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Online Resources for Teaching English Learners

Tools to Help You Adapt Online Learning for ELs
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“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision and change.” -Richard Branson 

The success of educating our English Learners (ELs) in this new and ever-changing educational environment demands an ability to change it up. So, as a nod to all the teachers out there having to adapt, revise and change in very short order, I am taking some great articles for teaching ELs, pouring over the content, and providing this curated list of resources that are most applicable right now with a few embedded tools for your use. Here you go!

Topic: Using Technology to Support and/or Deliver Online Instruction 

Article: How to Use Technology to Support ELLs in Your Classroom by Jeff Knutson 

Takeaways: Some tools you are already using for all students might have supports that work well for ELsAdditionally, these tech tools should be built into daily routines whenever possible, even if this means doing so online. Educators will need to get creative to keep learners engaged, provide accommodations as needed, and may also need to resort to online language-learning tools. 

Try: NewselaKhan AcademyVoice ThreadGoogle TranslateSimple English WikipediaExplain EverythingBrainPop ESLEllavationRead and Write for Google ChromeDuolingoMango LanguagesTell About This 

Tool(s) for YOU: Learners Edge Hyperdoc Tip Sheet AND Triple E Framework: Engage, Enhance, Extend 

Topic: Supporting English Language Learners

Article: Supporting English Language Learners by Elizabeth Brozek and Debra Duckworth 

Takeaways: ELs benefit from being able to use technology to express themselves. Multimedia technology can be used to incorporate pictures or video into lessons giving students the necessary contextual cues to understand new ideas. Discussion boards can create an opportunity for students to be actively involved in academic and social English while outside of the classroom environment. Be sure to provide scaffolds to support EL expression using these technologies (i.e. sentence starters, templates, etc.) 

TryAnimotoDave’s ESL CaféEdmodoAnswer Garden 

Tool for YOUSentence Frames as a Scaffold for Discussions

Topic: Activating Background Knowledge 

Article: Activating Prior Knowledge With English Language Learners by Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski 

Takeaways: Versions of a K-W-L chart can help ELs activate background knowledge. Anticipation guides are useful to accomplish a similar goal. Using multimedia or preparatory texts can also jump start lessons by reading a book, watching a video or having a virtual presentation from an expert! 

Try: Google Docs for Anticipation Guide BuildingNon-fiction Picture BooksScholastic Watch and LearnVirtual RealitySkype a Scientist  

Tool for YOU: KWHLAQ Form (OR try recreating this document in Padlet to make it more collaborative or facilitate whole group interaction.)

Topic: Vocabulary Learning Strategies 

Article: Top Five Vocabulary Strategies For English Language Learners by Erica Hilliker 

Takeaways: It’s imperative that you provide students a preview of unfamiliar vocabulary. Using visuals or word walls can help you accomplish this. Fill in the blank definitions or sentences provide a great scaffold for ELs at the use new vocabulary. Graphic organizers can be used in a similar way. 

Try: PadletPixabayFlickrMerriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary 

Tool for YOU: Frayer Model Template 

I hope you find a few valuable ideas, tools and strategies to make your planning and instruction a bit easier. Thank you for your work and what you do for ELs and all students! Learners Edge appreciates you. Should you need additional resources, here are a few more!

Additional Resources for Teaching EL’s: 


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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Special Populations, English Language Learners

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