July 28, 2020

☝Distant Learning Tip

☝Distant Learning Tip ☝

Provide each family with a list of basic virtual classroom etiquette for your online classes.  Include in your lists things such as, muting microphones, using sidebar chats (if you provide them), adding classes to a google calendar or family calendars.  Don't forget to teach students how to create or use non-distracting backgrounds. Remind them this is both visual and audio distractions.  Non-distracting backgrounds can be as simple as a blank wall. Ask students to leave their device on a table and not to hold or move it around.  Mention to students that the TV and music should be turned off,  pets are out of the room, and there are no distractions in the background (clothes and brothers and sisters). 

Happy Teaching!

July 16, 2020

⏰ ELLs and Specific Learning Disability

English Learners and Specific Learning Disability

As ESL ELD teachers we are always worried about misidentification of English learners.  Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is a language and literacy-related disability referring to a psychological processing disorder.  If focuses on understanding or using spoken or written language.   Determining whether an ELL’s learning difficulties are from language or something else is a tangled web. 

Like many ELD teachers, I am often asked questions from teams of teachers and specialists that seek clarification and guidance on deciding how to untangle this web.  This is a recent question/inquiry I received:
“For this little person, since you see other students with ELD needs, would you say her challenges are based on ELD needs or that it’s likely she has a learning disability? Any guidance or advice you could offer in this case would be greatly appreciated.”

As teams of educators ponder how to work best with English Learners they can reflect on a many different approaches.  Here is a preliminary list of considerations I offer our staff:

·      What different types of interventions has she had and what were the outcomes?
·      What kind of differentiation has been used in the classroom?
·      Has she been in classrooms with a teacher who has been trained in SIOP?
·   Consider whether the learning environment appropriately supports or has supported the student and her/his language needs.
·      Use the data supplied here to examine student language development and performance.
·      Conference with parents to see what THEY are noticing about their child.  Ask questions about the child’s language abilities in both English and and the native language.  This is important because students who do not have a solid foundation in their first language struggle much more when learning English.  Does the student have a strong native language?
·      Analyze student data to compare student progress in relation to peers who are making typical progress over time.
·      Where are the gaps?  If a phonics assessment has been made look for sounds/letter combinations that were incorrect.  Are those errors that are sounds or combinations that are different or nonexistent in the native language?

I would love to hear what considerations you offer your school teams when working with ELLs.

Happy Teaching!



July 13, 2020

๐ŸŒป Masking Techniques ๐ŸŒป


๐ŸŒป Masking Techniques ๐ŸŒป

Hello Teacher World,

 Fun To Teach ESL ELDRecently a classroom teacher asked me about tips or suggestions I had for English Language Learners that have developed masking techniques to cover their lack of oral language understanding during lessons.  Do you have students that use masking techniques when they do not understanding something?  Students often use words like 'got it', 'right', or 'okay' to exemplify their quick attempt to show they understand )whether or not they truly do.)


The avoidance of class work typically goes hand in hand with not understanding exactly what they are to do.
 Here are my suggestions:
  • ๐ŸŒป     Keep instructions to one or two step directions
  • ๐ŸŒป     Have students repeat to you what they are supposed to do
  •  ๐ŸŒป  Pre-teach when possible 
  •  ๐ŸŒป  Make assignments and instructions as visual as possible
  •  ๐ŸŒป    Build in group work when possible
  •  ๐ŸŒป   Scaffold
  •   ๐ŸŒป  Use sentence frames
  •   ๐ŸŒป  Look at the language in the assignments and check for the language that confuses second language learners:
                   ๐Ÿ’ฅ  Idioms – a frog in my throat
                 ๐Ÿ’ฅ  Prepositional phrases - Common prepositional phrase            examples include about, after, at, before, behind, by, during, for, from, in, of, over, past, to, under, up, and with... examples:    Check in, check out, check over, check out, etc.

Click here to see our Fun To Teach resources!

Happy Teaching,

 Fun To Teach ESL ELD

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