Artifact #2

ED 955 Assessing the English Learner

Taken Summer II 2014


I have to confess that I have very minimal interaction with ELL/ESL students. So when I first had an ELL/ESL student I had the worry that every teacher at some point has, "How can I help ALL my students?" I wondered what differentiation would be necessary for those students to be successful within my classroom. So when I was able to take ED 955 and better understand about what an ELL/ESL student looks like, I was better able to understand how to best analyze and assist these types of learners. I realized that I, and many of my students, take for granted some of the cultural nuances that I have grow up and learned with. I needed to expand my teacher brain to better encompass what students may view as a learning road block. A big piece that I had to think of were idiomatic phrases that we use in many aspects of learning that children take at their word value. They don't understand the phrase as a whole and the contextual meaning. Being able to take a step back and choose how I explain things wisely was a learning experience for me.

Competency 3: History and Nature of English Vocabulary and of English Dialects; development of vocabulary knowledge

Being able to understand vocabulary, not just identifying but truly being able to comprehend vocabulary, is a skill that all students find necessary in the world of literacy. They must be able to look at a word, be able to decode the phonemes within the word, and translate it into speech. Then from this word they need to translate it's meaning- how is it used, why is it used, what other words does it relate to, etc. This is important for students to carry over from reading into the content areas, so that they can gain background knowledge on subjects that may be foreign to them.

The RAFT writing graphic organizer can be used in many different content areas in order for a students to create a response in an organized manner. They will identify what their role is in the writing, who their audience will be (whom will be reading their writing), the format in which to write within and finally the topic that they will be writing about. The attached website of Reading 101 For English Language Learners allow an educator to inform themselves and others that may work with the English Language Learner as to what each student may need assistance in to better have access to the text. The website of News in Levels gives students access to different leveled news articles, allowing them to better access current events and knowledge that will inform their learning.

Competency 9: Second Language Acquisition and its relationship to literacy learning

During ED 955 Assessing English Language Learners, I was introduced to the RAFT writing graphic organizer, as well as a number of different technology pieces that can help support a student's learning. Both pieces help differentiate learning not only for ELLs but also for all learners within my classroom. They are able to access reading and writing, but in ways that they don't have to struggle with. These resources also not only support literacy instruction, but can be utilized within many different content area learnings, such as using the website News in Levels for science instruction, learning about the advances in technology.

The RAFT writing resource is meant to be utilized in a manner to support written responses. Students are given a format and a starting point in which to answer questions that correspond with readings or discussions that have taken place within the classroom. But in order for this graphic organizer to be effective and helpful for students, they must receive direct instruction as to what each piece means and how to correctly use it to assist them in their responses. With the instruction and consistent use, students will have a tool that they can refer back to at any point of their academic learning that will feel familiar and safe to use.

Competency 11: Cognitive Development in adolescence and its relationship to reading instruction

Much of ED 955 was spend exploring what WIDA is and what it means to the educators that use it. WIDA stands for World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment and is used in the world of academia to help educators view language development and academic achievement for students who come from linguistically diverse backgrounds through a number of different standards, assessments, research and professional development.

By identifying a student as an English Language Learner (ELL) or being English as Second Language (ESL), educators can level their learning according to their WIDA level and the work that they are capable of doing. I have worked with a number of different ELL and ESL students over the past summers, working through a public school with their extended year services. In this environment, I was able to utilize these resources to better assist students with their literacy learning, especially in regards to their required summer reading. By presenting these tools to the students and pacing their reading, together we were better able to comprehend the content of the book and answer corresponding work that was assigned to them.

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