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Teaching Writing to MLs

Teaching Writing to MLs

When you are teaching writing to multilingual learners, what do you focus on?  This is a big question with many components. I think of writing as being organized in two categories, mechanics and ideas.  Some students have many ideas to write about and enjoy free writing. For many MLs this can be challenging. One reason is that they do not yet feel confident that they have the language to express what they are thinking. Use reading (or have students listen…

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Teaching About World Holidays in School

Teaching About World Holidays in School

There are two ways to think about holidays in public school. One is that you do not include any holidays in school activities. The other is to teach students about a range of different holiday celebrations from around the world throughout the school year. Try not to fall into the trap of only talking about holidays in December. This by default ends up centering Christmass and leaves out all of the important holiday celebrations from most other religions. Teaching about…

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Using Wordless Books with MLs

Using Wordless Books with MLs

Wordless picture books are a great tool to use with Multilingual Learners. They allow students to practice making inferences and thinking critically.  An added benefit for newcomer students is that they can tell a story in their native language. Over time and with vocabulary support, students can also create stories in English. Create Multiple Versions of the Same Story Students can work individually or with a partner to create a story using a wordless picture book. Then have students tell…

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Halloween Tips and Activities for MLs

Halloween Tips and Activities for MLs

Many children look forward to Halloween each year. English Language Learners (ELLs) that are newcomers 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 activities and tips to use as you introduce the holiday…

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Using a Sound Wall with MLs

Using a Sound Wall with MLs

A sound wall using speech lips to match the articulation of speech sounds/phonemes to the letters/graphemes that represent those sounds. Many sound walls only show the letter sound and lip pictures. Others also include the picture of a key word that has the target sound. Less frequently, teachers combine a word wall with a sound wall. In this case, the word she would go under the digraph sh, and not under s. The benefit for Multilingual Learners (MLs) is that a…

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Picture Phonics Assessments

Picture Phonics Assessments

When English Language Learners are practicing phonics skills, it is important to add in vocabulary instruction so that they know what the words they are learning to read and spell mean. One simple way to accomplish this is with pictures. Keep reading to get a FREE short vowel picture phonics assessment. Use picture and word cards for students to read the word and then match them to the picture. As a spelling assessment, you can hold up a picture and…

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Supporting Elementary Newcomers

Supporting Elementary Newcomers

Newcomer students receive some support from an ELD (English Language Development) teacher in most elementary schools. The majority of their time is spent in their grade level classroom. Here are some strategies for supporting a newcomer student both in their grade level classroom and areas to focus on during targeted language development lessons. Create a Welcoming Environment Helping the student feel safe and comfortable is your main goal. Teach survival vocabulary at first so that the student can express their…

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Author’s Purpose with MLs

Author’s Purpose with MLs

Teaching author’s purpose help to understand why a text was created. There are three main categories, to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. Sometimes additional categories are added, including to explain and to describe. Sorting Activities A simple way to introduce author’s purpose is to have students sort books, sentences, and short reading passages. Sort picture books- First, review fiction and nonfiction. Pull a selection of picture books and have students sort them into fiction (to entertain) and nonfiction (to…

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Cause and Effect with MLs

Cause and Effect with MLs

Cause and effect is a reading comprehension skill where students identify why something happened (the cause) and what happened next (the effect). Very young children experiment with the concept of cause and effect (such as when a baby dumps over a plate to see what will happen next.) This concept is more formally taught in reading during upper elementary. In a story or nonfiction text, students must first identify the important details. Then they have to decide if those events…

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Prefixes and Suffixes with MLs

Prefixes and Suffixes with MLs

Teaching students the meaning of prefixes and suffixes is a great way to increase their vocabulary. When they know basic prefixes and suffixes they are better able to use context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words. This is true for all students, but it is particularly helpful for Multilingual Learners (MLs), as they may not be familiar with some of the words that have affixes from past exposure. Some suffixes can make changes to words such as tense,…

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