Monday, July 23, 2012


Though some may say that science is a "second" language for many, this is not entirely true.  For ELLs, it can many times be a major struggle trying to process difficult concepts in a language that they are still learning. The process becomes even more complicated in high school where they may be trying to fill in gaps in their schooling along with taking subjects where there is very little background knowledge.  With such obstacles, is there no chance to graduate and pursue a degree?  No.  School districts and education departments of major universities across the country are collaborating on ways to make content accessible to ELLs while simultaneously building academic language skills. 

New York University addresses the teaching of science vocabulary to ELLs in the following link:  MAKING SCIENCE VOCABULARY ACCESSIBLE TO ELLS 
Notice the extensive use of graphic organizers to scaffold difficult content specific vocabulary.  Note the use of the FRAYER MODEL.  Here ELLs  build connections to new words.  These connections allow them to retain the vocabulary or concepts.  Then there are the MIND MAPS.  All of these tools and more add knowledge to the student's knowledge storage base.  They are vivid and personal.  They should keep copies of their organizers in their binders and teachers should post class copies all around the walls of the classroom for easy reference as needed by any and all students.

See what works for you and your students:)



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