Every good lesson is built on what students know. By providing ELLs (English language learners) with unique learning experiences, activities and assessments, each student can reach his/her potential.
Conducting ongoing formal and informal pretests is crucial for customizing lessons and ultimately, making learning fun. These assessments should give an overview of who can read, speak and write and to what degree. When teachers know key areas of need, they can then use that knowledge to plan engaging lessons consisting of language based tasks.
Use Pre-test Results to Plan Lessons
Pre-test results determine what areas to teach and review. English language learners typically need practice in decoding, vocabulary and early reading skills. With younger ELLs, oral instruction is the perfect method for creating and sustaining interest; teachers can use their body language and voice in addition to using songs, poems, jazz chants, role plays, dialogues.
“Get to Know You” Activities
Pre-assess students using “get to know you” activities “Get to know you” activities help assess what students actually know, which determines instruction. One type of pre-assessment activity includes ten or five minute oral, reading and writing questionnaires. Teachers might also consider distributing a questionnaire on learning styles and preferences to acquire a more well-rounded class profile. Classroom observations are one form of pre-assessment. By using the results of these pre-assessments, teachers can also decide which skills are critical for supporting the language learning needs of ELLs
Use Results of Pretests to Engage English Language Learners
Start by deciding on a variety of language learning tasks that motivate, challenge and engage students. Expand on some of the textbook activities which may not be so interesting.
Decide what students need to accomplish the tasks successfully. If the teaching goal for example, is to have students understand a short text on ladybugs, start by preteaching some of the targeted vocabulary. If the targeted learning goal is for ELLs to research information on endangered animals, they need to know how to effectively summarize research articles.
Decide also how to engage lower-middle-higher performing groups using one or more of the differentiated teaching techniques such as group work, pair work, individualization for each of the skills that is applicable to the curriculum and for meeting the needs of students.