Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tips for Teaching English Language Learners (ELLs)

Today, I found a great, to-the-point list in a blog article called, "Do's & Don'ts For Teaching English-Language Learners." It was written by an expert I've been following for quite some time, Larry Ferlazzo. While you read this list, keep in mind that all the dos and don'ts that are listed will just as well help your struggling native English speakers. Remember, sometimes the difference between an ELL and a native speaker is not all that much, especially in the early years.

Another Ferlazzo article is about the importance of having pictures handy when teaching ELLs. Today, I found a great site for free images. I went to morgueFILE and just browsed. I found great images that I wouldn't even have thought about searching for. NOw I have a library of images saved that I won't get in trouble for using! This will be my new go-to website for free images.

Even beyond photos, go one step further, and consider the importance of realia. I attended a conference where the presenter shared with us the difference between a photo of an orange and an actual orange. Having us write down all the adjectives we could about the real orange we had in our hands first, he then gave us a picture. "What words could you no longer use to describe the orange if you'd never seen one in real life? Cross them out." He then gave us a card with the word orange on it. "Now if you can't read and you don't know what orange means because you don't understand English yet, what words would you have left?" We went from a list of sweet, rough, sticky, wet, light, mushy to having no words at all! The power in that, even to an ESOL teacher, was extremely eye-opening. So, all that to say, bring objects into your lesson.

Click on the image to go to Ferlazzo's article about photos for ELLs.

The link to the article is below, but I'm also linking my Pinterest board of writing prompts/inferencing/discussion generators. 

Click on this image to go to my Pinterest board for some helpful and interesting images.
I really enjoy this stuff. Being a creative person, I would hope that my students have a chance to imagine and wonder in my class. I've seen graphic organizers on TPT that go great with this. I'm sure I'll be creating one in the future. Just not today. =)

Finally, here is the link to the second Larry Ferlazzo article, "Using Photos with English Language Learners." Really great stuff. Ferlazzo is worth following, especially if you embrace the challenge of teaching our little language learners. I'd love your feedback. If you have some questions, I'd love to have a discussion with you and brainstorm about different idea. 

On that note, it's Friday! End on a high note.

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