As an EAL support teacher, I don’t have my own classroom, but I support six different groups! The purpose of all my lessons, whether they are whole class, small group or one on one; is to support ELLs within the mainstream curriculum. By definition, my job is to facilitate access to the school curriculum for students of all language levels, from high needs beginner learners, to the low needs students who can perform independently at grade level but still need support in their language development. So if you’re wondering, how does a student that doesn’t know English learn and apply multiple-meaning, domain-specific words in a Social Studies or Science class where the language of instruction is English? My lesson below details a lesson in which ELLs are exposed to and practice key words and terms to use them effectively within the context of their subject.
So, did it work?
It’s difficult to answer whether or not students have achieved an enduring understanding of these specific concepts. In reality, we can’t know that unless we follow a student’s academic career for the rest of their lives! But have students learned a valuable skill about organizing unknown words/terms and tracking their own learning progress? I think so. Especially the use of the tools & resources. Even though the unit might end and ELLs won’t be experts at the word ‘philanthropist’, for instance, they have practiced the how to look for the word’s meaning, use, spelling, pronunciation, etc; and they have reflected on their own learning of the word. This is an enduring understanding in itself.
The integration of eLearning in this particular lesson was simple and to the point. The ‘sticky note’ app was easy to use and its integration was seamless. It gave the students, all the students, autonomy on their own learning. I have since observed the students use the sticky note app of their choice for other subjects and in different ways. They use it as a knowledge rating scale, as they learned with me, and others are exploring how do old things in new ways, or even taking it to the next level of trying new things in new ways.