Friday, July 6, 2012

Fully Engage Your ELLs in Social Studies--Strategies for Implementing Common Core!

When ELLs enter mainstream classes in the fall in big numbers, teachers will need a wide variety of teaching techniques to ensure that ELLs not only learn the content, but also grow in their language skills in English.  In this website, the focus will be on social studies classrooms and ELLs.  Please note that the strategies used here would also work in other content classes.

SOCIAL STUDIES In social studies, the ELL faces several obstacles.  Textbooks are written for those with background knowledge of the country (US history for example).  New arrivals to the country don't share a general understanding of American culture, American politics, landscape, etc.  Though American students might not know all the details, they still have a general understanding of those areas which the teacher must address so that ELLs can fully take part in the learning process.

Also, ELLs bring a different perspective to the world.  These viewpoints should add valuable components to a lesson.  Imagine teaching a world geography class.  You are working on India and you have several students from that  country in your classroom!  They become a resource for all as they talk about their culture and customs.  When teachers have a theme to the lesson, no one feels singled out to have an uncomfortable spotlight on them.  Every student would have an opportunity to discuss his/her culture in such a setting. 

Last there is the need to address academic vocabulary.  When teachers create lessons with built in academic language activities, they set the ELL up to be fully engaged in lessons.  The more exposure and practice with academic vocabulary, the more proficient the ELL will be in English over time.

CHAPTER 2 ON SUPPORTING ELLS IN MAINSTREAM CLASSES This chapter offers a great checklist to assist teachers in modifying lesson plans for ELLs.   It is amazing what a few simple adjustments can do to enable ELLs to fully grasp key concepts and build language skills.  Use it as a model to create your own.

Last, Tier 1, 2, and 3 words can be found in every content class area.  Bring in cognates, teach how to use context to arrive at meaning, etc.  Lots of great strategies here as well.



"World Dry-Erase Map Decal"

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