Make It Make SenseHelp your ESL students practice making simple sentences with the three games on BBC’s Skillswise site. In one game, students decide whether a group of words is a sentence. In another game, students construct sentences that make sense. And in a third game, students combine sentences into an authentic writing form—for example, a formal letter, an email, a children’s story, a news story—using correct capitalization and punctuation. Students may listen to the text being read aloud, but note that the speaker has a British accent.
What’s Wrong?Challenge your English learners to decide if the sentences on this site are run-ons. Each run-on sentence is accompanied by an explanation of the corrections needed. Students then select the remedy that would best repair that sentence. (The remedy will show only enough of the sentence to indicate what was wrong and how to fix it.) If the sentence is correctly written the way it stands, students select the first option. The explanation will attempt to justify the suggested editing of that sentence. If students choose the correct response, they can still consult the explanation to see if their explanations are the same as the suggested explanation.
Ask Me AnythingMake sentence writing fun for your English learners with the help of the writing Robot Tutor! In this online interactive, students write a question for the Robot Tutor—for example, What is your name? What is your favorite book? Where do you live? The Robot Tutor then answers each question. The interactive provides practice in writing simple interrogative sentences and reading simple declarative responses.
Talk About WritingGive your English language learners a common language for talking about writing. The resource links on the University of Missouri’s eThemes Web site provide information on the 6+1 Writing Traits as wall as definitions, descriptions, rubrics and exercises to help students become familiar with the characteristics of good writing. The site has many interactive features, so students can practice their own writing and learn how to evaluate its effectiveness. The site also has video clips, prompts, activities and examples of writing at different levels of accomplishment, as well as resources on grammar and text structure.
SPOTLIGHT! On Children’s Writing in ESL*
Children develop as writers when they use writing to carry out activities that are meaningful to them. Teachers need to provide time for writing on a regular basis; they need to encourage ESL children to write; they need to promote writing by responding to the content of the text rather than to the form; and they need to provide multiple opportunities for writers to engage in writing for reasons that are real and important to the individual writer.
Suggestions for specific classroom activities include the following:
*Excerpted and adapted from http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9210/writing.htm
Start the JourneyHelp your English learners discover what to say by saying it. In the process, they’ll often surprise themselves with fresh insights. The Paradigm Online Writing Assistant offers tips to take your students through the writing process, from choosing a subject to documenting sources. The site also contains information on types of essays.
Take the PromptFind more than 100 interactive writing “games,” created by teachers and writers, at WritingFix. The exercises and writing prompts help with common writing problems, such as poor organization and grammar. Also find a page of supplemental hotlinks to other writing instructional resources. Among the most popular resource collections are The Daily Prompt Generator, Picture Book–Inspired Writing Lessons, Poetry-Inspired Writing Lessons, Summarizing (instead of Plagiarizing) Resources, iPod-Inspired Writing Lessons, Chapter Book–Inspired Writing Lessons as well as Resources from the 6-Trait In-service Class. Plus, the Writing Across the Curriculum (W.A.C.) page offers meaningful writing assignments in all content areas to deepen students’ thinking.
Get OrganizedHelp your ESL students navigate the stages of the writing process with the free text organizers from Writing Fun. The texts they create may be factual (true) or literary (imaginary). All the organizers are freely downloadable and printable. Students will also find printable online tips related to text structures, style and language suited to their audience, grammar and usage—and more—for each type of writing—information report, procedure, recount, explanation, persuasion, discussion; narrative, response, description, poetry; and everyday writing (letter, email, invitation, news).
Inspired by PicturesUse PicLits, a free drag-and-drop literacy tool, to encourage your English learners to create sentences inspired by pictures. Or they can add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures. Learn It provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences or paragraphs. Advanced lesson plans for teachers appear under the Learn It tab as well. Under View the Gallery, students can see already created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one provided) and dragging a word onto the screen, they can choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. They can move their words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. Or they can click “freestyle” to type in their own words instead of choosing from their list. The wordlists change, depending on the image students select.
Understanding RevealedUse the templates from ProTeacher to introduce your English learners to different kinds of journals—metacognitive, dialectal, learning log, double entry, reflective, response, synthesis, speculation. You’ll also find guidelines for the different types of journaling.
All About MeInvite students to write two free-verse acrostic poems about themselves with this free lesson from ReadWriteThink. One poem uses the letters of students’ names to begin each line; the other uses a word from their name poem for the letters beginning each line. Both poems can be recopied, illustrated and mounted for display. The lesson encourages optional use of an online writing tool as well.
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From Facts to FascinationEncourage your students to create an exciting biography, following the Six Traits of Effective Writing: (1) Ideas and Content; (2) Organization; (3) Voice; (4) Word Choice; (5) Sentence Fluency; (6) Conventions. The interactive Biography Maker is designed to help students convert facts into insights, dull and boring information into fascination and magic.
Plus: The interactive How to Write Your Autobiography helps students select details, organize ideas and draft their personal story.
Enjoy free access to the Fall 2010 Big Deal Book for Educators of English Language Learners in eBook format. You’ll find some 200 active links to well-vetted resources especially for ELL professionals like you. Look for funding sources, interactive lessons, online multimedia programs, engaging Web destinations and a bounty of other ideas for the 21st century classroom.
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Hook your English learners on reading. Recorded Books brings young adult author Alan Sitomer’s award-winning teaching skills to schools across the country through the BookJam. Sitomer, a three-time Teacher of the Year award winner, shares results from his own inner-city Los Angeles classroom. Each Jam includes 30 copies of three popular young adult novels and a standards-based study guide for each novel with reproducible differentiated learning activities and both formative and summative assessments. In addition, the Composition JamBox is a resource for assigning podcasts, slideshows, short movies and other engaging multimedia projects. Sample the audio and lesson plans from The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez (characterization activity), Monster (setting activity) and The Hoopster (symbolism activity). Also find Sitomer’s 6 Steps for Teaching Imagery in The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez.
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Click Here to Access Sample Audio and Lesson Plans
Help your English language learners achieve academic success with Northpoint Horizons’ Content Academic Vocabulary System. The five-step teaching plan (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate) helps you provide differentiated instruction to meet the diverse needs of your students. Visit the site to learn more about the system and to access sample math and science vocabulary lists for K–2 and 3–6.
Click Here to Access Sample Math Vocabulary
Click Here to Access Sample Science Vocabulary
Help your ESL students learn English in a visual and accessible way with the Visual Dictionary Online, an interactive dictionary from Merriam-Webster and QA International. From the image to the word and its definition, the Visual Dictionary Online is an all-in-one reference. A quick glance at the index is all it takes to connect words with images. Or students can explore the 15 major themes to access more than 6,000 images and see words like never before. The themes offer a variety of engaging, browsable topics. Additional features include a Game of the Week, played by associating words with images, and audio pronunciations spoken by real voices.
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Engage your students and get support for teaching your ELL students with Learning.com's Aha! Math, a Web-delivered, K-5 supplemental curriculum. Get ELL strategy guides, share and find other teachers' proven lessons as well as engaging Spanish-English exercises to support language acquisition. Sample the curriculum at no charge!
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