Issues in Addressing The
Needs of
English Language Learners in
Context of Science
Yolanda De La Cruz
Arizona State University
Presented at
Claremont Graduate University
November 17, 2007
1
The Big Picture
What are you are striving to accomplish?
 Academic gains in science
 English language proficiency
 Enrich English learners science academic
language in the native language
 Close the Achievement Gap
 Increase the percentage of English learners that
obtain a High School diploma
2
High School Exit Exam
 Nearly 40,000
seniors from the
Class of 2006 did not
pass the exit exam.
.
Numbers of Teachers in the California Workforce
350,000
300,000
272,459
283,975 292,012
301,361 306,940 309,773 305,855 306,548 307,864
Number of teachers
250,527
250,000
200,000
150,000
100,000
50,000
0
1996-97
1997-98
1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
Public School Enrollment, 1990 to 2015
3,000,000
2,500,000
2,000,000
1,500,000
1,000,000
500,000
-
19
90
-9
1
19
92
-9
3
19
94
-9
5
19
96
-9
7
19
98
-9
9
20
00
-0
1
20
02
-0
3
20
04
-0
5
20
06
-0
7
20
08
-0
9
20
10
-1
1
20
12
-1
3
20
14
-1
5
Number of K-12 students
3,500,000
K-5 enrollment
6-8 enrollment
9-12 enrollment
.
Persistent
Inequities
.
Distribution of Interns,
by School-Level Percentage of
Minority Students, 2005-06


Intern teachers are
maldistributed– 75% of
interns are assigned to
high minority schools.
7%
18%
44%
Only 25% of interns are
assigned to low minority
schools.
31%
Lowest minority quartile
Second minority quartile
Third minority quartile
Highest minority quartile
Students in the lowest
performing schools are the
most likely to get novice
and underprepared
teachers.
Underprepared First- and Second-Year
Mathematics and Science Teachers,
2005-06
Percent of novice teachers without full credentials
45
40
40
35
35
29
30
25
29
23
20
15
10
5
0
All teachers
Middle school
mathematics
High school
mathematics
Middle school
science
High school
science
Number of teachers without full credentials
Number of Underprepared Teachers
by Credential Type
50,000
40,587
42,427
41,739
40,000
37,309
30,000
28,139
20,399
20,000
17,839
10,000
0
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
More than one underprepared credential type or missing credential information
University or district intern credential
Emergency permit, pre-intern certificate, or waiver
.
What Do These Graphs Mean?

Persistent gap in academic achievement
between Caucasian students and those from
culturally and linguistically diverse groups:
Many teachers are underprepared to make content
comprehensible for ELs.
Few teachers trained to teach initial literacy or content-area
literacy to secondary ELs.
ELs are tested in mathematics and reading under No Child
Left Behind; and in 2007-08, tests in science have been
added to the battery of assessments they must take.
11
Components of Science




Life Sciences-focuses on the characteristics of
living things, their structure and functions, and their
relationships.
Physical Science-focuses on matter and energy.
Earth Science-focuses on astronomy and the
contents and structure of the universe.
Scientific Processes-focuses on the use of
scientific procedures such as observation,
classification, description, hypothesis testing,
measurement and data collection.
12
Description of Science
Curriculum




Typically cumulative with increasing
complexity.
Includes life, physical, and earth sciences
and scientific processes.
In lower grades all sciences are covered in
one year; in upper grades typically one
science is given in a year-long course.
Textbook language becomes denser and
more decontextualized as grade level
increases.
13
What’s Different in Science for
English Learners?





Discourse structure may be vary different from
students’ previous English experience.
Grammatical forms and structures in textbooks
becomes increasingly complex.
All four academic language skills are required.
Scientific misunderstandings are remarkably
persistent.
Study skills are similar to those in language
arts and social studies.
14
Importance of Addressing The
Needs of English Learners
Most ELLs need 4-7 years to learn
English before they reach average
academic performance levels.
 As ELLs, they are by definition not
proficient.
 But they are tested before they are
proficient in English.

15
The following example from a high school
biology textbook, Invitation to Biology,
illustrates the vocabulary density that
students must contend with:
The members of the kingdom Monera,
the prokaryotes, are identified on the
basis of their unique cellular
organization and biochemistry.
Members of the kingdom Protista are
single-celled eukaryotes, both
autorophs and heterotrohps.
Sections that Promote Science
Excellence For English Learners
1. Learning Atmosphere & Physical
Environment
2. Instructional Practices
3. Science Content & Curriculum
4. Language Practices
5. Family & Community Involvement
6. Assessment of Student Learning
17
1. Learning Atmosphere &
Physical Environment

A caring classroom atmosphere of mutual respect and
support is facilitated by the teacher who:
 Knows each child as an individual,
 Embraces languages, customs, and cultures of ELL
students,
 Provides culturally rich learning materials,
 Encourages self-expression and provides positive
recognition,
 Builds student confidence and esteem,
 Fosters an emotionally safe environment that allows
students to feel secure and to take risks.
18
1. Learning Atmosphere &
Physical Environment cont…..


The classroom is visually rich to support student learning
 Incorporates displays of student produced work,
whenever possible,
 Is colorful and thought stimulating,
 Contains pertinent, real-world information and
applications,
 Reinforces math-specific vocabulary and concepts,
 Provides color-coded learning supports when
appropriate.
Room arrangement facilitates student interaction and group
work.
19
2. Instructional Practices



Instructional practices foster cooperation
and collaboration.
Concepts are presented accurately,
logically, and in engaging ways.
Multiple representations incorporate
science learning levels: concrete, semiconcrete, and abstract.
20
2. Instructional Practices
cont.

The teacher employs student-centered instructional
practices.
 Approaches content from a concept-oriented
constructivist method,
 Surrounds students with different modalities,
 Connects new concepts to prior learning or prior
knowledge,
 Encourages students to refine and reflect about their
own work and verbalize concept understanding “in their
own words”,
 Chooses homework to optimize individual content
development,
21
 Provides extra help and resources on an individual basis.




Activities for eliciting students’ prior knowledge about
a science concept include brainstorming, making
semantic maps, starting K-W-L Charts, and making
visual representations.
Visual representations might include drawing steps
of a process or even imagining and then recording
an experience related to a science topic(e.g.,
imagining yourself traveling through the solar
system).
All of these activities can be organized as whole
class, individual, or cooperative group activities.
It is important for students to record in words
(written, oral, recorded), graphs, or drawings, the
understanding of the science concepts they bring to
the learning.
Contextualize to Subject
Matter Scaffolds Activity
Task: Think-Pair-Share
(bridging, schema building)
Write the following sentence stem for all to see.
Take two minutes to jot down a few notes in
response:
When I see or hear the word
“periodic table,”
I think….
Share your responses with a partner.
23
2. Instructional Practices
cont.

Students are frequently partnered with peer
learners to enhance learning opportunities.




To develop science content,
To aid English language development,
To insure sustained active participation in the
class,
To welcome new students into an established
learning community.
24


All students have prior knowledge about the world
which has been gained through daily living and
observation. Even young children understand there is
a relationship between dark storm clouds and rain,
and that when water is heated it boils and changes
into steam. But their explanations of many scientific
phenomena often verge on the magical, because of a
naïve understanding of scientific principles. They have
an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the
scientific
This naïve understanding can be so strong that it
overrides scientific explanations of science, teachers
can help them identify and write down their prior
understandings of a scientific phenomena, then revise
what they have written in light of discoveries made by
participating in hands-on inquiry.
2. Instructional Practices
cont.

Instructional activities are varied and support
diverse learning styles and multiple intelligences,
including for instance:






Frequent use of models,
Music as a motivator and anchor,
Mind maps, poster-walks, and word walls
Key vocabulary and cognates presented in different
forms,
Vivid adjectives,
Graphic organizers.
26
Graphic Organizers
Description-test describes or defines information
Organizers-webs, features charts, comparison charts
Enumeration-text lists information about several related items, (e.g.,
events, characters, objects) and provides supporting evidence or
details
Organizers-tree diagrams, branch diagrams, webs, outlines,
comparison charts
Comparison-contrast-text comments on similarities and differences
among facts, people, events, and uses comparative adjectives and
transitional markers (e.g, “on the one hand…on the other,” “both…only
one”)
Organizers-Venn diagrams, comparisons
Chronological or sequential-text organized in a time sequence and
uses temporal markers, such as dates, prepositional phrases of time,
sequence words (e.g., first, next, then)
Organizers-timelines, story summaries
Cause-effect-text describes cause-effect reactions, how one thing
occurs as the result of another and uses causative words (e.g., so, as a
result, therefore)
Organizers-flow charts, sequence chains, and cycles
Problem-solution-text presents a problem, and one or more solutions,
word choice relates to options, alternatives, consequences, and results
Organizers-decision-making diagrams, semantic maps
Compare and Contrast
Different
Alike
Different
28
Sequence or Chronological
29
Cause and Effect
Effect
Effect
Effect
Effect
Implications
30
Problem/Solution
.
Possible Solution
Possible Solution
Problem
Possible Solution
Possible Solution
Solution
31
Four Square Lab Report
Hypothesis
Why? ______________________
Procedure
Steps that were followed (in detail)
_____________________________
Why? ______________________



Steps that were followed (in detail)
____________________________
Why? ______________________

Steps that were followed (in detail)
____________________________

Question proposed:
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
Materials:
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
Date Collected
Observations and data
_____________________________
Observations and data
_____________________________
Observations and data
_____________________________
What conclusion did you draw and why?
_______________________________
_______________________________
_______________________________
_______________________________
_______________________________
_______________________________
Periodic Table Activity
1. In a Think-Pair-Share grouping, answer the
questions from the proceeding slides
2. Does the simplified language “dummydown” the learning?
3. Why or why not?
4. Website for science Power Points
http://science.pppst.com/index.html
33
34
Elements are arranged:
Vertically into Groups
Horizontally Into Periods
Why?
If you looked at one
atom of every element
in a group you would
see…
Each atom has the same number of
electrons in it’s outermost shell.

An example…
The group 2 atoms all have 2 electrons
in their outer shells
Be (Beryllium)
Atom
Mg (Magnesium) Atom
Chunking Example



Each group has distinct properties
The Periodic Table is divided into
several groups based on the
properties of different atoms.
Highlight the sections you are studying
within the periodic Table.
40
3. Science Content &
Curriculum

Glossary of science terms is always available
for reference.
English-Spanish Dictionary or Math Glossary
http://www.mathnotes.com/aw_span_gloss.html
http://math2.org/math/spanish/eng-spa.htm



Content is aligned to appropriate grade-level,
science content standards and professional
standards.
Content is based on diagnosed student
needs.
41
3. Science Content &
Curriculum cont….

Content is systematically designed to incorporate
sound learning principles.





To incorporate increased complexity,
To present a cohesive big-picture through chunking,
To connect concepts through bridging and
scaffolding,
To emphasize multidisciplinary understandings,
To reflect on inherent patterns by comparing and
contrasting concepts.
42
3. Science Content &
Curriculum cont….

Curriculum is challenging, relevant,
age-appropriate, and well-paced
 To include contextually-based problems,
 To incorporate student realities,
 To involve interactive problem solving.
43
Integrate Learning Strategy Instruction
(Handout-How to Teach Strategies for the Steps of the
Scientific Method))





Ask the Question/Identify the Problem.
Make A Hypothesis.
Collect Data.
Record Data.
Answer the Question/Solve the Problem.
44
4. Language Practices




Language support is offered without supplanting
English instruction.
Support is aligned with student’s diagnosed
language needs.
Language used is appropriate to age and grade
level and presented in a socially meaningful
context.
Science-specific vocabulary is explicitly and
implicitly taught and reinforced through repetition.
45
Science Activities Can Include:






Demonstrations
Observations
Structured discussions
Exploration of scientific phenomena
Gathering and organizing data
Systematic experimentation
46






These activities provide practice in the process of
science which are as important in science instruction as
the conceptual basis of scientific knowledge.
Practicing scientific processes allows students to act like
scientists in systematically investigating a problem or
phenomena.
Observation is the basic process used in conducting
scientific inquiry.
Other important science processes are classifying,
measuring, communicating, predicting, and inferring.
More complex processes include controlling variables,
interpreting data, making hypotheses, defining
operationally, and investigating through experimentation.
Science processes require active engagement of
students’ minds and many also lend themselves to handon activities.
Lab Reports
In addition to practicing science processes,
students need hand-on experiences in scientific
expermentation, an essential part of the scientific
method.
 The information should be included in the students’
lab reports on the experiment. The steps of the
scientific method can be used to prompt students to
conduct their experiments and record their
observations accuratley.
 Lab report templates
http://www.see-n-believe.com/prolab/index.htm

48
4. Language Practices cont….



Teachers are knowledgeable about the second
language acquisition theories and best practices.
Ideally, dual language instructional support should be
offered.
When dual language teachers are not available,
sheltered instruction should be utilized to provide
strong language support by addressing content
through ESL.
49
What can you do?
1.
Visuals
Water Cycle
2.
Realia
Fossils
3.
Collaborative interactions
Partners or small groups
50
Develop Academic Language Activities




Listening. Listening and taking notes (either graphic or verbal)
Describing. Observing and describing observations orally;
observing the steps of a procedure, drawing them (or taking
notes), then describing them; posing questions and formulating
answers; discussing steps; discussing the steps while
conducting the experiment. Working cooperatively to build a
model, then presenting the group report.
Reading. Reading graphs and charts, finding information in
science textbooks, encyclopedias, and library books; reading
and following directions for procedures and experiments;
sharing lab reports and other class writing about science.
Writing. Writing answers to questions posed by the teacher or
classmates; writing lab reports on experiments; working with a
group to research a science topic and writing a group report
about it; writing about personal or imaginative experiences
related to science.
5. Family & Community
Involvement



Schools connect to student’s family-life by
embedding contextual experiences and skills in
teaching and curriculum.
Projects are relevant and promote family
interaction.
Opportunities are available for English-speaking
higher grade-level students to mentor ELL lower
grade-level students either in an in-school or afterschool program, as appropriate.
52
5. Family & Community
Involvement cont….



Teacher engages in frequent communication with
families
 About activities and events in which parents can
participate,
 About student progress.
Teacher utilizes services provided by a community
liaison and is knowledgeable about community
resources.
Parents are informed about the benefits of using their
most cognitively advanced language at home.
53
6. Assessment of Student
Learning



Classroom assessment is designed to foster
student success.
Assessment methods allow students frequent
opportunities to demonstrate mastery in a
variety of ways.
Various assessment techniques are used to
measure student understandings.
54
6. Assessment of Student
Learning cont….



Grades are oriented to promote and
emphasize valid step-by-step logical
reasoning processes.
Assessment data and results shape
instructional planning.
Flexible time allotments are given to
demonstrate concept mastery.
55
Areas that Require Work





Scaffolds for entry, engagement, and
extension in mathematics and academic
language
Enrichment of curriculum
Native language science instructional
materials
Teacher fluency with science, science
pedagogy, and discourse in English and
language (for bilingual teachers)
Understanding student work
56
Understanding the Complexity of ELLs’
Culture, Language, and Knowledge






We need to build on background
knowledge
Identify cognates(Spanish-English) in
science
Language production patterns
Develop language within science
Vocabulary building (enrich)
Clarify the academic language
57
Instructional Sequence
1.Preparation. Brainstorming and creating graphic
organizers illustrating knowledge
2. Presentation. The teacher can conduct a
demonstration that will cause students to confront their
existing schemata by observing a phenomenon that
appears contrary to their beliefs.
3. Practice. Students explore by trying out the
experiment themselves, They begin to discover for
themselves the causes, effects, characteristics, and
variables associated with the experiment.
4. Evaluation. Students generate opinions and
explanations for the phenomena they have observed.
Their ideas are written down.
5. Expansion. Systematic inquiry using the scientific
method for working through the experiment
One Simple Strategy: Students
as “Language Detectives”


Majority of scientific terms and the
processes of scientific inquiry derive
from Greek and Latin sources
90% of scientific vocabulary drives from
the same roots and has cognates in the
other language
59
Cognates



Words that look alike or sound alike from
one language to another
There are thousands of cognates shared
by Spanish and English.
False cognates are a pair of words in the
same or different languages that are
similar in form and meaning but have
different roots.
60
Cognate Activity



In your groups, look over the list of
words on Handout 1.
As a group, infer the rule or rules that
govern the spelling changes to convert
the Spanish form to English
Be aware of internal spelling changes
required because of English spelling
patterns and generalizations, such as
double consonants.
61
Idea





Have your students collect cognates
As they do, ask what they notice about them
Point out the characteristics of words in
English and Spanish that are related
False cognates are a pair of words in the
same or different languages that are similar in
form and meaning but have different roots.
Compare true versus false cognates
62
Science Cognates







Adaptación
Anfibio
Bacterias
Camuflaje
Dióxido de carbono
Carnívoro
Citoplasma







Adaptation
Amphibian
Bacteria
Camouflage
Carbon dioxide
Carnivore
Cytoplasm
63
What does it mean?

Projects and direct instruction that help
students recognize these patterns
deepen their awareness of language
and enhance their overall linguistic and
academic development
64
Integrating Content and
Language
Research indicates:

Need to develop one through the other

ELLs should be talking about content
to make it meaningful

Use of cooperative groups

Developing academic English or CALP
Why?
65
Summary of Teaching Guidelines for Science







Identify science themes that have application across life,
physical, and earth sciences.
Students identify their prior knowledge about t of
misconceptions that need to be corrected.
Focus on hands-on activities using science process skills,
experimentation, and a variety of science resource materials.
Develop academic language through discussions,
listening,describing observations, reading graphic and text
science information, and writing about science.
Use a variety of instructional approached to dispel student
misconceptions.
Integrate learning strategy instruction with all science activities.
Use the instructional sequence (Preparation, Presentation,
Practice, Evaluation, and Expansion) to help students
reconstruct their scientific knowledge.
Websites
California High School Math Standards
http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/pn/fd/documents/mathstnd.pdf
 Further Information
http://www.tsusmell.org
 Science lesson Plans
http://www.teachersnetwork.org/teachnet/esl.cfm
 Science Power Points
http://science.pppst.com/energy.html

67
Websites cont….

Cognates
www.colorincolorado.org/pdfs/articles/cognates.pdf

Spanish Cognates Dictionary
http://www.latinamericalinks.com/spanish_cognates.htm

Learn Spanish Cognates
http://www.language-learning-advisor.com/learnspanish-cognates.html

Resources
www.ncela.gwu.edu/pubs/symposia/third/spanos.htm68
Websites cont….

Science Lessons
http://science.pppst.com/index.html
Basket Science Interactive-in Spanish & English
http://www.scienceacademy.com
 Ministerio Espanol de Educacion y Ciencia
http://descartes.cnice.mecd.es/
 EdHelper.com-database of lessons
http://www.edhelper.com/
 Biology Corner
http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets.php

69
Websites cont….
A to Z teacher Stuff-Science lesson plans
http://www.lessonplanz.com/Lesson_Plans/Science/
 Interactive Activities
http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/
 PBS teacher Source-Science support.
http://www.pbs.org/teachers/sciencetech/
 Lesson Plan Library
http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/
 Graphic Organizers
http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/
http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/SCORE/actbank/torganiz.htm
http://www.teachervision.fen.com/graphicorganizers/printable/6293.html
http://www.graphic.org/

More Websites
Interactive Periodic Table
http://acswebcontent.acs.org/games/pt.html
 American Chemical Society Resources
http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true
&_pageLabel=PP_EDUCATION&node
 Lesson Plans 9-12
http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/912.html
 National Science Digital Library
http://nsdl.org/resource/2200/20061002125259828T

71
Questions?
I’m still unclear about….
72
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