Is there another teacher out there that feels my pain? Who else has an ELL student so we can network (or drown our sorrows together…)
If you have an ELL student or a student who you think is ELL, please contact me. Sometimes a student falls through the cracks and I need to have them all tested and given the appropriate support.
To use overused educational jargon, “differentiate your instruction.” Go heavy on visuals and see if you can give the student an alternative assignment yet still address the benchmark that you are doing in class. Just because they are ELL doesn’t mean that they do not have to do the work – but they do not have to do the same work as everyone else.
Do you need the scoop on a student in your class? Click here for student info
I have various PDF files that I have scanned in and I can email you and/or print for you. If you have a need for assignments that match (or come close to matching) what you are doing in class, send me an email or holler at me when you see me passing in the halls.
Every student should have a dictionary and they should be allowed to use it in class. I highly recommend ‘physical’ dictionaries and not ‘electronic’. The reason is two fold: very few electronic dictionaries are allowed during state testing and I want them to get used to life based on the state tests and many electronic dictionaries have much more information than just a word to word dictionary (i.e. your sweet international student is probably cheating under your nose…).
Each ELL student should have a score between a 1 and a 6 from the WIDA ACCESS (or WIDA WAPT+ if they are new). Click below on the Can Do Descriptors to see what your student should be capable of.
If they just got here and are trying to learn the basics, you can be reassured that they cannot do what all of the other students are doing. If you give them the same handout they will either not do it or just copy the answers from someone else – both of which aren’t really beneficial for the student. Try to give them something different, Google what you are doing with ‘pdf’ and ‘in Spanish’ or whatever language in the search field. You will be surprised what you can find.
Actually board policy does not allow them to fail if they are below a 2 on the WIDA ACCESS. Please know that this doesn’t mean you get to ignore them because they were somehow predestined to pass. Although they do not get an ‘F’ (they get a ‘Z’ grade), they do not get to pass GO and collect the 200 dollars either. It is treated as if they audited the year. So if you don’t want them in the same seat next year, they will have to pass just like anyone else.
I understand that stopping what you are doing, focusing only on one or two students while turning your back to the rest of the class is not the best situation to be in. At best, you ignore the large portion of your class for the one or two ELLs or at worst, you lose control of the class because they seized the opportunity to act like animals when your back was turned. If you need help creating an alternative assignment try to google it and find what others are doing. If you can’t find something, holler at me. I will do my best to help. I understand it is not easy and that is why I am so grateful for the teachers that do try to change things up for my ELLs.
Once again – I will be glad to help you anyway I can. Email me, catch me in the hallway, tell me when your planning period is and set up a meeting. The ELL students need all the help they can get and often times that in turn makes the teachers need a lot of help. I am here to help and will do my best to help you out.
Unfortunately, I am at two schools during the day (I am the only ELL teacher at more than one school). First through third period I am at the middle school. If you give me the head’s up (like two or three days in advance), I can try my best to have my classes covered so I can help you out. In the afternoons (5th-7th periods ), I am at the high school. Feel free to send assignments with your ELL students to my class during this time and I will do my best to accommodate them. This is a team effort and I will do my best to come alongside you and your class and see what we can accomplish together.
In theory, when a kid shows up to our school district, they are earmarked on whether they only speak English in the home or not. After they are identified, I test them with the W-APT+, which is an English language screener. If they score between a 1 and a 5.5, OSD recommends that they take ELL. The parents can refuse services (even if the student speaks zero English, they can’t be forced). After they take ELL as a class, we have the WIDA ACCESS in April, which is the state test for ELLs. The problem is sometimes they fall through the cracks – and that is where you come in. If you have a student that appears to need ELL services, contact me.
Click here to see a list of OHS teachers with ELLs and see a grid with a particular student.