16 Thanksgiving Books for ELLs

16 Thanksgiving Books for ELLs

There are Thanksgiving books on a range of topics to share with students. One theme I like to focus on around Thanksgiving is gratitude and being thankful.  Students can read and listen to what others are thankful for and then write and talk about what they are thankful for. Families have many unique traditions around Thanksgiving. Immigrant families often add in their own cultural traditions to this holiday. Books are a great way for kids to learn about some of…

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How to Create Digital Word Sorts

How to Create Digital Word Sorts

Word sorts are a helpful tool for teaching students spelling and phonics concepts. Concept sorts are one way for students to practice comparing and contrasting. One challenge with sorts that I would run into when teaching ELLs is that the time I had to work with them was so limited. If I had students cut out the materials then this could take up 1/2 of our group time for younger kids. One way to solve this problem is to use…

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Halloween Tips and Activities for ELLs

Halloween Tips and Activities for ELLs

Many children look forward to Halloween each year. For English Language Learners (ELLs) that are newcomers, they may not have experienced Halloween in the past or celebrated it in a much different way. These students will benefit from a basic explanation of what the holiday is and the different ways that it is celebrated in their community.  This will help alleviate the confusion that may come up otherwise. Here are some Halloween tips to use as you introduce the holiday…

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Digital ESL Assessments

Digital ESL Assessments

Like it or not more and more of student learning and assessments are done on the computer. In the short term, this is in large part due to virtual learning. More long term though this is still the trend. Many standardized assessments students take are given digitally. This includes the WIDA language assessment. It is important to give students the opportunity to practice navigating digital ESL assessments before they are expected to take a high stakes one. This will allow…

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Diverse Back to School Books for ELLs

Diverse Back to School Books for ELLs

The beginning of the school year is a great time to read books about starting at a new school, culture, respect, names, and identity. Books with a diverse range of characters allow students to see their own and other cultures represented. It is especially important for ELLs to read and listen to books where they see characters similar to themselves represented. Here are some great books to use a read aloud at the beginning of the school year. Many of…

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Phonics for ELLs

Phonics for ELLs

Teaching phonics is an important aspect of a balanced literacy program. This is especially true for ELLs. Phonics is the relationship between sounds and the letter or letters used to write it. Phonics helps students learn specific sounds in the English language. For newcomers that have a background in a language that does not use the Western alphabet, phonics is a way to help them learn the letters and sounds of the alphabet. For older students, it is important to…

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Best Online Sites to Buy Used Books

Best Online Sites to Buy Used Books

I have been relying on ordering books online much more during the past few months (Boy do I miss going to my public library and thrift stores!) Amazon is probably one of the best-known sites for books. There are many others, including sites that offer used or overstock books at a low cost. Here is a list where you can buy used books online or get them for free. Online Used Book Stores Better World Books– This site has a…

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Why Cut Apart a Worksheet?

Why Cut Apart a Worksheet?

Worksheets are one way to give students practice with a specific skill. One way to take a traditional worksheet and make it more interactive is to cut apart the worksheet. You can then use the cut up questions in a number of ways. This can help keep some students more engaged then completing worksheets in the traditional way. Interactive Notebook After completing a worksheet how often do students look back at them? If the answer is never, consider setting up…

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Teaching Syllables to ELLs

Teaching Syllables to ELLs

Syllables are one component of phonological awareness. A syllable is part of a word that has a vowel, or vowel sound. Here are some ideas for teaching syllables to English Language Learners. Introducing Syllables One way to teach students how to identify syllables is to have them close their mouth and say a word. They then count how many breaths of air they take to say the word. That is the number of syllables. You can read more about this and…

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Diverse Student Name Books

Diverse Student Name Books

You can use student name books to help explain to students the importance of correctly saying the names of their classmates. Here is a list of student name books from a diverse selection of authors. They are great at back to school time or anytime during the year when a new student enters the class.  For ELLs, it can be especially frustrating when a teacher or classmates do not pronounce their name correctly. Taking some time at the beginning of…

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