My Students are here. Now what do I do?

chalk board for blogSo you read about creating a welcoming environment for your beginning level English Language Learners (ELLs) and now you need to go to the next step.  Did you remember to:

  • Write key words on the white board?
  • Plan lessons with  pictures, gestures and realia?  If not, it is not too late- find a photo from Google Image, clip art, or Flickr to display while you are teaching.
  • You could give your ELL a graphic organizer to sort or classify vocabulary.
  • When modeling and teaching safety vocabulary, don’t be too concerned if you need to offer translation in their native language.  It will not hurt the acquisition progress.  Go to or purchase the google translate app for free on your I phone.  It will even say the word in the student’s native language.
  • Did you speak when facing the students, not the board?  Sounds odd, but it happens.
  • Avoid colloquialisms and idioms?
  • Provide explicit directions for homework?  Including writing the homework assignment on the board.  The beginning ESOL student can copy if allowed time.
  • So far, so good.
  • We are still smiling, right?  Trying to?  Don’t give up… it will get better!
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7 thoughts on “My Students are here. Now what do I do?

  1. For me, the smiling is the most important part. And having good non-verbal communication. A lot of people are a bit scared of learning English, you have to be likeable or they’re going to continue being scared.

  2. Deborah,
    Hello. Just catching up on some things, checking this out being one of them. . . great resource Deborah. Thanks for all the work you put into helping staff and students grow in this area. I appreciate it so much.

  3. And Marsha,I have learned so much from your compassion for students…….

  4. Hi Mrs. Cochran, I teach English as a second language in SC. I would like to know, how successful is your school in involving ELL’s parents with their children’s education? What strategies do you use?

  5. Elia,
    Thanks for commenting. Family involvement is our focus this year. I know from years past how hard it can be. They key to my past success has been to give families what they need (does their student need extra tutoring, for example) and begin developing a relationship from there. I’m open to ideas!

  6. Great to hear from you Ella, Family involvement is not easy, I agree. Offering an extended day has worked for me too. Then, I am able to greet the family at the car when they come to pick up their child. Communication is key!

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