Methods and Strategies: Enhancing Science for ELLsby: Joanne K. Olson, John M. Levis, Roberta Vann, and Katherine Richardson Bruna

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The elementary classroom is changing, and English Language Learners (ELLs) are frequently a part of the mainstream classroom, learning alongside of native English speaking children, even when the ELLs’ language has not yet developed fully. So, teachers need strategies to help build the language and content knowledge of all of their students, making sure that all children have the greatest opportunity possible to succeed in learning science. While there are many strategies that can be helpful to a teacher, the strategies outlined here will allow teachers to both help their non-ELL students and successfully include ELLs in classroom learning opportunities.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (5)
  • on Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:32 AM

The article suggests several fantastic strategies which can help English language learners have a better learning experience in science class, and those strategies also benefit the non-English learner, which can improve the teaching quality of the whole inclusion class. The author focuses on some detailed things which is based on the psychological considerations of the English language learners. For example, the author suggests that the teacher should learn to pronounce the names of ELLs accurately and try to call their names in the class. Therefore, the ELLs will feel that they are included in this class and not invisible, it also will encourage the non-ELLs to get familiar with their classmates. Besides, the author advocates giving the ELLs the opportunity to participate in response or make a contribution in class. The teacher can give students some support such as asking them to practice talking in the group discussion and then share their opinions with the whole class, which will make the ELLs more confident. Moreover, word walls is a good way to support the ELLs, and this strategy will be very helpful for the visual learners who are non-ELLs in the class as well. As far as I am concerned, this is a great article which provides many useful strategies I can use in my future class, especially making the ELLs part of the class. In my class, I will try my best to remember every student’s name and say their names correctly. I also will provide the ELLs and the non-ELLs with the same opportunities to participate in the classroom. However, to help ELLs be more confident in the class, I will give them more targeted support. When they are answering the questions, I will pay more emphasis on their understanding rather than their language using. Besides, I think word walls is an interesting way to use in my class. I can choose the key terms of the lesson and display them in the classroom. With the support of those key terms, I believe the ELLs will grasp and articulate the science concepts better.

Tianyi Ma
Tianyi Ma

  • on Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:31 PM

The article I read dealt with ELL strategies. This is a very important factor in schools today because in some schools over half the population deals with ELL students. The article was entitled Methods and Strategies: Enhancing Science for ELLs by Joanee Olsen. In my opinion the article was very good. It did give specific strategies or ideas. As a teacher, I like learning new strategies because they are very helpful when I am all out of ideas. I am very interested in using the word walls. Many students are visual learners and this will help them a lot. This article was very easy to understand and it would be great use to a first year teacher. I really like the idea on the use of alternative assessments. Many students tend to freeze up when they hear the word test. I agree that assessments do not always have to be on paper, they can be observations. Our schools are increasing the number of ELL students daily and it is going to take plenty of strategies and hard work to get them where they need to be. I will be using these strategies in my own classroom.

Joneshia  (Lufkin, TX)
Joneshia (Lufkin, TX)

  • on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:00 PM

This is yet another article that suggests several important things that one must do when teaching students in which English is their second language. This article addresses a broader stroke than specific strategies. For example, topics include making the learner part of the class; give them opportunities to answer questions orally; use word walls; and more. These authors also suggest several books that might be of help to the teacher. Since most teachers have inclusion classes reading this article would benefit them.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:57 PM

The authors provide a nice introduction to strategies that can help make elementary ELL students feel more comfortable in a science classroom so that they have more confidence in participating. They also explain that this IS an introduction and provide reference books with more details on how to integrate additional learning strategies. The selection provided seems to provide a variety of methods so the reader can choose the one that works best for their instructional methods. The points they make are all valid things for teachers to keep in mind as they plan lessons that allow the entire class to feel included.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:06 PM

This article is a good read and has definitely allowed me to better understand how to teach Science to ELLS. I especially liked the idea of the word wall.


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