(I’m republishing my favorite posts from the second half of 2023. You can see them all here)


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A student teacher who spend two class periods a week with me is handling summer school this year for our English Language Learners, and we have a lot of students planning on participating.

It’s many more than in previous summers.  I wonder if it’s pandemic related – that students have just spent more time at home than they want to?

She’ll be co-teaching it with another one of our teachers.

Here’s my recommendation for how they run it:

1.Come in and work on the laptops for about thirty minutes.  They can use any of the new AI-powered sites for ELLs (Speakable or ReadM), Quill, Epic!, Learning Chocolate, LingoHut, or Duolingo).

2. Then, spend thirty minutes working on one of the several English workbooks we have.  One way would be to divide the class into two (Newcomers and Intermediates) with each teach taking one group, along with peer tutors.  The teacher could teach the lesson, with students using mini-whiteboards to respond, followed by online games reinforcing the lessons.

3. Next, spend thirty minutes working on speaking and listening with conversations (using oral language prompts) and other activities.  Brainpop ELL and Brainpop, Jr. both have follow-up “Word Play” activities, where teacher and students alike can develop simple question/answer mini-dialogues using vocabulary from the movies.

4. A Language Experience Approach activity of thirty minutes can come next, which could mean a science experiment, a game of volleyball, showing a video, playing basketball, etc..

5. Then, a thirty-minute follow-up writing activity related to the LEA activity can happen.  Students can create sentences about what they did, teachers and students can turn those sentences into clozes or sentence scrambles (which could then be turned into games), higher-proficiency students can create paragraphs out of the sentences and even essays.

6. Another half hour on laptops.

7. Another half hour on the workbooks.

There are breaks and lunch in between.

It seems to me that this kind of simple sequence can work for teachers who don’t have that much experience working with ELLs and, most importantly, for students.

What do you think?