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English as a New Language

Resources for teachers of ESL students

English Language Arts (ELA) Teachers

  • Pete’s PowerPoint Station – A collection of free PowerPoint presentations for the content areas. Simple English is used which makes it easier for ESL student to understand the main concepts. This site is also full of great visuals to accompany concepts.
  • ESL Stories – This site has many different stories that students can read and then answer the questions that follow the story. Students can click on the words in bold for a definition of that word. There is also a button after the quiz so they can check their answers. The stories range from easy to more difficult.
  • Everything ESL – This is another site that offers many great ideas for teachers of ELL’s. There are examples of lesson plans, teaching tips as well as different resources and a teaching tips section.
  • Mr. Lettiere’s English – Reading and Writing: A great resource of short stories with quizzes, novel guides, projects and more.
  • DLTK’s Growing Together – For our youngest learners…crafts, ideas, and activities to help develop letter recognition, sight word, sequencing, and other early literacy skills.
  • Good Games – If you are an elementary teacher, definitely check out this site. This site has different games that focus on vocabulary (i.e. around the school), grammar and speaking. You can actually print out different game boards and pieces to use in the classroom.
  • Lingro – Allows students to translate words directly within the website as they are reading. Lingro remembers all the words you look up, so you can easily review and study them.
  • Brain Pop – Animated Science, Health, Technology, Math, Social Studies, Arts & Music and English movies, quizzes, activity pages and school homework help for K-12 kids.
  • Brain Pop Jr – Provides educational movies for K-3 students. Homework Help, leveled quizzes, games and activities for kids. Exceptional resource for teachers.
  • Brain Pop ESL – is an educational resource featuring games, lesson plans, activities and animated movies. BrainPOP ESL is designed for all English Language Learners.
  • New York State Department of Education Bilingual Education Site – This site includes information about state standards and assessments for ESL students.

Mathematics Teachers

  • Mathematics Dictionary – This site has simple explanations for more than 600 mathematical terms, which are organized alphabetically. It also includes practice activities and calculators for each of the defined terms.
  • Bilingual Glossaries – This website provides links to glossaries for many languages. They are organized by language, and sometimes by content. What a great resource for you!
  • Colorin Colorado – This site provides resources for educators and families in both English and Spanish. There is an area devoted to teaching content to ELLs; there are several helpful articles about teaching math to ELLs.
  • Enhancing Mathematics Teaching – This site, facilitated by the Texas State University System, ahs many tools including sample lesson plans, online training videos, resources in Spanish and other helpful materials for teaching math to ELLs.
  • Escort – This site includes downloadable HelpKits for PreK-6 and secondary teachers. There is an entire chapter devoted to math for ELLs, as well as general classroom strategies.
  • Boggles World – Worksheets for Teaching ESL Young Learners Math
  • Pete’s PowerPoint Station – A collection of free PowerPoint presentations for the content areas. Simple English is used which makes it easier for ESL student to understand the main concepts. This site is also full of great visuals to accompany concepts.
  • Brain Pop – Animated Science, Health, Technology, Math, Social Studies, Arts & Music and English movies, quizzes, activity pages and school homework help for K-12 kids.
  • Brain Pop Jr – Provides educational movies for K-3 students. Homework Help, leveled quizzes, games and activities for kids. Exceptional resource for teachers.
  • Brain Pop ESL – is an educational resource featuring games, lesson plans, activities and animated movies. BrainPOP ESL is designed for all English Language Learners.
  • Lingro – Allows students to translate words directly within the website as they are reading. Lingro remembers all the words you look up, so you can easily review and study them.
  • New York State Department of Education Bilingual Education Site – This site includes information about state standards and assessments for ESL students.

Science Teachers

  • Pete’s PowerPoint Station – A collection of free PowerPoint presentations for the content areas. Simple English is used which makes it easier for ESL student to understand the main concepts. This site is also full of great visuals to accompany concepts.
  • Bilingual Glossaries – This website provides links to glossaries for many languages. They are organized by language, and sometimes by content. What a great resource for you!
  • Paso Partners – This website offers actually lessons and curricular materials that can be used in grades K-3. These PDF’s can be downloaded and work to ‘integrate math, science, and language. Some of the lesson materials are what we would consider to be very “busy’ for an ESL student, so please feel free to bring materials to the ESL teacher if you have questions about the appropriateness of the materials for your specific ESL student. Topics include: The Five Senses, Spiders, the Human Body, Oceans, the Stars, Matter, and others.
  • Boggles World – Learning ESL through Life Science Content
  • Stories about People – Easy to Understand English: Biographies, Text & MP3 Files. There are 235 fifteen-minute MP3 files and 9 shorter MP3 files discussing Scientists, Athletes, Activists & People Important to Social Reform, Artists, Business & Industry, Health, Musicians, Inventors, Designers, Developers, Explorers, etc.
  • Brain Pop – Animated Science, Health, Technology, Math, Social Studies, Arts & Music and English movies, quizzes, activity pages and school homework help for K-12 kids.
  • Brain Pop Jr – Provides educational movies for K-3 students. Homework Help, leveled quizzes, games and activities for kids. Exceptional resource for teachers.
  • Brain Pop ESL – is an educational resource featuring games, lesson plans, activities and animated movies. BrainPOP ESL is designed for all English Language Learners.
  • Lingro – Allows students to translate words directly within the website as they are reading. Lingro remembers all the words you look up, so you can easily review and study them.
  • Science Bilingual and ESL Glossaries – These documents are a very valuable resource to any science teacher who has a student whose first language is not English. These are extremely useful for foreign exchange students, English as a second language learners (ESL), or just students who are having a hard time translating information from English into their native language.
  • Science A-Z – Internet-delivered, Leveled Elementary Science Units. Download affordable science curriculum science books, science labs, science projects–at three levels of difficulty per elementary grade span. Subscription required.
  • New York State Department of Education Bilingual Education Site – This site includes information about state standards and assessments for ESL students.

Social Studies Teachers

  • Lingro – Allows students to translate words directly within the website as they are reading. Lingro remembers all the words you look up, so you can easily review and study them.
  • Current Events for High School Students – This site would be excellent for high school current events. It offers a quick synopsis of an article and then follows with different activities and worksheets that the student can complete. What a great way to help students improve their reading comprehension and improve the complexity of their vocabulary!
  • Times For Kids – The latest news from around the world for kids in grades K-6. Includes related polls, games, and websites.
  • Pete’s PowerPoint Station – A collection of free PowerPoint presentations for the content areas. Simple English is used which makes it easier for ESL student to understand the main concepts. This site is also full of great visuals to accompany concepts.
  • Brain Pop – Animated Science, Health, Technology, Math, Social Studies, Arts & Music and English movies, quizzes, activity pages and school homework help for K-12 kids.
  • Brain Pop Jr – Provides educational movies for K-3 students. Homework Help, leveled quizzes, games and activities for kids. Exceptional resource for teachers.
  • Brain Pop ESL – is an educational resource featuring games, lesson plans, activities and animated movies. BrainPOP ESL is designed for all English Language Learners.
  • New York State Department of Education Bilingual Education Site – This site includes information about state standards and assessments for ESL students.

 

Modifying for ESL students

Each ESL student needs a different amount of support in the classroom. At the beginning of the school year, the ESL teacher will provide you with a list of specific modifications that are recommended for each ESL student. To help you develop a unit plan that modifies for your students, use the Modification Plan Form below. These materials are also available on EagleNet should you wish to download the template.

Essentially, there are three components to modify for an ESL student:

  • Content (the curriculum, essential ideas, key understandings, vocabulary, terms, etc.)
  • Instruction (the method of presentation, classwork expected of the student, and materials provided to the student)
  • Assessment (the manner in which student knowledge is evaluated and graded)

Some ideas as to how to modify in each of these areas are provided below. There are also some forms and samples provided for you on EagleNet.

How to modify content for ESL students

Depending upon the level of English proficiency, your ESL student will be able to manage a certain amount of material in your class. Remember…ESL students are intelligent and really want to learn what you are teaching! They want to learn some or all of the content of the class. The suggested guidelines might help:

Early Beginner:  identify two or three essential ideas for students to learn and several background words that would be helpful for students. For example, if you are teaching a unit on the properties of fluids, these new students might be able to learn words such as: water, solid, fluids, liquid, soft, hard, wet, and so on.

High Beginner / Intermediate: Identify several essential ideas for students to learn and a concentrated list of core vocabulary. These ESL students would benefit from a shortened list of the vocabulary that you’ve identified as important for this unit.

Advanced: These ESL students should be expected to learn the majority or all of the content that you teach to regular education students. However, they may need more time to complete assignments, demonstrate their knowledge, and more support and structure during lessons and assignments.

How to modify instruction and materials for ESL students

Many teachers feel overwhelmed at the prospect of modifying their classroom instruction for ESL students. They may assume they should prepare a completely alternate lessons, or find very different materials for these students. That simply is not true! A few simple strategies will help you change the existing lesson so that the ESL student can make progress too. Remember: the definition of ‘modify’ is to change something that already exists, not to create something new.

The key to success in modifying instruction and materials is PRE-PLANNING!!! If you can modify your materials BEFORE the lesson, the ESL student will be able to make the most of the existing instructional time.

  • Early Beginner:  these students can be the most challenging to reach, as their communication skills are not well developed. Try to write out as many simplified directions for them as you can. Provide graphic organizers to them. Pre-copy the class notes and give students the notes before the lesson. Use highlighters and sticky notes to identify the material you expect them to focus on.
  • High Beginner / Intermediate: Identify several essential ideas for students to learn and a concentrated list of core vocabulary. These ESL students would benefit from a shortened list of the vocabulary that you’ve identified as important for this unit. For simplified materials that would help these students make progress, we suggest browsing popular ESL sites and sharing materials with colleagues.
  • Advanced: These ESL students should be expected to learn the majority or all of the content that you teach to regular education students. However, they may need more time to complete assignments, demonstrate their knowledge, and need more support and structure during lessons and assignments. Check out our resources page of ESL sites for more ideas. The trick to working with these students is to continually check in with them regarding how much they understand. Because these students have strong social language skills, it is easy to assume that they understand much more than they do and/or that they have the background knowledge needed to make good progress. Since these students have spent the past few years learning English, they may not have the same background knowledge as your other students.

How to modify assessments for ESL students

We recommend identifying the way in which you will assess the ESL student at the outset of the unit. Depending upon the ESL student’s level, you might choose one of the following levels of assessment:

Descriptions of each type of assessment are below. Please note that all ESL students may receive extended time to complete assessments and also use their bilingual translators. These accommodations are recommended by the NYS Department of Education.

Alternate:  Allow the ESL student to demonstrate their knowledge in a completely different format. Generally, for beginning students with limited proficiency in English, pictures, drawing, and short verbal explanations work best. At this stage, the student is generally only graded on content, and not on spelling, grammar, or stylistics.

  • Label a picture or diagram
  • Draw a picture that demonstrates a key idea
  • Explain an idea orally
  • Answer a few questions orally
  • Draw lines between vocabulary terms and pictures
  • Allow students to submit a project in lieu of an in-class test. The project might take a week or more for the student to complete.

Simplified: Develop a short assessment that evaluates only the essential ideas and core vocabulary that the ESL student was required to learn.

  • True/false
  • Multiple choice with two answers
  • Matching with a limited number of choices
  • Word bands provided

Modified: Use the same test that you’ve prepared for regular education students, but shorten it and focus on essential ideas and core vocabulary.

  • Cross out half the questions
  • Require students to complete only certain portions of the test
  • Provide a word bank (write it on the test)
  • Allow students to choose to answer 5 of 10 questions
  • Provide multiple choice answers for questions that would normally require students to create an answer
  • Turn short answer into multiple choice or a math problem
  • Shorten the length of the required answer
  • For multiple choice, cross out one or two of the incorrect answers

Accommodated: Use the same test as used for regular education students, but also allow ESL accommodations such as extended time and the use of bilingual translators/dictionaries.