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Category: writing

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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Writing About Photographs With ELLs

Writing About Photographs With ELLs

Photographs offer excellent support for English Language Learners to use in writing. They can be used to help students generate ideas.  Visual vocabulary support is built into a high quality photograph. You can easily differentiate a writing assignment based on photographs. Writing about pictures is a simple way to introduce content information to students. Lable Photographs with Newcomers Label objects in the photograph. Provide students with a list of objects found in the picture and have them label it. Write…

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Labeling Pictures to Support ELLs

Labeling Pictures to Support ELLs

Students at the beginning stages of writing need support with vocabulary development. One way to give this is to have students label pictures. This supports English Language Learners and beginning writers in learning new vocabulary and using beginning sounds. Here are some benefits of having students label pictures before they begin writing. Vocabulary Support As students label a picture they are getting practice writing the vocabulary word. For ELLs, they might not know what all of the objects and actions…

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5 Strategies for Teaching Sight Words to ELLs

5 Strategies for Teaching Sight Words to ELLs

Sight words are one tool for helping students learn how to be fluent readers. The challenge for English Language Learners (and all students) in learning these words is that the majority of sight words and other high-frequency words, do not have visuals that are easily associated with them. This can make it more challenging to give meaning to these words. Teaching sight words in the context of a phrase or sentence allow students to better remember them. Here are some…

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How to Fold a Mini Book

How to Fold a Mini Book

Creating a mini book is a simple way to quickly make a large number of books for reading and writing. You can teach students how to fold a mini book with simple to follow directions. Students can then use blank mini books for drawing and writing. Mini books are also a simple way to add to the number of simple to read books that students have access to. Learn how to fold a mini book with these step by step…

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Creating a Writing Center for ELLs

Creating a Writing Center for ELLs

Students becoming better writers through practice. At the beginning levels,  ELLs benefit from copying words with pictures, making lists, and using sentence frames to write simple sentences. A writing center is one way to tools that support students writing. Picture Support A writing center is a great place to add in picture vocabulary support. You can use a poster, word wall cards, or a picture dictionary. A simple way is to set out a vocabulary folder and blank writing paper….

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Writing Poetry with ELLs

Writing Poetry with ELLs

April is National Poetry Month, which makes it a great time for writing poetry.  Any point in the year is also a great time to have students write poems. For English Language Learners, writing poetry can be a welcome change from other forms of writing. Many of the traditional writing conventions are not as strictly enforced in poems.  Students can use fewer words to convey powerful messages.  Poems are a fun way to play around with language. Here are some…

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Teaching Mood and Tone to ELLs

Teaching Mood and Tone to ELLs

Mood and tone are closely connected concepts. Tone is the author’s attitude towards the topic. Mood is the overall feeling the reader gets when they are reading the text. Mood is particularly subjective. The important part is that students are able to defend their reasoning with evidence.  Here are some ideas for teaching these topics to your ELLs. Review Feelings A quick review of feelings is a great way to begin a unit on mood or tone. This can help…

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5 Ways to Teach Main Idea and Details to ELLs

5 Ways to Teach Main Idea and Details to ELLs

Finding the main idea and supporting details is a reading comprehension skill that students are expected to understand starting in kindergarten. By third grade, students are expected to do this with more complex texts independently. This can be a challenging skill for all students. For some ELLs, they have the added challenge of not yet reading grade level texts independently. Here are 5 ideas to support students learning about main idea and supporting details. Sorting One simple way to introduce…

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5 Ways to Use Task Cards that will Keep Your ELLs Engaged

5 Ways to Use Task Cards that will Keep Your ELLs Engaged

Task cards are a great tool to support English Language Learners. There are many leveled sets available, making it easy to differentiate. There are cards with short reading passages, grammar practice, writing prompts, speaking questions, and more. Take a look at these five ideas for using task cards with your ELLs that will keep them engaged throughout the lesson. 1. Play a Game Kids love playing games. You can keep the game simple and print out a basic game board….

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