In an earlier post, I wrote about English Language Learners (ELLs) and how the timing of their entry into an English speaking school would impact their acquisition of the English language.
l. It takes about 1-2 years for ELLs to acquire the Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills. Examples of this type of communication include the use of survival language, everyday language, and language that students engage in to communicate with their friends and family. Namely, the language of social situations;
2. It takes, on average, 5-7 years in an English speaking environment to acquire the academic language that is used in subject areas in school, such as math, English, Science, Social Studies, Music, Art, Drama, Healthy Living and the more in-depth courses in high school and university.
For example, the following words would be considered academic language because they are not often used in every day peer to peer conversations: Krebs Cycle, Periodic Table, altimeter, differentiation, calculus, Proletariat, Democracy, Autocracy, dictatorship, mean/medium/mode, and crescendo to name a few; and
3. On average, students acquire oral communication skills first, followed by reading skills and then, finally, with writing skills.
To help support ELLs in their language acquisition a number of resources are available to students and their families.
A number of public libraries have both hardcopy and digital, online resources to help support learning English. Check with your local library for dual language books. These books contain two languages while telling a story. One language is English, while the second language is other than English. (for example: Chinese, Urdu, Spanish, Russian, German, Polish, Italian, etc.).
The online digital tool provides access to a language learning tool in over 70+ languages. This tool allows English speakers to learn a different language, while also allowing ELLs to learn English. This tool is accessed through the use of a personal library card. In Ontario, the online tool is called: Mango Languages. As of the writing of this blog, this program is licensed to the public libraries. Check with the local library to see if it is available.
This site is described as “A bilingual site for educators and families of English language learners”. While the bilingual piece is related to Spanish speakers in the USA, the concepts and principles are universal. From ELL Basics and teaching ELLs, to School supports, videos and multiple other resources (including a ‘For Families’ section), this site is a wealth of information. Perhaps somewhat heavy on the teaching side of things, this site was often a go-to one for me. Notwithstanding its teacher/school slant, there are many opportunities for families of ELLs to explore resources.
Interactive Math Related Websites
The following list of websites, and their quoted descriptions, is just a small sampling of what is available.
The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is an NSF supported project that began in 1999 to develop a library of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction (K-12 emphasis). The project includes dissemination and extensive internal and external evaluation.
ALERT: you will need Java software enabled on the computer in order to run the manipulatives
Great place to go for free online interactive games.
NOTE: be careful when clicking on some of the links because google has its advertising units that look VERY similar to the website. J You can tell the difference two ways: 1. You will see a very small triangular shaped icon in the upper right hand corner of the ad; and 2. When you mouse over an ad, you can see the URL in the tool bar – bottom left hand side.
“This multimedia resource includes interactive math activities, print activities, learning strategies, and videos that illustrate how math is used in everyday life. The resource addresses the following mathematics topics: Fractions; Integers; Percentages; Rate/Ratio/Proportion; Square Roots; Exponents; Patterns; Algebra; Linear Equations; Polynomials; Angles; Circles; Surface Area and Volume; Area and Perimeter; Triangles; Pythagoras; Trigonometry; Similarity and Congruence; Transformations; Shape Classification; Data Display and Graphs; Central Tendency and Distribution; and Probability.”
“All of the best K-5 online, interactive, educational games and simulations in one place! “ Needs flash.
“IntMath aims to interest and educate people in the joys of mathematics. It does so by providing clear examples, relating things to the "real world" and providing interactive applets that allow the user to explore mathematical concepts…”
Interactive Vocabulary Related Websites
1200 high frequency words-important to know how to spell and write
1200 high frequency words-important to know how to spell and write – by GRADE
Looks like a website that has everything you ever wanted to know about grammar.
Great resources for helping ELLs learn English.
Grammar related website with extensive resources, practice exercises, including downloadable and online.
The above references are a starting point. Watch for the next post that will include digital technology supports to help ELLs in their steps towards proficiency in English.
Let us know your thoughts, comments and views on ELL learning in Ontario Schools by replying to this blog or contact us by email. We look forward to your replies!