Making Connections


Spotlight on ELLs from Education Week
May 4, 2010, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I recently read a selection of articles about ELLs in the classroom,  put out in a packet format by Education Week .  They featured the latest research about all aspects of the topic.  The first article was especially significant for me since I am experimenting with ways to engage our ELLs in talk pertinent to the daily learning target in a certain ESL classroom.  This research confirmed the importance of teaching oral English across the curriculum. 

 Key points included:

  • ELLs need many chances to speak English in the classroom so they can find an identity or personal voice.
  • Speaking in the classroom strengthens verbal skills for all population groups.
  • Not enough time is spent  teaching oral English in the classroom.
  • More time needs to be spent supporting students in small groups and less on whole class instruction.
  • It is scary for teachers to turn lessons over to the kids.
  • Teachers don’t want to lose momentum or time trying to get kids to engage.
  • It is important to use sentence starters and have students work in pairs or small groups.
  • Monitoring and having an exit slip is important to keep students on task.
  • Vocabulary study is crucial.
  • Be sure to integrate all language skills:  reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • What does real discussion look like?  It is NOT teacher-generated with the same three or four hands of students going up and the others sitting silently by.

I also found a treasure trove in the article ELL 2.0 How to make the Most of the Web.  The author had categorized 9,000 links for students but was kind enough to pull 13 favorites which I will share with you. You must register for most of them but they are free.

For Students:

http://usalearns.org  Students can save their work and note their progress as they practice their English through varied activities.  Teachers can create a virtual classroom.

http://www.digischool.nl/oefenen/hennyjellema/engels/tpr/voorbladtpr.htm

Fabulous activities which use Total Physical Response – see it to believe it.

http://www.starfall.com

This is from a school which is without rival in providing ESL literacy activities and tools.

http://www.mingoville.com/en.htm

This is a site from Denmakr with interactive exercises and games to include listening and speaking with a voice recording feature.

http://www.gcflearnfree.org/everydaylife/  These interactive exercises for Intm and Adv ELLs touch on food, money, work, shopping and maps.

http://reading.ecb.org/student/index.html

This site will help students learn reading strategies, including visualization, prediction and summarization.

http://www.dfilm.com/live/moviemaker.html

This site helps students make animated films easily and quickly.

http://voicethread.com

This site let you and your students upload pictures from the Web, and create an audio narrative to go along with them.  Audio comments can also be left by visitors.

For teachers:

http://eric.ed.gov

PDF downloads developed by the Peace Corps with excellent professional development resources for teaching ELLs.

http://www.englishraven.com

Great printouts can be obtained here.  They are engaging and come with instructions on how to use them.  You can obtain even more by making a donation but it is not required.

http://teachingrecipes.com

This is a new resource with an extremely accessible design.  Teachers can share their lessons, including video and images.

http://eflclassroom.ning.com

This is a social networking site.  When one teaches, two learn.  You will learn from others posting their ideas and your idea will support others as well.

Happy Surfing.

Sandra Rands, English Language Acquisition Specialist

Salem Keizer School District

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