Including ELLs in Mainstream Teaching: Sample Activities and Assessments for English Language Arts 7, 8 & 9
In April I wrote about a checklist and reflective questions for meeting the needs of ELLs in your mainstream and ELL classes. In this post I would like to take the checklist and reflection questions a little farther and offer a package of activities with assessment ideas that you could use in a mainstream English Language Arts 7, 8 or 9 class. I have used the British Columbia (BC), Canada, English Language Arts 9 Integrated Resource Package (IRP) as a guild for developing the activities however, they can be adjusted to suite the IRPs and needs of lower and higher grade. The IRP is divided into three categories and four subcategories. The main three categories are, oral language (speaking and listening), reading and viewing, and writing and representing. The four subcategories, which are part of each main category include; purpose, strategies, thinking and features. In the package I have colour coded each main category and provided two to four subcategories for each activity, along with three Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and three correlating achievement indicators for each activity. After each activity I have provided a sample assessment and aim. I focused on the assessment for, as, or of learning model. Assessment is not synonymous with grading and I have kept to the basic idea of using assessment for learning as a diagnostic tool, assessment as learning as a formative tool, and assessment of learning as a summative tool, which would be used for grading.
Each activity in this package has been designed to include ELLs and support differentiated instruction. In general my philosophy is to include ELLs in regular instruction, just as I would native English speakers. It is not necessary to make different lessons, activities or tasks for ELLs. Using the checklist from my April post can help guild you in planning how to support your ELLs, for example with pre-reading vocabulary support, additional editing steps, collaborative rubric development or the use of visual representations. I would like to share the words of David A. Sousa and Carol Ann Tomlinson from their book Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom (2011); "Effective differentiation does not call on teachers to be all things to every student at all times of the day. Rather, it calls on teachers to be consistently mindful of three things: (1) how their content is structured for meaning and authenticity, (2) who their students are as individuals, and (3) which elements in their classrooms give them degrees of freedom in connecting content and learners" (p. 15).
I hope the package provides some ideas and inspiration for your planning. Each activity has been purposely left open for your interpretation, so it can be adapted to meet the unique needs and interests of students in a variety of classes. Planning for ELLs does not mean having to create entirely separate lessons, but it is about looking for different angles from which to build in supports, and allowing for each individual student to share their voice and be successful.
Sousa, D. A., Tomlinson, C. A. (2011). Differentiation and the brain: how neuroscience supports the learner-friendly classroom. Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.
Ms. Kolshuk's Blog
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