1. New, New, New! Fresh Faces, Places, and Things at Hogar Hispano
  2. Fabulous Teacher Tips
  3. Take a Hike to Help the Homeless
  4. Dancing Queens: Hogar Hispano Honored at Gala
  5. The Nuts and Bolts of Team Teaching
  6. Fall Fashion Tip: Buy a Hogar T-shirt!
  7. Book Sales Galore!
  8. Hot Links
  9. Job Openings
  10. Cool Trainings Outside of Hogar
  11. We Need You! Volunteer Opportunities and More!
  12. About Us

New, New, New! Fresh Faces, Places, and Things at Hogar Hispano

Fall is finally here! The air is crisp, pumpkins are springing up on porches and everyone’s back to school. Hogar Hispano sharpened up more than just pencils with the start of our new semester-- we have almost 75 enthusiastic new volunteers who signed on over the summer, a brand new computer lab at the Hogar office, and a couple of new sites to add to our ever expanding list of classes.

Fresh Faces…

We at Hogar Hispano are very excited to welcome new ESL staff member Derry Deringer on board. Derry comes to us from Computer C.O.R.E. of Alexandria, where he played an integral role in providing computer training to low income residents and immigrants. Derry is nearing completion of a license in professional coaching. He was recently married on October 2nd and enjoyed a honeymoon in the south of France with his wife. Congratulations and welcome, Derry!

Left: Derry hard at work recruiting more students on his first day back from his honeymoon in France!

Welcome, Bienvenidos, Willkommen, Bienvenue, Benvenuto, Boa vinda!

A big thank you and welcome to the many new volunteers that joined the ESL team this fall! Our volunteer corps has grown to nearly three hundred! We can't say enough just how blessed we are to have you on board-- the ESL program would be nothing without your graciousness and hard work.

The Wonders of Technology...

The long wait is over-- Hogar Hispano unveiled a brand new computer lab at the start of the fall semester! We’re thrilled to offer classes that incorporate Internet and word processing instruction on our 15 Dell Pentium 4 processor computers. Tell your students to call Hogar Hispano to learn more about our star volunteer Brooke Leto’s popular classes, which focus on Microsoft Office applications.

Students in the afternoon intermediate class at Hogar Hispano love working on the computers!

New Places…

Thank you to the staff and volunteers of St. Rita’s Parish in Alexandria and the Sterling Annex Community Center. Without your pioneering efforts our new class sites just wouldn’t be possible! The Sterling Annex site has enabled us to better meet the needs of a growing immigrant population in Loudon County. St. Rita’s has experienced an overwhelming response to ESL offerings thanks to the terrific outreach efforts of volunteers. We’re always expanding to make our classes accessible. Stay tuned for information on new sites for next semester!

Do You Believe in Magic?

Crave a way to rev up your lessons that you can always pull out of a hat? Sometimes wish that you could read your students' minds? Confused about teaching grammar without twisting any arms? Want to meet other enchanting volunteers?

Hogar Hispano has the answers and more tricks up their sleeves at...

Community Building in the ESL Classroom
Saturday, October 23, 3-6 pm

Float on over to:
Hogar Hispano Classroom
6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 310
Falls Church, VA 22044

Please RSVP as soon as possible to the ESL team @ 703-534-9805 x222 or e-mail! Please remember: a total of TEN hours of training is required for all new volunteers!

Fabulous Teacher Tips

You've been teaching ESL this semester for over a month now and while we at Hogar have no doubts in our minds that you're doing an amazing job, we ask you to consider these tips to help make your volunteer experience more rewarding:

1. Review, Review, Review

Students have a hard time retaining something that was taught and exposed to them just once. Make an effort to give the students sufficient opportunities to revisit new concepts and vocabulary.

2. Slower is Better

Remember, most students can only learn up to ten words per class. If you only cover one page in the textbook, then you're moving at a perfect pace! Keep it up!

3. Everybody Loves Visuals

Your students will gain much more if you introduce new concepts and/or vocabulary by using visuals! Some examples include magazine cutouts, real-life items ("realia" in ESL speak), charades, flash cards-- the possibilities are endless!

4. Be Careful in What You Say

Sometimes, it's easy to start talking to your students as if they were native English speakers-- remember to keep it simple! This includes explanations, directions, comments, and storytelling. Less is best. Keep it simple by using visuals and gestures, and speak clearly-- not necessarily more slowly!

Take a Hike to Help the Homeless

Lace up your sneakers and hit the streets of the big city with the staff and volunteers of Catholic Charities and Hogar Hispano as we participate in the 17th Annual Help the Homeless Walkathon! Onsite registration and check-in begin at 7 a.m. on Saturday, November 20th. To complete a registration form, visit When you register, please indicate that you are walking to help Catholic Charities’ Christ House shelter in Alexandria by listing the letter code CCEAP in the beneficiary organization box on your application. Read more about Christ House here.

Thousands will be there supporting local organizations' efforts to help house the homeless, so be sure to let us know you’re coming. We don’t want to lose you in the crowds! See you there!

Dancing Queens: Hogar Hispano Honored at Gala

The Community Partner of the Year award is presented by Jorge Figueredo (center),
executive director of the Hispanic Committee of Virginia, to proud and beaming Hogar Hispano staff
members (left to right) Christine Roach, Ginny Callahan, Sally O’Dwyer, and Belle Penaranda.

The ladies of the Hogar Hispano ESL Program donned ball gowns and strappy shoes to receive the Community Partner of the Year award in the Hispanic Committee of Virginia's Annual Gala on October 8! HCV recognized Hogar Hispano for its help in expanding and modifying HCV’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program to meet growing demands from clients. Sally, Christine, Belle, and Ginny placed fast and furious bids on the silent auction, made valuable networking connections, enjoyed the scrumptious gourmet dinner, and danced the night away. Thank you to the Hispanic Committee for such an awesome night!

The Nuts and Bolts of Team Teaching

TLC for Newcomers and Late Bloomers

When newcomers come to class you’ll find that not everyone’s on the same page. Use a team teaching approach to tackle the many levels of English proficiency in your classroom. Let one teacher teach while the other circulates around the classroom to assess whether or not everyone’s following the lesson. Use these circulations to slow the class down when necessary. If one teacher notices a “late bloomer” in the class or would like to give special attention to get newcomers up to speed, take advantage of your team teaching approach and offer a little TLC to those students in the hallway or a quieter corner of the classroom. Two to five students can benefit from working with flashcards and can get the special attention they need while your partner leads the rest of the class through a lesson that meets the pace of the majority. The small group or one-on-one time gives students a wonderful opportunity to get to know the teacher, have their special needs met, and to try out his or her new language skills in a non-threatening environment.

Do The Splits!

Are you finding that more than one or two of your students are struggling to keep pace or staring off into space? Perhaps a sizeable portion of the class is still struggling with the alphabet or numbers while the rest is ready to move on? Do the splits! Lets face it: our students are exposed to varying levels of English outside of the classroom and learn English at different paces. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your team teaching approach to split the class into two groups of roughly the same level of English. Split the class for lesson presentation and come back together to play games that reinforce lessons everyone has received. You can also reunite members of the two groups for warmups, games or to pair stronger students with weaker students.

Can You Hear a Pin Drop? Get Those Quiet Students Yakkin’

Two teachers can mean twice as much talking in class! Have you ever prepared a great dialogue or interview activity and the students just aren’t talking? With two instructors, there’s ample opportunity to get in the mix and show them how to do it. During interview activities, dialogues and other techniques that encourage students to speak English, both teachers can circulate around the room and model top-notch classroom participation by chatting it up in English with students. This is your chance to nudge quiet students out of their shells while other folks are talking with their partners.

Climb a Higher Mountain! Challenge Your Advanced Students

Don’t forget that more advanced students need TLC too. A team teacher can be on the lookout for students who are bored with the lesson or pushing the class to a faster pace. Once you spot the advanced student, work with them to make an assignment or activity just a little bit more difficult while your partner leads the rest of the class.

The Vanna White Approach

We learn language by observing and imitating. Model dialogues, games, activities and conversations for your students with a team teacher. Don’t forget to bring cool props like telephones, beanbags, or other relevant items to spice up your demonstration. Are you teaching vocabulary? One teacher can act out or draw concepts that the other presents. Having a partner allows you to really ham it up as you model real life language exchange.

Fall Fashion Tip: Buy a Hogar T-shirt!

Tim Gibbon, Hogar's new Immigrant Advocate in the Social Services Department,
proudly sports his Hogar T-shirt while reading our favorite book of all time!

Promote the Hogar Hispano ESL program and make a fashion statement at the same time! Here are just some reasons why you should order one (or fifty!): The T-shirt is 100% cotton and reads, "Hogar Hispano: Serving the Immigrant Community" and comes in small, medium or large. The cost is a measly $7 (plus $3 shipping)-- get one today! Send an e-mail to with your name, T-shirt size, and quantity needed or simply call 703-534-9805 x239.

Book Sales Galore!

If you're anything like us over here in the ESL staff, you're crazy about books! Even better is when you can get these books for as little as 10 percent of list price! Curious? Stock up your personal libraries at these upcoming area book sales, while donating money to great causes.

Arlington Public Library Friends' Semi-Annual Book Sale
Location: Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington
Dates: October 22, 6-9 pm (Members only preview, memberships may be purchased at the door);
October 23, 9 am-4:30 pm; October 24, noon-6 pm

Chantilly Library Friends' Huge Semi-Annual Book Sale
Location: Chantilly Regional Library, 4000 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly
Dates: October 22 and 23, 10 am-5 pm; October 24, noon-3 pm

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia Annual Book Sale
Location: LCNV, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church
Dates: October 29 and 30, 10 am-4 pm; October 31, noon-4 pm

Hot Links

Halloween is just around the corner, and these days, this holiday can be a lot of fun for more than just sugar-addicted kids! Check out these websites full of Halloween activities for your students:

Boggle's World Halloween Worksheets
Dave's ESL Cafe Idea Cookbook Holidays- Some great Halloween ideas can be found here!
John's ESL Community Halloween Worksheets

Unless you've lived under a rock for the past few months, you know that the presidental election is coming up in early November. Take advantage of this once-every-four-years opportunity to teach your students more about the election process and the presidential candidates in one of the most heated election years in recent history! Grab some ideas and worksheets from:

Hands-On English Current Events
One Stop English Hot Topics- Geared for intermediate and advanced students

Job Openings

Catholic Charities Hogar Hispano has job openings for the following full-time positions. More details are available at Send a cover letter, resume, and three references to Hogar Hispano:

Cool Trainings Outside of Hogar

Saturday Training Series for ESOL Teachers and Tutors:

October 30: Is English Spelling Really Crazy?, Jane DeSelm
November 6: The Tapestry of Cultures in Our Classrooms, Johnnie Hicks
December 11: Integrating More Writing into Your Lessons, Tom Bello

These sessions are offered by Fairfax County Public Schools Office of Adult ESOL and is open to anyone working with adult English language learners. Sessions are held one Saturday a month from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043) in Michael Hall. Please RSVP to the FCPS Adult ESOL Program at 703-714-5560.

We Need You! Volunteer Opportunities and More!

Volunteers Wanted

We're still in need of ESL teachers! Work with a fantastic and dedicated group of intermediate level students at our office in Hogar Hispano-- the classes available are Wednesday and Thursdays from 1-3 p.m. Just pick one of those days! If you're interested, please call Christine at 703-534-9805 x238 or e-mail her at

The ESL department is looking for a dedicated volunteer to coordinate the hugely successful Sunday classes at All Saints in Manassas. No ESL experience is necessary-- but it's helpful if you're bilingual and very organized! This is a perfect opportunity for someone who loves to meet new people and wants to get their feet wet in ESL. Please contact Belle at 703-534-9805 x239 or at

Hogar Hispano's Social Services department needs volunteers to help out with client intake, giving information and referrals over the phone to clients, and assisting with the holiday gift drive. If interested, please contact Tim at 703-534-9805 x226 or at

Hogar’s Job Placement Program Needs Your Help

We’re in search of good jobs for our qualified clients. So, if you are in need of a nanny, housekeeper, elderly care worker, or similar positions, please let us know. You can contact Freshta Nawabi at 703-534-9805 x241 or We really need your help to get the word out, so let all your friends know that they can send job announcements our way!

Clothing and Toy Donations Wanted

Please help out a local family in need this holiday season by donating new toys and child's clothes through Hogar Hispano. For more information, please contact Tim at 703-534-9805x 226 or at

About Us

Hogar Hispano is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to immigrants of all nationalities and religions. As part of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, Hogar Hispano helps newcomers achieve self-sufficiency and successfully integrate into American society by offering a wide range of services at little or no cost. Hogar Hispano offers English as a Second Language classes, legal counseling and representation, naturalization assistance, job placement services, and social services.

We want to know what you think! Thank you for reading!

Sally O'Dwyer, ESL Coordinator, x222

Derry Deringer, Associate ESL Coordinator, x222

Belle Penaranda, Associate ESL Coordinator, x239

Christine Roach, English Literacy/Civics Grant Manager, x238

Hogar Hispano
6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 307
Falls Church, VA 22044
Fax: 703-534-9809

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