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Instructional Examples

Instructional Example: Working with Trouble Sounds
  1. Write “short-i” and “short-e” on a mini white board or index cards. Underneath each word, draw a picture of a key word that contains that sound, such as a pin and a pen.
  2. Teacher says, “I am going to say some words. Each word will either have short-i, like ‘pin’ or a short-e, like ‘pen’. When I say the word, listen closely to the vowel sound in the middle. Point to the sound you hear in the middle of the word.”
  3. Teacher says, “I am going to say some words. Each word will either have short-i, like ‘pin’ or a short-e, like ‘pen’. When I say the word, listen closely to the vowel sound in the middle. Say the word, then say the vowel sound you hear.”
  4. Reading. Using index cards with the same words written on them, mix up the cards and turn them face down. Teacher says, “Now it is your turn to read the words. Pick a card, look closely at the vowel in the middle and decide if it is short-i or short-e. Then read the word out loud. Sort the cards into two piles for short-i or short-e. To focus on word meaning, select one or two words and ask the student to give a sentence with the word.
  5. Writing. Using the same word list, dictate the words and ask the student to write them in two columns, one for short-i and one for short-e. To focus on word meaning, select one or two words and ask the student to give a sentence with the word.
Instructional Example: Focusing on Grammatical Structures
  1. Give the student a mini white board and marker. Say a verb that requires an ending of /–s/ for present tense, such as ‘eat’. Ask the student to write the word. Provide scaffolding as needed to correct the spelling. Be sure to use simple words that the student is capable of spelling and understanding, with scaffolding.
  2. Dictate two sentences, one for first-person, and another for third-person.Example: “I eat my lunch,” and “Ben eats his lunch.”
  1. Continue with additional words, some requiring –s and others requiring –es.Example: “I push the cart,” and “He pushes the cart.”
Instructional Example: Pre-Teaching Key Vocabulary Words

To ensure successful engagement in upcoming lessons, it is helpful to pre-teach key vocabulary words and concepts. This gives the students opportunities to pronounce the words and use them in meaningful contexts, so when they get to the lesson, they will have confidence in their oral language abilities. Pre-teaching provides ELLs with the necessary background information to follow the lesson and actively participate in discussion. This strategy may also be useful for struggling learners or students with disabilities who are included in content area instruction.

Scenario

Ms. Barnett’s seventh-grade history class is learning about the establishment of trade routes by the early Greek civilization. A few days prior to the lesson on trade routes, Ms. Barnett pulls three ELL students aside during group work to pre-teach key vocabulary words that are essential to the upcoming lesson: route, merchants, products.

Activity

  1. Provide a student-friendly definition. “A merchant is a person whose job is buying and selling goods, especially in large amounts.”
  2. Provide examples.
    1. In Lesson Context. Early Greek merchants traded in olive oil. They bought olive oil from the farmers and then took it on ships to other countries to sell. (Elaborate on how this will connect with the upcoming lesson.)
    2. Connect to Student’s Experience and the World. Bennett is a local merchant who trades in athletic shoes. He buys shoes from several companies, such as Nike, to sell in his store.
    3. Connect to Student’s Experience and the World. Online merchants buy goods from many companies and then sell them in their online store.
  3. Provide non-examples.
    1. In Lesson Context. Early Greeks who farmed their land are not They kept some of their crops to feed their families and sold the rest to merchants. They did not buy the crops.
    2. Connect to Student’s Experience and the World. A person who buys olive oil at the store to use in cooking dinner is not a merchant. This person is not a merchant because she did not buy it with the purpose of selling it.
    3. Connect to Student’s Experience and the World. A collector is not a merchant. A collector buys things, such as baseball cards, to keep for his or her own enjoyment. Sometimes collectors sell their things to other collectors, but they are not merchants because it is not their business to buy and sell.
  4. Discuss and pull in background knowledge.
    1. Oral Language. Ask the ELL students to say the word and provide an oral sentence using the word. The sentence cannot be one that the teacher or a peer has already provided.
    2. Reading. Write three sentences and ask the students to read them aloud. Ask them to point out the target word and spell it aloud.
    3. Writing. Provide fill-in-the-blank sentences requiring the students to use the key words. Or, dictate a few simple sentences that require them to write the words.
Instructional Example: Using a Vocabulary Journal
  1. Use a pocket folder or notebook designated as the Vocabulary Journal. It could be used with the whole class or with selected students. Students may refer to the journal throughout upcoming lessons and projects to look up words.
  2. Establish as structure and routine for continually adding words to the journal. With each journal entry, students should have to:
    1. Write the word and its various forms (e.g., singular and plural).
    2. Define the word.
    3. Write a sentence.
    4. Write a quote from the text. Student will connect the newly learned word with the lesson context in this step. This step also provides additional opportunities for ELL students to engage in close reading of text.

Journal Entry

Key Word route
Definition A route is a path that someone takes to get from one place to another.
My Sentences My route to school goes past the park.
The race goes on the same route every year.
Quotes Pg. 126 “One trade route went from Greece to Egypt.”
Instructional Example: Structuring Partner Talk

Scenario

Ms. Barolo has three ELLs in her fifth grade class. She provides frequent opportunities for peer-to-peer talk about words or concepts, but her ELLs are often reluctant to join in group discussions. She wants to provide support structures for peer discussion so that the ELLs have peer support and gain confidence in speaking aloud in class. She thinks that her ELL students will be less reluctant to speak if she uses partner groupings. She also decides to structure the activities so that the native speaker provides modeling and feedback

Activity

  1. Strategic Pairing. Seat ELL students next to more proficient speakers or readers, and who are capable of establishing rapport and providing support. It may be necessary to pull these students aside and discuss procedures for providing support. In each pairing, the more proficient speaker/reader should be “Partner One” and the less proficient should be “Partner Two.”
  2. Provide a Discussion Prompt. Structure brief opportunities for students to talk, such as a “Turn and Talk” activity.
    1. Give clear directions to focus the discussion and the outcome. Give different instructions to Partner One and Partner Two.
    2. Ask Partner One to go first most of the time. Partner Two should listen and respond. Possible responses:
      1. Repeat: “My partner, Alex, said that ___.”
      2. Agree or Disagree: “I agree with Alex that ___, because ___.” Or, “I disagree with Alex that ___, because ___.
      3. Provide examples. Partner One states the concept and Partner Two provides examples from the text or from experience.
      4. Elaborate on the idea. Partner Two provides more detail to what Partner One said.
  1. Establish Feedback Routines. Give both partners clear directions regarding feedback routines. Feedback should focus on the task, state positive aspects, and make suggestions for improvement or ask a question. For example, “I like your idea about ___. One question I have is, ___.”
Instructional Example: Structuring In-class Peer Support

Activity

  1. Select Peers. Seat ELL students next to designated peer support students. Select peers who are understanding of ELLs’ language and literacy needs and are proficient enough in their own skills to provide correct information and guidance.
  2. Establish Routines. Provide explicit instructions regarding what types support peers may provide. The primary focus of this peer support is to ensure the ELL student is following along in class.
    1. Appropriate Support. Peers are primarily responsible for making sure the ELL student is following along in class. Peers may provide in-text support, such as page numbers or locations when the ELL is lost, explain a difficult word or concept, restate directions, read aloud a short passage, check for understanding, and give encouragement.
    2. Inappropriate Support. Peers are not responsible for teaching or re-teaching content. This would detract from the peers’ learning and possibly distract other students. Inappropriate support would also include providing answers to assignments, allowing the ELL to copy class work, or doing work for students.
Instructional Example: Making Connections

Scenario

In teaching reading comprehension, Ms. Wallace wants her students to develop the habit of making connections when reading. She wants to draw on the cultural and experiential backgrounds of her students as she selects and uses literature in class. She is going to plan an activity that will highlight different perspectives of students in the class. She has discussed with her class the idea of respecting differences in backgrounds and viewpoints. She has also emailed parents, inviting them to share information about the backgrounds and experiences of their families.

There are three different native languages spoken by students in Ms. Wallace’s class. Four students are designated as ELLs and a few others have home languages other than English. Ms. Wallace wants to draw on the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of her students as they read literature selections. In English Language Arts instruction, she is teaching students to make connections to text. She uses a set of questions to guide the discussion of books and how they relate to her students’ cultural backgrounds and experiences.

Activity

A snippet is a brief tale or experience. In this activity, teachers select excerpts from reading passages that are likely to evoke personal connections. Students relate snippets from their own lives to the selected snippet from text. Students can share their snippets in writing or speaking. The teacher reads aloud a snippet from a book, first modeling how it connects to her life, to another text, or to a bigger issue in the world. Then, with scaffolding and support, students engage in describing their own snippets and how they relate to the text.

  1. Select a snippet, a brief quote from a text that holds personal significance.
  2. When reading aloud, stop and reread the snippet.
  3. Think aloud, or model the process of making a connection. “This makes me think of (an event from personal past, an event in another book, a world event). Explain how making this connection helps us to better understand what we read.
  4. Scaffold students’ personal connections. Using the same snippet, or another one that students may relate to, ask students to tell a partner or the class a personal experience related to the snippet. Discuss how making connections helps us to understand what we read. Emphasize that different readers make different connections. Repeat often until students are accustomed to the process.

Example

Excerpt: “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.” –Walt Disney

Teacher Modeling
“This reminds me of when I was young. I lived far away from other kids and played by myself. Most of the time, I would read books. I would get lost in the stories and characters. I thought reading was the most fun.”

Scaffolding Student Connections
“Does anyone have a different connection with this quote from Mr. Disney? Maybe you feel like I did when I was little, or maybe you feel differently.” Continue to model and scaffold before asking students to make connections with peers. Point out differences in students’ views of and experiences with reading books.

Instructional Example: Examining Cultural Relevance of Text
  1. Select several books that relate to different cultures and time periods.
  2. With each book, preview the text and give a brief summary to the class.
  3. Use the following questions to poll the class about the cultural relevance of the text. Discuss and draw on students’ comments to highlight how readers have different experiences when reading literature due to their own background and experiences.
  4. As a follow up, suggest that they tell their families about the book and discuss what they have learned. Invite students to bring in items from home related to the book.

Sample Questions

Are the characters in the story like you and your family?

Have you ever had an experience like one described in this story?

Have you lived in or visited places like those in the story?

Could this story take place this year?

How close do you think the main characters are to you in age?

Are there main characters in the story who are boys (for boys) or girls (for girls)?

Do the characters talk like you and your family do?

How often do you read stories like these?

Instructional Example: Parent Volunteer Opportunities

Scenario

Eastside Elementary School is an urban school with a diverse student population. About 35% of the school’s population have home languages other than English. There are five different home languages represented at the school. The principal estimates that about half of the parents of ELLs are not proficient in English. The school uses interpretation services to translate written documents for families and interpreter services for formal school meetings. The teachers and staff use several strategies to create a welcoming and supportive school environment. This year, they are seeking to increase parent involvement in school and classroom activities. The teachers and staff have also planned a series of evening events to increase parent involvement in math and reading.

Activity

  1. Create a sign-up board for parents that describes various ways that parents can volunteer, regardless of their proficiency in English. Display a variety of jobs, with variation in the time commitment, schedule, and English proficiency. Possible roles include making flashcards and classroom materials, reading aloud to students, preparing food or materials for school events, helping with art projects, etc.
  2. Establish a parent coordinator who is knowledgeable about various cultural backgrounds and actively involved in the community.
  3. Send written and oral communication inviting parent involvement via newsletters, email systems, phone calling systems and other means.
  4. Welcome and support parents as they become involved.
Instructional Example: Family Math/ Literacy Night

Scenario

Eastside Elementary School is an urban school with a diverse student population. About 35% of the school’s population have home languages other than English. There are five different home languages represented at the school. The principal estimates that about half of the parents of ELLs are not proficient in English. The school uses interpretation services to translate written documents for families and interpreter services for formal school meetings. The teachers and staff use several strategies to create a welcoming and supportive school environment. This year, they are seeking to increase parent involvement in school and classroom activities. The teachers and staff have also planned a series of evening events to increase parent involvement in math and reading.

Activity

  1. Schedule evening events at opportune times for families and advertise widely to the school community. This could be organized for a particular grade level (e.g., K-1) or whole-school. Make it clear that the whole family is welcome. Consider making childcare available for toddlers, staffed by volunteers. Plan for a simple meal to be available on campus at low cost. Sometimes local restaurants will volunteer to provide food or a parent group at school will volunteer to cook.
  2. Plan a theme and activities. Following a kick-off in a gym or auditorium, plan a set of stations, each with a different hands-on activity for families. The stations should be staffed by teachers and community agencies. Activities should be fun, engaging and teach families how to be involved in math or literacy development.

Example of Family Literacy Activities

Reading Aloud
The principal reads an engaging book aloud, modeling how to ask questions or highlight key vocabulary. The principal or another volunteer reads another book in a language other than English, modeling the same process.

Homework Station
Teachers explain and show examples of class work that will be sent home and give tips on how to manage homework at home.

Library Station
A local librarian explains library services and signs families up for library cards on the spot.

Curriculum Station
Teachers explain the current reading (or math) curriculum, grade level expectations and teaching approaches, with interactive activities for family members.

Learning Games Station
Teachers engage participants in simple learning games that support literacy or math development.

Technology Station
Teachers demonstrate learning applications that are available at the school, with suggestions for effective technology use at home.

EL Toolkit

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