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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles:
Adjust Your Teaching Styles for English Language Learners (ELL) in ESL/Bilingual Classrooms

A Middle School Grammar Lesson Adapted for ELL Students
Contributed by Ryan Root, Reading teacher at Angevine Middle School in Lafayette, CO
Adapted by Tobey Cho Bassoff

Often times we, as teachers, struggle to find lessons that are accessible to our ELL students.  We want the students to feel like the work is age appropriate, we want them to experience success at completing the activity, and we want the work to be standards-based and meaningful.  Yes, that’s a tall order!  During a recent staff meeting, I experienced the satisfaction that comes from listening to a colleague share a lesson that meets these tough requirements.

In the following lesson, students are asked to sort basic words into grammar categories. The students put the words on index cards and manipulate them into different categories as they have a discussion about their correct placement. The teacher can scaffold the lesson by providing the title for each column:  1) names things 2) names actions or being  3) names actions/being or things.

Students sit in small groups and share the task of categorizing the words.  ELL students practice oral language skills by defending their reasoning for putting the words in various categories.  Language learning students also have the opportunity to hear other English language proficient students model correct grammar and pronunciation.  Finally, students actively engage in the activity by physically moving the words.

This lesson can be adapted to fit a variety of content areas and is supported by the research-based work of Instruction that Works for English Language Learners (Hill and Flynn 2006).

+++++

Class Prep: Nouns & Verbs

Name:

Date:

Objective:
Figure out the grammar behind words that might be nouns and verbs.

Directions:
1) Sort the following list of words into three categories (think about what the word does).

dog
am
swimming
love
Angevine
thought
is
do
house
made
school
purchase
sleep
run
act

 

A
B
C
Title:_______________ Title:_______________ Title:________________
1. 1. 1.
2. 2. 2.
3. 3. 3.
4. 4. 4.
5. 5. 5.
6. 6. 6.

2) Title each category.

3) Answer the following questions, taping them in their proper list.

"What do the words in group ""A"" do?"

"What do the words in group ""B"" do?"

"What do the words in group ""C"" do?"

What determined which word went in which column?


4) Then COMPLETE each list with words that would work.

 

Good luck and please e-mail me me your thoughts, successes, and challenges.

 

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