Supporting YOU as you support ELLs

Words, Words, Words

We have all experienced that "loss for words" feeling! Quite frustrating, isn't it? Imagine having a great idea that you want to express, whether in writing or participating in class, but you simply don't have the English word to do it. This is something some students in your class may be experiencing. How can we help? That's the focus of ESLentials this time around...

Everyday Words Matter Too!

As teachers, we stress about academic vocabulary, but when writing a narrative about something from their lives, ELLs may also be grasping for words to name every day objects, feelings, places. For example, one of our young writers told the story of how his mother cared for him as a baby. He wrote, "...and then she would give me that shaker thing so I would stop crying.." This is a perfect example of "home words" that ELLs most likely have never heard of in English. "Rattle" is not an academic term we teach , but needed to be used in his story. When this is evident, help the student by providing the right word and offering the option for them to use it. Sometimes their invented word may offer more voice to a piece, but providing the word in English will help their English vocabulary expand. A picture dictionary or Google Images can be a great tool for you to pull up what you think they may be describing. Please let us know if you need a resource to aid in filling in those language gaps.

In addition, please do embrace students using expressions/words in their native language when appropriate in their writing. That can often add a whole different depth to their piece!

Throw Them a Rope!

Speaking in front of a group is daunting for many learners, but if a student is hesitant about their English, he/she may hesitate to participate. When starting a class discussion, provide some "speaking starters". For example, if students are commenting on classmates' writing, perhaps having "I really like the way you..." posted on the board will give them that kick start to speak. If they want to offer costructive criticism: "Maybe next time you could try..."

Even native born English speakers will find such scaffolding helpful!

What's the Word on the Home Front?

Here are the languages that are spoken in the homes of our learners whose native language is other than English:

Taiwanese, Akan, Spanish, Urdu, Polish, Telugu, Pilipino, Chaochow, Albanian, Lithuanian, Arabic, Malayalam, Panjabi, Macedonian, Russian, Hausa ,Bulgarian, Gujurati, Indonesian, Romanian, Korean.

How amazing is that?

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