Help with Spanish speaking student!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by iowateacher2007, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. iowateacher2007

    iowateacher2007 New Member

    Aug 28, 2007
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    Aug 28, 2007

    I have a student in my class (3rd grade) who just moved from Mexico and speaks only Spanish. We have a computer program that he can do to start learning English, but he gets bored with that easily. Our ESL teachers are only with him for about 1 hour total so he's in my room the rest of the day. Does anyone know of any worksheets or printables that I can give to him to help him learn English (and keep him busy when I'm doing some other things with the class)?

    I would appreciate any links to websites or anything really! Thank you!
  3. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

    Oct 8, 2006
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    Sep 1, 2007

    I would recommend going to the ESL teachers and asking for resources.

    I am an ESL teacher in my building, and the following information is a summary of what I have provided for my teachers.

    I have a lot of ideas (Im an ESL teacher for grades 3-5 in NYC)... I just put together a resource packet for teachers in my school on working with newcomer ELLs (English Language Learners).
    I wouldn't worry too too much about using material that is not age appropriate,young elementary students are still young enough to appreciate that kind of stuff to a degree.

    First off, I would recommend finding a buddy for your English language learner. If you have another Spanish speaker in the classroom, that would be most helpful. Allow the spanish speaker to translate for the ELL student, allowing them to converse in Spanish. Keep an eye on this, though, to ensure they are not chit chatting, and monitor the children, you want to limit use of the native language farther into the school year as you do not want your ELL to become dependent on their Spanish speaking friend. Alternatively, or in addition to, you could buddy them up with an English speaking child who may need a confidence boost. This will serve both children well. Have this child help your ELL with basic vocabulary, etc. for a certain amount of time per day.

    You could set up an alphabet center in your room, you could have magnetic letters, stamps, pipe cleaners to shape letters out of, alphabet blocks, alphabet cookie cutters and playdoh, alphabet books, stencils, dry erase boards, alphabet flash cards, sponge letters, alphabet puzzles and games, etc. This is self access material that they can use and do when class work is inappropriate.

    I don't know what your access to computers is like, but here is a list of websites I put together for the teachers:

    ** : online grammar & vocabulary games and practice.

    ** : online reading and phonics activities.

    ** : online interactive games and vocabulary practice. (Check this out first, and direct students, as some of the activities are “iffy”… but some are helpful.) : Printable flashcards, worksheets, songs, games and holiday activities. Also,
    has online games for English language learning.

    ** : lesson plans, online games & activities, both under the teacher section and the kids section.

    ** : content area online videos. These are great to use with your whole class to incorporate visuals into a lesson, or for an ELL to watch independently.
    This website is free to NYC teachers… contact them for further information. : Printable thematic worksheets, flashcards, games, songs, lessons, etc to for English Language Learners. : Thematic lesson plans and worksheets for vocabulary and math practice. : printable resources including worksheets, books to print, and thematic activities.

    ** Indicates websites that students can use themselves, the others are resources for teachers.

    Another document I put together for the teachers is a list of Engaging Experiences for ELLs.

    Here they are:
    Engaging Experiences for ELLs :
    when classroom instruction is inappropriate for the newcomer

    • Read a book (patterned, predictable text is great -- I will provide a list to follow)

    • Work on the computer (see above websites for ELLs).

    • Listening center (making listening center response sheets is a great idea, identifying characters, telling whether they liked the books -- using visuals like a faces smiling, frowning, etc. -- visuals are key -- is great. Also, if you don't have access to books on tape, yourself, or native speaking English students, could record them. Ring a bell when its time to turn the page, etc...)

    • Alphabet center (see above suggestions)

    • Watch a video (, listed above, is a great site for content area videos. They have a free 30 day trial, and in some states, they offer it free!)

    • Label the room using a bilingual dictionary (This is a great activity for them.. This will help them to learn classroom object vocabulary, write in English, and learn to use a bilingual dictionary. Have them look the word up in their language, and write down the English form, then put the labels up!)

    • Draw a picture, label it, and add a sentence

    • Make a personal scrapbook/journal

    • Math flash cards

    • Math worksheets

    • Alphabet flash cards

    • Read the room

    • Sentence Illustration

    • Work in the Newcomer Kit (This is a kit that I put together for newcomer ELLs. I couldn't possibly go into all of it here, but some recommended books for reproducible worksheets for ELLs, either to do alone, or with a buddy tutor are: The Classroom Teacher's ESL survival kit #1 & #2 by Judy Haynes and Elizabeth Claire, and Amazing English! The Buddy Book by Carolyn Grigsby -- this one I highly recommend).

    • Work with manipulatives

    Sorry to go on and on, but since I just did this for my classroom teachers, it is all right there in my memory.

    Do you have students in your classroom that speak their native language? They can serve as translators, when it is most important that they learn the academic content. Be sure, though, that this does not take away from the translators work.
    Also, another good idea is to utilize a native speaker, preferably someone who could use a self-confidence boost, this way the benefit is two fold, and have them be a buddy tutor.

    More suggestions...

    Ways to make every minute count:

    Effective questioning:
    allow students to point to an answer, if they are speaking, give questions that have a choice, is it this or that? They can also draw answers, etc.

    Use TPR (total physical response), incorporate a lot of visuals into your teaching, write down instructions instead of just verbalizing them.

    Remember with ELLs, wait time is important. A lot of times they may know an answer, but are translating in their heads, processing the question, etc. Increased wait time when answering questions may make a world of difference.

    Don't force new children to speak. The silent period is a critical stage in language acquisition. Students are adjusting to a new culture, language and country, and are taking it all in. During the silent period, they are processing more than you think, and just need time to become comfortable enough to speak.

    I hope that this helps!
  4. who me

    who me Rookie

    Dec 19, 2006
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    Sep 1, 2007

    Wow! Those are all great suggestions. Wish I had that help a few years ago when I had a boy from China in my class. Working with a buddy was quite helpful. I agree it needs to be monitored closely. My second graders got carried away with their teaching. They took it a step further and came up with their own form of assessment. To test the child's comprehension they told him there would be no school the next day. When the child was absent, they were so proud of their accomplishment! A quick call to mom straighten it all out. I can't say she was proud but at least she was understanding and appreciative of the progress her son made in just a short amount of time.
  5. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

    Oct 8, 2006
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    Sep 1, 2007

    Well, I am glad you found the information useful.... and maybe one day you'll be able to use it!

    I love working with ELLs, and this information stems from my passion... and a lot of great PD!
  6. Pattie

    Pattie Companion

    Jul 5, 2007
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    Sep 2, 2007

    I've been the ESL teacher in my primary grades (1st -3rd) for years and if you only have one the best advice for you is put him/her near the chattiest kid in your class. Surprisingly they will help them learn English just by talking all day in their ears! Repeat what directions you give several times (maybe softly to him) and give visual clues to routine tasks so he can learn them from picture prompts too. If you have anyone bilingual in the class make them a buddy for him and have them translate sometimes. Use gestures, speak slowly & repeat often important vocabulary. Think of how a baby learns language and do those kinds of things you'd do to get your young child to understand you, repeat, use pictures, point, speak slow and clear etc. Kids can learn English in 2 short years from my experience if they have tutoring by teachers and peers and are not afraid to risk asking you for help and questions.

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