FC: Teaching the English Language Learner November 2011 Sharon Jimenez for CTELL Fall 2011 Leslie Sandeen
1: Instructional Environment Three of the four EEL learners in my class are students who also have learning disabilities. They are fully included in the class and support comes from the Cross Categorical teacher (spec.ed.-Christie). The students receive needed modifications (identified in iep and what we see is needed in order for them to be more successful).
2: Who are the ELLs in my classroom? Kairo-Kairo’s dad was born in Mexico and speaks only Spanish. Mom was born in Texas. His mom speaks English to the children and Spanish to her husband. Kairo speaks only English at school and says he doesn’t know much Spanish. From what I can gather he probably understands Spanish more than he speaks it. All siblings were born here in Madison. Cythlaly-Cythlaly’s dad was born in Mexico and mom was born in Texas. Spanish and English are the languages used in the house. Describe the instructional environment you provide for your ELLs... (What type of programming does your school provide
3: Sofi-Sofi lives in two different households. Her mom speaks English (also can speak Arabic and some Hebrew) and it is the primary language in the home. Sofi spends more of her time in her mom’s house hold. Her mom was born in the United States. Dad was born in Israel (or Palestine-she wasn’t quite sure). Some of her older siblings were also born there. Dad speaks Arabic and Hebrew along with English. Sofi knows some Arabic and some Hebrew but mostly English.
4: Nicole-Nicole was born here in Madison (I actually had her older sister for a bit at the time she was born). Her mom was born in Brazil and her primary language is Portuguese. Her dad was born in Mexico and his primary language is Spanish. She spends more time in her mom’s home. She does understand some of both languages but speaks primarily English.
5: ELLs in my Classroom
6: There are a variety of language acquisition theories. It is important to know the various theories that there are so we can look at the evidence that supports or contradicts the theories. In this way we can look to find best practices so that we can meet the wide variety of needs of our students. First Language Acquisition Theories Chomsky: Believes that children are born with an inherited ability to learn any human language. Skinner: Believes children must be taught all aspects of a language. Believes they learn their first language through imitation.
7: Second Language Acquisition Theories Five language acquisition theories include: Behaviorism, the Innatist Perspective, Krashen's Monitor Model, the sociocultural perspective, and Connectionism. Let's examine these: Behaviorism: *Huge influence between the 1940s and 1970s. *Copying and memorizing activities were a big part of classroom activities because they believed that once habits were formed from their first language they would interfere with the new ones. (research shows not true)
8: Innatist Perspective: Universal Grammar *Those who use this theory tend to look at the the competence of advanced learners as they have a deeper understanding of grammar as opposed to the beginning language learners. Krashen's Monitor Model: *We acquire a second language as we are exposed to samples of it very much like children learning a first language. *We learn by focusing on form and rule learning. **With his affective filter hypothesis he states that learners who are tense, anxious, or bored may filter out input which would make it difficult to understand.
9: The sociocultural perspective: *This theory believes that learning takes place when a person is in his/her "zone of proximal development". *Learning takes place through conversations and social interactions. Connectionism: *Environment is important as opposed to innate knowledge. *We build up our knowledge by being exposed to many thousands of linguistic features. In other words, we learn more through exposure than learning the rules.
10: The reason it is important to be aware of these and other second language acquisition theories is that as teachers we need to know the varied thoughts that are there so we can best reach our students. I truly believe that we need to meet learners where they are add and provide a variety of learning strategies for them because we all learn differently.
11: WIDA CAN DO Descriptors: A Cool Tool!!
12: What follows are two student profiles with two corresponding task cards that include detailed differentiation ideas: Profile 1: Nicole-Nicole was born here in Madison. She is in the 4th grade. Her mom was born in Brazil and her primary language is Portuguese. Her dad was born in Mexico and his primary language is Spanish. She spends more time in her mom’s home. She does understand some of both languages but speaks primarily English. Her composite score is a 4. She loves to participate and works hard to do well.
13: Task: You will write a paragraph (or more) using personification. You will pretend you are a pumpkin in a pumpkin patch a few days before Halloween. According to the WIDA CAN DO Descriptors Nicole should be able to author multiple forms of writing from models. I would show include another type of personification (perhaps from the point of view of a scarecrow so she would understand the idea. I would also include the following suggestions. Remember to think about this from the point of view of the pumpkin. Are you hoping to get picked? Hoping not to get picked? Are you lonely? Do you hope to get
14: Remember to think about this from the point of view of the pumpkin. Are you hoping to get picked? Hoping not to get picked? Are you lonely? Do you hope to get carved? Do you think it will hurt or will it be painless? These are just a few ideas to help get started.
15: Profile 2: Kairo-Kairo’s dad was born in Mexico and speaks only Spanish. Mom was born in Texas. His mom speaks English to the children and Spanish to her husband. Kairo speaks only English at school and says he doesn’t know much Spanish. From what I can gather he probably understands Spanish more than he speaks it. All siblings were born here in Madison. Kairo is in the 5th grade and is rather tentative in academic areas but very friendly and helpful and excels in conversational English. His composite level is a four.
16: Task: As you read your book think of how you and the main character are similar to one another. Also think about how you are different. Complete a Venn Diagram and then write a paragraph comparing and contrasting yourself and the main character. According to the WIDA CAN DO Descriptors, Kairo should be able to complete a Venn Diagram and summarize his information from the Venn Diagram. I would include a word bank of certain words along (such as compare and contrast) and would offer a topic sentence frame for his paragraph writing. Of course, I would provide a blank Venn Diagram for him to use.
17: Using the WIDA CAN DO Descriptors is great for many reasons: *They are available for all grade levels! *They let you know exactly what you can expect of your learns (what they can do, not what they can't do). *Helps you hold your students to high standards! * Gives you great ideas for differentiating your curriculum!!
18: Building Background knowledge for ELLs Building background knowledge is important for all learners and, I believe, even more so for second language learners. This is especially important when we are teaching content that they have not been exposed to before. It gives them a more "leveled" playing field.
19: There are many great websites that share a variety of great resources in the area of building background knowledge. Four of these websites include: http://reading.ecb.org/teacher/priorknowledge/pk_lessonplans.html | http://www.sdesa6.org/content/docs/StrategiesVocabulary-080808.pdf http://www.eup.k12.mi.us/60891062063117407/lib/60891062063117407/Vocab_Model.pdf http://www.primary-education-oasis.com/building-background-knowledge.html
20: One example of using a graphic organizer for building background knowledge that I used was with the vocabulary for the first few chapters of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
21: This activity was extremely helpful as we read the book. We did it prior to reading and I was actually surprised at how many of the words my students didn't know. What was great was when we then read the chapters and the ease of which the students not only read the words but used expression and showed obvious understanding! This makes me realize that I need to do this more often for my ELL students. It really helps to put them at a better level of understanding.
22: Supporting ELLs within Reading The following is an example of of an activity for supporting Academic Reading which I used in my room.
23: Here is the graphic organizer I used for this activity.
24: This graphic organizer really helped as students read their textbook section. At this level we do not do a lot of textbook reading and I know both my EEL and EEN students would struggle as this is the first textbook reading we were doing this year. By breaking it into before, during and after activities you could see the students flourish throughout this activity. In the future I will definitely be developing more of these for my curriculum!
25: Supporting ELLs within Writing The following is an activity I used for writing with my students. | The following page include the assignment and a graphic organizer I used to help with the activity.
29: This activity enable the ELLs (and my ENNs) to be supported for this activity. Using graphic organizers can help me scaffold my curriculum for various needs of my students while keeping my expectations high!
30: Supporting ELLS within listening & Speaking The following is an example of an activity I did that focused on CAN DO speaking and listening tasks.
31: For this lesson We also went through an entire hour of talking about working in groups so that groups would have language for working in groups. This was an extremely helpful lesson as it helped provide my ELLs with language to use in groups that they might not otherwise have. They were given clues at how an "expert" would sound like. This worked out well and while they were in there groups I walked around as did my student teachers and we were able to hear the ELL learners (as well as others) using the language models they had been given. This was a huge success!