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.
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. You can also use a display board to put up word wall cards. For young students, it can be helpful for them to be able to take a copy of the word with them.
A writing center is a good opportunity to fit in grammar instruction. Students can sort the words from a word wall into the parts of speech. You can create sentence frames to help students practice a specific grammar feature.
Include Writing Prompts and Sentence Frames
One of the biggest challenges I noticed with my elementary ELLs was that they had a difficult time getting started writing. A writing prompt gives them some guidance on a topic. Sentence frames help them with the language they can use to get started.
Make it Portable
There are a number of ways to set up a writing center. As an ESOL teacher, you might not have a large classroom or might travel to different classes. Having a portable writing center allows you to save space and only set it up when students will need the center.
Include Drawing Materials
Kids love to draw! One way to help students generate ideas is to have them draw a picture first. If you have reluctant writers try letting them draw a picture to generate ideas. Markers, crayons, and colored pencils are simple tools to include in a writing center.
Sometimes I would tell students that they could sketch a picture with a pencil, then they had to write. They could go back and add color when they finished writing.
Include a Timer
For students that would rather draw the entire time instead of writing try giving them a time limit on drawing a picture. Add in a sand timer. When the timer is up then they need to start writing.