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95. Teaching ELLs: 5 Must-Do Practices for Student Success This Year
Episode 956th October 2023 • Equipping ELLs • Beth Vaucher, ELL, ESL Teachers
00:00:00 00:22:50

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In this episode of Equipping ELLs, we're diving into "5 Must-Do Practices for Student Success" that you won't want to miss!

Host Beth Vaucher kicks things off by emphasizing the importance of letting your ELLs take the lead in their learning journey. Plus, she spills the beans on the power of incorporating games into your classroom! Quality literature, meaningful conversations, and turning your students into "word detectives" also make the list of must-do practices. These simple, yet effective strategies will help you create an engaging and successful learning environment for your ELLs this year. Tune in to discover how to boost motivation, language skills, and overall success in your ELL classroom!



I'm going to be

sharing today things that you

should be doing more of this year that will absolutely help your

English language, learner, succeed. So there's a lot that happens

at the beginning. We get so overwhelmed with what's happening. We

kind of can lose sight quickly of what's important. So today I

just want to take us back. To those really simple but practical

things. That. Will 100% make a difference in how your ells engage

and how they show up with you this year. So let's dive in. There

are five different things that I want you to do more of. This

year? Are you ready.

All right, here we go. Here are things five things to do more of

this year when working with your El students, the first thing is

to let them take leave so often in school, we already have

everything set up, everything planned. How the classroom is

decorated. Where things go, standards. We have to hit assessments.

We need to teach, too. And we forget that our students are the

ones that matter. Our students are the one that we want them to be

engaged and motivated. And without that, learning is not going to

happen. So as you look into this next week or these next couple of

weeks, I want you to highlight ways that your students are going

to take charge on their learning, that they're going to take the

lead, that they're going to have choice, and that you're going to

give that to them that you're going to let them choose. Whether

it's down to. What reading passage they want to work on or what

topic they want to learn about. You're going to give them some

choices, because without that, if they're just coming to school

and playing this game of school and figuring out, okay, this is

how I have to survive in education here in the us. I need to sit

quietly, and I need to raise my hand, and I need to do xyz, but

they're not engaged. They're not excited. Then there is not going

to be that motivation to learn. And let me tell you, especially

when it comes to learning a language. If there is not a motivation

to learn. They could take years and years of language, but it's

not going to stick. And truly, that's what happened to me. I mean,

I took years of it and did not really care to learn that language.

I did it out of having to do that for the credit. And it wasn't

until I moved here. And really had a desire because I wanted to

speak to people that I was in contact with. I wanted to speak to

people here, that I was a relationship. I wanted to be able to

communicate myself and not have this language barrier. That's when

the language started to flow really easily, because. I had a

purpose. I had some motivation, of why I wanted to learn. So find

ways to let your students take lead. Whether it's bringing them.

Into the rules of the classroom? Does that mean that. You don't

have any say in that. No. You know how to kind of guide them

through that. But letting them have a voice. Is so important. Into

their engagement and into their motivation for learning. So

highlight over the next week or two different ways that you can

let them have choice and take the lead. Number two. Is to play

more games. And I want to put this out there because last week in

the Ecliping ll is one of our community trainings, one of our

members said, beth, you know what? I played some games this week,

and it was so much fun. We got to know I got to know my students

we were laughing together. I forgot how powerful games can be. And

I thought, you know what? That is something that I'm going to put

on this list because we know games are powerful. But sometimes we

think there's not that time in the school day or in the week to

incorporate games. But when we're trying to teach students new

language and it's scary and. There's anxiety involved. And

speaking in front of your peers is especially if you're working

with middle schoolers. Can probably be the most embarrassing thing

that they'll think of. Games are huge to do so that you're

removing all of those fears and you're making it a fun and

exciting opportunity to learn the language and you can be

purposeful in your games that you're choosing to play. Maybe it's

working on different grammar skills that they need support in or

different vocabulary. Or you could just be setting up that you

have a few go to games when you have an extra. Ten minutes or when

your students just really are having a hard time with a lesson and

maybe you're having a hard time teaching it. And you know what?

Let's restart tomorrow. Let's spend the last ten minutes getting

to know each other, laughing together, building that community,

working on language and play a game. So I've talked about games a

lot in here. I think we even have an episode about specific games,

if not with a blog post about it that we could find. But go to

Goodwill, go to the resale shop. Fine. There's so many language

games out there so you could have a specific game that you are

pulling out that you use with the different groups that you work

with. There's some higher level, harder games like. Taboo or

Tribon that are great for your intermediate als. It really helps

them to think. Outside the norms of what they're learning and

really apply through playing that game. So I want to give you

permission this year to play more games, whether it's as simple as

just doing bingo and memory more often. Or whether. You want to

just be on the lookout for some games that are available for

really cheap at the resale shops and start to incorporate those in

Maybe it's a fun Friday. Maybe. It's a whole class management

thing that if they get a certain number of points and they get to

have 20 minutes of game time, something like that make it an

incentive, but start to incorporate more games into your learning.

Your students will thank you for it. Number three is to use

quality literature. And literature, if you've been listening here

or if you've been just a part of this for a while, you know how

much. I absolutely love literature and using good books to guide

language learning. I think it's a simple thing to do as teachers.

And I think it's a powerful way to develop language skills, but

also to build connections to our students. And so I want to

encourage you this year to really be mindful of the text that you

are using. I think. It's so important that you use books. There

are so many amazing books right now that are hitting on the

stories that our students have experienced or just hitting on the

cultural identity of the students that are in our classroom. So go

and look for stories like that. Be mindful if it's appropriate for

the grade level you're working with. But go and take a look. For

those really diverse literature stories that you can bring into

your classroom and let your students see themselves. But then also

bring in some quality literature of just. Some more classics,

literature as well. There's so many ways that they can build their

language skills through doing a chapter book, read aloud where

make you're not even doing a lot of teaching during it. But you're

just letting them develop. Some really beautiful literature skills

by listening. By listening to some different vocabulary that they

might not hear in their everyday literature activities, just

building some of those storylines that they're able to connect

then to other things that are happening. There's such a richness

about some classic literature pieces, and so finding ways to

incorporate that into your weeks. Is really a really helpful thing

for your students. Now. I know, especially if you're working with

older students. And maybe you have to do some of these classic

literatures. I'm thinking like romeo and juliet or those types of

ones. And you might think this is so hard to have my level two

student try to understand. This book. So find ways get creative do

some. Chunking the chapters. You don't have to read everything.

Word for word. Maybe it's more of giving them the gist. Also, you

might want to check out. I saw recently. On the name is going to

slow to you right now. On saddleback books. They have a whole

series tons of different classic literature that have been

simplified for ells, and so it's really helping them to still get

the beautiful storylines, to get the different themes and just the

different plots and working on different story elements with those

classic literature pieces, but not having. The weight of having to

read the full chapter book so that might be something if you're

teaching older grades, check those out. Even just getting one for

yourself that you could do as a read aloud with younger students.

There is a lot of power behind using diverse reads and also really

rich literature in your classroom. And there's not a lot of extra

prep time, so use good literature. All right, let's move on to

number. Four this year. I want you to do more. Of providing your

students with opportunities to talk. I want you to really reflect

after you teach a lesson and say. How many minutes of that lesson

was me talking and how many minutes of it. Was given to my

students to have them talk because I think when we start to

reflect, this could even come down to you videotaping yourself,

because I think we think. Oh, I'm not talking that fast or. I

remember having a video record myself. For teaching. And I

thought, wow, I called on the same three kids most of that whole

lesson. Wow. I talked 80% of that lesson and my students sat and

listened for that 80% and. It was very eye opening because I

didn't think that I thought I'm doing a lot of cooperative

learning strategies. My students are talking all the time. And I

realized three important things that I was talking too fast, that

I was really kind of calling on the same students. I wasn't giving

my kids think time, actually four things. I wasn't giving my kids

think time. And. I was talking way too much. And so seeing myself

and having that outside perspective really helped me to figure out

ways to cut down on my talk time or break it up with doing

cooperative learning strategies or just adding in more thin care

shares or letting them get up and move and talk in that way. But

make this a priority this year. I promise you, if they are just

taking it in and they are not speaking. They will not advance as

quickly as they could if you are giving them though time every

single day where they are speaking with their peers. In

conversation, applying what they've been learning in a way. That's

natural. That's not on the spot. They're not having to do it in

front of everybody, but doing a lot of cooperative learning

strategies that I'm going to have an upcoming episode specifically

about cooperative learning strategies to use that will promote

conversation. So if you're like, I don't know which ones do. Don't

worry that this will be coming soon. But let them talk. That is

the best way that they are going to be able to apply what they've

been hearing, what they've been learning, applying new vocabulary,

using those words in context with peers. That is where they are

going to expand and to grow. So really reflect on your teaching

and see. What's the ratio of you talking to them talking and how

can you break that up? Yes. Maybe at the beginning of the week, if

you're doing more front Loading and you're doing some pre teaching

that's understandable you might be talking more today, but how can

you then break up the week where there's other days, where you're

doing a lot less talking and they're doing a lot more group. Work

and activities like that where you're letting them. Really. Apply

what they're learning and also creating that atmosphere and that

expectation that talking is a part of this class, and that's what

they're going to expect when they come in your class. If you set

that standard from the beginning. Even with your newcomers, so

make a fun, but let them have opportunities to talk. And then. The

last tip of things to do more of this year, and this is kind of

actually. A due less of this and do more of this. Okay, so this is

more on you, but I want you to do less of thinking that your

students need to be taught every new vocabulary award that it's

all dependent on you, of them learning vocabulary, and instead. I

want you to really think about your students as becoming these

word detectives. Okay. As I have been thinking about some of these

upcoming podcasts, we're going to be talking about vocabulary. And

just thinking. How we do put that pressure on ourselves many times

as teachers, that it is up to us. To make sure that we're front

Loading all the vocabulary that we're giving them the definitions

that we're connecting them to cognates that. We are doing all this

work and. There is, yes, a time and a place for that. And those

are things that are good that we should be doing. But more I don't

want you to put the pressure on yourself, that it's all up to you

to be the one that helps them to learn all the new words. I think

this year, if you can look at your students and really create an

atmospheric and environment where learning. Language is like being

a Detective where you're really focusing instead of just on these

specific front Loading vocabulary words that they're going to hear

one time and then probably not use it very often in conversation.

Or there's really no connection to anything else. It's not going

to be a word that they see very often. Instead of pinpointing

those words, let's focus on pinpointing words that they are able

to then use in multiple settings. So focusing on things like. Root

words, prefixes, suffixes, cognizance. All those types of things.

As they then start to get and build this love. For learning new

words because they start to see how, oh, this word that has this

prefix. Look at I see another word that has that same prefix. And

now let me be a word, Detective, and start to figure this out. And

this kind of goes actually, too, with, like, playing games. As you

introduce that prefix, put a poster summer upper in the room and

be detectives to see how many words. That week can you hear? Can

you read? Can you find where they're using that prefix and create

a list. Do it together as a class. Become explorers of words

together. And a lot of times that happens if you are excited about

learning words and if you're learning maybe you have your

students. You have them teach you some words in their native

language. So they're just seeing that naturally happen from you

that you're excited about language learning about vocabulary

learning because you're interested in their native language. Or

maybe. You everyday set up. There's a podcast about a new word a

day, or there's tons of sites like that. You could pull it up and

together you can do some deep dive into vocabulary and start to

see making connections to other words that they are aware of, or

maybe even their native language. Or just going into the nouns and

verbs, talking about the word itself. And what does this mean? How

can you use it in a sentence, all of these things. Really you want

to create that type of environment. Where you are not the one

that's solely responsible for them to be understanding new

vocabulary work. But you want to unlock that excitement in them to

become word detectives so that it is going to pour over into other

classes that they're in. They're going to see words that they're

going to be able to make connections when they're in their science

class. And they see, oh, bio. I learned what this means. And now

I'm going to apply it to this class. It makes sense. We want to be

forming those connectors. We don't want them to be relying on us

to be the one that has the key to unlock new. Vocabulary

development. So take that pressure off of you. Keep doing those

things. Those are important. But remember, we want to keep passing

the responsibility onto our students as well, so that they take

responsibility that they don't see us as. The sole person who's

going to scaffold everything for them and provide all of that

information for them. But they actually have the opportunity to

explore language themselves and to grow in their vocabulary. So

I'm Super excited for those episodes that will be coming up soon.

But just to recap today's episode. Things to do more of this year

for your els to have success. One. Let them take lead. Two. Play

more games. Three. Use quality literature. Four provide more

opportunities for them to talk. And Five create an atmosphere

where your students are becoming word detectives and excited about

exploring and developing vocabulary on their own. All right,

that's it. Let me know what's your big takeaway is. Let me know

which one you're going to try this week and again. Don't forget, I

want to feature you. On our upcoming 100th episode of the

equipping. Ells Podcast, so click in the show notes. And record. A

quick voice message letting us know how this podcast has helped

you and. If we put your recording on that 100th episode, you will

win a free month to equipping als and then one lucky person will

win a whole year subscription.

All right, everybody, that's it for today. I will see you next

week as we go. Into a deep dive into scaffolds. Stay tuned.