As I wrote in FIRST QUARTER REPORT ON WHAT I’M DOING IN FULL-TIME DISTANCE LEARNING & HOW IT’S GOING, my ELL History class can be pretty hectic.
I’m having student teachers, peer tutors and a bilingual aide do a lot of work with a small group of Newcomers during the class.
As part of a weekly routine, every Thursday they read a fairly simple text. Getting any students engaged with online text during virtual learning can be a challenge, and our Newcomers are no different.
I’ve been pretty successful engaging the larger number of Intermediates with various strategies (see FIFTY-THREE WAYS TO HAVE STUDENTS INTERACT WITH TEXT – ONLINE OR IN THE PHYSICAL CLASSROOM). But Newcomers required some specific instructional strategies to deploy as a student teacher or peer tutor is reading a text to them, and here are the ones I’m encouraging them to use (feel free to suggest more!):
1. Annotate their own copy of the text with new words they are learning and summary sentences of paragraphs.
2. Every two sentences, say a word or phrase that was in one of the sentences and ask students to write it in the chat. Tell students to wait to post it until you say “now” so that they don’t just copy what others write. The chat box is your friend!
3. After reading a sentence, choose a particularly important word in it, repeat it aloud, and then quickly ask each student to say it – sometimes chorally as a group and sometimes one-after-the other.
4. Look for ways to connect what the text is saying with what students might already know. For example, After reading a few sentences about Thanksgiving, ask students what is a similar holiday in Mexico. After reading a few sentences about the American Revolution, ask each student to share one thing they know about the Mexican Revolution.
5. After reading a paragraph, tell students to go to the Padlet they used that week and give them four minutes to draw something that you just read. Make it a game by putting on a timer and then make good natured fun of, and applaud, student creations. You can draw, too! They have to describe what they drew.
6. After reading a few sentences, tell students to go to the Padlet and search online for picture that they believes highlights a main idea of the sentences. Given them a time limit of three minutes, and have them present their images.
I encourage them to do an interactive task with the reading at least every three minutes.
Any additional suggestions?