ESL in a Nutshell
Presented by
Joyce Vanderscheuren
ESL Teacher and Literacy Coordinator
Patrick Henry High School
What do you already know
about ELL students?
 Take five minutes to write down as much as you
know about ESL students.
 Skip every other line; your work will not be graded
on grammar or punctuation.
 Your thoughts will be shared with the rest of the
class, but your name will not be identified as your
paper is read.
 (This activity is called a Type I Writing, from the
Collins Writing Strategies)
Educational Jargon
ESL= English as a
Second Language
(I went to school for
training to become an
ESL teacher.)
ELL= English Language
(I teach ELLs)
 LEP=Limited English
 L1=1st language of
the ELL
 L2=2nd language of
the ELL
In Minnesota, an ELL:
 Is a student who, according to the parents, first
learned a different language prior to learning
 Comes from a home where the language usually
spoken is a language other than English
 Usually speaks a language other than English
(From MDE Website)
Students also qualify for ESL Services if . . .
 They lack the skills necessary to participate fully
in classes taught in English, as determined by:
Teacher judgment
Teacher observation
Parent recommendations
Developmentally appropriate assessment instruments
 TEAE TESTS (Test of Emerging
Academic English, grades 3-12)
 MCA TESTS (Grades 3-8,10, 11) or BST ( grade 8)
MDE Website 11/01/05
Little-Known Facts about ESL
 ELL(s) are eligible for services from kindergarten
through age _______.
 Parents have the right to refuse ESL services
 Students are not removed from LEP status on
school and state records until they reach
proficiency on the TEAE test, even if they are not
receiving ESL services.
Second Language Acquisition Theory
Predictable Stages of Language Development
Stage I: The Silent Stage
-Can last from 10 hours, to six months
-Can understand 500 vocabulary words
Stage II: The Early Production Stage
- Happens six months after Stage I
-Can understand and use 1000 words
- Can speak in one or two words phrases
- Can answer “yes” and “no” questions
Stages of Second Language Development, cont.
 Stage III: Speech Emergence
 May last for another year
 3000 word vocabulary
 can use simple sentences and short phases to ask questions
like: “Can I go to the restroom?”
 Attempt to produce longer sentences, but have many errors
that interfere with effective communication
 Stage IV: Intermediate Proficiency
 May take up to another year after speech emergence
 6000 word vocabulary
 Can start stating opinions, asking for clarification, sharing
their thoughts, speaking at a greater length
Stages of Second Language Development
 Stage V: The Advanced Proficiency Stage
 Can take five to seven years
 Students have developed specialized content-area
 Can participate fully in grade-level activities if given
occasional extra support
 Students can speak English using grammar and
vocabulary comparable to that of same-age native
Second Language Acquisition
 Comprehensible Input Theory
Second language learners acquire
language by “intaking” and understanding
language that is slightly beyond their
competence. (Stephen Krashen)
Example: “Go get your crayons.”
“Go get my crayons.”
Krashen’s Affective Filter Hypothesis
 A student’s emotions can directly interfere,
or assist in the learning of a new language.
 Learning a new language is different from
learning other subjects because it requires
public practice.
 Speaking out can cause anxiety,
embarrassment, or anger; these negative
emotions can create a filter that blocks the
learner’s ability to process language.
Jim Cummins’ Work
 Basic Interpersonal Communication
Skills: language used on the playground
and in class.
For example…..
“Are you going to Pizza Luce tonight?”
“No, I’ve got that project due for Torres tomorrow.”
“Dude--you’d better go---everybody’s gonna be there!”
(It takes from 1-5 years to completely develop social
language. BICS are not necessarily related to
academic success.)
 Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
 These are the language skills needed to
undertake academic tasks in the
classroom, including content-specific
 It takes at least four to seven years to
become proficient in CALPS!!!
“What I wish my teachers knew
about me. . .”
 “Culturally, My tribe is a wide spread tribe
in West Africa. We eat a lot of starches
food as our diets due to our fore-father love
for starches food. The tradition must
continue so it does. The Madingoes
according to history, were warriors.
Mandingoes founded the Mali and Songhai
Empire in West Africa. Some of the rulers
were Sundaita Keita, Sumakulu,etc.”
What I wish teachers knew about
me. . .
“I wish the teachers in order classes could
have more time for student from other
countries like have torturials every 4 days
of the week, classes like civics because it’s
a new government that I’ve never grow up
knowing and so I’m starting to learn it from
the start.”
“What I Wish My Teachers Knew
About Me. . .
The wen I am come to America I like to America and
hard to speck English adcnot speek English. I am
go to school the gif to me som pepar a do no how
to reght. They helpe me every day thechar. And I
am bother techar.becos the are not adastand me,
I am not andarstand English. All I am spek my
Im sory I dono how to ekspilen for you.
What I Wish My Teachers Knew
About Me. . .
I wat to lang how to read if there is a way you
can hlap me how to read.
What I My Teachers Knew About
Me. . .
I born in Ethiopia that mean Hararo Ge Stiy. I
was doing well in school. because I know
everything. If the teacher explen I
Know or andeourstan as well as I can. every teacher
was like me the reason that happened. but when I
came her in the USA every thing diffaclat to me.
The reason why happened that I can not
anderstand them stil know. When they talking fast
(It’s like) they are talking or singing.
What I Wish My Teachers Knew
About Me. . .
. . . That when you help anyone that’s not cheating
and the Reason say this I because when I came
here first I start at Olson Middle School and I was
in 7th grade and my first hour was English class
when I walk in the class the teacher give me a
worksheet and the worksheet was about who is
the best student in class, how look good, how
dress neat, etc question like this and I was new to
this school, my first day how the hell you want me
to know all this question, then one of
my classmates came to help me and the
teacher told her not to help me that’s why I
said helping is not bad thing.
I was born in New York. When I was 4 or 5 I move to
Mexico because my parents wanted me to meet my
grandparents. I started kindergarten in Mexico and went to
1st and 2nd grade. My parents decided to move back to
New York, so I can start school there and start 3rd grade.
One of my father’s friends called him to come visited
Minnesota and we did. Wild ther I went to 4th grade, but in
the middle of fourth grade we returned to N.Y. I went half of
4th and to 5th grade. My dad decided to move back to
Minnesota because the schools in New York were weak
and I was not learning nothing. So we moved, the
teachers in M.N. were more helpful than the ones in New
When I first came to the united state. It’s
was hard for me. . . Because I don’t know
how to speak English. I can’t remember if I
go to preschool, or kindergarden. My Dad
& Mom don’t speak English. . .Everywhere
they go they sometime take me with them
because they need help on their English.
They took me to the store, insurance
company, and also when people called
them, they let me translate for them.
I wish you kown me better and really
undotant me better and kewn my
backround not what they read about me
and not people telling her my this and my
that and not judgeing my aperinse. That
what I want her to kown. I don’t care what
people think am just say what I have to say.
I am very artistic and like to have fun a lot.
Like go to parties or play games. When I
was in 1st grade it was very hard. Because
my parents (not dad he’s always at work)
didn’t know how to do subtracting and
adding. So I didn’t know how to do my
I wish my teacher can explain it better
when I don’t get something. They can
explain it better to me by putting words into
easyer word that I could understand
I wish that my teachers will give us less
work and work with us more.
Chi Nou
I wish the teacher knew that they have to
explain clearly first so I could understand
like give me sample. When the teacher
talk I can’t do my work. I can’t learn if the
teacher talk to fast.
What surprised you the most?
What factors contribute to an ELL’s
success as a student?
Age at arrival to school
Level of education in the native language
Degree of support for academic proficiency
How are students exited from ESL
-ELL who reach a level of English proficiency that
no longer prevents them from fully accessing the
curriculum of the school may be exited from ESL
-ELL who score on the highest range on both the
TEAE Reading (Level 4) and the TEAE Writing
(Level 5) will be removed from district and state
records as being ELL
(Minnesota Department of Education)
Tips for Providing a Quality
Education to ELL(s)
Avoid using Auditory-Only method of
instruction (lecturing, interviewing, oral
reports, etc.)
Include: videos, maps, graphs, charts,
cartoons, posters, diagrams, graphic
organizers, picture books, drawing, board
games, projects, experiments, recorded
books, group activities, etc.
Tips for Classroom Instruction
 Assess students’ listening comprehension
skills by simply taking a minute to talk with
 Learn about their educational
background, culture, and life experiences,
and adjust your instruction to include
something that’s familiar to them.
Tips for Classroom Instruction
Always assess background knowledge
Make a plan for filling in the gaps as you plan
your lesson/unit
-Assume that ELLs will not have experience with the
concepts being taught in American schools. For
example, concepts like freedom, democracy, and
right-to-privacy may be different, or non-existent,
in their culture.
-Use real objects, pictures, and hands-on activities
as much as possible.
Tips for Classroom Instruction
 Help students make connections between their
own experiences and what you’re teaching by
using teacher-made outlines and study guides.
 Write assignments on the board to avoid
confusion about homework or classwork
 Print, rather than use cursive writing; many
students have not learned how to write in cursive,
and cannot read it!
Tips for Classroom Instruction
 Allow ELLs to talk in their native language
to help one another. Although the ultimate
goal is for them to learn English, they can
help each other bridge gaps of
understanding, and serve as valuable
resources to one another, particularly in the
content-area classrooms.
Tips for Classroom Instruction
Teach study skills explicitly. Students need to
learn how to: organize information, select
the main idea and supporting details, how
to sequence and summarize. Highlighting,
labeling diagrams, using word banks,
reading map, graphs, time lines, and flow
charts are all important skills that will
remain a mystery to them unless they are
taught these skills.
Tips for Classroom Instruction
 Realize that when you use idioms in
speech, ELLs have no idea what you’re
talking about, because they’re lacking the
context of the idiom.
 Examples: “It’s raining cats and dogs!”
“I feel like a fish out of water.”
Reading and ELL(s)
Make sure the students understand the
purpose for reading
Are they reading to enjoy a story, or to gain
What do you want them to do with the
information they’ve read when they’re
finished reading?
Reading and ELLs
Teach students about text structure:
-Show them how books and newspaper articles
have titles, heading, and subheadings to help
readers focus on what’s important.
-Teach them strategies to use these structures to
help them remember and summarize information
they’ve read.
-If reading a short story, chapter book, or novel,
teach them the basic story elements within that
genre (setting, characters, conflict, resolution)
Reading and ELLs
Provide a wide range of reading materials
to address the wide range of reading abilities
Reading Range of Students
2/3 (chronological age) = Reading Range (in
2/3 (6) or first grade = 4 years
2/3 (7) or second grade = 4.7
2/3 (8) or third grade = 5.3
2/3 (9) or fourth grade = 6 years
2/3 (10) or fifth grade = 6.7
2/3 (11) or sixth grade = 7.3
2/3 (12) or seventh grade = 8 years
2/3 (13) or eighth grade = 8.7
2/3 (14) or freshman level = 9.3
2/3 (15) or sophomore level = 10 years
2/3 (16) or junior level = 10.7
2/3 (17 &/or 18) or senior level = 11.3 - 12
Even if we are doing a good job, we can
still expect reading ranges in a
heterogeneous classroom to be 2/3
of their chronological age:
1. What is the range of the students you
currently teach?
2. What are you doing to bridge this gap?
3. What is the readability of the materials
you use in your course?
Reversing the Lesson Triangles
Design of the 1950s
Discussion to see if
students read and if they
remember & understand
the proper concepts
Design of the 2000s
Frontloading – pre-reading
activities: discussion, prediction,
questioning, brainstorming,
Guided Active
Silent Reading
to clarify,
reinforce &
The teacher leads the journey
 Guided discovery
 Pre-reading
 Setting the stage, setting a purpose
“tools to hold their thinking”
Difference between a strategy and an activity
Taught as process
Focus on process and
Intentional connections to
Clear expectations
Teacher/student directed
Connects new to known
Process transferred to real life
Taught in isolation
Focus on content only
Accidental connections to
Vague expectations
Teacher directed
No connection to the known
Little/no transfer to real life
Adapted from: High Schools That Work,Staff development presentation packet, Nov. 10-11,2003
A few good strategies. . .
…that will teach students how to remember and
reuse information from text.
…that will help students become more thoughtful
about their reading.
…that helps students create meaning because
they are purposefully engaged in thinking
while they read.
------------------------------------- The “training wheels” of your content.
 These “training wheels” help support the students
until meaning is achieved.
Before Reading
Prediction strategies (+brainstorming)
Read around the text
g knowledge and set a purpose for
Activate/build prior
Why am I reading this?
Teacher Prepares:
 What is essential for students to know?
 What will you model that will help students negotiate
the text / difficult parts?
 What do they need to do with the information they are
 How will they hold their thinking while they read?
Book Pass Activity
 Can be done in small groups, or as a class
 Ask students to note the title and author of the
book, and then sample the book by looking at
pictures, chapter titles, and graphics
 Students write comments about what they’ve
learned, or questions they have about a topic
 Limit time for each book to two to four minutes
 Students can chart their comments and questions
as background knowledge or inquiry for the new
unit they’re about to begin.
(from Janet Allen, Tools for Teaching Content Literacy)
TThe Teacher first previews
the text
Talk and read around the
selection with the students,
like a tour guide!
Note important features
Make your thinking about
the text “transparent”
Key Word Prediction
select 10-15 words
from text
place around circle
within box
place topic in circle
new events
read to check
Nessel & Baltas, Thinking Strategies
Concept Ladder
 Before beginning a reading assignment, inquiry
project, or major unit of study, read a piece of text
aloud that is rich and meaningful in context.l
 Ask students to generate questions that they think
expect to be answered with further reading and
 Students should write the concepts down
 Students can record the answers as they are
(This activity also establishes a purpose for reading)
During Reading - Metacognition
 Double Entry Journals
 Graphic Organizers
 Fix-up Strategies
Student Owned Strategies “Fix-up Strategies”
Make a CONNECTION between the text and:
-Your life -Your knowledge of the world -Another text.
STOP and THINK about what you have already read.
ASK yourself a QUESTION and try to answer it.
REFLECT in WRITING on what you have read.
RETELL what you’ve read.
Notice PATTERNS in text structure.
ADJUST your reading RATE: slow down or speed up.
Adapted from: Tovani, C. I Read It, But I Don’t Get It. p. 50-56
How do I know I am stuck?
Voice inside head isn’t interacting with text
Camera inside head shuts off
Mind wanders
Can’t remember what’s read
Can’t answer clarifying questions
Reencounters a character but can’t recall
Cris Tovani I Read It, But I Don’t Get It
After Reading
 Double Entry Journals
 Text Connections (self, text, world)
Connection + So What?
Tovani Do I Have to Teach Reading?
 Key Word Prediction
Revisit, add, adapt,write a summary using