Include, Integrate and Learn from Your Families!! 

 I believe strongly that the most important thing in educating a student is to get to know them and their families, including their home language, culture, backgrounds, interests, etc!  There are so many ways to do this, including: home visits, having an "intercambio" (language and culture exchange!), having family leaders and ambassadors, integrating their language within the school day, having a bilingual library for families to check out books in their home languages, representing their countries, languages and cultures within the school, celebrating important holidays to them, holding family workshops, and more!  It is so essential to integrate the whole child and family into the school day and to make them feel welcome (and it's by far my favorite part too! :))

Below:  Intercambio at my school (language and culture exchange)=my personal favorite! :)  See "Culture and Language Integration" for more ideas of how to include the families, languages, and cultures within your school!)

Physical Environment:  

Setting up your classroom for learning opportunities at every turn is ESSENTIAL for an ELL classroom.  I absolutely love thinking through all the access points for language development in all modalities (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and setting up a space that allow for this learning at all moments.  Visuals, labels, word walls, vocabulary, realia, anchor charts, music, a space for imagination and more...this is one of the first things to consider in a classroom where ELL students learn.

Below:  my classroom, set up for small group K-3rd grade ELLs. 

Teaching through the SIOP model:

The SIOP model (see more under "articles") is a wonderful way to teach language through content, throughout the entire school day. It is suggested that, when first integrating the SIOP model, 1-2 components are implemented at a time, so it is done thoroughly and with intention. I have created professional development on incorporating Components 1 and 2, which I led at my past school in order to implement these components throughout our school day and year. Component 1 is Lesson Preparation; we focused first on clearly defining content and language objectives. Component 2 is Building Background; we focused first on developing academic vocabulary. The 8 Components of the SIOP Model outlined below the PD. All components are ideal for great ELL instruction and integration within the classroom and school day.

Common Verbs for Content and Language Objectives (a component of the SIOP model) (See "Professional Development" "Teaching through the SIOP Model" for more information on Content and Language Objectives.

Intentional, Integrated and Consistent Vocabulary Instruction Throughout the School Day and Year:

I have created a professional development on vocabulary integration that I led at the beginning of the school year, ensuring all classrooms intentionally and thoroughly integrated vocabulary throughout the school day and year. See the Vocabulary and Professional Development tabs under "Educators" for more information on vocabulary. (All is a work in progress...)

Use home language instruction to help build students' L1, as well as allow them to access content as they learn new vocabulary!

Integrate the Cultures and Languages of your Students and Families 

Provide all staff with Professional Development, and Share Research to support all teachers in becoming "ELL Teachers."

Determine ways to support families based on their needs and input: