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Teaching English Language Learners K-12
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Teaching English Language Learners K-12
A Quick-Start Guide for the New Teacher

  • Jerry Jesness - Clear Creek Independent School District, League City, TX


February 2004 | 176 pages | Corwin
This is a quick-start manual for teachers who are working with bilingual learners for the first time or who want a refresher course. The book is practical, jargon free, easy to navigate, and it contains strategies that teachers can implement immediately and without fuss. The book is not tied to state-specific immersion programmes but instead offers strategies that can be used in all bilingual settings to cover such topics as:

} teaching methods and materials ("your toolbox")

} working with the learner's native language and culture

} working within the context of the community's language and culture

} working with school administrators, speech therapists, and volunteers

} essential skills: vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, reading, writing, content classes, including "sheltered" content lessons

} grading, testing, self-assessments, and preparing students for standardized tests

} placements in bilingual/ESL programmes and exiting back to regular classrooms

} placements in special education programmes when appropriate

· timing the students' return to regular classrooms

} the ESL teacher's ongoing professional development

Special features include sidebars for customizing instruction to be developmentally appropriate for younger learners; resources and recommended readings; a glossary to explain common linguistic terms and bilingual alphabet soup (TESOL, NABE, ELD, LEP, ESL, EFL, ELL); and a terrific collection of vocabulary checklists for common English words and concepts, which teachers will be able to use during first few months.

 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
1. The Joys and Challenges of Teaching English as a Second Language
The Joys of Teaching ESL

 
The Challenges of Teaching ESL

 
Travel the World With or Without Leaving Your Classroom

 
It's More Than a Job, It's a Mission

 
 
2. Your Students
ESL, ELL, LEP, and Other Acronyms

 
Placement in Bilingual and ESL Programs

 
SEP Students (Someone Else's Problem)

 
Inclusion and Support in Regular Classrooms

 
 
3. Your Toolbox
The Textbook

 
Other Books

 
Realia: Pictures, Maps, Charts, Toys, and More

 
Audio Tapes and CDs

 
Gadgets Galore

 
Paying for Your Tools

 
Getting Help from Volunteers

 
Getting Advice and Help from School Personnel

 
 
4. How Much? How Soon? How Fast?
BICS and CALP

 
Pie-in-the-Sky Goals

 
Is One Year Enough?

 
When Should Students Exit to Regular Classes?

 
Steep Hills and Frustrating Plateaus

 
Motivation Inside and Outside of Class

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
5. Using the Learners' Native Language in the Classroom
Don't Force Them to Go Mute

 
What Works Best in the Students' Native Language

 
Consider the Language and Culture of the Community

 
Use Time Limits

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
6. Natural and Unnatural Approaches to Learning English
The Natural Approach: Learning English by Hearing It and Speaking It

 
Applying First Language Skills to Second Language Learning

 
Balancing Experiential and Analytic Approaches

 
Using Total Physical Response (TPR)

 
Language in the Foreground and the Background

 
Winning Over the Skeptics in Your School

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
7. Building Vocabulary: They'll Need Lots
Enjoying the Path to a Large Vocabulary

 
Learning from the Movies

 
Teaching Vocabulary with Picture Dictionaries

 
Using Vocabulary from the Native Language
Using Vocabulary From the Native Language

Using Vocabulary from the Native Language

 
Building Vocabulary with Word Blocks

 
Idioms and Other Confusing Expressions

 
Look It Up!: Learning English with Dictionaries

 
Electronic Dictionaries

 
Those Boring Vocabulary Lists

 
Layered Vocabulary Learning

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
8. Grammar: The Skeletal System of the Language
Me Very Grammar

 
When to Start Grammar Lessons

 
English Grammar Isn't as Tough as We Think

 
Freebies: When English Grammar Matches the Learner's Native Language

 
The Garden Path to English Grammar

 
Pronoun Cases

 
Implicit and Explicit Grammar Instruction

 
Pattern Practice Makes Perfect: Well, not Really, But It Works

 
Grammar in Action: Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Conversation

 
Tag, You're It: Converting Statements to Tag Questions

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
9. Listening Skills: The Gateway to Language
Learning with a Tape Recorder or CD Player

 
Learning with Software: The Rosetta Stone, Instant Immersion, and Other Programs

 
The Great ESL Film Festival

 
Dictations

 
Encouraging Listening as a Stand-Alone Skill

 
Teaching with Minimal Pairs: Bit, Bet, Bait, Beet, Bite

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
Chapter 10. Now Say It: Teaching Spoken English
The Direct Method

 
Controlled Conversation

 
Role Playing

 
Student-to-Student Teaching

 
Recitals

 
Using Media and the Language Lab

 
Teaching Pronunciation (Speech Therapists Can Help!)

 
Using the International Phonetic Alphabet

 
Error Correction: When and How Often

 
Let Your Students Correct You Too

 
Speaking Practice Outside of Class

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
11. Teaching Reading
When Students Are Struggling Readers in Their Native Language

 
Quick-Start Phonics for English Learners

 
The Constant Consonants

 
Those Tricky Vowels

 
Decoding Skills and Background Knowledge

 
Graphic Organizers

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
12. Writing It Right
Getting Started

 
Writing Begins with Spelling

 
Gadgets and Media Again

 
The Vanishing Word Technique

 
Picture and Word Cards

 
Punctuation and Capitalization

 
Dictation

 
In Their Own Words

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
13. How We Know What the Students Know: Grading and Testing
Grading in Mixed Ability Classrooms

 
Individualized Education Plans

 
Multi-Track Grading: Same Class, Different Goals

 
No, You Aren't Cheating: What Counts for General Learners and College Prep Learners

 
Keeping Noses to the Grindstone

 
Testing Vocabulary

 
Testing Spelling

 
Testing Speaking and Listening

 
Testing Grammar

 
Self-Assessment: Giving Students Their Own Checklists

 
Preparing Students for Standardized Tests (Please Don't)

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
14. Teaching English Learners with Special Needs
Prior Education, Semilingualism, and Learning Disabilities

 
What Does Special Education Offer Your Students?

 
When They Need a Special Education Referral But Haven't Gotten One

 
Determining the Appropriate Program

 
Sidebar: Working with Younger Students

 
 
15. English Learners in Content Classes
English Throughout the Curriculum

 
Sheltered English Content Classes

 
Content Objectives and Language Objectives

 
A Sample Sheltered Science Lesson

 
A Sample Sheltered Vocabulary Lesson

 
Using Sheltered English to Teach and Practice Grammar

 
When Are Students Ready to Wade into the Mainstream?

 
The Power of Prior Knowledge

 
The Power of Incidental Learning

 
Reasonable and Unreasonable Modifications in the Inclusive Classroom

 
The F Word (Failure)

 
The Bright Side: Enriched Class Discussions

 
Out-of-Class Support for English Learners in Regular Content Classes

 
 
16. Helping Everyone Else Understand Your Students
Attitudes Make the Difference: Racism and Xenophobia

 
I'm Here, So Shut the Door Already

 
Exposing Other Students to Your Students' Culture

 
Avoiding Trivial Pursuit and Superficial Multiculturalism

 
Illuminating with Literary Classics From Other Traditions

 
Living Social Studies

 
Graphic Art and Music

 
Mutual Tutoring and Dual Immersion

 
 
17. Preparing Yourself to Be a Better ESL Teacher
Catching Up and Keeping Up with Advances in the Field

 
Acquainting Yourself with Your Students' Culture

 
Trying on Your Students' Shoes

 
And If You Teach at the Base of the Tower of Babel...

 
 
Vocabulary Lists
Numbers 1 - 10

 
Shapes

 
Numbers 11-20

 
People and Things

 
Numbers by Tens

 
Colors

 
All Numbers to 100

 
U.S. Currency

 
Time

 
Classroom Nouns

 
Classroom Verbs

 
Large Numbers: Hundred and Thousands

 
Arithmetic I: Addition and Subtraction

 
Alphabet A - H

 
Arithmetic II: Multiplication and Division

 
Alphabet I - P

 
School Supplies

 
Alphabet Q - Z

 
Computer Nouns

 
Computer Verbs

 
Human Body

 
Family

 
Home Nouns

 
Home Verbs

 
Park and Playground

 
Pets and Pet Accessories

 
Farm Animals

 
Wild Animals

 
World Geography: Continents and Countries

 
U.S. Geography: Oceans, Rivers, Mountain Ranges, Borders

 
Ordinal Numbers

 
City Geography: Streets, Avenues, Buildings, Directions, Travel

 
Fruit and Vegetables

 
Meat and Seafood

 
Bakery Products

 
Dairy Products

 
Women's Clothing

 
Men's Clothing

 
Emotions

 
Baseball

 
Possessive Pronouns

 
Prepositions and Their Objects

 
 
Glossary
 
Recommended Reading
 
Recommended Websites
 
References
 
Index

The valuable classroom experience in the author’s background and a genuine sensitivity for his students’ needs are evident on every page of clear prose. The practical information included here addresses the major issues in educating language minority students, without overloading the new teacher with extraneous matter.

From the Foreword by Rosalie Pedalino Porter

What a gift this book will be to ESL teachers . . . How I would have loved such a book when I was charged with the responsibility of teaching ESL students in years past.

Donna Garner, English and Spanish Teacher
Hewitt, TX

Entertaining and straightforward, Teaching English Language Learners K-12 guides teachers past common pitfalls and into what actually works for English learners, whether they are learning through immersion or bilingual methods.

Johanna Haver
Author, Structured English Immersion

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jerry Jesness's commonsense guidebook for teachers of English Language Learners. It is easy to read, jargon-free, and clear. Anyone who helps children learn English as a second language will find this book to be immensely helpful.

Diane Ravitch
Author, "The Language Police"

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