K-12 Title III Directors do incredibly important work in school districts. Ultimately, they are making sure that students who are not native speakers of English will get the support they need to achieve academically in school. They have an additional challenge when working with their funding from the Federal government: "the use of State or subgrantee Title III funds to provide core language instruction educational programs, including providing for the salaries of teachers who provide those core services for LEP students, would violate the supplement not supplant provision in section 3115(g) of the Act, as such services are required to be provided by States and districts regardless of the availability of Federal Title III funds" (http://tinyurl.com/674jla6) Given this requirement, many times school districts find that purchases of research-based materials to shelter instruction that are in addition to their core programs often meet this requirement.
Title III directors want to make sure that classroom teachers are sheltering instruction all day long, not just when teachers are utilizing the district adopted core curriculum. We've put together a great set of 3 materials to help teachers do exactly that:
1) A class set
(30) of dry erase lapboards
How do teachers know if their English Language Learners are comprehending instruction all day long?
They are a must-have for numerous reasons but the most important reason is to build a window into each student’s brain. Pass out the whiteboards, teach and ask a question, and have students hold up their whiteboards. (For example, in a lesson on photosynthesis, have students draw a picture or write a list of what a plant needs to make it’s own food. The teacher immediately knows, by scanning the student responses, who understands the concepts and language they are trying to teach and who does not and what she has to do next. Or in social studies, the teacher can ask students to use the word democracy in a sentence. She immediately finds out where they are and knows what to do next. Whiteboards work for all subject areas and all grade levels. There are infinite ways to use them and I have a short video teachers get access to that tells them how to use them.
2) An Idiom Dictionary
How do teachers teach the over 25,000 idioms in the English language to English Language Learners?
Every teacher needs an idiom dictionary. Research says that idioms are particularly challenging for English Language Learners and need to be explicitly taught.There are some 25,000 idioms in the English language. Idioms are invisible to native English speakers but we use them all the time. For example, think of the idioms, let me cut to the chase and a piece of cake or go the extra mile. They’re in the books, the textbooks and language all around students. They’re in teachers speech and we need to directly teach them. Even if teachers are aware of the idioms in their classroom they are very hard to explain and an idiom dictionary makes it easy to explain them.
3) A Picture Dictionary
How do your teachers pictorially define vocabulary?
In order to function in English, a person needs to know almost 10,000 word families. English Language Learners need accessible picture dictionaries. The picture dictionary is essential, of course, for any newcomers. It is a survival tool for them. Without it they can be lost without the ability to communicate basic needs and understand teacher directions. But having at least one picture dictionary per classroom allows the teacher to use it as a reference. It gives them ideas for ways to pictorially represent content vocabulary and concepts. All she has to do is look at the pictures and it will help her teach the language and concepts to her English Language Learners.
Everyday ELL is now Every Language Learner.