English Language Learners (ELL’s) need support adjusting to an English classroom. As teachers, it’s our responsibility (and passion) to differentiate instruction and provide appropriate accommodations so these ESL students can experience success and feel good about themselves and their learning.
Your first priority is to make sure the student feels a sense of belonging to the classroom community you’ve created, and is not afraid. Learning will happen if the student feels welcomed, and then if lessons are differentiated to allow them to participate according to their abilities.
Here is a quick checklist of ways to accommodate an ELL in the classroom:
- Represent their culture in the classroom
- Give them time just to get familiar and comfortable with the class, school, and new peers.
- Print clearly and simply – avoid cursive writing and small text.
- Support words and instructions – use images and visuals such as graphic organizers, pictures, and flow charts.
- Monitor your own talking – speak clearly, avoid slang and idiomatic expressions.
- Cue the student – create specific cues and rhythms for the classroom so they know what to expect during transitions.
- Check for comprehension – use gestures, smiles, props, and one-word answers. Avoid “do you understand?”
- Give extra time for tasks and assignments
- Diversify assessment strategies – write, say, and do.
- Word Walls with key vocabulary they need across all subjects
Teaching ESL students is an enriching experience and really helps us develop as teachers. Embrace the opportunity and challenge and enjoy the trip~!
Supporting English Language Learners through their comprehension and engagement in a text is vital if they are to come to a love of reading in English.
In preparing for a presentation on Supporting the ELL’s in our Ontario Classrooms, I was looking for current Canadian resources teachers can easily incorporate into their language arts curriculum for ESL students. One such resource I wanted to share right away was StorylineOnline. Storyline Online is a fabulous website that has popular English children’s picture books being read aloud by celebrities! How interesting. Not only can children experience a range of pronunciations by listening to books read aloud, they can increase their engagement in a text either in the class on the computer or at home.
I recommend choosing a text with a student and doing a “picture walk” with them through the book. Discussing the pictures helps students to make predictions, and it activates the schema they already have for the topic making learning more meaningful. You may want to ask them to share any experiences they have with the topic either orally or in writing. Go over any challenging or new vocabulary, idioms, slang, and cultural references in the book. Next, read it along with the student and let them have some time alone to read through it at their own pace if they’re able to do this. You can then pull up this resource Storyline Online and have them listen to the book alongside reading it. They may wish to do this a few times. Finally, choose a consolidation activity you feel will best match their learning goals and needs. This could be drawing pictures and describing their favourite part. Identifying parts of the story such as the main characters, plot, setting, etc. And one of my favourites is to have them change one of these parts and re-tell the story aloud.
Definitely check out this free online resource and let me know your thoughts! 🙂
One of my favourites? Harry the Dirty Dog ready by Betty White
“When you take the time to talk to students, remember: the first moments are sacred; they involve the honouring of the dignity of each life that you meet. Take the time to listen with your heart.”
– Aboriginal teacher
This quote resonated with me greatly. It is from the Our Words, Our Ways: Teaching First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Learners document prepared by the Alberta Ministry of Education. Find a free pdf copy here: http://education.alberta.ca/media/307199/words.pdf