I teach in a border city and 90% of my students cross the bridge from Mexico into TX daily. They rarely practice the English language, unless they are in class. (Except we have one teacher that will translate and I'm not too happy about that.) Anyway, my students cannot write a complete sentence, let alone a paragraph. I am not perfect myself, I was an ELL. The last two years we do writing the first 20 min on Monday-Wednesday. monday-prewriting (graphic organizers) Tuesday-sentences Wednesday-paragraph Thursday -proofreading Friday-Final Draft Due I only require them to do a paragraph, this past year we did make it to a full essay (3 paragraphs) but not all of the students did well on this. I want to get them motivated. I check their sentences and I make corrections, then they are to create a paragraph from there. They also do peer editing, but because of the fact that so many of them do not have grammar knowledge they are afraid of checking someone elses paragraph, am I making sense? I only have 50min in my English/Reading class, I use the other 30 minutes to teach an English lesson. I feel like I am not doing enough for them. They are in 6th grade and some of them don't know the 8 parts of speech, then again some adults dont' know them. I feel like they haven't advanced much, and when they go on to 7th grade it continues. Every year the 7th grade English teacher tells me the students don't know nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. I have gone in and talked to them and they understand what I am saying....but they feel she is teaching something different. What am I doing wrong??? Any ideas!?!? In TX most students take the TAKS, but since we are a private school we take the IOWA and our school rates the lowest. HELP! I want to improve our scores. This year our test is in Sept. Thanks in advance!