One of the best closing sessions I attended at the Writing Institute was given by Amanda Hartman. “Scaffolds and Supports We Can Put in Place to Support Our ELLs (K-2)” was a 45-minute session that provided teachers with practical ways to support English Language Learners, or ELLs. While the session was targeted to primary grade teachers, many of Hartman’s tips can be utilized with upper grade ELL students.
The most important things for us to determine, about an ELL, are:
- how much the student knows in their first language (e.g., speaking, reading, and writing)
- what stage of language acquisition a child is in so the language goals we create aren’t too challenging.
Hartman provided several ideas to the crowd of teachers gathered in her session about ways we can work with ELL students in meaningful ways. Here’s an overview of what she suggested (more details follow in my handwritten notes – below):
- Pair ELLs with the strongest language models in your class during “turn and talks.”
- Create small group “storytelling times.”
- Use visual representations/written words to enhance spoken words.
- Speak using consistent language/phrases.
- Facilitate interactive or shared writing time with a small group of ELLs.
- Provide time for kids to continue writing in their first language.
Here are my notes from Hartman’s session. Please note: (1) There are a few spelling errors in my notes. I was writing fast and therefore misspelled a few things as a result. (2) The first page didn’t scan well, but the other seven did. You’ll probably be able to read the first page bigger if you click on the “view this document on Scribd” link at the bottom of the notebook pictured below.