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English Language Learners

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Here are some tips and strategies for working with students who speak English as a second language.
English Language Learners
Posted by:Julianne #23415

You don't say which grade you teach. (42 kids! That's crazy.) I have a first grade where about two thirds are English language learners. Some of the things we've done through the year:

Pair ELL student with a truly bilingual partner and have them work as a team.

Use as many pictures and other visual aids as possible to help ensure understanding.

Give ELL students practice with lower level tasks so they can learn the vocabulary of math.

For assessments we accommodated our ELL students by testing them in small groups rather than with the rest of the class. We simplified directions where necessary and reread instructions if our students seemed confused. We made sure we had reviewed vocabulary before the testing began. All in all our ELL students did pretty well on the math portion of the tests we took.

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Ideas on how to help English Language Learners
Posted by:Cristina Heredia #68700

To begin with, your students need to understand the culture of an American school. I would suggest that you teach units related to school life such as visiting the nurse, basic needs (permission to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, etc.), numbers, colors, verbs, etc. They can keep personal dictionaries of words/phrases that are meaningful to them. I also recommend using the Oxford Picture Dictionary. It is divided into units such as those I suggested. Finally, try to slowly move away from just translating for the students. Your goal is to help them master a second language and not become a crutch for them. As they study English, play some games with them. There are so many quick and easy (and cheap) games you can play. E-mail me if you'd like and I'll see how many I remember from my ESL days. Buena suerte.

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Posted by:Julianne #36031

I'm currently taking classes towards an ESL endorsement. All new hires in our district will need this endorsement as of this year. What I'm learning in class in interesting and frustrating at the same time. What they're telling us is that the average student needs between 5 and 7 years of exposure to English to become proficient in it at the academic level. They may be able to converse efficiently after a few months, but they won't be able to comprehend academic work at grade level for some years to come. So what do you do with a 5th grader who doesn't speak English?

What they're telling us to do is to make your classroom and your practices as helpful to the student as possible. Of course, you will adapt your instruction differently depending upon how many ESL vs. English proficient students are in your group. This year I have 19...

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Posted by:Julianne #29822

I'm currently working on an ESL endorsement. My classroom this year has 10 limited English speakers, 2 proficient bilingual students and 7 native English speakers. I expect this kind of a mix every year in my current assignment, hence the need for the ESL endorsement. Here are some of the accommodations I've made in my teaching practices so far:

In reading we do much more shared reading before introducing small group guided reading instruction. We make sure our story introductions are thorough and that we check carefully for the child's background knowledge. In other words, we don't assume that the child has been to a birthday party or ridden in a plane. We give concrete examples of things that might be misunderstood or unfamiliar. When selecting books for guided reading groups we try to choose texts that are of interest to a broad range of students. An example: most...

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ELL student
Posted by:ck #80468

I have also worked with ELL children (& families). As a teacher, you will have to remember to teach visually. Since you are a new teacher, this may actually be easier for you as you haven't become used to teaching in a certain way. When doing any planning, think specifically about how you can present the lesson using lots of visuals. Don't aim your actions strickly towards your one student, but towards the whole class (I'll bet a lot of them are visual leraners as well!). When you want them to take out their rulers & a pencil, hold up a ruler and a pencil. Hold up the Math book, Science book, etc.
Also keep in mind that children (people)will often be able to understand a language before they can speak it, so the child may actually have some understanding of English, but is unable to respond in kind. Children are flexible, usually...

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Posted by:Julianne #48247

Hey, you got my class from last year. We had kids from Cuba, Mexico, Nepal, Vietnam and Bulgaria. It's quite a challenge. Many of ours are refugee families, or at the very least, extremely poor. It's difficult to get their families over for lots of cultural exchange stuff. It helps if you can find translators to help you speak to them. At a previous school the out-of-country kids were the children of college professors so they often spoke English and were more willing to come share with our class.

Helping the kids to share what they know about their country is a great starting place. Also try to find materials and books about where they are from, if only for the pictures. Help them share some of their language with your class. If they can write some words,...

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cooperative learning
Posted by:Julianne #30137

I've been taking classes toward an ESL endorsement. They are really stressing cooperative learning techniques as something that works well with English Language learners. So I started using it in my class occasionally. We do a technique called Think, Pair, Share where pairs of students think about a topic, then pair with someone else and share their ideas. The pair then present the best things they thought of to the class. We have also used cooperative learning for students to fill out a KWL chart - They fill out what they already Know about a subject, what they Want to know and later fill in what they Learned - KWL. Both techniques have been useful. Since I haven't been doing this long I hope you get some other answers to your post. I kept waiting to see what others would write.

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Posted by:Margaret916 #118030

Have you considered modifying her assignments? She's just learning ENglish...have her read a book that's smaller and simple ENglish and learn to read and comprehend that before moving to a novel.

One of my best ESOL classes started witht he prof walking into our room speaking all greek -- modern greek. She illustrated 3 kinds of lessons. first she did a short lecture. We understood none and could answer NONE of her questions in greek. Then she did a lesson that was slightly interactive and we learned a few basic words from gestures and pointing to things in the room. Third she did a lesson teaching us to count and using hard manipulatives, then switched to the arabic numbers and by the end we were all counting in greek.

The first part was so scary and intimidating for a room of ADULTS. let alone a single child...

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Posted by:Tounces #116440

Effective ESOL Strategies

_____Make use of contextual clues (such as gestures, expressions,
body language) to facilitate understanding.
_____Use multiple media to provide different stimuli.
_____Provide individualized instruction and assistance.
_____Encourage peer tutoring, role-playing, and interaction.
_____Use written and pictorial forms (maps, graphs, charts, pictures, audiovisual aids, lists, semantic maps and webs, flow charts, outlines, etc.) to teach.
_____Adjust or shorten assignments appropriately.
_____Provide hands-on experiences whenever possible.
_____Use small group instruction and cooperative learning groups.
_____Define content area language or terminology for students.
_____Use alternative assessments, such as observation, demonstration, product or portfolio assessment.
_____Reduce oral and written directions and information to# easy-to-understand steps or parts.
_____Adapt written text and materials to facilitate comprehension.
_____Modify your speech

Speak clearly and enunciate...

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