Classroom Adaptations for
English Language Learners
Facilitators:
Erica Hilliker
Casey Gordon
Content and Language Objectives
Content Objectives
Participants will be able to…
 Identify and apply classroom adaptations for English Language
Learners.
Language Objectives
Participants will be able to…
 Discuss methods for adapting classroom assessments for
English Language Learners.
 Write test questions that are accessible to English Language
Learners.
Building Background

What are some techniques you have used in
your classroom that you have found helpful
for teaching ELL students?
Think-Write-Pair-Share
Simplifying Text
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Reduce the grammatical complexity, while
keeping all essential information.
Shorten the sentences.
Change the verb tenses to simple present,
present progressive, or past tenses.
Change the passive voice to the active voice.
Delete unessential information-but retain key
vocabulary!
Simplified Text Example:
Before:
“Meanwhile, pioneer families
were arriving in search of home
sites and farmland. John had
located his orchards on the
routes he thought they’d be
traveling. As he hoped, the
settlers were eager to buy his
young trees.”
Johnny Appleseed A Tall Tale Retold and Illustrated by Steven Kellogg
(1988) Morrow Junior Books / New York
After:
Pioneers, people moving to a
new land, came to find new
places for their homes and
farms. John had planted his
apple trees by the place where
the pioneers would be going.
The settlers, another name for
the pioneers, were happy to
buy John’s baby trees.
Modifying Written Directions
Leveled Study Guides
Level 1
Level 2
The main character is
The main character is _____.
_________ (who).
The story takes place _____
He lives ______(where). during ____. During the story
The story happens at
he ____________________.
________ (when).
He has a problem with _____
He ________ in the story _________. At the end, he
(what).
_______solves the problem
He has a problem with
by __________________.
________ (why).
At the end he ________
(how).
Level 3
___________________
is the main character in
________________by
______________. The
story occurs at ______
during _____________.
_______ has a conflict
with _______________.
However, the conflict is
resolved when _______
___________________.
Graphic Organizers
Graphic Organizers
Graphic Organizers / Color Coding
Graphic Organizers
Graphic Organizers
Graphic Organizers
Note Taking Study Guides
Note-taking
Study Guides
Teacher-prepared
 Designed with students’
needs in mind
 Provide short summaries
and clues to the meaning of
the material.
 Portions may be assigned to
all students while others
may be completed by
designated groups of
students.
Example:
Outline Notes for Social Studies
Chapter 1: A Geographer’s World
Section 1: Studying Geography
I. What is Geography?
►The study of the
, its
, and the
they create.
►Geography can be a:
▪
– geographers gather and observe data
▪
– deals with people and how they live
II. Where do Geographers study?
►
►__________
►________
Level – geographers can figure out why people live and work the way they do
_____Level – defined by physical and human characteristics
_______Level – geographers study the world to try to find relationships among people who live far apart
III. What are the Geographers’ tools?
►
– show what the world looks like (flat)
►
– show what the world looks like (spherical)
►
– above Earth
►
– computers, tape recorders
Highlighted Text
Teachers preview the
material to be read and
highlight:
–
–
–
–
Key Terms
Concepts
Summaries
Other Important
Information
Example:
Highlighted Text Continued
Clozes
Sentence Stems/Frames
Sentence Stems/Frames
Student-Generated Dictionaries
Mnemonic Devices
Cognates
Cognates
Assessment Adaptations that work
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Provide a word bank or specialized glossary
containing relevant vocabulary.
Let students use the word wall for assistance.
Adapt the number of items to be completed.
Adapt the amount of time for completing a task.
Break the task into manageable chunks.
Read directions and test questions aloud. Consider
rephrasing for ELLs when appropriate.
Assessment Adaptations that work

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Provide sample problems for each task type.
Include pictures and graphic organizers used in
lessons.
Provide sentence stems or writing frames.
Let students show mastery via verbal response,
hands on activities, models/visual displays, sorting,
etc.
Actively involve students in assessment (i.e. selfassessment, co-creation of rubrics)
Differentiated scoring- one score content
knowledge and another based on language skills.
Other Helpful Considerations
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Format of Test
Spacing
Use Printed Versions vs. Computer Testing if available
Refine Unfamiliar Context
Reduce Linguistic Complexity
Eliminate extraneous information
Avoid the following phrasing on tests:
- “all of the following except”
- “all of the above”
- “none of the above”
- “both A and B”
- “do not, etc.”
Strategies for Accommodating Existing Tests
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Multiple choice: eliminate one or more of the choices
Discussion and essay: have ELLs label terms, draw and label
diagrams and pictures
Matching: reduce the number of matches required, give an
equal number of possibilities in each column, and eliminate
“trick” language matches
Short-answer: accept one-word answers and phrases in place
of complete sentences
True/False: eliminate or clarify “tricky” language, reduce the
number of questions
Fill in the blank: provide two or three options (make the
answer multiple choice)
What is difficult about this?
On the 12 days of Christmas, how many gifts did
the ‘True Love’ receive? (Partridge in a Pear Tree, 2
Turtle Doves, 3 French Hens, 4 Calling Birds, 5
Golden Rings etc.) How can you show your work?
Unfamiliar Context
Frieda works at a concession stand selling hot dogs
during a high school baseball game. If she sells 72
hot dogs during the game, how many hot dogs does
she sell per inning?
Refine Unfamiliar Context

To prepare for a regional competition,
Keith practiced on his skateboard 12
hours each week for 18 weeks. How many
hours did Keith practice in all?

Keith worked 12 hours each week for 18
weeks. How many hours did Keith work in
all?
Reduce Complexity: Verb Tense and “If”

If bananas cost 35¢ per pound, how much will 4
pounds cost?

Bananas cost 35¢ per pound. How much do 4
pounds of bananas cost?
Visuals and Extraneous Information
Cultural Contexts Make a Difference!

Monica has four quarters, two dimes, and
one nickel. How much money does she
have?

Li has 3 yuan, 8 jiao, and 4 mao.
How many RMB does she have?
Let’s Practice!
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Form groups of four.
In your group, read over the following assessment
designed for a 7th grade Language Arts classroom.
Select one question to rewrite using some of the
adaptations you have learned about today, and copy
your new question onto a large piece of paper.
Select a member from your group to report the
changes you have made to the rest of your
colleagues.
Now it’s your turn!
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Select a partner who teaches the same content area
or grade level as you.
One at a time, share one of the assessments you will
be using this year.
Discuss adaptations you could use that might make
the assessment more accessible to ELL students in
your classroom.
Be prepared to share the changes you have made
with the rest of the group.
Reflection


What are some changes you made to your
assessments?
What are some observations you made while
going through this process?
Did we meet our objectives?
Content and Language Objectives
Content Objectives
Participants will be able to…
 Identify and apply classroom adaptations for English Language
Learners.
Language Objectives
Participants will be able to…
 Discuss methods for adapting classroom assessments for
English Language Learners.
 Write test questions that are accessible to English Language
Learners.
3-2-1 Workshop Evaluation
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
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List 3 things you learned today.
List 2 things you want to try out.
List 1 thing you still have a question about or
need more help with.
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Classroom Adaptations For English Language Learners