Updated: Jul 13
How can we help our students continue to practice English when circumstances keep them at home? Here are a few ways you can help!
1. Through Google Classroom Assignments, Flipgrid, or Seesaw Apps.
Even if you haven't used any of these apps often in the past, they are pretty simple and free to set up. It would help if you have time with your students beforehand to make sure they are all set up and understand how the platform works before you assign them any work. All of these tools are a great way to stay in touch and keep the learning going from home. Some ideas for lessons for your ELLs could be giving them a daily discussion that they have to respond to, sharing an article at their level on a current topic and having them write a response, or having them record a video from home about a specific topic you have been talking about in class. Keep it simple for you and for them!
2. Partner them up with another student in the class to practice speaking English over the phone. This would be better suited for older students who have cell phones, but it could be a great way for students to stay connected in an educational way! Give them a daily conversation topic that they have to leave voice messages to that student or they can call them to talk for a few minutes. The key here is to find ways to help them to continue practicing English everyday!
3. Have them record a voice diary on the voice memo app. Create a quick rubric of criteria and requirements and have them save all of them by date. Then, they can email them to you, and you can respond, or they can save them until they return to school.
4. Have them watch TV in English. The day I sat down and watched the news in Spanish and was able to understand what they were saying without translating, was the day I knew that I had become proficient! Getting into the habit of watching tv in the language we are learning can yield powerful results, and we know they will watch tv anyway, so why not encouraging them to get something educational out of it? You can also share websites like Storyline Online, Vooks, or Scholastic with parents as a way for students to listen to stories online in English. Discovery Education is also offering a free subscription right now and would be a valuable tool for students to use!
5. Send home activities to do that can be done without technology or a lot of stress on the parents. You know your students, and you know what will actually be able to get done at home. Some students might not have technology available, or others might be now the babysitters for the rest of their siblings. Part of the support we need to give, is to support them in their circumstances and not place more burdens on them to complete work that we know they won't be able to do!