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Teaching Newcomers in Content Classes - So What's It Look Like?

I know I have been focused on newcomers and beginning English learners for a while now.  There is so much to consider.  So many conversations we need to have.  So little time.  Teaching English learners is HUGE.  This week, I stay with the theme and I promise next week I will get back to best practices with something you can do with vocabulary (word level) at any age level.

Last week I wrote about grading and the idea that students with beginning English proficiency can only reasonably access a portion of the lesson content with supports.  I know, it's interesting in theory, but what does it look like in a classroom?  Today I will share one example of what I would do on any given day and my thinking behind it.  I don't claim that my way is the best or only way, because honestly it's a day to day dance of how much students can handle based on many factors such as time, background knowledge, the complexity of the content, and....well....the...

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Preventing Seclusion – A peek into a classroom that’s working

I have the pleasure of working part-time in a high school newcomer program.  It’s not easy to promote inclusion and prevent their being isolated, especially with newcomers who are just beginning to learn English.  When I started in this position, I learned that a group of my students are in theater class, and my role would be to provide classroom support. I have to admit, I know how shy newcomers can be, so I wondered how that was going to work.  Now, I can tell you, it doesn’t just work.  They are flourishing.

I’ve spent some time thinking about what works for the students in this class.  Why are they so different in this class?  Risk takers.

Here’s what I’ve noticed.

Classroom Culture – This class is full of students who take risks.  It’s theater.  Students know they need to adapt and adjust to be successful.  The culture of theater is group success and the students do look out for each...

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