Ideas and resources for parents of ESL/ELL students
These reviewed resources offer information so share with parents of ESL/ELL students. Some are resources parents can use at home with children to reinforce language skills. Others include suggested activities ESL/ELL learners can begin in school and share with parents. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for ways these reviewed resources can build language skills both at home and at school.
Grades4 to 12
Teachers can register for a teacher area to create assignments for classes, review the available lesson plans, or build your own, and save your favorites on your personal Monticello Classroom web page. Each class has its own log-in and password and students are able to submit their completed activities to the teacher for review.
In the ClassroomThis site can serve a a hub for your unit on colonial life, Jefferson, or even inventors. If you wish your students to register for accounts, be sure to check the students' acceptable use policies or get parent permission in writing. Instead of students using their real first and last names, have students create their own colonial names for registration. Be sure to keep a list of these names to be able to review and assess student work. Give a class introduction to the Monticello Classroom using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL and ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Highlight the vocabulary words in the text as you come to them. Search the lesson plans, and teachers will find a few that will be particularly helpful for Black History month!
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomStart the activity by showing the student-produced videos on the web site. Use the resources on the site for a whole class jig-saw exercise. Assign small groups the task of learning one aspect of the process and then reporting and showing it to the rest of the class. Share the knowledge by creating working groups, which contain an expert from each aspect of the process. Use one of the many class ideas as practice activities for students to learn the finer points of video production before they start their masterpieces.
Video is a great tool for authentic assessment - especially for ESL, ELL, and Special Education students. Think about letting each of your students create a short video about what they know for their parent conference meeting or Open House. Explore the realm of possibilities by having students develop and ask peers a "Question of the Week" and document the responses on video. Let students produce a walking tour of the school and key personnel as an introduction for new students. Post this video on the school website, but check the district and students' Acceptable Use Policies before videoing any student faces. You may want to ask your school's funding sources to consider purchasing a few USB plug-in "flip" video cameras that cost about $100 each so students can do these projects with an "indestructible" tool.
GradesK to 4
In the ClassroomAsk students to dictate captions for these stories, write the captions on strips, and put them with the printed pictures. For students able to write, have them write their own captions. Have a caption-writing contest among pairs of students in the classroom. Have ESL and ELL students write simple captions and learn the words for items in the pictures at the same time. Students in foreign language classes can generate desciptions or dialog to go with the stories. Special ed teachers will appreciate the opportunity for students to "narrate" the comics -- and possibly place pages in sequence -- to develop vocabulary. Use printable versions for take-home work with parents, as well. Challenge students to create their own wordless books. Don't forget to check out the twelve lesson plans available at the
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomMark this site as a Favorite on your classroom computer or on your teacher web page and assign ESL/ELL students to check it weekly for a new idiomatic expression. Newer ESL and ELL students may find the translation feature helpful. The foreign language options could be useful in a German, French, Spanish, or Chinese class. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in the forum area, and obtain written parent permission before students log on. You may want to use the forum as a whole-class activity with a teacher account. Monitor the discussion boards for a week or two before deciding if they are appropriate for your school situation.
GradesK to 6
Caution: although you are able to use many of these items for free, most downloads ask that you input your email address. You can bypass this by clicking submit without inputting your email address. This website requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. .
In the ClassroomThe books can be projected on an interactive whiteboard for students to highlight new vocabulary, signal words, etc. with their fingers then read independently. Tell your students' parents about this site to encourage them to read or download and print more stories for their children. Include the link in your class newsletter or on your website. Beginning readers, ELL, and ESL students will enjoy the wordless books whose stories they can tell themselves or tell in their own languages. Students may want to make up their own wordless picture books after seeing some of these examples.
Grades2 to 8
tag(s): listening (69)
In the ClassroomHave your students practice the language on this site in a simulated telephone conversation. Have them record the voice mail messages and then play them for other students to respond to. Share this site on your class website or in your class newsletter so ESL parents can benefit from understanding telephone conversation better, too. Teachers of world languages may wish to use this site as a model to create similar information for their students of French, German, Spanish, and other world languages. Special ed teachers working on life skills will find these phone skills helpful, as well.
Grades5 to 12
IMPORTANT NOTE: This site includes tools for blog users to interact (in English or Spanish). Any visitor can comment on the posts and podcasts or participate in Forums. There is also a link to a sister blog on Spanish culture. Check your school policies on students posting comments, etc. to the web and whether they are permitted to do so anonymously and/or with name or initials.
This site requires Quicktime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomThis site is a treasure trove for Spanish teachers. It also provides a way for your ESL and ELL students to share their language and culture as the focus of a lesson, perhaps as you study other cultures. Have the ESL or ELL students and native English speakers work on understanding podcasts together. They can discuss what they understood and what they did not. You might have your Spanish speakers write out the dialogue and vocabulary selections, but be sure to have a knowledgeable adult check the Spanish before using it with your students.
To alleviate safety concerns, you might want to create a simple class policy (e.g. initials only) and obtain parent permission before inviting your class to participate in the blog, since you will not be able to monitor their submissions. The site does moderate to prevent "bad" comments from appearing online, but you do not control this moderation. ALL blog comments require an email address (kept hidden). If safety and school policy concerns limit student access, use the site as a whole-class activity and selectively choose portions for students to use. You can assign DIRECT links to podcasts by right-clicking the "Audio: download" link and copying the URL that shows in "Properties," ex. http://media.libsyn.com/media/learnrealspanish/nisbeginners20_el_kindle.mp3. Students can RIGHT-click >Save target as to download and load podcast files to their mp3 players or simply keep to listen over and over at a computer.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomPrimary teachers, make simple printed text from the storybooks to reinforce the reading skills. Use the holiday games to liven up your computer centers. During Kindergarten Open House, set up a computer center with the storybooks--ready for parent/child interaction. ESL and ELL teachers will appreciate the simplicity of the text for their beginning English-learner students.
Be sure to provide this link in your class newsletter or on your class website.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomBeginning readers will enjoy this site as much as more capable readers, listening intently to the high quality presentation. Share this site with parents in your class newsletter or from your teacher web page. Use it also when you read Alice in Wonderland, and when you teach the concept of "series" stories (try the "Bertie" stories). ESL/ ELL and learning support students will benefit from reading and hearingstories at the same time. Project the story on an interactive whiteboard or projector with small groups of readers so students can follow along and even highlight words during the audio reading.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomSet up these recordings as a center with the book at hand and headphones for your students. Or play them for the whpoole class with your speakers turned up after lunch or at the end of the day. Include the link on your teacher web page and newsletter for parents, as well.
Grades1 to 6
tag(s): interviews (13)
In the ClassroomPreview the video clips before recommending them to students or using in class, since the quality of video and audio varies significantly. None is designed for full screen projection, though some will project about half-screen. Share a partial video with the class or as a center to inspire children to read a book or allow them to watch videos after they have read books. (A Dark, Dark tale would be great for Halloween week). Remember to turn up speakers for group viewing or provide headphones at your center. If you are ready to try podcasting, use these dramatic readings as models for students to record some of their favorite selections as a podcast (and possibly illustrate with student artwork). Share this link with parents on your web page or in your newsletter to encourage reading at home. Most of the books will be in our school library, so students can follow along. School librarians should know about this site as well! ESL students and weaker readers always benefit from listening to different voices read the same story as they follow along.
GradesK to 3
tag(s): preK (238)
In the ClassroomSelect items on this site to use as a center or whole-class activity after you read a Little Critter book to your class. Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who love these books. ESL students will enjoy listening to having the books read as they follow along on the pages of the book. You will want to be sure that students steer clear of the "store" section where Little Critter items are sold.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomTurn up your speakers, then share this site with the school librarian and parents for great times using songs with fingerplays, dances, and other activities. Sing along as a center by finding a song to fit this week's classroom theme or invent your own class set of words to a familiar tune once your students know the original. Students can write verses, and the entire class create a chorus!
Use songs with elementary ESL/ELL students help perfect pronunciation, intonation, and memory of English phrases. Include this link on your teacher web page for parents to help speech or ESL/ELL students "sing along" at home.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomAll classroom teachers who have ENL/ESL students should consider this a primary source of information about how to teach and help second language learners. Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who are concerned with the challenges of the increasing number of ENL/ESL students.
Grades1 to 6
In the ClassroomShare the videos as a whole-class lesson on a projector. You will need speakers for the audio portions of this site. Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as a reference. As you study different continents or cultures, include a little of the language to expose your students to the "sounds" of other places. If you have ESL students in your class, share a video for the native English speakers to better understand the experience of learning a new language.
Grades1 to 6
In the ClassroomPlan a kite day in the fall or spring and use all or part of these plans to learn new words, build kites, and even fly them before you write about them. This would be a terrific activity to include parents at school year's end.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse the Portuguese "word-of-the-day" tool to help ELL students transition into an english speaking classroom. In addition to their daily lessons, use this translated word of the day to provide them with extra vocabulary. To help students overcome social shyness, have them teacher their classmates the word of the day in Portuguese and English - allowing them to practice speaking in and English as well as maintain ownership of their primary language.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomESL/ELL teachers may want to share this source with regular classroom teachers and with parents to help provide students with extra practice. Some of your larning support students may benefit from them, as well. Don't forget to print the answer sheet, as well!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomHave students listen and read a selected song, then have students practice speaking the song clearly and then record their singing version. Encourage students who play the guitar to bring it in and to follow the chords and accompany the class. Create a podcast of the songs using Synth, reviewed here. Post the podcast on your classroom website for parents and family to enjoy at home. Have older students teach younger grades a chant or song to record. Make sure you follow your school district policies for posting information on the Internet.
Grades3 to 3
tag(s): literacy (96)