“Five million children in the U.S. rely on public schools to teach them English, and those kids have been hard hit by online schooling. Children learning English are more likely to struggle in school and drop out.” K. Cardoza, NPR, Feb. 24, 2021
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt:Millions Of Kids Learn English At School. Teaching Them Remotely Hasn’t Been Easy.By Kavitha Cardoza, NPR, Feb. 24, 2021
“A year ago, the kindergartners learning English in Tanya Gan Lim’s class were thriving. Back then, she’d bring in props and pictures to help her students learn the language and sound out words. Then she’d lavish them with praise, even if they stumbled, to build their confidence.
Lim teaches in Prince George’s County Public Schools, just outside Washington, D.C. She is used to planning every minute of class, but that’s harder to do now that class time is punctuated with frozen screens, garbled audio and children wandering away from the camera. Sometimes, her kindergartners don’t have supplies…Needless to say, Lim’s job teaching English has gotten a lot harder during the pandemic. How much harder? Lim laughs and says she can’t quantify it. ‘Maybe 10 times?’
Among the challenges: There are fewer resources for teaching English learners remotely, and many English learners are less likely to have access to technology. Even in a school district like Prince George’s, which has distributed free devices and mobile Wi-Fi units, these children may not have support at home to navigate technology…When children are learning another language, she says, it’s important for them to see nuances of communication, such as facial expressions and other non-verbal signs. But those are also harder to make out on a screen.”
Good Books To Inspire English Language Learners, Mayra Linares, NPR, December 17, 2016
“I grew up speaking Spanish, and I didn’t start learning English until I was in preschool. When it came to books, I struggled — like many ELL students — to connect with characters that didn’t look like me or speak my language…It wasn’t until Ms. Rueckert handed me a biography of Diego Rivera in the fourth grade that my relationship with books changed forever. I started to read for fun and not for a grade…Research shows that reading comprehension in ELL students gets a boost when kids are exposed to culturally relevant books…So, in that spirit, we’ve reached out to experts and scoured the blogs and asked authors what books they’d put in that big room. Here are five great examples.”Mayra Linares, NPR, December 17, 2016
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi and Yangsook Choi
Names are an important part of our identity. Unhei’s classmates show their support as she decides whether to keep her Korean name or choose a completely new American one.
Jalapeno Bagels by Natasha Wing and Robert Casilla
Pablo spends quality time with his Mexican mom and Jewish father learning about their respective cultures through food. Instead of favoring one culture, Pablo chooses to celebrate both.
Maximilian & The Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller by Xavier Garza
Whether it’s read in Spanish or English, Mexican traditions and pop culture shine in this book for older students.
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer
Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Tanya Gan Lim’s class was thriving before the epidemic.
- Back then, she’d bring in props and pictures to help her students learn English.
- Then she’d lavish them with praise.
- Ms. Gan wanted to build their confidence.
- Today, class time is punctuated with frozen screens, and garbled audio.
- Lim’s job teaching English has gotten a lot harder during the pandemic.
- Lim, is a former English learner herself.
- Lim worries about her students when they go to their mainstream classrooms.
- When children are learning another language it’s important for them to see nuances of communication.
- Ninth-grader Jimmy is self-conscious about his English skills.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- A year ago, the kindergartners learning English in Tanya Gan Lim’s class was thriving.
- Lim teaches in Prince George’s County Public Schools.
- She is used to planning every minute of class.
- Sometimes, her kindergartners don’t have supplies.
- Children learning English is more likely to struggle and drop out.
- Children may not have support at home to navigate technology.
- Lim is a former English learner herself.
- Lim worries about her students when they go to their regular, online classes.
- Ninth-grader Jimmy are self-conscious about his English skills.
Identify The Speakers
Directions: Read the following quotes from speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.
- “This year, I only get to interact with my class for 30 minutes and then we log out and that’s it.”
- “He’s like my brother to me. He helped me a lot.”
- “Very few youth in our study could say they had one friend who was an English dominant speaker. Those friendships have been even harder to foster in the age of social distancing.”
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Before the pandemic, how was Tanya Gan Lim able to help her students learn English in the classroom?
- Because of the pandemic, what are some problems Ms. Lim has teaching her students online?
- If you are an ESL teacher or student what challenges do you face with online classes?
- What are some of the challenges of online learning for ESL students?
- Why does Lim worry about her students when they go to their regular online classes?
- Do you think ESL classes will continue online? Why or why not?
Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.