Using Creative Ways to Learn Vocabulary in a Beginner English Language Acquisition Class

These are some of the collages they created and the sentences they came up with:

 The river sounds relaxing.

 The orange feels smooth.

The landscape looks beautiful.

As English Language Acquisition (ELA) instructors, we are always looking for ways to engage our English Language Learners (ELLs) to learn new vocabulary words and also to express their creativity, especially when they are learning new words and trying to gain confidence to express themselves. One of the techniques that we have been using with our students is to create collages to express their ideas and to learn English while they are having fun. For that reason, this past Wednesday the teacher encourage students to create a collage to learn about about sensory words and how to describe things. Each student was assigned one of the senses to make a collage.Then the students had to write a sentence about each picture. The instructor wrote the sentences on the board and the whole class helped to edit the sentences.The target vocabulary were the sensory verbs: it looks, sounds, feels, etc. At first the students were skeptical about the activity as making collages was something they used to do when they were kids. However, they had a blast during the process and with the results of the activity. They  learned new words, and practiced all the English skills in one activity.


Building Foundations

“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.”

      –Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and secretary-general of the UN 1997-2006


This week was transformational. New and returning students walked through Taos Education and Career Center’s doors and began connecting with each other in preparation for the important coursework ahead.

Through a hands-on workshop we uncovered personal preferences for various career paths. We explored how brain research can inform effective practices in learning and teaching. We began creating awareness around the factors in our learning environment that cause us both comfort and stress. Some of us even decided math can be fun and relevant!

All of the work on behalf of the students and staff at Taos Educational and Career Center is so appreciated. Through hands-on activities like the engineering exercise above, students are creating a safe, supportive community for achieving that which we have not achieved until this point. Looking forward!


Taos Pueblo

Taos pueblo is located in Northern New Mexico in the town of Taos. It considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA. The main part of the present buildings were most likely constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. The appeared much as they do today when the first Spanish explorers arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1540 and believed that the Pueblo was one of the fabled golden cities of Cibola. The two structures called Hlauuma (north house) and Hlaukwima (south house) are said to be of similar age. (

The U.S. government wanted to turn Blue Lake into a National Park. The Pueblo safeguarding the interest and welfare of the people and its water supply would not sell the land to the government. On December 15, 1970, former President Richard M. Nixon signed into affect Public Law 91-550, approved in a bipartisan manner by the United States Congress. In speaking of the Bill’s significance, President Nixon stated, “This is a bill that represents justice, because in 1906 an injustice was done in which land involved in this bill, 48,000 acres, was taken from the Indians involved, the Taos Pueblo Indians. (

Approximately 150 people live within the Pueblo full time. Other families own homes in the North or South buildings live in summer homes near their fields, and in more modern homes outside the old walls but still within Pueblo land. There are over 1900 Taos Indians living on Taos Pueblo lands.

Food that has been a part of Taos Pueblo tradition includes squash, beans, corn, blue white and yellow, piñon nuts, blueberries, choke cherries, pumpkin, elk, deer, rabbit, buffalo, oven bread and pies. Most foods mentioned have been consumed by natives and other cultures. The majority of foods may be found in semi dry climates. Many of these foods can be canned or dried. Hunting is a major part of survival for centuries although other tribes have adopted other foods such as red and green chili. White and yellow corn tortillas, red chili and green chili.

Traditional recipes can included Atole, blue corn piñon pancakes, turkey tomatillo tamales, trail mix with piñon and pumpkin seeds. Navajo Fry bread is made with 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 milk and shortening to fry. You combine the ingredients and roll out to fry. Place in frying pan with about an inch on shortening.

The powwow is part of a cultural ceremony that developed in the late 1800s. Beginning as tribal gatherings for council and celebrations of a good hunt or harvest in the face of the U.S. government’s efforts to suppress such things, powwows evolved as a way for people of different languages, customs and beliefs to come together in the ways they could all share: dancing, singing and ceremony. Dancers and drum groups vie for significant prize money, competing in a wide variety of styles and ages.


Evolution of Basketball by Brandon Mccarson

Basketball has been originated for almost one hundred thirty years. Basketball can be an entertaining sport for some, but not for all. A man named James Naismith was very involved with the origination of basketball. Springfield College was the first university with a basketball team.

James Naismith, is known as the man who originated the sport of basketball. Naismith is a graduated from college in montreal with a degree in theology. After only being a two year graduate, Naismith began showing the passion he had for athletics, as that passion led him to being named to the teaching faculty at Springfield college. At the time, the athletic program of the university was under a relatively unknown academic discipline,under a man named Luther Halsey Gulick. Students were required to stay in shape and perform physical activities while Football and warmer sport seasons were not around, but students weren’t quite motivated with the activities they were doing in class. Gulick assigned Naismith to come up with a new, fun, indoor activity for the students to do in the off-season.

Naismith went to work. His main focus was to create a game that is easy to understand, but somewhat complex to be entertaining. It had to be playable indoors or on any type of ground. It also required multiple players be play at once as well as give the students the exercise they were required to have. The game could not be rough in a confined space due to a threat of many broken bones and bruises.This new game became an adaption of other games of this time, American rugby, which involved passing,  English rugby, which involved the jump ball,  Lacrosse, which involved the use of a goal, and Soccer, which involved the shape of the ball.

As a child Naismith played a game with his childhood buddies. The game was called, “Duck on a rock”. The game necessitated “a goal with a horizontal opening high enough so that the ball would have to be tossed into it, rather than being thrown.” Naismith confronted the university Janitor, wondering if he could hang two 18 inch cardboard boxes at the height of 10 feet each, which just so happened to be the height of each balcony rail. With Cardboard boxes now on each end of the gymnasium, the janitor then attached peach boxes towards the bottoms of each cardboard box to make the goals, they would assign someone at each end to collect the ball from the peach baskets. It wasn’t until a few years later that they would eventually cut the bottoms of the peach baskets for the ball to fall through the basket. Basketball officially became a sport in the year 1905.

Finally, basketball has evolved much more since the early 1900’s. The rules are much more advanced now from then. As well as the type of ball and goals that they use.

Evolution of Basketball


How one plant spread through the world By Stephanie Martinez

America is a weed nation love it or hate it, you or someone you know inevitably has a deep tie to the ubiquitous herb.With four states now declaring recreational pot legal and 19 more supporting medical marijuana, weed is set to become not just an unavoidable illicit experience but an integral and nonchalant part of our culture. Given its prevalence in modern life it’s only natural that we assume pot been a part of our culture for ages just now coming into light.

Marijuana also known as cannabis pot, herb, grass, bud, ganja, and mary jane. Marijuana has a very long history of human use. Most ancient cultures didn’t grow the plant to get high but as herbal medicine likely starting in Asia around 12,000bc.

Cannabis plants are believed to have evolved on steppes of central asia, specifically in the regions that are now Mongolia and southern Siberia. The history of cannabis use goes back as far as 12,000 years which places the plant among humanity’s oldest cultivated crops. The drug became widely used in India were it was celebrated as one of five kingdoms of herbs which release us from anxiety.

Over the next centuries cannabis migrated to various regions traveling through africa reaching south america in the 19th century and being carried north afterwards eventually reaching north america. After this really long trip throughout the pre- modern and modern worlds. Cannabis finally came to the united states and the beginning of 20th century.

How one plant spread through the world Pdf

The Evolution of Drag by Jojo Ortiz

The Evolution of Drag

by Jojo Ortiz


Drag has been around for a very long time it originated due to the fact that women were not aloud to perform. the parts of women were played by young men and also in the kabuki dances of japan men are dressed as women. Drag slowly evolved to be one of the most sought out entertainment through the 1900’s till the 1920’s this was called the pansy craze, through this time drag performers flourished.

         At the end of the pansy craze drag was not so in fashion as it use to be. Drag performers had to pass as actual women and go in to underground clubs.Drag has slowly evolved from Divine to Dame Edna to Rupaul. Now Drag has gone mainstream thanks to hit tv show Rupaul’s Drag Race and other subcategory drag shows like Dragula hosted by the Brulett brothers.

       Now there are different sub-categories such as bearded drag queens, fishie queens(fem), manly queens, dramatic(original) drag, monster drag, etc.. After all Drag is art and art is subjective! Drag has indeed become a popular source of entertainment  and now your makeup skills have to be more than good if you want to compete in competitions because not only do they judge you on your makeup and hair but your drag persona who you’re portraying, and how you move on the stage you have to know how to lipsync. You have to know how to make the people laugh and you could make it a living by getting booked at local clubs. Drag is slowly becoming more and more popular and by my guess will be the biggest source of entertainment since the pansy craze.


This is RuPaul Charles Star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she is now a multi-millionaire because she Slayed her way to the top.

      This is Sharon Needles Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 4.

This is Bob The Drag Queen winner of season 8.

This is Sasha Velour winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9, she taught us that bald is beautiful. The people who do drag do it for a reason, and that reason varies from being abandoned to being empowered it just depends on the person and were they came from.

The Evolution of Drag by Jojo Ortiz

The “Monster of Immigration”

On September 5, the Trump Administration announced it would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA has provided temporary relief from deportation, as well as work authorization, to more than 800,000 young immigrants who came to the United States as children. The ripple effects on immigrants across the nation, including those here in our own community, include heightened fear, increased isolation, and withdrawal from daily life, keeping children from school and parents from work.

Motivated by a deep desire to speak up and explain to our community what it means to be an immigrant in this xenophobic climate, English Language Learners (ELLs) students seized the opportunity to create an art project for this year’s Paseo Project 2017 event.  Students  explored the notion of “The Monster of Immigration”.  The students began their study by having an in-depth conversation about what immigration means to them. Using the metaphor of a “monster”, students answered questions put forth by the Paseo Project’s STEAM Monster Design Challenge: What does it look like? Where does it live? How does it grow? What do you want to tell it? How does it lose its power?  Themes of  ignorance, distrust, inequality, economic uncertainty, and discrimination arose. They then  began to work on solutions to these issues.  

Our immigrant students envisioned the “monster” as a wall holding back a huge fire breathing dragon, held by the ignorance, hate, racism, and ignorance of humanity. And, yet, they saw that within the fire, is a transformative power, an ability to overcome the horrors of injustice and inequality. The fire turns to a golden aura and orange butterflies emerge from the fire to symbolize this potential evolution. Each scale is a tiny piece of fabric that they sewed on, the fire flames are each  carefully hand-cut, the butterflies were hand knitted or made paper and painted, and the “wall” was constructed from old slats from blinds. The end result of their process is a beautiful tapestry that symbolizes the fears and negative implications of immigration and the beauty of solutions that can develop with increased education and an open mind.  

The tapestry will be displayed along the John Dunn shop walkway, between Amina’s Children’s Boutique and Leatherwerks. There will be an open comment book for members of the community to express their feelings around immigration or to communicate any messages they would like our immigrant students to read.

The ELL students at TECC- UNM Taos are learning not only English, but also that civic engagement is vital to their education and success in life. The Federal legislation that governs and funds Adult Education to offer ELL classes is now called Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE), and requires that all ELL participate in gaining skills for meaningful participation in their communities. The “Monster of Immigration” tapestry, along with it’s display at Paseo, is one way in which members of our immigrant students are sharing their perspectives and voices with the larger Taos community. Art is one medium that can overcome cultural and language barriers. TECC-UNM Taos plans to find a permanent display for the tapestry or stop by 115 Civic Plaza Dr to view it at the school.

Students Names: Alejandro Cordova, Laura Jiménez, María Elsa Caraveo, Patricia Romo, María Rodríguez, José Garduño, Nancy Garduno, Maria Elena Ortega, Rosa Martinez, Gabriella Morales, Angela Morales, Rosita Martinez, Laura Dominguez, Karla Guerrero, Alicia Rivera, María Castillo, Marcella Cisneros, Yosael Mejía and John Cordova.

TECC Instructors: Edie Buchanan, Esther Tipton and Montserrat Oyanedel-Tolmo.


New Student Orientation on August 14th

We are getting ready for the next Student Orientation at the Taos Education & Career Center.

For students interested in attending High School Equivalency classes, the orientation will be on August 14th at 9:00 am at 115 Civic Plaza Drive. For students interested in English as a Second Language, the orientation will take place the same day during the evening at 5:00 pm.  Please come and learn about our services! We offer great classes free of cost.

Everybody is invited!

If you have any questions, please call us at 575-737-3730 or email us at For information in Spanish please call at 575-7799299.

We are looking forward hearing from you!