Engage your ELL students with digital tools! The Corwin Connected Educators series is your key to unlocking the greatest resource available to all educators: other educators. ELL students deserve a classroom environment full of choice, inquiry, and creativity. By blending technology with teaching, your students can thrive. John Spencer’s insights will enable you to • Introduce project-based, differentiated instruction in your ELL classroom • Expand your use of innovative technology • Strengthen your students’ English language skills Being a Connected Educator is more than a set of actions: it’s a belief in the potential of technology to fuel lifelong learning. To explore other books in the series, visit the Corwin Connected Educators website at http://www.corwin.com/connectededucators/. “John Spencer is the kind of teacher that I wish my own kids had and that all students deserve. This book shows clearly and practically how technology can be used to give all students greater choice and a more powerful voice. This book inspired me to rethink my own approach and what I’m planning to do in my classroom tomorrow.” Philip Cummings, 6th Grade Teacher Presbyterian Day School “Spencer provides a clear framework for teachers to help students improve their language skills. A teacher can pick this book up and be provided with specific ideas and techniques which can be implemented in a classroom immediately.” Josh Stumpenhorst, Teacher Lincoln Junior High School Naperville, IL
Chapter 5: Reading
When I first began teaching ELL, I decided I would “teach it like the gifted class.” I would embrace student choice and inquiry. Students would engage in meaningful silent reading before participating in literary circles. If an authentic, choice-driven framework could work for gifted students, why not embrace that framework in an ELL classroom?
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned. Students stared at the screen during the student-driven research projects. They wanted to answer difficult questions but they struggled with the basic comprehension of the complex texts they were reading during research. They struggled with the online literary circles I created. While they enjoyed the student choice, they were often limited by language and vocabulary.
I was tempted, at this point, to abandon this ...