Today I had an opportunity to do one of my favorite things.....visit another school in a neighboring district. Our goal was to observe strategies they are using with their ESL population. We have a growing number of ESL students in our district, and were observing to find strategies to help us close the gap. I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to visit other classrooms! I always learn soooo much! I know we are already doing wonderful things in the school where I teach, but there is always room for growth and new ideas! What better people to learn from than our colleagues! If I can walk away from a site visit with one new fresh idea, I always feel like it was worth it! Guess what... it was worth it! While many of the things I observed, I already knew, sometimes it's nice to have the reminder and refresher and see ideas in action! The following are a few of the strategies these teachers are using with their ESL population that they shared and feel are the most effective:
1. Build background knowledge
2. Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary
3. Slow down your rate of speech
4. Extend wait time
5. Peer conversations (turn and talk)
All of these are things I think we know as teachers, but it is definitely nice to have the refresher and see these strategies in action! In addition to seeing ESL strategies in action, I also picked up a new writing strategy/frame I am anxious to try with my language arts class..... The 3.5 paragraph! Be watching for more information on this writing frame as I try it out in my classroom!