ELL Resources

Last Updated: 4/24/2020 3:54 PM

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Student Resources

Elementary Students

Middle/ High School Students

All Students

Teacher Resources 

Important Documents

All teachers of ELLs should receive copies of these documents from the ELL teacher.  It is essential that you refer to these documents when planning for the ELLs in your classroom.

 PSP (Program Service Plan): Each ELL student has a PSP, which is a legally binding document outling the student's English language proficiency level and the modifications/accommodations for which he/she qualifies. 

 Can Do Indicators: These provide detailed information about what the student should be able to do in the the four domains of English (reading, speaking, listening, writing) at a given level.

** Model Performance IndicatorsThese provide content specific examples and are available for English, Math, Science and Social Studies. The ELL teacher can provide these upon request. 

Modifying for ELLs

Essentially, there are three components to modify for an ELL student:

Content (the curriculum, essential ideas, key understandings, vocabulary, terms, etc.) 

Instruction (the method of presentation, classwork expected of the student, and materials provided to the student)

Assessment (the manner in which student knowledge is evaluated and graded)

Strategies for Modifying Instruction

Many teachers feel overwhelmed at the prospect of modifying their classroom instruction for ELL students. They may assume they should prepare completely different lesson with completely different materials for these students. That simply is not true! A few simple strategies will help you change the existing lesson so that the ELL student can make progress too. Remember: the definition of 'modify' is to change something that already exists, not to create something new.

The key to success in modifying instruction and materials is PRE-PLANNING!!! If you can modify your materials BEFORE the lesson, the ELL student will be able to make the most of the existing instructional time.

Early Beginner:  
  • These students can be the most challenging to reach, as their communication skills are not well developed.
  • Try to write out as many simplified directions for them as you can.
  • Provide graphic organizers to them.
  • Pre-copy the class notes and give students the notes before the lesson.
  • Use highlighters and sticky notes to identify the material you expect them to focus on.
High Beginner / Intermediate:
  • Identify several essential ideas for students to learn and a concentrated list of core vocabulary.
  • Provide a shortened list of the vocabulary that you've identified as important for this unit.
  • These ELL students should be expected to learn the majority or all of the content that you teach to regular education students. However, they may need more time to complete assignments, demonstrate their knowledge, and need more support and structure during lessons and assignments. Check out our student resources to find ELL sites for more ideas.
  • The trick to working with these students is to continually check in with them regarding how much they understand. Because these students have strong social language skills, it is easy to assume that they understand much more than they do and/or that they have the background knowledge needed to make good progress. 
-  adapted with permission from Bethlehem Central School District  Delmar, NY 

Strategies for Modifying Assessments

We recommend identifying the way in which you will assess the ELL student at the outset of the unit.  It is also beneficial to provide practice assessments so that the students can become familiar with the assessment format.

Early Beginner / Beginner students: Alternate assessment
  • Label a picture or diagram
  • Draw a picture that demonstrates a key idea
  • Explain an idea orally
  • Answer a few questions orally 
  • Draw lines between vocabulary terms and pictures
  • Allow students to submit a project in lieu of an in-class test.
High Beginner / Intermediate students: Simplified and/or Modified assessments
Simplified: Develop a short assessment that evaluates only the essential ideas and core vocabulary that the ELL student was required to learn. 
  • Multiple choice with two answers 
  • Matching with a limited number of choices
  • Word banks provided 
Modified: Use the same test that you've prepared for regular education students, but shorten it and focus on essential ideas and core vocabulary.   
  • Require students to complete only certain portions of the test 
  • Provide a word bank (write it on the test) 
  • Allow students to choose to answer 5 of 10 questions 
  • Provide multiple choice answers for questions that would normally require students to create an answer 
  • Shorten the length of the required answer
  • For multiple choice, cross out one or two of the incorrect answers
Advanced Students: Accommodated assessments

Accommodated: Use the same test as used for regular education students, but also allow ELL accommodations as outlined on the PSP.

- adapted with permission from Bethlehem Central School District  Delmar, NY 

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