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Teaching to an ELL
By Volk Ayres

A Brochure to Assist in Educating ELL students

Front of Brochure, visible when closed (back of left panel)

Things to avoid:

Try to avoid pairing ELL students of differing ability. This is

helpful, but the assisting student;
1. Is not there to teach, they are there to learn, it is not fair to
2. Will not always be there, and this is unfair for the ELL of lesser
3. Is not a teacher, and may not themselves understand the
material, even if they understand the language
Do not expect to introduce too many vocab words in a
lesson. The average person can learn around 7 a day for a given
class. ELLs are already learning a new language; they dont need
to double that load with Jargon. Unless they are strongly related
(synonyms/antonyms) limit vocab to 3 or 4 words per lesson.
Overly work to call on ELL students, especially in their early
phases of language development. This pressure may increase
their affective filter and lead to them withdrawing, further
inhibiting language acquisition.
Avoid calling on ELL students, especially if the answers can
be given simply (one word responses, yes or no, answer is
numerical/non conceptual)

First Inside Page (front of left panel)

The SIOP Model is your friend!
1. Preparation- English Language Learners need to be prepared for
learning by being able to communicate about the learning experience.
They need to be able to ask for help when they need it.
2. Building Background- Teachers can build background connections for
English Language Learners by making purposeful connections to prior
learning, by teaching the most important vocabulary, and by trying to
connect the content to something the student may have already
3. Comprehensible Input- Teachers should make assignments clear by
using vocabulary students can understand, and by providing a variety
of instructional experiences
4. Student Strategies for Success- English Language Learners can benefit
from knowing specific strategies to use that increase comprehension.
5. Interactions- Student-to-teacher and student-to-student interactions
can be enhanced through various activities.
6. Lesson Delivery- Effective lessons clearly state for English Language
Learners both the content standard and the language standard.
Effective lessons are paced to accommodate the learner and keep the
learner engaged for at least 90% of the lesson.
7. Practice/Application- English Language Learners need hands-on
materials, opportunities to practice and to apply concepts learned, and
opportunities to integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening
8. Review and Assessment- A comprehensive and deliberate review of
vocabulary, and key content area concepts, and language standards
will enable ELL students to demonstrate mastery.

Taken from

Back Center of Brochure. Visible when closed (back of center

Things TO do:
Use plenty of real world, relatable examples. If possible use
models or constructs of concepts. When dealing with geometry,
have the shapes available, in science, use labs or even video
demonstrations for some phenomena. In reading for fiction, have
students act out scenes (Its fun, but be careful who you pick!)
Use simple, familiar words. Use vocab only when necessary
or when teaching it. It is difficult to follow lessons when you cant
even decode the words, let alone their meaning.
Encourage class participation. When students want to join in
the lesson, let them. If they dont want to, or if they are
preventing others from joining with their enthusiasm, invite
quieter students (often ELLs) to join if you believe them able to

Center front of Brochure, only visible when fully open

General advice!
When you start to lose control of the class, dont be afraid to talk
over your students. You are the teacher; your voice is the most
Dont interrupt your students when theyre answering a question,
and dont rush them. Dont let other students do these things
The shortest distance between two points isnt always a straight
line-if a student does not get what you think the straight line
explanation is, try more explanations. Know how to say the same
thing at least 3 ways. We never get over the Why phase from
when we were kids, we just get more afraid of asking.
When you dont know the answer to a question, suggest the
student do independent research. Offer extra credit if they get an
answer. It will either get them engaged (good) or get them to not
ask (bad, but preferable to letting the class get stuck on a topic)

Back right of Brochure. Visible when Brochure is half open

Teaching Vocabulary to ELLs
-Pronounce the word
-Provide a definition (show, paraphrase, act out, create experience)
-Post definition for reference
-Introduce in context in which it occurs or in a familiar context
-Relate word to students' prior experiences. Create an experience that
demonstrates meaning
-Generate and record sentences (building from original context or familiar
-Use word often in instruction. Point it out in other content areas, have
students find it in other contexts, classes, out of school.
-Add to word bank or student-made dictionaries
-Use first language to clarify
-Word webs
-Semantic-analysis chart, concept maps.
-Act out, use visuals or real objects

Example interactions from part 5 on the Back

Sufficient Wait Time - In most classrooms, students are typically given less
than one second to respond to a question posed by a teacher. Research
shows that under these conditions students generally give short, recall
responses or no answer at all rather than giving answers that involve higherlevel thinking.
In addition to pausing after asking questions, research shows that many of
these same benefits result when teachers pause after the student's response
to a question, and when teachers do not affirm answers immediately.
Group Consensus - the teacher asks specific review questions. Students
seated in groups of 4 or 5 write their answers and share them with other
group members. Groups must discuss until they reach consensus. The group

answer is submitted to the teacher. Points can be scored if the teacher

chooses to make the review competitive.
Find Your Partner - each student is given a vocabulary card with either a
definition or a term written on it. Students are asked to find the matching
card. Then students share with the class the pairs they have made.

Front of right Panel. Only visible when fully open.