Building Background & Comprehensible Input
Planning for Students at Different Proficiency Levels
Students at the pre-emergent level have no ability or very limited ability to communicate in English. The goal is for teachers to link concepts to students’ background experience, link between students past learning and new concepts; furthermore, emphasize key vocabulary (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2013). Comprehensive input means teachers accommodate students’ proficiency level by clearly explaining academic tasks, and use variety of techniques to make content concepts clear; such as modeling, visual aids, materials (worksheets), or hands on activities (flashcards) (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2013). Communicating with students by asking a variety of questions in the classroom allows students to think out loud and take in feedback through the use of large, small, or partnered groups. Learning can take place through interaction with other students. It is important for the teacher to give students time to interact and to respond to questions (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2013). Providing ELL students with hands on materials as noted in the lesson with flash cards; provides students with a hands on learning experience, which helps keep students engaged in the learning process. Hands on learning is very beneficial for students who are already stressed out due to their English speaking challenges.
Pre-Emergent Level Descriptors
Expresses self in drawings, gestures, words
Uses words, gestures and actions
Very limited understanding of English
Can produce some English phonemes
(Begins to) read sight words
Listens to text read aloud
Recognizes and produces rhyming sounds
Draws, labels, copies familiar words
Standard 1: Understand selected essential grade level content vocabulary using pictures, actions and/or objects
Objective 1: Students will be able to pronounce and say animal names and baby names orally
- Pictures are labeled, students will match the parent animal to baby animal
- Students are able to use gestures, and picture to communicate basic key vocabulary words
Students at the basic level of language may have difficulties picking up vocabulary, which would make it difficult for them to link the new concept to prior knowledge or experiences. Incorporating a digital jumpstart related to animals and their babies on a computer within a small group can give students an introduction so they can follow the rest of the lesson (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2013). This jumpstart activity will allow the basic level students who need extra time and support a chance to pick up on linking the animals and babies to experiences and previous learning regarding springtime along with key vocabulary. The digital jumpstart will also give the students a better success rate at understanding the vocabulary components to have a chance at working on the T-Chart activity of listing the parent animals verses the baby animals.
Students at the basic level of English proficiency benefit when teachers slow down their speech, pause, and enunciate (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2013). It is important to break sentences down into a simpler form. Use subject–verb-object with beginning students (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2013). While discussing the parent to child relationship, it may be necessary to say, “A cat is the parent. A kitten is the child.” Speak the short sentences clearly and at an appropriate slower pace than speaking naturally.
For each activity, it will be critical to not only give step-by-step instructions verbally, but use written directions, visuals, and modeling. It is a mistake to only verbally give directions and assume that basic English proficiency level students understand what to do. For example, while introducing the animal-baby memory game, give instructions verbally and have them projected on the screen or written on the board. Next, model each step of the game. Students will need to know what to do if they get a match versus if they do not get a match. Do not assume they would know what to do.
In this lesson plan, students will become familiar with language and vocabulary relating to spring, including nature and animals. Students should be able to identify the characteristics of spring and identify key language and vocabulary in tests and the real world (Waugh, 2011).
The Intermediate level of the proficiency descriptor is separated into low and high intermediate. Students at the low intermediate level consistently express and respond using grammatically correct simple sentences in social and academic settings and students at the high intermediate level consistently express and respond using grammatically correct simple sentences, including details in social and academic settings. According to the content objective, students will identify animal and their corresponding babies, and classify animals according to their offspring; and according to the language objectives, students will be able to pronounce and say animal names and baby names orally (Waugh, 2011).
Language development is usually divided into several levels of increasing complexity. There are five early language learner proficiency standards that are identical to the classroom and large scale state assessment frameworks. English Language Learners Standard 4 for grade K-2 in Science is communicating information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area.
English Language Learners (ELL) in the second grade content proficient level must comply with the proficiency standards, as the basis, the development of English learners must be assessed annually for their English language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. English as a second level (ESL) benchmarks for the annual measurable achievement objectives are to be based on state English Language proficiency standards.
The standards in this assignment are based on building background for the content area which is directly linked to the student’s background experience. The links are explicitly made between past learning and new concepts, key vocabulary is emphasized, new vocabulary is presented, and in all the vocabulary is limited. The comprehensible input of the content is appropriate for the student’s language proficiency in the second grade. The task is clear and has step-by-step directions with visuals. The students will learn strategies such as predicting and summarizing.
The performances will outline the progression of development that is implied in the acquisition of English as an additional language. The Proficient level starts with a beginning stage with basic communication, simple oral and written responses. Next is the early production stage, which is the advanced beginning level, students will add extended vocabulary and more complex grammar and focus on more complex reading and writing skills, comprehension will increase and students begin to speak the words correctly. The students will be able to identify people, animals, and objects. The third stage is speech emergent. At the beginning intermediate level, students will begin to use descriptive terms in relating events, pronunciation and intonation improvement. Vocabulary also increases. The fourth stage is intermediate fluency stage; this is when student’s comprehension has improved considerably. The students speak with few grammatical errors. Students are able to share experiences, generate ideas, and give opinions. The fifth stage is Fluency and at this stage students have near prefect speech. With support they can research projects with full reports.At the highest levels, students will have applied language skills to increasingly abstract thought as well as to highly technical material. These steps can be called entering, beginning, developing, expanding and bridging. This will allow students in second grade to meet state academic content standards, and the performance indicators for language proficiency level in Science.
- Arizona Department of Education (ADE). (2014). Finalized English language proficiency (ELP) standards. Retrieved from http://www.azed.gov/english-language-learners/elps/
- Arizona Department of Education (2014). Guidance Document. Retrieved from http://www.azed.gov/english-language-learners/files/2012/02/guidance-doc-finalized.pdf
- Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2013). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
- Edutopia. (2014). Assessment. Retrieved from www.edutopia.org/assessment?gclid=CNvRYubezsEcFYtAMgodJHUAXW
- Ms. Waugh's Class. (2011). Lesson plan: Science. Retrieved from http://mswaughsclass.blogspot.com/2011/05/siop-lesson-plans-spring-unit.html
- Wallace, S. (2006). Using the SIOP Model: Center for Applied Liguistics. Washington State, Washington, DC.