After an awesome response to my first post, Supporting ELLs in the Science Classroom, I decided to write a Part 2 that will provide you with 5 more ideas to support your English Language Learners.
In Part I, I discussed the following ideas:
1. Write a language objective.
2. Make a list of key vocabulary.
3. Use graphic organizers.
4. Media, media, media.
5. Provide hands-on experiences.
In Part II, I have 5 more important things you can incorporate into your science lessons that promote English acquisition while still teaching content.
6. Provide sentence stems for speaking and writing.
I have found that sentence stems help many of my students communicate. You can have some standard sentence stems that are used for many classroom activities, as well as sentence stems for particular activities. I tend to provide optional sentence stems for science notebook entries.
7.Take into account students’ experiences that they can share.
Several years ago, I had a student from Jordan who really enjoyed sharing his experiences. When we started learning about erosion in deserts, he asked if he could share some information. He brought in photos and told the class all about the changing landscape. It was so cool! Our students have plenty to share…let’s encourage it!
8. Allow many opportunities for conversation.
Students who are learning English NEED opportunities to converse with their peers. “Turn and talk” is my go-to statement. If I ask a question, there’s a 95% chance I’m going to say “turn and talk” rather than calling on students to answer. “Turn and talk” lasts just about 15-30 seconds depending on the question. After they’ve had a chance to talk, I’ll call on students to share their ideas.
Another conversation technique I like is giving students a change to write or draw their ideas, explain them to a partner, then share with the class. This gives them a chance to formulate their ideas and practice before sharing.
9. Incorporate multiple modes of representation.
Write. Draw. Model. Animate. Graph. Using science learning stations allows students to explore new content in multiple ways. I tend to incorporate stations for 40-50% of instruction time. Students read, form models, do mini-labs, use the computer, sort pictures, interpret tables, and practice vocabulary.
10. Use hands-on vocabulary instruction.
Rather than the same old thing of having students write the definition and draw a picture for a word, provide an experience before even introducing new vocabulary. Hands-on vocabulary instruction uses a familiarizing experience for students to draw from when learning new terms. After an activity, the teacher introduces new vocabulary using Whole Brain Teaching. Then, students apply those new terms to the activity they just completed. Learn more about hands-on science vocabulary instruction.
Read Post #1, Supporting ELLs in the Science Classroom.