, but career. Some students aren’t right for college and that’s OK. Bill Gates wasn’t right for college.

10.  It gives teachers permission (and a nudge) to teach more traditional literature. Yes there’s good new literature, but there’s so much great older literature. How do you pick? Common Core gives permission to students to value books like Wizard of Oz, , The Odyssey, Metamorphoses, Sandburg’s Fog. I get goose bumps just thinking of what’s contained in those tomes. This literature shaped our world, added similes like ‘it’s a tale of two cities (replace with the comparative noun of your choice)’, ‘me thinks he doth protest too much’, and more. I love all literature, but to understand my world, I have to understand what great have said about it.

11.  A return to non-fiction. For those of us who believe ‘history repeats itself’, this is a no-brainer. For those of us who believe students must understand the world around them to fix its problems, this is brilliant.

9.  PIACC Webinar:  February 13

Taken from Notices


Join the U.S. Department of Education, American Institutes for Research, and adult education advocates for a webinar on February 13, from 1:00pm-3:00pm ET. With the recent release of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, (PIAAC) demonstrating the direct relationship between skills and economic security, health, and educational advancement, there is even more urgency to address the needs of low-skilled learners and equip the teaching workforce to help such students achieve their academic and economic goals.


The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) launched a national engagement effort on November 20 (see archived announcement) to explore ways to increase our national capacity to improve the foundation skills of adults in the United States. OVAE is particularly interested in engaging with adult educators to solicit their input into a forthcoming national action plan.


This webinar will be an opportunity to receive a briefing on the PIAAC data, the OECD’s special report on America’s low-skilled population, Time for the U.S. to Reskill?, and engage in a focused discussion about the issues facing adult education.


To prepare for the webinar, see the Consultation Paper, which provides background on the skills issue and the framework for the national action plan. The discussion will continue online in various groups within the LINCS Community of Practice. Bookmark the registration link for February 13, 1:00pm ET and stay tuned to LINCS for updates.

10.  Reading:  Alphabetics Study Circle

Taken from LINCS Reading and Writing


Our next Study Circle (Webinar style using Blackboard Collaborate) will be from the Teaching Adults to Read (TAR) Alphabetics online workshop. It will focus in-depth on implementation of the Alphabetics section of the reading components into personal instructional practice. We will have 8-10 teachers who are currently teaching form a cohort community wherein they will explore implementation strategies and share lesson plans and experiences in using them with different student groups.


At the completion of the Study Circle, each participant will receive a OVAE LINCS Certificate of Completion. We are also creating a Community of Practice on the OVAE LINCS website to continue the discussion and support teachers with resources and materials.

The Study Circle consists of 1 Introduction webinar (for those who have not taken it previously) and 4 webinar sessions with implementation tasks to be completed between sessions. The sessions will begin with the Introduction session on February 5, 2014.  The Alphabetics sessions will run on the following Wednesdays: February 12, 19, 26 with the final session on March 5. All sessions are at the same time: from 2:00-4:00 PM, EST 1:00-3:00 PM CST, 12:00-2:00 PM MST, and 11:00 AM-1:00 PM PST. Registration deadline: 5 pm on Friday, January 28.


Please contact me though email or call me on my cell (see below) for more information.

Paul Heavenridge, Director
LINCS Region 4 Regional Professional Development Center Executive Director
Cell: 510-206-9994



11.  Science Resource:  Anatomy


Taken from LINCS Science


Click here to access the Body Parts:  How Well Do You Know Your Anatomy?  This is from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Students.


12.  Teaching Strategies Discussion:  Easing the Pathway for All Adult Learners to Develop Competence in the Classroom and Beyond


Taken from LINCS Disabilities in Adult Education


Save the Date!  February 3 – 14

Save the date for a special discussion: Teaching Strategies: Easing the Pathway for All Adult Learners to Develop Competence in the Classroom and Beyond to be held in the LINCS Community Disabilities in Adult Education Group.

More information on this activity coming soon!


13.  Technology:  Online LINCS Course – Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom


Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning


Greetings, LINCS Community!


We are excited to announce the launch of the latest LINCS online course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom. This course is designed for instructors who are at the beginner/intermediate level of technology integration in the classroom. It is available on the LINCS Learning Portal, along with additional online courses from several other OVAE initiatives, in topics including English as a second language, adult career pathways, Learning to Achieve, science, and more.


Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom discusses why technology is important for teaching and learning, how instructors approach integrating technology, and what tools instructors can use to integrate technology. Throughout the course, you will learn about examples of adult education instructors’ personal experiences in integrating technology. In a culminating activity, you will create a Technology Integration Action Plan for a unit or lesson that you select for use with your own adult learners. You also will have the opportunity to interact with the LINCS Community throughout this online course. The course takes an estimated four hours to complete.


To join the LINCS Learning Portal and access its online courses, follow the following steps:


1. Go to the log in page at

2. Click the Create User / Sign up button in the Need to register? box. You will need to create a new account (separate from your LINCS Community account).

3. Complete the requested information to create your account. Check the box to accept the terms and conditions; and click Create an Account.

4. An email will be sent to you to confirm your email address. Click the link in your email to verify your email address and complete your account set up.

5. Within that email, click the Continue to LINCS Learning Online link and log in by entering your username (email address) and password. 


14.  Technology:  Webinar on Leveraging Technology and Open Data to Make College More Accessible


Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning


The Department of Education hosted the second annual Education Datapalooza, highlighting innovators from the private, nonprofit, and academic sectors who have utilized freely available government data to build products, services, and apps that advance postsecondary education in creative and powerful ways.


Video now posted at .


15.  Worksheet Generators


Taken from LINCS Assessment


Need a list of possible teacher worksheet generators?  Click here  


Save the Date

P.S.  Remember -- if you are having trouble with the links in this email, go to the Email Archives at the top of the MTLINCS homepage at .  Also if you no longer wish to receive this mailing, please let me know!  Thanks!


Norene Peterson
Adult Education Center
415 N. 30th
Billings, MT 59101