Many ELLs sit in classes in English speaking countries at a definite disadvantage since that critical background knowledge is not there. So how can a teacher quickly fill in some of the knowledge without overwhelming the student? Sometimes a little humor (based in fact) comes in handy.
The first clip presents a 4 minute clip on how the United States came to be. Try putting on the closed captioning so that students can follow along as the actor/comedian speaks. The visuals provide context and though the material presented would not be enough to pass a history test, it is enough to provide some background knowledge for ELLs and other strugglers. In fact, students could even watch the clips at home on their cell phones. Such supports for ELLs can be used as vehicles to prepare students to fully participate in class activities. In fact, some of the English only kids may wish to have a look as well. The information in it is correct. It is only lacking in the many details which can not be delivered in 4 minutes and 15 seconds:) HISTORY OF AMERICA
The next clip is tied to language. It traces the evolution of English from earliest days to now (Open University U.K.). Teachers need not show all 11 minutes in one class. Break up the video and tie it to actual lessons where explaining the language might be more easily done via the video. Say you are teaching Shakespeare. Pull out the sections on Shakespeare's influence on English. Students will be amazed to see what an influence the Bard had over present day English. ELLs will have time to connect the cartoon characters and the words. If you discover ways to make the study of English informative as well as entertaining, you will find all your students, including ELLs, actively engaged in learning. HISTORY OF ENGLISH
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