Supporting Long-Term English Language Learners is a challenge facing teachers across the country (see The Best Resources On Supporting Long-Term English Language Learners).
I’ve previously share that our school has decided to do a pilot support class for Long-Term ELLs next year, and that I’ll be designing and teaching it (see Here’s My Tentative Plan For A Support Class For Long-Term English Language Learners – Tell Me How I Can Make It Better)
Here’s an update:
My support class will consist of about twenty-five Long-Term ELLs who are entering our school as ninth-graders. They will also move as a cohort to the same English, Math, Geography and Biology classes during the day (I’ve taught the regular English and Geography classes before, so am familiar with the curriculum). The teachers of those content classes are enthusiastically participating in this experiment.
*Every Friday, each of those four teachers will Send me a very short and simple email telling me the key area or areas they plan on teaching the following week and four-to-six key pieces of background knowledge that students need to know to adequately understand the lessons. I am talking about a very short email. Here’s one as an example that could be used for Geography class:
Main Topic: Brazil
Background knowledge to know: understanding concept of demographics
South America as a continent
What is the Amazon?
For math, the support I will be giving will be related to the English language needed to access math concepts, not the concepts themselves.
* In addition, I’ll be meeting individually with each of the four teachers for ten minutes each week (during lunch, prep time, before or after school) to touch base about particular students.
*Both the cohort in the pilot class and the control group will be assessed three times during the year (September, January and May) in the following areas:
An online English test
A special writing assessment
ELPAC ( the state English test that’s given once each year)
*I plan on spending one-day each week specifically supporting each content class. I’ll be developing a flexible “template” that I’ll be able to use each of those days and “plug-in” the needed background knowledge. It might look roughly something like this:
1.Pre-teach academic vocabulary
2. Read Aloud
4. Short writing assignment
Of course, I’ll be mixing it up, making it very interactive, and including speaking activities, too. I plan on making it as culturally responsive as possible (see How teachers of all races can better support students of color).
*The day I’m not supporting the content classes will be spent on Social Emotional Learning skills.
* We’ve arranged to have individual student access to Brainpop, so I’m expecting to have students use it for homework.
Okay, now I’m all ears – How can I make it better?