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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up Š Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Strategies That Work, Grades 6 and Up


Acquiring Editor: Lois Bridges Production Editor: Melissa L. Inglis-Elliott Cover photographs, from left to right: © Digital Vision/Getty Images; © Stockbyte/Veer; © Image Source/Getty Images; © Stockbyte/Veer Cover design by Jason Robinson Interior design by Sydney Wright ISBN-13: 978-0-439-92648-5 ISBN-10: 0-439-92648-3 Copyright © 2008 by Katharine Davies Samway and Dorothy Taylor All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Scholastic Inc. grants teachers permission to photocopy material in the appendices for personal classroom use. No other part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publishers. For information regarding permission, write to Scholastic Inc. 524 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Contents Acknowledgments Introduction 10

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Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations Influence of Geopolitical Issues Situations

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1: Why is it taking my more recent immigrant and refugee students so much longer to complete the English Language Development (ELD) program than the students I had a few 14 years ago? 2: Which countries, languages, and cultures are we likely to see in the next few years in our schools? 16

Conflicts Between Students Situations

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1: Some of my newcomers are bullied by other students.

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2: I sometimes see conflicts between groups of immigrant refugee students, which appear to be carryovers from their own countries. 26 3: My ELL students are teased and/or encounter hostility because of their accents, clothing, and school equipment. 27 4: My ELL students encounter hostility because of their country of origin, ethnic background, or religion. 30 5: My mainstream students aren’t very welcoming of ELLs; they don’t like having to work with ELLs in small groups. 31

Dissonances Between Community Expectations and School Practices Situations

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1: Some of my students are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with learner-centered, process-oriented learning experiences, such as writing workshop, math manipulatives, 34 and exploratory science. 2: My students do not like doing group work where all students get the same grade.

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3: Because they are not native speakers, my ELLs sometimes expect their native35 English-speaking peers to do most of the work in group projects. 4: My ELL students cheat on tests.

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5: Many of my ELL students never look directly at me when I am talking with them, which can sometimes feel awkward and sometimes downright rude. 43 6: I have some male students who won’t let the female students speak for themselves or who don’t listen when females speak. 44 7: Some of our ELL families won’t let girls continue in school.

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8: Some of our ELL girls don’t graduate because they marry early.

9: My students tell me they have to leave school early to help their families.

48

11: My students are absent often because they have child care, translating, or other family responsibilities. 48 12: The parents of my ELL students are resistant to their children receiving mental health services. 50 13: The families of my ELL students use practices that are culturally different (for example, coining) or illegal in North America (for example, female genital mutilation/cutting). 51

Communication With Parents Situations

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1: The parents of my ELLs don’t speak English and I don’t speak their languages, so we can’t communicate. 54

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2: How do I communicate with parents who are illiterate?

3: The parents of my ELL students decline a translator, but we have a hard time communicating. 56 4: My students’ parents say they’ve been told not to speak their native language at home so their children can learn English, but they can’t communicate with their children in English. 57 5: The parents of my ELL students don’t speak English at home, and I wish they would so the children could learn English more quickly. 57 6: Some parents won’t let their children go on field trips.

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7: The parents of my ELL students express concern about behavioral problems with their children since coming to the U.S. 60 8: The parents of my ELL students tell me that their children threaten to report them to social agencies or schools if they chastise the children. 60

Chapter 2: Listening Situations

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Students Don’t Understand or Don’t Show They Understand Situations

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1: I’m not always sure if my ELL student understands me. How can I or others in the school check for understanding? 64 2: When I ask my ELL students if they understand, they often nod or say, “Yes,” but I then find out that they didn’t understand. 66 3: My ELL student constantly says, “I don’t understand,” or says, “I don’t understand” 67 before I even finish the sentence.

Students Don’t Understand Directions Situations

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1: My ELL student doesn’t understand simple directions. 2: My ELL student doesn’t understand complex directions.

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3: My ELL student doesn’t pay attention when I’m giving directions.

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

10: My students come to school tired because of home responsibilities, including needing to work. 48


……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Students Don’t Understand Content Material Situations

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1: My students don’t understand my read-alouds.

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

2: My ELL students understand me when I talk about things that they are familiar with, but they look totally lost when I teach abstract ideas or unfamiliar content. 79 3: Sometimes I look at my ELL students’ faces and they are blank, exhausted, and/or confused—as if they’ve stopped listening. 82

Chapter 3: Speaking Situations Students Aren’t Speaking English Situations

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1: I have students who have been in the country for a few months, and they still rarely speak in class, or answer with only yes/no answers. 88 2: I can’t communicate with my ELLs because we don’t have a shared language yet.

Students Are Reluctant to Speak Situations

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1: I have intermediate/advanced students who don’t talk in class.

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2: My students are reluctant to make errors, so they only say what they’re sure of or don’t speak at all. They’re overly cautious. 102 3: I have students who ask other students to speak for them.

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4: I have students who talk in class only during structured activities, such as listen-and-repeat activities, reading aloud, and sharing completed activities. 105 5: Some of my ELL students are very reluctant to share opinions.

Grammatical Structures Situations

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1: My students misuse pronouns. For example, they say “he” when they mean “she.”

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2: My students often omit the plural ending –s (for example, they say three book instead of three books). 115 3: My students have trouble pronouncing past-tense inflections (talk/t/, rain/d/, and want/Id/). 116 4: My ELL students often confuse verb tenses. For example, they use the present tense instead of the past tense (I go to school yesterday) or overuse the present progressive tense (I am washing my face every day). 117 5: My students misuse or overuse the present tense or present progressive tense (He walking to the bus every day instead of He walks to the bus every day). 119 6: My students have difficulty forming negatives (I no want play for I don’t want 120 to play). 7: My students have difficulty forming questions.

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8: My students’ speech is confusing because of their grammar (Sister he no look she 126 bus go away for My sister missed the bus). 9: I correct my students’ grammatical errors, but they continue to make the same mistakes. 128


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1: Sometimes I can’t understand my ELLs when they speak because of their accents.

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2: I have students I can understand perfectly well when we’ve having a one-on-one conversation, but when they make formal presentations, they are hard to understand.

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3: My ELL students have difficulty with particular sounds, which makes them say the wrong word (e.g., snake for snack, den for then). 135 4: My students sometimes add an extra syllable or sound to their words (e.g., es-panish). 5: Students sometimes omit unstressed vowels or syllables (sounds slide into each other). 6: Sometimes my students speak so quickly I can’t understand them.

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Vocabulary 140 Situation 1: My students have difficulty expressing themselves because they have limited vocabulary. 142

Idioms, Slang, and “Dangerous English” Situations

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1: My students don’t use idioms or slang correctly.

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2: My students sometimes mix up words (e.g., horny for ornery) or misuse idioms or slang (e.g., knock up). 147 3: My students use offensive language in inappropriate situations, but I don’t think they understand the meaning of the words. 147

Using the Native Language Situations

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1: I don’t understand why the parents speak English and their child doesn’t.

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2: My students switch between English and their native language, sometimes in the same sentence and sometimes across several sentences. 150

Chapter 4: Reading Situations Reading Comprehension Situations

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1: My ELL students’ knowledge of English words is very limited and this affects their reading comprehension. 167 2: Students don’t understand concepts in either the L1 or English.

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3: My ELL students can decode words, but they don’t understand what they have just read. 189 4: Students can recall literal facts, but they have a hard time with higher-level 199 reading skills. 5: My students want to read aloud to each other, but the other students hate it (and it’s an ordeal to listen to them). 203

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Pronunciation Situations


……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 6: I see very irregular reading behaviors in my ELL students—sometimes they read a text smoothly and with understanding, but at other times, even when reading a book at the same level, they struggle to decode and/or understand the text. 208

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Limited Purposes for Reading Situations

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1: My students think that reading is decoding, and they focus exclusively on sounding out the words. 209 2: My students read in a nonfluent, staccato-like way.

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3: My students read very quickly, but without making meaning.

Decoding in English Situations

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1: My ELLs sometimes get confused by similar sounds and letters, such as n/m, b/p, 212 b/d, and ch/sh.

212 3: My ELLs sometimes read word-by-word, and it doesn’t sound fluid. 212 4: ELLs don’t recognize high-frequency words (e.g., the, was, my, that). 213 2: My ELLs sometimes have difficulty decoding multisyllabic words.

5: I have students whose written native language looks very different from English, and they struggle to decode the words. 215

Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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Students Are Reluctant to Write or Don’t Write Much Situations 1: Students don’t know what to write about. 236

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2: Students copy everything, instead of producing original work. 3: My students just list words.

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4: My ELL students plagiarize all the time.

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5: During independent writing time, my ELL student doesn’t do anything.

My ELL Students Don’t Seem to Be Improving as Writers Situations

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1: I correct my students’ writing, but they continue to make the same mistakes.

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2: My students’ writing isn’t very sophisticated and seems to have been that way for a long time. 258

Grammar and Mechanics Incomprehensible Writing Situations

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1: The handwriting of my ELL student is very hard to decipher.

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2: When I read my ELLs’ writing, I’m overwhelmed by the many issues I could address. 3: I can’t understand what my ELL student has written because of the spelling.

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1……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… References Appendices

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Appendix A: Booksellers and Distributors of Books About Diverse Cultures and Books Written in Languages Other Than English 283 Books About Diverse Cultures

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Appendix C: Cultural Differences in Student Behavior Appendix D: Selected Wordless Picture Books Appendix E:

Picture/Visual Dictionaries

Appendix F:

Pronunciation Web Sites

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Appendix G: Guidelines for Developing Cloze Activities Appendix H: The Cloze Text Without Deletions

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306 Appendix J: Example of a Cloze Text With Every Ten Words Deleted 307 Appendix K: Example of a Selected Feature Cloze Text: Past-Tense Verbs 308 Appendix L: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry Touchstone Texts 309 Appendix M: Picture Books to Help Spark Students’ Memories 313 Appendix N: Types of Written Reflection in the Classroom 315 Appendix I:

Index

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Example of a Cloze Text With Every Five Words Deleted

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Appendix B:


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Acknowledgments We are indebted to many, many people who have influenced us as teachers and/or helped us as we have written this book. Over the years, we have had the good fortune to work with many gifted teachers, from whom we have learned so much, and we would like to first acknowledge our indebtedness to them—Marina Afentakis, Barbara Agor, Joan Albarella, Laura Alvarez, Sharon Amos, Edwin Aponte, Angie Barra, Joanne Basil, Jill Berg, Romeo Bryant, Keith Buchanan, Fran Butler, Marsha Christiano, Stephanie Costner, Laurel Cress, Yolanda Dandridge, Jerry Dickson, Ellen Edes, JoAnne Edmiston, Audrey Fong, Maya Galperin, Isabel Hernandez, Mary Howlette, Libby James-Pasby, Jennifer JonesMartinez, Jennifer Kim, Patti Legates, Denise Leograndis, Musoko Luko, Kathy Maloney, Michael Marinaccio, Lynn McMichael, Mark Methven, Jen Meyers, Atsuko Nishida Mitchell, Todd Mitchell, Laurie Nussbaum, Gwen O’Dette, Mary Pippitt, Kay Polga, Teddi Predaris, Ali Rasheed, Doreen Regan, Marjorie Rosenthal-Foer, Rachel Rothman, Barbara Schmidt, Choji Schroeder, Lydia Stack, Annie Swanlaw, Carlyn Syvanen, Sharon Weight, María Wetzel, Robert Wiggenfeld, Beverly Wilkin, Gail Whang, and Mary Zimmer. We would also like to thank the teachers who have shared invaluable resources with us while writing this book, and/or responded to our requests for situations that teachers encounter when working with ELLs—Sharon Amos, Jill Berg, Jerry Dickson, JoAnne Edmiston, Lisa Gustafson, Elizabeth Jaeger, Libby James-Pasby, Karen Jeffries, Karen Kane, Fran Magallanes, Lynn Matwijko, Erin McCarthy, Jen Meyers, Celeste Notaro, Bridgett O’Shea, Melanie Pyne, Jenny Rienzo, Rosalie Rienzo, Heather Rivera, Rachel Rothman, Kelly Shulman, and an anonymous teacher who responded to our survey and provided us with lots of very useful situations. Thanks also to Nancy Markowitz, Kris Pemberton, and Sharon Weight for forwarding our request for situations to other teachers. Several of the annotated book lists that we have included in the book are the consequence of work that Katharine did with Jill Berg and Kelly Shulman—thank you for all your help. Dorothy would also like to thank Sherryl Weems and Debra Thompson for their support. We have taught in several states and we are indebted to our students in western New York, including Brockport, Buffalo, and Rochester; Brookline, Massachusetts; Reston and Herndon in Virginia; and the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Writing a book is a very time-consuming act, and would have been very difficult for us if we had not had the support of our families. Katharine would like to thank her family, especially Tom, who knows how important writing is to her and epitomizes the supportive spouse, and young Tom, for his artistic talents. Dorothy would like to thank her parents, Hammersley and Ann Taylor, who knew she wanted to be a teacher even when she thought she didn’t; Patricia Clay, Carol McKinney, Mary Jane Smith, and Jim Taylor; Don Pollock, the anthropologist, for expert advice on the sociolinguistic chapter; and Don Pollock, the husband, for too many kindnesses to list. Our thanks also extend to the Scholastic staff, who helped bring this book into existence, particularly our editor, Lois Bridges, Melissa Inglis-Elliott, Amy Rowe, Jason Robinson, Sydney Wright, and Susan Kolwicz. 9


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Together, we have spent decades teaching and working on behalf of English language learners (ELLs), and it is work that we value enormously. We have found that working with ELLs and their families is very stimulating and rewarding, and through this work, we have been welcomed into the lives of our students, and we have learned through them how people from many different parts of the world think, communicate, and learn. ELLs can be a tremendous asset to schools when members of the school community view them that way. We recognize, of course, how challenging it is to try to communicate with a newcomer who does not yet know English (and whose native language we do not know). When this happens, we try to remind ourselves that any situation that we find challenging will almost always be much more challenging for the ELL student—after all, not only are ELLs in a new environment where they may not hear their home languages for hours at a time, but they are often separated from family members, friends, and familiar surroundings without sufficient time to say good-bye. How we respond to ELLs can make a huge difference in how they feel about school and how other students respond to them. And, ultimately, it can have a huge impact on the learning of all of our students, both ELLs and non-ELLs. For example, when meeting a new student whose native language we cannot speak, we call upon some basic strategies that can help integrate the newcomer into the school and classroom community. We do this because we realize that ELLs will be learning more than the English language and content-area material; they will also be learning the social and cultural norms of school life and life in the community at large, and peers can bridge that gap very effectively. We hope that our book gives teachers who work with ELLs lots of strategies to use when they aren’t sure what to do next. Though our focus is on ELLs, we firmly believe that effective strategies for ELLs are often effective for all students. This book emerged from working with ELL students and from working closely with many teachers, particularly ESOL specialists (also called ESL or ELD teachers). The situations that we describe are authentic; they come from our experiences and those of other teachers. Although the book can be read from front to back, it does not have to be approached that way; it is designed so that teachers can dip into it as the need arises. Each of the five chapters begins with background information on the overarching content of the chapter, followed by some general strategies. There are then several subsections, each with its own background, general strategies, specific situations, and targeted strategies for those situations. The table of contents lays out all the general strategies and specific situations. We hope our readers will feel much more confident about working with ELLs once they have read this book. We also hope that all our readers feel the same enthusiasm and optimism that we feel when working with ELLs.

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Introduction


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

C HAPTER I

Sociocultural Situations T

he social and cultural backgrounds of English language learners and their families can greatly influence their school experiences, and schools must take sociocultural issues into account to successfully work with ELLs. The learning styles of ELL students may be affected by their underlying assumptions about the nature of education, classrooms, and the authority of teachers. Students may be coming from cultures in which they were not expected (or allowed) to acquire significant levels of formal education. Students and their families may view schools as representatives of oppressive political regimes and may resist the well-intentioned efforts of teachers and school officials. Expectations about respect or personal demeanor may be highly variable, and assumptions about health and illness may sometimes differ from mainstream Western beliefs and practices. Many students and their families may have come to North America to escape war, oppression, or other hardships. Some have spent years in refugee camps, and many have suffered extraordinary traumas. Under such circumstances, the formal schooling of students and their families was interrupted or it may never have occurred. It is not unusual for political and tribal conflicts to carry over into classrooms and local communities in North America. 11


Regardless of how they arrived in North America, many ELL students and their families are dealing with economic hardships that may affect how they participate in school. Students may be hungry; their clothes may not be new or of the current style; they may be lacking school supplies; and they, their parents, and other family members may be working long hours and/or multiple jobs. Understanding these sociocultural issues will better equip teachers and schools to achieve the goal of successfully educating ELL students.

Influence of Geopolitical Issues In the past, immigrant students came to some school districts from welleducated, middle-class backgrounds, such as the first waves of Vietnamese and Cuban refugees in the early 1960s and 1970s respectively. In other cases, ELLs were the children of graduate students at local universities, and they typically had been schooled in their native lands before coming to the U.S. Although middle-class immigrants continue to come to the U.S., now many more ELLs come from low-income homes. Often, they have had little or no schooling due to a variety of factors, including economics (e.g., having to work to help support their families), geography (e.g., living in isolated areas with limited access to teachers), or war (e.g., leading to intermittent and/or interrupted schooling). In other cases, students who speak indigenous languages may have been schooled in their nonnative language, as often happens in countries such as Guatemala (where a majority of the population is of indigenous/Indian descent and speaks many different indigenous languages, including Mon). In these situations, it is common for teachers to arrive on a Monday and leave on a Friday, thereby further reducing the educational opportunities for local children. Due to these socioeconomic factors, immigrants may enter North America with limited schooling in their native language. This factor alone—the level of education in the native language (L1)—plays a huge role in how long it takes to acculturate and acquire English language and literacy. Research shows that the greater the schooling in the L1, the greater the ease in acquiring English (Collier, 1989, 1992; Cummins, 1981; Thomas & Collier, 2001). This is due in part to the way in which literacy skills and content knowledge transfer from the L1 to the new language (L2). Also, in many of the countries from which immigrants come, middle-class families have some familiarity with Western/ North American culture through travel, the Internet, cable TV, movies, and print materials. In contrast, people from much humbler circumstances may

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

have had very limited contact with English and Western customs; hence, they often need more time to adjust to a very different way of life.

General Strategies ................................ Information is the key to being prepared to help newly arrived immigrant and refugee families. Local community support agencies, such as refugee resettlement agencies, can alert schools to anticipated arrivals of ELL families and provide culturally relevant information, including the educational backgrounds of arriving students. Once educators know which populations to expect in their schools, they can begin to gather information through the resources listed on pages 16–18. Many immigrant and refugee families arrive with tremendous needs, and it is essential for schools to work with community agencies to coordinate efforts to meet the needs of these families. Patience, time, and a concerted and consistent effort are the greatest means of support that teachers and schools can offer ELL students who have suffered traumas and had little or no schooling. Schools with large numbers or rapid rises in the numbers of new immigrant and refugee families have found it useful to add some or all of the following staff members and programs: c

Parent liaisons from the same ethnic backgrounds and language groups as the families to provide a bridge between the school and the home.

c

Bilingual aides to support ELL students and classroom teachers.

c

ELL specialist support people to provide focused English language development (ELD) instruction.

c

Bilingual counselors and/or counselors who specialize in counseling refugees and immigrants.

c

After-school tutoring to provide one-on-one tutoring and homework assistance.

c

Volunteers to work one-on-one with ELLs on a regular basis.

c

Newcomer schools or classrooms to provide concentrated cultural orientation, ELD instruction, and sheltered content-area instruction, if it is not available in the L1.

c

Advocacy, particularly with regard to funding and standardized testing; it often helps to have access to extra funds for specialized ELD staff and

Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… programs, including professional development. Also, it is important to have the resources to act as advocates on behalf of ELLs, for example, regarding high-stakes testing waivers or test accommodations.

Why is it taking my more recent immigrant and refugee students so much longer to complete the English Language Development (ELD) program than the students I had a few years ago?

Targeted Strategy 1: Check into students’ backgrounds. How much formal education ELL students have received in their native language (L1) often greatly affects how quickly they progress in schools in North America in their new language (L2). In fact, a large-scale national study by Thomas and Collier (2001) led the researchers to conclude, “The strongest predictor of L2 student achievement is the amount of formal L1 schooling. The more L1 grade-level schooling, the higher L2 achievement.” Asking questions about ELL students’ backgrounds will allow teachers to accommodate the needs of these students and adjust expectations about how much time they will need ELD support. Questions that teachers will want to ask parents or guardians, students, or agency support groups include the following: c

How much time did the ELL spend in school?

c

Has the ELL’s schooling been interrupted?

c

When was the last time the ELL attended school?

c

Did the ELL study in the home language?

c

Is there a written form of the home language? If so, are the parents literate in the home language (or another language)?

c

What kinds of trauma may affect the student’s ability to concentrate?

Targeted Strategy 2: Teach students how to “do” school. Students who have had little or no formal schooling are not just learning a new language; they are also adjusting to the academic culture of school. Sitting for long periods of time, understanding class schedules, using computers, and raising their hands to speak are aspects of schooling that may be new to them. While teachers should uphold clearly stated standards of behavior for all students, they also should be prepared to explicitly model and instruct ELLs in school conduct and encourage the newcomers’ peers to do so as well—peer partners can be hugely helpful to newcomer ELLs. 14

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Situation 1


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 3: Contact community support organizations. Community agencies and refugee resettlement groups can provide information about new groups of immigrants and refugees entering the community and may also offer support services for families, such as helping with basic living needs, transportation, or after-school tutoring. If these services are not in place already, agencies can work collaboratively with schools to write grants and look for other ways to support these services.

Targeted Strategy 4: Enroll students in after-school programs. Students who have had little or no education in their home countries often benefit greatly from after-school tutoring and homework assistance. Refugee resettlement agencies, community support groups, and schools can work together to secure the financial resources to support these programs. In general, it is a good idea to provide after-school assistance in a location where students of many different ages (elementary, middle, and high school) can receive assistance, since older ELL students are often responsible for the after-school care of younger siblings while parents are at school or at work.

Targeted Strategy 5: Enroll students in newcomer centers or schools. Many school districts with large numbers of newly arrived ELLs, particularly students who have had little or no formal schooling in their home countries, have created newcomer schools or programs to meet the specialized needs of these newly arrived students. The objective of newcomer programs is to provide students with basic language, academic, and cultural skills to help them prepare for mainstream classes in which they continue to receive language and academic support. Students often receive support in their home language through bilingual teachers or teacher assistants, in addition to English language development (ELD) classes and sheltered English content classes. In addition, newcomer centers offer ELLs and their families the opportunity to become accustomed to a North American school environment (for example, class schedules, grading systems, computer technology, and social customs) in a safe environment in which all students in the program are learning about these issues. Resources, such as trauma and other mental health counseling, parent workshops, interpreters, and collaborative community support for newly arrived families, are often offered as well. Newcomer programs are usually optional and short-term, from a few months to a couple of years, and serve as a bridge to mainstreamed programs in which students will continue to receive English language development support. Further information about newcomer programs is available in Program Alternatives for Linguistically Diverse Students (Genesee, 1999). Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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Situation 2

Which countries, languages, and cultures are we likely to see in the

Targeted Strategy 1: Contact national organizations. Information about national trends in immigration, refugee resettlement, and secondary migration within the U.S. and/or Canada can be obtained from the following organizations, which can often provide information about where to find local organizations. c

Association of Jewish Family and Children Agencies (AJFCA) This organization is composed of more than 140 Jewish family and children’s agencies and specialized Jewish human service agencies in the United States and Canada. Member JFCA agencies assist Jewish refugees and immigrants. www.ajfca.org/facts.html

c

Catholic Charities USA One of the largest social service networks in the United States, Catholic Charities assists local agencies in refugee resettlement and provides networking opportunities, national advocacy, program development, training and technical assistance, and financial support. www.catholiccharitiesusa.org

c

Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) CAL is a private, nonprofit organization working to improve communication through better understanding of language and culture. www.cal.org/index.html

c

Central Alberta Refugee Effort Committee (C. A. R. E.) C. A. R. E. offers several programs to help immigrants and refugees successfully settle in the area. Some of these programs include ESL classes for adults, providing information about government documents (such as applications for citizenship or passports), access to an interpreter’s bank, and general community outreach.

c

Church World Service (CSW) CSW is the relief, development, and refugee assistance ministry of 35 Christian denominations (Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican) in the United States. www.churchworldservice.org

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

next few years in our schools?


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

c

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) CIC admits immigrants, foreign students, visitors, and temporary workers to Canada, resettles refugees, and helps newcomers adapt to society. Its Web site offers information about immigrating to Canada and the refugee system. www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp

c

Cultural Orientation Resource Center (COR) The center is housed at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), and offers orientation resources for refugee newcomers and service providers throughout the United States and overseas. www.cal.org/co

c

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) EMM carries out a national program of refugee resettlement through a public/private partnership with the U.S. government. www.ecusa.anglican.org/emm.htm

c

FCJ Refugee Centre The center serves refugees and others at risk due to their immigration status. It addresses issues that face newly arrived refugee claimants in Canada, including housing, translation, interpretation, legal issues, orientation to local social services, skills development, and counseling. www.fcjsisters.ca/RefugeeCentre/index.htm

c

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) The IRB of Canada is responsible for applying the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Its mission is to make decisions on immigration and refugee matters in Canada. In partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, the IRB helps to develop and implement Canada’s immigration and refugee program. www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/index_e.htm

c

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs(NCELA) NCELA is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). It is authorized to collect, analyze, synthesize, and disseminate information about language instruction, educational programs for limited English-proficient children, and related programs. www.ncela.gwu.edu

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… c

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) The committee addresses the needs and rights of refugees and immigrants in the U. S.

c

U.S. Department of Homeland Security The department produces data and statistics on foreign nationals who have been granted permanent residence or are applying for asylum or refugee status. www.dhs.gov/ximgtn/statistics

c

World Vision Canada World Vision’s Refugee Centre provides emergency shelter for refugee claimants and their families in Canada. www.worldvision.ca/home/programs-and-projects/canadian-programs/ refugee-centre

Targeted Strategy 2: Contact local agencies. Local community support groups and refugee resettlement agencies are the best sources of information for and about immigrants and refugee families. The national agencies listed above often have information about where to find local services. Teachers can also contact community centers within their locale’s ethnic communities.

Targeted Strategy 3: Locate resources about ethnic groups. Most of the agencies mentioned above have information available about ethnic groups that are currently in schools and/or slated to arrive in the near future. The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) regularly publishes cultural profiles of the history and cultural background of refugee populations. Family members of ELL students can also share information about their culture and recommend readings about their country and culture.

Conflicts Between Students Adolescence is a particularly volatile time for many students. In addition, any time that communities—including schools and classrooms—undergo change, there is the potential for conflict. Increased numbers of ELL students bring with them the opportunity to enrich a school’s and community’s global understanding. They also bring the potential for cultural clashes and misunderstandings. Conflicts may arise between ELL students and the 18

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

http://refugeesusa.org


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 native-English-speaking population or among groups of ELL students. These conflicts can be grounded in many factors, including race, religion, nationality, ethnic background, and gender. Many refugee students and families have lost family members and homes because of ethnic or tribal warfare. Not surprisingly, these rivalries and hostile feelings often carry over to their new country. Once families arrive in the U.S., the stresses of culture shock, poverty, and poor living conditions can fuel conflicts that manifest themselves in aggressive behavior and, sometimes, gang warfare. All students need to feel safe in their schools. It is the school’s responsibility to understand the nature of the conflicts, to take quick action to prevent all forms of physical and emotional aggression, and to stop them as quickly as possible when they do occur.

General Strategies ................................ Although schools and teachers cannot change sociopolitical realities, they can make it clear that all cultures, races, ethnicities, and religions are welcome in the school, and that prejudice of any kind is not tolerated. And they can teach students strategies for dealing peacefully with anger, hurt, and prejudice. Below, we list some general strategies for schools and teachers, followed by more developed strategies for dealing with some of the most frequently encountered sociocultural issues affecting students in North America. What Schools Can Do c

Produce clear, strong guidelines and rules about teasing and bullying.

c

Create strong relationships with community agencies and law enforcement agencies.

c

Provide professional development on conflict resolution.

c

Have parent liaisons and parent-teacher organizations address conflict issues.

What Teachers Can Do c

Learn about potential tribal or ethnic conflicts between populations in the school.

c

Talk with students regularly about bullying and teasing.

c

Collaborate to generate norms about interpersonal communication, including bullying and teasing.

c

Include community building and conflict reduction/resolution in classroom activities on a regular basis.

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Talk and read about different cultures.

c

Address conflicts head-on.

Some of my newcomers are bullied by other students.

Targeted Strategy 1: Use community-building activities. Students who see themselves as part of a community are more likely to be respectful, responsible, and caring toward each other. Feeling isolated from the community is one factor that contributes to participation in youth gangs. Regularly providing opportunities for community building may help lessen those feelings of isolation. Some community-building school and classroom activities include the following: c

Class meetings (for example, working collectively to solve a problem in the classroom, such as students not sharing materials or excluding others from sports).

c

Icebreakers, such as: • You may not know this about me: —Share some information about yourself that students may not already know. For example, Katharine has shared the following: • I won the outstanding athlete silver cup when I was in high school. • I hiked the three highest peaks in Scotland, England, and Wales in 24 hours. —Pairs of students have about five minutes to interview each other to learn more about their partners. —Pairs take turns introducing each other, sharing one item that was discussed in the pair share.

• Let me tell you about our team: —The purpose of this activity is to help students find what they have in common, rather than how they are different (Vicens, 1995). It can also be a good activity when groups are new to each other, that is, a way for them to begin to form a cohesive group. —Give students a set of the following prompts and designate an amount of time for them to figure out what they have in common:

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Situation 1


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

• Our team likes (an activity). We have lots of (object used in

activity). We (do this activity) (how many times a week). Above all, (this activity) makes us (adjective). We are a very (same adjective) team. For example, a team might create the following: • Our team likes soccer. We have lots of soccer shirts. We play soccer twice a week. Above all, soccer makes us strong. We are a very strong team. —Group members practice introducing their group to the rest of the class. This can be a choral reading, or group members can take turns in reading one of the sentences. An unassisted, memorized introduction can also be very effective. —Groups take turns introducing themselves to the rest of the class.

• What do we have in common? —In this activity, students have a designated amount of time (for example, five to ten minutes) to generate a list of items that they have in common. The winning team is the group that comes up with the greatest number of items that are not shared by other groups. Students we have worked with have listed walking to school, gender of siblings, eye color, and enjoyment of reading or swimming.

• Liar’s/Actor’s Club —See Chapter 3, pages 104–105, for a description of this activity. c

Literature study circles focus on books written by authors from underrepresented groups. • See Chapter 4, page 163, for a description of literature study circles. • See Appendix A for information about booksellers and distributors of books about diverse cultures and books written in languages other than English.

c

International festivals. • These celebrations can be held during the day or in the evening, so that parents can attend. Students can do the following in advance: —Practice dance performances, including traditional dances. —Rehearse musical performances, using modern and/or traditional instruments. —Prepare fashion shows of traditional clothing, including writing a script.

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—Draw pictures of the geographic location where they were born. —Make maps of their native lands. —Write invitations to family and community members. —Identify music to be played at the festival. —Make labels for artifacts that will be displayed and food that will be served. We have found that ELL families are eager to share their favorite traditional foods and welcome the opportunity to share their cultures in this way. The best school international festivals that we have attended have included the following: —Performances by students (for example, dancing, playing music, putting on skits). —Displays of labeled artifacts that come from the diverse cultures in the school. These displays often help enormously in initiating conversations. —Food from diverse cultures. —Attendance of all age groups—very young children can act as icebreakers for many adults who feel uncomfortable talking with strangers. —School faculty and staff make a concerted effort to welcome and interact with family members. c

School-wide murals also contribute to a sense of community. Students, school staff, parents, and community members can collaborate on making the mural.

c

School counselors are often excellent resources for community-building activities, such as Link Crew (linkcrew.com), Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) (www.boomerangproject.com/web), and Teen Empowerment (www.teenempowerment.org).

Targeted Strategy 2: Set up norms for tolerance. On a regular basis, discuss tolerance and bullying with the class. Post norms for behavior, explanations of what bullying is, and what to do if you see bullying or are bullied. Some strategies for dealing with bullying include the following: If You Are Being Bullied c Don’t keep it to yourself—tell an adult (for example, a teacher, parent, or coach). c

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Stay calm and try not to show that you are scared or angry—bullies tend to feed on reactions.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 c

Ignore or walk away from the bully.

c

If ignoring doesn’t work, tell the bully to stop (“Stop that!” “That’s not funny” or “How would you like it if someone did that to you?”).

c

Don’t fight back—a bully can’t be bullied into changing his or her actions. Also, it’s dangerous.

If You See Bullying c Refuse to join in, because bullies thrive on an audience—if you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. c

Be a friend—if you know someone is being bullied, offer to walk with that person or sit with him or her at lunch.

c

Walk up to the person being bullied and say, “Can I help?”

c

If offering to help doesn’t work, get adult help—if you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Targeted Strategy 3: Monitor high-incidence bullying areas. Bullying is most likely to occur outside of the classroom. Schools should take care to have an observant adult presence in high-incidence areas, such as athletic areas, cafeterias, and hallways.

Targeted Strategy 4: Prepare class for ELL students. Teachers can prepare their classes for newly arriving ELL students by providing information about them, their language, and their country. In the following discussion excerpt, a teacher prepares his class for a new student from India: Teacher:

Tomorrow a new student is joining our class. His name is Harjot. He comes from India. (Teacher points to India on the map.) Did you know that many different languages are spoken in India? Can anybody tell us some of the languages spoken in India?

Javier:

My friend Deepak, he from India, and he speak English.

Teacher:

Yes, some people in India speak English. Maybe Harjot will speak some English, but not everyone in India speaks English. Does anybody know other languages spoken in India?

Emily:

My neighbors are from India, and they speak Hindi.

Teacher:

Yes, Hindi is another language that’s spoken in India. Any other languages?

Rebecca: Indian? Teacher:

Good guess, Rebecca. That would make sense, wouldn’t it? But actually, there is not a language in India called Indian. I guess that’s because there are so many languages—at least 22. The language that Harjot speaks is Punjabi.

Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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Ahmed: Teacher:

It close to Pakistan. Yes, it’s close to Pakistan. We can look forward to learning more about Punjab and India from Harjot. One thing that I know about Harjot already is that he practices the Sikh religion. One important part of the Sikh religion is that they do not cut their hair, and males cover it with a turban or dastaar. Harjot’s dastaar is a symbol of his religion and should be treated with respect—just as we treat all symbols of religion with respect. Many people show their religion by things that they wear or do. Can you think of some other ways that people show their religion?

María:

My grandma gave me a cross on a chain for my birthday because we’re Catholic. Right, that’s one way to show your religion.

Teacher:

Teacher:

(The teacher then shows pictures of young people wearing crosses, yarmulkes, and head scarves, and the class discusses the religions these items are associated with.) In this country, everybody is free to practice their religion, and it’s important to respect everyone’s religion. In time, Harjot may want to tell us more about his religion, his language, and his country. And we can help him learn about us. How can we help him? (The discussion continues.)

Targeted Strategy 5: Include diverse racial and ethnic groups in the curriculum. It is important to routinely include diverse racial and ethnic groups when studying all content areas, including literature, history, science, and art. The following appendices offer resources that can be very helpful to teachers who are diversifying their school and classroom libraries: c

Appendix A: Booksellers and distributors of books about diverse cultures written in English and other languages. Some of the books are bilingual (i.e., written in English and another language).

c

Appendix B: Books about diverse cultures.

Targeted Strategy 6: Establish conflict-reduction/conflict-resolution programs. Programs to reduce conflict, such as the four described next, can be implemented by one classroom or an entire school.

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

That’s because he comes from an area of India called Punjab. Let’s find Punjab on the map. (Points to State of Punjab on map.) Can you see it?


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 c

Peacemakers is a set of lessons that teaches the value of peaceful behavior. Students study the social skills needed to avoid conflict. Peacemakers includes lessons in anger management, problem solving, empathy, assertiveness, conflict resolution, and peer-pressure resistance. Students also recognize how their own behavior might provoke other students. More information about Peacemakers is available at www.applewoodcenters.org/frames_page_links.htm.

c

Positive Action Program (PAP) teaches that actions influence feelings, which influence thoughts. Parents and community members work with teachers to enhance students’ self-concepts so that they behave more responsibly and perform better academically. PAP includes training in conflict resolution, diversity education, ethics, values, responsibility, life skills, and leadership. More information is available at http://positiveaction.net.

c

Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP) is a comprehensive multiyear program for preventing violence and creating caring and peaceable communities. The teaching guides provide age-appropriate interactive lessons designed to develop students’ understandings and skills in a wide range of topics related to social and emotional learning, including active listening, assertiveness, handling feelings, negotiation, mediation, celebrating differences, and countering bias. More information is available at http://innerresilience-tidescenter.org/pdfs/rccp_school-based_sel.pdf.

c

TRIBES (Gibbs, 2007) is a process for enhancing learning and human development by creating communities where all students feel included, accepted, and safe. Four agreements are honored: attentive listening, appreciations/no put-downs, mutual respect, and the right to pass. Students learn a set of collaborative skills so they can work well together in long-term groups (tribes). More information about the TRIBES process can be found at www.tribes.com.

Targeted Strategy 7: Survey parents. Some schools that are proactive against bullying send out questionnaires to parents asking about any incidences of aggressive or threatening behavior their children may have encountered. These questionnaires not only clarify a school’s stance on bullying but also give parents an opening to discuss bullying behaviors with their children. Questionnaires to parents of ELL students should be translated into their native language, and parent liaisons can make follow-up phone calls to parents who do not respond.

Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Situation 2

I sometimes see conflicts between groups of immigrant refugee students, which appear

Many refugees have come to this country because of atrocities suffered in their homelands. The violence they have experienced is often the result of civil wars, insurgencies, tribal or sectarian conflicts, or wars of national aggression. It is not surprising that refugees often bring feelings of anger or hostility toward those they perceive as their enemies or rivals. In addition, immigrant or refugee students from countries with strong class or caste systems may have preconceived notions about interacting with certain groups of people or nationalities. Many of the strategies discussed in the previous pages can help in dealing with these conflicts. However, sometimes it may be best to address these deep-seated issues more directly.

Targeted Strategy 1: Acknowledge the suffering, but distinguish between groups and individuals. Students who have suffered violence and persecution must have that suffering acknowledged. An empathetic ear and acknowledgment of harm or suffering is the first step toward healing. This step may take place with the help of counselors or therapists, but can also be drawn out in specific lessons. Oxfam Education (www.oxfam.org.uk/education) offers many age-appropriate downloadable lessons for teachers on a number of global issues, including current world conflicts. These lessons can help all students understand the violence and suffering occurring around the world. Through lessons such as these, teachers can also help their students see each other as individuals sharing similar needs and desires rather than simply members of one ethnic, religious, or tribal group. Teachers may want to keep in mind that one or two lessons will not necessarily “cure” deep-seated, long-standing conflicts or prejudices, but we have found that regular messages of tolerance and understanding, through lessons and discussions, and by example, are likely to have a cumulative positive effect on students.

Targeted Strategy 2: Explore and compare periods of discrimination. During social studies and history lessons that deal with periods of discrimination in North America, teachers can make a point of relating them to periods of discrimination in other countries around the world. In addition to the Oxfam Education Web site mentioned in the previous strategy, teachers can also use Web sites at Human Rights Watch (www.hrw.org) and Amnesty International (www.amnesty.org) to gather specific information. 26

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

to be carryovers from their own countries.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Targeted Strategy 3: Teach about antidiscrimination laws.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

The United States and Canada have legislation against discrimination. Teachers can explain these laws to students and also explore why they were necessary. Again, it will be most helpful if these laws are framed within a historical and global perspective.

Targeted Strategy 4: Study conflicts in world history. Through investigating periods of conflict in the world over the ages, students can develop a deeper understanding of the various political, economic, religious, and other reasons conflicts erupt and the devastation that they can cause in the world, as well as how such conflicts have been resolved. It is beneficial to study fiction and nonfiction literature that explores these issues as well. For example, Dorothy has discussed with students how Aesop, believed to have been a slave in Ancient Greece, used his fables personifying animals to express moral lessons that could have been politically dangerous if expressed more directly with human protagonists. Another book that deals with oppression is an autobiographical picture book written by Peter Sis (2007) about growing up in Czechoslovakia under Soviet rule. More of a graphic novel than a picture book, The Wall is likely to be meaningful and thought-provoking to all students, from beginning ELLs to native-English speakers.

Situation 3

My ELL students are teased and/or encounter hostility because of their accents, clothing, and school equipment.

In Our Own Stories (Dresser, 1993), a young Vietnamese girl writes about her first day of school in the U.S., when she mistakenly wore a nightgown to class. She describes how confused she felt when the other students laughed at her, and how embarrassed she felt when an Asian teacher explained to her that what she thought of as her “dress of lace” was actually a nightgown for sleeping. It is not uncommon for ELL students to find themselves in situations where their dress, school bags, or other equipment are different from those of other students. Sometimes, these situations are a result of a lack of understanding of cultural norms for dress and school equipment in North America. For example, we have known immigrant boys who have come to school wearing clothing that is viewed in North America as girls’ clothing (for example, a pink jacket or pink sneakers) and students who have used equipment Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Targeted Strategy 1: Address teasing head-on. Norms against teasing should be talked about and posted in the classroom. Teachers should include teasing prevention lessons as a regular part of their curriculum. These lessons should include discussions about the difference between friendly and hurtful teasing. Teachers can also conduct role-playing activities in which students take the part of someone being teased, someone doing the teasing, silent bystanders, and friends who intervene. The discussions that surround these types of activities can go a long way in educating students about the consequences of hurtful behavior and how to prevent teasing.

Targeted Strategy 2: Address issues of dress and school equipment in parent orientation. Parent orientations or handbooks are good places to discuss standard clothing and school equipment. For example, immigrant families may not be familiar with backpacks for students and places where they can be purchased inexpensively, including secondhand stores. We have also seen cases in which ELL teens have badgered their parents to buy exorbitantly expensive sneakers, jeans, jackets, and other clothing, and parents have acquiesced, spending a week’s paycheck on name-brand clothing because they feared their children would be ostracized or made fun of if they didn’t. Parents of ELL students, who may not be familiar with teen peer pressure, will likely welcome a discussion of this phenomenon and strategies for helping them and their children deal with it. While teachers and staff can address issues of standard and appropriate dress, they can also assure parents that religious apparel, such as head scarves for Muslim girls or turbans and bracelets for Sikh boys, are acceptable.

Targeted Strategy 3: Contact religious groups and social agencies for support. Refugee resettlement agencies and community groups can discuss issues of appropriate dress and school equipment with client families. These groups often accept and distribute donations of clothing and other school items.

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

inappropriate for the setting or their age (for example, carrying a briefcase instead of a backpack, or a notebook with a cover considered too childish). ELL families and school staff need education and cultural understanding in order to avoid the kinds of teasing and embarrassment that can result from cultural differences or misunderstandings.


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Religious groups are another resource for clothing and school supplies. If these groups are presented with a list of needed school supplies, many are willing to fill individual backpacks for students in needy families.

Targeted Strategy 4: Teach mainstream students about language development and ways to support ELLs. Often, students who tease ELLs about their accents or nonnative language grammar have never been in a situation in which they had to use a foreign language or adapt to new customs. Helping students understand that language develops over time and showing students how they can support ELLs in their language learning, rather than making fun of it, can help develop a positive atmosphere in the classroom. For example, students may well laugh when an ELL student addresses a male student as “she” instead of “he.” The teacher can point out to the students that many languages, such as Chinese, Farsi, and Turkish, use genderless pronouns (for example, he, she, and it are all expressed by the same pronoun). They can explain that ELL students are just as aware of gender differences as we are, but it may take a while before they use pronouns correctly in their speech. Students can brainstorm ways that are helpful and not so helpful to ELL students as their language develops. The result of a brainstorming session may be a list such as the one in Figure 1.1.

Helpful

NOT Helpful

Tell them you didn’t understand and ask them to repeat what they said.

Tell them they are stupid or laugh.

Point or use pictures to help them understand.

Keep saying, “I don’t understand.”

Show or explain the misunderstanding (e.g., In English, we don’t call a pen “she,” we say “it” because it’s a thing).

Ask them to repeat the correct way many times.

Demonstrate how to do or say something correctly (e.g., let out a puff of air when you say /p/ like in poor, but don’t let out air when you say /b/ like in bore).

Walk away or give up.

Figure 1.1: What to Do When You Can’t Understand ELL Students

Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Situation 4

My ELL students encounter hostility because of their country

Our ELL students, foreign colleagues, and friends, particularly those who are from the Middle East and/or those who are visibly Muslim, have reported an increase in hostile encounters since 9/11. Encountering this kind of hostility can be shocking and demoralizing to ELL students, and these events are destructive to the nourishing environment that schools aim to provide. Many of the issues discussed previously surrounding bullying and teasing can be helpful in dealing with hostile behavior. The following are additional strategies.

Targeted Strategy 1: Explore world religions and related practices with students. Understanding is often a crucial step toward acceptance and tolerance. Teachers can help their students appreciate the meaning behind clothing and symbols, which are sometimes the only aspects of a religion that they know, by studying world religions. Just such a unit on exploring world religions was created by two sheltered content-area teachers as a result of tensions that emerged during a discussion of religious beliefs in a social studies class (Riles and Lenarcic, 2000). The teachers used a variety of instructional methods (for example, journals, group research projects, world map timelines, and silent dialogues) to explore the meaning of religion and spirituality and to examine six major religions in depth. One of the goals of the project was to encourage students to explore their own perspectives on religion (including atheism and agnosticism) and to develop a more sensitive and tolerant view of the religious choices of others.

Targeted Strategy 2: Encourage regular discussions about how to respond to acts of hostility. Discussions about how to respond to acts of hostility can include these topics:

30

c

When it may be best to ignore hostile remarks (e.g., in vulnerable situations, such as when students are alone).

c

To whom to report acts of hostility (e.g., teachers, parents, counselors).

c

How to respond to offensive remarks, such as by expressing pride in one’s ethnic heritage or responding with questions to open a dialogue (e.g., Do you know why I wear this scarf?), instead of verbal retorts.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

of origin, ethnic background, or religion.


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Role-playing different scenarios can be useful in helping students learn the vocabulary they may want to use in such encounters and to understand differences in tone and body language.

Situation 5

My mainstream students aren’t very welcoming of ELLs; they don’t like having to work with ELLs in small groups.

Targeted Strategy 1: Set up projects in which ELLs are the experts. Projects in which ELLs can contribute significantly include those that allow for the inclusion of information about their native countries. Rather than placing undue attention on ELLs, it is often a good idea to do this kind of sharing in small groups, where all students are responsible for sharing their customs and analyzing what they have in common, as well as their distinct experiences and customs. For example, when exploring life from an inclusive, multicultural perspective, there are many things ELL students can teach others in their group, such as: c

Words and phrases in their native language, including: • Greetings and expressions, such as hello, good-bye, thanks, no thank you, please. • Directions, such as come with me, over there, please give me, have a seat. • Objects in the school and classroom, such as ball, table, chair, book, paper, rug, pencil.

c

Famous people from their country.

c

The geography, climate, and animal life in their native geographical region (for example, the equatorial rain forest areas in South America and Southeast Asia and deserts or river regions in the Middle East and Africa).

c

A special holiday or celebration in their culture, country, or family.

c

A game, dance, and/or song from their country.

Targeted Strategy 2: Support ELL student presentations. ELL specialists can work with content-area teachers to develop units in which ELL students visit classrooms around the school to present information about countries and cultures being studied by the students in the classroom. For example, a school in Montana celebrates its cultural diversity every year with International Day (Reed and Railsback, 2003). Each classroom hosts a nation, such as China, Russia, or Venezuela. Students from those nations speak about Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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Targeted Strategy 3: Set up language-appropriate cooperative learning roles. Playing a role in the classroom, such as timekeeper or errand runner, can help ELL students feel part of the group while lessening the pressure to perform beyond their linguistic ability. Illustrating, labeling, taking photographs, playing a musical instrument, sewing, cooking, and designing are other nonlinguistic ways that ELL students can contribute to group projects. However, care must be taken that they don’t get stuck in these less linguistically demanding roles once they become more fluent in English.

Targeted Strategy 4: Group students very carefully. It is best to carefully consider with whom to place ELL students so that all students in a group can benefit from the cooperative learning experience. In many cases, ELL students can benefit from being included in heterogeneous groups of students. At other times, it may be useful to group students homogeneously by native language so they can support each other and clarify one another’s learning in their first language. ELL students who have established comfortable working relationships with support partners can be placed together, especially if the task is new to the ELL student.

Dissonances Between Community Expectations and School Practices Most people have opinions, even strong opinions, on what school should look like and what it should do; this is also true of immigrant and refugee families. In large part, school experiences that we have had, both positive and negative, form the basis for how we perceive the way schooling should be conducted. For immigrant and refugee families, for whom life in North America is often filled with frustrations, conflicts, diminished resources, and reduced status, school may be one of the few situations in which they feel they have some knowledge, or even expertise. Add to this reality the fact that classroom practices vary a great deal around the world. For example, in many developing countries, where some

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the countries, languages, music, geography, and special interests of their countries. Students sample the country’s foods, “travel” to the country using a passport, participate in a parade of flags, and sing along with international music.


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 classes may contain 50 to 100 students, a didactic transmission approach to teaching is often the norm, including rote learning, memorizing, and chanting lessons. If students and their families are familiar with this mode of instruction, it can be very challenging for them to adjust to the more learner-centered approaches of many North American schools.1 Another type of dissonance occurs when teaching practices in North America are much less progressive or learner-centered than those of the home country. For example, in Japan and Korea, there is a strong tradition of an inquiry approach to mathematics learning that is often missing in North American classrooms. Similarly, when students come from countries where they have been exposed to high levels of math and science instruction, it can be very alarming to both parents and students when the content demands are reduced in North American schools. A third area of dissonance that is often encountered revolves around teacher-student dynamics, and there is a wide range of specific dissonances. For instance, some parents have come from countries where corporal punishment is the norm and don’t understand why teachers don’t smack or physically punish students who have transgressed. Also, in many countries, classrooms are relatively quiet, and when the teacher speaks, he or she gets the undivided attention of students. So, it can be of great concern to immigrant families when they see what appears to be chaos in the classroom and inattentive students. When students come from cultures where being quiet and deferential and not expressing an opinion to an adult are considered good behavior, it is hard for some parents to see their children chastised for being unassertive and quiet. When students encounter these huge differences in expectations and behavior, it can be very confusing and lead them to behave inappropriately.

General Strategies ................................ Understanding the dissonance is the first step toward dealing with it. For example, what does the teacher expect as opposed to what the student expects? And what are the underlying causes of these expectations? Flexibility on the part of teachers and ELL students and their families may sometimes be the

1 A transmission model of teaching/learning is, of course, still common in North America, particularly when mandated, scripted textbook teaching is the norm, an increasingly common practice in the United States since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c

Teachers changed homework policies so that students who were babysitting or going to work with their parents had an extended time to complete assignments.

c

The parents of a sick child who had been visiting traditional healers but remained quite sick agreed to take their child to a physician practicing Western medicine who consulted with the traditional healers.

c

Teachers adopted certain practices used by school systems in other countries, such as an inquiry approach to math.

There are times, however, when practices commonly used in some cultures, such as spanking or beating, are unacceptable or illegal in North America, and schools and community organizations must make that very clear to immigrant families. Schools should make every attempt to respect and tolerate religious differences, such as Muslim girls wearing head scarves or Sikh boys wearing turbans and bracelets. In order to inform their students about unfamiliar customs and practices, teachers can invite parents or other guest speakers into classrooms to share aspects of their culture. This can be extended to the entire school community through a school-wide international festival, which can provide an excellent avenue for discussions about cultural differences (and similarities).

Situation 1

Some of my students are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with learner-centered, process-oriented learning experiences, such as writing workshop, math manipulatives, and exploratory science.

Targeted Strategy 1: Assign a partner. A peer is frequently the best person to explain to an ELL student what is going on and can demonstrate and work with the student. If partners come from the same country and speak the same language, they are in the best situation to understand the confusion or discomfort that the ELL student may be feeling; however, any empathetic student can show an ELL student how to proceed, for example, in exploratory science experiments. Often, ELL students become more comfortable with these types of learner-centered experiences once they have 34

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

solution. For example, we have encountered the following situations and solutions that make sense both at home and at school:


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 encountered them a few times and have had the opportunity to understand how the process leads to the end result.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 2: Explain benefits and share end results. It is important to explain to students that they are being asked to participate in process-oriented learning experiences and activities because these experiences promote problem solving in real-life situations that students will encounter outside of class, now and in the future. These experiences help students retain and understand information attained through their own routes of discovery, and teachers can understand students’ developmental processes and teach more specifically to their needs. In addition, students need to see the end result of process-oriented learning experiences. For example, when Dorothy teaches her students to create PowerPoint presentations about a chosen city, she shows them presentations produced by previous students. She points out some common features of the presentations (for example, keeping information short, using an outline format, making text and pictures stand out), but also points out the many ways in which the presentations are different (for example, differences in color, design, and layout; how different students have focused on different features of their cities; and how different animation techniques were used). She encourages students to experiment with their writing and the PowerPoint software to create a presentation that is unique, but lays out the promise of an attractive end result by sharing previous presentations with them.

Situation 2

Situation 3

My students do not like doing group work where all students get the same grade.

Because they are not native speakers, my ELLs sometimes expect their native-English-speaking peers to do most of the work in group projects.

ELL students who have not been exposed to group projects can be confused or distrustful of cooperative learning processes. They may react to group assignments by expressing displeasure, as in Situation 2, or they may respond by handing over responsibility for the work to their native-speaking peers whom they feel can more adequately fulfill the required tasks, as in Situation 3. In either case, it is important for all students to understand the purpose of group work and the roles that ELL students can play in completing group assignments. Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Targeted Strategy 1: Explain the purpose of group work.

c

The goal of group work is to learn from and with peers, and to learn to work together.

c

Doing one’s fair share of the work is important. However, students may contribute differently according to their varied skills and talents.

Targeted Strategy 2: Arrange multifaceted group work. Make sure that group work is multifaceted so it can accommodate different learning styles and talents. Also, encourage students to use audio and visual materials, including multimedia and PowerPoint presentations. Be prepared to teach the students how to use these tools if they are not familiar with them. In addition to traditional cooperative learning roles, other ways that new ELL students can contribute to group work in the classroom include: illustrating, labeling, designing, sequencing, organizing, creating or recording music, running errands, and providing information in their native language (if translators are available to translate for them).

Targeted Strategy 3: Teach non-ELL students strategies for working effectively with ELLs. Non-ELLs can get frustrated when ELL peers don’t understand or have a hard time completing academic tasks quickly or accurately. That’s why strategies for working with ELLs, like the following, can be very helpful: c

Allowing enough time for ELLs to process questions and requests and to formulate responses.

c

Using gestures, pictures, and objects to explain things.

c

Listening attentively.

c

Paraphrasing what you hear the ELL say.

Targeted Strategy 4: Group students carefully and monitor progress regularly. Group students very carefully, making sure that ELLs are in groups where they can succeed. Observe groups carefully by moving around the classroom. Watch and listen, at close range and from a distance. It is important to monitor groups regularly, so check in on their progress and ask about their future plans frequently. 36

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

When students object to the whole group receiving a single grade, it is important to explain to them the following:


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 5: Teach students how to recognize, raise, and deal with problems. Social skills do not magically appear when cooperative learning strategies are employed. Instead, social skills must be taught to students just as purposefully and precisely as academic skills. It is essential to be explicit about the kind of behavior you expect. Some strategies that can foster successful group work include: c

Making sure that students understand group-work expectations. Shown below are some basic norms that apply to all students: • Contribute and help. • Listen carefully to others. • Encourage everyone in the group to participate. • Praise helpful actions or good ideas. • Ask for help, if needed. • Check to make sure everyone understands. • Stay on task.

c

Modeling what these behaviors look like. Simple role-playing that includes appropriate and inappropriate behaviors can be very effective. We have noticed that students seem to better internalize appropriate behaviors after brainstorming these behaviors in a role-play activity.

c

Having students evaluate their behavior. If group members are not behaving appropriately, it can be helpful to do the following: • Assign someone to the gatekeeper role—this person has the responsibility of ensuring that behavioral expectations are met. • Have everyone in the group evaluate each other.

c

Allowing time for reflection and debriefing. Following group work, it is essential to allocate time for debriefing so that problems such as students not being prepared, goofing off, or putting down group members can be presented and solutions discussed and modeled through role-plays.

Targeted Strategy 6: Prepare a contract. It is often useful to have the group prepare a contract together, listing the roles for each member of the group, along with deadlines, and signing off on it. (See Figure 1.2.) At the end of group-work activity, ask students to assess the effectiveness of the group, as well as the contributions and work of each Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

37


Group Project Contract Project: ______________________________________________

Date: _____________________________

Names of Group Members:

Person responsible

Due date

Signature

Assessment of Group How well do you think your group worked together? Not very well: _______

OK: _______

Very well: _______

Superbly: _______

Please explain your rating:

What were the strengths of your group work?

What were the limitations of your group work?

Please rate each member of the group, including yourself: Group member

Figure 1.2: Group Project Contract 38

Contributions

Difficulties encountered

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up Š Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Tasks to be completed


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 group member. It is important to spend time with students before beginning group work to develop a set of guidelines for effective group work. At this time, it is important to discuss how same is not necessarily equal. It is not reasonable to expect a newcomer to be able to do the same kind of research that native speakers might do, but he or she can have other important roles, such as illustrating or labeling text that has been developed by group members. Emphasize that all group members need to work hard for themselves and on behalf of the entire group—students can anonymously rate each other’s contributions, and the teacher can give a group grade and individual grades based on feedback from group members.

Targeted Strategy 7: Don’t always grade group work. Although it is important for students to learn to work together, not all group work has to be graded.

Situation 4

My ELL students cheat on tests.

In some cases, students may not perceive what they are doing as cheating, since what teachers in North America may view as cheating would not be regarded as such in other countries. In many countries, there is much less emphasis placed on individual achievement; it is acceptable, in fact even desirable, to work together and to share answers. In other cases, student cheating may be a result of unrealistic expectations imposed on ELLs as a result of local, state, or federal testing regulations. For example, students who are expected to take tests (standardized or class-based) well beyond their level of English may passively put their head down or may, proactively, resort to looking at their neighbor’s paper. It’s also possible that ELL students may not realize the serious repercussions of cheating in this country because in their countries corruption has forced teachers to collude in cheating. It is important that ELL students understand what cheating means in North America and that teachers address ways to prevent it—when students are “caught” cheating, no one benefits. (See Chapter 5, pages 248–249, for information about plagiarizing.)

Targeted Strategy 1: Talk about cultural differences around learning. For students and teachers to understand the full implications of attitudes about learning, assessment, and cheating, teachers can invite discussions

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c

What do you think is the best way to learn?

c

Do you like to learn with others or do you like to study by yourself?

c

What are some ways that you learned in your country?

c

What did your classroom look like in your country? Were there desks in a row? Did you sit at tables? Did you face the teacher or did you face other students?

c

Did you work on assignments independently or with other students?

c

Did the teachers give you answers to memorize or did they expect you to solve problems and find information yourselves?

As students discuss any differences in teaching and learning styles, teachers can encourage students to think about why these differences exist. From broad questions about teaching and learning, teachers can begin to ask more narrow questions about testing and evaluation, which might include the following: c

Is it important to know if someone has learned something?

c

How can you determine if someone has learned?

c

Is it more important for each student to learn or for the group to learn?

c

Do teachers single out individual students for praise in public or do they praise students privately? Or do they never praise students? And finally, teachers can raise questions about the idea of cheating.

c

What do you think cheating is?

c

Do you think cheating is okay?

c

Is it sometimes okay and sometimes not okay to cheat?

c

What forms of cheating are there? Are some worse than others?

c

Should students be punished for cheating? If so, how?

In these discussions, it is important for teachers to explain the consequences of cheating in the school setting as well as other settings that students might encounter in the future, such as college and the workplace.

Targeted Strategy 2: Set up problem-solving or opinion scenarios. As a follow-up to the discussions about learning and cheating in the previous strategy, or to open up discussions about learning and cheating, teachers can

40

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

about these issues in class. Discussions might start with the following kinds of broad questions:


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

provide students with a series of problem-solving discussion activities centered around the topic, such as the following: c

You are going to have a math quiz. How would you prepare for it?

c

You are taking a test and you see your friend is copying your answers. What would you do?

c

You were the only person in your class to get 100 percent on your science test. The teacher holds up your paper, tells the class your score, and says what a wonderful student you are. How would you feel?

c

The teacher says that you cheated on your research paper because you copied some sentences from a book without saying so. Do you think the teacher was right?

c

Your friend was caught copying during a test. The teacher gave your friend a failing grade for the test. Do you think that was a fair response?

As the class discusses these situations, it is important to explore why students answer as they do, how their beliefs and feelings are affected by their cultures, and what the cultural norms are in North America.

Targeted Strategy 3: Explain to parents and students due process if students are accused of cheating. Students and their parents may not realize that they have the right to defend themselves against accusations of cheating. This information should be included in parent orientations and in parent/student handbooks in the languages of the students and parents. In addition, when ELLs are accused of cheating or plagiarism, information about the process of defending themselves should be explicitly provided in person with a translator and should be provided in writing in English and the language of the students and parents.

Targeted Strategy 4: Teach students how to take tests. Because of the proliferation of standardized tests and few waivers from such tests, ELL students are often required to take tests that are beyond their linguistic or subject-matter knowledge. This situation can be almost as frustrating for teachers as it is for ELL students. Teachers can help make the testing less stressful for students by preparing them ahead of time. Here are some things that teachers can do before giving a standardized test: c

Explain carefully to the students (and their parents) why you must administer the test and what the information will be used for. Parents and

Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c

Give examples of the kinds of questions that students will see on the test.

c

Practice ahead of time by marking responses in the same manner as will be required on an upcoming test (for example, fill in bubble responses, circle multiple-choice answers) and with the same writing implement that the test demands (for example, pencil, pen).

c

Explain to students that they will not be penalized for guessing and discuss how and when guessing is a good idea (for example, if there are only a few minutes left in a timed test).

c

Explain to students if the test is timed, and give students practice with timed tests.

c

Explain to students what is permissible to do if they are confused or don’t understand (for example, they can raise their hand for the teacher, but they can’t speak to the student next to them; they can put their head down if they don’t understand; they can stop early and leave the testing area).

c

Explain rules about leaving the testing area in the middle of the test (for example, whether they can go to the bathroom and under what conditions; what they should do if they feel sick).

c

Tell students whether they can use dictionaries or calculators.

c

Explain carefully to students what will happen if someone sees them looking at another student’s paper, copying information from a paper, or trying to use a dictionary when it is prohibited.

Targeted Strategy 5: Use many different forms of assessment. It’s a good idea to offer students many different ways to show what they have learned. By doing so, they can become accustomed to traditional methods of assessment in North America, such as individualized discrete point tests (e.g., true and false or multiple choice), essay exams, short-answer tests, and problem-solving tasks, as well as other forms of evaluations they may or may not be used to (for example, portfolios, group projects, demonstration, or hands-on assessments).

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

students may be worried that the students will be forced to leave school or repeat a grade if they fail the test.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Situation 5

Many of my ELL students never look directly at me when I am talking with them, which can sometimes feel awkward and sometimes

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

downright rude. In many countries around the world, including China and Latin American countries, a sign of respect, particularly when being chastised, is to lower one’s eyes and avoid eye contact. This situation, however, is just one of many cultural differences affecting classroom behavior that teachers may encounter when working with ELL students. Recognizing and understanding typical behaviors is not stereotyping. Behaviors are part of a larger culture and should be understood within that cultural context, rather than viewed as isolated behavior that may be perceived as strange.

Targeted Strategy 1: Understand cultural differences. Understanding cultural differences helps to prevent misunderstandings about behavior that is thought to be rude. (See Appendix C for a list of behaviors that may appear to be rude or strange in North America but that reflect standard conduct in other parts of the world.) In addition, the Cultural Orientation Resource Center at the Center for Applied Linguistics (www.cal.org/topics/rc/index.html) produces culture profiles to promote understanding of new refugee populations. Culture profiles provide short introductions to the history and cultural background of refugee populations. Local refugee resettlement and community service agencies are other good resources for cultural information.

Targeted Strategy 2: Explain your feelings. Just as it is incumbent upon the teacher of ELL students to understand behaviors that are culture-based, it is equally incumbent upon them to teach norms and practices in the new culture. Often, the most effective response is for teachers to be clear and explicit about their own expectations or those prevalent in North American society. Teachers can respectfully explain to ELL students and their parents their feelings about specific behaviors. As ELL students become part of a mainstream class, everyone in the class must be prepared to adapt and to broaden his or her understanding. However, like language learning, cultural understanding does not happen spontaneously; it is a process that takes time and effort.

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Older ELL students, in particular, may benefit from explicit teaching about cultural differences. They often appreciate learning about what might be considered rude or polite behavior in different countries. For example, spitting in public in some countries is quite common, while it is frowned upon in many parts of North America. Teachers may want to share the list of behaviors included in Appendix C with their students and discuss how these behaviors are viewed in North America and in the students’ countries. Teachers should be especially sensitive to making sure that judgments (good or bad) are not made about specific behaviors within specific cultures, but that students understand these are simply cultural differences. On the other hand, students will want to understand what reactions certain behaviors may elicit in North America. Teachers can invite guest speakers from other cultures and/or students who have lived in North America for a while to talk about how they have adapted to North American cultural norms without losing their cultural identity.

Situation 6

I have some male students who won’t let the female students speak for themselves or who don’t listen when females speak.

Discourse in classrooms can be affected by cultural norms of gender differences (Stritikus & Nguyen, 2007; Wolfe & Faltis, 1999; Zuengler, 2004).These differences may result in male-dominated interactions, although, in some cases, the opposite situation may prevail, and female ELL students may speak more than males. In the strategies that follow, we discuss ways that teachers can discuss these differences with their students and encourage equal participation and respect among female and male students.

Targeted Strategy 1: Discuss interaction styles among different cultures. Students have personal and cultural responses to different kinds of classroom interactions. Teachers can open discussions about what patterns of interactions students are accustomed to (for example, lecture, questions and answers, small groups, women separated from men). These discussions may help teachers understand what kinds of interactions make students comfortable or uneasy.

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 3: Teach about cultural differences.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 2: Offer opportunities for different kinds of interactions. Males and females may have different responses to different kinds of discourse. For example, in a study of high school students of Mexican origin, researchers found that girls actively participated most in known-information exchanges with the teacher (when the teacher already knows the answer), whereas boys demonstrated more resistance talk (for example, arguing, changing the subject, denying), resulting in more turns at talk than girls (Wolfe & Faltis, 1999). They also noted that girls decreased their participation as the requirement for sustained and more academic discourse increased. Teachers might find that discourse structures in which student-initiated language is a necessary part of classroom interaction (for example, exploratory and inquiry-based activities) create a more equitable distribution of participation by boys and girls. When students come from cultures where power and authority are held by men, teachers may find that competition makes both genders uncomfortable—both boys and girls may be reluctant to participate for fear that girls may outshine the boys, who will then lose face. Students may also come from societies in which males or females “own” particular settings or kinds of discourse. For example, Dorothy has had male African students who begin to orate on a subject in much the same way a tribal leader would deliver a speech. These speeches tend to stop further conversation on the subject. On the other hand, at classroom parties, where females set out and serve food, women are likely to dominate the conversation. Participating in classroom interactions is an important part of language and academic development; ELL students need to become accustomed to the interaction styles of North American classrooms, and they need opportunities to contribute to classroom conversations in ways that are nonthreatening to them. In the chapters that follow, we offer a diverse range of classroom-discourse strategies that can support language and academic development.

Targeted Strategy 3: Explain why women (or men) need to talk. When male students attempt to talk for female students, or in cases when male students are resistant to certain kinds of activities (for example, competing against women), teachers can have frank talks about why women sometimes need to speak for themselves (for example, to assess their needs and strengths; to develop their language and academic skills; to prepare for competitive situations in the future, such as in college or at work).

Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Teachers can use role-play to initiate discussions about gender differences in interaction styles between North American and other countries. For example, teachers can ask students to create dialogues within specific circumstances or settings. One dialogue would model North American culture and conversational styles and the other dialogue would model the cultural and conversational style of the ELLs’ native country. The following are some examples of possible role-playing situations or dialogues: c

A student’s fifteenth or sixteenth birthday party.

c

A soccer match, either attending or participating.

c

A job interview, with both males and females playing roles of interviewer and interviewee.

c

A teacher giving a reprimand.

c

A student lunchroom.

c

A wedding.

Teachers who encourage ELLs to come up with topics for gender role-playing situations may learn a great deal about gender differences in their students’ cultures from the topics themselves.

Targeted Strategy 5: Raise awareness of differences in male/female discourse by doing research. Read excerpts from You Just Don’t Understand by Deborah Tannen (2001) and ask students to look at differences in how males and females talk in the classroom. Students can do research in their various classes by writing down how many times boys talk and how many times girls talk, for how long, and what they say. With permission from teachers, students can record classes for later analysis, and discuss such issues as how discourse differs by subject, whether boys generally talk more than girls, and whether the topic of conversation affects how boys and girls talk.

46

Situation 7

Some of our ELL families won’t let girls continue in school.

Situation 8

Some of our ELL girls don’t graduate because they marry early.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 4: Use parallel role-play.


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Families often bring their attitudes about girls and women and their role in society with them to their new country. In some cases, the decision to remove girls from school is grounded in economic necessity (for example, the need for family members to work to help pay for living expenses or take care of younger siblings). Sometimes, however, the decision is grounded in deepseated experiences and customs in the home country (for example, where girls aren’t allowed to work outside the home or can’t get work, even if they are well-educated). Families may be concerned that well-educated girls will have difficulty finding a husband because men may shy away from an educated woman out of fear that an educated wife will not be appropriately submissive. In some cultures, it is expected that girls will marry at an early age. School is a place where ELL families can learn about cultural norms in North America and begin to think about how they can coexist within these norms while retaining their home country’s cultural values and responding to economic needs.

Targeted Strategy 1: Work with parent liaisons to explain educational norms. When dealing with families’ cultural attitudes about gender roles and economic needs, parent liaisons can play a valuable role, since they can speak with families with an understanding of both cultures. If the liaisons are women, they may also serve as a model of someone who has benefited from education themselves, and can speak to families about how women can maintain a balance between the home culture and their new one. These are issues that parent liaisons and others might want to raise with families on a regular basis, not just at the critical moment when girls are about to drop out of school.

Targeted Strategy 2: Explain the benefits of well-educated females to the whole family. While North Americans typically tend to think of themselves and their children as individuals, many ELL students come from cultures in which the family is the central unit. In this case, ELL parents and students might appreciate explanations of how families as a whole will benefit if girls continue their education. Without attempting to pressure them, teachers, counselors, and other school staff who have established a respectful relationship with families can discuss the contributions that well-educated girls can make to a family. For example, they can point out that there are few jobs for undereducated school-leavers, and that well-educated women can be a greater support for their children and others in the family.

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Teachers who are familiar with respected females in the community can ask them to speak to parents and students about their experiences. Parents and children may be influenced by women who are passionate about their careers, yet have families and retain the cultural values of their home country.

Situation 9

My students tell me they have to leave school early to help their families.

Situation 10

My students come to school tired because of home responsibilities, including needing to work.

Situation 11

My students are absent often because they have child care, translating, or other family responsibilities.

These three situations involve family obligations that are often the result of the financial and social struggles that numerous ELL families face. Many parents of ELL students are in North America without the support of their family or friends. Single parents or parents who work two or three jobs sometimes have no recourse but to depend upon older children to bear some of the load that they carry, including working at least part-time and taking time from school to fulfill other family obligations, such as translating for family members who have difficulty with English and caring for younger siblings. In some instances, these are responsibilities that older children would be handling if they were in their home countries, so parents and other family members may not think that it is unusual to expect the same level of commitment from their children in their new country.

Targeted Strategy 1: Read statistics about the value of education. Leaving school before receiving a high school diploma or not pursuing further education can have lifelong repercussions. Most ELL families are probably aware that there are few well-paid jobs for undereducated workers, but they might not realize the vast differences in income and other quality-of-life issues between educated and uneducated individuals. For example, adults who don’t finish high school in the U.S. typically earn 65 percent of what people who have high school degrees earn—the most

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 3: Invite educated females to speak to parents and students.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

severe income gap of any industrialized nation (Feller, 2006). Education can also affect job stability and advantages that come with stable jobs, such as access to medical benefits and retirement plans. It is important to share specific information about the benefits of education and the repercussions of the lack of it with ELL students and their families.

Targeted Strategy 2: Visit homes and talk with the family. Parents may not realize how late hours and lack of sleep affect their children’s school day. Teachers and parents may be able to come up with a solution, such as seeking the assistance of a neighbor or friend for child care or the support of a social service agency.

Targeted Strategy 3: Work with community service agencies that can help families. Schools can help make sure that ELL families receive all the social services support that they are eligible for. In addition, schools can collaborate with community centers and other agencies to gather services together in convenient settings. For example, if day care and after-school tutoring for different ages and grade levels are provided in one location, schools can arrange for all of the school-age children in one family to be bused to this location for after-school tutoring, participation in sports, and other enriching activities. Older siblings are thus available to help meet the needs of younger siblings, yet they can receive any homework or subject-area support that they need. With their children in organized, supervised programs, parents are free to work more hours or attend school.

Targeted Strategy 4: Provide a place for students to rest. Schools or teachers can provide a quiet place, such as the nurse’s office or a quiet lounge, for students who are extremely tired due to family responsibilities.

Targeted Strategy 5: Encourage students to talk and write about their experiences. Teachers should recognize the value in the experience gained by students shouldering family responsibilities. Despite the difficulty of their circumstances, students who work are provided with opportunities to make connections between what they learn in the classroom and real life. They are learning at a much earlier age than many North American students the importance of familial commitments and the discipline required to keep them. Students looking after younger siblings are learning nurturing, patience, and decisionmaking skills. Encouraging students to talk and write about these experiences Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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Targeted Strategy 6: Be flexible about homework assignments and deadlines. When teachers know about students’ obligations outside of school, they can work with students to come up with a flexible plan that will help them fulfill their academic obligations without putting undue stress on themselves or their families. For example, during the school week, many of Dorothy’s students go directly from their classes to jobs or child-care obligations. Although she gives homework during the school week, she usually saves assignments that require more time, thought, and/or effort for the weekend. ELL students who attend her school often hold small-group, informal tutorials with each other during their lunch break. Students who are too tired to attend afternoon classes sometimes come to their teachers to receive information or homework assignments they missed, and Dorothy regularly posts class presentations and assignment answers on a Web site that students can access at home or at the library.

Targeted Strategy 7: Allow students to make up work. Students who are absent because of family obligations can be allowed to make up any assignments or tests that they missed. Encouraging students to let teachers know ahead of time if they will be out can help students and teachers work together to develop a plan for making up work or providing an alternate learning experience.

Situation 12

The parents of my ELL students are resistant to their children receiving mental health services.

Mental illness is a taboo subject in many parts of the world, including North America. To suggest that an individual has a mental illness may be insulting, stigmatizing, or incomprehensible to members of many cultures, to whom behavioral disorders may be viewed as spiritual problems or a physical illness. Care should thus be exercised in conveying any suggestion of mental illness or psychiatric disorder as an explanation for problematic behaviors.

Targeted Strategy 1: Meet with the parents and a mental health worker. If you suspect that a student has a mental health condition, it is important to consult with the parents and ask if they have noticed the behavior(s) 50

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can help them make connections between what they are learning in the classroom and the skills they are using at home and work, and may help them deal with issues that arise as a result of these responsibilities.


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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 causing concern. If they say yes, ask them to explain what they think is the cause of these behaviors. Explanations may include spirit possession, in which case, families should be encouraged to seek the assistance of traditional healers in the community. Traditional healers are best equipped to work within a family’s belief system, but are usually sensitive to the need to refer people to other medical services. Teachers and school mental health workers may want to read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Fadiman, 1998) for a sensitive and insightful account of the misunderstandings that can occur between people with traditional views of illness and those who follow Western medicine. Parents who deny the existence of any untypical behaviors might be reacting to years of maltreatment from repressive political regimes in their home country. In these cases, it is best to encourage the parents to be alert to signs of the behavior(s) and to seek permission to have their child evaluated by an appropriate professional. Make it clear to parents that you are looking out for their child’s best interest and that treatment may include traditional healers or caregivers from the family’s native culture.

Targeted Strategy 2: Contact ethnic community groups. Ethnic community groups are one of the best places to gather information about how to address mental health issues in schools. They can also provide referrals for traditional healers.

Targeted Strategy 3: Contact local refugee and immigrant agencies. Refugee and immigrant agencies are also helpful resources about mental health issues. It is likely that these groups are dealing with similar issues with their client families, and it is best for all groups to work together with local mental health providers to best serve the needs of immigrant and refugee populations.

Situation 13

The families of my ELL students use practices that are culturally different (for example, coining) or illegal in North America (for example, female genital mutilation/cutting).

While we must be alert to any instances of child abuse or neglect and act accordingly, it is helpful to be aware of culture-specific medical and other practices that may appear to be abusive but are simply reflective of different medical practices. For example, coining, a common healing practice in Southeast Asian communities, leaves bruises on the back and other parts Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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of the body, and it has led to instances where parents have been falsely accused of child abuse. On the other hand, other practices that are common in the cultures of some ELLs are illegal in North America. For example, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), which refers to a number of practices that involve cutting away part or all of a girl’s external genitalia, is practiced on very young girls as well as adult women in several countries in Africa and a few areas of the Middle East and Asia. It is considered a human rights violation of women and children by the United Nations, World Health Organization, UNICEF, and other global human rights agencies. This procedure is often done before a girl is 15 years old, so it is possible that ELL girls from countries in which this practice is common (e.g., Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia) have undergone this operation. Since it can result in irreversible lifelong health risks and possible psychological effects, particularly for immigrant girls who live in Western societies in which FGM/C is not practiced (Toubia, 1994), it is important for school personnel to be aware of the health and psychological implications for their ELL students and to collaborate with cultural and health agencies that are sensitive to and familiar with this issue to refer students and their families when necessary.

Targeted Strategy 1: Learn about the cultural practices of students. Cultural profile resources mentioned previously (www.cal.org/topics/rc/index.html) include information about customary practices, including health practices, of refugee and immigrant populations. In addition, the University of Washington in Seattle offers an excellent Web site (www.ethnomed.org) that contains information about cultural beliefs, medical issues, and other issues pertinent to the health care of recent immigrants to North America. At its Web site (www.who.int/en) the World Health Organization has a great deal of information about female genital mutilation/cutting and other health issues that may affect ELL families. Two books that offer insights into cultural aspects of health care are Culture, Health and Illness: An Introduction for Health Professionals (Helman, 1994) and Refugee and Immigrant Health: A Handbook for Health Professionals (Kemp & Rasbridge, 2004).

Targeted Strategy 2: Address issues in parent orientations and handbooks. Parents of ELL students need to know how traditional healing practices may be misunderstood. They also need to be aware that some practices, such as beatings, may be culturally acceptable in their countries but are illegal in

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Targeted Strategy 3: Work with parent liaisons or community groups. Teachers and schools can work together with community groups and other social and law enforcement agencies to help parents understand the legal implications of unacceptable practices. At the same time, these groups can work together to prevent misunderstandings on the part of social support agencies, law enforcement officials, and health care practitioners. Parent liaisons, in particular those who are members of the same ethnic group, can play a crucial role in these cultural-awareness activities.

Communication With Parents Parents of ELL students care deeply about their children’s education, well-being, and future (Huss-Keeler, 1997; Samway & McKeon, 2007). In fact, many immigrant and refugee parents say they know their lives in their new country will always be difficult, but they have come to give their children a better future. It is important for teachers and others in schools to recognize that parents of ELLs may be dealing with enormous issues: meeting the challenge of a new language, dealing with past traumas, struggling to survive in a new culture, and adjusting to new standards of education and behavior while supporting the home language of their children. Communicating with parents of ELL students is not always easy. The lack of a shared language is one of the challenges faced by schools and parents, but it is not the only one. Finding the time to interact with school personnel is difficult for many parents. They may work long hours, sometimes at more than one job; go to school themselves; deal with social services agencies and medical appointments; and take care of younger children. Also, cultural expectations around parent/school interactions may be different. For example, in some countries, school and family life are separate, and parents may not be expected to take an active role in their children’s educational experiences, or the role parents take may be very different from the role expected from them in North America. Some families, particularly refugees, may be dealing with the aftermath of traumatic events or current issues of domestic violence or substance abuse. Negative experiences with government officials in their home countries or current undocumented status in this, their adopted country, may lead family members to fear anyone with official status, including school authorities.

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In addition, lack of transportation and child care, illness or disabilities, and limited language skills may leave many families socially isolated and reluctant or unable to leave the safety of their homes or ethnic communities to venture out into the schools or community at large. Despite these difficulties, parents of ELL students are eager for their children to be successful in school, and often value contact with the school. Parents of ELL students also welcome opportunities to share information about their native country and culture. We have found that they appreciate home visits by teachers and other school staff, and generally have tremendous respect for their children’s teachers.

General Strategies ................................ Visiting families in their homes, providing parents with a welcoming school environment, and making sure that oral and written communications, including school or district Web sites, are translated in their home languages are the keys to good communication with parents of ELL students. Schools can address the language needs of parents by offering or working with community-based organizations to offer adult ESL and literacy classes with homework help for students (Adger, 2000). Parents should also feel that the school supports their home language and culture by its inclusion of bilingual books in libraries and school-wide cultural events, such as international food festivals, dances, talent shows, plays, or fashion shows. These events provide ELL families with opportunities to be experts in an environment in which they are not typically viewed as experts.

Situation 1

The parents of my ELLs don’t speak English and I don’t speak their languages, so we can’t communicate.

Targeted Strategy 1: Arrange for translators. Many school districts have a central office that arranges for translators to assist with written and phone communications and parent/teacher conferences. These translators are the best option, since they have usually been carefully screened for language ability and professionalism.2 If this type of service is 2 For guidelines on how to interact successfully with parents and translators see www.thecenterlibrary.org/cwis/cwisdocs/translate.html.

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not available, or if the language of the ELL student is one for which a translator is not available, other translators can often be found through community organizations or groups, such as the following: c

Refugee resettlement agencies and agencies that deal with immigrants.

c

Specific ethnic or language community groups or organizations.

c

Former Peace Corps volunteers.

c

College or high school foreign language departments or organizations.

ELL students themselves should not be asked to translate for their parents or other adults. It is embarrassing for the parents, and neither the teacher nor the parents are likely to feel free to discuss sensitive issues.

Targeted Strategy 2: Have parents bring a trusted friend or family member. If an official translator is not available, or if the parents are not comfortable with a school-assigned translator, invite them to bring a trusted family member or friend to translate.

Situation 2

How do I communicate with parents who are illiterate?

Targeted Strategy 1: Assess the degree and nature of illiteracy. Find out if the parents are illiterate only in English or in their native language as well. If they are literate in their native language, arrange to have letters or notes translated. Even if a teacher knows that parents are illiterate, all written communication should be sent home, as a friend or family member may be able to read or translate the material for them.

Targeted Strategy 2: Offer telephone support. Offer telephone translations for important documents sent home from schools. Put a graphic of a telephone and a phone number to call at the top of the document, so parents can call to hear a recorded message of the document’s essential information in their native language. For low-incidence languages or languages for which a translator is not available, the message can be left in English for parents who are able to understand spoken English but who are not very literate.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Targeted Strategy 3: Have students create calendars.

Situation 3

The parents of my ELL students decline a translator, but we have a hard time communicating.

There are many reasons why parents might choose to decline a translator. Some may involve the parents’ feelings about language translation in general. For example, they may be embarrassed that they are not fluent speakers of English and feel that using a translator would make them less highly regarded. Other reasons might have to do with the particular translator. For example, ethnic communities can be close-knit, and parents may be sensitive about others in their community being privy to personal issues. Sometimes, translators, although they may share the same language, might come from conflicting tribes or ethnic groups in the home country, or from different social classes. Parents should never feel forced to accept a translator with whom they do not feel comfortable. Their decision to decline the services of a translator should be respected and, at the same time, every effort should be made to ensure that parents and teachers are able to understand each other.

Targeted Strategy 1: Ask about acceptable translators. If parents decline the use of an official school translator, teachers can ask if they know of someone else who could translate for them at meetings and/or conferences.

Targeted Strategy 2: Communicate effectively. If parents prefer to meet without a translator, keep these points in mind during meetings or conferences:

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c

Smile.

c

Express regret that you don’t speak their language.

c

Speak slowly and clearly, but not loudly or in an exaggerated way.

c

Avoid complex sentences (for example, “This is the book that Suma is reading” vs. “Suma is making tremendous progress, and I think it’s partly

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Teachers can work with students to create calendars with pictures and a few words for important events happening in that month. Encourage them to take the calendars home to display in a prominent place, such as on the refrigerator.


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related to her liking to read, including rather complex texts like this one, which is part of a series that has won lots of awards”). c

Use more common language (for example, use talk instead of communicate).

c

Use gestures.

c

Pause frequently to give parents time for processing and ask if they have questions.

c

Show samples of the child’s work.

c

If parents are literate, keep a bilingual dictionary handy to use for key words.

c

Draw sketches of important content words or concepts.

c

Make a list of talking points that parents can take with them; they may want to ask someone to explain them later.

Situation 4

My students’ parents say they’ve been told not to speak their native language at home so their children can learn English, but they can’t communicate with their children in English.

Situation 5

The parents of my ELL students don’t speak English at home, and I wish they would so the children could learn English more quickly.

Although these two situations may seem totally different, they are, in fact, two sides of the same coin, so we are addressing them together. Sometimes well-meaning school staff or community members think they are helping parents of ELL students by advising them to speak English with their children, instead of their home language. Their thinking is that the more English the students are exposed to, the more quickly their English will develop. However, this advice runs contrary to research about linguistic and academic development. Parents should be communicating with their children in their native language in order to support cognitive and linguistic development (King & Fogle, 2006).These cognitive and linguistic skills transfer from one language to another, so to deny this cognitive and linguistic scaffolding is potentially harmful to students. Also, it is harmful for students not to be able to communicate fully with their parents. Chapter 1: Sociocultural Situations

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Targeted Strategy 1: Educate parents and school personnel. Provide parents and school personnel with literature about the benefits of bilingualism and the transfer of skills from one language to another.

Targeted Strategy 2: Support native language use at home. Encourage parents to support their native language at home in the following ways: c

Talk a lot with their children in the home language.

c

Tell stories in the home language and encourage their children to join in with the storytelling.

c

Talk to their children about what they did at school or after school. If they use English words, repeat what they have said using the home language.

c

Take their children to meetings and cultural events, such as concerts, plays, poetry readings, and films, where they will hear people using the native language.

c

Find out if there is a community language school where the native language is taught.

c

Look for books written in the home language.

c

Express pride in the native language.

c

Don’t laugh at or tease children because of their accents or when they make mistakes in the L1.

Targeted Strategy 3: Support native languages at school. Teachers and schools should support the native languages of their ELL students by including books in the native language in the classroom and school libraries, participating in book clubs that offer bilingual books, inviting bilingual guest speakers into the classroom, and holding international language weeks or international festivals. In addition, teachers should speak regularly about the advantages of being bilingual and routinely include readings about bilingual people in their curriculum.

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Parents of ELL students sometimes express the belief that they are helping their children by speaking only English in the home, but teachers should urge all parents of ELL students to use their native or home language to support the retention and use of the native language.


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Situation 6

Some parents won’t let their children go on field trips.

Parents of ELL students may not allow their children to go on field trips because they cannot afford the expense involved. Also, parents may not be accustomed to the idea of field trips and view them as a frivolous waste of a school day instead of a valuable educational experience. In some cases parents may object for cultural or religious reasons. Dealing with parents who choose not to allow their children to go on field trips must be handled sensitively and respectfully, and in a way that does not cause stress for the student.

Targeted Strategy 1: Discreetly find reasons for objections. Teachers should try as discreetly as possible to find out why the parents have refused to allow their children to participate in a field trip. The students themselves may be forthcoming about the reason, but if they don’t volunteer a reason, do not press them to provide one. A phone call or a visit to the parents should be made by someone the parents trust, such as the teacher, parent liaison, or a translator. Parents may be embarrassed to admit that they cannot afford to pay for the field trip, and in such situations, the school should establish ways to help pay for trips.

Targeted Strategy 2: Support ways for students to pay for trips. It is important for schools to seek ways to make funds available for lowincome families who cannot afford to pay for field trips. The best approaches allow for students or parents to contribute to the fund-raising process in order to save them from feeling that they are accepting charity. Here are some fund-raising activities in which parents and/or students can participate: c

Bake sales.

c

Car washes.

c

International buffets.

c

International cookbook sales.

c

Auctions of students’ art.

c

Craft and plant sales.

In addition to fund-raising activities, teachers can help students anticipate and save for field trips. For example, knowing that many of their students would find the field trips planned for the spring a financial hardship, teachers at a school in Rochester, New York, instituted a “savings bank.” Each student was

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given a savings passbook and encouraged to bring in 50 cents to deposit in their account every Monday. Teachers recorded the deposit and stamped the date in their passbook. At the end of the year, the students had saved enough money for their field trip, and often had saved a little extra, which the teachers returned to them as spending money for souvenirs or snacks on the trip. Parents were delighted with this system, which helped their children fund trips without taking a large chunk out of the family budget at one time, and it also instilled in the children the importance of saving (Zimmer, 1992).

Targeted Strategy 3: Have a translator explain a trip’s educational purpose. Translators or parent liaisons can be very helpful in explaining to parents the educational purpose of the field trip and how it is connected to the curriculum. If parents still decline, teachers should indicate that they respect the parents’ decision.

Situation 7

The parents of my ELL students express concern about behavioral problems with their children since coming to the U.S.

Situation 8

The parents of my ELL students tell me that their children threaten to report them to social agencies or schools if they chastise the children.

Many school systems outside of North America have strict rules of behavior, and teachers are treated with great respect. For example, students may stand up when the teacher enters the classroom and when they respond to a teacher’s questions. In some schools, corporal punishment is an accepted practice. Parents of ELLs often see North American classrooms as out of control and North American students as ill-behaved and disrespectful. Conflicts within a family can arise when ELL students begin to pick up what parents perceive to be lax mannerisms and rude behavior. The children, on the other hand, may rebel against what they see as overly strict rules, and sometimes take advantage of their parents’ lack of familiarity with North American customs by threatening to report their parents to social agencies. Schools should not shy away from these issues; instead, they should work with parents, students, community agencies, and ethnic groups to address these issues. 60

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Targeted Strategy 1: Work with parent liaisons. Parent liaisons, especially those coming from the same ethnic community and language background as the families, are in the best position to explain to parents a school’s behavioral expectations and help parents understand cultural differences when showing respect or disciplining children in North America.

Targeted Strategy 2: Invite speakers from agencies. Speakers from social services agencies, such as child protective services, can be invited to parent orientations or other meetings. Translators should be available at these meetings, and time and space should be provided so parents can ask confidential questions.

Targeted Strategy 3: Translate local laws about minors. Provide translations of laws pertaining to minors, such as how long they can be left unattended, the local definition of child abuse and maltreatment, and when minors can legally work and for how many hours.

Targeted Strategy 4: Help parenting support groups. Schools can provide organizational assistance and facilities for parent support groups. These groups meet on a regular basis to discuss parenting issues (for example, how to handle children who want to wear clothing that parents consider inappropriate, how to deal with children who are disdainful of their parents because they don’t speak much English). The school can help locate translators and speakers from local community and nonprofit organizations.

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Listening Situations L

istening is often viewed as a passive skill. However, listening requires active processing of the sounds, stresses, intonations, grammar, and meaning of the message being conveyed. Listening can be one of the more difficult demands of learning a new language because the learner cannot always plan for or anticipate the topic being discussed. Although the results of listening are not always obvious, it is imperative that teachers pay particular care that their ELL students are understanding what is being taught since, in the normal course of a day, listening is used nearly twice as much as speaking and four to five times as much as reading and writing (Rivers, 1981). In addition, listening can affect speaking and literacy, including vocabulary development and comprehension (August & Shanahan, 2006; Fillmore & Snow, 2000; O’Malley & Valdez-Pierce, 1996). Students who can’t hear sounds will almost certainly have difficulty producing them in speech or writing or decoding them when reading. Teachers of ELL students should keep in mind the following key issues:

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c

ELL students are more likely to listen actively if they are interested in or have background knowledge of the topic.

c

Colloquial language and reduced forms, such as didyaknow?, can make comprehension difficult.

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 c

Visual support (gestures, pictures, videos, realia1) fosters comprehension.

c

ELL students benefit from moving from one-step or other simple listening tasks to more complex, multistep tasks.

c

Cultural expectations can affect listening efforts (for example, a student who has recently arrived from a refugee camp may misunderstand when a teacher is talking about camping).

c

Anxiety can affect a student’s ability to listen.

Students Don’t Understand or Don’t Show They Understand Recognizing whether newcomer ELL students understand what is being said to them is particularly challenging since many students go through a silent period lasting from one to six months or longer in which they do not respond orally. These silent newcomers can sometimes get lost in the busyness of classroom routines and instruction; however, it is essential for ELL students’ language development that teachers communicate with them during this silent phase. Rather than pressuring the student to speak before he or she is ready, teachers can use other ways to gauge whether the student understands them. As ELL students move from the silent phase to oral communication, teachers can help them understand by using various speaking strategies and visual supports. Stephen Krashen (1985), one of the leading experts in second-language acquisition and development, describes the need to provide second-language learners with “comprehensible input + 1” (often referred to as i + 1). In other words, the ELL student should understand what is being said, and then be challenged slightly to extend or expand upon that understanding. Following are some ways in which teachers of ELL students can support this understanding and growth.

General Strategies ................................. c

Speak clearly, using a slightly slower pace than when speaking with native speakers—but make sure not to exaggerate your speech or increase the volume.

1 Realia refers to three-dimensional objects from real life that are used in classroom instruction, including tools, materials, utensils, furniture, food, and clothing.

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c

Provide visual cues through gestures, drawings and pictures, video, facial expressions, and realia writing.

c

Encourage students to respond physically by pointing to or moving objects, acting, or role-playing.

c

Say things in more than one way. Sometimes students may recognize one word for an object or concept and not another.

c

Don’t avoid colloquialisms or reduced forms, but take the time to stop periodically and give short summaries of key topics in which speech is slowed slightly and enunciated carefully. However, do not use unnaturally stilted language or speak louder.

c

Write key words or phrases on the board.

c

Whenever possible, avoid background noise or white noise, which can interfere with comprehension when listening to a less familiar language.

c

Place students in a quiet location where you can easily make eye contact with them.

c

Assign partners and encourage partner or pair shares.

c

Provide listening activities on the Internet or on audiotapes. We recommend the following Web sites where teachers can begin to collect listening activities for ELLs: • Starfall.com: This Web site includes alphabet listening activities and stories with audio files, text, and pictures, including nonfiction (for example, penguins and wolves; fables and Greek mythology). • http://larryferlazzo.com/english.html: Larry Ferlazzo is an English and social studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. His Web site, which contains thousands of activities, includes many listening links for ELL students at all levels and on many different topics.

Situation 1

I’m not always sure if my ELL student understands me. How can I or others in the school check for understanding?

Targeted Strategy 1: Demonstrate understanding through TPR. Total Physical Response (TPR) is a method of developing language and vocabulary through actions (Asher, 2003). The teacher (or another student) recites a series of actions while performing them and invites the ELL student 64

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to do so as well (Stand up, Sit down, Sit on the chair, Sit on the rug, Jump, Jump on the rug, Pick up a pencil, Put the pencil on the chair, Put the pencil on the rug). Putting actions to words helps students retain them. Some books that provide TPR activities, usually with pictures included, are: c

Action English Pictures: Activities for Total Physical Response by Noriko Takahashi and Maxine Frauman-Prickel (Alta Book Center Publishers, 1999).

c

Do As I Say: Operations, Procedures, and Rituals for Language Acquisition (originally published as ESL Operations) by Gayle Nelson, Thomas Winters, and Raymond Clark (Pro Lingua Associates, 2005).

c

Live Action English Book by Contee Seely and Elizabeth Kuizenga Romijn (Command Performance, 1989).

Additional ideas for TPR activities can be found at the following Web site devoted to such exercises: www.digischool.nl/oefenen/hennyjellema/engels/tpr/ voorbladtpr.htm. After doing the activities with teachers, peers, or volunteers, students can follow up with listening exercises in which they match the activity to the sentence that they hear. Colorforms (reusable vinyl stickers) or magnetic boards are useful tools for setting up more complex TPR scenarios, such as going to the airport or choosing food at the cafeteria.

Targeted Strategy 2: Have students retell. Ask ELL students to retell a story they have been told or describe a familiar process. When asked to retell a story using pictures, students working at a basic level may only give one word or short phrases for each picture, while more advanced ELLs can be asked to recap the story without visual aids.

Targeted Strategy 3: Translate into the native language. One of the most expedient ways of transmitting important directions or key points when teaching is to translate them into the ELL student’s native language. Many teachers believe that using a student’s first language will inhibit development of English. On the contrary, the use of the first language can mediate tasks, so that students are better able to complete a task in the second language (Samway & McKeon, 2007; Storch & Wigglesworth, 2003). Some key issues to keep in mind when translating for ELL students include the following: c

Translators can be the teacher, an aide, or a peer who speaks the same language.

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c

Translation should be used mostly for beginner ELL students, and then only to get across key concepts or essential instructions.

c

Plan times when translation can be built into instructional time. Think-pair-shares (Lyman, 1981), described on page 67, or table talks in which students explore new ideas or summarize materials presented, are good times to encourage the translation of important ideas.

c

Expect and allow for the use of the native language when two or more students share a language.

c

Don’t overburden peer translators, and never ask a peer translator to translate sensitive or confidential information.

Targeted Strategy 4: Ask students to draw. Have students draw pictures or symbols to demonstrate an understanding of school rules and classroom norms, classroom instructions, content-area information, or even emotions. For example, a teacher working on animal classification might ask students to fill in a chart by placing the names of the animals under their correct classification. While native-English-speaking students would typically write the word for the animal on the chart, the ELL student, who might not know the names of these animals in English, could draw a picture of the animal.

Targeted Strategy 5: Have students write. Students who are unable to express themselves orally can sometimes express themselves in writing. Asking a student to write a short summary of a concept taught or make a list of important words can be particularly helpful to older students, especially if they are able to use a bilingual dictionary or electronic translator.

Situation 2

When I ask my ELL students if they understand, they often nod or say, “Yes,” but I then find out that they didn’t understand.

ELL students can be embarrassed to admit that they don’t understand something, especially if they think everyone else understands it or if they come from a culture in which it is considered negative to ask questions or appear different in any way. In some cases, students actually think they did understand, but because of their cultural background or lack of linguistic sophistication, they did not get a full or accurate understanding of the 66

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

message. Rather than asking ELLs if they understand, teachers can implement the strategies described earlier to ensure their ELL students have understood them. What follows are some additional strategies for making sure ELL students understand, without embarrassing them in front of their peers.

Targeted Strategy 1: Provide private time. Provide a regular time in the day when the ELL student or students can work with the teacher, the aide, or a volunteer tutor. Encourage the students to note questions or areas of confusion that can be discussed at this time. In addition, the teacher or tutor can use this time to go over any problems the student has encountered in class.

Targeted Strategy 2: Use think-pair-share. Think-pair-share is a cooperative discussion strategy (Lyman, 1981). 1. Students are prompted by the teacher to think about a question or observation. For example, a teacher introducing a unit on Antarctica can show it to students on a map and ask, “What do you think the climate is like in Antarctica?” 2. Pairs of students talk about their answers or thoughts. For example, if the ELL student does not recognize the word climate, he or she can ask his or her partner. 3. The pairs share their thinking with the rest of the class. Because they have had the opportunity to clarify the task, ask about unknown words, and talk about this topic with partners, ELL students may feel comfortable enough at this stage to share what they think with the whole class. If they do not want to share with the whole group, they will still have had the opportunity to participate in the activity and express their thoughts with a smaller audience.

Situation 3

My ELL student constantly says, “I don’t understand,” or says, “I don’t understand” before I even finish the sentence.

The ELL student who tells you he or she doesn’t understand, without appearing to make an attempt to understand, may be an anxious student. Anyone who has entered a new environment in which the culture or language is unfamiliar can understand the feelings of fear that ELL students sometimes Chapter 2: Listening Situations

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experience. Research has shown that the less anxious and more relaxed the second-language learner, the easier it is to learn the language (Dulay, Burt, & Krashen, 1982). Hence, the first step in dealing with anxious ELL students is to put them at ease. Rather than barraging the student with additional questions or information, it is better to smile and show that you are not concerned. Reassure the student that being able to express that one doesn’t understand is actually a positive sign of developing language. The following strategies can help put ELL students at ease and move communication forward.

Targeted Strategy 1: Use peer partners. Ask peer partners to help the ELL student, as in the following scenario: Teacher:

Ali, you can go to the computer now and use the headphones to listen to The Rosetta Stone.

Ali:

I don’t understand.

Teacher:

(Turning to one of Ali’s peer partners) Brian, can you please help Ali load The Rosetta Stone and show him how to use the headphones? (Brian joins Ali at the computer and uses words and gestures to explain what to do.)

Targeted Strategy 2: Have students retell. Ask ELL students to retell a story or account. The teacher can encourage the retelling by pointing to illustrations and asking, “And what else?” or “Can you tell more?”

Targeted Strategy 3: Ask students what they heard you say. More advanced students who appear to be using “I don’t understand” out of habit can be asked, “What did you hear me say?” This question will also help the teacher better understand where communication broke down.

Students Don’t Understand Directions When ELL students enroll and enter their first North American classroom, there are many aspects of school life they might find confusing. Beginning ELL students typically do not have the language to express that confusion or ask for clarification. If the teacher does not share the ELL student’s native language, explaining or giving directions to that student can be difficult. ELL students entering the classroom with little or no English will commonly develop an understanding of directions in four stages. (See Figure 2.1.) 68

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Stage 1

Understands little or no spoken English, but can understand pictures, gestures, dramatizations, and translations of directions into the native language.

Stage 2

Understands simple directions with continued support of pictures, gestures, and dramatizations; understands best when sentence structures and words used are simple, and repetition and paraphrasing are used frequently.

Stage 3

Understands complex directions broken down into simple steps; understands best when given time between each step to check for understanding and to clarify any confusion.

Stage 4

Understands complex directions with little or no support.

Figure 2.1: Stages in Understanding of Directions

Movement from one stage to the next is not always straightforward and depends on many factors, such as the background knowledge or familiarity the ELL student has with the task at hand or how much of the vocabulary or how many of the key concepts the student recognizes. Even ELL students who come to the classroom with some facility in English can become confused at times because of cultural differences between how schools and classrooms work in their native country and North America. For example, in some countries, students would never be asked to work in pairs or small groups, whereas in other countries, all class work, including tests, is a collaborative effort. Hence, an ELL student’s look of confusion when asked to perform some tasks may not be because the student does not understand the directions, but may simply be because he or she has never been asked to do the task in that way.

General Strategies ................................ Using consistent classroom routines and language can help ELL students understand what is happening in the classroom (Curran, 2003; Tabors & Snow, 1994; Wong-Fillmore, 1985). The following routines are particularly helpful: c

Keeping to a scheduled time for activities (for example, writing workshop is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) helps students know what to expect.

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c

Designating specific locations for certain activities, such as conferring during writing workshop under the whiteboard or group reading instruction around the round table, adds to the ELL student’s sense of security about what to do in each location.

c

Marking scheduled times for activities on the board and conspicuously noting any changes to the schedule.

In addition to these classroom routines, teachers can help ELL students understand oral instructions in the following ways: c

Using repetition or redundancy when giving directions. For example, “You need to interview a family member tonight about his or her earliest memory . . . so, choose one of your parents . . . or a grandparent, a brother, a sister, an aunt or an uncle; someone in your family (walk over and point to a bilingual chart of family members on a wall). And ask them to think back (put finger to temple in the sign for thinking) to their earliest memory (point backward while emphasizing earliest memory). Was it when they were a baby? (Point to a picture of a baby on the chart.) Was it when they were a young student? (Point to a picture of a young person on the chart.) And then ask them to tell you about it. And keep notes (use a gesture to indicate writing on a sheet of paper) on what they told you so you can share with us tomorrow (point forward while emphasizing tomorrow).”

c

Use simple structures and avoid complex structures, such as, “Today it’s raining. Eat lunch in the cafeteria. Then come back to the classroom,” instead of, “Since it’s raining today, don’t forget to come back to the classroom after you’ve eaten lunch in the cafeteria.”

c

Leave time so you can give your students the chance to ask questions.

In addition to these general guidelines, the following specific strategies address particular issues that may arise in the different phases of understanding we referred to earlier in this chapter.

Situation 1

My ELL student doesn’t understand simple directions.

Targeted Strategy 1: Teach standard gestures for directions. As mentioned previously, ELL students may not recognize standard North American gestures for directions, such as “come here” or “stand up.” They may have learned a different set of gestures for these commands. 70

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 The ESL Miscellany (Clark, Moran, & Burrows, 1981) is a valuable resource of standard gestures for many common commands.

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Targeted Strategy 2: Use pictures, gestures, or realia. Demonstrate what it is you want the students to do through pictures, gestures, or realia. For example, a social studies lesson with one or more beginner ELL students might begin in this way: Teacher:

Take out your social studies books. (Holds up social studies book.)

Teacher:

Open your books to page twenty-six. (Opens book and holds it up to show the correct page.) That’s page twenty-six. Two (pause) six. (Writes page number on the board, then walks around the room, making sure students are on the correct page.)

Teacher:

Today we’re going to continue to learn about the Great Depression. You’ll need your think-aloud reflection journals. (Holds up a journal.) Please take out your journals. (Walks around the room, making sure everyone has a journal.)

Teacher:

We’re going to do think-alouds with a partner while reading this section about migrants from Oklahoma coming to California. (Points to a map of the United States from the book that is projected on the overhead, and traces a line from Oklahoma to California and labels the states.) When you are listening to your partner, please record the type of think-aloud strategy your partner is using. (Points to a chart on the wall that lists the various think-aloud strategies that the class has identified so far.)

The teacher points and demonstrates like this at each step, and then walks around the room, listening to the students as they engage in think-alouds and clarifying the directions in a couple of situations when students are confused.

Targeted Strategy 3: Write directions. When giving oral directions, also write them on the board. Designate a specific area for homework instructions (for example, in the top right quadrant of the whiteboard) and ask students to write these assignments in a homework notebook.

Targeted Strategy 4: Follow a set of directions. In order to strengthen ELLs’ listening comprehension, ask them to complete a task by following a set of directions given orally. Sample situations include the following: c

Putting a letter to parents folded into three into an envelope and closing it.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… c

Filling a student’s reading basket with five new books.

c

Making a book cover.

My ELL student doesn’t understand complex directions.

Due to the linguistic and cultural demands of working in a new language, ELL students often need more time than native-English-speaking students to process information. This is especially true when ELL students are learning content material that is unfamiliar to them. If ELL students are still working to understand the beginning of a complex set of instructions, they will not be able to pay attention to any information that follows and can easily become lost or confused. In addition to the strategies mentioned earlier, teachers can use the following strategies to help their ELL students navigate complex directions.

Targeted Strategy 1: Teach clarification strategies and when to use them. Teach ELL students how to ask for clarification or how to express that they don’t understand. Make a poster with common expressions, including the following: c

Excuse me. I didn’t understand.

c

Can you repeat that, please?

c

Can you explain what ____ means?

c

Can we go back to number ____?

Practice using these expressions, and also practice when it’s an appropriate and inappropriate time to ask for clarification (for example, it’s usually not a good idea to interrupt and ask for clarification when the teacher is already clarifying another point or when another student is speaking).

Targeted Strategy 2: Break down directions into smaller steps. Complex directions are easier to follow if the teacher breaks them into smaller steps and checks for understanding at each step. It also helps to use terms such as first, second, third to make the steps sequential. For example, to complete an experiment about how plants store water, the teacher can begin with these step-by-step instructions:

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Situation 2


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 1. Take a cup from the table. 2. Go to the sink. 3. Fill the cup with water.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

4. Return to your desk. 5. Wait until everyone has his or her water. After everyone has water, the teacher continues giving directions.

Targeted Strategy 3: Describe a drawing. This activity is often done in student pairs. However, the teacher or a student can give directions to a small group of students or the whole class. Only the person giving the instructions sees the picture or set of symbols, which he or she describes as the other students draw in response to the directions. For example, as Student A looks at the picture shown in Figure 2.2 and describes it to Student B, they might negotiate understanding as follows: Student A: Draw circle. Student B: (draws a large circle in the middle of the page) Student A: Not so big. Make it little smaller. Move it down the paper. Student B: (draws a smaller circle) Student A: Draw a small circle on top of big circle—like a head.

Figure 2.2: Circle Drawing

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Student B: (draws a small circle on top of the larger circle) Student A: Put two (pause) like this (draws a triangle in the air). Student B: Triangles?

The conversation continues until the drawing is complete.

Targeted Strategy 4: Read maps. Sharing a map, the teacher or a student guides a partner or group members from a starting point to a destination, as in the following example: You are at the gas station. Turn left out of the gas station onto Davis Street. Turn right onto West Avenue at the post office. Go through the intersection at West and Elm. Stop at the building on the left, next to the school. Where are you? See other activities for pairs in Back and Forth: Pair Activities for Language Development (Palmer, Rodgers, & Olsen, 1985).

Targeted Strategy 5: Give a simplified summary. When giving directions that are likely to be difficult for ELL learners to follow, stop periodically and give a more simplified summary to help them stay on track. The bold text in the example below shows what the teacher added for the benefit of ELLs: Next week, when we go on the field trip to the Museum of Science, we won’t begin at our usual time. The bus is leaving at 8:00, so you should be here by 7:30. Let me repeat. Monday we go to the Science Museum. Come to school early. Come to school at 7:30 in the morning. You should wear comfortable shoes because we’re going to be there for several hours and it’s a large museum. There are more than 30 exhibits and you won’t be able to sit down. So remember—wear sneakers or shoes for walking. (Teacher points to sneakers and demonstrates walking and getting tired.) At the museum, we will divide into groups of four. Everyone will have an opportunity to see all of the exhibits. We won’t be back in time for lunch, but you can either bring your lunch or buy food at the cafeteria at the museum. Bring your lunch or bring money for lunch. When we return at 2:00, we’ll go to our classroom to wait for 74

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Student A: Yes! Draw two triangles inside small circle—like eyes.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 dismissal. We come back to school at 2:00 in the afternoon. Do you have any questions?

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

In this scenario, important information should also be written on the board and sent home to parents, preferably in their native language.

Situation 3

My ELL student doesn’t pay attention when I’m giving directions.

ELL students often become accustomed to tuning out of classroom conversations, especially when they are not actively engaged in learning. The best way to get them to tune back in is to actively involve them. Most of the above strategies for understanding directions require some kind of action on the part of the student. In the following strategies, students are also actively involved.

Targeted Strategy 1: Assess background knowledge. Elicit from students what they already know about the activity before beginning to give directions. If the ELL student has a general idea of what he or she is supposed to be doing, it will be easier to follow directions or instructions. For example, if students are expected to read information or watch a video about Martin Luther King, Jr., and make a timeline about his life, hold up a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr., and ask students if they know who he is. Write his name and other facts contributed by the students on the board.

Targeted Strategy 2: Model steps and the final product. Show students what you expect them to do and what a finished product, or similar finished product, should look like. In the example of the Martin Luther King, Jr., timeline mentioned above, after eliciting information about Martin Luther King, add dates to some of the facts. Draw a timeline on the board, and demonstrate how dates and facts can be added to it. Then ask a couple of students to come to the board and add more dates and facts.

Targeted Strategy 3: Introduce jigsaw listening. Jigsaw listening is an activity in which each student has only one part of a set of directions and must work with a group to construct the complete set (Gibbons, 2002). (See Chapter 3, pages 105–106, for more information and an example of a jigsaw activity.) Chapter 2: Listening Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Teachers of ELL students are often perplexed when their students converse easily with other students in the cafeteria and have no difficulty understanding and answering questions about weekend or after-school activities, but appear lost and confused during content-area or language arts lessons. Researchers in second-language acquisition have found that students learn social language more quickly than academic language (Cummins, 2000). The first set of skills, basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS), is what students use when they chat with friends or teachers about subjects they are already familiar with and hear about every day. Students usually acquire these skills within the first two years of using the new language. Developing cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) involves a deeper and more demanding task of understanding content-area material with which ELL students may have had little or no exposure, even in their first language. These more cognitively demanding academic skills can take up to ten years to acquire. It is important for teachers to understand why seemingly bilingual students struggle with subject matter, and how to support them in their development of academic language. The following strategies are for helping ELL students with content-area listening tasks.

General Strategies ................................

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c

Write key words or phrases on the board. Since cursive writing is often difficult for ELL students to read, it’s best to print.

c

Provide a prelistening activity that explains the purpose for the listening activity, draws on students’ background knowledge of the topic, and introduces the key words and phrases to be heard. For example, before showing a video about tornadoes, a teacher can demonstrate the meaning of rotate by asking a student to turn around. The teacher can draw a picture of clouds and show a diagram of clouds forming into funnels while writing the words rotate, clouds, and funnel on the board. The teacher can also ask students if they have ever seen a tornado in person or on television and ask them to describe what they have seen.

c

One way to provide an active listening role for learners is by asking them to respond physically (for example, raise their hands or hold up a card),

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Students Don’t Understand Content Material


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

or in writing (e.g., put information on a pictorial input chart2 or fill gaps in a cloze exercise3). c

Encourage students to make audio recordings of lessons.

c

Provide support in the native language whenever possible. For example, translate key words or phrases, or help students who are literate in their first language to find translations of the reading materials in their native language.

c

Provide students with different kinds of listening activities, such as small-group and pair work. For example, students can work in small groups to place a symbol for “frequent tornado activity” on a map. Working in pairs, they can draw before-and-after pictures showing the impact of tornadoes, with one student drawing “before” pictures and the other student drawing “after” pictures.

Situation 1

My students don’t understand my read-alouds.

Targeted Strategy 1: Give background information. Before beginning the read-aloud, go over key ideas or words from the story. If it is a chapter book, bring in pictures of important characters or scenes.

Targeted Strategy 2: Do a story walk-through. Begin a read-aloud by walking students through the book. For example, while many North American students may be familiar with The Yearling (Rawlings, 1938), many ELL students are not. A walk-through of the book, beginning with the cover, will help establish the Florida backwoods where Jody lives and the names of the animals that he encounters (e.g., hound, fawn, snake).

Targeted Strategy 3: Focus on illustrations. Pointing to various objects and characters as you read picture books captures ELL students’ interest and helps them learn the words that describe what they are seeing in the book. As a teacher reads chapter books or short stories to a large class, overhead transparencies of illustrations or scanned pictures on a computer help make the read-aloud more comprehensible to ELLs. For example, an ESL teacher we know was reading Holes (Sachar, 2000) to a 2 3

See Chapter 4, pages 185–186, for details about pictorial input charts. A cloze activity is one in which students predict words that are missing in a written passage and fill in the blanks with words. See Appendices G–K for examples of cloze activities.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… group of students, and she showed an overhead transparency of the dry, flat wasteland of Texas (the setting for the book) and a picture of children digging several holes (a key element in the book).

Teacher read-alouds often include books that have been made into movies that many native-English-speaking students have seen, but ELL students may not have. It is helpful to provide time prior to the read-aloud for ELL students to view the movie of the book in its entirety, or in segments, if it’s a longer book. The students will especially benefit if a fluent English-speaking partner views the movie with them and helps clarify things, when necessary. If a dubbed or subtitled version of the film is available in the student’s L1, it is a good idea to view this version before watching it in English.

Targeted Strategy 5: Encourage reading along during read-aloud. When students have access to a copy of the book being read aloud, they can follow along in their own copy, which gives them insights into many features of written text and reading aloud. For example, they can see how fluent reading sounds, how sound/symbol correspondences work, and how words and phrases look and are pronounced. This is particularly important for ELLs. We have seen a teacher use this strategy very effectively. She has several copies of the read-aloud book available and students take turns following along in a copy. What usually happens is that a great many students cluster around the student whose turn it is to hold the book and follow along, too. If the ELL student is literate in his or her native language, it is also useful to encourage the student to read a translation, if it is available.

Targeted Strategy 6: Listen to books on tape. Make audiotaped versions of books that will be read aloud available to students. Commercially produced audiotapes or CDs come with copies of the book and usually include a signal to indicate when to turn the page. However, it isn’t necessary to purchase tapes or CDs if the teacher or a volunteer is willing to record books. Books and tapes/CDs can be stored in plastic storage bags and should be clearly labeled. A tape recorder or CD player with a headset needs to be available for listening in the classroom. Some teachers we know have received small grants to purchase inexpensive machines that students borrow so they can listen to the books on tape at home, while following along in the print version.

Targeted Strategy 7: Preview and summarize or paraphrase. For books or sections of books that have especially difficult language, it helps 78

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Targeted Strategy 4: Watch the video.


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 to preview the scene or section in a few short, easy phrases. For example, we observed a teacher reading Any Small Goodness: A Novel of the Barrio (Johnston, 2003). She prepared the students for the description of the teacher, Ms. Pringle, by alerting them to abstract terminology she thought her students might have difficulty with. She also asked them to be prepared for a related follow-up conversation, as the following excerpt shows: Teacher:

Listen carefully while I read this section about Arturo’s teacher, Ms. Pringle. He says that “she’s got ‘excessive sparkle.’” Something that sparkles is very shiny or bright. As I read this section, think about why he describes her that way. What else does he say about her?

Situation 2

My ELL students understand me when I talk about things that they are familiar with, but they look totally lost when I teach abstract ideas or unfamiliar content.

Targeted Strategy 1: Preteach or provide background information. Bring in pictures or objects to help students understand key vocabulary and concepts prior to beginning a unit. For example, an ESL teacher we know did the following with her ELL students prior to beginning a unit on the Jamestown colony: c

Showed the students a map of the world.

c

Helped students locate England and Virginia, and wrote these place names on chart paper.

c

On the map of the world, moved pictures of ships from England to Jamestown, while talking about events surrounding this movement.

c

Showed pictures of the English settlers—again, writing important words on the chart paper (John Smith, John Rolfe, James River, settlement, settlers).

c

Had a conversation with students about how they had come to North America.

c

Asked students to compare their arrival to the arrival of the English settlers.

Targeted Strategy 2: Use pictorial input charts. The teacher introduces a topic (for example, volcanoes, photosynthesis, westward movement) through talking while drawing a picture in front of the students (a pictorial input chart). In this way, students have access to both Chapter 2: Listening Situations

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… auditory and visual input. (See Chapter 4, pages 185–186, for more information about using pictorial input charts.)

Hands-on activities help ELL students acquire knowledge and vocabulary, and can help enormously in the development of reading and writing skills. Hands-on learning can also be used for assessment purposes by enabling teachers to measure both factual knowledge and comprehension. See Figure 2.3 for hands-on subject-area projects and activities that have proven to be particularly helpful in supporting ELLs.

Targeted Strategy 4: Allow time for pair shares and table talks. It is very important to provide time for students to talk with a partner or in small groups about what they have just learned. For a lesson on the Amazon, for example, the teacher might begin by holding up a picture of the Amazon jungle and asking, What do you see here? Subsequent pair-share questions or table discussions could focus on Which animals are you familiar with? What kind of place is this? Where might we see a jungle like this? Why are there so many plants in the jungle?

Targeted Strategy 5: Use charts and graphic organizers. Charts and graphic organizers, such as KWLH (What I Know, What I Want to Learn, What I Learned, and How I Learned What I Learned), Venn diagrams, and timelines help students focus their listening. (See Chapter 3, pages 125–126, for further discussion of KWLH charts.) For example, students watching a video about the Amazon jungle can complete a KWLH chart prior to watching the video, and then complete a Venn diagram after they have watched it. (See Figure 2.4.)

Math

counting, measuring, weighing, estimating, sorting

Social Studies

taking photos, painting or drawing pictures and murals

Science

conducting experiments, going on scavenger hunts, recycling, caring for animals, classifying information

Language Arts

creating books, making puppets, collaboratively developing skits

Figure 2.3: Subject-Area Hands-On Activities 80

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Targeted Strategy 3: Introduce hands-on activities.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Animals

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

City

Rain forest

Figure 2.4: Venn Diagram for Amazon Jungle

Targeted Strategy 6: Have students work with sentence strips. One way to actively engage ELL students in learning content material is through an activity in which they are given a series of sentences to put in the correct order. Sentence strips can be used in science to help students understand the order of processes, such as an experiment, or in social studies to reference dates and time. For example, when studying the conditions needed for plants to grow and thrive, Dorothy did the following with a small group of students: 1. Explained the purpose of the experiment. 2. Demonstrated how to plant a bean seed in a small container. 3. Asked the students to plant their own bean seeds. 4. Discussed with students the steps they took to plant their seeds. 5. Recorded these steps (not necessarily in the correct order) on the chalkboard. 6. Gave each student a sentence strip and asked them to record one sentence on the strip (a different sentence per student). 7. Asked students to put the sentences in the order in which the experiment was conducted. (See Figure 2.5, page 82, for an example of unscrambled sentence strips.) 8. Gave each student a strip to memorize. 9. Took away the strips and asked the students to put themselves in the correct order by listening to the other students recite their sentences.

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I soaked the seed.

I put the seed in the dirt. I put water on the dirt. I put the cup next to the window.

Figure 2.5: Sentence Strips Arranged in Order

Targeted Strategy 7: Work with sentence halves. To build comprehension of subject matter material and learn key facts, it can be helpful to ask students to listen for their sentence partners or other halves. 1. Give one half of a group of students the beginning of factual sentences and the other half the end of these sentences. (See Figure 2.6 for an example of sentence halves, which comes from a unit on Thomas Edison.) 2. Student 1 reads the beginning of a sentence out loud. 3. Students with ending sentences must listen carefully to know if they have the end of that sentence. The student with the ending for that sentence reads it out loud. 4. This process continues until all of the sentences have been read. 5. After pairs read all of the sentences, have them physically put sentences together on matte board or a poster.

Situation 3

Sometimes I look at my ELL students’ faces and they are blank, exhausted, and/or confused—as if they’ve stopped listening.

Entering a new culture and learning a new language is physically, cognitively, and emotionally demanding. In addition to the stresses of the school environment, ELL students may be experiencing similar tensions at home,

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I put dirt in the cup.


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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

My name is

Thomas Edison.

I was born in

1847.

When I was 14,

I published my own newspaper.

I invented

the lightbulb and the phonograph.

My nickname was

the Wizard of Menlo Park.

When I died,

the lights in the U.S. were dimmed for one minute.

Figure 2.6: Sentence Halves: Thomas Edison

as parents and siblings do their own adjusting to their new environment. In addition, refugee students may be suffering symptoms from traumatic events they’ve experienced. (See Chapter 1 for an in-depth discussion of sociocultural issues affecting ELLs.) Common physical reactions to these stresses include tiredness, sleeplessness or oversleeping, headaches and stomachaches, and susceptibility to illness. The emotional effects can include anxiety, irritability, aggressiveness, and depression. As mentioned previously, stress and anxiety can have a significant effect on an ELL student’s language development. When ELL students show signs of listlessness, irritability, or anxiety, it is best to provide them with a time-out from the more rigorous demands of learning.

Targeted Strategy 1: Use physical activity. Students who have spent little or no time in a classroom and are unaccustomed to sitting for long periods of time often benefit from physical tasks, such as the following: c

Stapling papers.

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Running errands.

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Tidying a closet.

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Collecting or distributing books.

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Posting information on a bulletin board.

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Putting pictures on the wall.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Care must be taken, however, that ELL students do not spend unnecessarily long periods of time doing these tasks once they are accustomed to school life and/or when they no longer need emotional time-outs.

From time to time, invite students to do something they especially enjoy or have done before with fewer linguistic demands than typical school tasks. Some less linguistically demanding activities include:

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Computer games.

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Word searches.

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Listening to stories.

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Watching videos.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Strategy 2: Offer a less linguistically demanding activity.


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C HAPTER 3

Speaking Situations T

he oral development of English language learners progresses in stages, as do all other aspects of second-language development. The first stage for many ELLs is silence, followed by one- or two-word utterances, phrases, sentences, and finally complex discourse. (See Figure 3.1 on the next page for an overview of second-language production stages.) It is important to understand that although these stages and time frames provide a rough framework of ELLs’ oral language development, there is considerable variability, particularly with older students. Teachers may find that some students begin to speak immediately or move quickly from nonverbal responses to phrases or sentences. For example, Dorothy taught a newcomer middle school student who picked up the phrase Oh my God within the first few weeks of his arrival in the U.S. and used that phrase, almost exclusively, with great facility and varying intonation depending upon the circumstance (gleefully, fearfully, woefully, and so on) for the next several weeks until he began to use sentences and more complex conversation. How and when students move through these stages depends upon a number of factors, including age, personality, cultural background, and learning environment. In addition, context plays a large part in ELLs’ language production. Students may speak fluently when using greetings and other 85


Stages

Characteristics

Approximate Time Frame

Preproduction

Responds nonverbally.

0–6 months

Single-word production

Responds with a single word (e.g., Yes, No, Come).

3 months–1 year

Early production

Combines two or three words (e.g., Pencil on floor, Where teacher? ).

6 months–1 year

Speech emergence

Uses phrases (e.g., I see it there. Where you going? Time for lunch.).

1–3 years

Intermediate fluency

Uses sentences.

3–5 years

Advanced

Uses complex discourse.

5–10 years

Figure 3.1: Stages of Second Language Production (The Natural Approach [Krashen & Terrell, 1983])

basic phrases in routine interpersonal situations, but speak haltingly when constructing sentences to express more complex ideas. In addition, the student who is discoursing in fluid sentences in an ESL pull-out classroom or sheltered content class may revert to silence or short responses when mainstreamed with native-English speakers. In order to develop English language fluency, ELLs need daily opportunities to learn and practice oral English. They learn by listening to language used around them, and often use context to figure out what is being said. Although ELLs may be silent at first, their oral language development depends upon rich sources of oral language from those around them. As learners begin to speak, they need to hear and read meaningful language that is progressively more complex. They also need to participate in social and academic conversations. Because their ability to use the phonological system and grammatical structures in English is not fully developed, their speech may be ungrammatical, accented, and contain limited English vocabulary. As a result, ELLs may feel self-conscious about speaking, especially in large groups. It is important that they know that those around them will make every attempt to understand their offers of communication with interest and questions, rather than with criticism or harsh corrections. In addition, ELLs need to know that, as they are developing full academic and social competence in English, their home language is supported and respected.

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Students Aren’t Speaking English The first stage of language development is often referred to as “the silent period” since ELLs may communicate with actions (e.g., responding to a request to sit down or open a book), gestures (e.g., pointing to the apple instead of the orange to indicate their choice), or facial expressions (e.g., smiling or frowning) rather than words. During the silent period (referred to as “Preproduction” in Figure 3.1), the learner is listening, observing, and absorbing the language, but is not yet ready to produce oral language. Although learners are not producing oral language at this stage, it does not mean that they are not processing it. Observant teachers may note how emergent language learners closely watch their classmates, mimicking their behavior or silently mouthing words and phrases to themselves. In fact, parents of ELL students have reported to Dorothy that this stage can be one of the most exhausting periods of language learning as the learners carefully monitor everything around them while they try to blend in and assimilate to their new environment. Teachers can help their ELL students at this stage of language development by including them in classroom activities in nonverbal ways, such as asking them to point to a picture, close the door, or hand out papers. Pressing ELLs to speak in this early stage of learning will not speed up the language-learning process. Rather, students benefit most from a classroom environment in which they feel safe enough to take the risk of speaking when they are ready. Nonverbal communication, such as smiling, learning a few words in the student’s home language, and developing a system of friendly, helpful classroom partners to act as peer support will not only make ELL students feel more comfortable and foster their receptive language learning, but also provide the kind of safe environment in which they feel free to risk speaking when they are ready.

General Strategies ................................. General Strategy 1: Ask students to do classroom tasks that are physically active. It is important to engage ELLs who aren’t yet speaking English in the life of the classroom, and asking them to complete tasks that do not rely on talking, but on physical actions, is one way to accomplish this goal. For example, they can pass out paper, collect books, or hand out equipment in P.E. class. Through these activities, students learn vocabulary and come to feel they have a meaningful presence in the classroom. At first, it may be essential to Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… accompany the request with gestures and a demonstration in order to make the task comprehensible. Also, the teacher and student may complete the task collaboratively the first time it is done in order to make the task clear.

Assigning a few partners to the new student is a strategy that we have found to be very worthwhile. Partners can include students who share the emerging speaker’s language, but a shared language is not necessary. Also, it is advisable to assign more than one partner to a newcomer student— partners can be assigned for different activities, different times of the day, or different classes. For middle school and high school students who change classes, one important partner role is to help beginner ELLs navigate from class to class and understand procedures in such places as gym locker rooms and cafeterias. It is important that partners are taught how to work with ELLs. Helpful hints for setting up a buddy system to work with newcomer ELL students are available at www.everythingesl.net/inservices/buddies.php.

General Strategy 3: Employ art, science, drama, and P.E. activities. These activities are particularly helpful because they require high levels of physical activity and don’t require nearly as much expressive language as other subjects. Keep in mind that demonstrations and gestures will still be required when explaining tasks to newcomer ELLs.

Situation 1

I have students who have been in the country for a few months, and they still rarely speak in class, or answer with only yes/no answers.

It is not uncommon for newcomer ELLs to not speak for several months or respond in short, one-word answers. At first, teachers can communicate with newcomer ELLs in nonverbal ways. As their language comprehension increases, students can be encouraged to expand their responses and even initiate conversations by providing them with situations where they can authentically produce a more extended response. Sometimes a yes or no answer is indicative of caution, so ELLs need to be in an environment where they feel they can increasingly take risks. It is important that the activities and communication are focused on the extension of speech, not correction. The following strategies can help facilitate communication during these early stages of preproduction and emerging language. 88

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General Strategy 2: Develop a partner system.


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Targeted Strategy 1: Post pictures of classroom routines and objects. Posting pictures of classroom routines and objects will allow both students and the teacher to point to what they need or what action is called for. For example, a teacher can ask ELLs to point to a picture of a lunch bag or a cafeteria tray to find out if they have brought their lunch. If a student appears to be sick, a teacher can use a labeled picture of the human body, and point to the part that is typically associated with a medical condition while using facial expressions and gestures to show pain (for example, pointing to the stomach and saying “Do you have a stomachache?,” pointing to an ear and saying “Do you have an earache?,” or pointing to the throat and saying “Do you have a sore throat?”). The student can point to where it hurts. Drawings should be culturally diverse and include situations or objects that ELL students will recognize (for example, rice balls, beans and rice). Teachers may want to keep pictures or boxes of sanitary napkins available out of the public eye for adolescent females who may need them. Male teachers will want to negotiate such interactions through a female peer partner or a female teacher since to discuss issues of menstruation with a man would be taboo in the cultures of many English-language learners.

Targeted Strategy 2: Introduce hands-on projects. Hands-on projects, such as science experiments, designing or building structures, and making papier mâché figures, are excellent activities for ELL students during their silent period. Through these activities, students can learn content-area vocabulary and demonstrate their understanding of oral directions. A number of hands-on activities for science and social studies can be found in Building Science Skills for Social Studies (Nelson, 1999).

Targeted Strategy 3: Take photos. Students can use inexpensive cameras to take photos of family members, friends, and/or neighborhood locations. They can then point to items such as the tree, their house, their mother, their baby sister. Alternatively, the teacher or a partner can point to items and ask questions, such as “Is this your little brother?”

Targeted Strategy 4: Build scenarios on magnetic or felt boards. Magnetic or felt boards allow students to build entire scenarios while still in the preproduction stage of speaking. Teachers or peer partners can give instructions for manipulating objects (“Move the airplane onto the runway”; “Put the carrots in the grocery cart next to the peas”). As students’ understanding increases, they can answer more complex questions and follow Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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Targeted Strategy 5: Tell a story while manipulating Cuisenaire rods. A set of Cuisenaire rods consists of several wooden, four-sided, multicolored rods that range in size from one square centimeter to ten centimeters; each size has a designated color. They were developed for use in schools to teach fractions and other aspects of math. Gattegno (1972) introduced them as a language teaching tool in a methodology he termed the Silent Way, which is grounded in the theory that language is best learned when the teacher intervenes as little as possible. Teachers using the Silent Way communicate with just a few words and occasional mimed actions and gestures, but encourage their students to create and manipulate language through the use of Cuisenaire rods and/or color charts. Rods can represent sounds, words, grammatical points or people, places, and objects. The rods give students a visual reference and something to physically manipulate without fear of overly critical responses from teachers. Usually a small group of students manipulates the rods. For example, we observed a teacher use the rods in the following way:

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The teacher laid out several long rods horizontally in a rectangle and said, “Cafeteria.”

c

She placed several yellow rods vertically in a row inside the rectangle and said, “Cafeteria workers,” and handed them to a few students.

c

She pulled out a few purple rods, handed them to students and looked at the group quizzically. The students responded, “Students.”

c

The teacher spread out her hands to the students and to the table to indicate that they should begin to manipulate their rods.

c

The students with the purple student rods lined them up in front of the yellow cafeteria workers.

c

One of the students took a yellow cafeteria worker rod and said, “You want spaghetti?”

c

A student with the first purple student rod replied, “Yes, I want spaghetti.”

c

Another student took a second yellow cafeteria worker rod and asked, “You want meat?”

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The student with the purple student rod replied, “No, no meat.”

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

more complex directions. For example, when working with the magnetic board of a house, the teacher can ask questions such as, “Where do you think the baby should sit?” Or, when working with a board of a desert environment, students can be directed to add some animals that can live in a desert.


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c

Students proceeded to take rods representing cafeteria workers and students and created additional questions and replies about food. A student took several black rods and placed them horizontally inside the large rectangle cafeteria and announced, “Tables,” after which other students placed the purple student rods next to them. The teacher moved conversation along occasionally by pointing to student rods and looking inquisitively at the ELLs to invite them to initiate additional conversations.

Cuisenaire rod activities allow ELL students to use their imaginations while working with the words and structures they know and building language cooperatively with other learners. Alternative Students in the preproduction stage of language development can manipulate Cuisenaire rods silently as the teacher tells a story (for example, a familiar fairy tale, fable, or myth).

Targeted Strategy 6: Make use of chants, songs, and poems. Some English-language learners are more comfortable expressing themselves in choral chants, songs, or poems. These group activities allow students to develop the rhythms, stress, and intonation of English. Carolyn Graham (1978, 1993, 1999, 2001) has created books of rhythmical chants, songs, and poems to illustrate the natural stress and intonation patterns of conversational American English. In a typical lesson, students listen to the recording, go over any unknown words, and then practice reciting the chant line by line. After they are comfortable with the words and rhythm, they recite the whole chant chorally and can add clapping or other forms of rhythm (for example, patting the desk or tapping pencils together). Many of the chants have choral responses so that a group can be divided in half for call-and-response types of experiences. Also, students or pairs of students can do solos or duets. After working with jazz chants, students can modify or create their own jazz chants. For example, a modification of Graham’s chant, “A Bad Day,” which can be recited chorally or as a call-and-response, follows: I missed the bus ’cause I was late. Called to the driver, but the driver wouldn’t wait. When I got to school, the teacher said, There’s a test today, on the book we read. Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Took out my pen, my pen wouldn’t write. Wanted to go back to bed, Many poems, songs, and books lend themselves to excellent practice with the rhythms and sounds of English. For example, Shel Silverstein’s poems can be enjoyed by students of all ages. Students who are familiar with poetry or songs in their language can be encouraged to share these as well. (See Appendix B for a list of poetry titles.) Since hip-hop music is a form of poetry and music, it is an excellent way to introduce adolescent ELLs to the sounds and rhythm of English. One good Web site for this purpose can be found at Genki English (www.teachersfirst.com/getsource.cfm?id=8467). This Web site contains a collection of English-learning hip-hop songs with interactive quizzes. The songs can also be downloaded as MP3 files. In addition, each song includes picture worksheets for manipulation while listening to the lyrics in class. With judicious selecting, teachers can, of course, use lyrics from real hip-hop singers. In fact, Alan Sitomer, a teacher in an urban East Los Angeles high school, uses hip-hop to help students recognize symbolism, imagery, and irony in hip-hop music, and connect it to classic literature. In “Yo, Hamlet! Using Hip-Hop with Your Students,” Sitomer suggests that teachers begin with a specific learning objective (for example, subtext, historical content, irony), then teach the history of hip-hop (Whelan, 2007). He also comments that teachers who know little about hip-hop can let their students educate them by bringing in examples of “clean” excerpts of hip-hop and explaining why it is of literary value. Teachers will want to preview any hip-hop lyrics that their students plan to share with the class, since ELL students, especially, may be unaware of offensive or inappropriate language contained in the lyrics. Also see Sitomer’s own book, Hip-hop Poetry and the Classics (2004) available from www.alanlawrencesitomer.com/books.htm.

Targeted Strategy 7: Provide wordless picture books. Illustrations in wordless picture books provide a rich backdrop for ELLs to add their own words. For some ELLs, the absence of words in a book frees them to produce their own. Although some wordless picture books are oriented toward young children, there are many books that can be appreciated by middle- and high-school age students. (See Appendix D for an annotated list of wordless picture books appropriate for older ELLs.)

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and turn out the light.


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Ivan, he watch TV late at night.

He wake up too late.

He do homework long time.

He go to school too late.

Teacher, she yell at Ivan.

He no watch movie.

She give Ivan lots of homework.

Ivan go home.

He sad and crazy. He have big (points to head to indicate headache).

Figure 3.2: Ivan’s Wordless Picture Book With Sentence Frames

After looking at picture books such as The Silver Pony (Ward, 1992), one of Dorothy’s eighth-grade newcomer students, Ivan, created his own wordless picture book and narrated it to Dorothy and the other students. (See Figure 3.2.)

Targeted Strategy 8: Do information gap activities. Information gap activities are usually done in pairs. They are activities in which one student has information that the other student doesn’t have; or each student has information that the partner doesn’t have. Students must negotiate the communication to gather all of the information needed to complete the activity. These activities provide structured ways for ELL Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… students to begin extending speech, and can take many different forms, including the following:

One student looks at a simple picture and describes it to his or her partner. The partner draws the picture that the student describes. (See Chapter 2, pages 73–74, for an example and a detailed description of this activity.) What’s the difference? Partners look at pictures of scenes that are almost identical, but have slight differences, without looking at each other’s pictures. For example, in Student A’s picture, a woman is wearing a striped dress. In Student B’s picture, the same woman is wearing a flowered dress. Students must describe their respective pictures to find the differences and then circle each difference, as the following example illustrates: Student A: I have woman in my picture. Do you have woman in your picture? Student B: Yes. Is the woman wear thing in her ear? Student A: No. Does she have dress? Student B: Yes. Does the dress have little round thing on it, to close? Student A: Yes. (The students continue in this way.)

Usually, the teacher tells students the number of differences so partners know when they have found all the differences. Also, it helps if the teacher walks around the room to provide support and suggestions if students get stuck. These conversations generate a lot of vocabulary that may need to be clarified later (for example, the “thing in her ear” is called an earring and “little round thing on it, to close” is a button). An alternative for students who may find this activity too difficult is to have them look at their pictures together and collaboratively locate and list the differences. The following sources for “what’s the difference” (also known as “spot the difference”) activities are helpful:

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Look Again Pictures (Olsen, 1998) is filled with “what’s the difference” scenarios.

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Back and Forth (Palmer, Rodgers, & Olsen, 1985) includes several reproducible pages of short, interactive information-gap activities divided into four parts: pronunciation and listening discrimination, describing a picture, describing abstract forms and shapes, and language or word puzzles.

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Life: Picture Puzzle: Can You Spot the Differences (Editors of Life Magazine, 2007) is a three-book series that includes “spot the difference” puzzles originally from Life magazine, in which two photos have slight differences.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Describe a drawing.


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As with all “what’s the difference” activities, the puzzles are quite useful for developing vocabulary within a specific context. Picture Puzzles can also be found at the Life Web site (www.life.com/Life). c

Spot the Differences: 50 Mind-Bending Photographic Puzzles (Reguigne, 2003) is a collection of “spot the difference” puzzles arranged in categories such as seasons, animals, travel, and holidays. This author has also published Spot the Differences: Animals (2004) and Photo Puzzle Hunt: The Ultimate Spot-the-Differences Challenge (2007), which includes 100 photographs, also arranged by categories, some of which are included in her earlier books.

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Spot the Differences: 100 Challenging Photo Puzzles (George Eastman House, 2008) is another collection of spot-the-differences based on photographs from the George Eastman House archive. The photos portray historical figures, famous buildings, landscapes, and animals, and include well-known works of renowned photographers. These photos can help students develop vocabulary and learn about content areas, in particular, history.

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A Web site of “spot the difference” photos can also be found at www.spot thedifference.com.

After students become familiar with “what’s the difference” photos, they may want to use cameras and/or photo editing software to create “what’s the difference” photos of their own. For example, students can take a picture of a student wearing a hat and scarf, and then the same student can take off the hat and change the color and design of the scarf and the students can take a second photograph. These photos can be exchanged among groups of students for “spot the difference” activities.

Targeted Strategy 9: Select topics for corner talks. Students can share their knowledge about a given topic through corner talks. 1. The teacher chooses a topic that has at least four dimensions (for example, favorite seasons, styles of painting, best political candidate). 2. The teacher announces the topic and then assigns a corner to each dimension (for example, impressionism, cubism, abstract, and realism art styles). 3. Students consider the choices and then choose a corner. 4. Students talk with corner partners about why they selected that corner and generate two or three reasons why they selected that corner. 5. A reporter for each group reports back to the whole class. Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

An alternative to this activity is to assign pictures, words, or sentences on cards to each student, related to each corner (Vogt & Echevarría, 2008). Students then walk around the room sharing and discussing the information on their cards until the teacher tells them to choose a corner that best represents the information on their card. For example, in a biology class, a teacher might include four systems of the human body (such as skeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous). Students are given pictures of organs or structures (for example, heart, lungs, brain, and spinal cord) and go to the corner that they think best represents the organ’s or structure’s most important function. As students share their pictures, they can discuss whether their organ or structure belongs in that corner. If the students decide a picture does not represent an important function of that system, the student with that picture can be directed to the appropriate system. Finally, students from each corner describe their organ and system to the whole class, and explain how it functions as part of their corner’s system.

Situation 2

I can’t communicate with my ELLs because we don’t have a shared language yet.

One of the questions ELL specialists are asked most frequently is, “Do you speak all of the languages of your students?” This is closely followed by, “How do you communicate with them if you don’t?” There is no question that speaking the same language as one’s students is ideal. That is why it is important for schools to have bilingual support specialists and parent liaisons who speak the same language as ELLs. However, to acquire English, ELL students also need opportunities to communicate in their new language. Providing a supportive relationship that accepts the stages of language development and helps students move forward through these stages is an important role for teachers to play for their ELL students. Anxiety is an inhibitor to language learning; hence, the most important initial communication tactic is to ensure that students are comfortable with the teacher, their classmates, and their surroundings. Teachers should closely monitor their ELLs for signs of comprehension, and can use the following strategies to make sure they are connecting with students.

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Targeted Strategy 1: Have plenty of visual support. Photographs, pictures, posters, realia, and gestures are all ways that help ELLs see what you want them to do or what you are referring to. Pictures or posters relating to important classroom events (for example, removing objects from backpacks, going to the cafeteria for lunch, changing classrooms) can be displayed on the wall so that teachers can refer to them as needed. A teacher who notices that a student has a dull pencil can explain what to do by accompanying the verbal directions with gestures (for example, touching the student’s pencil, going over to the pencil sharpener and pointing to it, beginning to sharpen a pencil to show how it works, and then pointing to the student’s pencil and the pencil sharpener). Whenever possible, anticipate specific communication needs and provide some kind of visual support—it can make a big difference in whether newcomer ELLs understand even a little of what is happening around them, or whether they are completely confused.

Targeted Strategy 2: Provide picture dictionaries and bilingual dictionaries. Picture dictionaries are essential tools for communicating with newcomer ELL students, and they are often helpful at much later stages of language development, as well. Several publishers of books for ELL students publish picture dictionaries with pages grouped around specific themes, such as school, health, or clothing. Some of these picture dictionaries provide bilingual versions (for example, Spanish-English or Vietnamese-English). (See Appendix E for a list of picture and visual dictionaries.) Students who are literate in their native languages can use bilingual dictionaries to look up words they want to communicate, or a teacher can look up a word he or she wants to communicate and point to the word in the student’s language. Keep in mind, however, that dictionaries have somewhat limited use in the many instances where one word has several meanings (for example, cool, meaning not warm and excellent.)

Targeted Strategy 3: Observe students and focus on the present and the concrete. It is difficult for beginner ELL students to talk about the future or the past in English because they often don’t have the necessary language. For example, Dorothy, who lives in Buffalo, New York, doesn’t usually try to initiate a conversation with her ELLs about snow in June, but in November or December when it begins to snow she brings scarves, gloves, boots, and

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hats into the class and talks about vocabulary for winter clothing and where to find them. During the first snowstorm, students sometimes don their winter clothes and go outside to make a snowman. Pay careful attention to ELL students’ faces to monitor their feelings. Notice what an ELL student is interested in and what he or she may know or want to talk about, and then select a conversation topic that is meaningful to that student. Intake interviews with parents and students can provide information about a student’s interests. For example, a teacher we know discovered that one of his ELL students, Akol, was interested in painting and art. The teacher brought in books showing the work of a variety of artists, which the student flipped through, pointing to works that he especially liked, and mentioning the artists by name. Then Akol opened his cell phone and showed his teacher some photos of a drawing that he had done of Bob Marley. Other students gathered around the photo. Some of them recognized Bob Marley and asked Akol if he liked reggae music. Other students asked Akol what he used to make the picture—paint or pencil? The teacher facilitated these conversations by pointing to pictures of paint brushes and drawing pencils in a picture dictionary and writing words on the board as the students discussed them. Akol’s teacher used his interest in art to initiate a conversation with him, and he and the other students continued to interact with him, despite the fact that he used minimal language. They used pictures and gestures to ask questions that Akol could easily respond to with a nod, a shake of his head, or a one-word response.

Targeted Strategy 4: Use actual names of people and objects rather than pronouns. Make a point of learning the correct pronunciation of ELL students’ names and use their names frequently when speaking to them or about them. In the example in the previous strategy, Akol’s teacher initiated the conversation by using his name (“Akol, would you like to look at this art book?”). The teacher regularly referred to specific artists by their names as they looked in the book or pointed to each object and person and named it, rather than saying “it” or “this one” or “that one.”

Targeted Strategy 5: Establish a morning greeting and afternoon leave-taking routine. ELL students flourish with routines (as do all students). A good way to make connections with ELLs is to establish a routine for morning greeting and afternoon leave-taking. For example, some teachers greet students at the classroom door or shake hands with them as they enter the classroom in the 98

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 morning. The teachers then do something similar at the end of the day, expressing explicit gratitude for what each student accomplished that day (“Thank you, Javier, for taking care of the math books”; “I appreciate how hard you worked in science, Mari”; “Make sure to tell your mom and dad about what you typed on the computer today, Lai”). When greeting and interacting with ELLs, it is important to be aware of cultural norms that may differ from our own. For example, touching and hugging students is not always acceptable in some cultures.

Students Are Reluctant to Speak As ELL students emerge from the silent and one- or two-word production stage, they may still be reluctant to speak in some settings. There can be many causes for this reluctance, including shyness, not having the words or grammatical structures for certain situations, or fear of making a mistake.

General Strategies ................................ ELL students generally feel most comfortable speaking when they know something about the topic under discussion, and feel that they won’t be laughed at. Reluctant speakers often feel safest when in structured situations with clear guidelines or patterns. Teachers can gradually transition reluctant speakers from these more structured activities to ones that require increasingly more spontaneous, unstructured talk.

Situation 1

I have intermediate/advanced students who don’t talk in class.

Targeted Strategy 1: Set up small groups. ELL students who are reluctant to speak to a whole class are often more willing to contribute to small-group discussions and pair shares, especially when they are carefully paired with other students, including ELLs, friends, and other students who speak the same language.

Targeted Strategy 2: Thank students for their work. A colleague of Dorothy’s makes a point of regularly thanking her students for their hard work. Acknowledging that volunteering to read or speak or contribute an opinion is a courageous act and is appreciated can motivate Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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Targeted Strategy 3: Treat questions with respect. Teachers often implore students to ask questions if they don’t understand. In reality, questions can be disruptive and annoying when asked at inopportune times, such as just before the bell rings or when the teacher wants to quickly finish up a lesson. Every question doesn’t need to be answered immediately, but every question should be treated with respect. As with volunteering, asking a question, especially in front of other students, can require bravery on the part of any student, particularly ELL students. When a student asks a question, it is a good idea to acknowledge the value of the question (“Thank you, Omid, for asking that question. Probably other students don’t know what the word environment means. Let’s find that word in our reading, and then we’ll see if we can work together to figure out what it means.”). If teachers do not have time to address a question when it is asked, they can still acknowledge that the question is important and emphasize that it will be answered, just not right at that time. Not all questions that ELL students ask need to be addressed with the whole class. For example, ELL students may have questions about words or cultural issues that English-speaking North American students would be familiar with (“What’s an amusement park?” or “What does chimney mean?”). In these cases, it’s best to establish a consistent routine, one that addresses ELL students’ need to know, but doesn’t disrupt the class. Ways to handle these more ELL-specific questions include the following: c

Set aside 15–20 minutes each day to meet with ELLs.

c

Refer students to a picture dictionary.

c

Ask students to jot down questions to ask their partners or the teacher later. (Quick sketches and/or words in the L1 or English can help jog their memories later.)

c

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Using frequent think-pair-shares1 can also address ELL students’ questions.

Think-pair-share is a cooperative discussion strategy in which students are prompted by the teacher to 1) think about a question or observation; 2) talk about their answers or thoughts with a partner; and 3) share their thinking with the rest of the class. This strategy is discussed in more detail in Chapter 2, page 67.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

students to volunteer again. It also seems to inspire other students to contribute as well. Teachers should be specific about what they are thanking students for (“Helping to stop litter is a great reason why recycling is important. Thank you, Juan.”). Of course, all students in the class should be thanked on a regular basis for their contributions, not only ELLs.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Targeted Strategy 4: Take advantage of picture talks.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Pictures give ELL students a visual support and focus for their talk. Some activities for ELL students involving pictures include the following: c

Talk about what’s happening in a poster or pictures.

c

Create a series of sequential pictures using digital photography. Students can put the photos in the correct sequence and describe what is happening. Some activities that lend themselves to this type of sequential picture taking and discussion include making a sandwich or tortilla, and conducting a science experiment.

Targeted Strategy 5: Put a poem in your pocket. Poem in Your Pocket Day was started in New York City in 2003 to recognize National Poetry Month in April, but it is now celebrated around that time in many schools around North America. Named after the poem “Keep a Poem in My Pocket” by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (White, Moore, & de Regniers, 1988), celebrants are encouraged to carry poems in their pockets and share them with friends, family, coworkers, and classmates. On Poem in Your Pocket Day (or on any day of the year), students select a favorite short poem, practice reciting it, and then share it with the class or a small group of students. After reciting the poem, students explain why they chose this particular poem. They can select poems in English, a language other than English, or bilingual poems. (See Appendix B for books of poetry about diverse cultures.)

Targeted Strategy 6: Show books, pictures, and videos of familiar content. ELL students are more likely to speak about topics with which they are familiar. Showing books, pictures, and videos of familiar content (for example, about the native lands and cultures of ELL students) is one way of drawing out ELL students. It is important to read books or show videos to students that reflect multiple realities and experiences. (See Appendix B for a list of books about diverse cultures.) One follow-up activity is to create class books that capture students’ family celebrations and experiences and could focus on one of the following: c

How marriages are celebrated around the world or across families.

c

How birthdays are celebrated around the world and across families.

c

How the end of a season is marked around the world.

c

Celebrations that are particular to just one family. (We know a family

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… that has a pig roast when a family member leaves for another country. Another family goes to a local restaurant when a child graduates from elementary school.)

Field trips can serve important purposes for ELL students. They can introduce students to new activities and places they have not had an opportunity to visit, particularly since many families of ELLs work long hours and have little money to go on excursions. For example, Dorothy and the other ESOL teachers at her school took a group of ELL students to visit the National Museum of African Art and Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Later, the classroom teacher of one of the children told Dorothy that when the student returned from the field trip, he talked excitedly for an hour about what he had seen and done on the visit, mentioning Whistler’s “The Peacock Room,” Japanese scrolls, and African sculptures and masks. The teacher commented that this student rarely spoke or shared information in class, and that this was the most animated he had ever been in class. Paying for field trips is often a hardship for families of ELL students. (See Chapter 1, pages 59–60, for ideas about how to pay for field trips.)

Targeted Strategy 8: Create dialogues. Ask students to collaborate in creating dialogues, which can be written and then read aloud. Topics can be selected from a student-generated list of possible topics, or assigned by the teacher. For example, students may be asked to generate a list of situations for role-play conversations (such as taking the driver’s road test, disputing a grade with a teacher, planning a movie date with a friend). Teachers can assign topics related to content areas, such as the negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase, Galileo defending his theory of a sun-centered universe, or the conversation between Rosa Parks and bus driver James Blake. After creating the conversations, all students or selected students can be asked to role-play them.

Situation 2

My students are reluctant to make errors, so they only say what they’re sure of or don’t speak at all. They’re overly cautious.

Situation 3 102

I have students who ask other students to speak for them.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 7: Go on field trips.


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Although these two situations manifest themselves in slightly different ways, both the causes and the strategies for addressing them are likely to be similar, so we are discussing them together. Reasons for hesitancy in speaking may be grounded in the individual’s personality or cultural norms. Even though personality has not been found to have a long-term effect on second-language acquisition (Lightbown & Spada, 1993, 2006), research has indicated that low anxiety and a tendency to be outgoing do have a positive effect on L2 learners (Dulay, Burt, & Krashen, 1985; Wong-Fillmore, 1985). Self-confidence leads to sociability, which in turn results in communicative fluidity. Hence, an introverted or anxious student may be more reluctant to spontaneously engage in conversation than an extroverted or self-confident one. Cultural factors may also come into play in a student’s hesitancy to speak in the L2. Some ELL students come from learning environments in which accuracy is valued above experimentation. Particularly when learning another language, students may be used to reproducing accurate translations of texts and reciting scripted dialogues, rather than formulating opinions and responses, and realizing that making errors is part of the languagedevelopment process. In addition, in some cultures, girls do not attend school or share classrooms with boys, and are expected to be silent in school and other public settings. The most important way that teachers can help ELL students overcome their reticence and/or fear of making mistakes is to show that their attempts at communication are appreciated by both the teacher and the class. The activities for building classroom community in Chapter 1 (pages 20–22) can help students learn to respond in supportive, uncritical ways that don’t discourage their ELL peers from speaking for fear of making a mistake. In addition, many of the strategies described in Situation 1 may encourage students to extend their speaking beyond rote responses. The following activities also help transition students from structured to more unstructured speech.

Targeted Strategy 1: Try to speak the student’s native language. On occasion, ask the student how to say words or phrases in his or her native language. Label the room with words and phrases in the languages of ELL students and practice saying these words. When you mispronounce the words and make other mistakes, this will show ELLs how normal it is to make mistakes.

Targeted Strategy 2: Encourage PowerPoint presentations. Students can create PowerPoint presentations about some aspect of their lives Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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(for example, their family, where they live, their friends), their native land (for example, geography, music, history), or a content area (for example, causes of World War I, important inventions). Dorothy’s students have particularly enjoyed creating PowerPoint projects about their native city or a city that they have spent time in. The slides of the presentation provide ELL students with a focus for speaking, but when classmates ask questions, students have the opportunity to speak extemporaneously. Extremely shy or reluctant students can give these presentations with a partner.

Targeted Strategy 3: Assign real-life projects. Carlyn Syvanen (2000) provided a real-life learning experience for her intermediate and advanced ELL students through a school-wide recycling program. She designated one of her classes as the Recycling Team, whose responsibility it was to make presentations to other classes about the importance of recycling—explaining how to do it, distributing recycling containers, and collecting recyclables once a week. Speaking roles for the students included the following: c

Persuading others to recycle (for example, through class presentations).

c

Communicating with teachers and office staff about the recycling schedule.

c

Politely interrupting classes when collecting the recyclables.

c

Requesting needed supplies.

c

Informally chatting with office staff as they collected the recyclables.

Other kinds of real-life learning experiences might include planting and maintaining a school garden and running a school supply store.

Targeted Strategy 4: Play the Liar’s (or Actor’s) Club. This activity provides students with an enjoyable pretext for speaking, as well as a way to learn about each other. It integrates many skills, all centered around practicing and using English (Wheeler, 1994). We have found that it works well to follow this procedure: 1. Explain to students that they are going to see how many good liars (or actors) there are in the class. 2. Provide an example by writing three sentences about yourself on the board (one of which is true and two that you make up), and asking the class to decide which is true and which two are not true. For example, Dorothy might write:

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 • I rode an elephant in India. • I learned to ride a bicycle when I was 40. • I lived in the Amazon jungle.

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3. Ask everyone to vote once for the sentence they think is true. 4. If the class does not guess the true sentence (in the above example, the final sentence, I lived in the Amazon jungle, is the true sentence about Dorothy), this proves that the student (or teacher) is a good liar/actor and can be a member of the Liar’s (or Actor’s) Club. 5. Once students understand the principle of the game, ask them to write three sentences about themselves—one true sentence and two that are not true. The teacher might want to give some examples of sentences that are too outrageous to believe, too easy to believe, or already known about them (I visited the moon or I am in the eighth grade). 6. Students take turns writing their three sentences on the board and reading them out loud. The rest of the students vote on which sentence they believe to be true. If a majority of the class was not able to choose the true sentence, the students’ names are recorded as members of the Liar’s (or Actor’s) Club. This activity usually generates many follow-up questions about the true sentences, since good ones are usually a little offbeat. (See Chapter 1, pages 20–22, for additional activities that help students get to know each other.)

Situation 4

I have students who talk in class only during structured activities, such as listen-and-repeat activities, reading aloud, and sharing completed activities.

Many of the activities listed in Situations 1–3 in this section can be useful for helping students express themselves beyond structured activities. Following are some additional activities that can help students express themselves more extemporaneously.

Targeted Strategy 1: Build in jigsaw activities. Jigsaw activities can be used with most content areas. c

To begin the process, the class is divided into small groups, and each home group is assigned responsibility for learning about one portion of a whole lesson. For example, if the whole lesson is for students to

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c

After each member of the group understands the assignment, the group decides how best to represent the information to others and prepares index cards, maps, illustrations, timelines, or other material to use in their explanations.

c

The teacher rearranges the students into new groups (jigsaw groups), with one member from each home group assigned to a jigsaw group. (Students can be numbered off so that all ones join one group and all twos join another group.)

c

Students share what they have learned about their particular area in their jigsaw groups.

c

The jigsaw group completes a project or product to share with the class. In this example, one group could put together a chronological timeline showing the events leading up to World War II, while another might create a map showing how an event in one country affected another event in another country.

In the end, each student has been responsible for becoming an expert on one particular aspect of a topic, communicating that information to others, and learning from others in order to show understanding of the whole topic.

Targeted Strategy 2: Buy your seat. This activity works particularly well in a homeroom or conversation class, but can be modified to work in many different kinds of classrooms. Upon entering the classroom, students are asked to “buy” their seat by providing a piece of information before they sit down. The information can be about the students’ personal or school lives (for example, they won their soccer game the day before), a local event (for example, there is a big sale at Macy’s), a news event (for example, there was an earthquake in Turkey), sports or weather news (for example, the Super Bowl is this Sunday; it’s supposed to rain tomorrow). No news or information can be repeated, so if students repeat something that has already been reported, they have to think of something new. For this reason, students are encouraged to come to class with a couple of ideas for “buying” their seat. In content-area classrooms, students may be asked to limit their responses to a particular subject. For example, in a math class they can talk about how they used math that day (for example, to count change for the bus); or, in a science class they can be asked to provide a review of something they 106

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understand the events leading up to World War II, each group could be assigned one important event to cover (for example, Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, the Nazi party’s rise to power, Germany’s invasion of Poland).


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 learned or did on a previous day in that class (for example, I learned H2O is the symbol for water). Alternative

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Buy your exit: As they leave, each student has to provide information in order to leave.

Targeted Strategy 3: Talk on self-selected topics. Ask students to prepare a series of cards on which they list or draw topics they know a lot about. Working in small groups, students take turns selecting one of their cards. They talk briefly about the topic on the selected card and answer any questions.

Targeted Strategy 4: Put questions in a can. A teacher we know used this activity as an icebreaker, as a warm-up at the beginning of the class, or when there was a little free time at the end of class. She asked the students to make a list of open-ended questions they would like to discuss with their classmates (e.g., What do you like to do on the weekends? What do you like about this school? How is where you come from different than this city? What do you think is a good way to learn to speak English?). After generating many questions, they are written on strips of paper and placed in a can. Periodically, students form small groups, take out one of the strip questions, and have a conversation about the topic question. If time allows, the teacher asks groups to share their questions and answers to the whole class. Students have indicated that they sometimes find this sharing helpful because it gives them good ideas (for example, about what to do on the weekend or new ideas about learning English). Alternative This activity can be done in content-area classes as a review to a unit recently completed or as part of a current unit. For example, during a unit on ancient Egypt, students can create questions (e.g., What are hieroglyphs and why did they disappear in Egypt? What is the process of mummification?) and include them in the can. When students are answering questions, teachers can make books, maps, picture dictionaries, and other reference materials available for students to consult.

Targeted Strategy 5: Encourage open-ended role-plays. Open-ended role-plays offer a collaborative learning experience that can lead quiet students to develop enough confidence to speak up. As students work in pairs to create scripts in response to a prompt provided by the teacher, and as Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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c

Tell the school nurse that you don’t feel well.

c

Introduce your parent or guardian to the teacher.

c

Explain to a store owner or clerk that you received the wrong change.

c

Set a time to meet a friend at a movie.

c

Explain to a teacher why you don’t have your homework.

c

Call 911 to report an emergency.

It is possible to assign the same prompt to all pairs and then compare their scripts, or pairs can be assigned different prompts.

Situation 5

Some of my ELL students are very reluctant to share opinions.

In some cultures, rote learning is stressed, and students may never be asked to express an opinion. Also, some students from countries with oppressive regimes may be fearful of the repercussions of giving opinions. These students may require time before they feel safe enough to offer an opinion on what they consider to be controversial topics. In addition, there are cultures in which it may be considered unfeminine for women to express strong opinions, or in some countries or cultures, women never articulate opinions in front of men. Learning how to express and defend opinions is a standard dimension of North American education, and teachers will want to help their ELL students learn how to do so effectively and without fear.

Targeted Strategy 1: Create a safe environment for opinions. Students who have their opinions or observe other students’ opinions harshly critiqued, rebuked, or rejected will be reluctant or unwilling to express themselves in the future. It is imperative for teachers to set up guidelines for responding to comments or remarks that allow for no put-downs or rude responses. (See Chapter 1, pages 18–32, for specific strategies.)

Targeted Strategy 2: Provide words and phrases for expressing opinions. In class, brainstorm words and expressions for introducing an opinion (e.g., I think ____; I believe ____; In my opinion ____;) and words and expressions for 108

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they listen to these scripted conversations, they learn to develop useful schema for similar situations in the future. Some possible role-playing situations include the following:


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

agreeing (e.g., Yes, I agree with you, and I also think ____; That is my belief, too) or politely disagreeing with someone (e.g., I understand what you are saying, but I believe ____; I disagree with what you said because ____; That’s an interesting opinion, but I think ____). Practice using these expressions in class with “safe” subjects, such as opinions about favorite foods, animals, or sports.

Targeted Strategy 3: Initiate polls or oral questionnaires. Students can be asked to answer questions and collect information about topics, such as favorite sports or how they get to school, and to create charts or graphs representing the information they collected. The National Center for Educational Statistics provides an easy-to-use system for creating many different kinds of graphs at its Kids Zone Web site (http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/ createagraph/default.aspx) As a follow-up to these polls, students can explain their answers more fully in small groups or as a whole class and discuss why some responses may be more popular than others (for example, why more students prefer soccer to volleyball).

Targeted Strategy 4: Build in think-pair-shares. Students are often more willing to share opinions in pairs or small groups. Teachers can encourage students to share their opinions by regularly including think-pair-shares in which teachers ask a question, give students time to think about the question and share their responses with a partner, then share their responses with the whole class. For example, when reading The Bluest Eye (Morrison, 2005), a teacher might ask students if they think the character Pecola would have wanted blue eyes if she came from a loving family.

Targeted Strategy 5: Set up a value line. After discussing an issue in which opinions may vary, the teacher can ask students to place themselves on an imaginary value line to represent their position on the subject (Vogt & Echevarría, 2008). The value or position can be about current issues or historical topics. For example, Buffalo, New York, is currently discussing the issue of whether to allow gambling casinos. In this example, after reading and researching information about the proposal and its pros and cons with her class, Dorothy asked two students representing opposing viewpoints (opposed to casinos and supporting casinos) to stand on either end of the value line and take turns persuading students to join their end of the value line. After both students expressed their sides of the issue, students placed themselves on the value line according to their position (for example, how strongly they supported or were opposed to gambling casinos Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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in Buffalo). In order to place themselves correctly, students needed to discuss the opinions of others as they assumed their positions on the line. After all the students had found a position on the line, some students explained their positions on the line. Teachers should keep in mind and allow for the fact that students’ first languages may be used, especially with newcomer students, as students discuss the complexities and subtleties of the issue. Also, if students appear to be reluctant to express their opinions, teachers can ask students to assume the role of a specific character or historical figure and justify that person’s position on the value line.

Targeted Strategy 6: Start opinion blogs. Opinion blogs give students an opportunity to see how people express their opinions. In blogs (Web logs), authors write about a topic and invite readers to comment on what has been said. The TeachersFirst Web site (www.teachersfirst.com/content/blog/blogbasics.cfm) includes a good description of how to use blogs. Teachers can create blogs on any topic and invite students to add their comments. Students can share their own blogs with classmates or may choose to read blogs of other students. Examples of classroom blogs can be found at Classroom Blogs and Wikis (www.my-ecoach. com/online/webresourcelist.php?rlid=4992#2).

Grammatical Structures Making grammatical errors is a normal part of language development and learning. Research has shown that most errors that second-language learners make are not the result of their native language, but the developmental order in which English is acquired, and this is shared across languages. Some of these errors are similar to those that young children make learning their first language (Dulay, Burt, & Krashen, 1985). As ELLs begin to speak, they gradually develop an understanding of grammatical structures (for example, tense endings, plural markers, negative sentences, and question order). Analysis of second-language learners’ development shows that these structures are acquired not in the order in which they are taught, but in a developmental sequence of acquisition common to English-language learners. For example, ELLs usually acquire the ordering of subject, verb, and object in a simple sentence (I throw the ball) and the -ing ending (She’s sleeping) very early, but other structures, such as the third person singular –s (He runs) and the present perfect (I have been there before) are typically attained much later.

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 (See Figure 3.3 for an outline of the general pattern of grammatical acquisition of English-language learners.) This process of acquiring language is by no means static; language learners are continually adding to their knowledge base of how language works as they receive and interpret additional data in the form of language input through listening, reading, and writing in the new language (Krashen & Scarcella, 1982; Lightbown & Spada, 1993, 2006; Oller, 1979). The following are some of the grammatical structures that teachers of ELLs say they are concerned about: c

Students misuse pronouns (e.g., saying he when they mean she).

c

Students omit articles (e.g., I have book for I have a book or I have the book).

c

Students omit verb endings/inflections, such as the final –s, –ed, –ing (e.g., I walk to school yesterday for I walked to school yesterday, and My dog play in yard for My dog plays in the yard).

c

Students mispronounce inflections (talk-ed for talk+t) (e.g., He talk+ed to me after school for He talk+t to me after school).

Word Order (in simple declarative sentences) Nominative & Accusative Case in pronouns (he, him)

Plural (excluding long plural –es, e.g., boxes, dishes) Copula (to be, e.g., is, are) Progressive (–ing)

Irregular Past (went) Possessive (’s) Conditional Auxiliary (would) Long Plural (–es, e.g., boxes, dishes) 3rd Person Singular (–s, e.g., He sings.)

Perfect Auxiliary (have, e.g., I have eaten.) Past Participle (–en, e.g., I have eaten.)

Figure 3.3: Grammatical Acquisition Order of ELLs

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c

Students overuse the present progressive tense marker -ing (e.g., He walking to the bus every day for He walks to the bus every day).

c

Students omit modals (e.g., I go to the game for I can go to the game).

c

Students mix up modals and other verb forms (e.g., I can will do that for I can do that or I must to not do that for I must not do that).

c

Students have difficulty conveying meaning because the grammar is confusing (e.g., Ball no here. I can no where for The ball isn’t here. I don’t know where it is).

c

Students use double negatives (e.g., I don’t never go there for I never go there).

c

Students have difficulty forming negatives (e.g., I no want play for I don’t want to play).

Correcting these grammatical errors will not automatically change ELL students’ language patterns, nor will explaining the differences between English and the native language. However, an awareness of the basic order in which English is acquired, and an understanding between languages will help teachers understand what to expect as the students’ knowledge of the English language develops; it can also help teachers decide which grammatical structures to focus on.

General Strategies ................................ Although direct instruction of specific rules of grammar may have a measurable effect on tests that focus on form, research has shown that the effect is short-lived (Krashen, 1992). In addition, correction has not been found to be reliable in helping students overcome errors (Dulay, Burt, & Krashen, 1982; Guillén, 2007; Krashen, 1992). Correcting students’ grammatical errors should be handled judiciously; it is much more useful to focus instruction on a frequently occurring structure, particularly a structure that causes confusion for the listener. It is especially important that teachers do not correct students’ errors as they are emerging from the silent period and in situations in which they might be embarrassed in front of their peers or others. For example, in the following interaction, the teacher’s response is likely to cause embarrassment and may make the student reluctant to speak any further: Student: He have a book. Teacher:

No, that’s not right. It’s she has a book. Say that after me.

A more effective way of dealing with the error is to clarify the 112

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 confusion and model the proper usage, as the following illustrates: Student: He have a book.

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Teacher:

Who has the book? He? (pointing to Juan) Or she? (pointing to Patricia)

After this exchange, the teacher would be wise to make a note that pronoun differences (she/he) and subject/verb agreement (have/has) would be good teaching points . . . and to follow up on them later. Asking questions to clarify meaning in a conversation or instructional interaction is the most natural way to address grammatical confusion. For example, if an ELL student says, “I go to doctor. I miss class,” the teacher might ask, “Do you mean you went to the doctor yesterday, and that’s why you missed class?” (pointing to the day of the week corresponding to yesterday on the calendar or using the frequently used gesture used to indicate yesterday: pointing behind his or her shoulder), or “Do you mean you will go to the doctor today, so you will miss class today?” (pointing to that day on the calendar or pointing down to indicate today). These negotiations for meaning may not have an immediate effect on the ELL students’ use of language, but as their language develops, they will begin to recognize the importance of subtleties in verb tense, correct pronoun use, and other aspects of grammar, and apply them in their own speech. Since ELLs acquire language by understanding messages—in other words, through receiving comprehensible input—teachers can play an important role by providing a rich array of language experiences. These experiences should be natural, not artificial, and include activities that students enjoy, opportunities to play with language, and opportunities to use language to process, create, and express ideas in ways that are cognitively stimulating. Some older ELL students may find comfort in the explicit teaching of grammar points, especially if their previous learning of languages has focused on form and structure rather than communication. However, grammar drills should play a limited role in the classroom. In the following situations and strategies, we address some of the common grammatical errors found in ELL students’ speaking.

Situation 1

My students misuse pronouns. For example, they say “he” when they mean “she.”

Targeted Strategy 1: Talk about families. Invite students to bring in pictures of family members and share information about them. Students tend to naturally correct each other or ask for Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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clarification. For example, a student in Dorothy’s class, Akiro, brought in a picture of her sister. She told the class: “This is my sister. Her name is Junko. She is 12 year old. He is in sixth grade.” At this point, Eduardo asked Akiro, “Is Junko a boy or a girl?” Junko responded, “She is a girl. She is in sixth grade. She like to play the piano. She play piano very good.” A teacher we know asks her students to talk about the oldest member of the family or the youngest member of the family. Keep in mind that many ELL students view grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and close friends of the family as members of their immediate family. Also, they may refer to the children of aunts and uncles as brothers or sisters, rather than cousins.

Targeted Strategy 2: Create a gender Venn diagram. Students read a book or watch a movie that has a sharp contrast between a male and female character. They then create a Venn diagram delineating the roles of the male and female characters. For example, after reading Romeo and Juliet, students can watch the modern version of the play, West Side Story. After watching the film, students can make a Venn diagram about Maria and Tony. (See Figure 3.4.) After creating the Venn diagram, students can share information about what Tony did, what Maria did, and what they both did as a result of their problem (e.g., Tony used to be a member of the Jets. He didn’t want to fight any more. Maria worked with Anita in the bridal shop. She met Tony at the dance. They fell in love).

Tony

was a member of Jets kills Anita's brother is shot by Chino

Maria

Tony and Maria •

go to the dance fall in love

Figure 3.4: Venn Diagram for West Side Story 114

works at a bridal shop is friends with Anita

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Targeted Strategy 3: Do an oral cloze. In a typical cloze activity, students predict which words are missing in a passage and fill in the blanks with words that make sense. Cloze passages are frequently used in reading instruction to help students focus on vocabulary and context. (See Chapter 4, page 195, for more information about cloze activities.) However, teachers who want to focus on one element of grammar or pronunciation can do an oral cloze, in which they or other students read the passage out loud and stop where the blank would normally go; one student, a selected group of students, or the whole class then orally fill in the missing word. Following is an example of an oral cloze from the chapter “Marin” from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros—places where the missing subject pronouns would go are underlined and in italics. Note that the subject pronoun she is not deleted at the beginning of the third sentence because either he or she would make sense there. Marin’s boyfriend is in Puerto Rico. She shows us his letters and makes us promise not to tell anybody they’re getting married when she goes back to P. R. She says he didn’t get a job yet, but she’s saving the money she gets from selling Avon and taking care of her parents. When using an oral cloze, it is important to give the students an opportunity to read the text, including the blanks, ahead of time, so they can understand the context of the whole passage. Teachers can begin by doing a whole-class oral cloze. Later, selected groups of students (for example, students sitting at Table 1 or Table 2) can take turns filling in words. Or the teacher can begin by pointing to one student to fill in the first word, that student points to another student to fill in the next word, and so on until the passage has been completed. As the passage is read aloud, the teacher or a student can fill in the missing blanks on an overhead projector.

Situation 2

My students often omit the plural ending –s (for example, they say three book instead of three books).

Targeted Strategy 1: Use singular/plural flashcards. Students or teachers can create flash card pairs in which one object is singular and the other is plural. In pairs, students lay out the flash cards. One student says the word (e.g., boots) and the other student points to the flash card with the correct singular or plural objects (e.g., the picture of two boots). Students take turns saying the words, until they have used all of the flash cards. Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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A modified version of the game Simon Says is an enjoyable activity that helps ELLs discriminate between singular and plural forms of words. The students have to listen carefully to what Simon says. (The teacher initially takes this role.) If the teacher says, “Touch your ears,” they have to touch both ears. Students who touch only one ear are out. If the teacher says, “Touch your knee,” they have to touch only one knee. Students who touch both knees are out. After playing a few rounds, students can play the part of Simon.

Situation 3

My students have trouble pronouncing past-tense inflections (talk/t/, rain/d/, and want/Id/).

Targeted Strategy 1: Discuss past activities. On Mondays, Dorothy makes a point of asking her students what they did over the weekend. As students talk about their activities, she writes the past-tense forms on the board. If students seem to be having difficulty with the past-tense inflections, she places the verbs in three columns according to the sounds generated by the past-tense inflections. For example, one day, students generated the following sentences: Eugenio: I played soccer. Marta:

I watched a good movie.

Marie:

I braided my sister’s hair.

Tran:

I visited my cousins.

Mai:

I walked to the store with my sister.

Nadine:

I learned how to drive.

When she wrote the verbs on the board, Dorothy listed them in the following way: played learned

watched walked

braided visited

She repeated the words and asked students if they could figure out why they were in three different columns and what the words in each column had in common. After eliciting that the ending –ed sounds were different, she added the sound at the top of each column and reviewed the rules for –ed pronunciation, which are as follows: c

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/d/ if a verb ends in a voiceless sound

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 2: Teach a modified version of Simon Says.


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/d/

/t/

/Id/

played

watched

braided

learned

walked

visited

smiled

kissed

waited

rained

worked

wanted

bowled

cooked

added

Figure 3.5: Students’ List of Words With Different –ed Sounds c

/t/ if a verb ends in a voiced sound

c

/Id/ as an extra syllable if a verb ends in the letters d or t

Students practiced voiced and unvoiced sounds by putting their hands to their throats—the vocal chords vibrate with voiced sounds, but not with unvoiced sounds. Finally, students added words to each column. (See Figure 3.5.)

Targeted Strategy 2: Hold up a card. Each student makes three cards to represent each final –ed sound (/d/, /t/, /Id/) with one color representing each sound (blue = /d/; green = /t/; red = /Id/). The teacher pronounces a verb with an –ed ending and students hold up the card that represents that sound. To make this activity a little more competitive, students can all stand up and only students who were correct remain standing, until only one student remains standing.

Situation 4

My ELL students often confuse verb tenses. For example, they use the present tense instead of the past tense (I go to school yesterday) or overuse the present progressive tense (I am washing my face every day).

Targeted Strategy 1: Introduce focused talks. On Fridays, the teacher asks the ELL students to draw a picture or talk about what they are going to do that weekend, as the example below shows: Teacher:

What are you going to do this weekend?

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Deng:

I going to park play soccer (holds up a drawing of himself playing soccer in the park).

Teacher:

That should be fun. If the weather is nice, I’m going to the park, too, but I’m not going to play soccer. I’m going to take a walk in the park.

Marisol:

I go shopping with my friend for new shoes (holds up a picture of her friend, herself, and a pair of shoes).

Teacher:

Oh, you’re going shopping with your friend. I hope you find some new shoes.

On Monday, the teacher reviews the pictures and asks students if they did what they planned to do. Teacher:

Let’s look at your drawings and see if you did what you planned to do. What about you, Marisol?

Marisol:

Yes, I buyed new shoes.

Teacher:

You bought new shoes? Are they shoes for school?

Marisol:

Yes, I bought new shoes, but they are shoes for church.

Teacher:

Deng, what about you?

Deng:

I no can go park because it raining.

Teacher:

Oh, that’s a shame that you couldn’t go to the park because it was raining. I didn’t go to the park either. I hope we can go next weekend.

In the example above, the teacher provides opportunities for students to use the future and past tenses, but she does not overtly correct their errors.

Targeted Strategy 2: Play irregular past-tense bingo. Learning irregular past-tense forms can often be difficult for ELLs. Following is an enjoyable way to focus on them by playing bingo: c Brainstorm a list of irregular past-tense verbs (went, sat, got, had) and write them on the board.

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c

Give students a blank bingo board, and ask them to choose nine of the irregular past-tense verbs and write one verb in each square of the bingo board. Make sure that all students do not choose the same verbs or place them in the same squares. (See Figure 3.6.)

c

Play bingo by calling out base forms of the verbs (come, fight, get, have) as the students place their chips on the irregular form of that verb (came, fought, got, had). The first student to fill in all three squares across, down, or diagonally calls out “bingo.”

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went

made

wrote

had

sat

bit

did

came

left

Figure 3.6: Sample Irregular Past-Tense Bingo Board

Situation 5

My students misuse or overuse the present tense or present progressive tense (He walking to the bus every day instead of He walks to the bus every day).

Many native speakers of English assume that the present-tense form of verbs is one of the first and easiest verb tenses for nonnative speakers to learn. On the contrary, the final –s on the third person singular verbs (She plays) in the simple present tense is acquired later, while the –ing verb ending (She’s playing) is usually learned very early (See Figure 3.3, Grammatical Acquisition Order of ELLs, on page 111). As a result, teachers should not be surprised to hear ELL students using what sounds like the present progressive tense to describe daily routines (“She’s never absent. She’s coming to school every day,” instead of “She’s never absent. She comes to school every day”). Since this order of acquisition has been found to be the natural learning route that second-language learners typically take, correction, overtly or through modeling, and grammar drills may change the ELL student’s speech patterns temporarily, but are not likely to have any long-term effect. When ELLs use the -ing form of a Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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Targeted Strategy 1: Let students conduct interviews about daily routines. Pairs of students interview each other about their daily routines or activities. The students take notes about their partner’s activities and report back to the class (“Teshome gets up every day at 7:00”; “Miguel plays soccer on Tuesdays”). As a follow-up, teachers can orally quiz students to see how much they remember (“Who plays soccer on Tuesdays?”; “How many students get up before 8:00?”)

Targeted Strategy 2: Play the circle game. This circle game gives students an opportunity to use the present tense in its positive and negative forms. As a whole class or in small groups, students sit in a circle. The teacher explains that each student will draw a sentence from a box and read it out loud to the person to his or her left. The purpose of the game is to decide if the sentence is true or false (“The earth revolves around the sun”). If it is true, the student on the left simply agrees (“Yes, it does”). If it is false (“The earth revolves around the moon”), the student replies “no,” and explains what is true (“No, it doesn’t. The moon revolves around the earth”). If a student replies incorrectly, he or she is out of the circle. The game continues until only one student is left in the circle. If the student uses the incorrect verb form (“The moon revolving around the earth”), the teacher confirms that the answer is correct while supplying the correct verb form (“That’s correct. The moon revolves around the earth”).

Situation 6

My students have difficulty forming negatives (I no want play for I don’t want to play).

Targeted Strategy 1: Play the chain game. In the chain game, the first person begins with a sentence, such as “I want to go to ____ (for example, Katharine might say, “I want to go to Nepal”). The second person either agrees with the sentence (for example, Dorothy might say, “I want to go to Nepal, too”) or disagrees and adds what he or she wants to do (for example, Dorothy might say, “I don’t want to go to Nepal. I want to go to Mexico”). This game can be played with many categories of 120

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verb instead of the present tense, the best course for teachers is to concentrate on the communication and clarify any misunderstandings. However, teachers can provide opportunities for students to hear and use the present tense and, when they are developmentally ready, they will begin to use it.


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words, including countries, food (I want to eat ____), sports activities (I want to play ____), clothing (I like to wear ____), and TV shows (I like to watch ____). Although not all students will necessarily be using the negative in this game, they will have many opportunities to hear the negative being used.

Targeted Strategy 2: Generate confirm-or-deny sentences. This activity can be done as a unit review. In small groups, students generate sentences based on a topic they have been studying (for example, presidents of the U. S., provinces of Canada, Albert Einstein) and write positive and negative sentences about the topic that may or may not be true (George Washington wasn’t the first president of the United States; Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta; Einstein was born in Australia). The teacher reviews the students’ statements and makes sure the group understands whether the statements are accurate or not. Two groups face off. A student in one group reads one of his or her sentences to the students in the other group (for example, “George Washington wasn’t the first president of the United States”). Students in the opposite group either confirm the statement (“That’s right, George Washington wasn’t the first president of the United States”) or deny it (“No, that’s not right. George Washington was the first president of the United States”). The group gets a point for a correct response. The groups take turns reading until all of the statements have been read. The group with the most points wins the game. This activity provides students with practice in a content area, using positive and negative statements, and statements of confirmation or denial.

Situation 7

My students have difficulty forming questions.

Forming questions is a difficult task for many ELL students, especially newcomers. When conversing with ELLs, it is important to address the content of the questions first, rather than frustrating students by insisting that they form questions perfectly before answering them, as in the following example: Humberto: We go home early today? Teacher:

Humberto, are you asking if today is an early release day? Do you go home early today?

Humberto: (shakes his head yes) Sí. Teacher:

Yes, you go home early today. You go home at 1:00, right after you eat lunch.

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Notice that, in this example, the teacher does not ask Humberto to repeat the question correctly because she does not want to discourage him from asking questions in the future. However, the teacher may want to provide focused practice on forming questions later in class. The chain game described on pages 120–121 can be modified to include questions (I want to go to Nepal. Where do you want to go?). Additional strategies for helping students form questions follow.

Targeted Strategy 1: Create a poster of common questions. Students can help create a poster of questions they often ask in class. Creating the poster will help them form questions and, with pictures for visual support, can serve as a resource for newcomers to refer to when they need to ask questions. Some useful questions that teachers have included on posters include: c

Can you repeat that?

c

May I go to the bathroom?

c

Can I borrow a pencil?

c

Did you say ____?

c

Where is the ____?

c

How do you say this word?

c

What page are we on?

Targeted Strategy 2: Make a question word chart. Some ELL students have difficulty distinguishing between question words (for example, who question words are asking about people, where question words are asking about places). A poster with these words, some visuals, and examples can help ELL students know which word to use when they want to form questions. (See Figure 3.7 on page 123.) Teachers can also refer students to the poster when they become confused. For example, if a teacher asks, “Who picked up the book?” and a student answers “On the shelf,” the teacher can point to “Who” on the question word chart.

Targeted Strategy 3: Manipulate Cuisenaire rods. A common mistake that ELL students make when forming questions is reversing the order of the subject and verb. A visual way to help students become aware of that word reversal is to assign parts of speech to different

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Question Word Poster Question Word

Function of the Word

Example

Who

People

Q: Who is the teacher? A: Mr. Torres

What

Things

Where

Places

When

Time

Why

Reason

How

Process

Y B

Q: What is on the table? A: a book Q: Where is the school? A: on Maple Street

dYo

Q: When did you get up? A: at 9:30

?

Q: Why did you stand up? A: to get a drink of water

2+2=4

Q: How did you get the sum of 4? A: adding 2 + 2

Figure 3.7: Question Word Poster

colored Cuisenaire rods.2 Students then manipulate the rods to show an understanding of the subject-verb reversal. The following is taken from a lesson in which a teacher used Cuisenaire rods to demonstrate how to form questions beginning with a declarative sentence:

2

c

The teacher says, “Luis is going to bed.”

c

The teacher picks up a red rod and says “Luis,” and sets the rod on the table.

c

The teacher picks up a white rod, says “is,” and sets it on the table next to the red rod.

c

The teacher picks up a green rod, says “going,” and sets it next to the white rod.

See pages 90–91 for more information about Cuisenaire rods and how to use them for language development and practice.

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c

The teacher picks up a purple rod, says “to bed,” and sets it next to the green rod.

c

The teacher says the complete sentence again: “Luis is going to bed.” She points to each rod as she says the word or words it represents.

c

Next, she asks, “Is Luis going to bed?”

c

As she asks this question, the teacher moves the white rod from its place between the red rod and the green rod, places it in front of the red rod, and repeats, “Is Luis going to bed?” as she points to each rod.

c

The teacher follows this demonstration by saying a similar sentence (“Mary is eating lunch”). She sets the rods in their original pattern (red-white-green-purple) and repeats the sentence, pointing to each rod the word represents.

c

Then she says, “Is Mary eating lunch?” and points to the rods, gesturing to indicate that one of the students should move the white rod.

c

One of the students moves the white rod to the front of the sentence.

c

After practicing these sentences a few times, students can work in small groups with the rods to create their own sentences and ask questions.

c

Teachers can follow up by asking students to write sentences and questions similar to the ones they have been forming with the rods.

Alternative An alternative to using Cuisenaire rods is to use colored cards with words written on them, and to manipulate the cards. A small group of students can practice manipulating the colored cards on a table, and as a follow-up, line up the cards in front of them to form a sentence. As the teacher or the students recite the questions, the student holding the auxiliary verb (for example, is) then physically moves to the front of the line with the card.

Targeted Strategy 4: Play Jeopardy. Students can play the popular game show Jeopardy, in which answers must be provided in the form of a question within specified categories. For example, if the category is Continents and the clue is two countries that are located entirely in the southern hemisphere, the answer is What are Australia and Antarctica? Teachers and students can make up their own games or use some of the many games that are available as board games, DVDs, online games, and so on. Two Web sites that offer Jeopardy games on many different topics for K–12 students are www.hardin.k12.ky.us/res_techn/countyjeopardygames.htm and

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 http://teach.fcps. net/trt10/PowerPoint.htm. Both of these Web sites also provide

templates so that teachers or students can create their own Jeopardy games using Microsoft PowerPoint.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 5: Brainstorm and create role-plays. This activity works best if students brainstorm role-playing situations that are meaningful to them, rather than having a set of role-plays given to them. The teacher begins by asking students to think of situations in which they need to get information from someone. Here are some situations students might come up with: c

Getting college information from the school counselor.

c

Talking to a doctor or nurse about symptoms and/or treatment.

c

Asking a pharmacist about a prescription to be filled.

c

Getting information about recreational activities in the town.

c

Talking to parents about a potential babysitting job.

c

Talking to the manager of a store or fast food restaurant about a possible job.

c

Trying on shoes in a department store.

In pairs, students can create dialogues and present the role-plays to the whole class.

Targeted Strategy 6: Use KWLH charts. A KWLH chart is a graphic organizer that helps teachers and students identify prior knowledge about a particular topic (What I know); ask questions about what they want to learn about the topic (What I want to know); record what they have learned (What I learned); and record how they obtained the information (How I learned). Some teachers include only the first three headings and refer to KWL charts, but we feel that it is important for students to see how information is obtained, so we regularly include H in KWLH charts. Also, many teachers hold off on completing this chart until after students have been immersed in the topic for a couple of days (for example, through read-alouds, watching DVDs or videos, or having a guest speaker). c

Teachers begin a unit of study by recording the information on a large KWLH chart on the board or on a poster. They usually start by introducing the topic, and then students brainstorm what they already know about the topic, which is recorded in the What I Know column of the chart.

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c

Next, students ask questions about what they would like to learn about the topic. As teachers record this information on the chart, they can elicit information about how to correctly form the questions on the chart. For example, when Dorothy was working with her students on a KWLH chart while introducing a unit on the Titanic, the following conversation took place: Eduardo: We know some peoples died, but we not know how many peoples. Dorothy: How will we write that question on our chart? The answer will be a number, so what question words do we start with? Rosa:

How many! How many did die?

Dorothy: Yes, Rosa. If we start our question with “How many” it will be clear that the answer is a number. (Dorothy writes “How many” on the board, but not on the chart.) Should we make it clear how many whats? How many chickens? How many . . . ? Aarya:

How many people.

Dorothy: Yes, let’s include “people” to make that clear. (She adds “people” to the question she started on the board.) “How many” replaces the subject in this question, so we don’t need to use “did.” We can go straight to our verb, but we have to put it in the past tense since this happened many years ago. What verb will we add to finish the question? Eduardo: Died! How many people died? Dorothy: That’s right, Eduardo. (She adds “died” to finish the question on the board and then adds the question to the KWLH chart.)

The students continued by brainstorming where they could find the answer to that question, and adding other questions to the chart. (See Figure 3.8 on page 127.)

Situation 8

My students’ speech is confusing because of their grammar (Sister he no look she bus go away for My sister missed the bus).

It’s important to recognize that these types of misunderstandings result from the student taking the linguistic risk of trying to share information that is beyond his or her ability to communicate in English at that moment. Focusing on communication during these breakdowns is absolutely crucial for supporting ELLs because if we abandon the conversation, we are telling them that what they have to say isn’t important or that they are somehow deficient. 126

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What I Know

What I Want to Learn

What I Learned

How I Learned It

How many people died?

1,518

Internet: R.M.S. Titanic

How many people lived?

705

Internet: R.M.S. Titanic

Were Jack and Rose really on the Titanic?

No. They were not real people.

Internet: Jeremy Skarr’s Titanic Page

How big was it?

It had 9 decks and it was as tall as an 11-story building.

Finding the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard

How did they get water?

They used water maker machines to take salt out of the ocean water.

Internet: Sailing Thru Science

Where did it sink?

Close to Newfoundland, Canada Latitude 40° 44' N Longitude 49° 55' W

Internet: Titanic: Raising a Legend & Exploring the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard

How many lifeboats did it have?

20 lifeboats

Drawing the Titanic by Andrew Staiano

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

The Titanic sank. Many people died. The captain died. Some people lived. It hit an iceberg.

Figure 3.8: KWLH Chart for the Titanic

Targeted Strategy 1: Listen and paraphrase. When communication breaks down, try to figure out what the speaker means by picking out key words and concepts and paraphrasing what the student has said. Ask questions, and once the confusion is sorted out, respond to the content of the student’s comment, as illustrated in the following interaction. Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Student: Sister he no look she bus go away. Teacher:

Your sister?

Student: Yes. Teacher:

She went on the bus?

Teacher:

She’s not on the bus?

Student: Yes. Not on bus. Teacher:

Did she want to take the bus?

Student: Yes (nods vigorously). Teacher:

Did the bus come to the bus stop?

Student: Yes. Bus go away. Teacher:

But your sister wasn’t on the bus.

Student: Yes. Teacher:

Ahh. Your sister missed the bus? (The student nods.)

Teacher:

Your sister missed the bus? Okay. But you (points to the student) say, “My (points to self) sister missed the bus.”

Student: (nods) My sister missed the bus.

The teacher continues with the conversation, asking, “What happened to your sister?” and “Could she take a later bus?” Now that the teacher understands the gist of what the student is trying to say, she can deal with the situation of the sister missing the bus and its consequences. In other words, the teacher can figure out what the student wants to convey.

Situation 9

I correct my students’ grammatical errors, but they continue to make the same mistakes.

It’s a natural reaction for many people, including teachers, to try to correct a student when he or she uses incorrect grammar. However, it is important to remember that second-language learners typically acquire grammatical structures in a certain order (see Figure 3.3, Grammatical Acquisition Order of ELLs, on page 111). Also, studies show that simply correcting grammatical errors is unlikely to be effective. Teachers can best help their students by providing mini-lessons on targeted grammatical structures appropriate for their level of development, and language enrichment activities, such as those described previously in this section.

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Student: No.


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Pronunciation Research shows that people who learn to speak a language at an early age usually speak without an accent. On the other hand, L2 learners who begin learning a language at the onset of adolescence and beyond, often do speak with an accent (Derwing & Munro, 2005; Oyama, 1976; Piske, MacKay, & Flege, 2001). The causes underlying this phenomenon are not known, but ELLs learning a language from about 12 years of age and beyond may benefit from focused attention on pronunciation. Teachers should keep in mind that the nature and degree of ELL students’ accents can vary greatly, and that second-language learners and their parents may have strong feelings about their accents. Some ELLs consider their accent to be part of their identity while others strive for accentless spoken English (Jenkins, 2006). Teachers will want to respect the feelings students have about their accent as they help them learn to speak so they can be understood by others. In order to help students improve their pronunciation, teachers need to understand the elements of pronunciation, which are usually broken down into the following categories: c

Intonation: how and when the voice rises and falls (for example, You’re done, expressed with a falling pitch, indicates a statement, while You’re done?, expressed with a rising pitch, indicates a question or surprise).

c

Stress: how much emphasis is placed on a syllable in a word. For example, with the word record, the stress is placed on the second syllable when it is a verb (recórd), and on the first syllable when it is a noun (récord). Also, where the stress occurs in a sentence can affect meaning (He HIT me vs. HE hit me).

c

Rhythm: where pauses take place and how words and phrases are linked together. Often, stress and intonation play a part in rhythm. Dorothy’s students always laugh when she illustrates this by saying the following sentence with two different rhythms and intonations, to convey two very different meanings: What’s that# What’s that#

c

in the road ahead?$ in the road$(pause)

A head?#

Sounds: how we articulate and produce the individual sounds that make up language. Phonemes are the smallest unit of speech that distinguish meaning. For example, in English, the words bit and bet are different because the phoneme /I/ in bit and the phoneme /E/ in bet make them

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two different words. Different languages have different phonemes, which is why it is sometimes difficult for nonnative speakers to distinguish between two sounds that are not phonemes in their language. While native-language grammatical structures have limited influence on second-language learners, the phonology, or sound system, of an ELL’s first language does influence the new one, so it will help teachers if they know something about the differences in phonemes, stress, and other elements between their students’ native languages and English. Two good Web sites that provide information about phonological differences between English and other languages are: • www.btinternet.com/~ted.power/l1all.html: a Web site created by a former ESL teacher in England. This site contains common pronunciation problems that speakers of many different languages experience when speaking English. Although there are differences in pronunciation between British and American English, they are insignificant in this Web site. • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-native_pronunciations_of_English: this Wikipedia Web site provides pronunciation differences between English and some of the major spoken languages. This article links to another one, which gives information about pronunciation problems that native-English speakers have when speaking other languages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglophone_pronunciation_ of_foreign_languages).

General Strategies ................................ Auditory processing and discrimination of sounds, stresses, and rhythms of language almost always precedes production. When working on pronunciation, teachers will want to provide opportunities for: c

Hearing both isolated sounds and sounds within context.

c

Producing by physically making the sounds.

c

Expanding the sounds and other features of speech in longer passages within specific contexts.

General Strategy 1: Invite students to listen carefully to and/or record spoken English. Encourage students to listen to native speakers of English and focus on the sounds they hear, how stress is placed on certain words, how speakers pause to put ideas together, and how the body and facial expressions support 130

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speech. Once they have permission, students can record different speakers in a variety of situations and attempt to mimic small segments of speech. Many nonnative speakers who speak English clearly have told us that they have succeeded through a combination of concentrated effort and mimicry.

General Strategy 2: Take on a different character. Sometimes playing the role of a different character makes students less self-conscious about speaking and frees them to attempt new forms of verbal expression. Students can be given a short passage and asked to read it aloud in the role of a well-known person, such as the president of the country or other political figures, famous actors or singers, cartoon or comic book characters. They can also be given short role-plays in which they take on an identity such as that of a young child, an elderly person, or a person who is frustrated, angry, sad, or elated. Teachers will want to avoid situations in which students appear to be mocking or mimicking specific people in a cruel or negative way. Prior to producing the speech, students can listen to and/or view excerpts of speeches of their “character.” Ask students to analyze what makes that person’s speech unique or identifiable (for example, does the person tend to slide two vowels together, as in the typical southern U. S. dialect, or does he or she add a rising “eh” at the end of sentences to ensure that the listener agrees or is interested, as is common in Canada? Is the speech rapid, with few pauses? Do the sentences tend to rise or fall at the end? How does the person move his or her body when speaking?). Following the speech, the class can identify the strategies that the speaker employed, and suggest additional features that the character or person uses.

General Strategy 3: Shadow or echo read. Shadow reading is an activity specifically designed for practicing pronunciation. The teacher reads a short passage and students follow along and mark stresses, pauses, and intonation on their copies of the text. The teacher reads the passage a second time and the students read along, or shadow the teacher’s reading. Echo reading is a similar technique that is also used with beginners as a reading strategy. (See Chapter 4, page 163.) The teacher reads a short passage a little at a time, breaking it into phrases or sentences, and the students repeat the phrase or sentence, mimicking the stress and intonation of the teacher.

General Strategy 4: Use poetry. Poetry is an excellent way for students to listen to the sounds, stress, and rhythm of language. Students benefit if teachers share many different poems Chapter 3: Speaking Situations

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General Strategy 5: Check regularly for understanding. When speaking, it is important to check regularly to make sure that the message is being conveyed successfully. Teachers can encourage students to watch the reactions of people they are speaking to. ELLs can check for understanding by: c

Watching facial expressions: If listeners are smiling and nodding appropriately, they are probably understanding most of what is being said. On the other hand, if listeners are frowning, squinting their eyes, or just staring, they may be confused.

c

Listening for appropriate comments: Comments such as “Yes, I agree” or “That’s too bad,” or conversation fillers, such as “um hum” or “Is that right?” are often indications of understanding. If listeners respond with a comment that is not related to the topic or do not respond at all, they are probably not understanding.

c

Asking if they are being understood: When ELLs aren’t sure if someone is understanding them or if they’re getting signals that they are not being understood, they can ask the listener directly (“Have I said that clearly?”; “Would you like me to say that again?”; “I’m sorry, English pronunciation is difficult for me.”; “I said ____. Did I say it correctly?”) By raising the issue of their pronunciation themselves, ELLs can invite those who might be sensitive or embarrassed about not understanding to ask for clarification and engage them in monitoring the conversation for understanding.

When using these general pronunciation strategies or the targeted strategies that follow, it is important for teachers to keep in mind that preadolescence and adolescence are times when students are often very self-conscious about all aspects of themselves—including their speech. Lessons on pronunciation can single out individual students in a way that might make them feel uncomfortable. Teachers will want to be sensitive to this potential for embarrassment or discomfort and keep focused lessons on pronunciation short and nonthreatening.

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and discuss how poets use meter and rhythm. (See Chapters 2 and 4 for more details about using poetry in the classroom. See Appendix B for a list of poetry books about diverse cultures. Also see information earlier in this chapter, pages 91–92, about using chants, poetry, and songs, including hip-hop.)


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Situation 1

Sometimes I can’t understand my ELLs when they speak because of their accents.

Students’ speech may be hard to understand for a variety of reasons, such as stress, rhythm, intonation, and articulation of sounds. For example, ELL students may pronounce th as d or s (dis for this, sink for think), insert an e before –s (espelling), use irregular stress (for example, putting the stress on the first syllable of establish /és-ta-blish/ instead of the second syllable /es-tá-blish/), or use irregular intonation (for example, using a lowered pitch at the end of questions, such as, “Where are you?”$ instead of a rising pitch, as in “Where are you?”#). These irregularities in speech are probably the result of influences from the home language. In some cases, they may lessen or even disappear after prolonged exposure to the new language without any direct intervention from teachers. However, when communication breaks down because of an ELL’s pronunciation, teachers can help get the conversation back on track with the following strategies. As with breakdowns of understanding because of grammatical structures, it is important to respond to the content of the student’s comment once the confusion is sorted out.

Targeted Strategy 1: Keep listening. Rather than interrupting students when they pronounce a word or phrase in a way that you don’t understand, continuing to listen to them often clears up the misunderstanding. For example, if a student responds to a teacher’s question about what he or she did over the weekend with, “I do no sing,” the confusion may be resolved by simply waiting for the student to elaborate or encouraging the student to continue by responding, “Yes?” If the student continues by saying, “It raining. I no play soccer. I no go to park. I do no sing,” the teacher understands that the student wanted to convey, “I did nothing,” and can respond appropriately.

Targeted Strategy 2: Ask strategic questions using gestures or drawings. When an ELL’s elaborations don’t resolve pronunciation misunderstandings, teachers can ask questions and use drawings or gestures as in the following conversation: Sasha:

My mom no let me eat snakes.

Teacher:

Why is that, Sasha?

Sasha:

She say they no good.

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Teacher:

Do you mean snacks, like potato chips (gestures eating potato chips from a bag) or snakes? (sketches a picture of a snake and shows it to Sasha)

Sasha:

I mean snacks, like potato chips. (gestures eating potato chips)

Teacher:

Your mom is right. Snacks like potato chips are not good for you.

Situation 2

I have students I can understand perfectly well when we’re having a one-on-one conversation, but when they make formal presentations, they are hard to understand.

The causes for this situation may vary. For example, the students may not have sufficient background information and vocabulary for the more formal academic task. (See Chapter 2, page 76, for an explanation of the difference between basic interpersonal communicative skills [BICS] and cognitive academic language proficiency [CALP].) It’s possible that the student feels comfortable with the topic when reading and writing about it, but has not had opportunities to orally express the words and ideas before. Also, they may be nervous, which could affect their ability to speak clearly.

Targeted Strategy 1: Provide opportunities for rehearsal. Students need opportunities to rehearse their presentations with other students, teachers, or aides. In addition to issues such as timing, content appropriateness, and so on, which are addressed with native speakers as they rehearse, ELLs will want to pay careful attention to pronunciation, particularly of new or difficult words or expressions.

Targeted Strategy 2: Encourage visuals. Although visuals will not improve a student’s pronunciation, they can make understanding easier and give ELLs a focus for their talks. Visuals can include pictures, diagrams, graphs, posters, and PowerPoint presentations. Encourage students to point to these visual aides as they are making their presentations. For example, when one of Dorothy’s students, Fatou, was making a PowerPoint presentation about her native city, Dakar, the capital of Senegal, she explained that it was an important city because it was next to the ocean. Her pronunciation of ocean (o – see – an with three syllables and an /s/ instead of /sh/) made it difficult for Dorothy and some of the students to understand. When one of the students asked Fatou to clarify why Dakar was

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 important, Fatou repeated, “because it is too close to the ocean” with the same pronunciation of ocean, but this time she pointed to Dakar and the ocean on the map of Senegal she had included in her PowerPoint presentation. Several students responded, “Oh, it’s next to the ocean,” with more accurate pronunciations of ocean. Fatou confirmed, “Yes, it’s next to the ocean,” with an improved pronunciation of ocean. Presentations that allow students to demonstrate a skill or provide a hands-on activity (for example, henna hand painting, or how to change a tire) enhance understanding and work particularly well with ELLs as well.

Targeted Strategy 3: Provide feedback and opportunities for self-evaluation. Feedback can help students improve their presentation skills, but only if the student knows the form and content of the feedback ahead of time. For example, if the teacher or peers will be completing a rubric, the students should see and understand the rubric prior to preparing their presentation. Teachers can use many different ways to provide feedback to students on their presentations (for example, oral comments, videotaping reviews, rubrics, and checklists). The Alaska Department of Education has a Web site that provides excellent examples of rubrics for many different kinds of oral presentations (for example, skit, narration, interview). It can be accessed at www.eed.state.ak.us/tls/Frameworks/wrldlang/wlinstr3.html. Dorothy has found it effective to discuss with students ahead of time one or two aspects that they would like to focus on for improvement during their oral presentations (for example, pronunciation of words, word stress, body language). Dorothy and/or the students’ peers can then focus on these areas when providing feedback to the student.

Situation 3

My ELL students have difficulty with particular sounds, which makes them say the wrong word (e.g., snake for snack, den for then).

Targeted Strategy 1: Teach aural distinction before oral production of sounds. Students must first be able to discriminate aurally between sounds in English before pronouncing them correctly. There are a great many Web sites that focus on different aspects of pronunciation (for example, vowel sounds,

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… syllable stress, sound differences). (See Appendix F for an annotated list of good pronunciation Web sites.)

Teachers can explicitly demonstrate how lips, teeth, and the tongue are used to create specific sounds in English (for example, to pronounce /th/ as in thing, the tongue is placed between the upper and bottom teeth). Phonetics: The Sounds of American English (www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/english/ frameset.html) provides animated articulatory diagrams, audio, and video of each sound, spoken in context. Demonstrations of how to articulate sounds should be short, and teachers should avoid intense drilling or repetition.

Targeted Strategy 3: Use minimal pairs. Minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases that differ only by one sound (fan – fin, bat – pat, lip – lid). Minimal pairs are particularly useful when working with ELL students because they help students isolate and recognize the importance one sound can have on meaning. For example, if the speaker says “Fill this bag,” and the nonnative listener hears “Feel this bag,” confusion can arise. In reality, context often clears up any misunderstanding resulting from minimal-pair differences, but when combined with developmental issues of grammar and vocabulary, these sound differences can affect ELLs’ understanding of spoken English and their ability to effectively communicate their messages orally. Minimal pairs are a useful way to focus on isolated sounds that can be problematic for ELL students. Two books that include minimal-pairs activities are The PD’s: Pronunciation Drills for Learners of English (Trager & Henderson, 1983) and Pronunciation Contrasts in English (Nilsen & Nilsen, 2002). The latter book is especially useful because for each sound contrast there is a list of languages that might not distinguish between those contrasts. Some minimal-pair activities include working with minimal-pair flash cards; playing minimal-pair bingo; and playing minimal-pair card games, such as Go Fish. (See Appendix F for Web sites with minimal pairs and minimal-pair listening activities.)

Targeted Strategy 4: Conduct pronunciation scavenger hunts. This idea came from Sharon Widmayer and Holly Gray’s Sounds of English Web site (www.soundsofenglish.org/tips.htm#scavenger). Ask students to find or list as many objects as they can with a specific vowel or consonant sound. For example, if the sound is /p/, students might include pen, pencil, projector, paper, laptop, computer, paper clip, and so on.

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Targeted Strategy 2: Show students how to articulate specific sounds.


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Situation 4

My students sometimes add an extra syllable or sound to their words (e.g., es-panish).

Consonant clusters, when two or more consonants are pronounced together in the same syllable, are difficult for many ELL students because their language may not have consonant clusters or may not have them in the positions or combinations that exist in English. For example, initial consonant cluster combinations (/sk/, /st/, and /sp/) don’t exist in Spanish, which is why Spanish speakers often break up these clusters with an /e/ in the initial position to form a separate syllable, so school may be pronounced /es-kul/, similar to the Spanish pronunciation (escuela pronounced /es-kuela/). This process is called phonetic transfer, and is common among secondlanguage learners. When older ELLs hear English sounds, they often process and say them through the influence of their native language. If the sounds in the native language are a close match with the target language, then the transfer results in successful communication. When the sounds are not closely matched, then pronunciation errors occur and communication can break down. Teachers will want to be sensitive to how much time and effort is devoted to working on these kinds of errors; however, consonant clusters are a common issue among ELLs and can affect speaking, reading, and writing, so teachers will likely want to address them with their students.

Targeted Strategy 1: Talk about language differences. It is important for students to understand why pronunciation differences exist. Invite students to talk about how sounds and syllables are put together in their languages. Listening and trying to pronounce unusual sounds or combinations of sounds in their languages may help them understand that these are difficult tasks for anyone learning a new language and make them less self-conscious about pronunciation errors in English.

Targeted Strategy 2: Listen to consonant clusters. Teachers and/or students can make flash cards with consonant clusters and work with a fluent partner to listen and repeat. The PD’s Pronunciation Drills for Learners of English (Trager & Henderson, 1983) includes a section on consonant clusters. (See Appendix F for consonant cluster listening practice Web sites.)

Targeted Strategy 3: Play the consonant cluster game. This board game can be played with four players, two against two. The

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consonant cluster board has two start sides and two finish sides. Players choose different sides and travel across a board filled with consonant cluster cells to try to reach the finish line on the other side. Pairs take turns choosing a card with different categories of words (for example, a kind of tree or plant, something hard). They decide on a word that contains the consonant cluster on the blank where they want to move forward. For example, if a consonant cluster in front of their cell is gl and their card says something hard, they might write down the word glass. After they verify from the other team that their word is correct, they place their card on the gl block. The pair that reaches the Finish block on the opposite side wins. A description of this game, the game board, and cards can be downloaded at www.collaborative learning.org/consonantclusters.pdf.

Targeted Strategy 4: Focus on specific needs and share strategies. Since consonant cluster errors are often a result of students’ native languages, students can be encouraged to focus on their specific pronunciation errors. For example, Spanish speakers who have difficulty with the initial /sp/, /st/, and /sk/ sounds may want to concentrate on this area of pronunciation. A Spanish-speaking student we know told us that she eliminated the initial /e/ syllable by adding a longer /s/ sound when she pronounced words that began with these clusters. For presentations, she would write the word with an extra /s/ (sstart, sspend), to remind herself to elongate the beginning /s/ sound, thus eliminating the extra syllable.

Targeted Strategy 5: Syllable pyramid. Many students add extra syllables to consonant clusters by placing vowels between the consonants. This activity will help students recognize when they are adding extra syllables incorrectly. Give students a group of words with consonant blends and ask them to build a syllable pyramid by placing a one-syllable word at the top, followed by a two-syllable word, then a three-syllable word, and so on. An example of a syllable pyramid follows: black brainy estimate concentration disintegration responsibility

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Situation 5 Situation 6

Students sometimes omit unstressed vowels or syllables (sounds slide into each other).

Sometimes my students speak so quickly I can’t understand them.

Many preadolescents and adolescents may be self-conscious about their accents and/or think that speaking more quickly or running sounds together helps them to sound more like native speakers. In Situation 5, it is possible that students are not hearing the unstressed sounds. Whatever the cause, the strategies below can help with both situations.

Targeted Strategy 1: Slow down. Slowing their speech will help students focus on the sounds, rhythms, and stresses of what they are saying. It will also help teachers to distinguish what specific sounds or stresses students are struggling with, and they can then implement some of the specific strategies for those issues.

Targeted Strategy 2: Practice with Web sites. See Appendix F for Web sites that offer students opportunities to listen to stress distinctions and do stress-discrimination activities.

Targeted Strategy 3: Have a syllable scavenger hunt. This scavenger hunt is similar to the pronunciation scavenger hunt described on page 136, but in this case the focus is on syllables instead of sounds. Ask students to find words that have a certain number of syllables. This activity can be a lot of fun if students are able to go outside to conduct their hunt. For example, if students are asked to find words with three syllables, their list might include bicycle, evergreen, basketball. Alternative Allow students to list words with any number of syllables, but assign points with one point for each syllable (for example, one-syllable words receive one point, two-syllable words receive two points).

Targeted Strategy 4: Play the humming game. We’ve seen and played a couple of versions of this game, which helps students focus on stress and intonation in sentences.

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c

Version 1: Make two identical sets of cards with different kinds of sentences and questions on them (for example, “Where are you going?”; “You can come, can’t you?”; “It’s a sunny day today.”). Divide the class into two teams. One student from each team comes to the front of the class to be the listener. Listeners receive an identical set of the cards and stand facing away from an overhead projector screen or large monitor. The teacher projects one of the sentences from the cards on the screen and the nonlisteners hum the sentence shown on the screen. The listeners flip through their cards, and the first person to hold up the matching card gets a point. Listeners are switched until everyone has had a chance to play or all the cards are used up, and the winning team is the one with the most points.

c

Version 2: Students are divided into pairs. Student A has a set of questions and Student B has a set of answers. Student A hums the questions and Student B must choose the appropriate response. See the Sounds of English Web site (www.soundsofenglish.org/tips.htm#humming) for some good examples of questions and responses.

Vocabulary ELL students develop vocabulary through repeated exposure to new words and opportunities to use new words (for example, through a wide variety of reading, intentional word-focused activities, and ongoing review) (Wallace, 2004). When first exposed to a new language, ELL students who lack strong literacy skills in their home language will develop their vocabulary through pictures, gestures, and actions. As teachers introduce ELLs to short texts through picture books, poetry, and chants, they will begin to learn vocabulary through these resources. Reading aloud to ELL students, with support to ensure understanding (for example, pictures, gestures, explanations), is essential to vocabulary development. Later, as students become literate in English, they will begin to learn new words and the concepts that go with them through literature and content-based texts. ELLs will usually develop the vocabulary for basic interpersonal communication skills, known as BICS (for example, the language used in the lunchroom, on the playground, and in casual day-to-day conversations), before they develop vocabulary associated with cognitive academic language proficiency, known as CALP (for example, the language needed to fully understand age-appropriate subject-area content 140

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material) (Cummins, 1981a, 1981b). The following are some general strategies to help ELL students develop the initial words they need for basic social interaction, and to transition them into learning the more cognitively demanding words they need for content-area studies.

General Strategies ................................ c

At first, use gestures, pictures, realia, and labels to help students understand the meanings of the words you are using. For example, point to the chair as you ask them to sit down, hold up the red marker and the black marker when you ask which marker they would like to write with.

c

Talk to ELLs about concrete subjects and help them connect words to objects (for example, point to the student’s coat as you say, “What a pretty coat” or, as you point to something red that you are wearing, “It’s a beautiful red color. I like red, too.”).

c

Encourage students to draw to express themselves, and talk about their drawings (for example, as you look at a drawing, say “I see the boy is at the computer” while pointing first to the boy and then the computer). There is no need to ask students to repeat the words (although you may see them subvocalizing words after you say them). As students are exposed to new words over time, they will process them and begin to use common words and expressions when they are ready. (See the beginning of this chapter, pages 85–99, for information about stages of language acquisition and how to support students at the preproduction stage.)

c

Give ELLs many opportunities to interact with other students (in pairs, with peer partners, with younger or older students through cross-age buddy reading, in small groups, as part of whole-group activities). Provide many different contexts, including different subject area studies, such as math and science; in electives, such as art, music; at lunch; and in extracurricular clubs and sports.

c

Read aloud to ELLs using many different kinds of texts, including picture books appropriate for older students, poems, chants, fiction, and nonfiction. (See pages 77–79 and 157–159 for specific strategies for ensuring understanding during read-alouds.)

c

Teach new words within conceptually related sets rather than as isolated words. For example, in a unit on ecology, expose students to words about the environment, such as biosphere, geology, meteorology, ozone, and words about life forms, such as organisms, microbes, predators, prey. ELL students

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c

Relate new words to words students already know. For example, to introduce the word circumference, begin with the word circle to help explain that circumference is the outer edge of a circle.

c

Talk about prefixes and suffixes and relate them to root words. For example, to introduce the word biped, explain that bi- is a prefix that means two, and give the examples of bicycle (two wheels) and bilingual (two languages).

(See Chapter 4, pages 167–168, for helping ELLs develop vocabulary.)

Situation 1

My students have difficulty expressing themselves because they have limited vocabulary.

Targeted Strategy 1: Make picture dictionaries and bilingual dictionaries available. All newcomer ELL students should have age-appropriate picture dictionaries as resources to help them communicate. Some picture dictionaries are also available in bilingual editions (for example, Spanish-English, Russian-English). Students who are literate in their home language often find these picture dictionaries comforting and helpful. Students who are literate in their home language also find bilingual dictionaries or electronic bilingual dictionaries useful, especially to search for one or two key words that prevent them from understanding a text or to help them convey important ideas. Three precautionary notes on the use of bilingual dictionaries, paper and electronic, are necessary, however: 1. Using a dictionary is a learned skill, and teachers should not assume that all literate, bilingual students know how to use dictionaries or know how to use them effectively. 2. Many words have more than one meaning and, even if examples of usage are provided, students may still not locate the correct meaning and/or use the correct word. 3. Using a bilingual dictionary for more than one or two key words is not an efficient way to learn a language.

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are more likely to remember these words and attach meaning to them if they are exposed to the words in this contextualized way, rather than simply learning a list of words taken out of context.


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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 If ELLs are using their dictionaries to look up virtually every word, the text they are trying to read or the ideas they are trying to convey are beyond their current language stage. Teachers should encourage such students to express themselves in other ways, such as drawing or writing in their native language, and give them more time and opportunity to develop an understanding of the words in English that they need in order to articulate more sophisticated ideas.

Targeted Strategy 2: Preview vocabulary. As teachers begin a content unit of study, read-aloud, or literature study, they should preview the words that students will be encountering so that ELL students will be familiar with them in the context in which they are being used. ELL students need to understand these words, including their pronunciation, to fully participate in any discussion about the content. (See pages 79 and 156–159 for strategies for previewing vocabulary.)

Targeted Strategy 3: Talk about cognates, false cognates, and borrowed words. Cognates, words in two languages that share the same root, have similar meanings and often similar pronunciations and can be helpful to students learning a nonnative language. False friends are words that have similar pronunciations and spellings, and are often assumed to be synonymous in English but they have completely different meanings (e.g., pie means foot in English). See Chapter 4, pages 170–173, for information about how to help students develop an understanding of cognates and false cognates.

Idioms, Slang, and “Dangerous English” Nonnative speakers of a language often have enormous difficulty understanding idioms, colloquialisms, and slang. In fact, many native speakers have difficulty understanding the slang associated with a particular group in which they are not members. For example, adults often do not understand teenage slang, and native-English speakers from one English-speaking country, such as the United States, may not understand the idioms used in another English-speaking country, such as Australia. Idioms, slang, and colloquialisms are related, but carry slightly different meanings: c

Idioms are expressions that cannot be understood from the individual words used in the expression (for example, to lend a hand/to help). Idioms

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can come in and out of fashion; for example, people seldom say “It’s raining cats and dogs” anymore, whereas other idioms remain popular and are often used (for example, to be in hot water/in trouble). Idioms are pervasive, and often native speakers don’t even realize they’re using them. For example, when Dorothy asked a student to “lend her a hand,” the student looked at her quizzically, which made Dorothy realize she’d used an idiom. c

Slang is a casual form of language that typically has a short life and is often restricted to a particular group, such as teenagers or sports fans. An example is, “That was a wicked movie,” where wicked means terrific. Teenagers and young adults are most likely to use the term in this way than to connote its standard meaning.

c

Colloquialisms are informal expressions that are accepted in normal, familiar speech or are part of a regional or local dialect (okeydokey or y’all).

Another aspect of informal English is what is often referred to as “dangerous English,” (vulgarisms, obscenities, euphemisms for taboo subjects). Older ELL students are likely to encounter these kinds of words, and teenage ELLs in particular may need some guidance since these words are pervasive in many high school settings.

Situation 1

My students don’t use idioms or slang correctly.

Targeted Strategy 1: Devote time to discussing slang or idioms. Ask students to jot down times when they hear words or expressions used that they think might be idioms or slang, and then spend some time once or twice a week discussing them. Since slang is common among specific groups, such as teenagers, teachers may not know what the term means, but they can ask their students, other students in the school, or colleagues. For example, a student in Dorothy’s school recently asked her teacher what bougy meant. The student had heard a young woman use it in a cell phone conversation on the bus, and relayed the gist of the conversation, which went something like, “Well, that’s very bougy . . . Well, there’s more than one way to be bougy, you know.” Neither the student’s teacher nor Dorothy recognized the word, so Dorothy went next door and asked a class of native-English-speaking young

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 people if they knew what it meant. They told her it meant stuck-up, someone who thinks they are superior, as in bourgeois. When Dorothy relayed the definition to the student, she said, “Yes, that fits the situation exactly.” Teachers who invite questions about idioms and slang may be asked questions about words or expressions that are often referred to as “dangerous English,” and we discuss how to deal with this in Situations 2 and 3 on pages 147–149.

Targeted Strategy 2: Create an idiom and slang reference book. c

Talk about idioms and slang with students, and ask them about times these expressions have caused confusion. For example, a student of Dorothy’s was confused one day when the cashier looked at him and said, “Are you ready for me to ring you up?” The student replied, “No, I don’t have a ring,” and the cashier explained that ringing someone up meant using the cash register to total his merchandise and take his money.

c

After collecting many idioms, groups of students can work together to create an entry for an idiom and slang dictionary. They can write the idiom or slang word, write a definition for it, and explain where it might be used or add anecdotes about times they were confused by the slang or idiom.

c

Pages can be gathered in a three-ring binder by situation, subject, or alphabetical order, and added to regularly.

c

The book can remain in the classroom as a reference; teachers may want to use it periodically to teach idioms and slang, especially if many new students arrive who may not be familiar with the ones that have been collected.

Targeted Strategy 3: Find similar expressions in the L1. Students locate expressions that have equivalents in their native language. Family and community members can be very helpful in finding these expressions. The class keeps a running record of equivalent expressions in different languages, which is posted in the classroom. (See Figure 3.9, page 146.) Helpful Resources c

The Internet TESL Journal has a Web page devoted to idioms and slang (http://iteslj.org/links/ESL/Idioms_and_Slang). This page lists many other

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raining cats and dogs

llover a cántaros (Spanish) (to rain cats and dogs or pitchforks)

from the stone age (meaning very old)

de la epoca de la pera (Spanish)

in the black

no azul (Portuguese) kuroji (Japanese)

on the same wavelength

auf einer Wellenlänge (German)

Figure 3.9: A Classroom Running Record of Expressions in Different Languages

links, including the ones that follow. We recommend that teachers check out these sites before referring students to them in case there is an inappropriate word or term.3 c

American Slang for ESL Students: www.schandlbooks.com/AmericanSlang.html

c

Animal Idioms and Expressions: http://doghause.com/idioms.asp

c

Canadian/U. S. Slang Words and Phrases: www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/5949/Help/canus1.html

3

c

Commonly Used American Slang: www.manythings.org/slang

c

English Idioms: www.idiomconnection.com

c

ESL Idiom page: www.eslcafe.com/idioms

c

ESL Idioms and Slang: http://iteslj.org/links/ESL/Idioms_and_Slang

c

ESL Slang page: www.daveseslcafe.com/slang/a.html

c

The Idiom Connection: www.idiomconnection.com

c

Idioms: www.answers.com/library/Idioms

c

Eye on Idioms: www.readwritethink.org/materials/idioms/idiom_1.html

c

Settlement.org: www.settlement.org/site/celebrate/idioms.asp

c

Slang: www.englishdaily626.com/slang.php

Teachers will want to keep in mind that some idioms and slang expressions carry risqué or double entendre meanings. We discuss how to deal with what is sometimes called “dangerous English” on pages 147–149.

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Situation 2

My students sometimes mix up words (e.g., horny for ornery) or misuse idioms

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or slang (e.g., knock up).

Situation 3

My students use offensive language in inappropriate situations, but I don’t think they understand the meaning of the words.

It’s not unusual for students learning a new language to misuse it in ways that may be offensive or inappropriate for the situation. Sometimes this is because they are confusing two words that sound alike (horny for ornery), and sometimes they put words together in ways that change the meaning (for example, saying “I knocked her up,” which means to get someone pregnant in American slang, but not in British or many other versions of English, where it means to wake someone up by knocking on the door). There is even a dictionary called Dangerous English (Claire, 2000), which is explicit and not really appropriate for middle school or high school students, but can be useful to teachers who work with ELL students when situations or questions arise about words and expressions that fall into the “dangerous English” realm. In other situations, ELL students may not understand the level of offensiveness some words convey. For example, the student who tells her classmate to “shut up” may not realize that she may be perceived as being rude; in fact, in some situations, the expression shut up is used in a friendly way, as an exclamatory expression of surprise. ELL students may not be attuned to the social registers incorporated in language. For example, the ELL student who learned the expression whatever from peers may not understand why the teacher responds negatively to this word in the classroom. Learning English from peers is an important part of language learning and socialization for ELLs, but teachers must ensure that students understand the social implications of offensive language or inappropriate language. How to deal with issues of “dangerous English” in the classroom is a personal decision for the teacher. Some teachers may recognize that their students are mature enough to discuss this topic without too much embarrassment, while other teachers may opt not to discuss these matters in class because it would make them or their students very uncomfortable. Following are some ways that we or teachers we know have dealt with this issue.

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One role that partners can serve is that of cultural ambassadors to ELL peers. They can look out for them in the lunchroom and at other unstructured times, not only to make sure that they feel that they are part of the group, but also to protect them from peers who might attempt to take advantage of their lack of knowledge of social aspects of language by teaching them to swear or make offensive hand gestures.

Targeted Strategy 2: Make a list of appropriate ways of expressing anger or frustration. All students in a class will benefit from a brainstorming session on ways to appropriately express anger, including words and expressions that are unacceptable, such as Math sucks, or I hate Rosa. A list of ways to express anger from a brainstorming session might include: c

I’m frustrated because this lesson is hard.

c

I can’t concentrate because Fran’s pencil tapping is bothering me.

c

I’m mad at Ignacio because he took my juice.

The brainstorming session should include ways of politely negotiating disputes or frustrations with peers, such as the following: c

Sarah, please don’t take my pen. I need it right now.

c

Mohamed, your whistling is bothering me. Could you please stop?

c

Wilfredo, I can’t see the board. Could you please move your head?

Targeted Strategy 3: Talk about “dangerous English” judiciously and sensitively. Teachers must make their own decisions about whether to discuss vulgarisms, obscenities, or other kinds of “dangerous English.” There are various contexts in which these terms may arise in class and those contexts will play a role in helping teachers make decisions about how to address the terms. For example, if ELLs innocently ask about or use vulgar terms, the teacher is likely to respond differently than in a situation where the student seems to be trying to embarrass him or her. The following strategies are ways that we or teachers we know have dealt with this issue: c

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Tell the students that the words they are asking about or have used are inappropriate for a school setting, and that they should not use them in school. If you do not feel comfortable discussing the terms further, direct students to a person who can help explain the term and why it is

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Targeted Strategy 1: Appoint cultural ambassadors.


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inappropriate (for example, another student, a counselor, or a parent liaison with whom they feel comfortable). c

Develop a consistent pattern of signifying possibly offensive words that you write on the board (for example, with an asterisk or in red marker), and regularly explain the system. Dorothy has used this system with adult students, and always cautions students not to use any word with an asterisk beside it unless they are VERY sure of what they’re saying.

c

Write the formal, clinical, or polite word, or euphemism for taboo subjects (for example, body parts or bodily functions), and direct students to a bilingual or monolingual English dictionary.

c

Work with a colleague of the opposite sex. Divide the class into males and females and devote some time to questions and discussion.

Using the Native Language Although researchers are still trying to decipher the cognitive mechanisms of bilingualism, many studies have shown its cognitive advantages. For example, bilingual speakers have been found to be superior to monolingual speakers in divergent thinking, that is, the ability to generate many different ideas about a topic in a short period of time, including brainstorming for story ideas (May, Hill, & Tiakiwai, 2004). In addition, bilingual speakers appear to have greater communicative sensitivity than monolinguals. In other words, bilingual speakers, who need to be aware of which language to speak in which situation, have an increased sensitivity to the social nature and communicative functions of language (Cummins & Mulcahy, 1978). Overall, the availability of two linguistic systems appears to give bilingual speakers enhanced cognitive flexibility and social sensitivity. Consequently, schools and teachers should do their utmost to support bilingualism among their ELL students and families by encouraging the retention of the ELL student’s native language in the home and providing bilingual support and bilingual resources in the ELL’s home language at school wherever possible.

Situation 1

I don’t understand why the parents speak English and their child doesn’t.

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parents may have lived in English-speaking countries, where they learned English, then returned to their homeland and had children. Sometimes parents have preceded their children in coming to North America. Research about linguistic and academic development supports the use of the native language by bilingual parents. Studies show that parents should be communicating with their children in their native language in order to support the children’s cognitive and linguistic development (King & Fogle, 2006). For social and academic reasons, parents should be communicating with their children in the language in which the parents are most comfortable, no matter their level of fluency in English.

Situation 2

My students switch between English and their native language, sometimes in the same sentence and sometimes across several sentences.

Educators used to believe that this alternating back and forth between languages, known as code-switching, indicated deficiencies in one language or the other. However, researchers in psycholinguistics now recognize that code-switching is a natural product of the interaction of bilingual speakers’ two languages (Heredia & Brown, 2004). Teachers should accept that code-switching may occur and make no attempt to discourage it.

Targeted Strategy 1: Ask a question when you don’t understand. It is very rare for bilingual speakers to code-switch with someone who does not share their language. But if a teacher is involved in a conversation with two or more bilingual speakers and code-switching occurs, the best response is to ask questions about anything that is not understood (for example, “I’m sorry. I didn’t follow that. Could you repeat it?” or “I didn’t understand. What color is her dress?”).

Targeted Strategy 2: Read literature in which code-switching appears. Reading literature in which code-switching appears, such as The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (1984), can make students feel more comfortable about their own code-switching and can open up discussions about interesting aspects of how language works for all students in the class.

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C HAPTER 4

Reading Situations E

LLs entering grades 6–12 do not share the same educational experiences prior to coming to North America. Some students have received a very sophisticated education in their native land, including high levels of content-area instruction (for example, advanced mathematics and science), and are accomplished readers in their native language and, often, in other languages; they may be able to read some English. Other students have had more sporadic schooling in their native land and may not be able to read in their native language; unless they are placed in a bilingual program, where they receive instruction in both the L1 and English, they may be learning to read for the first time in English. In some cases, their native language is different from the official language of the country, and their entire schooling may have been in a nonnative language. Still other students have fled from war-torn homelands, may have been schooled in English in a refugee camp, and may be able to read some texts in English. The vast range of prior experiences with schooling and literacy speaks to the very different needs that ELLs have when it comes to reading and being taught to read. Simply being an ELL does not make a student a struggling reader. We are using the term struggling reader to refer to a student who has received reading 151


instruction in the native language (English or another language), often from the primary grades, but has difficulty decoding and/or understanding texts and does not seem to be making much progress. An ELL may have difficulty decoding or understanding texts in English as a consequence of being new to the language, and just needs time to develop into a successful reader in English; we do not consider this student to be a struggling reader. However, there are ELLs who are struggling readers, and these are typically students who have received instruction in their native language or English and don’t seem to make much progress over time. Characteristics of older struggling readers may include one or more of the following: c

May be able to decode, but have enormous difficulty comprehending what they have decoded.

c

May not realize that one reads to make meaning, and focus almost exclusively on letter-sound correspondences.

c

May overrely on a single reading strategy. For example, they may decode words and produce either nonsense words or words that do not make sense in that context.

c

May not use background knowledge (schema) and context to confirm or disconfirm their predictions about unfamiliar words.

c

May not self-monitor. That is, they do not seem to realize that what they decoded does not make sense and they do not repair miscues that affect meaning.

c

May read over or ignore punctuation marks and the role of punctuation in helping readers make sense of a text.

c

May lack knowledge about the meaning of key words/terms in texts, thereby making comprehension of the text hard or impossible.

In any discussion about reading, it is important to first establish what one means by reading. This is an especially important question given the current reading instruction climate in the United States, where federal and state mandates (for example, the No Child Left Behind Act) have led to some schools and school districts mandating designated amounts of phonics instruction, even in the upper grades, regardless of whether students need instruction in phonics. An additional concern centers on how the teacher-centered instructional practices that are increasingly prevalent influence the kinds of reading-related school experiences that are available to ELLs. With the current heavy emphasis on the (often decontexualized) teaching 152

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 of phonics, one might conclude that reading is simply decoding (for example, making letter-sound correspondences). In fact, reading is a much more complex process, one that is grounded in making meaning from symbols. The degree to which readers are able to make sense of a text or written message is very much affected by their prior experiences, that is, their schema. For example, take a minute to read the following passage, and then paraphrase what it says. Today’s Cricket The batsmen were merciless against the bowlers. The bowlers placed their men in slips and covers. But to no avail. The batsmen hit one four after another with an occasional six. Not once did a ball look like it would hit their (Source: Tierney & Pearson, 1981) stumps or be caught.

Perhaps this was gobbledygook to you, even though you could decode it easily. What reading textbooks typically do in these kinds of circumstances is reduce the readability of the text by simplifying the vocabulary and sentence structure, which is what Tierney and Pearson did in the following rewrite of the text. Again, take a minute to read it and paraphrase what it says.

(Lower readability version) The men were at bat against the bowlers. They did not show any pity. The bowlers placed their men in slips. They placed their men in covers. It did not help. The batsmen hit a lot of fours. They hit some sixes. No ball hit the (Source: Tierney & Pearson, 1981) stumps. No ball was caught.

Unless you know something about cricket, the chances are that this simplified text is still incomprehensible. That is, you may not have the schema to know that the slips and covers are positions that fielders take in cricket (and where they’re located on the field), and that fours and sixes are the number of runs scored off a single bowl (ball)—a six being when the ball passes over the outer limits of the field without hitting the ground first (like a baseball home run), and a four being a ball that bounces on the ground before passing over the outer limits of the cricket field. So, simplifying the language and sentence structure to make it easier to decode probably wasn’t much help to you in understanding the text. This difficulty is what ELLs who can decode reasonably well in English encounter when they read about events Chapter 4: Reading Situations

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and experiences that are unfamiliar to them. The necessity of a schema for understanding text has implications for what we need to focus on when teaching reading. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the reading achievement of older learners (Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, & Rycik, 1999), including ELLs (Kong & Pearson, 2003; Olson & Land, 2007; Scarcella, 2002). Research indicates that, despite evidence that students are much more effective readers when they are taught reading strategies that successful readers use (for example, visualizing, predicting, asking questions, inferring, and making connections), few students are actually offered such cognitive and metacognitive learning experiences (Block & Pressley, 2002); this is even more pronounced with ELLs (Vaughn & Klinger, 2004). In one of the few studies that has investigated the impact of teaching adolescent ELLs cognitive reading strategies, Olson and Land found that cognitive-strategy instruction enhanced ELL students’ reading competence, achievement, and confidence. Vocabulary is a key factor in ELLs’ reading success and development, yet very little attention is paid in school to vocabulary and the development of word consciousness. Even when they can decode English words, ELLs may not know what the terms mean, even in their own language. For example, Inuits, who live in the Arctic, have many words to signify the subtleties of snow; for someone learning Inuit, making sense of these multiple words for snow would be enormously challenging because most of us lack the requisite schema, even though we may have seen plenty of snow. Recent national reports (e.g., August & Shanahan, 2006, Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [NICHD], 2000, Report of the National Reading Panel) have identified vocabulary knowledge as an important element in successful reading comprehension. Vocabulary knowledge is also known to be a key element in a language development program for ELL students (Nation, 2001; Meltzer & Hamman, 2005), and integral to academic success (Cummins, 2000; Scarcella, 2002). There are still other issues to take into consideration when teaching ELLs to read, such as their possible lack of familiarity with grammatical structures that help native speakers of English make sense of a text. For example, when native-English speakers see the following sentence fragment, When I drove to the store, I . . . , they intuitively know that what follows is likely to be a verb/verb phrase (saw my friend, ate lunch, encountered a protest) or an adverb (reluctantly, excitedly). In contrast, ELLs may not have

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 internalized these grammatical sequences. In addition, even if the ELL knows that what follows may be an adverb, verb, or verb phrase, the actual words that follow may not be familiar (reluctantly, encountered, or protest). There are also other realities that need to be taken into consideration when teaching English reading to ELLs, particularly for students who already read in their L1. For example, not all written languages are alphabetic (for example, Chinese) and some languages, although alphabetic, do not have the same written script as English (for example, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Russian). This means that students who read and write in these languages have to learn a new orthography (the written symbols used to represent the sounds of a language). However, because they already have a schema for reading, it is often easier for older ELLs who are literate in their L1 to move into literacy in English than it is for their ELL peers who are not literate in their L1. Another consideration to be aware of is that many of the teaching/learning practices that ELLs may encounter in North American classrooms may be unfamiliar. In some countries there is a more didactic approach to learning to read, and ELL students may not be accustomed to, for example, being asked to infer or evaluate texts and may be frustrated when asked to do that. If students have been taught to focus on extracting literal information from a text, rather than inferring meaning, they may view being asked to infer as an invalid request (for example, “But, it’s not in the text, so why are you asking me to do this?”). This may occur, even when ELLs are able to make inferences outside of school. Some learners excel more in the printed form of a nonnative language than in the spoken form. This was true of the Chinese-speaking students from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan with whom Katharine worked in a school for newcomer ELLs. They had been schooled in their native lands and had been exposed to some English instruction (typically through a grammar translation approach), but were more comfortable reading and writing English than speaking it. In contrast, she observed that Spanish-speaking students from Mexico and Central America, with limited schooling in their L1, tended to be more confident when speaking English. Regardless of variations in students’ preferred language modalities, research shows that ELLs do not have to be fluent in English before they can read and write in English (Reyes, 1991; Samway & Taylor, 1993b; Urzúa, 1987). In fact, reading can support aural and oral language development by offering ELLs exposure to more standardized and sophisticated forms of English than they are able to produce at that time.

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It is very common when discussing reading to begin with decoding and then progress to comprehension. Decoding is certainly a part of the reading process, but it is by no means the most important part, as the earlier activity involving a passage about cricket reveals. Although reading in English usually requires some knowledge of phonics, it is important to remember that ELLs do not always discriminate between certain sounds, particularly some of the vowel sounds, and decontextualized phonics instruction can be very difficult for them. (See Chapter 3, page 87, for information about how an ELL’s first language may affect his or her processing and production in the second language.) In this chapter, we focus on comprehension, including vocabulary development, and do not pay as much attention to decoding. This is a decision we made very consciously for the following reasons: c

Comprehension and vocabulary are at the heart of successful reading. One can decode lots and lots of words, but still have absolutely no idea what one has decoded.

c

Our experiences with upper-grade ELLs, as well as the experiences of many upper-grade teachers with whom we have consulted, indicate that reading struggles in the upper grades are most frequently grounded in comprehension.

c

Many North American schools already pay considerable attention to decoding, beginning in the earliest years in school. So long as teachers take into account that ELLs may not discriminate between certain sounds in English or be able to distinguish between some similarsounding words, then the many useful decoding resources that are available to teachers through professional books, workshops, and conferences can be used successfully with ELLs.

In the pages that follow, we share some general strategies for enhancing ELLs’ reading, as well as several targeted strategies that are aligned with specific reading-related situations that teachers often comment on.

General Strategies ................................ ELL students need to experience success with English texts, and in this section we focus on some strategies that foster a love of books and provide scaffolded experiences for ELLs. Several of the strategies are more typically found in primary classrooms, but we have found them to be extremely successful with older learners who are becoming readers in English. 156

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General Strategy 1: Read-alouds. Most people, including adults, enjoy being read to, particularly when it is done well. Through read-alouds, teachers can extend their students’ knowledge of the world, vocabulary, and grammatical structures, as well as introduce them to authors, genres, and content that they might not otherwise read. One of the goals of good reading instruction is to turn students into avid readers, and reading aloud to ELLs is one way to accomplish this. But simply reading aloud is generally not sufficient. The following strategies can support ELLs during read-alouds: c

Because students tend to be more responsive and engaged when teachers integrate their students’ cultural backgrounds and experiences into their teaching and students’ learning experiences (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Yoon, 2007), select texts that include cultural information ELL students are familiar with. (See Appendix B for lists of suggested books about diverse cultures.)

c

Activate students’ background knowledge by doing a book talk prior to a read-aloud.

c

Provide lots of support to ELLs so that the read-aloud isn’t a cognitive overload for them. Support can include the following: • Have extra copies available for students to follow along in, so they have the added benefit of seeing the words on the page—often, an ELL who is literate in the L1 is able to make sense of what she or he hears being said, including in a read-aloud, from seeing words on the page. This is particularly true of students who have received some instruction in English prior to coming to North America. • Refer to pictures, sketches, and objects (realia) to make meaning more clear. • Use lots of gestures and dramatic displays to make meaning clear.

c

Briefly discuss any concepts, terminology, or grammatical structures that you anticipate students may not be familiar with and that are crucial to understanding the text.

c

Hold a quick check-in (just a minute or so) before moving on to the next part of a longer book.

c

Read the same text more than once, particularly if it is a favorite— familiarity can lead to increased understanding.

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If an audio version of the text exists, make it available, along with a copy of the text, for ELLs to use in school or at home for extra listening and reading practice.

c

Read from a wide range of genres, including short stories, picture books (fiction and nonfiction), poetry, and nonfiction magazine articles. Shorter texts with good illustrations that really support the text can be particularly effective with newcomer ELLs. Even comic books can lend themselves to read-alouds (Bitz, 2004). For more information about conducting nonfiction read-alouds, see Navigating Informational Texts by Linda Hoyt (2003).

c

Choose texts carefully—it’s essential when doing a read-aloud to be familiar with the text. How many times have we randomly selected a book for a read-aloud, even a book that we don’t know (or assigned an unfamiliar book to a student teacher or volunteer to read aloud) and the read-aloud bombed? Not all books lend themselves well to a read-aloud.

c

It is generally best not to encourage students to do other things while listening to the read-aloud, unless they are involved in activities directly related to the reading, as students need to concentrate. For example, when introducing a text, Katharine says something like, “I hope you’ll enjoy this book as much as I do. I chose it because . . . . I’d like you to think about the following as I read it to you: What does this book remind you of?”

c

Students need time to talk about the text—even if it’s for just a minute or two. For example, they can talk about what it reminded them of, ask questions, discuss any puzzling parts or words, and/or explore what they learned about writing from hearing the text just read to them. The talk accompanying a read-aloud can be through pair shares or small groups, or with the entire class.

c

After reading aloud, it can be very useful to talk about the reading and add to charts that focus on language and language usage, such as the following: • Unfamiliar words/terms. • Interesting uses of language. • Insights about writing.

Lester Laminack and Reba Wadsworth’s book Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum: How to Build Bridges in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social

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Additional issues to consider when preparing for and conducting a read-aloud include the following:


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Studies (2006) provides a lot of useful information for teachers interested in reading aloud across the curriculum.

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General Strategy 2: Interactive read-alouds. In contrast with a traditional read-aloud, in an interactive read-aloud, the teacher stops at carefully determined points in the text to ask questions that help students construct meaning, demonstrate strategies that effective readers use and that students can also use, and give students opportunities to discuss the text, thereby supporting their construction of meaning. See Linda Hoyt’s Interactive Read-Alouds, Grades 4–5: Linking Standards, Fluency, and Comprehension (2007) for more information on conducting interactive read-alouds.

General Strategy 3: Shared reading/enlarged texts. In shared reading, the teacher and students read an enlarged text that all students can see; these can be commercially published or teacher-made big books and/or charts. Texts include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, rhymes, and chants. They are often highly predictable and written with rhythmic language to support emergent readers, features that also support emergent ELL writers. Although shared reading is most commonly found in literacy instruction for young children, we have seen ESOL teachers use it very effectively with older learners. Typically, these teachers have used songs, poems, and nonfiction big books or charts, as many of the fiction big books are not particularly appropriate, content-wise, for older learners. Sometimes, teachers of older ELLs have used enlarged versions of popular storybooks intended for much younger learners in units of study focusing on writing books for younger learners, such as in a cross-age reading program.1 For more information about shared reading, see Janet Allen’s On the Same Page: Shared Reading Beyond the Primary Grades (2002) and Mary Lee Hahn’s Reconsidering Read-Aloud (2002), both of which address shared reading with older learners. The following is an adapted shared-reading procedure to support older emergent ELL readers. Procedure 1. When introducing a new shared-reading text, the teacher does a short introduction, mentioning what it is about while pointing to appropriate 1

For information on establishing and maintaining a successful cross-age reading program, see Buddy Reading: Cross-Age Tutoring in a Multicultural School by Samway, Whang, & Pippitt (1995).

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2. Then, the teacher reads the text aloud at a normal to very slightly slowed pace, using a pointer to touch each word while reading. 3. Students briefly discuss the text (for example, making text connections and identifying unfamiliar words). 4. Students are then invited to join the teacher in reading the text together, with the teacher continuing to point to the words. 5. Students may reread the text again, and the teacher may reduce the amount of support provided. 6. One follow-up activity that supports readers involves using sentence strips. a. The teacher writes a sentence or a longer segment from the shared reading text on a strip of paper, including the punctuation. b. The text is cut up into phrases and/or individual words and punctuation marks. c. The students put the scrambled words/phrases/punctuation marks in order. d. The teacher and students talk about any difficulties encountered, and about the knowledge or strategies they used to put the words in order (for example, through being aware of mechanics, such as a sentence beginning with a capital letter and ending with a period; grammar, such as possessive pronouns usually going before a noun; or schema).

General Strategy 4: Choral reading. In choral reading, students and the teacher recite a familiar poem, chant, or song together. Procedure 1. Select a text that is relatively short, is of interest to students, and can be decoded and comprehended. Choose a text that lends itself to oral dramatizations. For example, it may have interesting sounds, including alliteration and onomatopoeia; have two- or three-part renditions; and/or have several characters for dialogue. It may also include words in the native language of ELLs. 160

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illustrations, sketching, and/or using gestures and pantomime to clarify key concepts addressed in the text (for example, when introducing a text on volcanoes, pointing to a picture of a volcano on the front cover and placing the hands in an upward explosive movement to demonstrate eruption).


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 2. Make copies of the text for the students.

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3. Read the text to the students in an engaging, dramatic voice, while they follow along in their own copies. 4. Read the text aloud with the students—it may be necessary to do this several times, until students have memorized it (or almost memorized it). A shared reading experience, as described earlier, can be very helpful. 5. Students practice reading it together in pairs; they can also alternate reading lines aloud. 6. The students get together again to practice their performance, which needs to be as engaging as possible. Some possible performance formats include: • Individual students, pairs of students, or small groups of students (for example, everyone on the right side of the room) take turns reading lines, stanzas, or sections of the text. • Sound effects can be added in appropriate places (for example, clapping, stamping feet, making the sound of trees swaying in a storm or animals calling out). • Key words or phrases are emphasized for effect. • Soft and loud voices and high and low voices are alternated in appropriate places. 7. The class or group may perform the piece for an audience. For more information about choral reading, go to the Reading A–Z Web site (www.readinga-z.com/poetry/lesson_plans/choral_poetry/choralpoetry_print.html). Although the nursery rhyme examples are most appropriate for very young learners, the general guidelines are very useful. Poems for two or more voices also lend themselves to choral reading, such as Paul Fleischman’s I Am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices (1985), Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (1988), and Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices (2000). These poems are intended to be read aloud by two or more readers at once, with readers taking different parts (for example, the left-hand part or the right-hand part)—sometimes lines are spoken simultaneously. Fleischman’s poems focus on the natural world and are rich in vocabulary and imagery, so they lend themselves to lots of discussion.

General Strategy 5: Make time for independent reading. Independent reading, also known as leisure reading, voluntary reading, and recreational reading, and by acronyms such as SSR (Sustained Silent Reading), USSR (Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading), FVR (Free Chapter 4: Reading Situations

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Voluntary Reading), and DEAR (Drop Everything and Read), is something there is very little time for in many schools. Research shows that time for independent reading in school enhances students’ reading development and attitudes toward reading (DeBenedictis, 2007; Holt, 1989; Ozburn, 1995). Time should be allocated for it in grades 6–12. Some key maxims to keep in mind when providing for independent reading include the following:

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c

Have sufficient books available so students have choices. When Katharine was a new teacher, there were no library books in her classroom, so she regularly visited the school and local libraries to borrow books for her classroom library.

c

Make sure that books are aligned with students’ interests, but also introduce them to new genres, authors, and topics.

c

Be prepared to do book talks as books are introduced into the class library.

c

Schedule time for independent reading on a regular and predictable basis so that students can come prepared.

c

Use the time when students are reading independently to confer with students about their reading processes, goals, and needs; these conferences should have a teaching point.

c

Be prepared to teach students how to select appropriate texts (i.e., those they can read with minimal support). Be alert to students who select books that are much more complex than their command of English suggests they can cope with, but also keep in mind that sometimes the desire to read a particular text can compensate for it being too difficult.

c

If you are required to grade students on independent reading, do it in such a way as to encourage the act of reading and thoughtful engagement. For example, Nancie Atwell (1998) recommends grading based on: coming prepared to class (e.g., having one’s book available and getting to work right away); setting and meeting challenging, but realistic, goals; and writing thoughtful reading journal entries.

c

Assign independent reading for homework that is connected to a purpose that students are interested in. For example, in Gail Whang’s class, students read their literature study circle (LCS) books both at school and at home so they could be prepared for the open-ended discussions that would occur approximately one week to ten days after students selected their books (Samway & Whang, 1996).

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Allocate time for students to talk about their books with peers and make recommendations—part of the joy of reading can be knowing that others share one’s enthusiasm and reading preferences.

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For additional information on independent reading programs, see: c

Jodi Crum Marshall’s Are They Really Reading? Expanding SSR in the Middle Grades (2002).

c

Douglas Fisher’s “Setting the ‘Opportunity to Read’ Standard: Resuscitating the SSR Program in an Urban High School” (2004).

c

Nancie Atwell’s The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers (2007).

c

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Web page devoted to independent reading (www.ncte.org/middle/topics/spotlight/ 119312.htm).

General Strategy 6: Offer literature study circles (LSCs). Literature study circles (LSCs) are similar to the book discussions that adults often engage in. A group of students meets together or with the teacher two or more times for an open-ended discussion about a book they have all read. We have found that students of all ages can have successful LSCs, and we have seen how LSCs can build students’ enthusiasm for books and reading and help them see that reading is much more than decoding words. See Samway and Whang’s Literature Study Circles in a Multicultural Classroom (1996) for an in-depth discussion of how to establish and maintain LSCs. Adaptations for newcomers and struggling ELL readers that we have had success with include the following: c

Read picture books, magazine articles, or other short texts to the students while they follow along in their own copy.

c

Hold the first discussion right after reading the short text.

c

Use texts that are grounded in the cultures of the ELLs.

c

Pair more fluent readers with emerging readers, or let students pair themselves.

c

Expect that the discussion may focus on the illustrations; however, we have found that this often leads to insights that more text-oriented people, such as teachers, often miss.

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General Strategy 8: Pair reading. In pair reading, two or three students read the same text and then talk together about it. This provides readers with a shared experience with texts and peer support, and also introduces them to new authors, illustrators, and genres. Procedure 1. Select several texts for which you have two or three copies. The texts should be interesting to students, short enough to be read in one session (for example, in class or overnight), and selected from a variety of genres—books of poetry, stories, magazine articles, essays, and information picture books all work well. 2. Have more titles/copies than you have students so there is some choice. 3. Do brief text talks (for example, “This magazine article is about climate change and the melting of the polar icecaps,” “This book of poetry is written by high school immigrant students and it’s about their experiences living in this country”). 4. Students select their texts and read them—sometimes students read together softly and sometimes they alternate who reads aloud. 5. Students talk about their books in pairs or triads. 6. The whole class/group talks about the experience. For example, students may discuss: • Texts that they particularly liked and why they liked them. • Difficulties they encountered when reading and strategies they used to resolve them. • What students learned from the texts and from working with a partner(s). • How their partner(s) helped them understand the text. • Successful strategies the students used when reading together. • Aspects of the text they didn’t understand.

General Strategy 9: Language Experience Approach (LEA). First developed as a means to produce reading materials that emergent readers could understand, the Language Experience Approach (LEA) involves 164

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fluent reading and practice reading fluently (i.e., with expression and normal pacing). The more fluent reader, such as the teacher, reads a phrase or sentence with expression and then the student or students repeat the phrase or sentence.


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students dictating a text, usually based on a familiar or shared experience (Allen, 1976; Stauffer, 1970). It has proven to be a useful early reading strategy for beginning ELLs (Rigg, 1989; Taylor, 1992). One approach to implementing LEA with ELLs follows: c

The student (or students, if the text is developed by a group of students) dictates a text.

c

The teacher writes the text exactly as the student dictates it (for example, the experiment we do about plant). If a group of students is dictating the text, it is written on chart paper so that all the students can see the text.

c

The teacher then goes through the text with the student(s), explaining how to revise the grammar and word choices so that it is idiomatic, or native-like, as the following example illustrates. Note that the teacher does not change the content of the message: Teacher: “The experiment we do about plant.” OK? (Repeating the first sentence that the student generated.) Student: Yes (nods head). Teacher: OK. So, we need to write it in the past tense. It’s “we did” instead of “we do.” “We do” means we do it every day. (The teacher writes the revised text, The experiment we did, next to the original text and says the words aloud while writing them.) And we need a verb between “did” and “about.” It’s “was about” (emphasizing was while adding it to the sentence). You said here (pointing to the text while reading), “plant.” Because the experiment was about plants in general and not just a single, specific plant, it’s the plural “plants.” OK? Student: (Nods head vigorously). Yes, plants. Teacher: So we’ll add an –s here (and does so, saying plants aloud while adding the –s). Teacher: OK. Let’s read this together. (Teacher points to each word while reading the revised text with the student, The experiment we did was about plants. The teacher and student read it together one or more times and then the student reads it alone.)

The teacher and student(s) continue in this way until there is a complete text, which is read many times over the course of a few days. This text is then used for language and reading practice, which may include the following activities: c

Create sentence strips. The words in the sentence are put on tag board and cut up for the student(s) to put in order.

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c

Generate alternate words. For example, in the sentence We did an experiment about plants, the students brainstorm words that could fit in place of did, such as worked on and conducted. The students and teacher discuss how the words differ and/or the most appropriate term to use in specific situations (for example, conducted is a scientific term to use when reporting on an experiment). • Circle specific linguistic features, such as nouns, verbs, pronouns, or articles. • Use cloze activities. A cloze activity involves students predicting words that are missing in a passage and filling in the blanks with words. (See Appendix G for guidelines for developing cloze activities.)

Reading Comprehension Ultimately, the most important aspect of reading is comprehension, or the making of meaning. A key factor in the reading comprehension of ELLs is vocabulary knowledge (Carlo, August, McLaughlin, Snow, Dressler, Lippman, Lively, & White, 2004). The following numbers point to the importance of vocabulary in the academic lives of ELLs: c

It is estimated that English-speaking children with average and above average verbal ability enter school with a receptive vocabulary of between 5,000 and 10,000 words (Blachowicz, Fisher, Ogle, & Watts-Taffe, 2006).

c

It is estimated that by the time average and above average nativeEnglish-speaking students leave high school, they have acquired about 40,000 receptive words, which translates to more than 3,000 new words learned each year in school (Nagy & Herman, 1987).

ELL students often have large vocabularies in their native language, and this knowledge may transfer from their L1 to English (Jiménez, García, & Pearson, 1996), but they still have a lot of catching up to do with regard to English vocabulary. Nevertheless, vocabulary instruction for ELLs, particularly in mainstream classrooms where English reading and content classes are taught to the entire class through textbooks, is typically limited to the teaching of a few content words and affixes, which do not make words more comprehensible if students do not know the meaning of the root words (Pease-Alvarez, Samway, Almanzo, & Cifka-Herrera, 2007). Although reading widely is an effective strategy for building vocabulary, it 166

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 has been reported that the probability of learning unknown words in this way is about 15 percent, and only avid readers seem to build vocabulary in this way (Swanborn & Glopper, 1999). Acquiring a lot of vocabulary through reading alone is often hard for ELLs because they are likely to struggle with comprehension due to their lack of familiarity with the nuances of English, such as idioms, grammatical cues, vocabulary, and culture. Also, because English is peppered with nonliteral language, nonnative speakers often have enormous difficulty understanding English colloquial expressions, slang, and idioms. (See Chapter 3, pages 143–149, for a discussion of how these words and expressions affect ELLs’ understanding of English.)

General Strategies ................................ Students need to revere words and be immersed in vocabulary/concept development throughout the day, not just in English/language arts classes.

Situation 1

My ELL students’ knowledge of English words is very limited and this affects their reading comprehension.

General Strategy 1: Vocabulary mini-workshop or CPR. In many upper elementary classrooms and some pull-out ESL/ELD and English classes at the secondary level, there are regular times each day devoted to reading workshop, writing workshop, and word study. We recommend a similar, but brief 10- or15-minute regularly scheduled time for a vocabulary mini-workshop, a time to focus on word consciousness and word study. This should be in addition to the vocabulary building that is happening throughout the day. We recommend scheduling this mini-workshop at a predictable time (for example, at the beginning of the day or after lunch; or on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), so that students can anticipate it and come prepared with their own observations, questions, and insights into words. This workshop is a time for students to become excited and curious about language and the ways it works. We recommend that teachers do the following: c

Foster students’ interest and excitement through sharing their own curiosity and passion for words.

c

Strategically introduce students to new concepts, terms, and relationships between words and across languages.

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Engage students in substantive and interesting vocabulary study and word-consciousness activities.

Katharine calls this type of a mini-vocabulary workshop CPR:

Curious readers notice unusual or new words and intriguing uses of familiar words. They stop to think about what they just encountered, to figure out meaning and maybe the origins of words. P = Being passionate about words If words are important to us, not in the sense that we get angry when others misuse words or use a nonstandard form of a word, but in the sense of appreciating the beauty of words and their power to convey subtle meanings, then we are probably passionate about words. This is something we need to foster in our students. R = Being a risk-taker We all need to feel that we can take risks and not be made fun of when experimenting with language, whether we are adults or children. As teachers, we must honor and encourage experimentation, while also teaching about words. The following specific strategies for a vocabulary mini-workshop are designed to encourage an interest in and passion about words. Some of them do not necessarily lead immediately to a more expansive vocabulary (for example, word search games), but they can lead to a greater appreciation for words. Other activities are more directly related to building vocabulary and word consciousness. As you will see, most of these activities encourage multiple responses, which in turn build versatile, flexible thinking. This kind of thinking is an asset for anyone learning to speak and becoming literate in a language, whether a native or nonnative language.

Targeted Strategy 1: Found words in names. This activity is designed to help students notice words embedded in longer words. Vocabulary development can occur after students have generated words and discussed unfamiliar words. Procedure 1. Demonstrate how to look for as many words as possible in a person’s first and last names combined, without using a letter more than once in the found word. In other words, if there are two of the letter a in the name, then an a can be used twice in the found word, but if there’s only one a, 168

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C = Being curious about words and phrases, and the origins of words and phrases


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 that letter can be used only once. For example, in Fatimah Suleyman (fatimahsuleyman), a very quick search reveals the following words: fat, faith, slay, man, mean, time, timely, mate, slim.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

2. Post a name without any spaces between the names, as above. 3. Give students about five minutes to find embedded words. Allow a little more time when students are new to this activity. 4. Students work alone or together to find as many words as possible in the designated time. 5. At the end of the designated time, students take turns reading their words. If someone else found the word, it gets deleted. The winner is the person, pair, or small group with the most words that no one else found. Variations 1. Once students are pretty good at locating three-letter words, they can be directed to list only words with three or more letters. 2. Post a longish content-area word (for example, photosynthesis, earthquake, onomatopoeia). 3. Post a phrase (for example, developing country—developingcountry; obtuse angle—obtuseangle). 4. Use words in different languages from picture books that are appropriate for students in sixth grade and up, as well as books intended for older learners. For example, Only a Pigeon (Kurtz & Kurtz, 1997), a picture book set in Ethiopia, is about a boy who goes to school for half a day, works as a shoeshine boy the other half of the day, and also raises racing pigeons. In this book, the Amharic word for wild mongoose, shele mit-mot, is used. Using words from ELL students’ home languages is a way to validate and show respect for their native languages.

Targeted Strategy 2: It’s a . . . . This game fosters divergent thinking and the naming of words/terms, and is similar to games played on the Drew Carey TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and in Odyssey of the Mind, a national competition for school-age students that involves creative problem-solving and group work. One part of the Odyssey of the Mind competition involves spontaneous problem solving, sometimes referred to as a brain tester or brain builder. The purpose of this activity is for students to use their creative thinking to go “outside the box” and, for example, generate as many imagined uses possible for a simple object (e.g., dowel, walking stick, large rubber ring, plastic bowl, sausage-shaped Chapter 4: Reading Situations

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inflated balloon) or a drawing of an intriguing-looking imaginary object. (See Figure 4.1.) For example, students may generate the following uses for a walking stick: a sword, a back scratcher, a fishing pole, a conductor’s baton, a trapeze wire, a clothesline, a pencil, a ruler, a lollipop, a ski, a trekking pole, a water diviner, and a measuring stick. Procedure 1. Students work in small groups—the groups can compete against each other or each group can compete with itself by aiming to better its score each time it plays the game. 2. The class is shown an object or drawing of an object. 3. Groups have about five minutes to brainstorm a list of creative uses for the object. 4. Groups take turns demonstrating and naming a use—members in a group also take turns. 5. Each new use generates a point for the group—repetitions of a use don’t earn any points. 6. The winning group is the one that generates the greatest number of original uses.

Targeted Strategy 3: Cognates. Cognates are words in two languages that are spelled and pronounced in similar ways and have the same meaning. For example, the Spanish word for

Figure 4.1: Drawing of an Imaginary Object 170

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 pilot is piloto. Several languages share cognates with English, including Arabic, French, German, and Spanish. Many English words share cognates with Romance languages, such as Italian, French, and Spanish, due to a shared history with Latin. Given the large number of Spanish-English cognates, particularly in academic language, and the large number of Spanish-speaking ELLs in North American schools, many of whom are underserved and under-achieving, it is essential to teach Spanish-speaking students about Spanish-English cognates so they have access to another source of word knowledge and can tap into a potentially familiar resource.2 The following suggestions focus on supporting ELLs in becoming aware of cognates in their own language and English, generating lists of cognates, and using cognates: c

Students can keep lists of cognates in English and their native language generated from a variety of sources, such as books and other print media, the community, and TV.

c

Students can use bilingual dictionaries to verify that the identified words are actually cognates. Various Web sites can also help with the verification process. See the list of Web sites in the Cognates (and False Friends) Resources on the following pages.

c

Students’ findings can be displayed on charts or stored in three-ring binders.

c

Students can discuss how they know that certain words are cognates, in order to enhance their metalinguistic knowledge. For example, “In this sentence about Great Depression, ‘The nation reeled from the loss of jobs and loss of income, which put many families below the poverty line,’ nation is like nacíon in my language. And I think it go here. Is nation like country? I check the dictionary.”

c

Students talk with family members about cognates in their home language and English, and share them with the class.

Alternative: Ask “Which words do you know, and how do you know them?” Ask ELL students which words they know in a text, and how they know the words. Often, they will identify a cognate. Add these words to a chart of cognates, and use them for practice activities, including matching cognate pairs and other reinforcement games.

2

In a recent study of the vocabulary knowledge of fourth graders (Scott, Flinspach, & Samway, 2007), Spanish-speaking ELLs identified statistically fewer English-Spanish cognates than other ELLs.

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Not all words that look alike in two languages mean the same thing. For example, in Spanish, admirar means to admire, but it also means to astonish or to surprise. Pairs of words that only seem to be synonymous are called “fickle friends” or partial cognates. Invite students to locate fickle friends and post them on a chart, along with their meanings. These words can be used for reinforcement games. Alternative: Identify false friends. Explain to students that some words look like they are cognates, but actually aren’t, and that these are called “false friends.” For example, the Spanish word pie means foot, not a dessert made with pastry. False friends can get us into trouble. For example, when she was still fairly new to Spanish, Katharine announced one day that she was embarazada, thinking she had said she was embarrassed, when in fact she had said she was pregnant! Students can search for false friends, and the teacher can share false friends with students. Lists of Spanish-English false friends can be found at www.colorincolorado.org/ educators/background/cognates and http://spanish.about.com/cs/vocabulary/a/ obviouswrong.htm. Alternative: Find the difference. List pairs of cognates on paper or a chart. Have students identify differences in the cognate pairs. For example, in the English-Spanish cognate desert/desierto, the Spanish word has two additional letters, an –i after des and an –o at the end of the word. The teacher and students can take turns circling or underlining the differences. Cognate (and False Friends) Resources To find information about cognates and false friends, visit the following Web sites: c

English-Arabic cognates www.outreachworld.org/resource.asp?curriculumid=300

c

English-French cognates and false friends http://french.about.com/library/vocab/bl-vraisamis.htm http://french.about.com/cs/vocabulary/a/falsecognates.htm

c

English-German cognates and false friends http://german.about.com/library/blcognates_A.htm http://german.about.com/library/blfalsef.htm

c

English-Hungarian false friends http://seas3.elte.hu/delg/people/core/lazar/falsefriends.html

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Alternative: Are words fickle friends/partial cognates?


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 c

English-Italian false friends www.faqs.org/faqs/cultures/italian/misc (scroll down until you find the

section on false cognates) c

English-Japanese cognates and false friends

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

www.macmillandictionary.com/MED-Magazine/april2003/06-languageinterference-loan-words.htm c

English-Portuguese cognates and false friends www.learn-portuguese-now.com/cognates.html www.geocities.com/Athens/3580/cognates.html www.sk.com.br/sk-fals.html

c

English-Spanish cognates and false friends Colorín Colorado at: www.colorincolorado.org/educators/background/cognates Jill Kerper Mora at: http://coe.sdsu.edu/people/jmora/MoraModules/ SpEngCognates.htm

Gerald Erichsen at: http://spanish.about.com/cs/vocabulary/a http://spanish.about.com/cs/vocabulary/a/obviouswrong.htm www.angelfire.com/fl/espanglishtips/#false

Targeted Strategy 4: Identify borrowed words. Most languages borrow words from other languages, and ELL students benefit from seeing connections between their native language and English. Words in English that have been borrowed from other languages include café au lait (coffee with milk), which is borrowed from French, and hummus (a spread or dip made from ground chickpeas and tahini), which is a word borrowed from Arabic. Other activities for identifying borrowed words include the following: c

The entire class or individual students can keep lists of borrowed words and their meanings that they find through their reading, the community, TV, and print media; findings can be displayed on charts and stored in three-ring binders.

c

Students can talk with family members about words found in English that have been borrowed from the home language, and share their findings with the class.

It is helpful to talk with students about how they were able to identify the borrowed words as this can enhance students’ metalinguistic knowledge of features of language. Lists of words in English that have been borrowed (or loaned) from other languages can be found at www.krysstal.com/borrow.html and www.feedback.nildram.co.uk/richardebbs/essays/loanword.htm. Chapter 4: Reading Situations

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It is particularly worthwhile to pay attention to words that are members of large morphological families—groups of words that have the same root word, such as migrate, migrating, migrated, migrates, migrant, immigrant, immigrating, emigrant, emigrating, immigration, migratory. Through the discussion that accompanies the development of word family charts, students will encounter many more words than if they were introduced to isolated words. These conversations can also lead to interesting discussions about parts of speech and how to recognize specific parts of speech, for example, migrate is a verb, migration is a noun, and migratory is an adjective. When students are asked how they know what part of speech a word is, the ensuing discussion can enhance metalinguistic awareness and the development of word knowledge. It is important to pay attention to word families that are connected to specific subject matter content in order to enhance ELL students’ understanding of academic vocabulary. For example, teachers might want to introduce the morphological family of migrate during a unit on Ellis Island. Or, during a biology unit, teachers can introduce words derived from organ (organic, organism, organize, organization).

Targeted Strategy 6: Collect words with similar meanings. Collecting words that have similar meanings (e.g., immigrant, refugee, migrant, settler; or hurricane, tornado, storm, gale, cyclone) can lead to rich discussions about the specific meaning of each word in a group, and when each is most appropriately used. Keep lists of words with similar meanings, and use them later for reinforcement activities and as resources when students are writing. Figure 4.2 shows four groups of four words with similar meanings. Demonstrations can help clarify the subtle differences in meaning between words in groups 1, 3, and 4. For Group 2 words, actual objects, pictures, or sketches can help clarify the meaning. It is a good idea to

Group 1 frown scowl grimace glower

Group 2 tub container pot vase

Figure 4.2: Words With Similar Meanings

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Group 3 amble stride crawl walk

Group 4 laugh guffaw snicker giggle

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 5: Create word family charts.


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 encourage students to add to these lists whenever they encounter new words, and to point out that the lists can be useful resources when writing. Teachers and their students can use these words to create word charts to place on the walls (similar to Word Walls, explained on page 214). This is a strategy more commonly used in classrooms for younger children, but Dorothy’s older ELL students have made good use of words with similar meanings that they have collected from readings and placed on wall charts for reference in reading and in writing.

Targeted Strategy 7: Explore multiple meanings. Many words have multiple meanings (the linguistic term for multiple meanings is polysemy). ELLs benefit from learning about these differences (Carlo, August, McLaughlin, Snow, Dressler, Lippman, Lively, & White, 2004), and the following is one way to foster an awareness of multiple word meanings: c

Give students a target word and ask them to work in groups to list as many different meanings as possible for that word.

c

Discuss the different meanings that students list and post the list.

c

For homework, students can talk with neighbors, friends, and family members about other meanings for the target word, and share their findings with the rest of the class.

c

Add to the list as students encounter new meanings in oral and written language.

Words that have multiple meanings include back, box, time, tie, drive, list, up, plant, bond, drop, dry, ring, thing, second, seat, litter, iron, low, check, and mouth. A quick search in a dictionary will reveal many more. Teachers and students may be interested in the Web site http://home.alphalink.com.au/ ~umbidas/Homonyms_main.htm#ball, which lists 50 common words with multiple meanings and the origins of the different meanings of each word. Students who would like to quiz themselves on multiple meanings online can find explanations and quizzes at www.elite.net/~runner/ eld/wordanalysis.html. Alternative c

Students identify the words they think might have multiple meanings in the text they are reading.

c

Students talk about why they think these words may have more than one meaning, in order to develop word consciousness and metalinguistic

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Group and class discussions about words and word meanings can be very helpful in supporting the development of ELL students’ curiosity about and knowledge of words. Words with multiple meanings can be displayed and stored as resources for students on charts, in class three-ring binders, or in students’ resource folders/binders.

Targeted Strategy 8: Categorize words according to meaning. An individual student can complete this open-ended activity, although there are great benefits to working with a partner. c

Words that students are familiar with through their reading and content-area studies are scrambled and listed on a sheet of paper and/or transparency. For example, the chart can include terms related to housing, speaking, sports, movement, and head coverings. (See Figure 4.3.)

c

Students are given paper and writing utensils, and told that they have about five minutes to sort the words into categories.

c

Then the whole class meets, and students share the categories they generated and explain their thinking. Some words may fit in more than one category (for example, slide and run in the words in the box below), which is fine. This only helps to emphasize that there are multiple meanings for many words in English.

Alternative The teacher creates a set of words, and makes a copy for each student or group. Before distributing each set, she or he cuts the set up into individual words (or students can cut them up). Students then group and regroup the words into meaningful categories. These categories may range from surface features, such as the number or placement of letters in words (for example,

baseball say trailer holler house

cap apartment soccer duplex slide

shout sing hat helmet townhouse

Figure 4.3: Scrambled Chart of Known Words

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whisper bonnet basketball tennis run

flat swing play beanie beret

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awareness. For example, a student may know a meaning for a word, but if that meaning doesn’t seem to fit the context, the student wonders if the word has another meaning.


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 in the list, apartment, beret, shout, hat, helmet, bonnet, and flat all end in –t), to lexical features (for example, compound words, such as baseball, townhouse, and basketball) to words that are related through meaning (for example, trailer, house, townhouse, apartment, duplex, and flat are all places in which people live). Teachers may need to help ELL students make connections in meaning.

Targeted Strategy 9: Play reinforcement games. Students enjoy games such as bingo, Concentration, and Jeopardy, and they can be used to great effect for reinforcing vocabulary development. These games can be played throughout the school year, including the following times: c

At the conclusion of a unit of study, when the game focuses on terms learned during the unit (for example, plate tectonics).

c

At intervals throughout the year, when the game focuses on terms that correspond with several units of study in one subject. For example, for a sixth-grade science class in California, this might include plate tectonics, shaping the Earth’s surface, thermal energy, and ecology.

c

At intervals throughout the year, when the game focuses on terms from all subjects studied up to that point in the school year. For example, for a sixth-grade class this might include ancient civilizations around the world in history; ecology in science; literary response and analysis terms in reading (e.g., character, setting, rhythm, rhyme, theme, imagery); writing craft moves in narrative writing (e.g., plot, setting, sensory details, dialogue, suspense); and number sense in mathematics (e.g., fraction, decimal, ratio, proportion, percentage, calculate).

As students become familiar with routines surrounding these games, they can design their own games—in these situations, the teacher acts as a resource to pairs or small groups of students as they prepare the materials. There are added linguistic and cognitive benefits to students taking on the role of game designer. Concentration This game provides reading practice and multiple exposures to terms and definitions, while also building memory, all of which are very useful for language learners. We find it useful to write terms on cards of one color and definitions on cards of another color. For example, in a reading/writing unit on expository writing, terms might include persuasion, evidence, conclusion, assertion, propaganda, citation, credibility, and they can be put on blue cards. Chapter 4: Reading Situations

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Definitions can be placed on red cards—for example, the definition for propaganda might be “a message intended to influence the opinions and/or behavior of people.” The definition card can be just a definition, a sentence in which the term’s meaning can be deduced from context, or a combination of the definition and a sentence in which it is used. So as not to overwhelm students, we have found that it is wise to begin with around four to six pairs of words and definitions and build up to more once students become familiar with the game. At that point, students, rather than the teacher, can select the words and write the definitions. Modified Jeopardy This is a modified Jeopardy game in which players don’t respond in the form of a question (for example, “What is the outer layer of the Earth?”), but rather provide short answers to questions. For example, if a student is asked, “What is the outer layer of the Earth’s surface called?” the student would reply “Crust” or “The crust.” This game relies on listening, as well as knowledge of content terms, so it is often helpful to ELLs to display the questions on a transparency or on strips of paper that are then posted on the board or wall. Procedure 1. Prepare a Jeopardy game board that can be used over and over again. Minimally, the number of terms needs to exceed the number of students playing the game by five or so, to ensure that every student gets to play and all students have some options to choose from. See Figure 4.4 for a sample game board, which is designed for a class of 30 upper-grade students. (There are 35 possible questions, so every student has some choice.) 2. Prepare a series of cards with terms from the unit(s) of study. Also prepare a series of corresponding questions and align them with the scoring categories, according to difficulty. (See Figure 4.5.) 3. Students work in groups to prepare each other for the game; this review may occur in short segments over a couple of days, such as 15–20 minutes each day. Newcomer ELLs should be placed in groups that contain students who are more fluent in English. 4. Students take turns answering a question—each student chooses the category and the point value. 5. Team members are not allowed to help in answering the question.

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Category A Magnetism

Category B Landforms

Category C Writing Craft Moves

Category D Substance Abuse

Category E Algebra

70 points

70 points

70 points

70 points

70 points

60 points

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60 points

60 points

60 points

50 points

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50 points

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40 points

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30 points

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10 points

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Figure 4.4: Sample Modified Jeopardy Game Board

Category and Number of Points

Question

Answer

Landforms: 10 points

What is the outermost layer of the Earth’s surface called?

The crust

Landforms: 20 points

What is a mountain formed by molten lava and gases called?

A volcano

Landforms: 30 points

What is the shaking of the earth caused by the sudden release of stored energy called?

An earthquake

Figure 4.5: Modified Jeopardy Game Cards, With Study Terms, Questions, and Answers

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6. Students are given five or ten seconds, or some other designated amount of time to answer.

8. If no one in that group knows the answer, it passes to the next group (for half the points). 9. The game continues until all students have had a chance to answer (and until all groups have had the same number of turns). 10. The group with the most points wins. Word Dominoes There are many variations on the word domino game, which can be used for reinforcement. For example, word tiles can be matched according to: c

High-frequency words (the, before, then).

c

Related meanings (run, walk, and jump can be matched).

c

Compound words (police and man can be matched to make policeman).

c

Letters of the alphabet (either matching single letters such as H, L, or G or matching dominoes with words that begin with the same letter as a word that ends with that letter [boy can be matched with yes]).

Quick Competitions In these two- or three-minute competitions, students collaborate with a partner to recall vocabulary and concepts related to a unit of study. These quick competitions generate many kinds of useful data for teachers, including which concepts students are most familiar with and which ones they do not appear to be internalizing. The information can also provide feedback to the students themselves. Students tend to enjoy these short, informal, ungraded competitions, which can motivate them to pay better attention to concepts and terms because they know there will be a competition. Procedure 1. The teacher explains that students will be working in pairs to list as many items as possible for each category posted. They have a defined amount of time (for example, three or five minutes). 2. The list of possible categories is endless. In addition to words/terms relating to content-area units of study (for example, ancient civilizations) or a subject (for example, mathematics, science, or art), the categories can be more general in nature (for example, sports, foods, hobbies,

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7. If the student does not know the answer or has the wrong answer, the rest of the group has the opportunity to answer it for half the points.


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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 occupations, animals, countries, cities, plants, rivers, famous people in history). Categories can also be broad (for example, foods) or narrowed to subcategories (for example, in a quick competition focused on foods, subcategories might be spicy foods, salty foods, fruits, vegetables, red foods, and appetizers). One or more subcategories can be the focus of a competition. 3. After the designated amount of time is up, students put down their writing utensils. 4. Pairs of students take turns reading aloud an item from their lists. 5. If an item is mentioned more than once, no points are awarded. If only one pair mentions an item, that pair wins a point. 6. The winner is the pair that has the most points. Fill in the alphabet box. As a follow-up to a content-area unit or units of study, students work with partners to fill in a chart with boxes for each letter of the alphabet. For example, in Figure 4.6 (page 182), the partially completed chart is devoted to animal life, and students had to select words that were related to that topic and place them in the appropriate boxes. This kind of alphabet box activity allows students to see how rarely certain letters, such as q, x, and z, occur in English. Alternative: Fill in mixed topic alphabet boxes. Combine several topics, such as animals, plants, occupations, countries, songs, and famous people in history. (See Figure 4.7, page 183.) In this case, there are boxes corresponding to five categories, as well as free choice boxes, which correspond with letters of the alphabet that generate very few words in English. Free choice words may be restricted to words relating to the assigned categories or may be completely unrelated to the topic.

Situation 2

Students don’t understand concepts in either the L1 or English.

Sometimes ELL students have had little or no schooling. They may come from war-torn countries, or they may come from an area so poverty-stricken that all members of the family need to work and/or take care of younger siblings in order for the family to eat. In such cases, ELLs may come to North American schools with limited familiarity with content-area concepts

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alligator anteater

b/B bear badger buffalo

f/F

c/C

d/D

e/E

h/H

i/I

j/J

calf

g/G habitat horse

k/K

l/L

iguana

jaguar

m/M

n/N

o/O

mate monkey mammal p/P

q/Q

r/R reproduction rhinoceros

s/S

t/T

u/U

v/V

w/W warm-blooded warthog*

x/X

y/Y

z/Z

Figure 4.6: Animal Life Alphabet Box

and vocabulary, both in their native language and English. The most expedient way to support concept development is through the native language. However, given that there are so few bilingual programs for ELLs in grades 6–12 in North America, it is often inevitable that mainstream teachers will be responsible for helping to narrow the concept/vocabulary gap in English. The following fairly simple strategies can help make content more comprehensible to ELLs. * The students had originally written waterhog, which other students questioned, saying there wasn't an animal by that name. This led to a class discussion about what a waterhog is. They then looked up waterhog in the dictionary, didn't find it there, so looked up hog, where they found a reference to warthog. An Internet search led them to the San Diego Zoo Web site and a picture and description of this animal from Africa.

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a/A


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a/A

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Country

b/B Song

f/F City

g/G Country

k/K Plant

City

l/L Country

City

Plant

j/J City

n/N Song

w/W

e/E Animal

Animal

m/M

v/V

d/D

i/I

q/Q r/R Free Choice Occupation Country

u/U Animal

h/H Song

Occupation

p/P

c/C Occupation Plant

o/O Animal

s/S

t/T Song

x/X Free Choice Animal

y/Y

z/Z Country

Figure 4.7: Mixed Topic Alphabet Box

Targeted Strategy 1: Use realia, pictures, and demonstrations. It is very important for teachers to use visual, auditory, and tactile aids to make key concepts accessible and comprehensible to ELLs as well as non-ELLs. Gestures, sketches, realia, demonstrations, dramatizations, and film/DVDs/videos are all valuable means of support. Katharine once observed a high school social studies teacher teaching ELLs about locating places on the globe using longitude and latitude. These were quite abstract concepts for the students, yet the teacher relied exclusively on lecturing; not surprisingly, the students were lost. Had the teacher used a globe and enlarged maps, the students would have almost certainly understood much more. In contrast, Katharine once observed a fifth/sixth-grade teacher

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embarking on a unit about archaeology. Instead of teaching exclusively through the textbook, as so many of her colleagues did (and which typically left students confused and totally indifferent to or even hating history), this teacher began the unit by providing her students with a simulated archaeological dig. The students worked in groups to carefully unearth small artifacts that the teacher had buried in layers of plaster of paris in gallon milk jugs. After unearthing these artifacts and carefully describing and recording each object, the groups had to hypothesize about how the objects might have been used and then, ultimately, the cultures that used the objects. This activity led to an actual dig in the school grounds, followed by more traditional learning experiences, including reading the social studies textbook. By the time the students reached this stage, they were so enthusiastic about archaeology and had acquired such a solid understanding of the discipline and its related terms that the dense textbook was much more comprehensible to them than it would have been otherwise.3

Targeted Strategy 2: Tell stories. Whenever the teacher can relate content and concepts to his or her life experiences and those of the students, concepts are often more accessible and comprehensible. For example, when talking about the human life cycle, Katharine will share a now quite old, but still special, small black-and-white ultrasound picture of her first son in the womb to illustrate the term embryo, and tell her students how she came to have the photo. Such a brief but vivid account is likely to spark students’ own stories. (Later, when students are generating ideas for nonfiction picture books, she likes to refer to their ideas as embryonic, and then explains how ideas that haven’t been developed into full-blown pieces are like human embryos.)

Targeted Strategy 3: Go on a text walk. Before reading a new text or starting a new topic, take students on a text walk in order to stimulate their background knowledge and curiosity, and to introduce them to key concepts and terms. Procedure 1. Using an overhead projector or opaque projector, show carefully selected pages with illustrations (for example, diagrams, photos, drawings) that focus on key concepts and potentially unfamiliar terms in English. 3

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For a detailed description of a similar activity, see pages 94–113 in Stephen Cary’s Working With English Language: Answers to Teachers’ Top Ten Questions (2007).

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2. While pointing to illustrations and words/terms on each page, discuss the main concept with students and circle related words. These discussions often tap into students’ personal experiences and background knowledge, which can help enormously in building conceptual knowledge and vocabulary.

Targeted Strategy 4: Create a pictorial input chart or a large picture input chart.4 The teacher introduces a topic (for example, volcanoes, photosynthesis, westward movement) while drawing a picture in front of the students. (See Figure 4.8.) In this way, students have access to both auditory and visual input. Procedure 1. Locate a picture that captures the topic. 2. Make an enlarged pencil outline of key information in the picture.

Organs of the Body Brain (control center)

Liver (many functions, including helping digestion & cleaning the blood) Large Intestine [Colon] (transports waste & absorbs water)

Lungs (breathing/ respiration) Heart (pumps blood) Kidneys (act as a filter)

Small Intestine (digestion)

Figure 4.8: Pictorial Input Chart 4

This strategy is often associated with the GLAD Project (Guided Language Acquisition Design). More information about GLAD can be found at www.projectglad.com.

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Not everything in a picture needs to be included, just the most salient information. This can be accomplished in various ways, depending on the technology available to teachers. Here are several options: • Using an overhead projector: a. Make a clear copy of the picture. b. Make a transparency from this copy. c. Project the transparency onto a large piece of butcher paper. d. Use a pencil to very faintly trace and label key elements.

• Using an opaque projector: a. Project the picture onto a large piece of butcher paper. b. Use a pencil to very faintly trace and label key elements.

• Using a laptop computer and projector: a. Scan the picture and save it onto the laptop as a PowerPoint slide. b. Project the picture onto a large piece of butcher paper. c. Use a pencil to very faintly trace and label key elements. 3. While using a marker to trace over the pencil outline, the teacher talks about the content and writes labels to accompany the picture. For example, in an introduction to a study of the human body and its organs, a teacher used a marker to trace an oversized outline of a human body while briefly remarking on and labeling the names of the organs and their functions, as the following excerpt illustrates: Ms. Thai: Today we’re going to begin a study of the human body. (She picks up a large marker and traces the outline of a human body that is posted on the easel.) Here’s the brain (while tracing the outline of the brain and shading it a little with scratch marks to resemble a brain; she then writes brain on the chart with an arrow pointing to the brain). This is the control center for the central nervous system, which is responsible for our behavior, or what we do (while writing control center under the brain label). And here’s the heart (while tracing the outline of the heart and writing heart on the chart with an arrow pointing to the heart). The heart pumps blood through our bodies (and then she writes pumps blood under the heart label). There are two lungs. One is to the left of the heart and the other is to the right of the heart (while tracing the outline of the left and right lungs and writing left lung and right lung on the chart, with arrows pointing to the two lungs). The lungs are the main organ for making sure we breathe. Another term that’s used is respiration (while writing breathe/respiration under the left lung and right lung labels). We’ll learn more about this later in the week. 186

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Ms. Thai continued in this way, tracing, talking about, and labeling all the major organs. On subsequent days, she used similar pictorial input charts to teach about the heart, brain, lungs, small and large intestines, and other organs. Another pictorial input chart can be found at http://community. scholastic.com/scholastic/blog/article?blog.id=ELL_strategies&message.id=4.

Targeted Strategy 5: Use Knowledge Rating Guides. See Figure 4.9 (page 188) for a completed Knowledge Rating Guide. The sketches were added after the student had become familiar with the corresponding terms. These guides can help students to self-monitor their understanding of key terms, develop strategies for remembering new terms and improve reading comprehension, increase their repertoire of key terms that can be used in their writing, and enhance their word consciousness. Knowledge Rating Guides can also help teachers assess students’ knowledge of key terms before and after a unit of study. Knowledge Rating Guides can be developed for an entire unit of study (for example, immigration) or a segment of a unit under study (for example, the impact of immigration on popular culture). 1. Select 10–15 key words and/or phrases related to an area to be studied, a text to be read, or a read-aloud text. 2. Before beginning the unit of study or reading, ask students to complete the Knowledge Rating Guide: a. Explain the purpose and procedure to students, using an overhead projector, opaque projector, chart, or handout. b. Demonstrate how to complete the Knowledge Rating Guide, using terms that differ from the ones they will be working with. Use a think-aloud to display your thinking. c. Students can complete their own Knowledge Rating Guides. d. Students share their responses and discuss the terms in pairs or small groups. e. Hold a discussion with the class about the terms and what they think they mean. Make sure to contextualize words and build on any knowledge of word families and cognates students may have. These conversations about words are very important. f. Encourage students to make sketches next to terms that they aren’t sure of, to help them remember meanings. 3. Using the knowledge you gain from the conversations and students’ Knowledge Rating Guides, you may decide that some key concepts need to be carefully explored. Chapter 4: Reading Situations

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Words I've heard or seen

rotation

planet

✓ ✓

asteroid

black hole

atmosphere

astronomy

telescope

star

gravity

satellite

observatory

Figure 4.9: A Student’s Completed Knowledge Rating Guide 188

Words I don't know

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Words I know and can use


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4. After the unit of study, invite students to complete the Knowledge Rating Guide in a different color, so they and you can see their progress. Hold a discussion with students about their vocabulary development, terms that still confuse them, and strategies that helped them remember meanings. Alternatives At the end of a unit of study, invite groups of students to prepare their own Knowledge Rating Guides for other groups of students to use in the future. Be prepared to discuss how to choose words. c

Before embarking on a new study or reading, invite groups of students to browse through texts looking for terms they think many students will be unfamiliar with. Use some of these words to prepare a Knowledge Rating Guide. Be prepared to discuss how to choose words.

c

Use terms from Knowledge Rating Guides for periodic, quick reinforcement games, such as bingo, Concentration, and Jeopardy.

Situation 3

My ELL students can decode words, but they don’t understand what they have just read.

Being able to decode is an important step, but students need to know that reading involves making sense of what they have just decoded. Developing vocabulary is integrally intertwined with this situation (see earlier pages for vocabulary development and word consciousness activities), but the following strategies focus explicitly on reading as a meaning-making process.

Targeted Strategy 1: Reading = making meaning. Emergent or struggling readers often overrely on one of the three major language cueing systems: the graphophonic (sound-symbol correspondence), the semantic (whether words make sense in that context), and the syntactic (whether grammatically it sounds like English). We have observed that many ELL students often overrely on the graphophonic cueing system, and focus exclusively on decoding words without regard to whether what they are decoding makes sense or sounds like English. It is important to discuss with students the main reasons we read—to get information or be entertained— and how that entails focusing on more than sound-symbol correspondences. Students also need to know that reading is a process of self-monitoring, so when they notice a breakdown in meaning, they do their best to repair the breakdown. We also need to reassure students that occasionally deviating Chapter 4: Reading Situations

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from the text when reading is a normal part of reading—and that good readers correct miscues that lead to breakdowns in meaning. A very effective way of showing the importance of reading for meaning is through demonstrations. These can occur very informally and without planning, such as when reading aloud. For example, Katharine has read “mom” for “mother,” and has pointed out to students that she did this without thinking, but as it didn’t change the meaning of the text, she didn’t go back and repair the miscue. On another occasion, when she read, “she was sold to a planter in South Carolina” for “she was sold to a plantation in South Carolina,” she went back and reread that sentence correctly, and explained to students that she had made a point of correcting it because plantation means something distinctly different from planter (even though the words have the same root and are connected). More formal teaching demonstrations are also important. One that Katharine has found to be effective involves several demonstrations. She selects a text and then reads it while focusing on different cueing systems and reading strategies, as the following examples illustrate: Demonstration 1: Sound-Symbol Correspondence Only She reads the text and focuses on just graphophonic similarity, reading words that share some of the same phonics properties as the words in the text, but don’t make any sense, such as: Text:

I’ll taste it and see if it’s sweet.

Reading: I tastee it and see if it sw, sw, swet.

Neither tastee nor swet are real words in English and the sentence does not make sense. She focused solely on sound/symbol correspondence, and not on making meaning. Demonstration 2: Semantic/Meaning-Making Only Text:

She wanted to carry the groceries.

Reading: She wanted to take out the garbage.

This sentence makes sense, but substituting take out for carry and garbage for groceries changes the meaning. In this case, she didn’t pay enough attention to graphophonics. Demonstration 3: Cueing Systems Working Together to Make Meaning Text:

The birds flew overhead in the bright blue sky.

Reading: The bird flows, flies over land. The bird flies overhead in the big blue, bright blue sky.

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 She is using all the cueing systems and self-monitors herself. This leads her to correct words that change meaning, such as flows for flies, over land for overhead, and big for bright. She didn’t self-correct bird for birds, however, and it could be argued that the singular noun changes the meaning slightly. After each demonstration, she asks students to talk about the strategies she used and how effective she was as a reader. Typically, students can see that her third demonstration is what good readers do—that is, they pay attention to all the language cueing systems, and strive to make sense of the text. They may make miscues, but they self-correct those that get in the way of meaning.

Targeted Strategy 2: Review strategies learned. Because struggling readers often focus so much on decoding, it is helpful to regularly go over the strategies they have been taught that help them read for meaning. When Katharine was working with upper-grade struggling readers, she found it helpful to ask them at the beginning of each session which strategies they had access to and could use. In time, they began to internalize these strategies and it generally wasn’t necessary to do this kind of review orally. A typical review went like this: Katharine: So, which reading strategies do you know about and can maybe use when you’re reading today? Abdul:

Look at the front cover. See what it about. (Pause)

Antonio:

Stop if it no make sense. And read again.

Anita:

Read these. These heads. (Pointing to a page in her book.)

Katharine: Do you mean the headings and subheadings? (Anita nods her head.) Okay. Nancy:

Watch the period. The comma. The question.

Katharine: Pay attention to the punctuation? Students: Yeah. Han:

Make connection.

Katharine: Make connections to what? Han:

Me. What I know.

Katharine: So, making a text-to-self connection? (Han nods.) Right. Any other kinds of connections you might make? Phuong:

Books.

Katharine: OK. Text-to-text connections.

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A think-aloud occurs when readers verbalize their thinking while reading, thereby making reading processes visible to both the reader and others (Clausen-Grace & Kelley, 2007; Damico & Baildon, 2007; Keene & Zimmermann, 2007; Wilhelm, 2001). Students can either talk about their processes while reading (oral think-aloud) or write about their processes while reading (written think-aloud). These metacognitive conversations can involve any of the following: c

The reader talking or writing about his or her reading processes.

c

Two readers taking turns thinking aloud while reading.

c

A student reading and thinking aloud with the teacher.

Think-aloud is an instructional strategy that helps readers monitor their understanding, thereby supporting their reading comprehension. It is also a valuable tool for assessment of students’ thinking processes and use of strategies. All readers are periodically stumped by what they read. Experienced readers have access to multiple reading strategies to figure out what stumped them and repair the breakdown; in contrast, struggling and/or emergent readers have access to far fewer strategies. Successful reading taps into the following reading processes:

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c

Identifying a problem or difficulty (for example, unknown words and concepts).

c

Using fix-ups and trying to solve problems, such as through these means: Rereading. Reading on. Identifying familiar root words. Identifying familiar or potential cognates.

c

Making predictions.

c

Confirming and disconfirming predictions.

c

Asking questions.

c

Visualizing.

c

Making connections (activating schema): Text-to-self. Text-to-text. Text-to-world (including community).

c

Making inferences.

c

Evaluating text.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 3: Use think-alouds.


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

The teacher can work with an entire class, small groups of students with similar needs, or an individual student. In general, it is best to work with two or more students so that they can see how other students approach texts and use reading strategies. 1. Select a reading strategy that students typically do not use and that would be helpful to them in making sense of a text (for example, making text-to-self connections or identifying unfamiliar words/terms). 2. Select a short text that lends itself to demonstrating the identified reading strategy. 3. Post the text on a transparency or opaque projector and give each student a copy. 4. Explain to students that you will be thinking aloud to help understand the text better. Ask them to notice the strategies that you use. Then demonstrate thinking aloud. 5. Have a discussion with students about the strategies you used, such as asking questions, making text-to-self connections, and making a prediction. If students don’t mention strategies you used, point them out and explain your thinking, if needed. 6. Chart the think-aloud strategies that you and the students generate, and include an example of each so students have a clear understanding of the strategy later. 7. Ask students to think aloud in pairs—it’s a good idea to ask them to try the strategy that you just focused on in your demonstration, but they shouldn’t be limited to it.

• Students should read texts that are slightly above what they can read independently with understanding, so that they are likely to have some breakdowns in meaning, but will still be able to make sense of the text. • Students take turns reading a couple of lines or a paragraph and thinking aloud. • When not thinking aloud, students keep notes on the strategies they observe their partner using. These can be recorded on notebook paper or on a sheet. (See Figure 4.10, page 194.) 8. The whole class/group meets and talks about the strategies they used, and any new strategies are added to the chart.

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Name: _________________________ Date: _________ Text: _____________________________________ Think-Aloud Strategy

Examples

Predicting

Confirming/Disconfirming Predictions Identifying a breakdown in comprehension Asking questions

Visualizing

Making Connections: Text-to-self Making Connections: Text-to-text Making Connections: Text-to-world Inferring

Evaluating

Using Fix-Ups/Trying to solve problems Unrelated to text

Figure 4.10: Think-Aloud Record Sheet 194

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Retelling


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 9. It is useful to provide daily practice in thinking aloud until students have internalized what is involved. 10. Whenever introducing a new reading strategy, it is a good idea to demonstrate its use through a think-aloud. Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Alternatives c

Think-alouds can be used to help make sense of the text structure of different genres, for example, line breaks in poetry, the use of headings and subheadings in nonfiction information books, and cause and effect in informational texts.

c

Think-alouds can also be used to teach about literary features, such as character development, setting, and subplots, and craft elements, such as the use of rhythmic language, circular stories, and the infusion of non-English words to convey cultural meanings.

c

In some classrooms, students use Idea Bookmarks to prepare for Literature Study Circles, which are open-ended small-group book discussions (Samway & Whang, 1996). These Idea Bookmarks are a form of written think-aloud. (See Figure 4.11, page 196.) Idea Bookmarks can be used by teachers to assess students’ think-aloud strategy use. (See Figure 4.12, page 197.) In this case, the teacher reviewed the bookmarks of a sixth-grade nonnative English speaker, Teresa, and identified the think-aloud strategies that she relied on most often when reading The Great Gilly Hopkins (Paterson, 1978), the story of a feisty foster child. In fact, 50 percent of her written think-aloud comments were inferences.

Targeted Strategy 4: Do cloze activities. In cloze activities, students predict words that are missing from a passage and fill in the blanks. Cloze activities support meaning-making by requiring students to go beyond decoding. (See Appendix G for guidelines for developing cloze activities and Appendices I, J, and K for three versions of a cloze text.)

Targeted Strategy 5: Create strip stories and procedures. 1. Select a familiar text, such as a folk tale, a science experiment, or a class-generated account of a field trip. It is best if there are clear demarcations within the story. 2. Cut the text into segments, such as by episodes or steps, and attach them to strips of paper. 3. Scramble the strips. Chapter 4: Reading Situations

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p. 18 On the hillside of my town in Mexico poor people some times they are so many that the town gets bigger every year!

p. 21 Leaving the children, Lupita came back to the door, which she had left “ajar” What does “ajar” mean.

p. 21 They wanted to give Hernando to the Captin so that he could work, but I think that he is too small. And they said that the very next day that the father was dead

p. 25 Does Pocho mean born in the U.S.A. and your parents were born in Mexico. Where did that word come from?

p. 38 They wanted to dress Lupita as a boy so that well I think she wouldn't get raped.

p. 46 The guy that hit Salvador said that they could do better than robbe some kids to only get 4,000 pesos.

Figure 4.11: Idea Bookmarks

4. Have students arrange the strips in order. If students are working in pairs or small groups, the conversations they have that lead to decisions can be very valuable. Alternative Students collaborate in writing a how-to procedure, such as a recipe, directions for playing a game, or steps in a science experiment. Students then copy the steps, cut them up, put them on strips of paper, and put them back in order.

Targeted Strategy 6: Use read and retell. When students are asked to retell what they have read, using their own words, it underscores how reading is a meaning-making process. However, many struggling readers find retelling or paraphrasing to be difficult. For this reason, it is important to teach them how to retell, beginning first with short, familiar events and texts, and then moving to longer, less familiar events and texts. 196

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Name: Angelina Title: Lupita Mañana Author: Muñoz, P.


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Name: __________Grade/Age: ______ Date: _________ Text: ___________________________________ Teresa 6th 3/22 The Great Gilly Hopkins Examples

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Think-Aloud Strategy

Incidence Tally

%

Retelling

She thinks that she didn't deserve to be put with that family (p. 13)

√ √ √ (3)

12%

Predicting

That the next person would find a sticky surprise

4%

(0)

Confirming Predictions Identifying a problem

(1)

Is Gilly playing a game with Mrs. T. and Mrs. T. didn't know about.

√√

(2)

Visualizing

(0)

Making Connections: Text-to-self Text-to-text Text-to-world

(0)

8%

Inferring

Right her you can tell that Gilly is a different child (p. 3) Gilly put her left hand on the door knob and the right hand on her hip . . . . I think she was telling is Mrs. Trotter to bit it (p. 8) Right her you can tell she doesn't like W.E. (p. 56)

√√√√√√ √√√√√√ (12)

50%

Evaluating

I think Gilly is mean because she wanted Miss Ellis fired. (p. 15)

√ √ √ √ (4)

16%

Using Fix-Ups

(0)

Unrelated to text

(0)

Other

I think it real explains what she feels by wanting to vomit (p. 6)

√√

(2)

8%

Figure 4.12: Think-Aloud Strategy Use Assessment 197


1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1. Select a short, self-contained text of one or two paragraphs, either one that you have written or a published text.

3. Ask students to pay attention to what you do when you retell. 4. Read the short text aloud while students follow along, either in their own copies or on the overhead or opaque projector. 5. Then demonstrate a retelling, paraphrasing only the most important points, and using your own words as much as possible. 6. After the retelling, ask students to comment on what they observed you doing. They might point out that you didn’t talk about everything in the passage, your retelling was much shorter than the text itself, and you used your own words. 7. Then give students another short passage on a familiar topic and read it to them while they follow along. (The focus at this point is on the retell, so it’s fine to read it to them.) 8. After this initial reading of the text, the students collaboratively generate a retelling. This step often leads to a discussion about which points are essential, how to restate a point in one’s own words, and whether the point was actually present in the text. (With familiar content, students sometimes overrely on background knowledge.) 9. Students take turns retelling short texts with a partner. 10. Once students are able to retell short texts containing familiar content, they are usually ready to move to longer texts and/or texts about much less familiar content. Alternative: Work up from shorter to longer segments. If students have a hard time retelling longer texts, it is helpful to break down the text into shorter segments, such as by paragraphs or just a couple of sentences, and gradually build up to paraphrasing longer segments. Alternative: Use graphic organizers for retells. While students are looking at the text, collaboratively fill in a graphic organizer that is appropriate for the text, such as a Venn diagram (to show similarities and differences), a cluster web (for connecting ideas), or a flow chart (to show a sequence of events). While filling in the chart, talk about or

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2. Explain to students that you are going to demonstrate how to retell a text to demonstrate that you have understood what you have read; after all, reading is ultimately all about making sense of a text.


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elicit key words or phrases to include. Ask the students to turn their text face down or close their books and retell the story (for fiction) or account (for nonfiction), using the graphic organizer as a map or guide. (Examples of many useful graphic organizers can be found at www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer.)

Situation 4

Students can recall literal facts, but they have a hard time with higher-level reading skills.

Reading is an active, meaning-making process between the reader and the text, so it is inevitable that no two readers will extract identical meanings from a text. However, some readers make predictions and use other higher-order reading processes that other students, who may only be able to focus on lower-order comprehension processes (such as paying attention to individual words and how to pronounce or decode them) do not. These distinctions are true for ELLs, also. However, even when ELL students have access to higher-order reading processes when reading in their native language, they are likely to have difficulty understanding texts in English, particularly those that are grammatically complex and/or about unfamiliar content. (This is partly related to their nascent vocabulary in English.) In some cases, ELLs who read competently in their L1 may have difficulty engaging in requests for higher-order reading processes in English, such as inferring an author’s intentions or predicting an outcome, due to a lack of experience with inferring or predicting when reading. This may be due to teaching methods in their home countries. Also, ELLs who have had limited or interrupted formal schooling may struggle to comprehend English texts. The following activities can help ELLs internalize additional comprehension strategies. The first two activities apply to all comprehension strategies, while the others relate to a particular aspect of comprehension, such as distinguishing between fact and opinion or identifying the central idea in a passage.

Targeted Strategy 1: Begin with familiar content. When teaching a reading strategy, such as figuring out the central idea, determining what is fact and what is opinion, or inferring meaning, begin with a text about familiar content. Perhaps the text is about life in students’ homelands, immigrant experiences, or music that is popular with the students. Articles in magazines for young people can provide some very good texts;

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c

BBC Newsround provides short, comprehensible, current news stories that can be read online or downloaded: http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews.

c

The online version of Discover magazine has lots of very short, informative pieces. Though not intended for ELLs, they can be easily adapted for ELLs; in addition, if students are interested in a topic, the short texts aren’t too intimidating: http://discovermagazine.com.

c

Easy English News is a monthly newspaper for high school and adult immigrant ELLs, written by a former ESOL teacher: www.elizabethclaire. com/een/eendescription.html.

c

Scholastic publishes five magazines written specifically for ELL teenagers: Click, Crown, Team, Club, and Current. These magazines correspond with five levels of English proficiency, beginner to advanced: www.scholastic.ca/education/magazines/esl.html.

c

Scholastic also publishes other magazines for school-age learners that can be used with ELLs, sometimes as is, and sometimes with modifications. They include DynaMath and SuperScience for Grades 3–6, and Science World for grades 7–12: www.scholastic.ca/education/magazines/index.html.

c

Time for Kids, Grades 4–6 is a weekly news magazine that draws on the same news sources used by its parent magazine, Time: www.timeforkids. com/TFK/teachers/wr/0,27955,,00.html.

c

Topics is an online magazine written by and for ELLs. Although pieces are typically written by adults, content on cultural issues, such as games we played as children, and holidays, celebrations, and festivals around the world, is often appropriate for younger learners: www.topics-mag.com.

Targeted Strategy 2: Use think-alouds. Think-alouds can help students acquire higher-level reading strategies, including how to figure out the main idea in a passage, establish the sequence of events, paraphrase, identify important details and/or facts, predict outcomes or future events, and evaluate ideas. See pages 192–195 for more information on conducting think-alouds. When selecting texts for think-alouds, whether for demonstrating how to do a think-aloud focused on a particular reading strategy or for students to practice thinking aloud, it is essential that the selected text actually allows for this strategy.

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teacher-written texts and student-written texts can also be useful. The following magazines, newspapers, and online news sources offer written texts that can be used with ELL students:


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 3: Find the main idea through labeling categories of words. Locating the main idea in a text is often considered a very simple task, but in fact it frequently involves several complex processes, including being able to distinguish between key ideas and less central details, making inferences, and evaluating a text. That is, the main idea of a passage may not be explicit. Also, there may not be an identifiable main idea or a single main idea in a given paragraph. The following activity is designed to help students find the main idea of a passage through the preliminary step of labeling groups of words. 1. Post a chart listing several group of words. (See Figure 4.13.) Do not include the titles at the top of each column. 2. Ask students to generate a word or term that best describes what each group of words is about. Students can work in pairs or small groups. 3. Discuss students’ ideas, stressing that the words and phrases need to describe what the words are mostly about. Relate the discussion to reading and to the ways in which we pay attention to what a passage, chapter, or entire text is mainly about.

Targeted Strategy 4: Distinguish between fact and opinion through a two-column T-chart. When students have difficulty distinguishing between facts and opinions, a first step is to have them list attributes of those two terms. This can be accomplished through the following steps: 1. Ask students if they believe everything they read—the resulting discussion can be very useful as students explain their thinking. Whenever possible, use the terms fact and opinion.

Sports

Foods

Flowers

Forms of Transportation

baseball hockey soccer tennis basketball

pizza taco chicken stew chow mein

daffodil rose tulip daisy lily

bicycle bus scooter car train

Figure 4.13: A Chart of Categories of Words to Help Students Find the Main Idea

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Facts are true are real/exist can be proved have actually happened

Opinions beliefs thoughts/ideas judgments ideas

3. Give students two sentences, one that is factual and one that is an opinion, and ask them to discuss whether they are facts or opinions. Students can begin by talking with a peer, and then share their responses with the whole class or group. Sample sentences could include the following: Men are horrible dancers. Snow is cold. 4. Post more sentences and ask students to decide if they are facts or opinions, and why. The subsequent discussions can be very informative and helpful to students. Sample sentences include: Summers in these parts are usually very hot and dry. (fact) We’re having horrible weather today. (opinion) Eighty-four percent of the students graduated from our school last year. (fact) School is too easy/too hard. (opinion) The president has served two terms. (fact) The president is the best/worst president we’ve ever had. (opinion) 5. Give students a passage that includes both facts and opinions and have them list sentences and phrases in the appropriate columns of a T-chart. (See Figure 4.14.) Following is the passage that generated these observations.

Fact

Opinion

Soccer is played in many countries in the world.

Everyone agrees that Brazil is the best national soccer team.

In most countries, it is called football.

Soccer is the best sport of all.

FIFA governs international soccer.

Figure 4.14: A Chart of Facts and Opinions 202

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2. Discuss with students what they think the terms fact and opinion mean. They can look up the definitions in the dictionary or online. List descriptive terms about these words, such as the following:


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Soccer is played in many countries in the world. In most countries, it is called football. Everyone agrees that Brazil is the best national soccer team. FIFA governs international soccer. Soccer is the best sport of all.

Situation 5

My students want to read aloud to each other, but the other students hate it (and it’s an ordeal to listen to them).

Sometimes students want to read aloud to validate that they are readers, particularly if they are in classrooms with more fluent readers who get called on to read. Also, reading aloud can help in understanding difficult texts, such as some poems and very complex sentences. In addition, we have noticed that some students who come from a much more oral tradition may subvocalize when reading even short e-mail messages—this process seems to help them make sense of the messages. The following strategies are designed to acknowledge students’ desire to read aloud to others and give them authentic opportunities to do so, and do it well when it’s for a performance.

Targeted Strategy 1: Avoid round-robin reading. Although many teachers still ask students to take turns reading segments of a text aloud, known as round robin reading, we do not recommend this for several reasons. For example, the purpose for reading aloud is often pedagogically unsound, too few students are involved, and an unskilled read-aloud can be a very painful experience for both the reader (as when peers correct each other or criticize under their breath) and the listener (as when the flow and cadences of a good piece of prose or poetry are ruined).

Targeted Strategy 2: Use reading aloud for assessing students’ reading processes and needs. We find that the most useful ongoing reading assessments involve students reading aloud, followed by a retelling, such as Running Records,5 Miscue Analysis,6 and Retrospective Miscue Analysis.7 Think-alouds also usually 5

6

7

A running record is an assessment tool for recording a student's oral reading of a text and determining the language cueing systems and self-monitoring strategies used. The teacher uses check marks to indicate each word the student reads correctly. In miscue analysis, the teacher records deviations the reader makes from the written text on a copy of the text. The student also provides a retelling, which aids the teacher in determining the student's understanding of the text, use of reading strategies, and needs. A retrospective miscue analysis involves students listening to a tape recording of their own reading of a text and analyzing and explaining their miscues.

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Targeted Strategy 3: Offer pair reading. If students insist on reading aloud to each other, a more effective strategy than whole-class round-robin reading is to offer students a pair-reading experience. In pair reading, two to three students read the same text and then talk together about it. This provides readers with both a shared

Running Records Clay, M. (2000). Running records for classroom teachers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Shea, M. (2006). Where's the glitch? How to use running records with older readers, grades 5–8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Miscue Analysis Davenport, R. M. (1999). Miscues not mistakes. Reading assessment in the classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Goodman, D. (1999). The reading detective club: Solving the mysteries of reading. Katonah, NY: Richard C. Owen. Wilde, S. (2000). Miscue analysis made easy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Retrospective Miscue Analysis Goodman, Y. M., & Marek, A. M. (1996). Retrospective miscue analysis: Revaluing readers and reading. Katonah, NY: Richard C. Owen. Think-Alouds Keene, E. O., & Zimmermann, S. (2007). Mosaic of thought: The power of reading comprehension strategy instruction (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Schoenbach, R., Greenleaf, C. L., Cziko, C., & Hurwitz, L. (2000). Reading for understanding: A guide to improving reading in middle and high school classrooms. New York: Jossey-Bass. Wilhelm, J. (2001). Improving comprehension with think-aloud strategies: Modeling what good readers do. New York: Scholastic.

Figure 4.15: Resources for Assessing Students’ Reading Processes and Needs

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involve some reading aloud. All of these assessment tools are very effective in providing teachers (and students) insights into the reading strategies students use and which reading strategies they would benefit from being taught. See Figure 4.15 for a list of professional resources related to these assessment tools.


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

experience with texts and peer support, and can also introduce students to new authors, illustrators, and genres. (See page 164 for more information about pair reading.)

Targeted Strategy 4: Read a text generated through Language Experience Approach (LEA). LEA texts are typically read many times by the entire group or class, so students are likely to be able to read them aloud relatively fluently, much more so than with round-robin reading. (See pages 164–166 for information about LEA.)

Targeted Strategy 5: Engage in shared reading. Shared reading involves multiple readings of the same enlarged text. The teacher scaffolds the readings, which helps students learn to read fluently and with appropriate expression. (See pages 159–160 for information on the shared-reading strategy.)

Targeted Strategy 6: Offer students a cross-age reading experience. In a cross-age reading program, older students read to younger students. We have learned that successful programs reinforce reading skills. Because older students usually need to practice how to effectively read aloud to another student, this inevitably leads to lots of practice reading, often in front of a small group of peers, who critique and provide feedback. This type of activity provides an authentic opportunity to read aloud, both in the preparation for and the reading to younger buddies. See Buddy Reading: Cross-Age Tutoring in a Multicultural School (Samway, Whang, & Pippitt, 1995) for a detailed description of how to establish and maintain cross-age reading programs.

Targeted Strategy 7: Put on a radio show. Some teachers arrange for students to put on radio shows; sometimes these shows are very small-scale and are intended for just that class, whereas others are designed for the entire school and broadcast over the PA system. Whether these performances are intended for a narrow or wide audience, students need to practice reading aloud in order for the broadcast to be a success. (See Targeted Strategy 9 on the next page.)

Targeted Strategy 8: Use Readers’ Theatre. In Readers’ Theatre, students dramatize a familiar piece of literature or a section from it. A script is developed by the students and/or the teacher,

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c

Use short texts that are interesting to students and have several characters.

c

If students are developing their own scripts, teach them how to do this through demonstrations and scaffolding.

c

Teach students strategies for giving a successful performance. For example, show them how to project, speak with clear diction, stay in character, and not rush through the performance.

c

Provide time in class for students to rehearse their performance.

c

Allocate time for performances.

Targeted Strategy 9: Rehearse for reading aloud. Whenever students engage in reading aloud as a performance (as in reading aloud to younger students, engaging in a Readers’ Theatre, or putting on a radio show), they need to rehearse. In addition to simply providing practice in reading aloud and performing well, this type of rehearsal can also enhance comprehension, as research indicates that multiple readings of a text supports understanding. In this case, the multiple readings have a very authentic purpose, namely, putting on a good performance. Students also benefit from studying the strategies that more experienced people use when reading aloud, such as in the following examples: c

Demonstrations conducted by teachers and students—we have found that deliberately demonstrating poor read-alouds followed by good ones can be a very effective way for students to note what to do and what to avoid when reading aloud.

c

Teachers conducting read-alouds.

c

Librarians at school and in local libraries conducting read-alouds.

c

Visiting authors conducting read-alouds.

It is a good idea for groups of students to observe the same read-aloud so as to have a common experience to discuss and learn from. After observing and keeping notes, it is essential that students have opportunities to debrief; one way is by creating a chart of strategies. (See Figure 4.16.)

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which students read from, or students use a commercially published script. Unlike traditional theatrical experiences, in Readers’ Theatre students don’t usually memorize scripts, wear costumes, or use sets. Some general guidelines follow:


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Read-Aloud Strategies That Worked

Read-Aloud Strategies That Didn’t Work

Made eye contact.

Didn't make eye contact.

Showed pictures.

Read with a boring voice—no expression.

Read with expression.

Read with a lot of expression, but no variety.

Used different voices for different characters.

Read a book that wasn't interesting.

Talked briefly about why s/he chose the book.

S/he didn't seem to know the book.

S/he seemed to really know the book.

Made lots of mistakes—interrupted the flow.

Chose really interesting text (e.g., picture book, poetry, nonfiction picture book, magazine article, novel, piece by a student).

Kept interrupting to ask questions— interrupted the flow.

Occasionally asked questions (e.g., to predict).

Figure 4.16: Student Read-Aloud Strategies: What Works and What Doesn’t Work 207


1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Situation 6

I see very irregular reading behaviors in my ELL students—sometimes they read a text smoothly and with understanding, but at other times, even struggle to decode and/or understand the text.

Background knowledge is very important in the understanding of any text, and irregular behaviors are often grounded in students’ lack of familiarity with the content of the text. Some strategies that help in these circumstances include the following.

Targeted Strategy 1: Ask, “What do you know?” It’s important to help access students’ background knowledge before they read a text. The ultimate goal is that students internalize this strategy and use it automatically. c

Briefly discuss what they think the text will be about, based on the front cover, the title, and a quick browsing through of the text and illustrations.

c

Discuss what students know about the content of the text (i.e., background knowledge or schema).

c

Provide some background information about the content of the text, especially for content that is culturally and/or academically unfamiliar.

Targeted Strategy 2: Do a picture walk with books and magazines. Before reading a new book or magazine article that has illustrations, many teachers routinely do a picture walk in order to evoke students’ background knowledge and stimulate curiosity. 1. Show the cover to the book or the title page of the magazine article and read the title aloud. 2. Ask students to predict what the book or article is about. 3. Slowly flip through the pages of the book or article, asking who/what/ why/where/when/how questions about the illustrations. For a story, these questions might include the following: • What do you think will happen next? • Why do you think X is happening? • When do you think this story is taking place? • What questions do you have about this story? For a piece of nonfiction, questions might include the following:

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when reading a book at the same level, they


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• What do you think this is? • Where do you think this is? • How do you know X? • What questions do you have about this piece? Make sure not to give away the story line while doing the picture talk, if the text is fictional.

Limited Purposes for Reading Situation 1

My students think that reading is decoding, and they focus exclusively on sounding out the words.

Situation 2

Situation 3

My students read in a nonfluent, staccato-like way.

My students read very quickly, but without making meaning.

We have grouped these three situations together because they all reflect a limited view of why one reads. Sadly, these situations often arise from the kinds of learning experiences that students have in school, which all too frequently are disengaged from reading for enjoyment and/or to gain information. When students have experienced early reading instruction as decoding, without much, if any, emphasis on reading as a meaning-making act that leads to us being informed and/or entertained, then it may be inevitable that they do not approach reading with enthusiasm. This is particularly true if they have had few successful experiences with reading, as typically happens when students are taught to read through one-size-fits-all textbooks—after all, if the reading program is the focus of instruction, rather than the individual learner, then it is inevitable that many students are not going to receive appropriate instruction (Samway & Pease-Alvarez, 2005). Katharine often asks students what reading is, and she has found that those students who are being taught to read through textbooks and worksheets tend

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to view reading as workbooks. The following strategies can help to expand students’ views of why we read, and, in the process, teach them additional strategies to use so they can become engaged and successful readers. Also, there are many useful strategies in Johns and Lenski’s Improving Reading: Strategies and Resources (2005).

Targeted Strategy 1: Implement guided reading or group reading strategy instruction. Students in middle school and high school benefit from focused strategy instruction that is grounded in their needs (Cohen, 2007), and guided reading is one approach that provides instruction to groups of students who have similar needs. See Fountas and Pinnell’s Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children (1996) for a very helpful and detailed discussion of guided reading. There are also two accompanying videotapes, Guided Reading: The Essential Elements and Guided Reading: The Skillful Teacher (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001). Debra Goodman’s The Reading Detective Club: Solving the Mysteries of Reading (1999) is a very useful resource that offers information about the reading process and how to set up and maintain a Reading Detective Club. It also provides “mystery cases,” which are reading strategy lessons for students and teachers. Avalos, Plasencia, Chavez, & Rascón (2008) describe a modified form of guided reading that takes into consideration the specific needs of ELLs. See Figure 4.17 for an overview of component parts of a modified guided reading lesson for older learners.

Introduce the text.

After Reading

During Reading

Before Reading •

Support effective reading (focus on strategies that effective readers use).

Revisit and discuss the text. • Teach processing strategies. • Extend the meaning of the text. •

Figure 4.17: Components of a Modified Guided Reading Lesson

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When organizing for and implementing guided reading or group strategy instruction, it is very important to do the following: c

Assess students using a tool, such as a running record or miscue analysis, that reveals their reading processes.

c

Group students according to their reading skill/strategy needs. These groups need to be flexible so that, as students progress, they can be moved to a group where their needs can be better addressed; that is, these are not like the traditional reading groups. It is a good idea to revisit groupings at least every six weeks.

c

Select a text that is at an instructional level for the group of students. This can be a fiction or nonfiction book, a poem, a selection from a reading textbook, or a magazine article.

c

Introduce a new text (see picture walk strategy on page 208), with particular attention to any terms, phrases, punctuation, or text structures that may be new and/or tricky for students.

c

Students read the text independently, but when the teacher is focusing on a student, she or he prompts the reader to read aloud in a low voice. At these times, the teacher can briefly intervene to help a student address a problem encountered while reading. These interventions focus on meaning making and using multiple information sources while reading.

c

After reading, talk about the text with the students. For example, ask them: What did you learn? What do you think will happen next? What questions do you now have? Also, select a teaching point that you observed students struggling with, such as the importance of paying attention to punctuation when reading or reading fluidly by reading chunks of text rather than sounding out word by word.

Targeted Strategy 2: Use Readers’ Theatre. In Readers’ Theatre, students dramatize a familiar piece of literature or section from it. (See pages 205–206 for more information.)

Targeted Strategy 3: Introduce choral reading. In choral reading, students and the teacher recite a familiar poem, chant, or song together. (See choral reading on pages 160–161.)

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Decoding in English

Situation 2 Situation 3

My ELLs sometimes get confused by similar sounds and letters, such as n/m, b/p, b/d, and ch/sh.

My ELLs sometimes have difficulty decoding multisyllabic words.

My ELLs sometimes read word-by-word, and it doesn’t sound fluid.

These situations are all connected to decoding so we thought it best to address them as a group. By the upper grades in elementary school, middle school, and high school, most students have acquired the ability to decode. However, newcomer ELLs in these grades who are literate in their L1 may be unfamiliar with the English alphabet and its corresponding sounds, and other ELLs may not be very literate in any language. Difficulties related to the sounds of English that ELLs experience are often connected to how sounds work (and how they work differently across languages). For teachers interested in learning more about phonology, David and Yvonne Freeman’s Essential Linguistics: What You Need to Know to Teach Reading, ESL, Spelling, Phonics, Grammar (2004) is an excellent resource. (See Chapter 3, pages 129–140, for more information about the sounds of English.) ELL students who arrive in North America early in their lives usually acquire native-like pronunciation, whereas older students often continue to speak with an accent even when they have become accomplished readers and writers. Rather than exposing ELLs to decontextualized phonemic awareness activities and pronunciation practice, they should be exposed to activities such as the following: c

Rhymes.

c

Poems.

c

Jazz chants. (See Chapter 3, pages 91–92, for information about jazz chants.)

c

Rap/hip-hop. Older students may need to be taught about the differences in sounds and

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Situation 1


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how to hear and produce unfamiliar sounds. In both cases, developing vocabulary is of critical importance to ELLs’ academic success, and reading instruction should not overemphasize phonemic awareness or phonics instruction.

Situation 4

ELLs don’t recognize high-frequency words (e.g., the, was, my, that).

High-frequency words make up more than 50 percent of all words used in school texts. These function words are like the glue that holds sentences together. They cannot be phonetically decoded, and students need to be able to automatically recognize and spell these words.

Targeted Strategy 1: Assess students’ knowledge of high-frequency words through ongoing reading assessments. Use running records and miscue analysis to assess students’ reading strengths and needs, including their knowledge of high-frequency words. This information can help in selecting words to teach. (See pages 203–204 for more information about running records and miscue analysis.)

Targeted Strategy 2: Focus on words that students consistently misspell. A quick review of students’ writing can identify words that students consistently misspell. These are the words to teach.

Targeted Strategy 3: Select words students want to learn to read. Asking students to analyze their reading and writing and identify words they want to know how to read and/or write can be very effective. 1. Students select words. 2. The teacher writes a word on chart paper, the whiteboard, or the chalk board, pointing out any features that can help in remembering the word. For example: “In the word though, the t-h is a digraph and it makes a single sound [teacher makes the sound], and this is followed by another single sound, o, which is spelled with four letters, o-u-g-h.” 3. Students repeat the word and spell it aloud. 4. The word is put on a card, which can then be used like a flash card. 5. The word is cut up into individual letters, the letters are mixed up, and students put them back in order. These letters can be used to make new words (for example, by adding a letter d to –ough, a new word is formed, dough).

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Although word walls are most often used in primary classrooms, they can be very helpful to struggling older readers and ELLs who are new to English reading. Many excellent activities for use with word walls can be found in Patricia Cunningham’s Phonics They Use: Words for Reading and Writing (2005). c

A word wall is an organized collection of frequently used words— words are often organized alphabetically.

c

Words are added to the wall on a regular basis, but only after being discussed with students.

c

Words are written in large letters on cards, which are then attached to the word wall.

c

Words that are often confused are written in different colors (e.g., bad and pad; their and there).

The words on the word wall are used in reinforcement activities, such as the following. Add an Ending Students are given an ending and asked to find words on the word wall that can take that ending (for example, -s can be added to school and book to make schools and books respectively). Rhymes and Endings Students have to find words on the word wall that rhyme with a word in a sentence after the ending on that word has been removed. For example, if the teacher says, “My friend brings lunch to school every day,” students may locate thing or sing. Mind Reading 1. The teacher writes a word from the word wall on a piece of paper that the students can’t see. 2. The students are then given four or five clues for identifying the word. For example, with the word surprise, the teacher might provide the following clues: • It has eight letters. • It begins with an s. • It can be a noun or a verb. • It makes sense in this sentence: I got a ____ present for my birthday as I wasn’t expecting it.

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Targeted Strategy 4: Use word walls.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 3. Students write down words after each clue so they can keep track of their predictions.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

4. After the final clue, the teacher asks students to identify the word. Students who have written surprise can then consider themselves successful “mind readers.” Alternative In each of the activities, students can take the role of the teacher.

Targeted Strategy 5: Play word games. Word games using high-frequency words, such as bingo, hangman, and word dominoes, are excellent reinforcement activities. (See pages 177–181 for guidelines for these reinforcement games.)

Targeted Strategy 6: Categorize words. Ask students to categorize words that are on the word wall, for example, by question words, size words, color words, or movement words. Students can also generate and explain their own categories.

Situation 5

I have students whose written native language looks very different from English, and they struggle to decode the words.

ELLs who come to school with limited literacy skills in their native language, as often happens with ELLs who have had interrupted schooling, often need to be taught about the English alphabet system. The same is true for students who have not been exposed to English prior to entering a North American school and whose native language isn’t alphabetic (for example, Chinese) or, although alphabetic, doesn’t use the Roman alphabet (for example, Arabic). ELLs who are literate in their L1 usually need less time to learn the English alphabet than their peers who aren’t literate in their L1. There are several components to learning the alphabet: c

The names of the letters.

c

The most common sounds associated with each letter.

c

How to form the letters (both upper- and lowercase).

c

How letters are both similar and different—for example, how the l, b, and t all have a line that goes up, above the line, whereas p and q have lines that go down, below the line. It is particularly effective to

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… have students figure out for themselves that letters are made up of a combination of straight lines, curved lines, circles, and dots, and how they are similar and dissimilar. When to use uppercase and lowercase letters.

Demonstrations and guided practice in how to form the letters can be very useful—it is wise to limit these activities to no more than 10–15 minutes at most in one sitting. Providing students with an alphabet sheet that shows how to form letters can also be helpful.

Targeted Strategy 1: Begin with the letters in students’ names. Because of the importance of our names, it is a good idea to begin by teaching students the letters in their names.

Targeted Strategy 2: Play games with letters of the alphabet. Allocating a few minutes a day for reinforcement games can be enjoyable and helpful. Letters of the alphabet should be printed on cards, lowercase and uppercase letters on separate cards. Concentration, bingo, and hangman can all be used to support developing knowledge of the alphabet. Find the Pair is another game: 1. Mix up the cards and place them face up on the table. 2. Students take turns finding a pair by matching lowercase letters with uppercase letters (for example, b with B). 3. When they find a pair, students need to give the name and the corresponding sound.

Targeted Strategy 3: Complete an alphabet cloze. In an alphabet cloze, letters are left blank in the alphabet list and students have to fill in the blanks, as in this example: AB—DEF—HIJ—LMN—PQR—TU—WX—Z

Targeted Strategy 4: Match pictures with letters of the alphabet. Once students have some familiarity with both the names of the letters and their most common sounds, students can be asked to match pictures with letters (for example, a picture of a cat with the letter /c/).

Targeted Strategy 5: Use Language Experience Approach (LEA). In LEA, students dictate a text to the teacher, who records it. While writing the text, the teacher talks through what she or he is doing—for example,

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 “I came. Capital I as this word is always capitalized. Came begins with a /c/ and is followed by /a/, /m/, and an /e/, and I’m using lowercase.” (See pages 164–166 for more information about LEA.)

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Targeted Strategy 6: Identify letters in print. Students can circle or highlight words beginning with a particular letter. LEA pieces, newspapers, and other texts can be used for this activity.

Targeted Strategy 7: Give students a laminated card with the alphabet on it. Teachers of young children often place a laminated alphabet strip on students’ desks or tables. Older students may feel embarrassed by having alphabet strips displayed on their desks, but they often appreciate a laminated card to pull out of a desk or notebook when needed.

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Writing Situations W

riting, particularly opportunities to create texts, often takes a backseat in literacy instruction in the U.S. and elsewhere (Samway & Pease-Alvarez, 2005; Sailors, Hoffman, & Matthee, 2007); instead, reading occupies an inordinate amount of instructional time. When one looks at how adolescent students in the United States do in large-scale, high-stakes writing assessments, the results are cause for concern. For example, on the 2002 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test in writing, 69 percent of eighth graders and 76 percent of twelfth graders in the United States scored below the proficient level (National Center for Education Statistics, 2004). Not surprisingly, ELLs fare much worse on these types of high-stakes tests. Writing is a developmental process, just as reading and spoken language are developmental processes, and development for ELLs varies from learner to learner (Samway, 2006; Urzúa, 1987). For example, although we know nonnative English-speaking students who made rapid progress over a relatively short period of time, we also know many ELLs who took much longer to approximate the abilities of native-speaking writers. In addition, it is very common to find that the writing of even very fluent ELLs is marked by characteristics that are not typically found in the writing of non-ELLs (for example, mixing up she/he pronouns, omitting the article a or the, and confusing verb tenses).

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C HAPTER 5


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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 As ELL students gain more experience with print and with expressing themselves through writing, their texts become more sophisticated and can be read more easily, but even teachers who understand that writing is a developmental process for ELLs can feel overwhelmed when newcomers to English enter their classrooms. Some of these students may not be able to write anything, or more than a few words, in English. Some may not be able to write much or anything in any language due to interrupted schooling. Other students may be able to write, but their writing may not be on par with their English-speaking peers. Still others may know how to write in English, but are overly concerned about accuracy, and self-monitor themselves so rigorously that they are reluctant to write anything that they suspect may not be correct. All of these situations are normal and occur frequently. And, for each of these situations, there are strategies that a teacher can draw upon to support ELL writers.

Students Are Reluctant to Write or Don’t Write Much When ELLs can write little or nothing in English, it may be related to one or more of the following factors: c

If they can write in their L1 or another language other than English, they may be acutely aware that they are not skillful writers in English and are afraid to make mistakes. This often occurs with older learners.

c

ELLs who can write in a language other than English may come to North American schools having had very different writing experiences. For example, some students whose prior, school-based writing involved primarily copying texts may have difficulty when asked to write on self-selected topics. Their reluctance to write in English may result from being asked to do something very different from what was valued in their previous schooling.

c

If ELLs’ native language does not use the Latin symbols used in English, such as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and Urdu, students may struggle when first learning to form letters and words in English.

c

If ELLs are unable to write in any language, their reluctance or unwillingness to write is likely to be connected to a lack of experience with writing (and possibly reading).

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c

Not draw or write anything.

c

Draw only.

c

Copy words, phrases, or longer texts.

c

Label drawings.

c

Write simple sentences.

c

Write longer and more complex texts.

Students do not usually progress through these stages in a linear fashion, so it isn’t uncommon to encounter what seems to be a regression. For example, a student who is writing fairly complex sentences might suddenly revert to writing very simple sentences or labeling drawings. This often occurs when the student encounters new challenges as a writer (for example, writing about less familiar content or writing in a new genre). What may seem like regression is, in fact, usually reflective of the nonlinear, often messy nature of writing development. ELLs who are reluctant writers often manifest a variety of behaviors, including the following: c

They don’t write anything.

c

They don’t know what to write about.

c

They don’t write anything original—they just copy.

c

They only list words.

c

They don’t do anything during writing time.

In the rest of this chapter, we offer some general strategies that can be helpful in addressing any of these phenomena. We will then follow with strategies that are geared to specific situations.

General Strategies .................................. General Strategy 1: Use a unit-of-study, inquiry approach to writing workshop. A study of high school students found that most did not have many

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Writing is a developmental process for all writers, including ELLs. Even if ELL students are developmentally accomplished writers in their native language, when they begin writing in English, they may go through the following stages until they have become immersed in English printed and oral language, and have gained confidence:


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 opportunities to write and very few had opportunities to engage in authentic writing (Scherff & Piazza, 2005). A writing workshop approach has been found to be successful with students of all ages, including older learners (Atwell, 1998; Daniels, 2007; Ray, 2002; Rief, 1992; Sipe & Rosewarne, 2006) and older ELLs (Freeman & Freeman, 2006; Rous, 1993; Samway & Taylor, 1993b; Taylor, 1990). Although writing workshops tend to vary from classroom to classroom, some frequently encountered components of a writing workshop include the following: c

Writing occurs at a predictable time each day or on designated days of the week.

c

Students write on self-selected topics.

c

Students write in several genres, such as personal narrative, information books, poetry, and comics.

c

The writing workshop typically begins with a short mini-lesson, the topic for which is selected based on the needs of the entire class or many students.

c

The writing workshop typically ends with a sharing time.

c

Students confer with the teacher and each other.

c

Teacher-student conferences are teaching moments that are grounded in the needs of the writer (Anderson, 2000; Atwell, 1998; Calkins, Hartman, & White, 2005; Ray, 2001); conferences are often one-on-one, but they can also be done in a small group.

c

Students are encouraged to focus on their message, rather than mechanics, in the early stages of writing a piece.

c

Students publish their writing.

c

Teachers keep records of students’ goals and accomplishments, what students were taught, and which piece a student is working on, and use this information to guide their teaching.

A unit-of-study, inquiry approach shares these same features, but it also places considerable emphasis on students studying a genre or author by reading like writers, and consciously learning about the craft of writing from more experienced writers (Nia, 1999; Ray, 1999, 2002). In a unit-of-study, inquiry approach to writing workshop, students and teachers often engage in the following activities as they explore how to become better writers of, in this case, a genre.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Best-Guess Gathering

Immersion Through reading lots of books and talking about them, students begin to identify how a particular genre is structured, the kind of language it uses, and other elements of craft that define the genre. Sifting The class identifies books that best represent the group’s definition of the genre and can support them as writers. Sometimes, texts that do represent the genre will be rejected, because they differ from the texts that the students will write, the class does not like the way they are written, or the teacher does not think that the content is appropriate. Second Immersion Students immerse themselves in the books selected as best examples of the genre, and they carefully explore craft moves, such as the following: c

Captivating leads.

c

Rhythmic language.

c

Inclusion of words in a language other than English.

c

Dialogue.

c

Internal monologue.

c

Sentence length.

c

Time compression.

c

Poetic language.

c

Use of headings and subheadings (in information texts).

Students work together to generate characteristics that the teacher records on charts, which then become resources for students. At this stage, the teacher seeks out a touchstone text, a particularly well-written book she or he is likely to return to over and over again to demonstrate multiple features of writing. At the same time, each student is looking for mentor texts, those that they will use as models (for example, of text structure, language use, and leads). Unlike touchstone texts, mentor texts may include only one craft element, but it is one that the student is attempting to incorporate into his or 222

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Nia (1999) compares the process of gathering books that represent the genre to a treasure hunt. Although the teacher may take primary responsibility for gathering books, this task may be shared with the students, the entire school community, and family members and friends.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 her writing. Also, when writing informational texts, students may select mentor texts based on content and use them for research purposes. (See Appendix L for an annotated list of some well-written multicultural books that Katharine and teachers she works with have used as touchstone texts.) Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Touchstone Try-Its The class rereads and talks about the touchstone text on several occasions in order to understand what the author did to write in such a compelling way (for example, used short sentences for emphasis or used colloquial language in dialogue), so that they have access to additional strategies for their own writing. Through mini-lessons and conferences, the teacher encourages students to try out for themselves the “writing moves” that they have observed accomplished writers using. If students like what they write, they may incorporate one or more of these moves into their published writing. For example, Bibiana, a student in Yolanda Dandridge’s upper-grade bilingual classroom, had read and been impressed by the Sandra Cisneros short story “Hairs” (1984), in which the narrator describes the hair of various members of her family. Hairs Everybody in our family has different hair. My papa’s hair is like a broom, all up in the air. And me, my hair is crazy. It never obeys barrettes or bands. Carlos’ hair is thick and straight. He doesn’t need to comb it. Nenny’s hair is slippery—slides out of your hand. And Kiki, who is the youngest, has hair like fur. But my mother’s hair, my mother’s hair, like little rosettes, like little candy circles all curly and pretty because she pinned it in pincurls all day, sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you, holding you and you feel safe, is the warm smell of bread before you bake it, is the smell when she makes room for you on her side of the bed still warm with her skin, and you sleep near her, the rain outside falling and Papa snoring. The snoring, the rain, and Mama’s hair that smells like bread. Bibiana’s story, “Hands, Manitas,” is influenced by Cisneros’ writing in several ways: the lead is very similar; the narrator refers to the hands of each member of her family; and the narrator emphasizes her mother’s special qualities. (See Figure 5.1, page 224.) Writing Throughout the study, students are writing, jotting down “seed ideas” (Fletcher, 1996) and “try-its” in their writing notebooks, and writing and publishing other pieces that they have elected to pursue. They will publish Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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Figure 5.1: Bibiana’s Story, “Hands, Manitas,” Influenced by “Hairs” by Sandra Cisneros

a piece for the genre study, but given all the work that has preceded it in the sifting, immersion, and try-it stages, writing this piece is a continuation of what they have been doing already, not a sudden demand to now write a memoir, essay, or poem. Publishing Not all units of study lead to a published piece, but many do. However, whatever students learn about the craft of writing in one study is likely to affect a future piece of writing. That is, units of study, though discrete, are parts of a whole curriculum that supports the writer. For example, if students have worked on writing leads in a study of personal narratives, they tend to be more aware of how authors write leads in other genres, such as information books or book reviews. Reflecting/Assessing At the end of the study, the students and teacher reflect upon and assess individual students’ accomplishments during the unit of study, which includes both the product (the piece of writing) and the processes involved in writing it. This process of reflection may include a letter to readers in which the author explains what she or he was trying to accomplish—for example, using dialogue to convey tension, using repetition to tell a story, or using interesting headings to capture readers’ interest—and which authors and texts influenced their writing. For example, Duc’s letter to readers shows how he was influenced by Cynthia Rylant’s writing. (See Figure 5.2.) Duc also 224

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Figure 5.2: Duc’s Letter to Readers

wrote a fictional piece about a boy experiencing the death of his father, after hearing his teacher, Libby James-Pasby, read a piece she had written about the death of her sister. He had been moved by his teacher’s memoir and impressed by her pacing, and he tried to emulate her writing. (See Figure 5.3.) In this letter, Duc refers to how Rylant slows down the pace of her stories for dramatic effect by using dashes and ellipses, and Duc uses ellipses for the same reason at the point where his narrator encounters his lifeless father. Depending on the focus of the unit of study and the progress of inquiry, the study can last for as little as one week (for example, a mini-study on revision) or three to four weeks (for example, a unit of study on poetry or information books). Although ELLs may lack the control of English that native speakers have, we have seen how they respond very positively to this approach to teaching writing. They thrive on the opportunities for meaningful discussion and inquiry; they benefit from individualized conferences; they are able to see connections between what they read and what they are writing, particularly when the touchstone texts relate to experiences that resonate with them. Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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“Danny” mom called with a nervous and trembling voice. I knew something was wrong. I quickly jumped out of my bed like a rocket. As I was walking down the stairway down to where my mom was. I prayed that nothing is wrong with dad, that something else hadn't happened. I slowly reached the end of the stairway. That's when I saw that something was really wrong. A lifeless body on the couch. It was, my dad . . . His face was pale white as a vampire, and his lips were purple. My eyes started watering. I quickly turned around to hide my face. I want to buried my face in a pillow. But there was no pillow around only my dad body. I slowly looked at mom she was sobbing so hard that her shirt was wet. When I saw my dad's spirit had left I felt like the world had stopped spinning, and time had stopped. My eyes were watering again, and this time I can't keep the tears from coming. My vision was being blocked from the water I was crying. I just stood and stared at the lifeless body. I didn't know what to do. It was like I have no more meaning of liveing anymore. I felt like my mouth was dry, and my legs and arms were numb. I was still kind of shocked and confused. Run up stairs and just died in my room, but my feet were super glued to the floor. The next thing I know I was in bed. I must have cry myself to sleep. I woke up because my back was hurting. I thought it was all a bad dream I wish it was just a bad dream. I raced down stairs but my fear was real. It wasn't a dream I tried to wake myself up but I knew I couldn't change the fact. That my dad was dead. I knew I couldn't move on. It's so hard to lose a father. I sat in my room looked at the clock my dad had given me. I look at the second hand on the clock it was moving forward and a minute and the hour hand was staying still. I knew I'd have to move on like the second hand of the clock and the other hand of the clock is just a memory. I may not see my dad anymore but my mom needed me and I have to surpport her.

Figure 5.3: Duc’s Fiction Writing 226

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

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General Strategy 2: Draw first. Drawing is a universal experience, and it is something that most students are able to do, and do willingly. Reluctant and inexperienced ELL writers often respond very positively to invitations to draw first (Barbieri, 2002; Fu, 1995; Hoyt, 1993; Samway, 2006). Students can then be shown how to label their pictures or write short captions to accompany them. An alternative, albeit one that is more challenging than simply labeling one’s drawings, is to write comics or comic strips (Bitz, 2004). Each of these activities reduces the writing demands placed on students and allows them to express more complex thoughts than they can produce orally or in extended writing in English. (See Chapter 3, page 93, for a description and an example of a wordless picture book that a student can create.)

General Strategy 3: Read student-authored texts to ELL students. It is very important for teachers to read student-authored texts to ELLs, particularly those written by other ELLs, so that reluctant writers can see how accessible writing can be and gain inspiration and encouragement from their peers (Taylor, 1990). (It is also a way to celebrate the achievements of students.) c

These pieces of writing should be accompanied by illustrations for greater comprehensibility, and may include memoirs/personal narratives, information books, cartoons, poems, letters, labeled pictures, and book reviews.

c

When reading aloud to ELLs, make sure the text is visible so students can follow along. If the read-aloud is with a large group of students, this can be accomplished by having copies available, using an enlarged or big book version, or projecting the text and illustrations on a screen via a PowerPoint projector, overhead projector, or opaque projector.

Read aloud texts written by newcomers, as well as more sophisticated texts written by more experienced and fluent writers. For example, Natasha, one of Dorothy’s eighth-grade ELL students, wrote “Russian Winter,” which Dorothy read to her ESOL classes on many occasions. (See Figure 5.4.) After a read-aloud and the accompanying discussion, talk with students about what they can borrow for their own writing. For example, after an ESOL teacher read a piece written by a student about the death of a favorite pet, which included the refrain, I am sad, she asked the other students if they had thought of any ideas for their own writing from the piece. One student said, “I write, you know, my mother. She not here. She in Guatemala.” Another student said, “My grandpa die. I’m write that.” Another student said,

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228 1 2

3 4

5

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Figure 5.4: Natasha’s Piece, “Russian Winter”

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7

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Figure 5.4: Natasha’s Piece, “Russian Winter”

“I like I am sad. I am sad. I am sad. That good.” In her own piece about the recent birth of her cousin, this student included the refrain I am happy. In each case, these students borrowed features of the original text read to them by their ESOL teacher. c

Texts may be written in English, the native language, or they can be bilingual; two or more students can collaborate on writing a bilingual text.

c

Texts may be saved as books with simple or elaborate bindings, or as anthologies stored in photo albums or three-ring binders.

General Strategy 4: Have students read student-authored texts. Students need time to read the texts that their peers and other students write, Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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such as during independent reading time. Although many writing workshops integrate the sharing of texts in both informal and formal ways—through conferring, author’s chair, and publishing parties—in some classrooms, including in some writing workshops, there are actually few opportunities for students to read the writing of their peers. If students only listen to what their peers have written (for example, in a writing conference or in a whole-group share), they have not experienced the piece as readers, which is regrettable. Students need to actually read the texts that their peers write to make the act of writing more tangible. Student-authored texts need to be stored in easily accessible locations in order to validate the students’ writing. Ways to store these texts include the following: c

Cardboard, wooden, or plastic containers placed in the classroom library or on tables around the room, including students’ tables. Books may be stored according to genre (for example, poetry, information books, stories) or theme (for example, books about our families, immigration stories). Although copies of student-authored books should be mixed in with professionally published books, it is also a good idea to store copies of student books more visibly.

c

Displays on the walls of the classroom. Some teachers allocate a small space, roughly 15 by 18 inches, for each student to post his or her work, and to change it on a regular basis.

c

Walls and bulletin boards outside classrooms and in school corridors can be used to display student work.

c

Class and school newsletters published on a regular basis.

c

Electronic newsletters or class Web sites.

c

A mobile library of student-authored texts that moves from classroom to classroom.

If texts are widely accessible, be sure to make back-up copies in case any get lost.

General Strategy 5: Write in the native language. While students are still adjusting to their new language and not yet writing in English, it is a good idea to encourage them to write in their native language (Freeman & Freeman, 2006), even if one cannot read it (Taylor, 1990). It is important for ELLs to know that the goal is for them to write and that, while they are becoming familiar with their new language, they should be a writer in a language that they know. Ask other students or adults to translate these 230

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 texts into English so they are accessible to other readers. Another benefit of encouraging students to write in their L1 is that it often leads to a greater respect for and recognition of the ELLs by classmates who don’t speak or write their language. This is one occasion when ELLs are the experts, something that is so hard to come by when one is a newcomer to a language and culture.

General Strategy 6: Use Language Experience Approach (LEA). LEA, which was first developed as a means to produce reading materials that emergent readers could understand, involves students dictating a text, usually based on a familiar or shared experience (Allen, 1976; Stauffer, 1970). It has proven to be a useful early writing strategy for ELLs who are newcomers to English (Rigg, 1989; Taylor, 1992). (See Chapter 4, pages 164–166, for more information on LEA.)

General Strategy 7: Focus on collaborative writing. Under authentic writing conditions in which ELL students are encouraged to share their writing processes and confer about their writing, collaboration naturally occurs (Samway, 1987a; Urzúa, 1987). This is one of the characteristics of a writing workshop approach to writing (Anderson, 2000; Atwell, 1998; Beers, 2007; Rief, 1992). Even when a collaborative, authentic writing experience is available to ELLs, it can still be rather daunting for some students. In these cases, pairing an ELL writer with a more experienced writing partner as a mentor is one way to jumpstart them. Inexperienced writers do not always realize that they can approach other students for help with their writing, so in order to facilitate collaboration, teachers may want to ask students to work with a partner. We have learned that pairing writers should be done very carefully because not all partnerships work well. Consider the following when pairing students: c

The partnered students must show a willingness and desire to work together.

c

Each student must have a valued role. The less experienced writer should have an important role in the process, such as generating text ideas and content or illustrating the text.

c

Students should work side-by-side most of the time so the ELL student can learn from the more experienced student.

c

Students may play different roles. One student may be primarily responsible for writing (encoding) the text that was generated collaboratively, whereas the other student (usually the ELL) may be

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… primarily responsible for the illustrations. c

The teacher needs to be alert to students becoming overreliant on writing with a partner.

Shared writing is a scaffolded approach to emergent writing, and is particularly appropriate for older learners who lack familiarity with a Latin-based alphabetic language or, due to limited schooling, have had very few experiences with writing. c

The teacher and student(s) share the pen while writing a text (unlike LEA, in which the teacher encodes the text generated by a student or a group).

c

The content of the text is agreed upon collaboratively. It could be about a wide range of topics, such as a time when a student won a prize in a town foot race or an invitation to a local zoo employee to talk to the class about reptiles. The content may be revised in the process of writing.

c

Initially, the teacher takes the lead in physically writing the text, with the student(s) contributing a letter, a word, or a phrase as they are able.

c

With experience and growing familiarity with English, students can take on more responsibility for writing the text themselves.

There should be considerable discussion while the text is being written, as the following excerpt from a group-generated shared writing activity illustrates: Teacher:

So, we’re going to write to Ms. Pamela Argüeda to invite her to share her collection of musical instruments from around the world with us (writes the visitor’s name on the board). How do we begin a letter like this? (Pause) If you’re not sure, remember, there are charts on the wall to help us. (Pause)

Flora:

With the date?

Teacher:

OK. We do need the date, but there is something that we need to put first. (The group discusses the component parts of a letter.)

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Daniel:

The address.

Teacher:

Right. Our address comes first. We’ll use the school address because we’re writing from the school (she writes the first part of the school address on chart paper hanging on an easel, talking through what she is writing and asking for input on how to spell words and punctuate sentences). OK, so I’ve just written the name of our school, and the street address. Now, what do we need to complete the address?

Marita:

The town.

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General Strategy 8: Practice shared writing with students.


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Teacher:

Right. The town and zip code (she writes the zip code on the board, speaking the numbers as she writes them). The post office will know where to deliver the letter when Ms. Argüeda writes back to us. I think most people know how to write San José and the zip code (pointing to the zip code on the board), so who would like to write it?

Several students raise their hands. Angelina comes to the easel and writes the town and zip code. The teacher asks her to stay and write a little more. Teacher:

How do we start the letter?

Agusto:

Dear Pamela Argüeda.

Teacher:

Right, we start with Dear, but we should probably make it a bit more formal since we don’t know her. How about Dear Ms. Argüeda?

After a brief discussion about the differences between Ms., Miss, and Mrs., Angelina writes the salutation. Then she returns to her seat on the rug. Teacher:

Now we get into the main part of the letter, where we invite her to come to our class.

The group discusses the best way to invite the speaker, and they decide on the following text: We love music in our class, and we play lots of instruments. We hope that you can come to our class to share your instruments and play for us. We come from lots of countries, and we would like to see instruments from all around the world. Please come and visit us. Teacher:

Now, let’s take turns writing the letter. And we can all help each other. Tito, can you start it, please?

Tito takes the pen and writes the first part of the first sentence, checking for words on the word wall and charts displayed around the room, and occasionally accepting the suggestions offered by the rest of the students. He writes, we love music in or clas and we play lots of, then stops and says he doesn’t know how to write the word instruments. Alex offers to take over and writes instruments, and he continues writing, We hop you can com to our clas to sher yor instriments and play for us. The teacher then repeats the group’s third sentence, “We come from lots of countries and we would like to see instruments from all around the world,” and invites Flora to write that sentence. With help from the rest of the group and her peers’ initial writing, Flora writes, We com from lot of countrys and we wood like to see instriments from all arund the world. In this way, the group collaborates to write the entire text of the letter. Because the focus of the activity is on helping the students generate a written message, the teacher doesn’t correct what the students have written. She also knows that she may use this text for some interactive writing practice later in the week (see page 253).

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Having a preference for a particular writing implement isn’t unusual among writers. Some writers prefer to write with a well-sharpened #4 pencil. Others have a favorite ballpoint pen, while some do almost all their composing on a computer keyboard. It can be quite extraordinary to observe how having access to a range of writing implements can free up some reluctant writers. We know students who suddenly began writing when they were offered the option of using pens. Other students, who struggled to form English letters, responded well to being able to compose on a computer.

General Strategy 10: Publish students’ writing. Writers learn a lot from each other, and one way to encourage this learning is by publishing their writing. For ELLs, having access to other students’ writing helps them see what is possible. Although students may publish a major piece (for example, at the end of a science unit or a genre study), students also need opportunities to analyze their writing and select additional pieces to publish, so it’s a good idea to periodically allocate time for free-choice writing (and publishing), at least once in each marking period. The criteria for publication under these circumstances may include the following: c

This is the best piece of writing I’ve done during this free-choice writing unit because . . . .

c

This piece stretched me the most because . . . .

c

I am most proud of this piece because . . . . There are many ways to publish students’ work, including the following:

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c

Publish books and pamphlets written in the student’s hand or word processed, and attach simple covers. Store the published texts on a rack or shelf in the class library, in boxes, or on tables, where they are easily available.

c

Store writing in three-ring binders and keep them easily accessible.

c

Display writing, handwritten or typed, and artwork on a bulletin board designated for student work, with space allocated for each student. Students are responsible for posting their work on an ongoing basis.

c

Read a student’s poem or other short piece over the school’s PA system each morning.

c

Organize a writing contest in which students submit writing in various

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General Strategy 9: Have a range of writing materials available.


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genres (for example, memoirs, informational books, short stories, poetry); students act as judges. c

Organize student poetry readings/poetry slams at a local community center, library, or bookstore.

c

Publish student work on class, school, district, state, and other Web sites.

It can be tremendously motivating to students when publication of their work is accompanied by a celebration of their writing. Teachers approach the celebration in many ways, including the following: Circle Reading Students put together a class booklet of their pieces, along with their letters to readers. Students then sit in a circle and take turns briefly introducing and reading their pieces, or an excerpt, if it is a very long piece. We have found that even the most reluctant writers value these experiences. Katharine has found that personal narratives/memoirs lend themselves particularly well to this kind of celebration, which can act as a very powerful community builder. Browse and Respond Pieces of writing and the accompanying letter to readers are laid out around the room. Students move around the classroom, reading and responding to the pieces. Students are instructed that they cannot wait in line to read a piece; instead, they have to move to another piece of writing and continue reading and responding. A simple response sheet can be used for the written responses—note how readers are asked to respond to writers’ goals. (See Figure 5.5, page 236.) Upper-grade teacher Libby James-Pasby and her grade-level colleagues bring their classes together in the auditorium for a large celebration, which is attended by family members. By bringing together multiple classes, the celebration gives students access to more than 100 pieces of writing. Dyadic Belt For shorter pieces of writing, such as poems, students can line up in two rows facing each other. Students read their pieces to the student they face and briefly respond, then students in one row move one space to the right. The new partners then take turns reading their pieces to each other and responding. This process can continue for several turns—we have found that students are usually very interested in sharing and hearing what other students have written and enjoy multiple moves. This repeated reading experience can be particularly helpful to ELLs. Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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Author: ___________________________________

Date: _________________

After reading the author's Dear Reader letter, please record on this sheet your feedback, taking into account the author's goals. Then sign it.

Figure 5.5: Student Response to Writing Sheet

Literacy Café Middle school teacher Erika Daniels (2007) describes a celebration in which students discuss their writing in informal conversations held at clusters of tables covered with tablecloths and flowers; they also get to enjoy snacks.

Situation 1

Students don’t know what to write about.

If students have had little or no experience writing for authentic purposes and have become accustomed to writing on assigned topics or genres, or in response to sentence starters and patterned forms, or they equate writing with copying someone else’s message, it can be hard for them to exhibit much initiative as writers. For ELLs, this reality is often compounded by the expectation that they write in a language over which they may not have much control. When teachers encounter students who say that they do not know what to write about, we are often tempted to give them topics or sentence

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Title of Piece: ______________________________________________________


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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 starters, in the belief that this will lead students to writing independently and/or writing more. However, if we want students to become enthusiastic, independent, and successful writers who understand that writers compose texts for multiple authentic purposes, we must provide them with real opportunities to write, along with the support that acknowledges their strengths and needs as writers. If students don’t know what to write about, they need to be encouraged to focus on topics that are familiar to them (for example, their families, favorite pastimes or interests, and early impressions of life in their new country, school and community). In addition to the strategies identified earlier, we recommend the following strategies to help students find their writing topics.

Targeted Strategy 1: Read and connect. Published authors frequently comment on how much they are influenced by what they read, and young writers can pick up literary influences in similar ways. After students have read or been read to, it is a good idea to ask them what the piece reminded them of. Often, students make text-to-self connections, which they can then translate into their own pieces of writing. For example, after having heard Patricia Polacco’s The Keeping Quilt, a group of ELL students recounted their own family stories, describing objects that were significant in their own families’ lives. One student told of how the only object that his family had brought from its homeland was a key, which his grandparents had brought with them when their family had been forced to leave their home during a war. Whenever this story of survival was recounted at family events, the key was taken out. Another student brought in a cloth that was embroidered with brightly colored yarn. The cloth was a gift from her godmother, who had received it from her own godmother many years before. It was like a memory cloth, a way for the student to remember a special person in her life. In both cases, the students later wrote about these special objects. Procedure 1 1. Select a book that you think will spark your students’ memories; carefully selected picture books can be particularly effective because they can be read and discussed in a single sitting. (See Appendix M for a list of recommended picture books.) 2. Before reading to the students, explain that you are going to read a book that you think they will like and that may help them think of their own stories.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3. Read the book.

5. Allow students some time to think, but if after 10–20 seconds they remain silent, briefly share some connections you made from the book to your own memories. 6. List the connections on chart paper, and post the chart. Alternatively, students can write their individual connections on sticky notes, which they then post on chart paper. 7. If the connections students make can be categorized, do so with input from the students, and post them on a chart. Alternatively, if students write their connections on sticky notes, they can categorize their connections by moving the sticky notes around. 8. Remind students that the charts are a resource to help them think about writing topics. Procedure 2 1. Read the memoirs or personal narratives written by other students. 2. Follow the steps listed in Procedure 1.

Targeted Strategy 2: Demonstrate generating a topic. If students lack experience generating their own writing topics, it is important to teach them how to do so. One way to do this is through demonstration; the following basic procedure has worked well for us. 1. Before meeting with the students, the teacher generates a list of topics that she or he is knowledgeable about and would like to write about. It is important to list topics that are small in scope (for example, a series of incidents involving one’s mother as opposed to my mother) and likely to be of interest to students. Also, it is important to include both personal experiences and memories along with nonfiction topics you are familiar with. For example, Katharine’s list might include the following: • When she lost two of her teeth playing field hockey. • When her family got gerbils . . . and the gerbils reproduced and reproduced and reproduced. • How to take care of gerbils. 238

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4. After reading the book, have a conversation with the students. You might ask, “What did this story remind you of?” or “While I was reading this book, what did it make you think about?” or “What memories did this book encourage?”


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• Getting stuck near the top of a cold mountain when the clouds descended and the path disappeared. • Her first visit to the U.S. and the agony of not being understood in restaurants (even though her native language is English). • Visiting the house where she grew up and being presented with a bracelet from her childhood that the current owner had found during a remodeling project. 2. The teacher shares the list of potential topics with the students, talking about each one briefly. The topics are accompanied by drawings, gestures, and artifacts, such as photos and objects. (This may be done in a mini-lesson with the entire class or in a group or one-on-one conference.) 3. Ask students to generate their own lists, which can be written and/or drawn. For example, Ali wrote the following on his list of topics:

• Wen I win gol (When I win goal/When I scored the winning goal). • Mi (my) dog hav babe (baby). • I fall of (off) tree. • I lose mi jaket (jacket). • We go NY siti (city) with unkl (uncle). 4. Students share their lists with each other and then revise them. (Hearing what others listed often jogs students’ memories; it also underscores how writers frequently borrow ideas from each other.) 5. It is a good idea to paste these lists inside students’ writing notebooks so that topic ideas are always accessible—and it is also a good idea to encourage students to add to their lists on an ongoing basis. 6. Students select one of the topics to write about. 7. Whenever students talk about an idea or experience that you think could be a good writing topic, mention this and encourage the student to add it to his or her list (or to a class-generated list of potential topics posted in the classroom). Alternative: Good Things/Not So Good Things That Have Happened to Me1 1. Divide a sheet of paper into two columns, and label the columns “Good things that have happened to me” and “Not so good things that have happened to me.” 2. Number each column 1–5. 1

Linda Rief (1992) describes a similar process using a graph titled “Significant Positives and Negatives” in which students list the best and worst things that ever happened to them.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3. Demonstrate how to fill in the spaces. (See Figure 5.6 for a completed example. The grammar, spelling, and punctuation have been standardized.) 4. Ask students to generate their own lists, using words and/or drawings.

Alternative: Brainstorm topics. 1. The entire class or a group generates a list of possible topics. This list can refer to shared experiences as well as individual experiences. 2. The list is posted so that students have easy access to it. Alternative: Brainstorm genres. 1. The entire class or a group generates a list of possible genres. (See Figure 5.7.) 2. Part of the brainstorming may include a discussion of how different genres may coincide with different purposes for writing. For example, a letter to a family member is often written to inform them of one’s activities and development and to express love, whereas an obituary is written to honor a deceased person. 3. The list is posted so that students have easy access to it. Alternative: Brainstorm letter-writing options. Letter writing is one of the most common and authentic writing experiences (as long as the letters are written for a real audience, and sent), and reluctant writers often respond very favorably to having opportunities to correspond

Good things that have happened to me

Not so good things that have happened to me

1. When my baby sister was born.

1. When our house was flooded.

2. Getting chosen for the volleyball team.

2. Getting stuck in a blizzard.

3. Getting my job at the zoo.

3. When my grandpa didn't come home from the hospital.

4. Holding a hawk at Marine World.

4. When I was five, and broke my Christmas toy before we'd opened all the presents.

5. Being Patty Reed at Sutter's Fort.

5. When my best friend moved to a different state.

Figure 5.6: Example of Good Things/Not So Good Things Chart 240

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5. After generating their lists, students share their potential writing topics.


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What to Write When You're Not Sure What to Write Lists

Directions for games

Magazine articles

Pamphlets

Recipes

Newspaper articles

Flyers

Plays

Jokes

Comic strips

Poems

Cartoons

Posters

Song lyrics

Advertisements

Birthday cards

Raps

Obituaries

Invitations

Letters

Lab reports

Figure 5.7: Group-Generated Genre List

with others. Many different types of letters can be written, and we have found that the following approach works well: 1. Begin by discussing with students why people write letters (e.g., to inform, make requests, complain, express love and gratitude, entertain, remind, confirm). 2. Using a two-column format, students (the whole class, a group, or an individual student, depending on the instructional format) generate a list of the different kinds of letters they have written and/or might write. These are listed in the left column. 3. Then the students generate a list of people to whom they might write each of these different types of letters. These are listed in the right column. (See Figure 5.8, page 242.)

Targeted Strategy 3: Create family photo books. All students are experts on family, and writing family books can be very successful with reluctant writers. It is very helpful if the teacher has his or her own family book to share with students—not only does this help build classroom community, but also it can be a very powerful means of demonstrating the project. Taking photographs adds a dimension that can support reluctant writers. The following procedure can be helpful: 1. The teacher and students discuss: • The purpose of the family books project. • When the students might take pictures (for example, during the week and on weekends; early morning, afternoon, and evening). • What students might photograph (for example, when family members are doing ordinary everyday tasks, such as cooking, fixing Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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Type of Letter

Potential Audience

Catching up with someone

Grandma, friend from home, last year's teacher

Invitation

Parents (about conferences, Back to School Night), friends

Thank you

Museum guide, speaker to class, janitor/secretary/librarian/principal, volunteers, special teachers

Request for information or free items

Magazines, newspapers, community organizations, government organizations, potential employer

Complaint

School employees (e.g., the cafeteria is dirty, art class has been cut), local authorities (e.g., library hours have been cut), businesses (e.g. a new skateboard wheel has fallen off, a magazine you paid for didn't arrive)

Pen pal

Introducing yourself, subsequent letters

Community activism

Local, state, and national authorities (e.g., requesting a soccer field, requesting more stop signs around the school, requesting more policing in the neighborhood, requesting more time for learning and less time on testing)

Figure 5.8: Letter-Writing Chart

a car, and reading the newspaper; when family members are engaged in special events, such as celebrations). • The importance of explaining the project to family members and getting their permission to take pictures. 2. The students learn how to use disposable, Polaroid, digital, or cell phone cameras to take pictures of their family members engaged in different activities (for example, Grandma Ji-Mei taking care of her flowers or Uncle Ahmed reading the newspaper). 3. After the photographs are developed, the students write books about their family members. The photos serve as the illustrations for the books. 4. The books are stored in the classroom and/or school library, so they can be read widely. 5. We have found that family books are often very popular with ELL students, so we recommend making extra copies. 242

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Situation 2

Students copy everything, instead of producing original work.

Copying is a stage that ELL students often go through on the way to becoming skillful and confident writers. Keep in mind that in many cultures, studying (and copying) the style of more accomplished writers is a respected aspect of learning to become a better writer. In this context, students aren’t encouraged to be creative and generate original messages; instead, they simply copy the writing of respected, revered writers. This can be disconcerting for teachers in North America, where original writing is more respected and where native-English-speaking students pass through a copying stage when they are much younger. Although copying is a natural part of an ELL student’s writing development, there are occasions when copying becomes a crutch. In such cases, it is prudent to encourage ELLs to become more independent writers. Sometimes all it takes is simply showing students alternatives, whereas at other times they may need more explicit instruction in how to use other writing strategies. For example, some students are stalled by their inability to spell English words and rely on copying to produce “correct” writing. In such cases, spending a few minutes on a regular basis teaching spelling strategies (which is not the same as giving them lists of words) can accelerate their willingness and ability to write more freely.2 Some strategies that can assist students to move beyond copying include the following.

Targeted Strategy 1: Draw and label. Invite students to write labels and captions to accompany their drawings. Demonstrate how to do this and share examples of students’ labeled and captioned writing.

Targeted Strategy 2: Use sentence starters. Sentence starters provide a bridge to original writing for reluctant writers. They also offer an opportunity for teachers and students to get to know each other better. If students have a writing journal, they can write sentence starters there, accompanied by drawings. (See Figure 5.9, page 244.) It can also be 2

There are several excellent resources available for teaching spelling strategies, including Ideas for Spelling (Bolton & Snowball, 1993), Word Crafting: Teaching Spelling, Grades K-6 (Marten, 2003), and Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, & Johnston, 2007).

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My favorite games are . . .

At the weekend, I like/don't like . . .

In the morning, I . . .

My favorite time of the day is . . .

After school, I . . .

My favorite time of the year is . . .

In school, I like . . .

My favorite place is . . .

In school, I don't like . . .

My favorite music is . . .

My favorite foods are . . .

My favorite movies are . . .

My favorite TV shows are . . .

I am good at . . .

My family is made up of . . .

My earliest memory is . . .

What I like least about living in (name the country) is . . .

What I'd like to do better in (name a subject) is . . .

What I like best about living in (name the country) is . . .

Figure 5.9: Successful Sentence Starters

very helpful to have picture dictionaries available, including bilingual picture dictionaries, to help students in locating words. (See Appendix E for a list of picture/visual dictionaries.) Procedure 1. Demonstrate to students what they need to do. For example, Katharine might say, “My favorite sports are soccer, tennis, and hiking” or “My earliest memory is of riding a donkey on a beach in Wales” and then talk about any unfamiliar words. 2. If students aren’t familiar with the picture dictionary, show them how it is organized. 3. Give students about five to ten minutes to write their sentences. 4. Students share what they have generated, in pairs, small groups, or the entire class, depending on the size of the group, the sentence starter, and what you hope to accomplish. For example, if you are doing a unit on family and you want students to know a little more about each other, you might ask the whole class to sit in a circle and take turns sharing who is in their family. On the other hand, you may decide to have students do a pair-share about favorite movies and then have the class generate a graph of favorite movies.

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Alternative Sentence Starter: I like . . . because . . .

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Many basic sentence starters can be extended by adding because, such as, “In school, I like to . . . because . . . .” Doing this provides additional insights into the student.

Targeted Strategy 3: Write in dialogue journals. Journals and logs give students the opportunity to reflect upon their lives and their learning. Dialogue journals are often very successful with reluctant writers (Atwell, 1998) and ELLs, (Peyton & Reed, 1990; Rous, 1993; Samway & Taylor, 1993a, 1993b). In dialogue journals (DJs), students correspond with their teacher or another person. Topics may be entirely open-ended, or there may be content guidelines. For example, Dorothy’s ELL students corresponded with her about books they had been reading; they also corresponded with Katharine about their reading and writing processes in letters. (See Appendix N for additional ideas for written reflection.) Some useful maxims for successful dialogue journal writing that we have learned to respect over the years include the following: c

Avoid cheerleading comments in the margins (Interesting! Nice job! Too bad!). Instead, respond authentically to what students write (I’m so sorry to hear about your dog being sick. If it were my dog, I’d be as upset as you. How is she now?).

c

Be prepared to read your entry aloud to the student, and then invite him or her to respond in writing.

c

Monitor the length of your entries. When we are interested in a topic, it can be tempting to write very long entries that can overwhelm students. It’s generally a good idea to keep your entries similar in length to those of your correspondent.

c

Do not correct students’ writing. A dialogue journal is a form of communication, and the teacher’s writing should be in response to the content of the student’s entry. Also, keep in mind that a DJ is almost always a first-draft type of writing.

c

Although it is important to demonstrate standardized use of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization, and the correct use of vocabulary in your entries, be prepared to teach to these items at another time, such as in a writing workshop mini-lesson or during word study time. Sometimes, students pick up on our correct usage, but not always.

c

If you are corresponding with a whole class, stagger how many DJs you

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… respond to on a given day, so you don’t become overwhelmed. Other DJ configurations that we have seen work well include the following:

• Students writing to other students (in the same class or another class) • Students writing to student teachers • Students writing to volunteers c

DJs can be written by hand or typed on a computer and sent via the Internet.

Alternative: Use written conversations. In contrast with dialogue journals, written conversations provide immediate feedback, with correspondents writing, exchanging entries, and responding right there and then (Van Sluys & Laman, 2006). In this respect, a written conversation resembles instant messaging.

Situation 3

My students just list words.

A developmental stage in writing that many ELL students go through when they are new to English writing is listing isolated words or phrases, much like labeling or listing (car, house, the boat), instead of placing words in sentences. The strategies listed earlier under Language Experience Approach (LEA), as well as reading the texts of beginning ELL students, can be very helpful in this situation. The following additional strategies can help move ELLs into writing more complete texts.

Targeted Strategy 1: Incorporate Read-Aloud Plus. Reading aloud to ELL students (along with discussions about the text) is an invaluable activity for building vocabulary and an awareness of the rhythms of language. However, for read-alouds to really support ELL writers, students should have copies of the text being read aloud so they can follow along. This form of read-aloud, which we call “Read-Aloud Plus,” allows students to see how spoken English corresponds with written words and conventions, such as punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and text organization. This strategy can also show ELLs who simply list words when writing how to structure longer sentences and texts.

Targeted Strategy 2: Make use of shared reading. In shared reading, the teacher and students read an enlarged text that all students can see—commercially published or teacher-made big books and/or 246

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charts. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, rhymes, chants, and other texts that are highly predictable and written with rhythmic language support emergent ELL writers. A follow-up activity for shared reading that supports writers who just list words is sentence strips. (See Chapter 4, pages 160 and 195–196, for the procedure.)

Targeted Strategy 3: Tape-record, and then write. ELLs who speak in extended sentences can often be encouraged to move from listing words to writing more complex sentences by listening to themselves speak and then writing down what they said. Procedure 1 1. The student tape-records himself or herself while reading aloud a text, such as a story, memoir, how-to directions, or book review. 2. While listening to the recording, the student writes down sentences. 3. The student may have to listen to the tape several times to capture the text. 4. The student can work with another student to capture the text. Procedure 2 1. The student tape-records himself or herself narrating several examples of a particular genre (for example, several stories, memoirs, poems, how-to directions, book reviews). 2. The student selects one example to write down. 3. While listening to the recording, the student writes down sentences. 4. The student may have to listen to the tape several times to capture the text. 5. The student can work with another student to capture the text.

Targeted Strategy 4: Introduce collaborative dictation. Instead of speaking into a tape recorder, another useful strategy is to have one student dictate to another student. So long as the ELL student can speak in more complex sentences, it isn’t usually necessary to partner him or her with a student who writes more complex sentences. In fact, by taking dictation, the student who is only listing words gets practice in writing more complete texts. Procedure 1. Explain the task and its purpose to the students: to record well-developed texts in writing. 2. Demonstrate unsuccessful and successful collaborative dictation. For Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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• The person taking dictation asks for clarification. • Both students work together to figure out how to spell words. • The person taking dictation shows appreciation for the content of the text. 3. Two students work together to take turns dictating their texts to one another.

Situation 4

My ELL students plagiarize all the time.

Teachers often complain that their students plagiarize (Williams, 2007) and this charge is often leveled at ELLs. To be sure, ELLs who have been educated in their home countries may copy large amounts of text without using quotation marks and citing their sources, but it is important to note that not all countries and cultures regard the borrowing of another’s words as plagiarism. In some parts of the world, information and written expression is believed to be owned by the whole society (Mundava & Chaudhuri, 2007). In some cultures, it is believed that one becomes a good writer by copying verbatim the writing of accomplished, recognized writers. If your ELLs are literate in their L1, this may well be how they learned to write. So, ELLs may be confused when they are reprimanded for integrating another’s words into their writing without attribution. The Council of Writing Program Administrators (2003) identifies factors that may lead students to plagiarize, when in fact they haven’t intended to hoodwink anyone: c

Students may not know how to integrate the ideas of others and document their sources when writing.

c

Students may not know how to take fully documented notes when reading.

c

Students from other cultures may not be familiar with North American conventions governing plagiarism.

The following strategies can help ELLs and their teachers avoid plagiarism. 248

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example, unsuccessful collaboration could include when the person taking dictation uses put-downs and takes over the composing of the text. We have found that successful collaborative dictations include the following:


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Targeted Strategy 1: Talk with students.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Find out if your students’ cultures value copying well-written texts, and talk with students about how this is viewed differently in North America (and the possible repercussions of such copying).

Targeted Strategy 2: Use an inquiry approach to learn about how to incorporate the ideas of others. When teaching students about how to cite or when and how to use quotation marks, we have found that an inquiry approach works well. Instead of lecturing students and using examples to demonstrate points, it is helpful to do the following: c

Put together 3–5 pieces of writing that do a good job of integrating the ideas of others. Try to include pieces written by students from previous classes.

c

Teach one point only (for example, how to cite; how to select quotations; or how to introduce quotations).

c

Ask students to read the sample pieces, noting all they can about how the writers accomplish the writing convention under study. Before asking students to work alone or with a partner, it’s important to demonstrate the process, thinking aloud while doing so. Using an overhead or opaque projector helps to make the process more visible to students.

c

The whole group or class shares insights in a discussion format.

c

At the end of this activity, ask students to recap what they have learned, then apply this new knowledge to their own writing.

Situation 5

During independent writing time, my ELL student doesn’t do anything.

Several factors may influence how ELLs use their time in independent writing, and it is essential to assess whether they know how they should spend their time and whether the environment is conducive to writing. For example, do they know what they need to do? Do they know what to do when they get stuck? Are they allowed to talk with other students while writing? Having opportunities to talk while writing is essential for ELLs, as it is through talk that learning is often mediated. Talking helps ELLs figure out what they want to write and how they want to write it. The prohibition of productive, focused conversation can impede learning. For example, in some Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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writing classrooms, independent writing time is viewed as a silent writing time, and newcomer students or struggling writers may spend the entire period not doing anything. In fact, in classrooms we have visited where students write alone and in silence, we have observed ELLs starting off the independent writing period with enthusiasm and confidence only to get stuck within a short time, often remaining stuck for the entire period unless the teacher happens to come by for a conference. On occasion, students have told us that they don’t know what to do, and when asked if they might consult with another student at their table, they have indicated that talking is not allowed during independent writing time. The need for an environment that values discussion needs to be balanced, however, with high expectations for how students use their independent writing time. That is why we advocate talking that is focused and productive. We have visited classrooms in which students are free to talk during independent writing time, and we have seen students not writing, but visiting with each other for up to 30 minutes. Clearly, this can be very problematic. In order to support ELL students who don’t seem to use their time productively during independent writing time, we suggest the following:

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c

Make sure all students know what they are going to do during independent writing time. For example, after a mini-lesson, send students to their tables or desks once they have indicated that they know what they are going to do next.

c

Make sure that all students are actively engaged in their writing before beginning to confer—that is, move around the room quickly, checking in before beginning to confer with students.

c

Make sure that students have topics to write about (see strategies listed earlier in the section on topic generation).

c

Make sure that students know their options during independent writing time (for example, write; do research, such as through reading; confer; edit). Post a chart of options as a useful reminder.

c

Have students set goals for themselves each writing session (for example, “Today, I’m going to finish this draft”; or “Today, I’m going to try different leads”; or, in the case of a student who spends all of his or her time drawing, “Today, I’m going to draw for ten minutes and then write words to go with the drawing”).

c

If students distract other writers when they talk, allocate areas in the classroom where students can confer and/or write collaboratively— and monitor that they use these spaces productively.

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 c

If newcomer ELLs are literate in their L1, encourage them to write in their L1, even if you cannot read it. They can later translate it. Sharing examples of bilingual texts and texts written in the L1 is one way to encourage ELLs to write in their L1.

c

Make sure that students have opportunities to read other students’ writing on a regular basis. In some classrooms, students rarely, if ever, read each other’s texts. They write in silence, don’t confer, and when their pieces are published, they read them to their peers, rather than having their classmates actually read them. Writers need to talk about their writing, but they also need to read what their peers write.

My ELL Students Don’t Seem to Be Improving as Writers As we mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, writing is developmental, and development is often very irregular. Sometimes, students may seem to have plateaued or even regressed, which can be very discouraging to teachers (and students themselves). However, these realities appear to be grounded in the brain being able to cope with only so much new information at a time; which is to say, students may be encountering linguistic overload. For example, after an intense period of language input through what has been explicitly or implicitly taught, learners often need time to process and experiment with the new information, which can lead to phenomena that appear to be plateaus or regressions. Other factors contributing to what appears to be a learning slowdown may be related to issues surrounding cultural assimilation and a lack of previous exposure to a school environment.3

Situation 1

I correct my students’ writing, but they continue to make the same mistakes.

As Zemelman & Daniels (1988) have pointed out, there is no evidence that correcting students’ writing actually leads to improvement. Middle school teacher Sheryl Lain (2007, p. 25) writes that “all that editing I did on 3

A lack of development over an extended period of time, such as a year, may also be an indication of a learning disability, and teachers should follow up, if they suspect one. However, when assessed for a potential learning disability, ELLs should be assessed in their L1.

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student work, all that rearranging of paragraphs, all that advice penciled in margins often went unheeded by my students. I spent more time on the student work than the students did.” This is a very familiar refrain among teachers, so why do we continue to do it? Targeted instruction does have its place when it focuses on one or two of the most crucial items, especially those that impede meaning. The following strategies can also help ELL writers.

Targeted Strategy 1: Introduce a Teaching/Learning Points sheet. In order to have a record of what one has taught and to hold students accountable for what they have been taught, have students keep a record of what they have been taught and/or have learned on a Teaching/Learning Points sheet. Procedure 1. To demonstrate how to use the sheet, after teaching about a particular writing skill, strategy, or feature, place a blank Teaching/Learning Points sheet on an overhead or opaque projector. 2. Ask students to briefly share what they learned. 3. For each point learned, write the date, the teaching point, and a succinct explanation, comment, and/or example. 4. Students record teaching points on their own Teaching/Learning Points sheets. They may record points taught to the whole class, in small groups, or in one-on-one conferences. 5. Encourage students to refer to this checklist whenever they are writing, not just when they are editing. 6. The checklist is stored in students’ writing folders, in a place where students can easily locate it, such as inside the front or back cover. 7. When a piece of writing is handed in, a student can attach the checklist to it. 8. If a student’s piece does not incorporate the features you taught, check to see if he or she has referred to the list. If not, then ask the student to do so. Note that there are times when a student has used the checklist, but needs additional teaching, which should be provided—this is particularly true of points taught to a whole class or large group. For example, Hussein recorded two dates next to “Read assignments until I know what I got to do. And talk with friend about assignment.” (See Figure 5.10.) He had done so because previously, the teacher had to remind him about the importance of carefully reading guidelines and talking with peers in 252

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Your Name: Hussein

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Date

Learning/Teaching Point

9/3 9/21

Read assignments until I know what I got to do. And talk with freind about asignment.

9/4

Write every day in writing journal—any idea I have is OK.

9/5

Talk with family to get ideas. Write down in writing jouornal.

9/8

Use quotation for people talking—“I want to go.”

9/10

Use diffrent words for said— shout cry laugh whisper (little voice) yell tell ask

9/12

Listen to peopel talking and write in journal—can use in story. Make sound real.

9/14

Rhthymic three-can use three in my stories like “He was hungry. He was thirsty. He was frightened.”

9/17

Indent paragaraph. (g)

Figure 5.10 Hussein’s Teaching/Learning Points Record Sheet

order to understand what is expected in a particular task. 9. The list is individualized and should be updated on a regular basis. Alternatives c

Use a three-column version of the Teaching/Learning Points record sheet. (See Figure 5.11, page 254.)

c

If the student is new to writing, the teacher may decide to record points on the checklist, either in addition to or in place of the student’s notations.

Targeted Strategy 2: Utilize modified interactive writing. Interactive writing is typically used with young emergent readers (McCarrier, Pinnell, & Fountas, 2000). It involves the teacher and students sharing the pen while writing a text (for example, a thank-you letter or a list of procedures for looking after a classroom pet). By the end of the interactive writing session, which may last from a few minutes to about 20 minutes, a text has been written with standardized spelling, punctuation, word choice, capitalization, and paragraphing. Corrections to the text as it is being written are made using correction/cover-up tape. It may take several days to write a longer text. Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Your Name: Oscar Teaching Point

Comments

11/3

Question mark (?)

Use at the end of a question. Do you like pizza?

11/6

Past tense of go is went (not goed).

We went to the fair this weekend.

11/9

Read my writing aloud.

This helps catch mistakes and anything that's missing.

11/9

Adjectives go before nouns.

I love sweet strawberries.

11/1

Words to use instead of said:

shouted, called, announced, whispered

Figure 5.11: Sample Three-Column Teaching/Learning Points Record Sheet

Interactive writing can be an effective strategy with older ELLs because it can help them focus on two aspects of language that often distinguish them from their native-English-speaking peers—grammar and word choice. However, interactive writing should not replace authentic writing opportunities. A short interactive writing session of about 10–15 minutes can be very effective. The teacher and student(s) collaboratively generate the text, but in contrast to collaborative writing, this text is completely standardized. Hence, if words are misspelled or there are nonstandardized grammatical structures, the teacher points them out, invites corrections, and supplies the standardized form if the students are unable to do so. Procedure 1. The teacher and students collaboratively generate the text, such as a letter of thanks or a record of a shared experience, such as a field trip or a science experiment; the teacher records a standardized version on a piece of paper, which he or she can use for reference. 2. The writing of the text on chart paper begins. The text for a sample interactive session is shown below. When we went to the Museum of Modern Art, we spent a lot of time at the Pablo Picasso special exhibit. We had a guide, who was very interesting and funny. We especially liked seeing how other artists borrowed from Picasso.

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3. An excerpt from an interactive writing session related to this sample text follows. The teacher directs the activity: Teacher: So, we have our text (She reads to the students what they had collaboratively generated.). Let’s begin with the first part of the first sentence, “When we went to the Museum of Modern Art.” (The teacher writes these introductory words, talking through what she’s doing, such as, “w-h-e-n, when. Do you remember that when has a silent h in it, like where and what?” and “Museum and Modern Art begin with capital letters because that’s the name of the museum, of the institution. Like we capitalize our school’s name.”) Now, I’m going to put a comma after Art because that’s the end of the introductory phrase, and a comma goes here. After that comes, “we spent a lot of time at the Pablo Picasso special exhibit.” Pablo, why don’t you write that part as your name is involved. And the rest of us can help him, if he gets stuck. (She passes the marker to Pablo, and he writes we spend. Pamela says, “It spent” emphasizing the /t/). You’re right, Pamela. Pablo, what we said was spent rather than spend. Spend would mean we go there often, but we’re referring to the other day, so how should it be? (Pablo says, “With a t?,” uses a small piece of correction tape to delete the d, and then writes t.) Great, Pablo. Why don’t you go ahead and write a lot of time at the (Pablo does this successfully, glancing at a chart with high-frequency words when writing time and the). Now for the end of the sentence, Pablo Picasso exhibit. (Pablo writes Pablo and picaso, then stops and reads aloud the sentence that he’s written so far. “That don’t look good,” he says, pointing to picaso). Uh huh, good observation. You’ve almost got it. There’s one letter and a capital letter missing. (Pablo quickly uses correction tape to change the p into a capital P, saying softly, “His name, right?”) Yes, you’re right about the capital letter being needed for the beginning of his name. What about the missing letter? (Andrés points to a poster of Picasso and says, “Two s.”) Good observation, Andrés. (Pablo glances at the poster and makes the change, using the correction tape.) Now for exhibit. (Pablo writes -ex, stops and looks around, writes -ib, stops again while subvocalizing what he’s written so far, and then writes -it.) OK. You’ve got all the syllables there, Pablo, and the sounds of the syllables. This is a tricky word because it’s got a silent letter at the beginning of the second syllable. Anyone know what it is? (Pamela says “h, like in when.”) You’re right, Pamela, it’s an h. After the -ex. (Pablo squeezes an h between the –ex and –ib). And at the end of the sentence? (Pablo adds a period.) Thanks, Pablo.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Let’s all read it together. (The teacher and students read, “When we went to the Museum of Modern Art, we spent a lot of time at the Pablo Picasso special exhibit.”)

5. The text is posted in the classroom to be used for reading practice and reference purposes when talking about writing (for example, when to use bullets, how to use bullets, how to punctuate, word choice, spelling). Alternative The teacher may decide to use a text written by a student or students for an interactive writing session.

Targeted Strategy 3: Use a modified cloze. After teaching a surface feature item (for example, a grammatical point or a punctuation mark), a useful follow-up practice activity is a modified cloze. In a regular cloze activity, words in a passage are deleted at regular intervals, such as every five, seven, or ten words, but in a modified cloze, the teacher selects which words, phrases, or punctuation marks to delete. For example, after teaching about how to use articles (a, an, the), the teacher would selectively delete them from a passage. The short passage below shows the complete text, followed by three modified cloze passages that focus on the past-tense marker –ed, nouns of location or place, and punctuation. Note that the blanks for the punctuation modified cloze require less space than for words and phrases. (See Appendix G for more detailed guidelines on how to prepare a cloze passage.) Text I had such a good weekend. My auntie visited us for three days. We shopped at the mall, walked in the hills, and cooked a barbeque in the backyard. It was one of the best weekends I’ve had. 1. Modified cloze focused on the past-tense marker –ed I had such a good weekend. My auntie ______ us for three days. We ______ at the mall, ______ in the hills, and ______ a barbeque in the backyard. It was one of the best weekends I’ve had. 2. Modified cloze focused on nouns of location or place I had such a good weekend. My auntie visited us for three days. We shopped at the ______ , walked in the ______ , and cooked a barbeque in the ______. It was one of the best weekends I’ve had.

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4. The writing of the text continues in this way, with frequent stops to reread what has been written.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

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3. Modified cloze focused on punctuation I had such a good weekend __ My auntie visited us for three days __ We shopped at the mall __ walked in the hills __ and cooked a barbeque in the backyard __ It was one of the best weekends I’ve had __ Procedure 1. Select or write a passage that includes several instances of the targeted teaching point. (When using a cloze for reinforcement rather than assessment purposes, this point should be one that has been taught.) 2. Make a copy of the text and delete the words or punctuation marks you want your students to practice using—but remember to keep the first and last sentences intact. 3. Students can work alone or in pairs to generate words or punctuation marks to fit the spaces. 4. Discuss with students what they generated. Be alert to the possibility that they may have written perfectly acceptable alternatives that fit the context of the passage but were not in the original passage, and be sure to acknowledge this. The discussions that accompany these cloze activities are very valuable and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Targeted Strategy 4: Observe and record. Procedure 1. Students leave the classroom to observe what is happening around the school and school grounds. Allocate up to about 10 minutes for this. 2. When they return to the classroom, students take turns writing sentences on an overhead, chart paper, or plasma screen. 3. After each student writes a sentence, the group corrects it together. (See interactive writing, described on pages 253–256, for a similar activity.)

Targeted Strategy 5: Do focused editing. Procedure 1. The teacher holds a focused editing conference, selecting a point that has been taught, but which the student has not internalized or used correctly in his or her writing (for example, mixed-up verb tenses, lack of punctuation marks, absence of articles, misuse of terms). 2. During the conference, the teacher talks with the student about the teaching point; it may be necessary to reteach the point.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3. Students edit their writing, keeping in mind the teaching point that was discussed.

Targeted Strategy 6: Read your writing aloud. A strategy that we have found to work well in supporting student self-editing is for them to read their writing aloud in a location that allows them to have a more private self-editing experience than typically occurs when students peer edit and read to each other. We have noticed that when students read their writing aloud, they often catch errors that they don’t catch when they read their work silently.

Situation 2

My students’ writing isn’t very sophisticated and seems to have been that way for a long time.

It is not uncommon to find that older ELL students’ writing isn’t very well developed and may resemble this kind of writing: This is boy. This the house. The big dog. Sometimes this is due to developmental issues. For example, the ELL student may be a relative newcomer to writing, may be processing a lot of new information about English and writing, and needs time to progress to more complex writing. However, lack of sophisticated writing may be due to other factors, such as a lack of confidence, real audiences, or authentic purposes for writing. Also, overly simple writing may be influenced by the type of texts that ELL students are reading—some instructional reading materials are overly simplified, and provide poor writing models. The following strategies can help writers develop into increasingly more sophisticated writers.

Targeted Strategy 1: Model. 1. In a writing conference or mini-lesson, share a piece of writing that resembles the underdeveloped writing of the student(s). 2. Explain that writers need to write in a way that captures the interest of their readers. Then, briefly talk about two or three ways that writers do this, including adding important details, using intriguing words, having a captivating lead, using dialogue, and using rhythmic language. When talking about a particular strategy, display an example illustrating the

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These conferences should be short and focused. They may be held with individuals or small groups.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 point. The examples can be those of adults as well as younger writers.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

3. Then revise the underdeveloped piece, keeping in mind the strategies discussed. The teacher may do this alone or with input from students. 4. Ask students to revisit a piece of their writing and revise it, trying one or more of the strategies.

Targeted Strategy 2: Compare two versions of a written piece. 1. Put together two versions of a piece of writing, one that is written very simply and one that is more sophisticated in its development. The two versions can be written by the teacher, if versions written by students aren’t available. 2. Make copies for the students or put them on chart paper so everyone can read them. 3. Read the two pieces aloud, and ask students to compare them: Why is one better than the other? Why is one more interesting to read than the other? 4. Ask students to revisit a piece of their own writing and revise it, trying one or more of the strategies identified in the discussion.

Targeted Strategy 3: Try an inquiry approach. 1. The teacher puts together a packet of two to four excerpts from pieces of writing that students are familiar with and are good examples of more sophisticated writing (for example, from read-alouds or from touchstone texts in writing workshop4). 2. Display an example of one of these excerpts and explain why you think it is a well-developed piece. You might say, “I like the way the author began with dialogue,” or “I like the descriptive language here because I can really feel how excited this character is,” or “These details help me to understand why it can be dangerous to live close to an active volcano.” 3. Ask the student(s) to read the rest of the pieces, paying attention to what the author does to make the writing interesting. 4. Discuss features that students notice and add them to a chart. 4

Touchstone texts are texts that are rich in writing craft moves (for example, rhythmic language, strong leads, powerful dialogue, captivating headings and subheadings) and that a teacher refers to often when teaching about writing. These include picture books (nonfiction and fiction), poetry, book reviews, short stories, novels, and magazine articles. (See Appendix L for an annotated list of touchstone texts that we have found work well with ELLs.)

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5. Ask students to revisit a piece of their own writing and revise it, trying one or more of the features identified in the discussion.

Because poems are usually short and often filled with powerful images, students can learn how to write in more sophisticated ways through poetry. Modeling their poems after those of accomplished poets, or writing copycat poems (Lain, 2007), can support younger writers. 1. Select a short poem that you think will resonate with students. 2. Students read and discuss the poem (for example, the message, patterns, length of lines, and use of metaphors). 3. Students then imitate the poem, using their own words and ideas. Lain (2007) shares copycat poems written by her students, including one by Shawna, a below-grade-level reader and writer, who wrote her poem (see below) after studying Robert Frost’s “Dust of Snow” (see online at www.online-literature.com/frost/743). Both poems feature a sudden shift in mood. Shawna’s Poem The way a dog jumped up on me the dark of fog lifted off of me gave my mind a change of mood made me find some good dog food.

Targeted Strategy 5: Employ reading/writing connections dialogue journals. In reading/writing connections dialogue journals (DJs), the teacher and a student correspond about books they are reading, offering an opportunity for more complex writing. It’s also possible to include three people in the written dialogue. In these cases, each person writes in his or her own journal and the entries are all shared. For example, in Week 1, Student A responds to Student B, who responds to the teacher, who responds to Student A; in Week 2, Student A responds to the teacher, Student B responds to Student A, and the teacher responds to Student B. One advantage to this procedure is that students read each other’s entries.

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Targeted Strategy 4: Write copycat poetry.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Procedure 1. Provide written guidelines for the dialogue journal, and have students attach them to the inside cover of the journal. (See Figure 5.12.)

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

2. Go over the guidelines and explain what each point refers to by displaying an example and discussing it. 3. If needed, provide additional scaffolding by collaboratively generating an entry for a text that all students are familiar with, such as a book that was read aloud that day. 4. Ask students to write an entry about a book they are reading. 5. Respond to students’ entries. Although it’s a good idea to respond to all entries the first time students write in their DJs, teachers typically stagger the times when students hand in their DJs, to make the process more manageable. Targeted Strategy 6: Make use of a reading/writing log. In a reading/writing log, students comment on what they have learned about writing from their own reading.

Dear Student, We're going to have a written conversation about books in this dialogue journal. You can use the journal to write about your thoughts about the books. Some things you may want to write about include: • What you think about the book. • Why the characters (the people in the book) are interesting or not interesting to you. • What this book reminds you of. It could be a personal experience, other books you've read, or something else. • What you are learning about writing from reading this book. • Questions that the book raises for you. Please write in your dialogue journal at least three times a week. You will hand it in on _____________ (day of week*). I'm looking forward to “talking” with you about books in this dialogue journal. Sincerely, * Be sure to stagger the number of journals that need to be responded to on a given day.

Figure 5.12: Teacher Guidelines for Student Dialogue Journal

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Procedure 1. Select a short text to read aloud to students, and explain that you are going to demonstrate the process to follow when writing in their reading/writing logs.

3. Read the text aloud and discuss with students what it taught them about writing. Be prepared to share your own insights. For example, in Nadia’s Hands, Karen English (1999) uses rhythmic language, such as repetition of a phrase (She sat watching the door . . . She sat watching out the window . . . Finally, she sat watching the big kitchen clock over the stove). 4. Demonstrate writing a reading/writing log entry on an overhead, chart paper, or plasma screen. 5. Ask students to read their independent reading book for about 10–15 minutes, and then write their own entries. 6. Invite students to share their entries. Praise students who are reading like writers.

Grammar and Mechanics It must be remembered that the acquisition of grammatical structures for ELLs is a developmental process found in both oral and written language (Ellis, 1994; Wells, 1986). That is, some grammatical structures in the L2 tend to appear before others, as in stages. For example, the progressive form (She is talking) tends to appear before the past participle form (He has taken the ball). Also, there is a big difference between being taught grammatical structures and being able to use them. Students are often taught structures and are able to demonstrate the ability to apply them in practice exercises, but then fail to apply them in self-initiated writing. Another aspect of second-language development is the tendency to overgeneralize after beginning to internalize a feature of language. That is, ELLs may apply a rule where it doesn’t belong, such as applying the regular past-tense marker, –ed, when the verb is irregular (shaked instead of shook). This is true in both grammar and spelling. Our best advice to teachers is not to worry, but to allow plenty of time and opportunities for ELLs to write for authentic purposes and to read English texts that are comprehensible to them. If the absence or misuse of grammatical structures leads to a reduction in meaning in an ELL’s writing, then this is the most appropriate context in which to teach to that point 262

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2. Display the text so everyone can follow along.


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 (for example, in a writing conference, or in a mini-lesson, if several students manifest the same need). However, it is best to limit one’s teaching to one or two points at a time. In this section, we suggest some strategies that can be used for teaching to a number of common grammatical and punctuation errors that frequently appear in ELLs’ writing, including the following: c

Mixing up pronouns (he instead of she or him instead of her).

c

Omitting articles (a, an, and the).

c

Omitting word endings/inflections (-ing, -s, -es, -ly).

c

Mixing up word order (The hamster brown is in cage).

c

Mixing up negation (My dog no like run).

c

Plural nouns, both regular forms (ball/balls, house/houses) and irregular forms (foot/feet, child/children).

c

Superlatives (fastest, silliest).

c

Contractions (I am/I’m, let us/let’s, cannot/can’t).

c

Asking questions (Is this right? Will we go tomorrow?).

c

Mixing up or omitting punctuation marks.

When teaching grammatical and punctuation points, be prepared to discuss differences such as word order, the use of articles, and punctuation that exist across languages.

Targeted Strategy 1: Conduct interactive writing activities. Do an interactive writing activity in which the text focuses on a targeted grammatical or punctuation feature. (See pages 253–256 in this chapter for a discussion of interactive writing.) For example, if students are learning about subject/verb agreement with have and has, the text for an interactive writing session might be the following: Mary has a dog. It has black spots on its back. Her friend has two dogs. When they go for a walk together, they have a very good time. But, they have to be careful that their dogs are on their leashes. If not, they have a very difficult time because Mary’s dog has lots of energy and wants to run free. As the teacher and students write the text, the teacher explains why has and have are used in each case. The use of the subject/verb agreement is reinforced as students reread the passage.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Targeted Strategy 2: Use patterned texts.

c

Locate each occurrence of the targeted feature.

c

Collaboratively figure out its function and discuss its use.

c

Cover up the feature with sticky tape, reread the text with the students, and ask them to figure out what goes in the covered-up spaces. The conversations that stem from this activity can be very useful for both students—who gain a greater understanding of the feature—and the teacher—who gains insight into students’ understanding and can plan instruction accordingly from this observational assessment data.

c

Write sentences from the text on sentence strips, scramble them, and ask students to put them back in order. Students read the sentences aloud, which gives them practice in using the targeted feature.

c

Cut up sentences into words and phrases, scramble them, and ask students to put them back in order. Reading their reordered sentences aloud gives students practice in using the targeted feature.

c

Ask students to revisit their own writing and revise it, focusing on the targeted feature.

Targeted Strategy 3: Incorporate modified cloze activities. Modified cloze activities can provide valuable practice in how to use a targeted grammatical structure or punctuation mark. (See pages 256–257 in this chapter for a description of how to design a modified cloze exercise.) Students can work alone or in pairs to figure out which words or punctuation marks are missing in a passage. The conversation that occurs when pairs work together is often very valuable, particularly if partnerships and expectations are carefully established.

Targeted Strategy 4: Make use of sentence strips. Practice in targeted grammatical features and punctuation can be provided through sentence strips: c

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Write sentences containing the targeted feature on strips of paper. (For practice with pronouns, you might write, “I live with my father.” “He speaks Spanish.” “My friend is Fatimah.” “She speaks Arabic.”)

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Select texts that contain the targeted feature for shared reading sessions. (See Chapter 4, pages 159–160, for a discussion of shared reading.) After reading the text together, there are several activities that can be done relatively quickly to reinforce the role and function of the feature, including the following:


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 c

Cut up the sentences into single words and/or groups of words.

c

Have students put the words and phrases back in order. Students can work individually or in groups.

c

As a whole group, discuss whether students’ contributions are right or wrong.

c

Ask students to revisit their own writing and revise it with the targeted feature in mind.

Targeted Strategy 5: Do collaborative copyediting. Collaborative copyediting is different from peer editing in that a small group of students and the teacher edit a student’s piece of writing viewed from an overhead projector. Dorothy usually asks for volunteer writers for this public editing, but has found that even the shyest or most reluctant writers volunteer their work once they have been through a few rounds of editing. The process goes as follows: 1. The writing of the student who volunteers the paper is projected on a screen or wall using a transparency and overhead projector, or using a computer and digital projector or SMART Board5). 2. Each student in the editing group has a copy of the text. 3. The leader (the teacher or the student whose writing is being edited) works from the master copy on the screen (marking it on the overhead transparency, from the computer, or on a SMART Board), and essentially edits the work by reading the first sentence and asking if anyone has any suggestions for corrections. (Students may notice errors in grammar, punctuation, or spelling.) The student who has suggested the correction or the teacher explains why the correction should be made (for example, “You wrote Yesterday I have a horrible experience, but if it happened yesterday, you should write had instead of have.”) There can be a great deal of discussion as students try to establish meaning (for example, “You write, I have had my job two years ago. Do you mean you got your job two years ago, but you don’t have it anymore? Or do you mean that you still have your job?”). 4. Once students have established meaning, and everyone agrees on the best way to correct any errors, the leader marks the corrections on the 5

A SMART Board is an interactive whiteboard. It is connected to a computer and has a touch-sensitive display. Computer applications can be controlled directly from the display, notes can be made with electronic pens, and all work can be digitally saved.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… projected copy and other students mark corrections on their copy of the text.

6. Students retain their copyedited text with any notes they have made, and the author of the piece uses the master copy to rewrite or finalize corrections on the computer and submits a final copyedited document to the teacher. The strength of this kind of line editing seems to be its public form, the collaborative effort, and the on-the-spot mini-lessons that accompany the corrections. Dorothy has found that, after their peers have made a few corrections of the same nature, the student whose text is being copyedited often begins to correct these frequent errors in his or her text before others in the group even comment on them.

Incomprehensible Writing The writing of some ELLs can be hard to read, and this may be related to several factors, including the following: c

The students may have had little or no formal schooling in the past and are only now learning how to write.

c

The students can write in their native language, but it has a very different writing system from English (for example, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Urdu).

The writing of ELLs is also sometimes hard to read due to grammar, spelling, and/or word choice. We have found the following general strategies to be helpful in addressing these issues of legibility. After the general strategies are some more specific strategies and recommended resources for specific situations.

General Strategies .................................. General Strategy 1: Students read their writing aloud. c

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So that you know what the student has written, ask him or her to read the piece aloud.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

5. After making all corrections to the first sentence, the leader reads the second sentence, which is corrected in the same way, and so on, until the piece has been completely copyedited.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 c

Keep a written record of what the student says, so you can analyze what he or she knows about writing in English, and decide what area of instruction to focus on next.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

General Strategy 2: Read text aloud while writing. By frequently reading aloud what they have written, emergent writers learn to monitor what they write. This practice can also help them remember what their intention for writing was. If students are embarrassed about reading their writing aloud, teach them how to subvocalize, or speak very softly, under their breath. However, subvocalizing and frequently reading aloud slow down writers (and readers), so students should not become too reliant on these strategies. Once students are writing legible texts that they can read back, they should be encouraged to use these strategies only in specific circumstances, such as when they are confused or they want to hear how their writing sounds.

General Strategy 3: Read text to a partner. Knowing that they are going to be reading their writing to another student can sometimes help students pay more attention to the legibility of their writing in order to read aloud as fluently as possible. Teach students how to practice reading aloud so their reading is smooth and engaging.

General Strategy 4: Use the print resources in the room. Make and display posters of the features of writing that you have taught students to use as references (for example, how to form letters and numbers; when and how to use punctuation marks; spelling families and spelling patterns). Post information that you have recently taught most prominently— one poster can be hung on top of another on an easel, so that all the posters are accessible and at a height that’s easily accessible for students. If there isn’t room for posters on the walls, then store smaller versions in photo albums and binders, with labeled dividers. Also, students can keep their own copies in binders. We have found that simply making these resources available to students doesn’t mean that they necessarily use the material or know how to use it, so it is important to periodically remind students of the information’s value.

Situation 1

The handwriting of my ELL student is very hard to decipher.

Keep in mind that many children around the world have little or no formal schooling, or even access to writing implements. In North America, we often

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take paper and pencils for granted, but these materials aren’t easily available for low-income families in developing countries, where students are often required to purchase all of their own school supplies. Consequently, even older students may not form letters with ease. A lack of developed letter formation in older students should not be immediately equated with a learning disability. Some strategies for helping ELLs develop legible handwriting include the following.

Targeted Strategy 1: Teach students how to form letters. 1. Select letters and numbers with which the individual student has the greatest difficulty (for example, the letters q, Q, j, J, t, T; the numbers 1 and 7, which are often confused because in many countries the number 1 has a downward left slanted line from the top: 1. This makes it resemble the number 7). 2. Explain why it is important to have clear handwriting. Show two examples of a text, one that is easy to decipher and one that is difficult to read. Talk through your thinking processes while reading the texts, as in the following excerpt: Teacher: It’s important to form letters and words clearly so other people can understand what we’ve written. (He demonstrates letter and word formation in a slightly exaggerated way on an overhead.) Here’s an example. (He shows an example of a student’s writing that is hard to read because of the handwriting. He points to a part that is legible.) Now, I can read this part, but I don’t know what this says (He scratches his head and verbally demonstrates how hard it is to decode another part of the text.) Is this a t, an i, or an l? I really want to understand what this student has written. (The teacher displays another piece of writing by the same student.) Now here is something written by the same person, but it’s written more clearly so we can understand it. (He shows the same text with more legible letter formation. The teacher reads the text easily and paraphrases what he has read.)

3. Demonstrate how to form the target letter or number on lined paper, explaining any special features it has (for example, the top of the l goes higher than the top of the i) and ways in which it may differ from how it is formed in the L1 (for example, in many parts of the world, the number 7 has a line through the middle to differentiate it from the number 1). Point out that some letters, such as a and g, are different in their typographic form than their handwritten form. This is of particular

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 importance for students who have taught themselves to write by copying from published texts.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

4. Have students practice forming the letter or number on lined paper. 5. Combine letters, including letters the student can already form, such as o, to form words (to, on, top), and follow the same procedure. 6. Introduce another letter or number, and use the same procedure.

Targeted Strategy 2: Discuss uppercase and lowercase letters and their usage. Teach students about the differences in forming uppercase and lowercase letters. Also, teach them about differences in the usage of uppercase and lowercase letters. c Capital letters are used at the beginning of sentences, at the beginning of proper names, for emphasis in titles and headings, and to highlight a word or phrase. c

Lowercase letters are used in almost all other situations.

Targeted Strategy 3: Teach printing before cursive. Printing is usually much easier to read than cursive, in part because the letters aren’t connected, but also because printing more closely resembles the published print found in books, newspapers, billboards, and magazines.

Targeted Strategy 4: Teach word processing. If students continue to have difficulty forming letters, it may be helpful to introduce them to a word-processing program on the computer so they can write texts that others can read. After all, some native speakers, including published writers, have handwriting that is virtually impossible to read. The most important point is that student writers need to be understood, and we need to use all available resources to make that possible.

Situation 2

When I read my ELLs’ writing, I’m overwhelmed by the many issues I could address.

It is important to focus on the content and organization of ELL students’ writing when reading it and when teaching writing. Surface features, such as spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are often much easier to notice and teach to, but if students’ writing lacks clear organization, has confusing vocabulary, or lacks details, then these are the features that need to be the Chapter 5: Writing Situations

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1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c

Items that cause confusion (for example, mixing up pronouns and verb tenses; misusing vocabulary).

c

Items that occur frequently in students’ writing. The following strategies focus on helping students organize their writing.

Targeted Strategy 1: Teach how to cut and paste. Many students do not realize that writers revise their writing. Sometimes students simply do not know how to revise, and may think that revising is the same as rewriting, which is a very tedious process. We have found it very helpful to teach students how to cut and paste. 1. Display a short text that is very disorganized on an overhead projector or chart paper. The text can be a piece that you have written for this purpose or a piece written by an anonymous student (preferably someone who is not in this class and could not be identified by the text). 2. Explain that the text is very disorganized, which makes it hard to follow and understand. 3. Explain that you are going to reorganize the text, and think aloud as you do it so they can better understand your thinking. 4. As you read the text aloud, give each sentence and sentence fragment an appropriate label (for example, “This sentence is about how whales are mammals. This next sentence is about what they eat. This next sentence is once again about them being mammals”). 5. Then cut up the text and rearrange the sentences and parts of sentences so students can see and hear what you are doing (for example, “These two sentences are both about whales being mammals, so they need to go together”). 6. Students go through the same procedure with their own writing. 7. The students discuss what they learned from doing the activity (“I need to make sure I keep sentences with the same idea together”), and what they noticed about their own work from doing this activity (“I wrote some sentences that say the same thing”).

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focus of instruction. At the same time, however, it is also important to teach ELLs about grammar and mechanics through carefully selected teaching points. When selecting these teaching points, it is helpful to focus on the following:


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 8. Even if students compose on the computer, it is still very helpful for them to run off copies of their pieces and go through the cutting and pasting process detailed here.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Alternative: Use colored highlighters. Students can use colored highlighters to identify text that shares a common theme. In the above example, sentences or parts of sentences about whales being mammals could be circled or highlighted in blue, and sentences or parts of sentences that were about what whales eat could be in pink. Alternative: Use numbers and letters. Some students do better when they use letters and/or numbers to organize their writing. For example, the sentences or parts of sentences that were about whales being mammals could be labeled A or I and sentences or parts of sentences that were about what whales eat could be labeled B or II.

Targeted Strategy 2: Use headings and subheadings. Student don’t always know that headings and subheadings in nonfiction texts serve a very valuable purpose for readers—they help us make our way through. They also help writers organize their thoughts, deciding where headings go and what they should be labeled. 1. Put together a packet of pieces of writing that do a good job of using headings and subheadings. Magazine articles and nonfiction picture books are often a good source. Well-organized student writing is another good source. 2. Explain to students that they will be learning about headings and subheadings because they help writers make sure their writing is well organized. 3. Using an overhead or opaque projector, demonstrate what you notice about headings in one of the pieces. Make just a couple of comments, so students can find others on their own. 4. Students work either alone or in pairs, jotting down all they can about headings and subheadings. 5. The whole group or class shares insights in a discussion format, and the teacher records students’ insights on chart paper. This chart can become a resource for students. Teachers sometimes redo the chart so that related points are grouped together; samples and/or references to known texts can also be added so students have easy access to additional resources.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6. Ask students to recap what they have learned.

Situation 3

I can’t understand what my ELL student has written because of the spelling.

Research shows that ELL students’ invented spellings aren’t random, but are evidence of hypothesis generating and hypothesis testing (Edelsky, 1986). Even in languages that have a lot in common, such as English and Spanish, letter-sound correspondences in the L1 and L2 are sometimes markedly different. Since ELL students who are moving into English tend to use their knowledge of the orthography of their native language when writing in English, it is inevitable that their early messages reflect their knowledge of their native language. As students become increasingly knowledgeable about English orthography, English phonics generalizations tend to inform their invented spellings in English. General strategies that help ELLs become familiar with and internalize English spelling patterns include shared reading (pages 159–160) and interactive writing (pages 253–256). Instead of giving students lists of spelling words to memorize (and to be tested on), it is much more effective to teach them spelling strategies. Like native-English-speaking students, ELLs benefit from being taught specific spelling strategies that are grounded in and informed by their own writing. That is, rather than randomly choosing a spelling strategy to teach, it is best to analyze a student’s spelling needs and then select a focus for instruction.6

6

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There are many excellent resources available that focus explicitly on teaching spelling strategies, including Words Their Way: Word Study for Spelling, Phonics, and Vocabulary Instruction Resource Book (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, & Johnston, 2007), Ideas for Spelling (Bolton & Snowball, 1993), and Word Crafting: Teaching Spelling, Grades K–6 (Marten, 2003).

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

7. Students spend time on their own pieces of nonfiction writing, figuring out where and what headings and subheadings are needed, and generating names for them.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

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Appendix A:

Booksellers and Distributors of Books About Diverse Cultures and Books Written in Languages Other Than English

Appendix B:

Books About Diverse Cultures

Appendix C:

Cultural Differences in Student Behavior

Appendix D:

Selected Wordless Picture Books

Appendix E:

Picture/Visual Dictionaries

Appendix F:

Pronunciation Web Sites

Appendix G:

Guidelines for Developing Cloze Activities

Appendix H:

The Cloze Text Without Deletions

Appendix I:

Example of a Cloze Text With Every Five Words Deleted

Appendix J:

Example of a Cloze Text With Every Ten Words Deleted

Appendix K:

Example of a Selected Feature Cloze Text: Past-Tense Verbs

Appendix L:

Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry Touchstone Texts

Appendix M:

Picture Books to Help Spark Students’ Memories

Appendix N:

Types of Written Reflection in the Classroom

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Appendices


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Appendix A

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Booksellers and Distributors of Books About Diverse Cultures and Books Written in Languages Other Than English AACP, Inc (Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc.) 529 East 3rd Ave., San Mateo, CA 94401 Tel: (650) 375-8286 or (800) 874-2242 Fax: (650) 375-8797 Web: www.asianamericanbooks.com This is a not-for-profit dedicated to educating the public about Asian American experiences and fostering cultural pride among Asian Americans. Sells books by and about Asian Americans, including Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Hmong, Iu Mien, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Samoan, South Asian, Tongan, and Vietnamese Americans. Arkipelago 1010 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 Tel: (415) 553-8185 Fax: (415) 553-8176 Web: www.arkipelagobooks.com Arkipelago sells books by Filipino and Filipino American authors, recordings, and other heritage materials. AWAIR (Arab World and Islamic Resources & School Services) P.O. Box 174, Abiquiu, NM 87510 Tel/Fax: (505) 685-4533 (book orders) and 510-704-0517 (workshops) E-mail: awair@igc.org (Audrey Shabbas) requests@AWAIRonline.org (Books and Materials) Web: www.awaironline.org This not-for-profit organization was founded by Audrey Shabbas. It is devoted to fostering an understanding of the Arab world and Islam. AWAIR distributes books, videos, and instructional materials for teachers and students from kindergarten to college. It also offers fully funded staff development. Children’s Book Press 965 Mission St. Suite 425, San Francisco, CA 94103 Tel: (415) 543-2665 or 866-935-2665 (toll free) Fax: (415) 543-3394 Web: www.childrensbookpress.org This not-for-profit publishes award-winning multicultural and bilingual picture books and is dedicated to fostering emerging authors and illustrators from underrepresented communities.

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East West Discovery Press P.O. Box 3585, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 Tel: 310-545-3730 Fax: 310-545-3731 E-mail: info@eastwestdiscovery.com Web: www.eastwestdiscovery.com This is a small independent publisher and distributor of multicultural and bilingual books, which are available in more than 40 languages, including English and Arabic, Hmong, Navajo, Punjabi, and Tagalog. Oyate 2702 Mathews St., Berkeley, CA 94702 Tel: (510) 848-6700 Fax: (510) 848-4815 E-mail: oyate@oyate.org Web: www.oyate.org Oyate distributes children’s, young adult, and teacher books and materials by and about Native people. Oyate also reviews books and curricula with Indian themes and offers workshops and institutes. They have a small resource center and reference library. Shen’s Books and Supplies 1547 Palos Verdes Mall, #291, Walnut Creek, CA 94597 Tel: (800) 456-6660 or 925-262-8108 Fax: (888) 269-9092 Web: www.shens.com This company distributes books in English about world cultures and languages, books in languages other than English, and books written by American authors from diverse cultural backgrounds. Asian cultures and languages are a focus of the company.

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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Appendix B

Books About Diverse Cultures*

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Picture Books Fiction Ada, Alma Flor. (2002). I love Saturdays y Domingos. New York: Aladdin. Told in both Spanish and English, this story introduces readers to the special relationships a young child has with her Mexican American and European American grandparents. Ada, Alma Flor, & Campoy, F. Isabel. (1999). Blue and green. Miami: Santillana. This story uses works of art by Latino artists to teach about the days of the week and the seasons of the year. Also in Spanish (Azul y verde). Altman, Linda J. (1993). Amelia’s road. New York: Lee and Low Books. A young Mexican American girl, the daughter of migrant farmworkers, longs for a place she can call home. When she finds a special place, she also discovers a way to keep memories alive. Bunting, Eve. (1997). A day’s work. New York: Clarion. A family of day laborers from Mexico works together to make a living. Bunting, Eve. (1998). Going home. New York: HarperTrophy. A Mexican migrant family returns to Mexico at Christmas to visit family. Bunting, Eve. (1999). A picnic in October. New York: Harcourt. An Italian American family takes a ferry for a celebratory picnic on Liberty Island, from which they can see the Statue of Liberty. Cheng, Andrea. (2000). Grandfather counts. New York: Lee and Low Books. Helen is unable to communicate with her Chinese immigrant grandfather, Gong Gong, but through teaching each other how to count train cars in their respective languages, they develop an intergenerational bond. Chiemruom, Sothea. (1994). Dara’s Cambodian New Year. New York: Aladdin. A young Cambodian boy helps his grandfather, who misses his home country. Choi, Sook-Nyul. (1993). Halmoni and the picnic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. This book tells the story of Yunmi, a young Korean American girl living in New York and her Korean immigrant grandmother, Halmoni. Choi, Sook-Nyul. (1997). Yunmi and Halmoni’s trip. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Yunmi accompanies her grandmother, Halmoni, to Korea, where Halmoni was born. Yunmi enjoys her visit, but is concerned that her grandmother will stay in Korea. Choi, Yangsook. (2001). The name jar. New York: Dell Dragonfly Books. This story shows the struggles Unhei faces after she moves from Korea to the U.S. Cisneros, Sandra. (1984, 1994). Hairs/Pelitos. New York: Dragonfly Books. In this story, which originally appeared in The House on Mango Street, a child describes the different kinds of hair people in her family have and how the smell of her mother’s hair makes her feel safe. * We appreciate the assistance of Jill Berg, Jen Myers, Rachel Rothman, and Kelly Shulman, who put together bibliographies with Katharine. Some of their entries are included here.

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Dooley, Norah. (1995). Everybody cooks rice. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Carrie goes in search of her little brother at dinnertime. She’s invited to share some of the meal in each neighbor’s house, where rice is being cooked differently, according to the culture of the family. Dooley, Norah. (2000). Everybody serves soup. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books. Carrie earns money to buy her mother a Christmas present by shoveling snow. She eats with neighborhood families. Each family is eating a soup that is special to their culture. English, Karen. (1999). Nadia’s hands. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. A Pakistani American girl is nervous about being asked to be in her aunt’s traditional Pakistani wedding. Friedman, Ina R. (1984). How my parents learned to eat. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. A child narrates how her Japanese mother and American father learned how to eat using unfamiliar utensils, thereby fitting into each other’s cultures. Garland, Sherry. (1998). My father’s boat. New York: Scholastic. A Vietnamese refugee fisherman living in Texas longs for his home. Gibson, Toyomi. (1996). The two Mrs. Gibsons. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. A young girl describes her experiences with her African American grandmother and Japanese mother. Heide, Florence Parry, & Gilliland, Judith Heide. (1992). Sami and the time of the troubles. The authors write about a young boy in war-torn Lebanon. Hess, Amy. (1997). When Jessie came across the sea. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press. A 13-year-old Jewish girl leaves Europe with her grandmother. She arrives alone in New York City, where she sews lace and saves enough money to bring her grandmother to the United States. Jiménez, Francisco. (1998). La mariposa. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. A migrant boy attends school for the first time. Despite the fact that he speaks only Spanish, he adjusts well. Krishnaswami, Uma. (2003). Chachaji’s cup. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. A special cup brought from India is a prominent symbol in this story of intergenerational love. The cup helps a young boy learn about his family history and the history of India. Krishnaswami, Uma. (2006). The closet ghosts. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. The story of a little girl’s experience moving into a new house that is haunted with ghosts. Hanuman (an Indian god) helps her get rid of the ghosts. Kurtz, Jane, & Kurtz, Christopher. (1997). Only a pigeon. New York: Simon & Schuster. Ondu-ahlem, a young boy who lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raises pigeons. Kyunchukov, Hristo. (2004). My name was Hussein. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. The story of a young Roma boy living in Bulgaria. Lee, Milly. (1997). Nim and the war effort. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. During World War II, a young Chinese American girl is determined to win a newspaper-collecting competition for the “war effort” in order to prove she’s American. McKay, Jr., Lawrence. (1998). Journey home. New York: Lee and Low Books. Mai is of Anglo Vietnamese heritage, and she accompanies her mother to Vietnam to find her mother’s birth family.

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Crews, Donald. (1992). Shortcut. New York: Greenwillow Books. Some children decide to take a shortcut on their way home. The shortcut follows a railroad track, and they almost get hit by a train.


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Miller, Elizabeth I. (1999). Just like home/Como en mi tierra. New York: Albert Whitman & Co. This book tells about a young girl’s first impressions of the United States. Written in Spanish and English, the text uses a repetitive pattern of alternating observations (“Just like home” and “Not like home”). Mora, Pat. (1999). The rainbow tulip. New York: Puffin Books. A young Mexican American girl describes her experiences and expresses her feelings about speaking Spanish and having a home life that is very different from her school life. Pak, Soyung, & Hartung, Susan Kathleen. (1999). Dear Juno. New York: Viking. A boy corresponds with his grandmother in Korea, even though they don’t share a common language. They learn about each other through drawings, photos, and other artifacts. Pérez, Amanda Irma. (2000). My very own room/Mi propio cuartito. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. A Spanish/English bilingual book about the author’s wish for a room of her own as a young girl. Polacco, Patricia. (1988). The keeping quilt. New York: Simon & Schuster. Over several generations, a quilt plays a special role in the life of a Jewish immigrant family. This story is based on the author’s life. Rattigan, Jama Kim. (1993). Dumpling soup. New York: Little, Brown Young Readers. This picture book is set in Hawaii on New Year’s Eve and is told from the perspective of Marisa, a 7-year-old girl in a multiracial family. Recorvits, Helen. (2003). My name is Yoon. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. An immigrant child from Korea prefers her name when it is written in Korean. Ringgold, Faith. (1991). Tar beach. New York: Crown Publishers. A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author’s quilt painting of the same name. Rodríguez, Luis. (1998). América is her name. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press. América, a young immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico, lives with her family in Chicago. She feels out of place and is referred to as an illegal immigrant, even by her teacher. Poetry is her salvation. (Also available in Spanish.) Say, Allen. (1999). Tea with milk. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. May’s parents return to Japan after living in the United States, where they always felt like foreigners. In Japan, it is May who feels like a foreigner. Schanzer, Rosalyn. (2000). Escaping to America: A true story. New York: HarperCollins. In the early twentieth century, a family of Polish Jews comes to a new country. Shea, Pegi Deitz. (1995). The whispering cloth. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. A Hmong child is living in a refugee camp. Soto, Gary. (1993). Too many tamales. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. A little girl loses her mom’s wedding ring while making tamales on Christmas Day. She asks her cousins to help her search for the missing ring. Soto, Gary. (1997). Snapshots from the wedding. New York: Penguin Group. The flower girl in a Mexican American wedding describes the day’s events. Surat, Michele Maria. (1989). Angel child, dragon child. New York: Scholastic. Vietnamese immigrants encounter racism as they adjust to life in the United States.

Appendix B

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Trân Khánh Tuyêt. (1986). The little weaver of Thai-Yen village (rev. ed.). San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. A young Vietnamese girl is injured in a bombing raid and comes to America for treatment of her injuries. Wells, Rosemary. (2001). Yoko’s paper cranes. New York: Hyperion Books for Children. Yoko lives in the United States, far away from her grandmother in Japan. For her grandmother’s birthday, Yoko makes a gift of origami cranes and sends them to Japan. Wong, Janet S. (2000). The trip back home. New York: Harcourt Children’s Books. A young girl and her mother visit their land of birth. Woodruff, Elvira. (1999). The memory coat. New York: Scholastic. After a pogrom, two cousins leave their Russian shtetl with their families. They travel to the United States, where they have to pass through the inspection station at Ellis Island. Yin. (2001). Coolies. New York: Philomel. Chinese immigrants help build the Transcontinental Railroad across the western United States. Yolen, Jane. (1997). Miz Berlin walks. New York: Puffin Books. A little girl gets to know her neighbor, Miz Berlin, through their daily walks.

Nonfiction Ancona, George. (1998). Barrio: José’s neighborhood/El barrio de José. New York: Harcourt. Ancona uses text and colored photos to describe the life, experiences, culture, and neighborhood of an 8-year-old Latino boy, José Luis, who lives in the Mission District of San Francisco. Badt, Karin Luisa. (1994). On your feet! New York: Children’s Press. All kinds of foot coverings, from across the ages and around the world, are shown in photographs, accompanied by text. Beeler, Selby B. (1998). Throw your tooth on the roof: Tooth traditions from around the world. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Short accounts of what happens to children’s teeth after they have fallen out. Written from the perspective of children from all over the world. Bode, Janet. (1991). New kids in town: Oral histories of immigrant teens. New York: Scholastic. Teens share their stories of emigrating to the United States and settling into new communities. Bridges, Shirin Yim. (2002). Ruby’s wish. New York: Scholastic. The story of the author’s grandmother, who became one of the first female students to attend university in China. Brittan, Dolly. (1998). The Hmong. New York: PowerKids Press. This is one of several books in the series Celebrating the People and Civilizations of Southeast Asia.

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Suyenaga, Ruth. (1992). Korean Children’s Day. Cleveland, OH: Modern Curriculum Press. Young Soo Newton, the adopted son of a European American family, introduces his friend to Korean culture through a local Korean Children’s Day celebration.


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Cech, John. (1991). My grandmother’s journey. New York: Simon & Schuster. Cech relates the life experiences of a young woman who eventually succeeds in emigrating from Russia to the United States with her husband and baby in the aftermath of World War II. Cha, Dia. (1996). Dia’s story cloth. New York: Lee and Low Books. This book tells the history of the Hmong, an ethnic group from the mountains of Laos. It is illustrated with traditional story cloths. Chin, Steven A. (1993). When justice failed: The Fred Korematsu story. New York: Steck-Vaughn. About Fred Korematsu, a young Japanese American who challenged his arrest and the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Dorros, Arthur. (1998). This is my house. New York: Scholastic. Drawings of houses from around the world accompany short texts in English and the official language of the country. Fanelli, Sara. (1995). My map book. New York: HarperCollins. This is a collection of labeled, hand-drawn maps of real and imagined places, such as the young author’s family, day, tummy, playground, bedroom, colors, and school. Freedman, Russell. (1980). Immigrant kids. New York: Dutton Juvenile. This picture book with photos explores the lives of young immigrants living in urban areas in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Garza, Carmen Lomas. (2000). In my family/En mi familia. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. A bilingual text and illustrations provide insights into the author’s childhood in a Mexican American community in Texas. Garza, Carmen Lomas. (2005). Family pictures/Cuadros de familia. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. Detailed pictures of scenes from the author’s life growing up in a Mexican American community in Texas illustrate the bilingual text. Gordon, Ginger. (1993). My two worlds. New York: Clarion. Color photographs and text show how a young girl prepares for and goes on a visit with her big sister to their hometown in the Dominican Republic. Hoobler, Dorothy, & Hoobler, Thomas. (1994a). The Chinese American family album. New York: Oxford University Press. Text and black-and-white photos tell the stories of Chinese immigrants to the United States through the 1980s. Hoobler, Dorothy, & Hoobler, Thomas. (1994b). The Mexican American family album. New York: Oxford University Press. Text and black-and-white photos tell the stories of Mexican Americans, from the annexation of Mexican land at the end of the U.S.-Mexican War, in 1848, to movement across the border in search of work through the 1990s. Hoobler, Dorothy, & Hoobler, Thomas. (1995). The African American family album. New York: Oxford University Press. Text and black-and-white photos tell the stories of African Americans, from 1526, when the first Africans arrived as slaves, through the 1990s. Huynh, Quang Nhuong. (1982). The land I lost: Adventures of a boy in Vietnam. New York: Harper & Row. First-person narrative about growing up in the highlands of Vietnam.

Appendix B

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Katsuyo, Howard (Ed.). (1990). Passages: An anthology of the Southeast Asian refugee experience. San Mateo, CA: AACP Inc. First-person accounts are divided into three sections: “Children, we must leave!” “Living in two worlds,” and “Moving on.” Knight, Margy Burns. (1993). Who belongs here? An American story. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House Publishers. This is the story of Nary, a young refugee boy from Cambodia, who comes to the United States. Komatsu, Yoshio. (2004). Wonderful houses around the world. Bolinas, CA: Shelter Publications. Vivid photographs, drawings, and short texts explore the lives of people who live in distinctive houses in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. Krull, Kathleen. (2003). Harvesting hope: The story of César Chávez. New York: Scholastic. The biography of César Chávez, a Hispanic American who founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America union (UFW). Kubler, Annie, & Formby, Caroline (Illus.). (1995). Come home with us! Wiltshire, England: Child’s Play. An Oxfam book with flaps illustrates how homes around the world vary according to the climate and other factors. Kuklin, Susan. (1992). How my family lives in America. New York: Simon & Schuster. Photo essays show three children with a parent who comes from another country. (Note: The author refers to the parent from Puerto Rico as an immigrant to the United States; however, the island is a commonwealth of the United States.) Lankford, Mary D. (1992). Hopscotch around the world: Nineteen ways to play the game. New York: William Morrow. This book shows how variations of hopscotch are played around the world. Levine, Ellen. (1994). If your name was changed at Ellis Island. New York: Scholastic. A question-and-answer format is used to describe the experiences of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1914. McKissack, Patricia C., & McKissack, Frederick L. (1994). Christmas in the big house, Christmas in the Quarters. New York: Scholastic. Set in 1859 on a plantation in Virginia, this story tells how Christmas was celebrated in the slave quarters and the slave owner’s house just prior to the Civil War. McKissack, Patricia C., & McKissack, Frederick L. (2004). Hard labor: The first African Americans, 1619. New York: Simon & Schuster. This book tells the little-known story of the first Africans who came to North America in 1619, as indentured servants. McMahon, Patricia, & McCarthy, Conor Clarke. (2005). Just add one Chinese sister: An adoption story. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. The story of a little girl’s adoption from China is told from the perspective of the adoptive mother and her new little brother.

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Huynh, Quang Nhuong. (1997). Water buffalo days: Growing up in Vietnam. New York: HarperCollins. About the author’s childhood in Vietnam and the adventures he had with his very special water buffalo.


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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Mochizuki, Ken. (1997). Passage to freedom: The Sugihara story. New York: Lee and Low Books. Hiroki Sugihara tells the story of how his father, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania in 1940, helped save the lives of thousands of Polish Jews fleeing from the Holocaust. Mora, Pat. (1997). Tomás and the library lady/Tomás y la señora de la biblioteca. New York: Knopf. Books allowed Tomás Rivera, a young migrant farmworker, to discover new worlds. Rivera later became chancellor of the University of California, Riverside. Morris, Ann. (1989). Bread, bread, bread. New York: HarperCollins. Photographs illustrate the many forms of bread and how it is enjoyed around the world. Morris, Ann. (1990). Loving. New York: HarperCollins. Photographs illustrate some of the ways that love is expressed in many different cultures, particularly the parent-child relationship. Morris, Ann. (1995). Shoes, shoes, shoes. New York: HarperCollins. Photos and short accompanying texts explore foot coverings. Morris, Ann. (2002a). Grandma Esther remembers: A Jewish-American family story. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. Pamela and Allison live in New York. They learn about their heritage from their grandma, Esther, when she tells them how she escaped from Lithuania during World War II. Morris, Ann. (2002b). Grandma Francisca remembers: An Hispanic-American family story. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. Angelica lives in San Francisco with her parents, siblings, and grandma, Francisca. A native of New Mexico, Francisca shares some of her life experiences. Morris, Ann. (2003). Grandma Hekmatt remembers: An Arab-American family story. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. Three Arab-American sisters in New Jersey, Suzanne, Yasmine, and Sara, learn about their cultural heritage from their grandparents, who came from Egypt. Murphy, Nora. (1997). A Hmong family. Minneapolis: Tandem Library. Murphy provides historical and cultural information about the Hmong, an ethnic group from Laos, and shares the experiences of a Hmong family that comes to the U.S. (from Journey Between Two Worlds, a series that looks at the lives of refugee families). Paterno, Maria Elena. (1994). A first look at Philippine trees. Wiltshire, England: Bookmark. This is one in a series of books about Philippine flora and fauna. Paterno, Maria Elena. (1999a). A first look at Philippine birds. Wiltshire, England: Bookmark. This is one in a series of books about Philippine flora and fauna. Paterno, Maria Elena. (1999b). A first look at Philippine fishes. Wiltshire, England: Bookmark. This is one in a series of books about Philippine flora and fauna. Pérez, Amada Irma. (2002). My diary from here to there/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. The author relates her experience in immigrating with her family to the United States from Mexico. Writing in Spanish and English, Pérez uses a diary format. Sandler, M. W. (1995). Immigrants. New York: HarperTrophy. Photographs and short texts describe the lives and contributions of immigrants who came to the United States from 1870–1920. It focuses on European immigrants. Say, Allen. (1993). Grandfather’s journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Say writes about his grandfather’s life in Japan and the United States and his grandfather’s love for both countries.

Appendix B

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Sing, Rachel. (1992). Chinese New Year’s dragon. New York: Aladdin. A young girl describes how her family celebrates Chinese New Year.

Stepanchuk, Carol. (2002). Exploring Chinatown: A children’s guide to Chinese culture. Berkeley, CA: Pacific View Press. Chapters integrate text, drawings, and photographs on a range of topics, including Chinese food, health, math, art, and religion. Winter, Jeanette. (2004). Calavera abecedario: A day of the dead alphabet book. San Diego, CA: Voyager Books. The book is based on the life of Don Pedro Linares, an artist who became famous in Mexico for his papier-mâché art—especially his calaveras (skulls). Wolf, Bernard. (2003). Coming to America: A Muslim family’s story. New York: Lee and Low Books. This is the story of the Mahmoud family, who left Egypt to live in New York City. Woodson, Jacqueline. (2005). Show way. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. The making of “show ways,” or quilts that once served as secret maps for freedomseeking slaves, is a tradition passed from mother to daughter in the author’s family. Xiong, Ia. (1996). The gift: The Hmong New Year. El Monte, CA: Pacific Asia Press. This may be the first American picture book to be written by a Hmong writer.

Poetry and Proverbs Adoff, Arnold. (1986). Sports pages. New York: Harper & Row Both girls and boys are portrayed in these poems about children playing sports. Alarcón, Francisco X. (1999). Angels ride bikes. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. The renowned Mexican American poet revisits and celebrates his childhood memories of Los Angeles in this collection of bilingual poems. Brooks, Gwendolyn. (1991). Children coming home. Chicago: The David Company. Poignant poems about the lives of children. Gonzalez, Ralfka, & Ruiz, Ana. (1995). My first book of proverbs/Mi primer libro de dichos. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. Mexican American proverbs/dichos are presented in both Spanish and English. Greenfield, Eloise. (1991). Night on Neighborhood Street. New York: Penguin Books. The poems explore life on one street in the evening. Grimes, Nikki. (1994). Meet Danitra Brown. New York: William Morrow & Company. About friendship in an inner-city community in the U.S. Grimes, Nikki. (2002). My man Blue. New York: Puffin. About Damon and his very special friendship with Blue, an old friend of Damon’s mother. Grimes, Nikki. (2006). Thanks a million. New York: HarperCollins. These 16 poems vary in form. Grimes, Nikki, & Young, Ed (Illus.). (2004). Tai chi morning. Peru, IL: Carus Publishing Company. Poems about the author’s visit to China.

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Smith, David J. (2002). If the world were a village: A book about the world’s people. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press. Smith presents factual information on a range of global issues, including the distribution of safe water, electricity, schooling, and food.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Gunning, Monica. (2004). America, my new home. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. Gunning writes poems about a young Jamaican girl’s immigrant experiences.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Hopkins, Lee Bennett (Ed.). (1992). Through our eyes: Poems and pictures about growing up. New York: Little, Brown. This collection of 16 poems by various poets—many from underrepresented groups— describes childhood. Johnston, Tony. (1996). My Mexico/México mío. New York: Penguin Putnam Books. A collection of poems in English and Spanish about life in Mexico. Medina, Tony. (2002). Love to Langston. New York: Lee & Low Books. This biography tells the story of Langston Hughes in a series of poems. Mora, Pat. (1994). My own true name: New and selected poems for young adults. Houston, TX: Piñata Books. A collection of poems whose guiding metaphor is the cactus plant. Nye, Naomi Shihab. (1994, 2002). 19 varieties of gazelle: Poems of the Middle East. New York: HarperCollins. Poems about Palestine, life in Palestine, and being Palestinian. Nye, Naomi Shihab (Ed.). (1998). The flag of childhood: Poems from the Middle East. New York: Simon & Schuster. A collection of poems about the lives of children, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. Paschen, Elise (Ed.). (2005). Poetry speaks to children. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Inc. This poetry anthology includes a wide range of poems, historically, poetically, and visually. There are 95 poems from 73 poets. Fifty-two of the poems are on an accompanying audio CD. Roessel, David, & Rampersad, Arnold (Eds.). (2006). Langston Hughes: Poetry for young people. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. This anthology is an introduction to poetry by Langston Hughes. The 26 poems offer a glimpse into the racial and social history of American culture. Thomas, Joyce Carol. (1993). Brown honey in broomwheat tea. New York: HarperCollins. Poems about the lives and traditions of a young African American girl and her family. Thomas, Joyce Carol. (1998). I have heard of a land. New York: HarperCollins. Set in the 1880s, this is the story of an African American family who were once slaves and are now settling in the Oklahoma territory.

Diaries Lasky, Kathryn. (2003). A journey to the new world: The diary of Remember Patience Whipple. New York: Scholastic. Twelve-year-old Mem and her family travel on the Mayflower in 1620. This book recounts their experiences during their first year in the New World. Moss, Marissa. (2000). Hannah’s journal: The story of an immigrant girl. San Diego: Harcourt. A Jewish girl emigrating from Lithuania to the U.S. in the early 1900s keeps a journal. Pérez, Amanda Irma. (2002). My diary from here to there/My diario de aquí hasta allá. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. A Spanish/English bilingual book about the author’s childhood immigration to the U.S. from Mexico.

Appendix B

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Bagdasarian, Adam. (2000). The forgotten fire. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing. Written by the grandnephew of a survivor of the 1915 Armenian genocide, this book describes the events that led to the deaths of more than one and a half million Armenians living in Turkey. Barakat, Ibtisam. (2007). Tasting the sky: A Palestinian childhood. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. About the impact of the Six-Day War in 1967 on Palestinian children and how they were uprooted from their homes and made refugees. A memoir from the author’s life. Canales, Viola. (2005). The tequila worm. New York: Random House. Stories from the barrio told by Sofia, a spirited young girl. Crew, Linda. (1989). Children of the river. New York: Delacorte. Teenager Sundara flees Cambodia with family members in 1975, endures enormous hardships on a refugee boat, and settles in Oregon. There, she encounters both prejudice and love. Ellis, Deborah. (2000). The breadwinner. Toronto, Canada: Greenwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre. In Afghanistan, with the Taliban in power, a young girl dresses as a boy in order to support her family. Estes, Eleanor. (1944). The hundred dresses. New York: Harcourt. This short novel is about a Polish American girl who is teased by other girls in her class. Giff, Patricia Reilly. (2000). Nory Ryan’s song. New York: Delacorte. Set in 1845 on the west coast of Ireland, this book explains how the potato famine and British land removal led to the deaths and emigration of millions of Irish. Hansen, Joyce. (1994). The captive. New York: Scholastic. Kofi, the son of an African chief, is kidnapped twice and sold into slavery. His story is set in Africa and Boston. Ho, Minfong. (1990). Rice without rain. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. This novel is set in rural Thailand and tells of the efforts of university students to remedy the results of government inaction and lack of attention to the poor during a drought. Ho, Minfong. (1991). The clay marble. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Twelve-year-old Dara and her family flee their home in Cambodia. The setting is a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border in 1980. Ho, Minfong. (2003). The stone goddess. London: Orchard Books. In Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge era, a young girl named Nakri survives life in a forced labor camp. She finds her way to a refugee camp and then comes to the U.S. Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki, & Houston, James D. (1973). Farewell to Manzanar. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. A first-person account of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Novel length, and told from the perspective of the author when she was a young girl. Jiménez, Francisco. (1997). The circuit/Cajas de carton. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. This is a collection of largely autobiographical stories told by a young migrant boy.

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Alvarez, Julia. (2001). How Tía Lola came to visit/stay. New York: Random House. Miguel lives in Vermont and isn’t sure if he wants his aunt from the Dominican Republic to stay, but eventually changes his mind.


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Jiménez, Francisco. (2001). Breaking through. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. In this sequel to The Circuit, the narrator is a teenage migrant boy who succeeds in school due to hard work and personal resilience, family love and support, and some help from others. Lawlor, Laurie. (1998). Voyage to a free land: 1630. New York: Aladdin. Hannah and her family set sail from London in 1630. After a series of adventures, they finally arrive in America and settle in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (From the American Sisters series.) Lester, Julius. (2005). Day of tears. New York: Hyperion Books for Children. This novel in dialogue tells of the largest slave auction held in North America and the terrible human cost resulting from it. Lord, Betty Bao. (1984). In the year of the boar and Jackie Robinson. New York: Harper & Row. A young girl is initiated into life in the United States through baseball. Lowry, Lois. (1989). Number the stars. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. During the German occupation of Denmark during World War II, Jewish people are smuggled to safety in Sweden. Na, An. A step from heaven. Asheville, NC: Front Street. A Korean girl, Young Ju, tell of her experiences with her immigrant family from the time she was 4 until she goes to college. Newth, Mette. (1989). The abduction. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. In the seventeenth century, Inuit in Greenland are enslaved and taken to Norway. Park, Linda Sue. (2000). The kite fighters. New York: Random House. A historical novel set in Seoul, Korea, about two brothers who are preparing for a traditional New Year’s kite competition. Park, Linda Sue. (2002). When my name was Keoko. New York: Random House. About the occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II. Told from the perspective of a young girl. Ryan, Pam Muñoz. (2000). Esperanza rising. New York: Scholastic. When Esperanza and her family fall on hard times during the Great Depression, they go to California, where they are hired as farm workers. Shaw, Janet. (1986). Kirsten learns a lesson. Middleton, WI: Pleasant Company Publications. Kirsten, an immigrant girl from Sweden, has a secret friendship with a Native American girl. The setting is the late 1880s. Uchida, Yoshiko. (1971). Journey to Topaz. New York: Scribner. In these two books (Journey to Topaz and Journey Home), Uchida writes about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and their return to their homes. Uchida, Yoshiko. (1978). Journey home. New York: Margaret K. McElderry. See previous entry. Yep, Laurence. (1975). Dragonwings. New York: Harper & Row. In the early 1900s, Moon Shadow is sent from China to join his father, Windrider, who makes his living doing laundry, but dreams of flying a plane. Yep, Laurence. (1993). Dragon’s gate. New York: HarperCollins. Fourteen-year-old Otter is sent to California from China in 1867, where he joins his father and uncle in building a tunnel for the Transcontinental Railroad through the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Appendix B

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Perceived Behavior

Possible Cultural Explanation

The student avoids eye contact.

Keeping eyes downcast may be a way of showing respect. In some cultures, direct eye contact with a teacher is considered disrespectful and a challenge to the teacher’s authority.

The student tends to smile when disagreeing with what is being said or when being reprimanded.

A smile may be a gesture of respect that children are taught to employ to avoid giving offense in difficult situations.

The student shrinks from or responds poorly to apparently inoffensive forms of physical contact or proximity.

There may be taboos on certain types of physical contact. Buddhists, for instance, regard the head and shoulders as sacred and would consider it impolite to ruffle a child’s hair or give a reassuring pat on the shoulder. There are also significant differences among cultures with respect to people’s sense of what is considered an appropriate amount of personal space.

The student appears to be overtly affectionate with other students.

In many cultures it is not uncommon for friends (girls and/or boys) to link arms, hold hands, or greet each other with a hug or kiss on the cheek.

The student refuses to eat with peers.

Some students may be unaccustomed to eating with anyone but members of their own family.

The student refuses to eat certain kinds of foods or doesn’t eat at all at certain periods.

Many religions have food taboos and fasting periods. Young children are often exempt from fasting, but many choose to participate.

The student does not participate actively in group work or collaborate readily with peers on cooperative assignments.

Cooperative group work is never used by teachers in some cultures. Students may thus view sharing as “giving away knowledge” and may see no distinction between legitimate collaboration and cheating.

The student displays uneasiness, expresses disapproval, or even misbehaves in informal learning situations or situations involving open-ended learning processes (e.g., exploration).

Schooling in some cultures involves a strict formality. For students who are used to this, an informal classroom atmosphere may seem chaotic and undemanding, while teachers with an informal approach may seem unprofessional. Such students may also be uncomfortable with process-oriented learning activities and prefer activities that yield more tangible and evident results.

* Based on, but modified and expanded from, the ESL Learner Web site of the Ministry of Education, Government of British Columbia. Retrieved from www.bced.gov.bc.ca/esl/policy/learnclass.htm.

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Cultural Differences in Student Behavior *


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………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Perceived Behavior

Possible Cultural Explanation

The student talks loudly and sometimes overlaps speech with the others in the group or class.

In some classrooms around the world, students have more freedom to speak. They’re not as closely regulated. Students talk a lot more, and they talk more loudly. What is considered interruptive or rude behavior in many North American classrooms would be considered task-oriented behavior in their home country’s schools.

The student refuses to participate in extracurricular or in various physical education activities (e.g., swimming, skating, track and field).

Extracurricular activities may not be considered a part of learning or may even, along with some physical education activities, be contrary to a student’s religious or cultural outlook. Some students may also be required to use afterschool hours to generate income.

The student seems inattentive and does not display active listening behaviors.

In some cultures, the learning process involves observing and doing or imitating rather than listening and absorbing (e.g., through note-taking).

Performance following instruction reveals that the student does not understand the instruction, even though he/she refrained from asking for help or further explanation.

In some cultures, expressing a lack of understanding or asking for help from the teacher is interpreted as a suggestion that the teacher has not been doing a good enough job of teaching and is considered impolite.

The student is unresponsive, uncooperative, or even disrespectful in dealing with teachers of the other gender.

Separate schooling for boys and girls is the norm in some cultures. Likewise, in some cultures the expectations for males and females are quite different. The idea that females and males should have the same opportunities for schooling and play comparable roles as educators will therefore run contrary to some students’ cultural conditioning.

The student appears reluctant to engage in debate, speculation, argument, or other processes that involve directly challenging the views and ideas of others.

In some cultures, it is considered inappropriate to openly challenge another’s point of view, especially the teacher’s. In other cases, there may be a high value attached to being prepared, knowledgeable, and correct when one opens one’s mouth.

The student exhibits discomfort or embarrassment at being singled out for special attention or praise.

To put oneself in the limelight for individual praise is not considered appropriate in some cultures, where the group is considered more important than the individual.

The student fails to observe the conventions of silent reading.

Some students may be culturally predisposed to see reading as essentially an oral activity and will therefore read aloud automatically. For others reading aloud is associated with memorization.

The student refuses to take off headwear.

Many religions have prescripted headwear, such as yarmulkes, turbans, and head scarves for boys or girls.

Appendix C

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Anno, Mitsumasa. (1997). Anno’s journey. New York: Putnam. A traveler begins alone, traveling across many intricately detailed scenes. One of several wordless books by Anno, each with intricate details. Baker, Jeannie. (1993). Window. New York: Puffin/Penguin. A little boy grows up looking at the landscape outside his window as it changes from forest and animals to houses and factories. The story ends with the boy, now a man, holding up his own son to a completely different landscape. This book can inspire discussions about the changing environment. Bang, Molly. (1980). The grey lady and the strawberry snatcher. New York: Aladdin/Simon & Schuster. An intriguing story about a grey lady who buys strawberries and then must elude a blue figure who tries to snatch them away. The book is mysterious with beautiful colors and artistry. Banyai, Istvan. (1995). Zoom. New York: Penguin. Pictures zoom in or zoom out, and sometimes what you think you are seeing is actually something else as the picture zooms out. Zoom can be read forward or backward with different results. Istvan has done other wordless books, including the sequel, Re-zoom, and The Other Side. dePaola, Tomie. (1978). Pancakes for breakfast. New York: HarperCollins. A little old lady who decides she wants pancakes for breakfast goes to a great deal of trouble to get the ingredients. Lehman, Barbara. (2004). The red book. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. A girl in a city finds a red book about a boy on an island, who also finds a red book. This book has a story within a story within a story. Popov, Nikolai. (1996). Why? New York: Michael Neugebauer/North South Books. War escalates from a simple encounter between a frog and an umbrella-wielding mouse. This story can open up interesting discussions about the devastation of war, but should be used exceedingly carefully with refugee students who have suffered the traumas of war. Rogers, Gregory. (2004). The boy, the bear, the baron, the Bard. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook Press. A young boy playing soccer winds up onstage in a Shakespeare play and has subsequent adventures in England. Rohmann, Eric. (1997). Time flies. New York: Dragonfly Books/Crown. A bird flies into a dinosaur museum. The dinosaur comes to life and eats the bird, but the bird escapes when the dinosaur becomes a skeleton again. Sis, Peter. (2007). The wall: Growing up behind the Iron Curtain. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. A graphic account of the author’s life growing up in Czechoslovakia under Soviet rule. Sis has created other wordless picture books, including Beach Ball; Trucks, Trucks, Trucks; and Dinosaur.

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Selected Wordless Picture Books


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Tan, Shaun. (2007). The arrival. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. A lone immigrant leaves his family and travels to a new world. This graphic story depicts his struggles to understand and adjust to his new life.

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Ward, Lynd. (1992). The silver pony. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Lengthier than many picture books, this book has black-and-white illustrations. The story involves a boy who travels to far-off places on the back of a winged pony. Weitzman, Jacquelan Priess. (2001). You can’t take a balloon into the Metropolitan Museum. New York: Puffin/Penguin. A little girl and her grandmother go to the Metropolitan Museum. The little girl’s balloon, which she is not allowed to take into the museum, escapes and has several adventures around New York City while the girl and her grandmother are looking at the paintings in the museum. Wiesner, David. (2006). Flotsam. Boston: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin. A boy finds a camera, develops the film, and finds fantastical pictures of undersea life—and also pictures of children from all over the world holding pictures of other children. Wiesner has created other wordless picture books as well, including Tuesday and Sector 7.

Appendix D

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Addison-Wesley picture dictionary. (1984). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Available in a Spanish-English edition, in addition to a monolingual English edition. Clark, J., & Ashworth, J. (1999). Longman picture dictionary of American English. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Corbeil, J. (1986). The Facts on File visual dictionary. New York: Facts on File. Goodman, M. (2003). Let’s learn English picture dictionary. New York: McGraw Hill. Iosa, A. (2003). Word play: Spanish-Inglés. Carlsbad, CA: Penton Overseas. Kauffman, D., & Apple, G. (2000). The Oxford picture dictionary for the content areas. New York: Oxford University Press. Merriam-Webster’s visual dictionary. (2006). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. Moran, P. (2001). Lexicarry: Pictures for learning language (3rd ed.). Brattleboro, VT: Pro Lingua Associates. Parnwell, E.C. (1989). The new Oxford picture dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press. In addition to a monolingual English edition, it is available in bilingual editions, including English and Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Navajo, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Shapiro, N., & Adelson-Goldstein, J. (1998). The Oxford picture dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press. In additional to a monolingual edition in English, bilingual editions are available in English and Spanish, Japanese, Thai, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic, French, Polish, Korean, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, and Cambodian. Ultimate visual dictionary. (2006). New York: DK Publishing. Ultimate visual dictionary of science. (1998). New York: DK Publishing. Zwier, L. J. (1999). Basic English for everyday activities: A picture process dictionary. Syracuse, NY: New Readers Press.

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Picture/Visual Dictionaries


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Appendix F

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Pronunciation Web Sites Following are some pronunciation Web sites that we and our students have found useful. They are classified by the specific focus of the lessons in the Web site. We tried to include more than one site for each area of focus since Web sites are not always permanent. However, new Web sites are being created every day, so using a search engine, such as Google, to search on the categories below could well reap many more productive sites. Each of the Web sites listed below was free at the time of publication. Almost all of them have either audio or video files embedded in them, which will likely require software, such as Real Audio, Quick Time, Flash, Shockwave, or Java. Most sites have a link to free downloads of the software. We have noted when Web sites use British pronunciation, but we have found that British pronunciation generally doesn’t affect understanding or production of sounds.

General Pronunciation www.soundsofenglish.org/tips.htm#bingo

This site includes general information about the sounds of English, tips for teachers, ideas for lessons, and links to many different kinds of practice exercises. www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/#

The best Web site we know of for listening to the sounds of American English. This site includes audio and video files for all of the sounds of American English categorized by manner (how the air stream is modified), place (where the sounds are articulated, for example, tongue, teeth, hard palate), and voice (whether the vocal cords are vibrating or not). Audio/video files include internal and external videos of sounds pronounced as a beginning sound, medial sound, and final sound (e.g., /p/ in pot, happy, top). www.stuff.co.uk/calcul_nd.htm

Students can click on a letter of the international phonetic alphabet to listen to an example of that sound pronounced within a word (/Ia/, fear). Pronunciation is British English, but this should not seriously affect learning of the sounds.

Vowels www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/hot_potatoes/phonetics_flashcards_vowels.htm

Vowel flash cards. Students see a flash card with the phonetic symbol of a vowel and then listen to the sound. www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/hot_potatoes/phonetics_vowels_matching1.htm www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/hot_potatoes/phonetics_vowels_matching2.htm www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/hot_potatoes/phonetics_vowels_matching3.htm

Drop-and-drag vowel matching exercise. Listen to the vowel sound and match it to its phonetic symbol. Students must know phonetic symbols (for example, /I/ /a/ /æ/). www.bbc.co.uk/schools/wordsandpictures/index.shtml

Practice with long vowels. This BBC phonics Web site includes many activities for working with long vowel sounds. Students can listen to poems and play vowel recognition games. Older students may find this site immature, but even Dorothy’s adult ESL students enjoy the poems and games. British English is used, but neither Dorothy nor her students have found this to be a deterrent.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… genkienglish.net/phonicsgame5.htm

Students can play a concentration-type game in which they find matching pairs of vowel sounds.

Consonant Clusters BBC Web site. Listen to words that begin with consonant clusters, then select the onset, or consonant cluster, and the rime, the final sound, and blend them together.

Minimal Pairs www.soundsofenglish.org/pronunciation/i.htm

This site shows pictures of how to make the sound and has audio clips of minimal pairs. http://international.ouc.bc.ca/pronunciation

Students can see videos of common problematic phonemic sounds (for example, /l/ and /r/). As the sounds are pronounced, students can see external and internal mouth and throat views. There are also several minimal pairs listening activities. www.fonetiks.org/shiporsheep

This site includes many minimal pair files. Students see a picture of the minimal pairs, listen to an audio file, and choose the correct word. British English is used, but the differences between British and North American English are insignificant to the task. www.manythings.org/pp

This site contains many minimal pairs. Students can listen to each of the minimal pairs, then listen to one word and select the correct minimal pair (for example, late and let). One advantage to this site is that it includes numbers (for example, fourteen and forty), which many students have difficulty with. In these exercises the numbers are embedded within a sentence (for example, There were many cars on Route 14. vs. There were many cars on Route 40.)

Word Endings www.soundsofenglish.org/activities/ex1.htm

This site includes a list of words with typically difficult ending sounds. Students click on the word, listen to it, type it, and check for correct spelling.

Stress www.soundsofenglish.org/pronunciation/suprasegmentals/index.html#explanation

This site includes audio files demonstrating syllable stress. www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/wordstress/intro_ex1.htm

Word stress practice. Students listen to audio sound files of multisyllabic words and choose the syllable that has the stress. www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/wordstress/ex2.htm

Word stress crossword puzzle www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/wordstress/ex3.htm

Stress practice with compound nouns. Students listen to audio files and compare stress of compound words to words with two adjective + noun phrases (for example, BLUEbird vs. blue BIRD). www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/wordstress/ex4.htm

Stress practice with phrasal verbs and compound words. The only audio file is in the instructions. Students predict word stress on phrasal verbs with prepositions and compound words (for example, TURNoff vs. turn OFF). 302

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www.bbc.co.uk/schools/wordsandpictures/clusters/blender/game.shtml


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/wordstress/ex6.htm

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Homograph practice. Homographs are words that are spelled in the same way, but have different pronunciations. This listening discrimination exercise helps students distinguish between words that change stress depending upon their part of speech (for example, PERmit, noun, and PerMIT, verb). Students listen to a word and select whether it is a noun or verb based on the word stress.

Can/Can’t www.soundsofenglish.org/hollys_corner/hot_potatoes/can_cloze1.htm

Students listen to 10 sentences and fill in the blank with can or can’t. http://eleaston.com/pr/stress-quiz01.html

Students can listen to 19 sentences and choose whether they heard can or can’t in the sentence.

Tongue Twisters www.geocities.com/Athens/8136/tonguetwisters.html

This Web site contains more than 100 tongue twisters, but there are no audio files for them. www.uebersetzung.at/twister

This site contains more than 2,500 tongue twisters in more than 100 different languages. Unfortunately, there are no audio files, but ELL students may recognize some of them in their languages and enjoy saying them. www.elfs.com/MMz.html

The tongue twister (called “Mouth Manglers” on this Web site) are arranged by specific consonant sounds that many ELLs have difficulty pronouncing. Students can listen to sound files of the tongue twisters broken down into short phrases or words. www.esl-resources.com/tonguetwisters/01.htm

Fifteen tongue twisters, each one accompanied by a photograph illustrating the tongue twister and a listening sound file.

Appendix F

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Cloze activities can be used for reading practice and/or for assessment purposes. Follow these guidelines to prepare cloze activities. 1. Select or write a passage that is about 250 words long. 2. Leave the first and last sentences intact. 3. Beginning with the second sentence, delete every fifth (or seventh or tenth) word throughout the passage. (Remember to leave the last sentence intact.) 4. Replace the deleted words with a blank space that is about 1 to 11⁄2 inches long. Each blank space should be the same length. If punctuation marks are the focus, the blanks can be much shorter. 5. If a word to be deleted is a number, skip to the next word and delete that word. • It is possible that more than one word may go in a space, and students should be encouraged to think of alternatives, while maintaining the meaning of the passage. • Students completing a cloze should not work under a time limit. Instead, they should be encouraged to complete it thoughtfully. • It can be very useful for students to work together in pairs or triads. However, partnerships should be arranged carefully so all students are actively involved. • After students have completed the cloze, it is important to go through it with them and talk about their responses.

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Guidelines for Developing Cloze Activities


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Appendix H

The Cloze Text Without Deletions

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

A Visit to a Coastal Science Center The class spent two days at a coastal science center, where students learned about marine life. When the students returned from their field trip, they unloaded their specimen bags. There were lots of shells, most of them very small, but some impressively large. Some students had collected a variety of pebbles and stones. Other students had quite a collection of seaweed, which was now dry and no longer glistened as it had in the water. Inside some of the shells, there were still fragments of the remains of shellfish. Once their bags were empty, the students began to classify their specimens. They sorted their shells according to color, size, and shape. One student who knew a lot about shellfish sorted his shells according to the shellfish family to which the shell belonged, such as mussels and clams. When students sorted their fragments of seaweed, they often used shape to help them categorize. For example, some were flat and wide, whereas others had bobbles at the end. Students who sorted stones also used color, size, and shape to guide them. Some students wanted to sort their rocks according to the type of rock, so they borrowed a book from the library to help them. After sorting their specimens, the class generated a list of questions about life at the seashore. They spent the next two weeks investigating their topics.

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1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Appendix I

A Visit to a Coastal Science Center The class spent two days at a coastal science center, where students learned about marine life. When the students returned ——— their field trip, they ——— their specimen bags. There ——— lots of shells, most ——— them very small, but ——— impressively large. Some students ——— collected a variety of ——— and stones. Other students ——— quite a collection of ——— , which was now dry ——— no longer glistened as ——— had in the water. ——— some of the shells, ——— were still fragments of ——— remains of shellfish. Once ——— bags were empty, the ——— began to classify their ——— . They sorted their shells ——— to color, size, and ——— . One student who knew ——— lot about shellfish sorted ——— shells according to the ——— family to which the ——— belonged, such as mussels ——— clams. When students sorted ——— fragments of seaweed, they ——— used shape to help ——— categorize. For example, some ——— flat and wide, whereas ——— had bobbles at the ——— . Students who sorted stones ——— used color, size, and ——— to guide them. Some ——— wanted to sort their ——— according to the type ——— rock, so they borrowed ——— book from the library ——— help them. After sorting ——— specimens, the class generated ——— list of questions about ——— at the seashore. They spent the next two weeks investigating their topics.

* See Appendix H for the text without deletions. 306

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Example of a Cloze Text With Every Five Words Deleted*


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Appendix J

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Example of a Cloze Text With Every Ten Words Deleted* A Visit to a Coastal Science Center The class spent two days at a coastal science center, where students learned about marine life. When the students returned from their field trip, they ——— their specimen bags. There were lots of shells, most ——— them very small, but some impressively large. Some students ——— collected a variety of pebbles and stones. Other students ——— quite a collection of seaweed, which was now dry ——— no longer glistened as it had in the water. ——— some of the shells, there were still fragments of ——— remains of shellfish. Once their bags were empty, the ——— began to classify their specimens. They sorted their shells ——— to color, size, and shape. One student who knew ——— lot about shellfish sorted his shells according to the ——— family to which the shell belonged, such as mussels ——— clams. When students sorted their fragments of seaweed, they ——— used shape to help them categorize. For example, some ——— flat and wide, whereas others had bobbles at the ——— . Students who sorted stones also used color, size, and ——— to guide them. Some students wanted to sort their ——— according to the type of rock, so they borrowed ——— book from the library to help them. After sorting ——— specimens, the class generated a list of questions about ——— at the seashore. They spent the next two weeks investigating their topics.

* See Appendix H for the text without deletions. 307


1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Appendix K

A Visit to a Coastal Science Center The class spent two days at a coastal science center, where students learned about marine life. When the students ——— from their field trip, they ——— their specimen bags. There ——— lots of shells, most of them very small, but some impressively large. Some students ——— a variety of pebbles and stones. Other students ——— quite a collection of seaweed, which ——— now dry and no longer ——— as it ——— in the water. Inside some of the shells, there ——— still fragments of the remains of shellfish. Once their bags ——— empty, the students ——— to classify their specimens. Students ——— their shells according to color, size, and shape. One student who ——— a lot about shellfish ——— his shells according to the shellfish family to which the shell ——— , such as mussels and clams. When students ——— their fragments of seaweed, they often ——— shape to help them categorize. For example, some ——— flat and wide, whereas others ——— bobbles at the end. Students who ——— stones also ——— color, size, and shape to guide them. Some students ——— to sort their rocks according to the type of rock, so they ——— a book from the library to help them. After sorting their specimens, the class ——— a list of questions about life at the seashore. They ——— the next two weeks investigating their topics.

* In this version of a cloze text, past-tense verbs have been deleted. See Appendix H for the text without deletions.

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Example of a Selected Feature Cloze Text: Past-Tense Verbs*


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Appendix L

Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry Touchstone Texts

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Fiction Cisneros, Sandra. (1984, 1994). Hairs/Pelitos. New York: Dragonfly Books. Originally appearing in The House on Mango Street, the stories in this collection are rich in craft elements. In Hairs/Pelitos, a child describes the different kinds of hair people have in her family and how the smell of her mother’s hair makes her feel safe. Craft elements: written in English and Spanish; figurative language (my father’s hair is like a broom; my mother’s hair, like little rosettes, like little candy circles); rhythmic language, such as sets of three (The snoring, the rain, and Mama’s hair that smells like bread). Cisneros, Sandra. (1984, 1994). The house on Mango Street. New York: Random House. Short, short stories. Craft elements: strong voice; dialogue (used without quotation marks); sentence length variation (including some very short paragraphs); rhythmic language; some infusion of Spanish words; poignant themes from childhood. Crews, Donald. (1992). Shortcut. New York: Greenwillow Books. One day, some children decide to take a shortcut on their way home, but it’s along a train track, and they almost get hit by a train. Craft elements: strong lead (creates suspense); strong ending (use of short sentences for impact/emphasis); terrific use of punctuation; fonts (enlarged and capitalized for emphasis); sounds (shown by emphasizing font to illustrate the train getting closer and closer); tension; exploded moment. English, Karen. (1999). Nadia’s hands. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. A Pakistani American girl is nervous about being asked to be in her aunt’s traditional Pakistani wedding. Craft elements: infusion of Urdu words in the English text; glossary with pronunciation guide for Urdu words; rhythmic language, such as sets of three (for example, repetition of a phrase: She sat watching the door . . . She sat watching out the window . . . Finally, she sat watching the big kitchen clock over the stove). Krishnaswami, Uma. (2003). Chachaji’s cup. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. In this story of intergenerational love, a special cup brought from India features symbolically and helps a young boy learn about his family history and the history of India. Craft elements: rhythmic language, such as sets of three (using sticks and stones and blocks); evocative and precise verbs (thundered, giggled, whispered); infusion of some non-English words (masala chai, beta); circular story (begins with great uncle Chachaji making tea and ends with the mom and dad making tea). Kurtz, Jane, & Kurtz, Christopher. (1997). Only a pigeon. New York: Simon & Schuster. A young boy, Ondu-ahlem, lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and raises pigeons. Craft elements: lyrical, poetic language; powerful descriptions; respectful integration of cultural information; pictures complement and support the text very effectively; varied sentence length very effective (The night holds many dangers. As he turns from the coop, he stoops to look with fear at something on the ground. Footprints.); infusion of some non-English words; glossary for pronunciation and meaning of non-English words; author’s note about raising pigeons.

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Ringgold, Faith. (1991). Tar beach. New York: Crown Publishers. A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author’s quilt painting of the same name. Craft elements: strong lead; voice; historical information about labor unions and the building of the Brooklyn Bridge is intertwined. Soto, Gary. (1993). Too many tamales. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. A little girl loses her mom’s wedding ring on Christmas day and asks her cousins to eat all the tamales in the search for the missing ring. Craft elements: lead that describes the setting; infusion of non-English words (for example, masa); dialogue; internal dialogue; conventions (for example, commas in a series); plot that uses cause-and-effect structure. Yolen, Jane. (1987). Owl moon. New York: Scholastic. A boy and his father go out late at night to search for owls. Craft elements: sensory language; strong lead (powerful, interesting statement); descriptive, poetic language; italicized words for sounds; repetitive sentence. Yolen, Jane. (1997). Miz Berlin walks. New York: Puffin Books. A little girl gets to know her neighbor, Miz Berlin, through their daily walks. Miz Berlin tells the little girl fantastic stories from her past. Craft elements: strong lead; sensory language; voice; character development; italicized font for emphasis and sounds; dialogue; punctuation; circular story.

Nonfiction/Literary Nonfiction Bridges, Shirin Yim. (2002). Ruby’s wish. New York: Scholastic. The story of the author’s grandmother, who became one of the first female students to attend university in China. Craft elements: descriptive lead; strong setting; vivid language; varied punctuation; groups of three; good use of dialogue. Cameron, Eileen. (2002). Canyon. New York: Mikaya Press. The author describes the making of a canyon over millions of years. Craft elements: poetic, rich language (cascades through the rocks, slide into creeks that tumble downhill); vivid photographs that complement the text; laid out as a slanting, nonrhyming poem. Fanelli, Sara. (1995). My map book. New York: HarperCollins. This collection of labeled, hand-drawn maps shows real and imagined places, such as the young author’s family, day, stomach, playground, bedroom, colors, school. Craft elements: child’s humorous voice; wide spectrum of map possibilities; intersection of drawings and labels; handwritten text. Krull, Kathleen, & Morales, Yuyi (Illus.). (2003). Harvesting hope: The story of César Chávez. New York: Scholastic. The biography of César Chávez, a Hispanic American who founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

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Pilkey, D. (1999). The paperboy. New York: Orchard Books. The story of a paperboy’s daily routine. Craft elements: circular story; good lead (statement that includes setting and character); good use of punctuation; descriptive language to stretch moments; rhythmic language (use of short sentences); bumpy font for emphasis.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Craft elements: vivid language; powerful description of setting; Spanish words embedded in text; varied punctuation; author’s note. Mora, Pat. (1997). Tomás and the library lady/ Tomás y la señora de la biblioteca. New York: Knopf. Tomás Rivera, a young migrant farm worker boy, later becomes chancellor of the University of California, Riverside. This story describes how books allowed him to discover new worlds. Craft elements: descriptive lead (It was midnight. The light of the full moon followed the tired old car.); repetition (Tomás was tired too. Hot and tired.); sound words (The wind was howling, whooooooooo, and the leaves were blowing, whish, whish . . .); figurative language (Its tall windows were like eyes glaring at him); infusion of Spanish words and phrases in the English text; circular story; engaging closure (Tomás closed his eyes. He saw the dinosaurs drinking cool water long ago. He heard the cry of the wild snakebird. He felt the warm neck of the dinosaur as he held on tight for a bumpy ride). Pérez, Amada I. (2002). My diary from here to there/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. The author describes her feelings as a young girl when her family decides to leave their home in Mexico to look for work in the United States. Craft elements: written in first person; diary format; English and Spanish; strong emotions; descriptive language; author’s note; varied punctuation. Schaefer, Lola M. (2001). This is the rain. New York: Greenwillow Books. Craft elements: cumulative text (This is the ocean, blue and vast, that holds the rainwater from the past. This is the sunshine, hot and bright, that warms the ocean, blue and vast, that holds the rainwater from the past.); poetic language; use of colored print to help in conveying meaning; use of rhyme; rich language (ditches, creeks, seeking low ground, absorbed); afterword about the water cycle on planet Earth. Swinburne, Stephen R. (2005). Turtle tide: The ways of sea turtles. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. This story follows a mother sea turtle and her offspring, from prenatal to life to early death. Craft elements: an informational book written like a story; afterword, About Sea Turtles, and Suggested Reading provide background information; rich, poetic language (pulled by a rich longing to come ashore; a giant yellow moon sleeping on the sea); watercolor illustrations complement the text. Winter, Jeanette. (2004). Calavera abecedario/A Day of the Dead alphabet book. San Diego, CA: Voyager Books. This ABC book is based on the life of Don Pedro Linares, an artist who became famous all over Mexico for his papier-mâché art—especially his calaveras (skulls). Craft elements: strong lead; infusion of Spanish words; varied text placement on the page; groups of three; glossary of Spanish words; author’s note. Woodson, Jacqueline. (2005). Show way. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. “Show ways” are quilts that once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves, and is a tradition passed from mother to daughter in the author’s family. Craft elements: strong voice; repetitive language; varied sentence length; various uses of fonts; powerful ending; circular storyline; intertwines historical events from African American history.

Appendix L

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Alarcón, Francisco X. (1999). Angels ride bikes. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. A bilingual collection of poems in which the renowned Mexican American poet revisits and celebrates his childhood memories of fall in the city and growing up in Los Angeles. Craft elements: free verse; varied punctuation; similes; onomatopoeia; Spanish words embedded in English poems; informational footnotes; afterword. Grimes, Nikki. (2006). Thanks a million. New York: HarperCollins. Sixteen poems by Nikki Grimes that vary in form. All of the poems remind us how wonderful it is to feel thankful, and how powerful a simple “thank-you” can be. Craft elements: haiku; free verse; rebus; riddles; metaphors; dialogue; personification; repetitive language; rhyme; table of contents. Hopkins, Lee Bennett (Ed.). (1992). Through our eyes: Poems and pictures about growing up. Boston: Little, Brown. A collection of 16 poems describing childhood written by various authors, many from underrepresented groups. Poems are accompanied by photographs taken by Jeffrey Dunn. Craft elements: rhyme; free verse; repetition; varied punctuation; alliteration; descriptive language; table of contents. Johnston, Tony. (1996). My Mexico/México mío. New York: Penguin Putnam Books. A collection of poems in English and Spanish about life in Mexico. Craft elements: similes; onomatopoeia; Spanish words embedded in English poems; circular poems; table of contents; glossary. Paschen, Elise (Ed.). (2005). Poetry speaks to children. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks. This poetry anthology includes a wide range of poems, historically, poetically, and visually. There are 95 poems from 73 poets. Fifty-two of the poems are found on an accompanying audio CD. Many of the poems are read by the poets themselves, and some include additional information, such as Langston Hughes explaining how he wrote “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Craft elements: many poetic forms and elements; information from the publisher about the book; editor’s introduction; table of contents; index; acknowledgments page. Rampersad, A., & Roessel, D. (Eds.). (2006). Poetry for young people: Langston Hughes. New York: Scholastic. This anthology is an introduction to poems by Langston Hughes. The 26 poems, paired with artwork by Benny Andrews, offer a glimpse into the racial and social history of American culture. Craft elements: an introduction to the life of Langston Hughes; introductions to each poem; words/ideas defined and/or explained at the bottom of the page; metaphors; emotion; figurative language; personification; varied punctuation; free verse; repetitive language; table of contents; index.

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Poetry


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Appendix M

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Picture Books to Help Spark Students’ Memories Altman, Linda J. (1993). Amelia’s road. New York: Lee and Low Books. A young Mexican American girl, the daughter of migrant farm workers, longs for a place she can call home. When she finds a special place, she is able to keep memories alive. Choi, Yangsook. (2001). The name jar. New York: Dell Dragonfly Books. This story shows the struggles Unhei faces after she moves from Korea to the U.S. Cisneros, Sandra. (1984, 1994). Hairs/Pelitos. New York: Dragonfly Books. In Hairs/Pelitos, a child describes the different kinds of hair people have in her family and how the smell of her mother’s hair makes her feel safe. This story originally appeared in The House on Mango Street. Cisneros, Sandra. (1984, 1994). The house on Mango Street. New York: Random House. Short, short stories about childhood. Told from the perspective of a Spanish-speaking bilingual child living in a city. Crews, Donald. (1991). Big mama’s house. New York: Greenwillow Books. This story focuses on a family and the adventures they have while spending the summer with the grandparents. Crews, Donald. (1992). Shortcut. New York: Greenwillow Books. A group of children takes a shortcut home and faces danger when they find themselves on the railroad tracks. dePaola, Tomie. (1973). Nana upstairs, Nana downstairs. New York: Putnam. The poignant story of three generations of the same family who live together. dePaola, Tomie. (1981). Now one foot, now the other. New York: Putnam. dePaola writes about the special relationship between a young boy and his grandfather. English, Karen. (1999). Nadia’s hands. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. A Pakistani American girl is nervous about being asked to be in her aunt’s traditional Pakistani wedding. Fanelli, Sara. (1995). My map book. New York: HarperCollins. Written by a young girl, this is a collection of labeled, hand-drawn maps of real and imagined places, such as the young author’s home, playground, bedroom, and school. Gibson, Toyomi (1996). The two Mrs. Gibsons. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. A young girl describes her experiences with her African American grandmother and Japanese mother. Hoffman, Mary. (1991). Amazing Grace. New York: Dial Books. Grace wants to play Peter Pan in the school play, but her classmates think she cannot because she is African American and a girl. Keats, Ezra Jack. (1962). The snowy day. New York: Puffin Books. A young boy has adventures in the snow. Keats, Ezra Jack. (1964). Whistle for Willie. New York: Puffin Books. A young boy learns to whistle, but not without a great deal of hard work and some funny adventures along the way. Krishnaswami, Uma. (2003). Chachaji’s cup. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. In this story of intergenerational love, a special cup brought from India features symbolically. The cup helps a young boy learn about his family history and the history of India. 313


1………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Kurtz, Jane, & Kurtz, Christopher. (1997). Only a pigeon. New York: Simon & Schuster. A young boy, Ondu-ahlem, lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and raises pigeons.

Mora, Pat. (1997). Tomás and the library lady/Tomás y la señora de la biblioteca. New York: Knopf. The young migrant farm worker boy, Tomás Rivera, later becomes chancellor of the University of California, Riverside. In his childhood, books (and a librarian) allowed him to discover new worlds. Mora, Pat. (1999). The rainbow tulip. New York: Puffin Books. A Mexican American first grader describes her experiences with and expresses her feelings about speaking Spanish and having a home life that is very different from her school life. Perez, Amada I. (2002). My diary from here to there/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press. The author describes her feelings as a young girl when her family decides to leave its home in Mexico to look for work in the United States. Pilkey, Dave. (1999). The paperboy. New York: Orchard Books. A young boy describes the daily adventure of delivering newspapers. Polacco, Patricia. (1988). The keeping quilt. New York: Simon and Schuster. About a Jewish immigrant family and the special role that a quilt plays in the family’s life over several generations. Based on the author’s life, as are many of her books. Polacco, Patricia. (1997). Thunder cake. New York: Philomel Books. About how the author overcame her childhood fear of thunderstorms with the help of her grandmother. Soto, Gary. (1993). Too many tamales. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. A little girl loses her mom’s wedding ring on Christmas Day while making tamales. She asks her cousins to eat all the tamales in the search for the missing ring. Viorst, Judith. (1971). The tenth good thing about Barney. New York: Macmillan. After his cat dies, a little boy remembers all the good things about his pet. Winter, Jeanette. (2004). Calavera abecedario: A Day of the Dead alphabet book. San Diego: Voyager Books. This ABC book is based on the life of Don Pedro Linares, an artist who became famous all over Mexico for his papier-mâché art—especially his calaveras (skulls). It tells about the process of making calaveras. Winter, Jeanette. (2005). The librarian of Basra: A true story from Iraq. New York: Harcourt. The actions of a chief librarian who, along with neighbors, saves the books in the Central Library in Basra, Iraq, during the 2003 invasion. Woodson, Jacqueline. (2005). Show way. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. The making of “show ways,” or quilts, which once served as secret maps for freedomseeking slaves, is a tradition passed from mother to daughter in the author’s family. Yolen, Jane. (1987). Owl moon. New York: Scholastic. A boy and his father go out late at night to search for owls. Yolen, Jane. (1997). Miz Berlin walks. New York: Puffin Books. A little girl gets to know her neighbor, Miz Berlin, through their daily walks. On their walks, Miz Berlin tells the little girl fantastic stories from her past.

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Kyuchukov, Hristo. (2004). My name was Hussein. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. Set in Bulgaria, a Roma (Gypsy) boy, Hussein, is a Muslim and is forced to change his name after soldiers occupy his village. This story is based on the author’s life.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Appendix N

Types of Written Reflection in the Classroom

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Logs/Journals • Subject and topic are chosen by the writer (for example, an end-of-the-day log or a

personal journal). • Subject is selected by the teacher, but the topic is selected by the writer (for example,

a mathematics log, but writers select their topics). • Subject and topic are selected by the teacher (for example, a social studies log in which

writers must respond to a prompt).

Dialogue Journals • Content may be entirely open-ended or focused on a particular subject (for example, a

reading log). • Two or more people correspond in a journal (for example, student and teacher, two stu-

dents).

Field Notes • Writers report and reflect on events that they are studying (for example, the behavior of

an animal, family language patterns, or the literacy development of a younger student). • Writers keep notes similar to the notes an anthropologist might keep.

Questionnaires • Are generally focused (for example, on content and processes) • May be followed up with a discussion/interview

315


1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A

accents making it difficult to understand ELLs, 133–134 teasing because of, 27 Actor’s Club, playing, 104–105 after-school programs, enrolling students in, 15 alphabet cloze, 216 playing games with letters of, 216 anger, listing appropriate ways to express, 148 antidiscrimination laws, teaching about, 27 assessment, using many different forms, 42 aural language development, 135–136

B

behavioral problems, parents of ELLs concerned about, 60 best-guess gathering, 222 (BICS), basic interpersonal communicative skills, 76, 134, 140 bilingual dictionaries, 97, 142–143 bingo, playing irregular past-tense, 118–119 blogs and Wikis, 110 books about different cultures, 285–295 fiction, 309–310 nonfiction, 310–311 picture, 313–314 poetry, 311–312 on tape, listening to, 78 wordless picture, 92–93, 298–299 booksellers and distributors of books about diverse cultures and written in languages other than English, 283–284 borrowed words, 143, 173 brainstorming, for writing, 125 bullying, 20–25

C

calendars, having students create, 56 (CALP), cognitive academic language proficiency, 76, 134, 140–141 chain game, playing the, 120–121 charts, 79, 80, 122–123, 174 cheating, by ELLs on tests, 39–42

316

choral reading, 160–161, 211 circle game, playing the, 120 class meetings, 20 cloze alphabet, 216 definition of, 195 every ten words deleted, 307 every five words deleted, 306 guidelines, 304 modified, 256–257, 264 oral, 115 selected feature, 308 without deletions, 305 code-switching, 150 cognates, 143, 170–173 colloquialisms, slang, and idioms, 144. see also idioms, slang, and “dangerous English” community-building activities, 20 community expectations and school practices, dissonances between cheating, by ELLs on tests, 39–42 cultural differences affecting classroom behavior, 43–44 culturally different practices of ELL families, 51–53 females, not graduating, 46-48 general strategies, 33-34 home responsibilities affecting ELLs, 48–50 male students, not listening to females, 44–36 mental health services, parental resistance to ELLs receiving, 50–51 native-English-speaking students, working in groups with ELLs, 35–39 community support organizations, contacting, 15 comprehension, students not showing checking for understanding, 64–66 general strategies, 63–64 saying “yes,” but not understanding, 66–67 students constantly saying “I don’t understand,” 67–68 concepts, ELLs not understanding overview, 181–182 targeted strategies, 183–189 confirm-or-deny sentences, generating, 121 conflict-reduction and conflict-resolution programs

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Index


Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 community-building activities, 20–25 general strategies, 19–20 hostility, ELLs encountering, 27–31 involving immigrant refugee students, 26–27 mainstream students having difficulty working with ELLs, 31–32 overview, 18-19 conflicts in world history, studying, 27 consonant clusters, 137–138, 302 content material, students not understanding abstract ideas or unfamiliar content, 79–82 general strategies, 76–77 read-alouds, 77–79 contracts for group projects, 37–39 cooperative learning roles, languageappropriate, 32 copyediting, collaborative, 265–266 copying, as opposed to producing original work, 243–246 corner talks, 95–96 CPR, vocabulary workshop, 167–181 cross-age reading experience, 205 Cuisenaire rods, for language development, 90, 122–124 cultural ambassadors, students as, 148 cultural differences in student behavior, 296–297 talking about, 39–40 teaching about, 44 understanding, 43 culturally different practices of ELL families, 51–53

D

“dangerous English,” 143–144. see also idioms, slang, and “dangerous English” decoding in English, 212–217 decoding words, but not understanding, 189–199 dialogue journals, 245–246, 260-261 dictation, collaborative, 247–248 dictionaries bilingual and picture, 97, 142–143 picture/visual, 300 directions, students not understanding complex directions, 72–75 general strategies, 69–70 simple directions, 70–72 discourse, differences in male/female, 46 discrimination, exploring, 26 drawing activities for language development, 66, 73–74, 227 Dyadic Belt, 235–236

Index

E

echo reading, 131, 163–164 editing, focused, 257–258 educational norms, explaining, 47 ELL families, anticipated arrival of, 13–14 English, students not speaking general strategies for encouraging English, 87–88 not yet a shared language, 96–99 students in country for only a few months, 88–96 English, whether parents of ELLs should speak in home, 57–58 ethnic groups including in the curriculum, 24 locating resources about, 18

F

fact and opinion, distinguishing between, 201–203 familiar content, beginning with, 199–200 family photo books, creating, 241–242 females, not graduating, 46–48 fiction touchstone texts, 309–310 field trips, 59–60, 102 forming letters, teaching students to, 268–269 frustration, appropriate ways to express, 148

G

geopolitical issues, influence on ELLs of, 12 gestures, meanings associated with, 70 grammar, teaching about in oral language, 112–121, 127–128 in writing, 121–127, 263–266 grammatical structures in English general strategies, 112–113 misuse of present or present progressive tenses, 119–120 overview, 110–112 students confusing verb tenses, 117–118 students having difficulty forming negatives, 120–121 students having difficulty forming questions, 121–126 students having trouble pronouncing past-tense inflections, 116–117 students misusing pronouns, 113–115 students omitting plural endings, 115–116 students’ speech is confusing because of grammar, 126–128 graphic organizers, 80 group projects, contracts for, 37–39

317


group reading strategy instruction, 210–211 grouping students, 32 Guided Reading instruction, 210–211

H

high-frequency words, instruction in, 213 home responsibilities affecting ELLs, 48–50 homework assignments, being flexible with deadlines, 50 hostility, ELLs encountering, 27, 30

I

icebreakers, 20–21 idioms, slang, and colloquialisms, 143–144 idioms, slang, and “dangerous English” not using idioms and slang correctly, 144–146 offensive language, 147–149 illiterate parents of ELLs, communicating with, 55–56 immigrant and national refugee organizations, 16–18 independent reading, 161–163 information gap activities, 93–95 interactive writing, 263 international festivals in schools, 21–22 intonation activities for developing, 130–140 role of in pronunciation, 129

J

Jeopardy game, playing, 124–125, 178–181 jigsaw activities, 75, 105–106

K

KWLH charts, 80, 125–126

L

language development, questionnaires to support, 109 language differences, talking about, 137 Language Experience Approach (LEA), 164–166, 205, 216–217, 231 laws about minors, explaining, 61 leave-taking routine, 98 Liar’s Club, 104–105 literacy café, 236 literature study circles (LSCs), 21, 163 local agencies, contacting, 18

M

mainstream students difficulty working with ELLs, 31

318

teaching ways to support ELLs, 29 male students, not listening to females, 44–46 map reading activity, 74 mechanics, teaching about in writing, 262–266 mental health services, parental resistance to ELLs receiving, 50–51 minimal pairs, 136, 302 Miscue Analysis, 203–204 morning greeting, 98

N

national refugee and immigrant organizations, 16–18 native-English-speaking students, working in groups with ELLs, 35–39 native language supporting at home and in school, 58 trying to speak students’, 103 using, 149–150 writing in, 230–231 newcomer centers, 15 newcomers to English, 20 nonfiction touchstone texts, 310–311 North America, reasons why ELLs come to, 11–12

O

offensive language, 147–149 opinions, ELLs reluctant to share, 108–110

P

pair reading, 164, 204–205 pair shares, 80 parallel role-plays, 46 paraphrasing, 127–128 parents, communication with behavioral problems, parents of ELLs concerned about, 60–61 general strategies, 54 illiterate parents of ELLs, communicating with, 55–57 parents not letting children go on field trips, 59–60 parents of ELLs declining translators, 56–57 parents of ELLs, difficulty communicating with, 54–55 whether parents of ELLs should speak English in home, 57–58 past-tense activities, 116–117 past-tense bingo, playing irregular, 118–119 patterned texts, 264

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

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Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Peacemakers, conflict resolution program, 25 peer partners, using, 68 photography activities, 89 pictorial input charts, 79 picture books to help spark students’ memories, 313–314 picture dictionaries, 97, 142–143 picture talks, 101 plagiarizing, 248–249 poetry, 131–132 poetry touchstone texts, 311–312 Positive Action Program (PAP), conflict resolution program, 25 PowerPoint presentations, 103–104 presentations of ELLs, hard to understand, 134–135 previewing and summarizing or paraphrasing, 78–79 printing before cursive, teaching, 269 private time, providing, 67 projects in which ELLs are experts, setting up, 31 pronunciation adding extra syllables or sounds, 137–138 difficulty understanding ELLs’ accents, 133–134 difficulty with particular sounds, 135–136 general strategies, 130–132 presentations of ELLs, hard to understand, 134–135 Web sites, 301–303 publishing students’ writing, 234–236

Q

question word chart, making a, 122–123 questionnaires to support language development, 109 questions, treating with respect, 100

R

racial groups, including in the curriculum, 24 read-aloud-plus, 246 read-alouds general strategy, 157–159 interactive, 159 students not understanding, 77–79 targeted strategies, 203–207 Readers’ Theatre, 205–206, 211 reading limited purposes for, 209–211

Index

shadow, 131 shared, 159–160, 246–247 reading behaviors, irregular, 208–209 reading comprehension decoding words, but not understanding, 189–199 ELLs’ knowledge of English words is limited, 167–181 ELLs not understanding concepts, 181–189 irregular reading behaviors, 208–209 read-alouds, 199–203 reading skills, difficulty with higherlevel, 199–203 reading/writing log, 261–262 real-life projects, 104 realia, using to build understanding, 71, 183–184 reinforcement games, 177–181 religion, ELL students encountering hostility because of, 30 religious groups, contacting for support, 28–29 reluctant speakers general strategies to help, 99 intermediate/advanced students who don’t talk in class, 99–102 students who have other students speak for them, 102–105 students who talk in class only during activities, 105–108 students who won’t share opinions, 108–110 reluctant writers general strategies, 220–236 students not knowing what to write about, 236–242 Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP), 25 Retrospective Miscue Analysis, 203–204 revision strategies when writing, 259–262 role-playing, 46, 107–108, 131 routines, importance of, 89 Running Records, 203–204

S

scavenger hunts for pronunciation, 136 scenarios, creating, 40–41, 89–90 self-evaluation, opportunities for, 135 shadow reading, 131 shared reading, 159–160, 246–247 shared writing, 232–234 Silent Way, 90 similar meanings, words with, 174–175

319


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T

table talks, allowing time for, 80 Teacher/Learning Points sheet, 252–253 teasing, addressing, 28 tests, teaching students how to take, 41 think-alouds, using, 192–195, 197, 200, 204 think-pair-share, 67, 109 tolerance, setting up norms for, 22–23 topic generation in writing, 238–241 Total Physical Response (TPR), 64–65 touchstone texts, 222–223 fiction, 309–310 nonfiction, 310–311 poetry, 311–312 translators, 54–55 TRIBES, conflict resolution program, 25

U

unit of study, inquiry approach to writing workshop, 220–226

V

Venn diagram, 80–81, 114 visual support, 97 vocabulary development activities, 170–181 found names in words, 168–169 general strategies, 141–142 limited vocabulary problems, 142–143 mini-workshop, 167–181

320

WXYZ

Web sites for ELLs, 139, 145–146, 172–173, 301–303 word walls, using, 214–215 wordless picture books, 92–93, 298–299 writers, ELLs not improving as students continue making the same mistakes, 251–258 writing not very sophisticated, 258–262 writing incomprehensible, 266–272 interactive, 263 publishing students’ writing, 234–236 revision strategies, 259–262 topic generation in, 238–241 writing workshops, 220–226 written reflection in the classroom, types of, 315

Teaching English Language Learners: Grades 6 & Up © Katherine Davies Samway & Dorothy Taylor, Scholastic Teaching Resources

slang, colloquialisms, and idioms, 143–144. see also idioms, slang, and “dangerous English” social agencies, contacting for support, 28–29 sounds, showing students how to articulate, 136 speakers from community agencies, 61 story walk-throughs, 77 stress activities for language development, 130–140, 302–303 role of in pronunciation, 129 struggling readers, 151–156 student-authored texts, 227–230 student presentations, 31 summarizing or paraphrasing and previewing, 78–79 syllable pyramids, 138

Teaching ESL Learners - Strategies - Gr 6 & up  
Teaching ESL Learners - Strategies - Gr 6 & up  
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