Blog: Language Arts Instruction for ELLs

Since teachers will need to plan their CCSS-based instruction around the CCSS standards as well as the CCSS-based assessments, I thought it would be helpful in part 1 of this post to dissect a sample test task from an ELL point of view in order to take a closer look at what the item might mean for ELLs and those who teach them.

Part II of the series on informational text will first provide an overview of what close reading is and could mean for ELLs, including some definitions of close reading. Then I’ll present the role of background knowledge, which is a major consideration with teaching ELLs close reading, and share some recommended resources.

Diane Staehr Fenner describes California's new English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework and its distinctive features, themes, and guidance. She also offers some ideas on what this framework could mean for teachers in their work with ELLs.

When asked to review these curricular units, I realized I needed a rubric to help me take an objective look at them and be able to share the results with the curriculum writers.Dr. Sydney Snyder and I developed the rubric below and found that it’s been helpful in framing our own thinking.

In this blog post written for Colorín Colorado, Rhode Island administrator and WIDA trainer Julie Motta walks through a read-aloud activity for first grade and highlights how she engaged the students with the story, brought in content-area connections, and included informal assessment to check comprehension.

Julie Motta is the Assistant Superintendent of the East Providence School District in Rhode Island and formerly the ESL Director of Pawtucket Schools.  In this blog post written for Colorín Colorado, Julie walks through a template that she has been using with her ESL teachers to make curriculum units aligned to the Common Core State Standards more accessible to ELs and highlights the many strengths and areas of expertise her teachers bring to the process.

We’d like to start off the new year by sharing an example for developing text dependent questions for ELLs in the middle grades. We have selected a 6th-8th grade exemplar text in the category of Informational Texts: Science, Mathematics and Technology titled “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag” by Henry Petroski.

In this post, I’ll highlight some information from Tim Shanahan’s article about background knowledge in American Educator. I’ll then share a table and flow chart adapted from the article that will help you decide how much background knowledge to teach to ELLs.

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