Planning different strategies for working with English language learners

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The purpose of this document is to provide a comprehensive resource for content area teachers working with ESL students. After providing some basic background information, the document is broken down into sections based on the routines of your classroom.
Document adapted from Gary Giblin, ESL Coordinator for Winton Woods City Schools, and from ESOL
Strategies for Teaching Content by Jodi Reiss (Pearson Education, 2005)
The purpose of this document is to provide a comprehensive resource for content area teachers
working with ESL students. After providing some basic background information, the document
is broken down into sections based on the routines of your classroom. A good goal would be to
try to implement a few of these strategies each quarter. In the process, you will become familiar
with best practices for working with ESL students.
LEP—Limited English Proficient, the official government classification for students whose
primary language is other than English and who have been found to need support in acquiring
ELL—English Language Learner, the education profession’s preferred term for those classified as
ESL (or ESOL)—English as a Second Language or English to/for Speakers of Other Languages,
the term(s) for the educational strategies designed to teach English to ELLs
Assumption: In science, social studies, and math classrooms, little attention is generally paid to
English per se as it is simply the medium through which the content is conveyed; content
teachers in these areas must address the language they use as well as the content they teach.
Past approaches to English Language Learners:
• Ignore the students
• Ignore the fact that they have different needs
• Provide busy work
All reflect low expectations and lack of understanding.
Today’s approaches involve modifications in:
• Curriculum
• Teaching
• Content
• Assignments
• Assessments
Through such scaffolding, ELLs can learn content while they learn English.
Two types of language: BICS and CALP (based on the research of Jim Cummins)
Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills: the language of everyday conversation and social
interaction learned in six months to three years.
3. Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency: the language of academic settings learned in five
to seven years (or longer).
Students who function well in conversational English may still lack proficiency in the kind of
academic language necessary to succeed in school.
BICS involves skills such as recalling anecdotal information and having conversations.
CALP requires skills in “classroom” language such as “compare and contrast,” “explain and
justify,” and “classify and list.”
BICS typically has a low cognitive demand and high contextual support (gestures,
demonstrations, facial expressions, etc.).
CALP typically has a high cognitive demand and little contextual support (writing research
papers on assigned topics in social studies, solving word problems without manipulatives or
pictures, conducting an experiment by reading directions from a textbook). Think of the
geography term riverbed, and how an ELL might understand it.
Reflection: How is content taught in the early elementary grades? As students learn basic
language skills, content is taught primarily through visual, manipulative and experiential means.
Large blocks of time are spent teaching reading and writing skills. In the upper elementary
grades, teachers shift from learning to read to reading to learn. ELLs in K-2 benefit from more
traditional approaches. ELLs in grades 3-12 must be taught using strategies that reflect those of
the primary grades.
Specifically, classroom teachers must provide instruction in a way that:
• Ensures comprehensible input (material presented in a way that they can truly
• Contextualizes language as much as possible (with photos, realia, etc.)
• Allows active involvement
• Reduces the anxiety of students as much as possible
This last point is crucial. Negative emotions, such as the anxiety that can result from practicing a
new language in public, can adversely impact student learning. Second language acquisition
can best take place in a nurturing, non-threatening environment.
Adapt, adjust, and simplify the content in your curriculum. Ask: What do I really want my ELLs
to know? By definition, these students cannot learn all of the content or they would not be
classified as LEP. If we try to teach them everything, they may well end up learning nothing.
Focus on the principle of “learn more about less.”
• Select Priority Topics—one that recurs at various grade levels or is a concept upon
which others are built, e.g., magnetism in science, freedom in social studies, and place
value in math
• Select Topics of Interest—topics that relate to students’ personal experiences or prior
• Select Practical Topics—topics that are easiest to make comprehensible to ELLs, the
ones that best lend themselves to the modifications described here
• Select Challenging Topics—and go for depth not breadth. Have ELLs become “experts”
in a narrow section of content, rather than trying to have them master everything in a
unit. For example, in a science lesson on the Solar System, the ELL can focus on a single
planet; in a Social Studies unit on the Civil War, they can concentrate on a single battle or
ELLs are constantly working to translate what they hear (English) into what they understand
(their primary language). Complicating this “double duty” is the fact that while working on the
meaning of one sentence, they then completely miss the next thing the teacher says. For ELLs,
then, how the teacher speaks is as important as what the teacher says.
• Change the Pace of Your Speech
o Slow Down Speak at a slightly slower, but not unnatural pace; pause for an extra
second or two to give students a chance to process the oral language and catch
o Enunciate Try to speak as clearly as possible, vary the pitch of your speech, and
emphasize key words, as if underlining them in a text. Do not raise your voice.
• Simplify Your Speech
o Avoid contractions It’s natural to say they’re instead of they are, but try to use the
latter to make the meaning clearer (vs. their or there). This will also help to slow
down the rate of your speech.
o Use Fewer Pronouns Try repeating common and proper nouns more frequently
than you normally would since trying to decode the pronouns (“What is they?”)
can impede comprehension.
o Use Simple Words Use high frequency words often, repeat known vocabulary
words instead of synonyms, e.g., the minus sign -, which can be verbally
expressed in several ways (less, take away, minus).
o Teach the Meanings of Words that are Used in Different Ways ELLs may know the
word strike in the baseball sense, but what about in bowling, industry, mining,
weather, and the military? In math words like table and round and in science
words like kingdom and matter may require clarification.
o Explain and Limit Idioms Don’t put your foot in your mouth over this one. They
may spice up your speech, but ELLs could have a cow! Become aware of idioms
and figurative speech (“fighting under the Confederate flag”) and explain
examples when you can.
o Simplify Your Sentence Structure Keep sentences short and simple, using the
subject-verb-object structure, instead of long complex sentences with embedded
clauses, e.g., “The Civil War, which took more American lives than any other war
in our history, divided the people of the United States, so that in many families,
brother fought against brother.” This would be more comprehensible to ELLs as:
“The Civil War divided the people of the United States. In many families, brother
fought against brother. More Americans died in the Civil War than in any other
war in American history.”
6. • Enhance Your Words
o Use Gestures Make oral language a visual experience by using hand gestures and
facial expressions, e.g., holding up three fingers as you say, “There are three
rules.” But try to make it part of your usual style so that you do not appear to be
singling out the ELLs for this “special” visual enhancement.
o Use Visuals and Graphics Whenever possible, write on the board, use pictures,
real objects, maps, graphs or anything else that would visually enhance your
words. This is what is meant by contextualizing speech.
o Use Repetition and Paraphrase Emphasize key points by summarizing or
repeating them several times during class and not just at the end. Ask: “So, why
was _______ important?” “Who can explain the process we just saw?”
• Check for Comprehension
o Avoid asking, “Do you have any questions?” This can make those who do have
questions avoid looking “stupid” by simply keeping their mouths shut. Instead,
expect questions by saying, “OK, question time. What questions do you have for
me?” Reinforce by answering, “Great question. Thanks for asking that!”
• Give Clear and Consistent Directions
o State what you want students to do in a simple, step-by-step manner.
o Support your words with written directions and keep these in view during the
o Model the process and the product so they can see exactly what to do and what
the result should look like.
o Check for comprehension by asking students to repeat what they are expected to
o Finish with Question Time, as described above.
• Develop and Maintain Routines
o All of your students will benefit from knowing what happens each day, but
especially the English Language Learners.
Textbooks can be made more comprehensible to both ELLs and struggling native English-
speaking students through these modification strategies.
• Use Textbook Aids
Give a short lesson/demonstration on the various textbook aids and how to use them,
e.g., chapter titles, section headings, outlines, summaries, discussion questions,
glossaries, text boxes, highlighted areas, bilingual dictionaries, etc.
• Pre-teach Select Vocabulary
Preview chapters, select vocabulary that may be difficult or technical, as well as key
concepts, and teach these to the whole group or, if appropriate, to the ELL group
individually while other students write or work on another activity. You can also have
students create their own personal dictionaries of new and important terms.
• Highlight Important Concepts
Make an outline or T-notes of each chapter. Offer native English-speaking students
extra credit if they will make these for the ELL students. Outlines and T-notes help to
streamline the reading process and serve as good review tools later on.
• Group Students to Discuss the Text
This is a whole-class strategy that can improve comprehension. Organize students in
small groups to discuss the reading assignment of the day before. Many students learn
more from small group discussions, where the language demands are less, than in a
more formalized question-and-answer exchange with the teacher.
• Learning Logs
Have students record their reactions to the text in a daily journal. Set up the log with
columns for “Text Pages” “What I Understood” “New/Difficult Vocabulary” and
“Questions I Want to Know.” Students can meet in groups to discuss their entries with
teacher support. The logs can also serve as notes for lesson review.
• Bilingual Peer Tutor
On a limited basis, a bilingual peer may be asked to translate concepts and information
from the text. This is recommended as a strategy to use with beginning level ELLs.
• Allow Extra Time
Plan to give ELLs extra time to complete assignments, and to practice and apply new
concepts. Remember that they are learning English at the same time they are learning
in English.
• Modify Homework
Give different assignments to different students depending on language ability. Use the
techniques outlined above.
Goal: Create challenging assignments that teach content but keep the language as simple as
• Whole Class Assignments
o Provide a Word Bank For beginners provide only the words needed to complete
the assignment; for more advanced ELLs you can add extra words that will not be
o Assign Fewer Questions Select the ones that seem most central to the topic and
eliminate the rest
o Evaluate for Content Only Read for content, not for grammar—the message not
the means.
o Provide Models and Outlines Create pre-formatted sheets so that ELLs can
concentrate on the content and not on creating language to convey the content.
In science, a pre-formatted form might include “We wanted to show that
_________________” and “The first thing we did was ___________________.”
• Developing Alternative Assignments
o Diagrams, Maps, and Charts In place of descriptive writing, ELLs can complete a
map, chart or diagram; adding some words or short phrases may also be
appropriate depending on the ELLs level of proficiency.
o Sequenced Pictures These work well in science classes, where, instead of writing
up the results of an experiment, ELLs can draw sequenced pictures that illustrate
several stages or steps. They can even be as simple as “before” and “after.”
o Graphic Organizers Word webs have the widest application, allowing students to
depict complex relationships among elements with minimal language. In social
studies they can be used to show the causes of a war or in science to classify,
categorize and describe substances and structures. Venn diagrams and timelines
are also effective for ELLs.
o Hands-on Assignments Have ELLs, especially beginning level learners, show
mastery of content by creating dioramas or models. As they acquire more
language, ELLs may present an experiment, exhibit, or demonstration.
Many of these strategies are techniques that facilitate learning for all students, not just ELLs.
• Activate Background Knowledge
This makes learning more meaningful by building upon a student’s own background
knowledge. Many ELLs, however, come from cultural and educational backgrounds quite
different from those of “traditional” American students. The challenge for teachers is to
not only activate background knowledge for ELLs, but to help build that knowledge
when it does not exist.
o Brainstorming Introduce a new topic by asking an open-ended question such as,
“What do you think of when I say __________?” Write the topic and student
responses on the board as a graphic organizer. As the lesson proceeds, add new
words, erase or correct previous words and phrases.
o Think-Pair-Share Start with a topic and question as above, but give students a
couple of minutes to jot down responses. Give them a couple of minutes to
discuss and expand their notes with a partner. Then have the students share their
ideas with the class. If the language learner feels comfortable, he or she may be
the one to present to the class.
o K-W-L Chart On the board or as a hand-out, use the traditional K-W-L chart to
find out what students already know (K), what they want to learn (W), and, after
the lesson, what they have learned (L).
o Personalize Lessons After ELL students have developed some proficiency in
English, you may invite them to share first-hand knowledge or experiences
related to the lesson. To introduce the Civil War (or any war, for that matter), you
might talk about the concept that differences among people can lead to conflict.
ELL students may be able to share first-hand knowledge of conflicts from their
own countries.
• Increasing Teacher-Student Interaction
o Monitor Your Interaction Patterns Teachers are sometimes surprised to discover
that they do not interact with all the students in a class. Use a checklist if
necessary to make sure you call on every student.
o Encourage Participation The challenge with ELLs is to avoid putting them “on the
spot” before they are comfortable communicating in English, while at the same
time making sure that they do not feel left out. Try basic recall questions that can
be answered with yes/no or a single word, e.g., “So, the South won the Civil War,
right?” Encourage them to support their words by pointing to pictures, maps, or
10. words on the board. As their proficiency in English increases, move them up to
higher order questions like, “Why do you agree?” etc.
Reduce their anxiety by giving them extra wait-time to think and respond after
you ask questions. Remember that English learners must not only think of the
answer to the question, but also must process the language of the question itself
and their answer.
Be sure to acknowledge incorrect answers with “Good try,” or “Almost,” so as to
encourage them to try again.
• Enhancing Teaching Techniques
o Write Your Words (on the board or overhead)
o Illustrate Your Words (pictures, maps, charts, realia)
o Demonstrate Your Words (model step-by-step how to solve a problem)
o Dramatize Your Words (ham it up, emote, pantomime)
Short answer and extended response questions can be extremely difficult for English Language
Learners. Even “simple” multiple-choice questions can be hard for them (because of the high
reading skill required). Grading these tests raises a fairness issue. Compared to native English
speakers, ELLs often “earn” a failing grade on standardized tests. If you give the grade they
earned, that can seem unfair, given the student’s lack of English. However, to give a higher
grade can seem arbitrary or unfair to those who actually earned those grades. The answer is to
use alternative or modified tests for ELLs.
• Modifying Test Techniques
o Replace multiple-choice questions (or even short answer and essay questions)
with completion questions, which require a much lower reading demand, e.g.,
“The Battle of Antietam was important because ___________________.”
o For essay questions, allow students to use visuals and graphics, e.g., sequenced
pictures, T-lists, labeled diagrams, or maps, as outlined above.
o For essay questions, use the cloze technique, omitting key words from a
paragraph that students then have to replace.
o Allow the use of a bilingual dictionary.
o Answer questions that don’t give away the answer, e.g., to clarify or simplify the
language of the question itself or multiple-choice answers.
o Allow extended time for completion or divide the test into several sections and
give each one separately.
o Shorten the test (by selecting only the concepts of primary importance).
o Limit choices on multiple-choice tests (e.g., from four to two).
o Divide word banks into smaller groups, e.g., one word bank for every 4-5
o Change all or part of the test to an oral exam since oral language will likely be
easier for them to use.
o Pair students of equal ability, which may allow them to better answer some of the
more challenging questions.
o Allow students to use their notes or the textbook.
• Alternative Assessments
o Portfolios Students and teachers together choose items for evaluation,
documenting growth in language and content knowledge over a period of time.
Note: while you may not be a Language Arts teacher, it is nevertheless important
to monitor the student’s language growth. Without this, she will not be able to
learn content or convey that learning to you.
12. o Learning Logs Learning logs and content journals may be used for students who
keep these on a regular basis to assess progress over time. If they know that
these will be used as an assessment tool, students may be more strongly
motivated to work on them.
o Self-Assessment/Peer Assessment Using checklists, students can record their
own feelings about comprehension, contributions or areas of improvement.
These can be used not only in place of tests but as a means of establishing a
dialogue between student and teacher, allowing both to agree upon what is
working and what needs to be improved.
Translated Texts
From time to time, core teachers have expressed interest in acquiring texts in the student’s
native language to help their ELLs. This is a noble aim—to help our immigrant students master
content as easily as possible, given their difficulties with the English language.
However, there are several reasons why providing textbooks or other supplemental materials in
a student’s native language are not always a good idea.
• If material is available in another language it is usually Spanish. While this might help
native Spanish speakers, it would not help the remaining ELLs, whose native languages
include everything from French to Tagalog. Other strategies and approaches would still
be required for these students.
• Even if materials were provided in a student’s native language, this would not necessarily
be helpful because many ELLs are not literate in their native languages. Some of them
leave their countries before they learn to read and write proficiently. Others simply do
not receive adequate education in their native language.
• ELLs, like their American-born peers, would still require clarification and elaboration from
the teacher. They would not be able to take a textbook in their native language and
master the content unaided. Therefore, if the teacher didn’t speak the student’s native
language, s/he would be unable to teach and assess the foreign language material.
• Students will be assessed in English on State achievement tests and therefore need to
know the English vocabulary. While it is true that ELLs can have certain portions of the
assessments translated into their native languages, this modification is only available for
their first three years in U.S. schools. Instruction in their native language can delay the
acquisition of English, especially academic English.
Giving Students Unmodified Assignments
Another strategy that is well-intentioned but often problematic is giving ELLs the same work as
their English speaking peers and then telling the student that they can feel free to skip what
they cannot do. This is problematic for a few reasons.
• Skipping parts of an assignment is a foreign concept to most students. They will feel
obligated to find a way to complete the full assignment, regardless of whether or not it
is in their best interest. The students often take the full assignments to their ELL
teachers or tutors and much time is spent working on things the student cannot
14. understand in English and which do not further the students progress in English or their
content area.
• Core teachers are the experts in their subject area, not the students, not the ELL
teachers, and not the tutors. Using some of the strategies listed in this document, be
sure to prioritize content and modify assignments and assessments. If you have any
questions, ask the student’s ELL teacher. S/he will be happy to meet with you to discuss
Case Law:
Lau v. Nichols (1974): Parents of Chinese students sued the San Francisco, CA, school district,
claiming discrimination on the grounds that no additional language program was provided for
non-English speaking students. The U.S. Supreme Court found the district in violation of the
Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decision
concluded that providing students the same desks, books, teachers, and curriculum did not
ensure that they received an equal educational opportunity, particularly if the students did not
speak English (“same” does not mean “equal”). It mandated that measures be taken to
instruct LEP students in English to ensure equal access to educational opportunities. “Sink or
swim” instruction is a violation of civil rights. The Court recognized the authority of the
Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Dept. of Education to establish regulations for compliance with
the Civil Rights Act.
Casaneda v. Pickard (1981): Mexican students and their parents sued the Raymondville
Independent School District in Texas claiming that the lack of an adequate language
remediation program violated their rights. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the
district was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights
Act, and the Equal Education Opportunities Act; it ordered the district to take “appropriate
action” to develop a language remediation program for LEP students based on a three-part
test. Such a program must be based on sound theory, have sufficient resources to translate
theory into practice, and may not be continued if it fails to achieve results.
Plyler v. Doe (1982): Undocumented Mexican students in Tyler Independent School District,
Texas, claimed discrimination because they were denied enrollment in a public school. The U.S.
Supreme Court found that the district was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th
Amendment; it declared that undocumented students cannot be denied access to public
Federal Law:
• 14th Amendment to the Constitution (Equal Protection Clause): No person in the United
States shall be denied equal protection of the law.
• Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: No person in the United States may on the basis
of race, color or national origin be denied the benefits of or be subject to discrimination
under any program receiving federal money.
16. • Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974: States must take appropriate action to
overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by students in their
instructional programs.
• Title III of the National Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 (No Child Left
Behind): Schools must follow certain rules on identification, testing, accommodating,
and reporting of LEP students in order to receive federal funds under the Act.
Activities for ELL students
California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE)
Center for Applied Linguistics
Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE)
Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day
The National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA)
Thinking Skills and English language learners
English language learners should be asked critical thinking questions from all levels of Bloom’s
Taxonomy. Some of the tasks on the taxonomy are difficult for ELLs because they lack the
language and vocabulary to work in English. However, teachers need to ask questions from all
levels of the taxonomy that are age appropriate and at the English language level of the English
language learners.
Level 1: Knowledge. This level of questioning is what is most frequently used when teaching
ELLs, especially for students in pre-production and beginning production levels of English
language acquisition. Responses to some of the questions can be made using yes/no or
embedded questions. Pictures, drawings, and realia will help students give the correct answer.
Responses to these questions are generally right in the text.
Level 2: Comprehension. This level shows that the student has understood the facts and can
interpret them. ESL/bilingual teachers use this level of questioning a lot. We ask students to
compare, contrast, illustrate, and classify. We do this with oral questions and graphic organizers
such as Venn Diagrams and T-charts.
Level 3: Application. Students are learning to solve problems by using previously learned facts
in a different way. ELLs might need scaffolding and word banks to build, choose, construct,
develop, organize, plan, select, solve, and identify.
Level 4: Analysis. At this level students may not have enough vocabulary and language to
express responses in English. The tasks at this level that English language learners will be able to
complete with some teacher scaffolding are: classify, contrast, compare, categorize, sequence.
Level 5: Synthesis. At this level students are compiling information together in a different way
by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions. ELLs will need
teacher support and scaffolding to answer questions at level 5. Synthesis is particularly difficult
for ELLs. Students may be able to choose, combine, create, design, develop, imagine, make up,
predict, solve, and change.
Level 6: Evaluation. Questions at this level of Bloom’s taxonomy can be modified so that the
langue is simplified but the task remains the same. English language learners can learn to give
opinions, make judgments about the action in a story and evaluate the work of an author. The
vocabulary usually associated with evaluation may need to be simplified.
1. Work on word selection with pre-functional students,
2. Model for beginners,
3. Expand what intermediate students have said or written, and
4. Help advanced students “sound like a book.”
Word: Students will benefit from help with vocabulary and word selection. These students can
respond by pointing or gesturing. Instead of asking a question requiring a verbal response,
prompt with “Point to” or “Show me.” After students point, give feedback by saying, “Yes, that is
a (name of item).”
Model: Students need you to provide feedback by modeling correct English whenever possible.
For example, if a student says or writes, “Goed the game,” model the correct utterance by
offering, “Oh, you went to the game.” The key here is subtle modeling. Overt correction can
inhibit a student from using language.
“Syntax surgery” is a useful strategy for helping students to see differences between the
word order in English and the word order in their primary language (Herrell & Jordan, 2004).
First, you identify a sentence the student has said or written incorrectly. Then you write the
words on a sentence strip, cut it apart, and reorganize the words into correct English order.
When students see the sentence rearrangement and hear your explanation, they are more likely
to use the correct syntax in the future. For example, placing the adjective after the noun is a
common mistake for Spanish-speaking students when learning English, as this is the correct
word order in Spanish. To perform syntax surgery, you would select a phrase or sentence (e.g.,
“dog brown”) and rearrange it in the correct order (“brown dog”) while explaining why you did
Expand: Students can use your assistance focusing on finer points of grammar by expanding a
sentence verbally or by writing an expanded sentence for the student. If the student says or
writes, “The boy wore a coat to school,” the teacher can expand the sentence by adding an
adjective: “The boy wore a warm coat to school.” A student in this stage could also be exposed
to using coordinating conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or) in compound sentences. You can
therefore expand what the students say or write by joining two simple sentences.
Sound like a book: Students should be using language to compare, describe, debate, persuade,
justify, create, and evaluate so they can sound like a book. The structure of their sentences, the
use of vocabulary, and the overall organization of their written work should be approximating
the writing of their English-speaking peers. Thus, you can provide feedback that is similar to the
kind you would offer native English speakers. It is important for these students to be exposed to
a more sophisticated form of language.
Help students progress by mixing in strategies from the next highest level.
Stage Characteristics Teacher Prompts
Time Frame
Preproduction The student 0-6 months • Show me . . .
• Has minimal • Circle the . . .
comprehension • Where is . . . ?
• Does not verbalize • Who has . . . ?
• Nods “Yes” and “No”
• Draws and points
Early The student 6 months-1 • Yes/no questions
Production • Has limited year • Either/or questions
(Beginner) comprehension • One- or two-word
• Produces one- or two- answers
word responses • Lists
• Participates using key • Labels
words and familiar
• Uses present-tense
Speech The student 1-3 years • Why . . . ?
Emergence • Has good • How . . . ?
(Intermediate) comprehension • Explain . . .
• Can produce simple • Phrase or short-
sentences sentence answers
• Makes grammar and
pronunciation errors
• Frequently
misunderstands jokes
Intermediate The student 3-5 years • What would
Fluency • Has excellent happen if . . . ?
(Advanced) comprehension • Why do you
• Makes few grammatical think . . . ?
Advanced The student has a near- 5-7 years • Decide if . . .
Fluency native level of speech. • Retell . . .
Source: Adapted from Krashen and Terrell (1983).
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English Language Learners, here’s a book that helps teachers in every
subject area become expert teachers of English language learners
(ELL). Using classroom scenarios that depict common challenges in
elementary, middle, and high school content area classes, the authors
describe the basics that every teacher needs to begin teaching both
content and the English language, including
• Learning environments that provide ELLs with multiple
opportunities to practice activities and connect learning to
personal and cultural experiences.
• Lesson plans that identify core ideas, tap students’
Teaching background knowledge, and use visuals, think-alouds and
English other ways to engage ELLs.
Language • Small-group configurations that include ELLs in mainstream
Learners instruction by involving them in activities with their fellow
4 Yes
Across the students.
Areas Discover how mainstream, subject area teachers can modify
(ASCD) instruction to involve ELL students—while still engaging the whole
class—by implementing proven classroom strategies, including
• Visual and tactile activities that provide ELLs with adequate
repetition and practice of new vocabulary words and concepts.
• Six essential reading comprehension strategies that should be
taught to ELLs in all grade levels.
• Five do’s and don’ts for teaching writing to ELLs.
• Techniques for assigning homework and creating assessments
that are appropriate for the stages of English language