EL News

Fourth Quarter, 2019-20; CSI Goal Area 2, Obj.3, Int.2

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District Priorities

As we move to continuous distance learning there are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Connecting/checking in with our students/families is our top priority.

  • If you have an EL student that is not in your class (Zoom, Google, the platform you are using), follow up with a phone call.
  • If there is a language barrier contact your campus EL assistant for help in communicating with the student/family.

2) Make instruction simple: review, enrich, and do not introduce any new standards or concepts.

  • EL students (as many students) will need intentional, explicit directions
  • Front load vocabulary needed for the lesson
  • Build background knowledge

Best Practices for Teachers of EL Students (OSDE)

  • Break up the content. Just like in a traditional classroom, EL students will show greater engagement and utilize more domains of speech when asked to participate in a variety of tasks and activities. Try to focus on lessons that alternate between lectures, peer-to-peer discussion (if possible), video and audio clips, at-home projects, assessment, etc.
  • Limit the size of online group interactions. As a general rule, the greater the number of students grouped in an online activity, the more difficult it will be to manage. Situations like this are less effective instructionally, especially for English learners. Try to keep online groups small (ideally 3-5). Also, remain flexible when scheduling group interactions so that you have time to address all groups individually.
  • Be accessible to your students. Most students (and many teachers) have no experience with distance learning. The more you can facilitate the process and provide direct support, the more engaged the student will be. Ensure you have access to district staff who can assist in communicating instructions and/or expectations to non-English speaking students and parents.
  • Communicating the “how” is vital for engagement. Before expecting a student to engage in any distance learning activity, practice the activity using devices your students have access to and/or with the same available resources. As you proceed through an activity, create a troubleshooting guide that addresses any steps that may be confusing and include tips for success. Ensure all students have the troubleshooting guide prior to the activity. If the student is a lower-level language English learner, this document should be translated into their native language.
  • Allow for multiple modalities in assessment. Remain flexible in how students, especially ELs, show mastery of content. Before asking a student to engage in an activity, brainstorm various ways you could assess the level of learning that has occured (traditional test, project, verbal argument, etc.), and look for possible ways to implement those assessments within the constraints of your delivery model.
  • Have a backup plan. Understand that even when implementing a well-designed and supported digital delivery strategy, some students will be unable to access instruction. Issues outside of your control, such as consistent internet access, hardware issues, software issues, etc., can all work to derail student engagement. When this becomes an issue, it is important to have ready some sort of secondary instruction that is not dependent on available technology (paper packets, readers, etc.).


  • Equity will be an issue, do the best you can
  • Provide stability
  • Provide hope for EL students and their families

Ways EL Assistants Can Help

  • Collaborate with classroom teachers to support EL students
  • Contact EL students that are struggling in class meetings to assist with activity etc
  • Translate for any families that are non English speakers
  • Support classroom teachers in an effort to contact EL students that are hard to reach or that need another contact as a check in
  • Newcomers: 1 at Nance, 1 at Washington, 3 at CHS: work closely with classroom teacher to relay class activities etc. (any vocabulary and background knowledge that we can front load would be great!)

Imagine Learning: Imagine Learning requires intense intervention on a daily basis. At this time we do not want students progressing through the program without the supports they need, it would be detrimental to their learning. We also do not want to overwhelm families. Students should be able to have some level of success with activities and review the classroom teacher is offering.

Take Care of You!

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Let me know if I can help!

Be A Light (Lyric Video)

Stephanie Hime, M.Ed.

Director of EL, GT, Elementary Curriculum

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