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Strategies to Support English Language Learners in Content Classrooms

Impacting Student Learning Conference March, 22, 2014

Dr. Stacie Pettit, Georgia Regents University Ms. Essie Febus, Lakeside Middle and High ESOL Teacher

Understanding How it Feels to be an ELL

Ms. Essie Febus


There is not an easy solution; take it one step at a time (Carol Ann Tomlinson differentiation try one thing each week/9

Choose just 1 thing that you hear today to implement; you are already doing much of this! Share with each other, post on public drive Biggest thing is to change attitude and correct some mistaken beliefs We are responsible for every student in our classrooms

Word Facts and Figures

101 100,000

1) Language learners need to hear or be exposed to a word this many times before they can use the word freely. 2) The number of words in the English language. 3) The number of words the typical college graduate understands. (Passive vocabulary) 4) The number of words the average native speaker uses. (Active vocabulary)

101 100,000

5) The number of words an ESOL student needs to be considered fluent in social situations. 6) The number of words English speakers use for 90% of their everyday conversations. 7) The percentage of words that are NOT spelled phonetically in the English language. 8) The number of meanings of get in Websters Dictionary. (not including get real)
Got words? Jayme Adelson-Goldstein

A consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of standardsbased education for English language learners (ELLs). Georgia is one of 33 states working together to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for English Language Learners (ELLs) with innovative standards and assessments.

There are 6 levels of English Proficiency

5 4 BRIDGING Reaching (EXIT)







Linguistic Complexity (Comprehension and use of the technical language in all content areas). Vocabulary Usage (Extent of discourse control). Language Control(Development of phonological, syntactic, and semantic understanding or usage).

Speaking- engage in oral communication in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes and audiences. Writing- engage in written communication in a variety of forms for a variety of purposes and audiences. Reading- process, interpret, and evaluate written language, symbols, and text with understanding and fluency. Listening- process, understand, interpret, and evaluate spoken language in a variety of situations.

Basic Interpersonal Communication(BICS)

Social Language 1-3 years to attain Example words/phrases: table, Whats up?

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP)

Academic Language 3-7 years to attain Example words/phrases:

New meanings: table General academic words: act upon, attach, inquiry Content words: atom, molecule

Requires simultaneous teaching of BICS and CALP language. Subject area teachers must be aware of the language demands of their content. All teachers are language teachers. Lesson plans should include both content and language standards.

Language vs. Content Why are ELP standards necessary? What is Academic Language Proficiency? What is Academic Content Knowledge? What is the relationship between Academic Language Proficiency and Academic Content Knowledge?

Language proficiency revolves around the language associated with the content areas Academic achievement reflects the knowledge and skills associated with the content. WIDA ELP standards focus on academic language, while academic standards focus on academic content.

How many ways can you read the following mathematical equation?

Language proficiency involves language associated with the content area. Therefore, the student must know the words/terms three, plus, sum, add, two, equal, variable and x to be considered language proficient. Content proficiency reflects the declarative and procedural knowledge associated with the content. In other words, if the student can solve the equation, he/she is content proficient.

Provide a curriculum/assessment resource anchored in academic content standards. Establishes a common yardstick to define and measure how ESOL students acquire language across the four domains of SPEAKING, WRITING, READING and LISTENING (SWRL).

ELP Standard 1: English language learners communicate in English for SOCIAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL purposes within the school setting. ELP Standard 2: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of LANGUAGE ARTS. ELP Standard 3: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of MATHEMATICS.

ELP Standard 4: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of SCIENCE. ELP Standard 5: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of SOCIAL STUDIES.

The Model Performance Indicators consist of three elements:

The language function describes how students use language - the intent of the communication. The topic or content stem specifies the context or topic that is addressed. The type of support generates ideas for approaching instruction and assessment

Grade Level Cluster 6-8

Standards 4: (the language of) Science

___________________________ Language Proficiency Level: 3 Developing Language Domain: Reading _____________________________ Identify characteristics and conditions related to natural disasters based on text and pictures

The language function

The content stem

The type of support

1- Entering
Match vocabulary associated with perimeter or area with graphics, symbols, or figures

2- Beginning
Identify visually supported examples of use of perimeter, area, volume or circumference in real-world situations

3- Developing
Classify visually supported examples of use of perimeter, area, volume or circumference in real-world situations

4- Expanding
Order steps for computing perimeter, area, volume or circumference in real-world situations using sequential language

5- Bridging
Select reasons for use of perimeter, area, volume or circumference in grade level text

Visit the WIDA website at It has many resources for your use when teaching ESOL students. Access WIDA Focus Bulletin.

Free downloadable standards and Can Do Descriptors.

W-APT Scores sample

WIDA Sample

Myths about Second Language Acquisition

Students should be able to acquire English within 2 years of coming to the U.S. If students can speak English fluently with their friends, they should be able to understand the course content as well as the other students. -Need 6 months minimum to settle in/silent period -1-3 years conversational/5-7 academic, BICS vs. CALP (Cummins) -social language 1-2 years, academic 5-7 (Collier, 2001)

Myths Contd

Mathematics is a universal language. since math uses symbols, it is culture-free and ideal for facilitating the transition of recent immigrants into English only instruction; No! - Math curriculum should stress understanding and communication (Lang, 1995)

Teachers need to lower expectations because ELLs cant be expected to achieve at the same level as native English speakers.

Myths about Native Language Use

Speaking English at home facilitates English language acquisition. Use of a native language in the classroom interferes with acquisition of English.

Research on Native Language Use

Literacy in ones native language is the best basis for developing literacy in a second language (Olsen) Proficiency in a native language can facilitate the acquisition of a second language (Cummins, 2000; Freeman, Freeman, & Mercuri, 2005; Garcia-Vazquez, Vazquez, Lopez, & Ward, 1997; Lee, 2002).

Strategies and Tips Handout

Decrease complexity of language, not complexity of thought Comprehensible input speech appropriate for students proficiency level (paraphrase, repeat, pause, use active voice, gestures) Strategies that work with ESOL students, work for ALL students!
2 page Peer Tutor handout


Collaboration with the ESOL teacher Students need to be given a model of what you expect them to do. Give the rubric to students first. Use recasts. Teach students to recognize cognates. (telephone, gas,
hotel, idea)

Independent Study Center one in each grade level? Ideas to include?

Remember the 3 Rs

Reduce Represent Reword

Which Strategies from your handout could go under each of these?

Approaches and Frameworks

Equal access to curriculum (Focus on one curriculum) High expectations

SIOP Checklist Handout - build background, comprehensible input, interaction, content and language objectives

CALLA Checklist

Objectives stated for grade level content, language, and learning strategies Activities develop vocab, listening, reading, speaking, and writing Learning strategies directly taught or practiced (look for important words to solve problem, make a plan, work with others, remember how Ive solved similar, draw a picture or chart, check my answer) Prior knowledge Context provided through visuals, graphic organizers, manipulatives, realia, hands-on, etc. Cooperative learning Self-evaluation Real-life application through activity or discussion

Three principles

comprehensibility, Increase interaction, Increase thinking/study skills

Cloze Procedure
1. Prime: number that has exactly _two_ factors. 2. Composite: number having _more_ _than_ 2 factors.

3. _Factor_: a number that divides evenly into another with no remainder. 4. Multiples: products that result from multiplying the number by each of the whole numbers. Ex. Multiples of 6: 0 (6x0); 6 (6x1), 12 (6x2), 18, 24, 30 5. Prime factorization: a way of expressing a composite number as the product of _prime_ numbers. Ex. Prime Factorization of 6 is 2 x 3. 6. FUNDAMENTAL THEOREM OF ARITHMETIC: every counting number is either _prime_ or can be decomposed into its prime factorization.

Vocabulary Organizer
Part of speech Variations, Synonyms, antonyms



Use in a sentence:

Word Webs
Term: Illustration: Definition:

Part of speech:



Teaching Vocabulary Term: ____________

Definition in your own words Example

Facts Rules Formulas

Picture or Graph


on strengths and instructed on weaknesses

Backwards planning assessment driven What do you want them to know?
Do and Dont Handout 2-page assessment for pre-production handout Strategies in 4 stages

Whole School Ideas to Improve Teaching of English Language Learners

Provide common planning times for regular education and ESOL teachers Research shows time and opportunities for reflection can change teachers beliefs It will be difficult for teachers to have positive attitudes toward ESOL students if the leaders of the school do not Provide professional development opportunities to help teachers meet the new challenges that come with linguistic diversity Consider using an inclusion model for your ESOL program, rather than pull-out Organize events that encourage immigrant families to participate in a school activity Use available resources to communicate with families in the languages they speak

Academic Vocabulary
The Middle School High Five K-I-M Vocabulary M/

Vocabulary oc.htm

Frayer Model Vocabulary General/RDGandMATH/RDGandMATHFINAL4.html

Multi-Strand Activities
Silent Debate and Evidence Gathering Journals th%C2%A0Grade+Informational+Text+Units

Four Corners

Four corners can be used to help you assert and support your positions on controversial topics. This activity can be used before you read or after you read as a transition to writing. Four Corners also helps you listen to one another and consider other positions on a topic Four_corners.htm

Move It!

Move to the designated group based on your response. Place your Post-It notes on the poster you selected.

Wait quietly.


Discuss responses and positions with those in your group. Select a recorder and a spokesperson for the group.

Recorder: Determine the top 3 reasons in your group. Place a * next to the items you want to share.


Spokesperson: Present each groups position. Listen quietly and respectfully. Try to determine if you agree or disagree with others positions. You will have an opportunity to change your initial position, and you can listen for a counterargument.


You may pose questions to other groups or respectfully challenge their position. The teacher will facilitate.

Stay or Go?

Consider positions that you have heard from other groups. You may stay in your original group, or if your position was swayed by another groups argument, you may go to a new group.

Summarizing Strategies mresources/lfs_resources/summarizing_strategies. pdf


Internet Resources Handout Tell someone else one thing that you learned that you will try to implement in your classroom.

Summary Game: Find someone who..

Can name the 3 R s Can name 2 vocabulary activities Free Space Knows the difference between BICS and CALPS Can say the 4 domains of SWRL

Can name at least 3 of the 6 levels of English Proficiency Can name a strategy for teaching ELLs

Can name 1 framework for teaching ELLs

Knows an idea for assessing ELLs

Contact us anytime at: Stacie Pettit Georgia Regents University Essie Febus Lakeside ESOL Teacher