We are now halfway through the school year so how do we keep all of our
students on track? Though all benefit from being held accountable, not
all do well here in this process. What students struggle the most
here-English language learners, those with special needs, and shy
Setting up a learning environment for all to succeed or fully
participate is not a daunting a task. It only takes a willingness to
step out of one’s comfort zone and experiment a bit:).
Here are some links with descriptions to start with and remember that
these are only suggestions. Explore to see what works for you and have
of these approaches are not new, but at this time of the year, a
refresher is always good to have on hand. Cooperative learning when the
groups are carefully planned is an outstanding tool to use. In such
small settings, every student has a voice as well as peer support in
completing a task. When the teacher plans the composition of the
groups, they build support within it so that the students with needs
have peers who are more proficient in English or who stronger in
grasping the academic content will experience success in accomplishing
the assigned task for the group. With this setup, the teacher can
assess the progress of all students easily within the class period since
the teacher is dialoguing with 9 groups of 4 as opposed to 36
visuals, visuals! There can never be enough of them to assist students
in making connections between new content and prior knowledge. Those
supports can be teacher generated or student (group products)
generated. For ELLs especially, those visual links provide access for
the ELLs to the content material.
KEY vocabulary and reinforce it consistently throughout the lesson.
Those key words should be key content vocabulary and not every
interesting word in the lesson. If every new word is addressed, it will
students must believe that they can succeed in the class. All students
must be held accountable for learning. Teachers must identify student
prior knowledge and build on it. Teachers should share their
experiences in learning the content when they were in school. Students
enjoy hearing about those stories since these stories show that even
their teachers struggled in school from time to time and found the tools
to eventually master the content.
Teaching With Technology—Students
love technology so it is a must to include it in lessons. Google Drive
allows students to collaborate online in writing or creating
presentations. Each student in the group (keep it manageable at 4 per
group) has a different color so a teacher (as well as the group) can
quickly see who was working and who wasn’t. Power Points can also be
easily created here through Google Slides. Teachers can maintain
folders for each class and within each class folder can monitor
individual student submissions. One feature I really like here is that a
teacher can insert comments to guide a student in making corrections.
NO MORE PAPER!
students all know that they should all be able to offer an answer to a
question with multiple answers. When students realize that they are
more likely to be right than wrong, they are more likely to try. If a
teacher allows them to collaborate with a partner first, success is even
greater. Try a randomizer (or popsicle sticks) to randomly call on
students. This holds all students accountable.
giving instructions, students need to be quiet. This may take some
practice at first, but it is worth the effort so that the teacher does
not have to repeat the instructions over and over. Randomly calling on
individuals to see how well the class understood the instructions.
Have a great February (leap year)!
Denise, Marnie, Cheryl ELL TEACHER PROS
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