Collaborating to Support ELL Newcomers

Ask any newcomer to recount his or her first day of school, and you will find that the student is able to do so with amazing clarity and vivid detail even years after being in the US. While not the majority of English Language Learners, newcomers include the many immigrants who first enroll in US schools at the middle or high school level, often with limited English proficiency. Armed with notions of what school in America is like based on movies, music, or correspondence from relatives, most newcomers find that no amount of studying could've prepared them for this monumental leap into a strange new world.

Power Point – Media presentation

English Language Learner Students in the CTE Classroom

Nancy K. Melhorn, Career and Technical Resource Educator, Fargo South High School, ND

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This is a Power Point presentation to acquaint teachers with information, strategies and supports for use in the CTE classroom with English Language Learners.


The Role of Language and Literacy in College- and Career-Ready Standards: Rethinking Policy and Practice in Support of English Language Learners.

Alliance for Excellent Education. October 2012.

By definition, the rapidly expanding population of English language learners (ELLs)—students who are in the process of acquiring language proficiency—will now be expected to learn new subject matter. For many, this could prove to be an insurmountable challenge. To aid ELLs in successfully reaching new college-and career-ready goals, teachers, principals, and district and state leaders need to re-envision curriculum, instruction, and assessment to help them access grade-level content while building their new proficiency.

States should ensure appropriate alignment between the English language proficiency standards and the new common core and college-and career-ready standards. Most importantly, leadership and vision are needed to act collectively to provide supportive policies, build educator capacity, and develop effective approaches to English learners’ language and literacy instruction.

An Assessment of the Support Service Needs of Career and Technical Education Teachers and their Students with Limited English Proficiency in Selected Pennsylvania AVT’s.

Chester P. Wichowski, Project Director & Frances Nunez, Research Associate, Nov. 2005. College of Education, Temple University.

A survey was conducted among a population of 350 Career and Technical Education ,CTE, teachers from 12 Career Technical Education Centers, CTC, sites in seven counties throughout Pennsylvania (return rate= 64%). The participating schools demographic settings, which were selected by the respondents, were closely divided between rural (37.9%) and suburban (39.8%) settings. The remainder of the respondents (22.3%) classified their school setting as urban. The number of different occupational areas taught by respondents was 56. The total number of Limited English Proficient, LEP, students taught by CTE teachers responding to the survey was 448 (283 male, and 165 female).


Teaching English Language Learners in Career and Technical Education Programs (Teaching English Language Learners Across the Curriculum) [Paperback]

Author: Victor M. Hernández-Gantes

Exploring the unique challenges of vocational education, this book provides simple and straightforward advice on how to teach English Language Learners in today's Career and Technical Education programs. The authors' teaching framework and case studies draw from common settings in which career and technical educators find themselves working with ELLs—in the classroom, in the laboratory or workshop, and in work-based learning settings. By integrating CTE and academic instruction, and embedding career development activities across the curriculum, readers will gain a better understanding of the challenges of teaching occupationally-oriented content to a diverse group of learners in multiples settings.


Education Week: Spotlight on English –Language Learners in the Classroom

Published January 12, 2012, in Education Week Quality Counts

One out of every five children now enrolled in American public schools speaks a language other than English at home. The Spotlight focuses on ways to meet English-Language Learners’ needs, including teacher professional development, early detection of dropout, and what the new common-core standards mean for ELL students.

Support English-Language Learners with Scannable Technology

Interactive Word Walls: Word walls in your classroom can be useful resources for students who know where to go when they're figuring out how to spell a frequently-used word. Many classrooms also have word walls that are specific to the content areas, with words that connect to units of study in social studies or science. If you place a QR code next to the word or turn the word itself into an AR trigger using Aurasma or Layar, students can scan and learn more about each word on the word wall. This could be as simple as an audio clip to hear the word pronounced in English, or a text message that shows it translated into another language.

Scannable Vocabulary Lists: Another way to approach vocabulary support is to create personalized vocabulary lists for students. This is great for middle school and high school classrooms that might not have a word wall. It's a good option for students who keep a list of words that you've given them in their folder or notebook. They can scan a QR code or AR trigger and connect to multimedia that will help them place a word in context. This could be a picture of a coral reef or a video showing the tundra.

Build Background Knowledge: Before reading a story to your class or starting a new unit of study, you may want to send home information that can help students and their families set the stage for learning. You can locate multimedia resources like articles, video clips, or images that are in your students' home languages. Kids then scan the QR codes to locate information that will help them learn about a topic before you jump into instruction. This can boost their confidence as they prepare to participate in class discussions, and build their background knowledge to aid in academic success.

Audio vs. Written Directions: Some of your ELLs may be conversationally fluent in English but struggle with reading in this language. In addition to giving them written directions in English, you can provide a QR code on an activity sheet or homework assignment that will link to a URL where they can hear the directions read aloud for them. You may decide to try this strategy if your students are stronger readers and you want them to practice their listening skills. Another option is to provide audio directions for students in their native language so that they can focus on the task at hand rather than struggle with following written directions.

Connect Families to Resources: I've shared some of the ways that educators can connect with families using scannable technology, and this strategy can also be used with the parents and caregivers of ELLs. If these students come to your school with limited language proficiency, their families might also be struggling to understand English. Distributing long newsletters or links to a website might not be an efficient way of reaching these parents. Try sending home QR codes that link to video messages in their home language. You can demonstrate how to scan QR codes at an open school night, or children who use scannable technology at school can come home and show their parents how it works.

Scannable technology can be a powerful tool for supporting ELLs. Students will benefit from having quick access to extra resources. It's a fantastic way to empower children by giving them the information they need at their fingertips to be successful during their school day.

Technology (Instructional)

Support English-Language Learners with Scannable Technology

Monica Burns, Author & Speaker, ADE, Founder of
Scannable technology provides opportunities for students to quickly and easily interact with a variety of content. In a differentiated classroom, children should have access to resources and support materials that will push them toward success. This could be a tool to help them make meaning of the content being taught in a lesson, or it could be resources to help them gather background information before starting a new unit of study. Differentiation should happen for students who are approaching and exceeding grade-level benchmarks, for children who have special needs, and for English-language learners (ELLs).

ELLs can be supported by a variety of tech tools. This includes scannable technology like quick response (QR) codes and augmented reality (AR) triggers. I've shared some of the reasons that I love using scannable technology with students. Children can use any type of smart device like an iPad or Galaxy that is loaded with an app like i-nigma or Layar. When they scan the appropriate QR code or AR trigger, kids will instantly connect to content picked out by their teacher, including resources they need for academic success. Here are a few ways that scannable technology can support ELLs in your classroom.


Guidelines of Quality and Effectiveness for English Learner Authorization Programs for Career/Technical Education Teachers (SB 1292): A Handbook for Educator Preparation Programs.

Commission on Teacher Credentialing. July 2008

Based on survey returns, it was determined that the ELL enrollment pattern at CTC’s was considerably less than the expected 10% or greater reported by census data. For example, in the seven counties surveyed, the average percentage of Pennsylvania county households with individuals 5 years of age and older who spoke a language other than English at home as reported in the 2000 Census was 12.9%; while the average percentage of English Language Learners, ELL, students reported in the survey of CTC’s in the same counties was only 3.7%.