Tag Archives: ell

Tips for Teaching English Language Learners

This week #ELLchat had one of the best topics of discussion yet (for my particular situation anyway): “Tips for preparing gen ed teachers for diversity in the classrooms”!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the value I get from #ELLchat, especially since the school where I teach has the largest (and ever-growing) population of English Language Learners of any school in Baltimore. I mostly just listened this time around, hoping to absorb as much as possible.

So, to preserve some of the great ideas and resources, here are all the tweets that I either starred (to come back to) or retweeted (to share):

@judiehaynes: I wrote this blog for tonight’s #ELLCHAT discussion: 7 Teaching Strategies for Mainstream Teachers of ELLs http://tinyurl.com/2ecqp2z

@readtoday: I really like this 7point list. My favorite is be very visual . Use your hands & have students draw pictures for you #ELLchat

@judiehaynes: Assign buddies (who speaks the same language if possible) to new ELLs #ELLchat

@readtoday: Teachers need to interact with students enough to gauge how much they understand #ELLchat

@judiehaynes: Right use gestures, body language, drawings, pictures, realia to give message at Eng. lang. level of the student #ELLchat

@cybraryman1: Have Map of World with Flags for Student &Teacher Country Origins: My Multicultural page: http://bit.ly/aMiL1h #ELLchat

@KarenNemethEdM: #ELLCHAT here’s a book: Not for ESOL Teachers: What Every Classroom Teacher Needs to Know about…Diverse Student Eileen Whelan Ariza 2nd ed

@eshwaranv: I’d prefer making it into a mind map with key words and pictures. Improves learning and vocabulary. #ELLchat

@readtoday: Project based learning can also help #ELLchat

@cybraryman1: Email Around the World Project: http://bit.ly/4vweET #ellchat #kinderchat

@KarenNemethEdM: teachers need deeper understanding of interdependence of vocabulary & concept learning to be successful wi/ELLs #ELLchat

@judiehaynes: PBL and cooperative groups also work very well. it gives ELLs real reasons to communicate. #ELLchat

@KarenNemethEdM: Also – have you seen this article #ELLCHAT? http://fb.me/F2sZdp7w

@EllBillofRights#ellchat FYI for mainstream teachers: An online course about EL approach to teaching http://bit.ly/dPSHBu

@KariDalane: Yes! That’s super important. Give them time to process and find the words #ellchat

@PreKlanguages: Explanations and expectations need to be articulated explicitly and completely. #ELLCHAT

@readtoday: RT @EllBillofRights#ellchat We should invite mainstream teachers to join our chat, they can ask us questions &learn. (Excellent idea!)

@judiehaynes:Next week’s #ELLCHAT – How to combat anti-immigrant sentiments in schools and in local communities.

I hope you find some of these ideas or links useful!

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Learning About English Language Learning

In recent years, Baltimore’s student population has grown more and more diverse, with large increases in the numbers of Latino/a students most predominantly, but also with growing numbers of students from all ethnic backgrounds and nationalities.

My school, in addition to having the largest overall student body for each of the past years during my quadrimular teaching experience there, also has by far the largest population of English Language Learners (ELLs) of any high school in Baltimore City (or, for that matter, any school at all in the city). We have over thirty countries of origin represented and over twenty languages spoken at our school. This is in part due to an accident of geography: Patterson is located in Southeast Baltimore, which is where many immigrant families are concentrated. It is also self-reinforcing: since we have more ESOL teachers than other schools, families of ELLs are more likely to send their children here where we have supports in place for the students to learn English and succeed in school. Not that our school is perfect and all our ELL students succeed, but we can provide supports that other schools–with very few ELLs–have the resources, connections, or knowledge to provide.

This has been a learning experience for me, to go back and rethink my teaching strategies to figure out how to make math and engineering accessible to English Language Learners. This year, I have very much appreciated the ideas and support provided by #ELLCHAT on Twitter, which takes place every Monday evening from 9-10pm Eastern. Earlier this year, conversations I participated in included how to create a welcoming environment in the classroom, and how to support students’ first languages & promote bi- or multi-lingualism.

#ELLCHAT has provided me with a community of educators, some of whom are experts at working with ELL students, and others of whom are going through the same struggles I am. I always feel welcome to ask questions, even if they’re not 100% related to that week’s topic, and know that I will receive some great ideas in response. I have shared my first steps at how I teach ELLs (learning how to say hello in each student’s first language, accepting sketches of object designs instead of written descriptions to prove understanding of key ideas in design for manufacturing). And I’ve received many good suggestions for pushing both myself and my ELL students further in the math and engineering classroom.

This evening, the topic of #ELLCHAT was parent/teacher conferences with families of ELLs. This is timely, since this Thursday is our parent/teacher conference night for report card distribution. Much of the discussion centered around translators, either provided by the school, or an adult trusted by the family. I believe our school district offers to translate report cards into Spanish, but not other languages. And I know my school has access to translators for more languages in addition to Spanish, and has used them for family-school meetings in the past. I guess I felt as a teacher that I had less to contribute to tonight’s discussion (both in dialogue and in questions), since so much of the discussion was about school-based solutions and not at the teacher level. Still, I picked up a few tips that I can use at report card night for parents of both ELL and non-ELL students who come. Plus, I was introduced to a few web resources for ELL family conferences, which I have not yet had time to read through: one, two, three.

I look forward to next week’s chat, about what kinds of support for students’ first language should be available, and to more chats in the future!

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