CATESOL Newsletter March 2020

Postponement of Conferences: COVID-19

Susan Gaer

As you know, we are facing a pandemic with COVID-19. In line with the actions of TESOL and other organizations to postpone or cancel large gatherings to reduce risk of virus transmission, the CATESOL Board voted today to postpone all Chapter and Regional face-to-face events until the fall of 2020. We feel that the safety of our membership far outweighs the risk of a face-to-face gathering. We are still planning on having our Annual Conference in October of 2020, provided this crisis is contained by then.

Since many classes are moving to an on-line format, at least temporarily, CATESOL wants to help teachers who don’t feel ready. We are planning two online events in April and May, starting with workshops on how to teach with Zoom and other online platforms. We will get back to you with details on this very soon. We will be updating our website to reflect the physical event postponement and the upcoming online teaching support as soon as possible. 

We thank you for your consideration as we do what we can to continue professional development for teachers in non-face-to-face formats. Stay healthy, everyone. 

The board will be meeting on March 23rd to decide on how to handle the finances of this postponement.


Alisa Takeuchi

We are happy to announce the CATESOL Job Board is up and running for our members! If you are looking for a new ESL Job in California, please go to the portal under Resources-Job Bank and opt in to receive our emails when a new job is posted. If you have a job to offer our wonderful CATESOL members, please don't hesitate to email me Happy Job Hunting!

The 2020 Census and Why it Matters to CATESOL

Ondine Gage

Every CATESOL member must know about the urgency of the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census is especially important to our PreK-12 students, families, and teachers, as many programs which serve these populations may be underfunded if we are undercounted as a state. The 2020 Census officially begins on April 1st. March 12-20 homes will receive invitations to participate. There are several concerns that the 2020 Census may undercount and have very dire consequences for our state if populations in California are undercounted because budgets for the next 10 years are based on Census counts. The Census is mandated by Article 1 Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.


The Immigrants of the World

Nooshan Ashtari

"The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms." - Muriel Rukeyser

The Immigrants of the World (IW) and the Language Learners of the World (LLW) projects originally began about a decade ago. However, the projects were discontinued due to other on-going assignments. Commencing this endeavor again, our hope is that we can share the unheard but must-be-heard stories of immigrants and language learners/teachers from all corners of the globe, as well as the ups and downs of their journey with other learners and teachers. 


Letter From President

Susan Gaer

Welcome to the CATESOL Newsletter up and running again based on your requests. This newsletter will be a newsletter/blog combo. I am excited to bring this back to you as a member benefit. As you know, CATESOL, as well as many other professional organizations, is in a bit of a bad financial situation. We have cut most of our expenses and are now slowly chipping away at our debt. It may take a long time, but the board believes  that in a few years we will be financially solvent again. You can help us by donating for a tax write-off directly through the CATESOL Education Foundation at

In addition renewing your membership and encouraging your friends and colleagues to join is helpful. The board does not want to raise membership fees. It is my goal to get us solvent without draining our members. After Pasadena, we will be using colleges to host our conference. College conferences are inexpensive so we hope to be able to lower our conference rates to attendees.

I am looking forward to a wonderful 2 years as your president. As always feel free to contact me at for any questions, suggestions or concerns you may have.

CATESOL Research Writers Interest Group

Kara Mac Donald

The Research Writers Interest Group (RW-IG) is newly revised and provides a place for members (teachers and graduate students) who have an interest in academic writing to discuss current issues, post favorite resources, and generally discuss academic writing. The group first met at the 2019 Annual Conference in San Jose with well-season writers and those new to writing for academic publications and other writing purposes. The RW-IG has a Facebook page for communication and serves as a space for RW-OG members and those interested to share content and resources in between f2f meetings and sessions at CATESOL events throughout the year. Look for RW-IG updates on beneficial resources, Rap sessions and activities at upcoming CATESOL events and publication seeking volunteers in various roles.


Suzanne Bardasz

CATESOL's Technology- Enhanced Language Learning interest group (TELL-IG) is an interest group that connects ESL and ESOL teachers with each other to share and discuss the integration of technology in our classrooms. In the past few years, we have created and sent out newsletters, had online meetings where members shared their tech ideas with each other, and had dynamic panel sessions at the CATESOL Annual Conference. Members of TELL-IG also meet up at the regional conferences at the rap sessions to network and develop tech ideas with each other.

CATESOL TELL-IG is looking for new members to join its steering committee and bring new ideas to this interest group. If you are interested in joining this committee, or have any questions, please contact the Interim TELL-IG Coordinator, Suzanne Bardasz, at Our first planning meeting will be in the next few weeks, and we hope to see you there!

CATESOL IG-NNLEI: Project “Teaching And Sharing”

Zoya Palgova

We are happy to announce that this month we are launching a new project: “Teaching and Sharing”, which aims at inspiring, helping, and supporting our group members. In other words, “the more we share, the more we have” (quote by the great actor Leonard Nimoy). This project has been created so that all our members can share their precious experience and resources related to various aspects of the topic of nonnative language educators. 


CATESOL Los Padres 2020 Vision Conference

John Robertson

For the first time ever, our Los Padres chapter hosted our spring conference, “2020 Vision,” at UCSB on Saturday, February 8, in the UCEN building at the center of campus. After many years at Santa Barbara City College overlooking the picturesque harbor, this year we chose to overlook the scenic lagoon and windswept Goleta Beach. 


CATESOL Five-Minute Activity

KT Taylor

This activity is suitable for beginning to advanced students in order to review vocabulary.  You’ll need a whiteboard, an extra chair, and a list of words the class has recently learned. Have one student from the class sit in the chair facing the rest of the class (the hot seat).  Write the vocabulary word on the board large enough for the class to read but not in the view of the person in the hot seat.  The students will then try to elicit this word from the person in the hot seat.  The students can use synonyms, definitions, and examples in order to elicit answers from the students.  
For example, you may write the word “apple” on the board.  The students may say “it’s red” or “it’s a fruit”.  Another example might be the word “ridiculous”. The students might say “absurd” or “laughable”. You may choose for the student in the hot seat to have the list of the possible vocabulary words visible to them. In some cases, it may work without. Once the person in the hot seat correctly guesses the word, another student is placed in the hot seat. 

CATESOL Newsletter - CATESOL Newsletter March 2020