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Combining Content and

Language Skills
Supporting English Learners in content areas

Presented by Charlotte Hogan, as a component of the TESOL

Advanced Practitioner Program

The TESOL Advanced Practitioner Program

TESOL: Professional organization for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other

Choose a focus
10 PD Hours to explore the focus
Develop a unit of study that reflects research
Videotape teaching and reflect on practice
Contribute to the TESOL field with a presentation, publishing resources, or writing
an article

How can teachers include content and

language skills in their classes, while
maintaining rigor and pace?
What I found in my research:
Teaching ELs seems daunting to most content teachers
Repeated vocabulary practice is SUPER important for ELs
Inserting language skills is most helpful when done with clear
focus, and intentional practice

Enter: Silent Spring

Unit Goals, based on research:

Combine language and content skills

Include cross-curricular topics
Teach skills which can be used in many academic

Silent Spring

Includes imagery, metaphor,

and simile
Relates to pollution,
environmentalism, and
Opens the door to other genres,
like journalism, creative
nonfiction, history, biography,
and more
Interesting and relevant topic
given environmental issues in
virtually every country

Matching Language Skills with Content

Ideas for other applicable language skills for content areas:
Describe a process!
Compare and contrast!
Provide examples!
Describe a finding or conclusion!
Adjectives to describe
images or artwork!

Matching Language Skills

with Content
Many scientific concepts are perfect
opportunities to practice cause and
effect language, so this was the
primary language skill I built into the

Matching Language Skills with Content

Language Objective:
Students will recognize and use common noun patterns that show cause.
For example:
A critical reason...
The primary cause...
One important factor...

Activities to Practice Language Skills

Word Sort and Manipulatives

Manipulatives #2

Scaffold Challenging Texts and Assignments


Front-load challenging vocabulary

Provide guiding questions beforehand
Supplement with videos, diagrams, images, etc.
Provide template for note taking (sentence starters optional)

Scaffold Challenging Texts and Assignments

Citation Format--Inquiry Based

Make content accessible by activating prior knowledge and building background
Front-load vocabulary and provide guiding questions

Build Language Skills into Assessments

Incorporate skills and content knowledge on assessments


Collaboration never hurts.

A little bit of skill practice goes a long way.

The EL teacher can be an open resource.

Language skills can fit naturally into pre-existing curriculum.

Quality of student work can only improve from this practice.