ELL HELP!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by SingBlueSilver, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Sep 7, 2009

    I'm a 7th Grade Social Studies teacher (focus is on Medieval World). This is my 3rd year teaching and have thus far been lucky enough to have students that have spoken English. This year, I have students who speak very little English if any at all. Their first language is Spanish and I don't speak any Spanish. I will be partnering them with students in class who are Spanish/English speakers, but I don't only want to rely on those students to help them do the work. I feel like its unfair to them. I've had the students in my class for a week already and because the students don't understand, they are becoming behavior issues during instruction.
    I'm looking for help with strategies to help keep the students engaged and encouraged in class as well as how to differentiate my lessons so they can make the most of being in class and have a good learning experience. I use a lot of visuals in class, but I know that's not going to be enough. ANY help or advice will be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Sep 7, 2009

    What sort of help are these students getting in developing their English skills? Is there any way you could get a translator/aide for your classroom for the periods you have these students? There really isn't any way you can help them until they master the basics of English. Imagine being thrown into school in a foreign country yourself - you'd be completely lost. Other students can help some, but their job is to learn, not to be a translator.

    Schools around here have had success in not putting these students in regular classes for the first few weeks/months. These students are in special English development classes all day long until they can understand enough English to get by in regular classes. Your administration should be helping you come up with a solution to your issues.
     
  4. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Sep 7, 2009

    As far as I know, right now, these students are not getting much help. I don't think they even have their CELDT scores. I teach low level English speakers, but have never come across a case like this. We used to have classes like the ones you mentioned where they are self-contained and learn basic English skills, but our district is having some problems (to say the least) and those classes are now gone. I will be speaking to an administrator tomorrow regarding the students because you're right, they do need some basic skills.
     
  5. amaryllis

    amaryllis Rookie

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    Sep 7, 2009

    If the school won't help out, check with your local university education / credentialing program. I'd bet they'd have someone, a student, who is a Spanish speaker who'd LOVE to intern with you!
     
  6. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Sep 13, 2009

    While eventually I'd totally love to have an intern/student teacher in my classroom, it's only my 3rd year teaching and I have LOTS to learn myself and I feel like that student teacher would not benefit as much with me vs. a more experienced teacher.
    I spoke with various administrators at my school and one suggested using SDAIE/SIOP strategies. I think that those strategies are really good and use them frequently in my classroom to help reach all types of learners, but the strategies only work if the student has some BASIC knowledge of the English language. One administrator said it was a priority for them to speak with the district regarding the issues because our school site has 5 of the Spanish only students and so if the other schools in the district are also in the same situation then there is a high need for "something" to be done.
    In the mean time though, I still don't know what to DO. As more time passes, the students will begin to feel more and more lost. There is an aid that rotates around the campus, but the last I heard, they were only able to stay with the students 45 minutes out of their nearly 7 hour school day.
    For the time being, I will assign those students to create a dual-language dictionary, but of course I need more than just this. At least its something I can start with, but any other suggestions anyone else has is MORE than welcome!
     
  7. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    Sep 13, 2009

    Can you find any books in Spanish that contain some of the content you teach?
     
  8. StudentTeach

    StudentTeach Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2009

    I'm having this same problem in the class I intern with in an 8th grade language arts room. A girl just got here from a Spanish speaking country and the school has NO ELL program whatsoever. We have no idea what to do about it.
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Sep 20, 2009

    First, stop pretending that they are going to learn content. Unless ELs are in a contained classroom they aren't going to pick up content and frankly, your state probably doesn't want them to (California for sure.) In California student test scores don't count towards AYP/API until they've been enrolled for a full year.

    What I do is that I group those kids together so I can more easily differentiate. I'll admit it was 100 times easier when I had all 20 of our EL1/2s in a single classroom but I'll also admit that our kids are learning English much, much faster now being in a mainstream classroom. They aren't learning social studies but they are learning English.
     
  10. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sep 20, 2009

    If you don't have a certified ELL or ESL teacher at your school, what about contacting a former professor for recommendations. If you don't have anyone, then I'd say to see if you can contact your local teacher's college and try to find someone who teaches the ESL/ELL cert classes. A nice professor may be willing to meet with you and discuss some strategies or give you some suggestions for resources and readings you can do on the matter. They may even let you sit in on a lecture or two to learn some things!
     
  11. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Sep 22, 2009

    One thing I would do is make visual vocabulary for students. A spot for a word in English, a picture that represents the word either from the internet or clip art, and a space for the Spanish words. Use visual aids as much as you can. Use call and response when appropriate. Students can see the word and learn how to say it in English. Find out if the students are literate in Spanish.
    http://coe.sdsu.edu/people/jmora/pages/50strategies.htm has some ideas
    Some key terms to google around ELL strategies are SIOP model, GLAD, and CLAD.
     

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