Archive | TESOL Tuesday Tip RSS for this section

Teach Well


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ELL Teaching Tip #22: Don’t Forget Best Practices

A few years ago, I participated in SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) training.  SIOP is a model of teaching specifically designed to help English Language Learners gain more from content instruction in the general classroom.  The training was wonderful and truly helped me with my English Language Learners, but the main focus of the training was simply utilizing “best practices”.  We all know what best practices are – they are the tried and true strategies that give all students a chance to participate in learning in a hands-on manner that will increase understanding and improve the chances ofimage comprehension and storage in long term memory.

So, the English Language Learner Teaching Tip of the Week is to remember to teach in the way you as a teacher know is best.  English Language Learners may have some special needs, and need some special considerations – but in general they are just another student in your classroom who needs to learn.  Strategies that help the rest of your students learn will help ELL’s learn too – especially if they are hands-on, collaborative, fully explained and modeled to students.

While we are all familiar with “best practices”, it is easy to get away from them in the reality of our classrooms.  Here are a few reminders of some best practices that help our students – ELL or not:

 

1.)  Model, model, model – rather than just talk about what students should do, model it!  Show (don’t tell) students exactly where you want them to cut, how you want them to measure, how many counters you want them to use, which supplies you want them to use etc.  For students who don’t have a lot of language, these visual models can greatly help them get the to understand the expectations.

2.)  Think, pair, share –  two heads are better than one.  Give students a chance to share with each other and see if their thinking is on the right track.  This strategy also give all students the opportunity to “share” to someone, thereby stopping the “But I NEVER get a chance to answer!”s.

3.)  Use objectives – don’t assume students will know what you are teaching.  Tell students what you are expecting them to learn, work on, and understand.  By reviewing objectives with students, students have a clear idea of what thy need to do and a way to self-check and/or monitor themselves.  Check objectives before AND after your lesson, so that students can monitor their learning.

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know Heidigray422more about teaching English Language Learners? I presented on this topic at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo on April 21st.  If you missed the Expo, it’s not too late to catch the presentation, click HERE to find out how to view the presentation.

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

signature_thumb1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_[1]

Raki's Rad Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers rakishop422422232222 tn42222

Explaining Language Learning


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ELL Teaching Tip #21: Explain the Language Learning Process to English Only Speakers

When I was in high school, I had a good friend, named Anastasia.  She had started her school career in Russia, but had been at my school for awhile, so I didn’t think of her as anything other than another student in my class, and a fun friend to hang out with.  However, one day in Social Studies class, I realized that the teacher was giving her extra time on her tests.  Some of the other kids didn’t think this was fair, and in a very teenager way said as much.  Rather than brush it off, my teacher took a minute to explain to us that even though Anastasia spoke a lot of English, she still often thought in Russian, and so when she read the test, she would often translate the information from English into Russian in order to understand it, and then have to translate it back to English before she wrote it down.  For this reason, she took longer taking a test, and he gave her that time.  His explanation made so much sense to me, that I remember that moment clearly to this day.

Often, we think that dealing with our English Language Learners only means teaching those who don’t speak English as their first language to understand how a new language is learned.  However, most of the time, we have other students in our room, who are English Only Speakers.  It is hard for students who only speak one language to understand the concept of thinking in two languages.  (I am in the middle of learning a second language and it’s still hard for me to have that first hand understanding of being bilingual.)  Rather than ignore it, or brush over it as “everyone learns differently”, take the time to explain to your English Only Students what your ELL students are doing in their brain every day, and you will see a new form of understanding and empathy in your classroom.  Students will be more willing to be peer tutors and work collaboratively with your ELL’s, because they will better understand why these students need more assistance.   – Do be careful not to make English Lanugage Learning into a handicap or a reason for English Only Students to do all the work for ELL’s – rather stress understanding the other’s point of view.

It’s also great to give English Only Students a taste of what it feels like to not always know what is going on around them.  Find videos in another language (there are plenty available on YouTube) and play them to the whole class (this is especially fun and easy if you can get movies in the home language of the majority of your ELL’s).  Talk to the English Only Students afterwards about how it felt to not understand everything that was going on, and why this made it hard.  This will help build empathy and understanding amongst your students.

 

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know Everything's Intermediate Expo - English Language Learnersmore about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo this weekend, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for ticket information.

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Raki's Rad Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers Raki's Rad Resources on Raki's Shop Raki's Rad Resources on Teacher's Notebook

Twenty Tips for Teaching ELL Students


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, for the last 5 months, I have been writing a Teaching Tip each week that is specifically to help you teach your English Language Learners. Last week, I wrote Tip #20 and my follower number went over 100.  So, I realized some of you may have missed some of the first tips.  For this reason, I decided to give you a review this week of the first 20 tips. Keep checking back as I have 20 more for you! Scroll down for the first 20 tips I have written.

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know Heidi Raki at the Everything's Intermediate Expo - Presentation on English Language Learnersmore about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for ticket information.

20 Tips for Teachers of English Language Learners

Twenty TESOL Tips:

20.  Use Peer Tutors

19.  Understand Each Child Learns Differently

18.  Understand the Silent Period

17.  Teach Grammar Explicitly

16.  Teach Social Expectations

15.  Use Technology to Its Fullest

14.  Communicate with the Family

13.  Utilize Background Knowledge

12.  Teach and Understand Body Language

11.  Understand Inferencing

10.  Understand the Cultural Effects on Language

9.   Know Key Words in the Home Language

8.   Know Your Students’ Literacy Levels

7.   Teach Kids to Listen

6.   Repeat Yourself

5.   Teach Vocabulary

4.   Correct their Mistakes Correctly

3.   Give Them Time to Talk

2.   Speak Slowly

1.   Use Graphics

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Raki's Rad Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers Raki's Rad Resources - Quality Resources for Quality Teachers Raki's Rad Resources - Teacher's Notebook Shop

Can you Translate?


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ELL Teaching Tip #20: Use Peer Tutors

Here’s a true conversation from my class this week:

Ms. Raki: I love your writing, but can you tell me what this word is?

Student A: be de

Ms. Raki: Can you tell me what a be de is?

Student A: A be de

Ms. Raki: What would you use a be de for?

Student A: silence

Ms. Raki: It says here that your brothers were using a be de, what were they doing with it.

Student A: They were making a be de.

Ms. Raki: Why were they making a be de?

Student A: They like to make be des.

 

Okay, by this point I was still clueless as to what a be de was.  Rather than drive me and Student A any crazier, I called in Student B – who happens to be strong in both French and English. 

 

Ms. Raki: What is a be de in English?

Student B: It’s like a magazine for cartoons.image

Ms. Raki: Like a comic book?

Student B: Yeah!

Student A: Yeah!

Ms. Raki: Okay, let’s erase be de and put in comic book because that is the word in English.

Problem solved – thankfully!

 

imageThis is a classic example of how I use peer tutors with my English Language Learners.  Now, I actually use peer tutors in lots of ways – I pair up high and low ability and high and low English level students to work on problem solving, to write stories, to read books together.  I have a strong math student explain their thinking to a weaker math student in hopes that the “kid language” will make better sense to them.  But, with English Language Learners, I often use peer tutors as assistant translators.  I try very hard to not translate everything – but if you are trying to get a student to express themselves in their writing or you are trying to get them to understand a key part of instruction, having a peer tutor translate a word or a phrase can be a life saving mechanism!  I know there is not always a peer tutor that speaks every language, and then I turn to graphics and google translate, but if possible using peer tutors is a simple, easy way to help your English Language Learners understand and be understood. 

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know Heidigray4more about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for ticket information.

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

signature_thumb1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_[2]

rakishop4224222322 tn422

Where is Your Knee?


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ELL Teaching Tip #19: Appreciate each child’s differences

As teachers, we know that all children are different, but often we forget how much these differences affect what children learn.  These differences can especially affect what words our English Language Learners learn.  Students will learn and remember the English words that they need or the words that mean something to them the most quickly.  Words that don’t have any meaning to them will slip through their memory and never really settle into their long term memory, or at least take longer to settle there.  image

This is the reason that the girls in my class know words like dress, skirt, makeup and tiara and the boys don’t.  It’s also the reason that the boys know the words ninja, soldier and magic trick that the girls often don’t.  In imageaddition, my student often know words that help them out at school, where they use English, but not words that would help them out at home, where they don’t.  So, it’s not unusual for my students to know words like connection, punctuation mark, and cylinder, but don’t know words like knee, spoon and shovel.

Help your students increase their vocabulary by using those preferences and background knowledge.  Here are some ways to do that:

– Activate prior knowledge on EVERY lesson.  Giving kids some context to connect their new learning to will help them remember the words and concepts you are teaching.

– Scout out those “home” words that can be taught and reinforced through reading and every day activities.  Play games that include body part and object names – like Simon Says.

  – Find out what your students are interested in and find books with good vocabulary on those subjects.  Use these books for read alouds and guided reading, as students will be more likely to remember the vocabulary that is connected with topics that they are interested in. 

 

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know Heidigraymore about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for ticket information.

 

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

signature_thumb1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_[1]

rakishop422422232 tn42

ELL’s Not Talking–Understand the Silent Period


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ELL Teaching Tip #18: Understand the Silent Period

I’ve taught enough English Language Learners to expect that all new language learners will go through a silent period – that time when they know enough imageEnglish to understand what’s going on, but they don’t know enough English to yet feel comfortable trying to make a sentence in English.  I’ve experienced it as a teacher multiple times, but just recently, I have experienced it as a learner.  I am currently taking Arabic classes two times a week, and wow!  Now I know why they say to learn another language if you are going to teach English Language Learners.  (I’ll delve deeper into this topic in TESOL Tip #25.)  I am DEFINITELY in the silent period with Arabic right now.  I can repeat, I know the key vocabulary and a lot of object words, but ask me for a sentence longer than “ I have xxx.” and you’re not going to get much! 

Your new English Language Learners will be like this – generally those who have been studying in English for less than 6 months – 1 year.  I have one student in my class who spoke not one word of English on the first day, and he has been stuck in the silent period until very recently.  Here are some strategies to help get your students (and you) through the silent period:

1.  Teach some survival words – In the beginning, student need to know those key words to take care of every day needs: bathroom, bookbag, notebook, pencil.  For your sanity, take some time in the beginning of the school year (or whenever the student arrives in your class) to direct instruct these words to any student you feel is in that “silent period”.  image

2.  Use graphics – Especially if your English Language Learner does not have any peers in the room who speak their home language, you will need a way to help them get their point across in those early days, picture organizers are a great way to do this.

3. Give them a chance – The silent period doesn’t end all on one day, it’s a slow progression.  When students get enough words (and courage) to put a sentence together, focus on the meaning, and not the grammar. 

4.  Repeat for them – Just like you do for toddlers learning language, repeat what your students say to model the correct language.  ie. Sofia says “Miss, am done?”  I say back to her “Yes, Sofia, you are done now.”

5.  Do You Understand? – I am so guilty of asking my students this!  I’ll tell you right now, even if they are shaking their little head yes, they probably don’t.  My Arabic teacher asks me this quite a bit, and I shake my head yes, because it’s easier than explaining what I don’t understand!  Be careful to know even when they say they understand, they may not.

6.  Don’t Think They Aren’t Listening – Often, when students are in the silent period we just assume they don’t understand.  Well, you know what they say about assuming – don’t!  Students pick up a lot from gestures, books, context etc.  So, don’t assume that students don’t understand anything that’s going on.

 

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know more about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for more information.

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

signature_thumb1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_[1]

rakishop42242223 tn4

Grammatically Speaking


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ELL Teaching Tip #17: Teacher Grammar Explicitly

ear“Does that sentence sound right to you?” is how I was taught grammar.  Make sure the sentences “sounds right”.  This makes sense if all you have ever heard is proper English.  However, when you are teaching English Language Learners, grammatically incorrect sentences sound just as “right” as grammatically correct sentences.  In fact, depending on who their language models are, the incorrect sentences may sound better to their ears.  I teach in a school where almost all of my students are language learners.  The teachers are the ONLY language models they have that speak proper English, so often my students hear more improper English in a day than proper English.

When I started teaching English Language Learners, I found that not only did I have to learn how to teach English grammar, but I had to re-learn grammar rules myself, so that I was explicitly aware of WHY you say We run, but you say She runs.  Now, I work very hard to teach grammar explicitly to my students – even in first grade.  Here are some tips to teaching grammar explicitly:

1.  Take time each and every day for grammar. It’s easy to engulf grammar in other subjects, reading, writing, etc., but English Language Learners need grammar on it’s own for at least 10 minutes every day.  Daily Language programs are a great way to get that grammar in, but it’s just as easy to simply have a 10 minute grammar mini-lesson each day.

2. Reinforce good grammar habits.  In shared writing or writing imageconferences, take a minute to point out where you see those good grammar points.

3.  Explain WHY – When teaching a new grammar rule, try your best to explain the rule, including WHY, as it will help your students generalize and internalize grammar.  Don’t stress if it’s not Webster Dictionary’s explanation, just stress the understanding your students will be able to generalize.  Here’s an explanation I give my students for why we say We run, but She runs. ie.  If you have a “plural” subject, you must have a “plural” verb.  Plural subjects often end in an S – thought not always, plural verbs do not end in an s.  Singular subjects do not usually end in an s, while singular verbs generally do end in an S.  Thereby, we is plural, so run should NOT have an S.  She is not plural, so it SHOULD have an S.

4.  Correct Oral Language – In Tip #4, I talked about correcting student’s speech patterns.  This is especially important for grammar, as students will only know if they “sound right” if you tell them.  Also, if you can get your English Language Learners to speak properly, they become better language models to those other language learners around them.  One big grammatical error in my class has been “the birthday of” as in “Mrs. Raki today is the birthday of my sister.”  or even better “Today is the Happy Birthday of my sister.”  (This is a direct translation from French, as this would be grammatically correct in French.)  We have talked about this many, many times, and finally some of my students have started correcting each other.  It made my heart jump for joy the other day when one of my girls turned to another and said, “No, not the dad of Omar – Omar’s dad!”

 

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know more about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for more information.

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

signature_thumb1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_

rakishop4224222  tn

Social Expectations for ELL’s


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ELL Teaching Tip #15: Teach Social Norms

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving to Morocco, it’s how much culture plays into language.  I am  in the unique position to see it on both sides.  In my classroom, I see my kids look at the picture of the carrot stick and have no idea what they are seeing, thereby having no word for it in their own language, let alone English.  Then, I do homework with my personal son, who is going to school in French and Arabic, I see how culture affects language in other languages than just English.  For example, he read a story about the “horseman” that has 2 different words in Arabic to describe it and he looks at me for the correct word in English, but there really isn’t one.

Where this comes in to play the most for my students is in those “social norms” that we don’t think to teach.  For example, in English, when you burp you say “Excuse me.”  In Arabic, when you burp, you say  “Thank God.”(Hemdulilah)  imageTrying to explain to an English Language Learner why we don’t thank God for our health after we burp – that is an interesting conversation to have, let me tell you!  Although this is a simple example, it highlights the fact that there are going to be differences in social norms due to a change in language.  If possible, we need to teach our English Language Learners about these differences ahead of time, to help their learning process, and prevent some embarrassment on their part.  We won’t always be able to teach these things ahead of time, as sometimes we are learning about the differences as they happen, but either way we need to address it in our classroom. 

I am a big fan of the phrasing “In English we say” or “When we’re speaking English we do/don’t”, because it does not make one culture right or the other culture wrong.  One of my biggest pet peeves is teachers trying to teach students the “right” cultural expectations.  I don’t believe one culture/language to be right or wrong, simply different.  However, if we are teaching students to speak English, we are doing so to prepare them to survive in an English speaking culture.  To not prepare these English Language Learners for that culture is like teaching a dancer to only dance in the practice room, but never on stage.

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know more about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for more information.

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

signature_thumb1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_[2]

rakishop422422

Thank You Technology!


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

ELL Teaching Tip #15: Utilize Technology

Technology can be a friend or foe in any classroom – depending on the day.  However, I have found technology to be a life saver when working with English Language Learners.  Last week, in TESOL Teaching Tip #14, I stressed using Google Translate when working with the parents of ELLs.  I also use Google Translate with my highergoogletranslate students who can read and write in their home language.  If there is a word they want to include in their writing and they can’t get me to understand what that word is, we put it into Google Translate and find the correct English word to substitute.  With my lower students, I use a Google Image Search or an AskKids Image Search (if I’m concerned with the pictures that might show up) to give them a picture of something that I am explaining and they just aren’t understanding.  The other day, try as I might, I couldn’t seem to explain peacock accurately enough.  I went to the computer, did an image search for peacock, and Voila, my student knew exactly what I was talking about.

In addition to these simple tools, there are some great websites that you can use with your English Language Learners, in a center, whole group, or as homework to help them work on vocabulary and grammar.  Here are a few that I really like:

pronunciatorPronunciator – This website works on 60 different languages.  I actually use it to help myself learn Arabic and French, but it’s also fabulous for English Language Learners.  Students can put in their first language and the second language they want to learn (English).  Then the website will take them through graphic based learning activities for all 4 domains: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  For some activities, you do need a microphone, as it has a pronunciation tool.  The vocabulary is grouped into categories, so it’s a great way to work on things like food, animals, clothes, verbs, etc.

freericeFree Rice – There are many subjects covered on Free Rice, but English Vocabulary has a big sections.  It is a reading and writing game only, but it has a good selection of easy and hard vocabulary.  Additionally, if you get a question wrong, it will give you the correct answer, and then ask you that question again in 4 or 5 turns, giving you a chance to reuse the knowledge they are giving you.

starfallStarfall – The best primary reading website out there, Starfall is especially good for English Language Learners because it reads books to students or allows them to read them on their own, as well as teaching all those letter sounds that are so needed (and can be different from language to language).  Check out the I’m Reading and It’s Fun to Read sections for challenging, vocabulary building stories for higher level students.

 

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know more about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic on March 22nd at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for more information.

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

signature_thumb1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_[2]

rakishop42242

Talk to Their Parents


My class consists of 19 students, of which only 1 speaks English only in his household, and even he began his life in a bilingual environment. The other 18 speak at least one, if not two other languages in their homes. Most of my students speak Arabic, but many also speak French. I have 3 who speak French and not Arabic, 1 who speaks Spanish, and 1 who speaks a Philippine dialect. All of my students speak SOME English, but to varying degrees. My job is to teach them English, while also teaching them everything we normally teach in school (reading, writing, math, science, social studies etc.) Fortunately, I am certified to teach ESL and have some experience with English Language Learners. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. So, from now on, I will now be doing a Teaching Tip Tuesday geared especially towards teaching English Language Learners. Here’s this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

This week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip is a day early, because tomorrow, I have a BIG announcement.  Don’t forget to stop by and find out what’s new at Raki’s Rad Resources!

ELL Teaching Tip #14: Communicate with their Family

One of the biggest mistakes teachers make when dealing with English Language Learners is to forget to communicate with their parents.  Yes, many English Language Learners come from households where no one speaks English.  However, just because they don’t speak the language doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in or able to help with their child’s education.  Will you meet English Language Learners with families who are unwilling to be involved?  Sure, it happens with all populations of families.  However, I can say from my experience that if a child is in the position to be an language learner, it is because their parents are trying really hard to give them an advantage.  Many parents see English as a ticket to success for their children, guaranteeing them success in a world that they themselves may not have access to.  Many parents of English Language Learners sacrifice a lot to have their children in a position to learn English and they will work extra hard to ensure success.  These parents are a great asset, that it behooves us as teachers to utilize.  But the question remains, if they don’t speak English, how do we reach them?  Here are some tips to do just that:

1  Send home communication in the home language as often as possible.  (Use translator services if they are available, if they are not, try Google Translate, it’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing!)

2.  Send emails rather than make phone calls, allowing parents to copy and paste into Google Translate, or have an English speaking friend or relative translate for them.

3.  Encourage parents to send emails and write notes in the home language.  Emails are easy to again copy and paste into Google Translate.  Notes can be typed in (unless they are in a language with a different alphabet system).googletranslate

4.  Make an attempt to talk to the parents when you see them in person.  I can’t tell you how many parents I have talked to where I have spoken a little Spanish (or French, or Arabic)and a little English and they have done the same in return, and we have found some common understanding.  Most parents will appreciate that you make the effort, even if it doesn’t turn out perfect.

5.  Get a translator for conferences, but speak to the parent.  Whenever you have a translator, speak directly to the parent, just as if they didn’t need a translator.  Chunk what you have to say into small sections, so that the translator will be more likely to get all the information clearly transmitted to the parent.

6.  Invite parents into the classroom.  Parents don’t need to understand every word you are saying to come and watch your class perform a reader’s theater or present a project.  Get them in the door with something simple, and then begin encouraging non-threatening volunteer opportunities, like cutting out lamination.  If you work it slowly, you may be able to offer opportunities such as explaining math problems to students in the home language or reading a story to the class in the home language.

I hope these tips will help you increase your parent communication with your language learning student.  As a parent of 2 boys who are currently attending school in a language I don’t speak, I can tell you it is challenging to be the parent in this type of situation.  As teachers, we can make it easier on these parents, and thereby on these students, by including them in our classroom communication.  Involved parents are more likely to work on homework with their children, help them when they are stuck and be supportive of what is going on in the classroom.

 

Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Do you want to know more about teaching English Language Learners? I will be speaking on this topic on March 22nd at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo, and I’d love to have you “join” us. It is a virtual expo, which will help us connect no matter where we are! Click HERE for more information.

Check out Tips 1 – 10 here.

signature_thumb1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_

rakishop4224

%d bloggers like this: