Many teachers worry about their ESL students keeping up with the rest of the class. By integrating a variety of activities that allow your ESL students to learn English in different ways, you can create dynamic lessons that engage all of your students, as well as ensure your ESL students are continuing to learn English and other skills.
Here is a sample lesson:
MATH — Grade 1
Topic: Graphing Shapes (3D shapes review)
Objective: Students will recall 3D shapes and be able to organize countable objects on a simple graph.
Language Objective: Review shape names – cube, cylinder, pyramid, cone, sphere, sides vs. faces; counting
Always include a language objective in your lesson plans. It should tie in directly to the learning objective, and may reflect vocabulary to assist your students in understanding how to do an activity. For example, writing, counting, drawing, etc.
Introduction: Shapes song (youtube)
Review: Using box full of 3D shapes, have students select an object at random. Have them name the shape and try to find an object in the room of the same shape.
Inquiry to segue into objective: How can I find out how many different shapes are in the box?/Why is counting not enough?/Should I sort them? etc…
Use an activity or a video to get your students’ attention and to engage their interest. Always lead with questions so your students think for themselves and don’t learn to just regurgitate facts. This also helps you judge whether your ESL students have the vocabulary for the lesson, and how much they understand. Also, when other students answer your questions, you help the ESL students have a second or third way to get a concept and to follow along with the lesson. Always try to use inquiry with visual cues, so all of your students have the chance to connect the concept to their language learning.
Modeling/Guided Practice: Using interactive whiteboard, have students help organize and count shape objects.
Create a simple graph on the board from the information collected.
Have your students model for each other, and ask students on various ends of the learning spectrum to participate. Perhaps have a stronger student model the first example, and have a struggling student work through the problem by getting help from his or her peers. Always make this a friendly learning environment so that the students don’t feel they need to compete and out-perform each other.
Independent practice/assessment: Students will analyze a picture made from different shapes. They will count the different kinds of shapes and plot the information on the graph.
You might choose to pair ESL students with other students for such a worksheet activity. This can give the ESL student yet another chance to grasp the necessary language.
Wrap-up: (hands-on/promotes engagement) Students who are finished with the worksheet can play with tanagrams on the blue rug. There are examples for them to follow, or they can create their own shapes. (Opportunity here to assess shape names.)
Many teachers understand lesson structure, but they sometimes overlook how easy it can be to incorporate language learning into the process. It doesn’t take that much extra effort, and can save you headaches down the road.
Lesson plan structure adapted from the SIOP lesson. For more information: The SIOP Institute