ELL Framework

Making my Classroom Accessible to All Students

ELL Students

ELL students have a lot of myths that come with them: they have disabilities, they can learn English quickly, and there are plenty of stereotypes that are associated with different languages (NCTE, 2008). However, I am aware that each student has his or her individual quirks and that simply being an ELL does not define you as one particular kind of learner.

With this statement in mind, it is important to reach out to ELL students as individuals. However, having a language barrier can make learning content difficult, so below are a list of strategies I will employ to teach ELL students.

What Works for All Students...

In Goldenberg (2013), one major point made is that "generally effective practices are likely to be effective with ELs" (p. 5). I appreciated this idea, since doing things like providing clear directions and having clear classroom norms are important for not just English speaking students, but its important for all students regardless of their home language. If I am using practices effective with all students, I can emphasize that all students can learn from one another. A goal of mine is to teach students the importance of seeing multiple perspectives, which includes being able to work with diverse learners.

In having classroom norms, students know what to expect every day. This will help lessen the potential anxiety students may feel. For ELs, this is an important reduction, as there are plenty of other factors to be stressed about.

Having clear instructions is a must for any student. I need to be direct with students about what I expect them to do, and this remains true for ELL students.

The Importance of Images

Above, I posted photos that visually explain concepts learned in three different math classes: Algebra II, Algebra I, and Geometry respectively. In both the ELL articles we read and the ELL presentation we observed, the importance of images to teach EL students were stressed. Students can have access to these visuals while teaching is occurring to help make connections from the images to the math that needs to happen.
Khan Academy en Español

Khan Academy has a couple of different languages available, mostly romantic languages. However, even if a student does not speak one of the language options available, giving students extra practice on a site like Khan Academy will solidify skills.

The Importance of Home Language

Above, I provided a link to Khan Academy in Spanish. A myth around learning content in an American school is that students' home languages should have no part of the instruction. However, as we read in Goldenberg (2013), students benefit from some instruction in their home language. Khan Academy could provide a resource to students for lesson preview and review. In the flash card example, I can stress the cognates of the vocabulary presented. I think having access to the students' home languages will provide a deeper understanding of the content for the students.
Kimmel Asterisk Method for Factoring Trinomials


This was a video I used during my work sample. Now, the information is portrayed silently and quickly, so when I used it, I paused at times and read aloud what was happening. However, this video is a resource for how to use the asterisk method of factoring, and displays it quite effectively. I believe that visuals are important for everyone while learning math, and I will use them especially for my ELL students. I think visuals will be effective for students in that it provides reenforcement of vocabulary and it provides an explanation of content as well.

Other Strategies

Some math textbooks come with supplemental material. The Algebra textbook used at RHS has ELL material to provide for students. If a textbook does not have ELL specific material, providing ELL students extra material for preview and review will help students keep up with the material presented during class.

I would like to create manipulatives for students to use to have hands-on interactions. One manipulative Becky suggested was having Algebra tiles for manipulating polynomials. I did not get to use these during my work sample, but would like to familiarize myself with them further. Having hands-on experience will allow students to have a personal experience with the material.

If I can provide students with access to all of the strategies I provided, I will be able to see what individual students get out of each strategy differently, and provide more individualized support as the year progresses.


Goldenberg, C. (2013). Unlocking the research on english learners: What we know-and don't yet know- about effective instruction. American Educator 37(2), 4-11.

National Council of Teachers of English. (2008). A nation with multiple languages. English Language Learners, 1-8.