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Our school is really trying hard to provide extra support for our English Language Learners during this time of full-time distance learning.

My two ELL classes are the only ones in the school meeting five days a week (all others meet three days), and we’re providing those additional classes with no support from our district (even though it is now receiving an unexpected $200 million in both federal and state funds).

Now, we’re starting a special voluntary ELL support class that will meet three days a week at lunch.  It will be happening with the help of one of my new student teachers, and it will be using history as the vehicle in which to help Intermediate and Newcomer students develop English.  Again, we’re doing this with no support from the district.

Most of my Intermediate and Newcomer students have signed-up for this thirty-to-forty minute class, and here’s an example of a typical plan (I wrote it up quickly) that I’ve shared with my student teacher – feedback is welcome!


  1. Warm-up: In English or Spanish: Have you read or heard anything about witches?.
  2. Short preview in Spanish about Salem Witch Trials
  3. Show an image on Google Jamboard of accused witches being hung in Salem surrounded by onlookers.  You would make it editable to students.
  4. Ask students to point their cursor at things in the picture they know in English, and have them say the words.  You label those objects. You label things they don’t know.  Students chorally repeat the words.
  5. End with a game (maybe in teams) reviewing the words (you could temporarily remove the Jamboard so they can’t access it to “cheat.” 



  1. Warm-up: What is one thing you remember from our last class?
  2. Review the words on the picture.
  3. Have four-or-five clozes (fill-in-the-blanks).  The sentences are about the picture, and the missing words are the labeled ones.  You could do this on Google Docs, or do it on Quizizz.  Quizizz, of course, would be more fun.
  4. Have a simple “fun” dialogue – pushing students to be dramatic. Dialogue can be easily differentiated (less English proficient is Student B, for example).

Student A: “I don’t like you!”

Student B: “I don’t care!”

Student A: “Police, he/she is a witch!”

Student C: “Come with me, you are going to jail!”

Model it, and then students go into breakout rooms and practice it.  They record it with Vocaroo or other online tools. They put link in chat or on Google Doc.

5. Homework (though I said you should not have homework): Find out one simple thing related to “witches” in your home country.  Share in next class warm-up



  1. Warm-up: Share what you learned about witches in your country.
  2. Review words and completed cloze sentences
  3. Play the recordings of the dialogue.
  4. A four-or-five very simple sentence read aloud (with visuals) in English explaining the Salem Witch Trials.  You say each sentence and students chorally repeat it.

Some people did not like other people in a town.  They said that people were witches.  They killed the “witches” by hanging them.  

You would show a map of the U.S and point to Massachusetts, and also an image of accused witches being hung.

5. End with Quizizz sentence scramble game using the cloze sentences


Feedback is welcome!