Classroom, Elementary, ell, High School, Junior High, school

6 Tools, Strategies, and Tasks for Emerging ELL Students


I’ve written about the things teachers can do specifically to support emerging English language learners.

Here, I want to specifically focus on the tools, strategies, and tasks we can provide emerging ELL students with to help find success.


These are great activities for them to access in a variety of classes and grades. Check them out below.


COMPLETE BASIC SENTENCE FRAMES


Emerging English language learners aren’t yet advanced enough to be working on paragraph writing or other prompts requiring complex sentence frames. However, they can begin to complete basic sentence frames to help them form their own sentences.
This is great to have students start responding to text, video, and other content at a level that’s appropriate.


Using basic sentence frames allows for our students to focus on important vocabulary and smaller phrases instead of trying to figure out how to put together sentences.

On top of that, students are able to see how sentences are properly put together, which builds their knowledge base for when they’re able to begin writing sentences independently.


COMPLETE SENTENCE ACTIVITIES


Unlike using sentence frames, various sentence activities ask students to go a little further in their understanding of sentence structure.


With sentence frames, students utilize a form you’ve created to help them state their ideas. However, there are so many activities around proper sentence use we can also incorporate in the classroom.


For example, you can ask students to use cut up words or small phrases to put sentences together. You can do the same thing but turn cut sentences into paragraphs.


Having students identify nouns, verbs, adjectives, and so on is another great activity. Fixing errors in given sentences is another common and useful task for students to do.

There is a ton you can do with sentence work that will be incredibly useful for kiddos! Even the simplest of tasks can be helpful for English language learners.


USE FILL-IN-THE-BLANK ACTIVITIES


Fill in the blank activities are a go to for many teachers for a reason; they’re helpful for regular education students, weaker students, and English language learners.


One of the best things about fill in the blacks is that you can alter them to be as simple or easy as you want.


For example, for emerging language learners, you can start to incorporate fill in the blanks that utilize content while also including a healthy mix of basic academic words.

Depending on the student and their needs, you can very easily create and/or use fill in the blanks to support them.


Using fill in the blanks helps kids improve vocabulary, have more interaction with proper sentences, and engage in content.


MEMORIZE IMPORTANT INFORMATION


I am not a fan of rote memorization, but there is still a time and a place for students to memorize certain things.


For example, sight words are always important for students to just know when reading. Words like the, and, it, and so on shouldn’t have to be sounded out or looked up.


Students learning English will benefit from memorizing some vocabulary, certain rules around writing (for example, never starting a sentence with and or but is a rule I often break myself, but still teach to ELL kids), and so on. The less they have to think about when working, the better!


COMPLETE SIMPLE LISTENING TASKS


As emerging English language learners are working on developing their skills, very simple activities which have them build listening skills can be extremely helpful.


Giving students simple instructions like “circle the capital city”,“underline the nouns”, or “highlight the types of animals” helps students learn basic vocabulary as well as how to follow directions.


Keep directions extremely simple for emerging language learners. They still don’t have the capacity for high level vocabulary or multi step directions. As they begin to grasp more vocabulary and language skills, you can increasingly make the work more difficult.
Produce short sentences and phrases


Emerging language learners are at a level where they can begin to produce their own sentences and phrases.


Since they are still at a low language level, students won’t be able to produce intricate sentences or paragraphs. Start small and work with them through it. As they begin to get more comfortable and gain further skills, they can produce sentences and phrases about content you’re learning.


Well, what do you think? Did I forget any fantastic strategies you use in your class? Let me know!

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