Volume 1 / Issue 2: Tips, Tools and Resources
Picture on the Left
Picture on the Bottom
No Picture and No Lines
No template needed. Just give them a blank piece a paper!
Providing and then Withholding Scaffolding to Support one Child’s Early Understanding of Narrative Structure (K-2)This video also shows student work on blank pieces of paper.
Talking with English Language Learners about Their Writing
by Tasha Tropp Laman
A writing conference is one of the best ways to help English language learners grow, both in their knowledge of the English language and as writers. In a writing conference (Anderson 2000; Calkins 1994), the teacher interviews a student to help the student decide what they wish to communicate and provides specific instruction to help the student do so.
A writing conference, like any authentic conversation, can feel awkward. Many teachers don’t even allow themselves to attempt a conversation with English language learners, particularly with newcomers to English. However, to learn a language, students need to use the language in an expressive context, through talking and writing. When we do not speak the languages our students speak, we worry about the messiness of trying to communicate. But without that messiness, these students don’t get an opportunity to learn. By listening and talking to children in writing conferences, we let them know that they matter and that their writing matters, too. Regardless of the level your multilingual students are at in learning English, you can help them grow as writers. Following are some communication tools that help facilitate communication with students who are new to English.
Communication Tools for Emerging English Language Learners
• Learn key phrases in your students’ languages in order to convey that we are all language learners in school.
• Demonstrate drawing for the student so they know that this is an important way of communicating when you do not speak the same languages.
• Point to the drawing and say words in English and ask your student to say the names of the objects in their language(s).
• Sit next to the child and smile while talking. This simple gesture does a lot to ease anxiety.
• If your student is literate in other languages, use Google Translate (www.translate.google.com) or BabelFish (www.babelfish.com) to translate directions. The translations aren’t perfect, but they can be helpful for students who speak languages you don’t. Because multilingual students are too often on the periphery of classroom life, we need to invite them into the center of learning by engaging them in writing conferences. In every writing conference with every student, we are engaged in understanding our multilingual students as people and as writers. Next are some examples of strategies and specific language you can use to reach and teach multilingual writers, which are designed to help you create a vision of what writing conferences can look and sound like with multilingual writers.
We Broke Out!
Miss White's 5th grade class at Orchard Hills.
Miss Lavertu's 1st class at Benson.
TK's Making Hexagons
Miss Hoehl's class at Benson.
The Importance of Developing Number Sense
CGI Math Resources
Check out a few people I follow on Twitter.
@edutopia Inspiration and information for what works in education.
@isteconnects International Society of Technology in Education: Connected learning. Connected world.