Increasing Vocabulary, Restructuring Sentences

Discussion in 'ESL/ELL' started by MorahMe, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

    Feb 5, 2006
    Likes Received:

    Nov 22, 2010

    I teach in a school where the majority of the students are ELL. However, the ESL teacher doesn't come to my class, since they're too young. I'm having two issues that I need help with, to improve my students' skills in the classroom.

    Firstly, very often they don't know the words they need. I did a test run on Friday with one of my students, since many were absent. During breakfast, I asked one student to tell me what she wanted to eat. After she replied "Cornflakes" I asked her what she needed to be able to eat them. The results were: she knows what you need to eat a bowl of cereal and milk only with a lot of encouragement that she can do it (between each item she said she didn't know what else she needed) but mostly by pointing, it was like pulling teeth to get the words out of her. The word spoon she didn't know at all-I had to show her both a fork and spoon and have her pick which one she needed. Most of my students are on the same level, perhaps a little higher (the one who was in school already last year) except for the one who speaks almost no English, being new to the US.

    The second issue I'm having is understanding them when they ask me questions/tell me stories. Their sentence structure is so poor, I can't always figure out what they mean! The only thing I've come up with so far is to repeat back to them the proper way to say what they mean, but that only works on the occasions that I can figure it out. Sentences often come out like this: "Please bathroom Morah go I?"

    What can I do to help them in these two areas?
  3. mkate

    mkate Comrade

    Jan 31, 2009
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    Feb 4, 2011

    Hi there! I'm sorry you haven't gotten any responses on this-- I have to run but I was just reading an article and thought of this post-- it's quite short, on tecahing vocab to ELL:

    There are some other links there that might be useful. The only other idea I can think of at the moment is maybe to concentrate on one lexical field per week (or two weeks, or whatever) and provide many opportunities to review and use the same language items in different contexts. Say you want to do breakfast stuff-- maybe have bowls, plates, spoons, cereal, empty milk carton, etc. out in the classroom and spend a couple of minutes each day (or at different times of day) playing games with or reviewing the objects.

    For sentence structure, maybe figure out some key classroom expressions or needs (asking for permission, asking for things, etc.) and have a puppet model the expressions (I would focus on one or two at a time) at circle time and then whenever it comes up.

    Sorry I can't be of more help. I teach the same age group but for me it's EFL, not ESL, so it's not really the same...

    Good luck! Also, even though people were interested in having this board, it doesn't seem to get much traffic, so maybe try posting your questions in the grade-specific boards or even the elementary or general ed board...

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