Oct. & Nov. 2017
Unlocking Language for ELLs
- Allow for wait time
- Understand the phases of language aquisition
- Create a safe environment
- Use students as mentors
- Notice your rate of speed
- Provide sentence frames
- Front-load background knowledge
- Engage parents
- Use various modes of conversation
- Be mindful of higher-level language learners
- Honor a student's native language and culture
1. Do you make use of environmental print?
Use anchor charts. Consider putting the word “horizontal” across the top of your door frame and “vertical” down the side of it. Use your wall space as learning tools!
2. Do you use graphic organizers?
3. Do you read aloud to your students?
As you read aloud, you will model fluency and support comprehension as you “think aloud” about the story’s characters and plot.
4. Do you encourage independent reading?
As teachers, we all know that students become better readers by reading, and that independent reading is vitally important! Make it a priority in your classroom that students have time to read independently each day, and encourage students to read outside of school, too!
5. Do you provide visual supports as you teach content?
I personally love to use vocabulary cartoons because they engage and motivate students. At the beginning of a unit, give student pairs a vocabulary word. They work together to create a cartoon, linking word, and example sentence that helps explain the meaning of the vocabulary word. Then, you can share and refer to the cartoons throughout the unit!
6. Do you interact with vocabulary?
7. Do you provide sentence frames?
Advanced language structures can be tricky. An anchor chart with easy reference to these structures can be extremely helpful.
Sometimes ELLs like to “fly under the radar” and passively watch as their classmates answer all of the teachers’ questions. Get a can of popsicle sticks and write your students’ names on them. Furthermore, institute a “no-raised hands” policy. Then, when you ask a question, randomly choose a popsicle stick and ask that student to answer your question. Students will quickly realize that all will be held accountable to be active class participants. They will be much more engaged if they know that they could be called on to respond at any moment.
All students can benefit from these strategies, but ELLs depend upon these strategies!
Corkboard Connections, October 2014
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