Getting to Know Your English Language Learners
Building a positive relationship is important for all students. For ELLs it can also have the added benefit of lowering their affective filter, making it easier for them to learn English. Learn about your students and then incorporate this information into lessons throughout the year.
Learn About Your Student Interests
Students love sharing about topics of interest. One way I liked to do this was to have students fill out a graphic organizer about topics of interest. I would use this to help them generate ideas for writing later in the year and also as a way to get to know what they were interested in.
Get a copy of the organizer for FREE in my TPT store.
Learn About Your Students Everyday Life
I liked to start off groups, or find a few minutes to ask students about their day/weekend/if they had any special news to share. As an ESOL teacher this was a great way to informally assess their speaking skills but more importantly it helped me to build a positive relationship with my students and learn about what was important to them or any special events that were happening. Especially with my younger student I knew that they might be…embellishing some of the events, but it was still a great way to get to know their personalities, have them practice speaking, and build a positive relationship with them.
Learn About Your Students Culture & Language
Some information about where a students family is from you can find in student records, such as if the student or parents were born in another country. You can also find out the languages that are spoken in a students home. Through speaking with students, their classroom teacher, and parents you can learn more about the students culture.
This information is helpful in many ways. Adding bilingual books and books that feature characters from backgrounds similars to your English Language Learner help student feel like they can see themself in the books that they are reading, and helps them to be more engaged in reading.
Learning about a students home culture will help lesson misunderstandings due to cultural differences.
Use STEM Activities to Learn About Your Students
There are many positive benefits to STEM activities. One you may not realize is that having students complete STEM activities is a great way to learn more about how student work together in a group, problem solve, speak, and write. You can use a checklist, rubric, or take anecdotal notes while students are completing a stem challenge.
Read more about Using STEM Activities with ELLs.