ELLs In Science

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Raj Raturi, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Raj Raturi

    Raj Raturi Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2011

    I am teaching an ELL biology sheltered class. So everyone in the class is struggling to understand me as I am not fluent in spanish. I have been told over and over to use visuals. However, other than the standard powerpoint presentation, I am not sure how to implement more images. Anybody have any tips or experience with this??:unsure:
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 31, 2011

    A good deal of biological (and scientific) terminology is Latinate; I'd suggest exploiting that, since Spanish is a Romance language. (Let me quickly state the obvious: Romance languages are languages derived from Latin.)

    Look up the Spanish words for body parts and the like: you're hunting for cognates.

    You might also see if you can get a Spanish teacher to coach you on Spanish vowels, if you don't already know them.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Sep 3, 2011

    There are tons of video clips on YouTube that might help. Some might even be in Spanish too.

    I teach Biology. I can't imagine being reduced to visuals.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 3, 2011

    Are you certified in TESOL? Do you have experience working with ELLs? I ask because it's not necessary for you to speak Spanish when working with these students. In fact, it's sort of counter-productive. The goal should be to make your content as accessible in the target language (in this case, English) as possible. Besides that, it's not always useful to present written words or texts in Spanish because many ELLs are not literate in their first language. Yet another reason to avoid speaking Spanish in an ELL classroom is that not every ELL student is an hispanohablante. Perhaps in your particular class they all do speak Spanish, but that's not always true. My school's ELL population is overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking, but there are still a few kids who speak Russian, Serbio-Croatian, Bulgarian, Ethiopian, and other languages. If I only spoke Spanish in my ELL classes, I'd be excluding and potentially alienating a number of kids.

    I recommend googling Dave's ESL Cafe as a starting point. Good luck!
     
  6. xiangnong

    xiangnong Companion

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    Sep 3, 2011

    You might want to look into tips on using sheltered instruction methods. You can google SIOP (sheltered instruction observation protocol) to find more info.
     
  7. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Sep 3, 2011

    I have taught classes like this. I agree, you should teach in English and not in the students' native language. Here are my suggestions:

    - Slow your rate of speech and speak in simple sentences, at least at first.

    - Make a visual word wall either with pictures or with lab equipment. (ie, label everything in the room!)

    - Limit the number of new vocabulary words that you require the students to learn. Do they really need to know the names of all of the phases of mitosis, or is it enough for them to describe the process?

    - Use sentence stems when you want them to speak or write. Most of them can fill in the blank if you get them started, and it helps them to say the whole sentence in a grammatically correct way. For experimental design with earthworms, I would use sentence starters such as "How do worms respond to _______________?" "I think that if we ____________, the worms will ________________ because _______________."

    - Use think-pair-share as much as possible. ELLs will often want to check their English with a peer before they volunteer an answer to the class.

    - Do as many labs as possible. My students didn't know much English, but they sure were great with the microscopes and with making slides out of onions! It helped them understand the science definition of "cell", as opposed to the jail definition of "cell".

    Good luck! Let me know if you need more suggestions!
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Are these students going to be required to pass a standardized final exam?
     
  9. Raj Raturi

    Raj Raturi Rookie

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    Sep 4, 2011

    These are great tips, thank you. Yes they are going to be required to take the final exam so we have some serious work ahead of us.
     
  10. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I love doing the "when I say, you say". I show pictures and I will say the word and small definition. Then I say the word and have them repeat with the definition. I also use gestures for definitions. Not sure if you can use it in Biology but this week in LA I had ascend, descent, and orbit. None of my students knew any of the words. I had them squat down and stand up while saying ascend. Then squat back down while saying descend. I had them walk around their desks for orbit. They like these as it gets them up and moving and since everyone is talking, they are not as uncomfortable trying to say the words.
    I also agree not to use the second language.
     

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