Activate students’ background knowledge,
experiences, perceptions, and interests
Make Content Understandable
Making content understandable allows teachers to offer instruction in an ESOL-friendly format while fostering students’ understanding of curriculum content.
Presentation software, video clips,
Elicit Student Responses
Eliciting students’ responses helps teachers perform periodic informal language assessments. You can then use information from these assessments to further
adapt instruction to students’ language proficiency levels and needs.
Strategy 1 4
Request written responses in different formats
such as answers to questions, poetry, news stories,
picture books, letters, skits
Word processor, drawing software, animation
Encourage Interpersonal Communication
All learners need to interact with peers, teachers, and others involved in the learning process, regardless of their language backgrounds. By interacting with
peers, teachers, and others, ELLs can expand their content knowledge while strengthening their English reading and writing skills.
Strategy Possible Technologies 1 4
Exchange written documents such as letters, stories,
dialogue journals, peer feedback
Word processor, wiki, email, blog, discussion forums ✓ ✓
Promote Cross-Cultural Awareness
ELLs arrive with diverse cultural backgrounds. Helping them to develop understanding and appreciation of their adopted country’s culture should not be pursued
at the expense of fostering respect for and maintenance of students’ own cultural identities.
Strategy 1 4
Extend opportunities to conduct interviews with
students from different backgrounds
Audio/video recorder, word processor,
videoconferencing, discussion forum
Combining Activity Types, ESOL Strategies, and Technologies
How might elementary school teachers help students learn science while integrating digital technologies and addressing the needs of both English-speaking
and English-learning students? The table below presents science learning activity types selected for a project about healthy nutrition beside complementary ESOL
teaching strategies that can support ELLs’ language development.
Science Learning Activity Types
Students draw/create images of what they understand about healthy
breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack plates using paper-and-pencil drawings
or drawing software. This helps determine their’ prior knowledge.
Students view a presentation (by the teacher) of some of the information
at the ChooseMyPlate.gov website to become familiar with healthy eating,
dietary guidelines, food groups, and the importance of physical activity.
Students conduct background research about health problems caused by
poor or unbalanced nutrition and present their findings to their peers.
Students play a game (Blast Off at www.usda.gov) as part of a learning
Corresponding ESOL Teaching Strategies
Teachers explain instructions step by step and activate students’ background
knowledge, experiences, perceptions, and interests using digital images and
Teachers analyze curriculum goals and instructional materials before using them
to identify potential comprehension difficulties using website annotation tools.
Teachers provide/construct graphic organizers with words and/or pictures
using concept-mapping software.
Teachers provide tools and resources (dictionary, thesaurus, etc.)
to help students with assignments.
Teachers ask students to do oral presentations, reports, skits, etc.,
using presentation software.
Teachers challenge students slightly beyond their current comprehension
levels using web-based interactive tools.