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Health + P.E.

Hello Teachers and Staff  (from email sent 9/2/2015)

You already met your ELLs, perhaps due to their lack of fluent English communication skills. Keep in mind that you probably did not know that Former ELLs (FELLs) still populate your classroom. I calculate that with our 302 new students (as of today) there are on average 3.3 ELLs in your class or advisory; but combined with FELLs, the number of students that need daily English language monitoring and supports is 6. That’s about 22% of the 27 students in your classroom. I am providing you a list of current ELLs in this email so you can confirm your hunches.

Proactive Steps

… that you can do starting with your next period to help support our ELLs and FELLs (Shout out to Ms Davis for some of the ideas in this list!):

  • During this week of assessments, ELLs and FELLs need some extra time. Other accommodations for tests we can plan for are: Separate location, Bilingual glossaries, Translated versions (written or oral), Directions read twice
  • As humans acquire language, the usual pathway is via Listening and Speaking, then Reading and Writing. Engage your ELLs with as many visual instructions in the room as possible. Enunciate and gesticulate (but remember, ELLs are neither hard of hearing or visually impaired).
  • Note that ELLs are struggling with language: They are not Special Education students. Very few of them have IEPs.
  • Allow for Wait Time to give ELLs procession time. You can also prompt them with a question and go back to them (to allow think time).
  • Understand the phases of language acquisition. Based on their NYSESLAT scores, you can determine this (see list below).
  • Notice your rate of speech: Be natural and stop at breath groups. “Entering and Emerging” ELLs are at about a 1st or 2nd grade English level.

Planning Lessons

Let’s do this collaboratively. Thank you for the lists of vocabulary words that some of you have sent! Your department scope & sequences are also helpful for me to liaise with you and to generate a schedule with deadlines of when to give these words to ELLs. I would like to shout out Ms Fernandez for her initiative to meet with me regarding her next unit plan! She and I will be collaborating today on the new vocabulary and definitions on color-coordinated flash cards for all her Social Studies class. If you’re interested in this type of help, please email me so we can set up a time.

“5 Mistakes and Fixes”

… which I got from the PD on teaching ELLs . They might help you more:

Mistake #1: Schools do not know what their charter says about ELL programming

The Fix: Review your charter, Review ELL data, Familiarize yourself with CR Part 154 for best practices, Find and foster the ELL expertise and passion in your building.

The Mistake #2: ELLs and SWDs have supports scheduled as an after thought

The Fix: Schedule ELLs and SWDs (Students with Disabilities) first, Create “IEPs” for ELLs, Assign strong teachers, Include service providers (Speech teachers, etc.)

The Mistake #3: ELLs receive SPED services by default

The Fix: Have staff attend ELD PD; Have staff review NYSESLAT; Have a study club to pilot ELD initiatives; Have thoughtful conversations around how to deliver intervention programs with an ELL lens.

The Mistake #4: Schools point to their one ESL teacher as solely responsible for language development of ELLs

The Fix: Content based ELD (English Language Development academic program. It is a program with an aim to assist ANY and ALL students on campus whose primary language is not English); Avoid unnecessary segregation of ELLs; Have all staff attend ELL PD; Look at ELLs as a sub group during data analysis; Include an ELL piece during coaching sessions.

The Mistake #5: ENL provider and mainstream classroom teachers do not receive built-in co-planning time

The Fix: Build in co-planning time first; Keep ENL provider’s schedule consistent; Have an electronic platform to share lessons about a week in advance; Have ELL teachers attend grade planning meetings.

I hope you found this information helpful. There was so much information on Best Practices presented at that PD, including “5 Classroom Pitfalls”; I would like to share them with you in helpful chunks. Let me know what works best for you. Email me at

Word Wall Visuals

This is an excellent example of a useful visual from Ms. Davis (Science) because word walls help all learners in your classroom, especially ELLs because they need to have a visual reference to new words and concepts.

The use of clearly-written new words is effective.
The use of clearly-written new words is effective.