Nov. 22, 2022

From The Archives: Supporting English Language Learners In Your Classroom - E055

From The Archives: Supporting English Language Learners In Your Classroom - E055

In this episode, we are exploring the ways that you can leverage technology to support the English language learners in your classroom. We'll cover tech tools such as Google Read&Write and Mote, as well as some general tips and strategies for designing an inclusive and safe learning environment for your students.

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Featured Content
**For detailed show notes, please visit our website at**

Common Acronyms:

  • ELL - English Language Learner
  • ESL - English as a Second Language
  • EAL - English as an Additional Language
  • STEP - Steps to English Proficiency
  • OLB - Observable Language Behaviours
  • OLLB - Observable Language and Literacy Behaviours

Overall Tips and Strategies:

  • Use first languages (these are a strength and asset for learning)
  • Integrate culture where possible and use lived experiences when designing resources
  • Understand the difference between conversational and academic language
  • Just because speaking is strong, it doesn’t mean reading/writing are the same - survival 
  • Don't make assumptions! Not all multilingual learners can read/write in their first language or have that specific knowledge in their first language
  • Learn how to pronounce student names properly (use tech tools to support your learning)
  • Use images and student-friendly definitions to reduce cognitive load
  • Differentiation is needed! Check out the Modern Classrooms Project framework
  • Scaffolding using sentence stems and frames

Resources Mentioned:

Recommended Tech Tools:

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Connect with EduGals:


[00:01:04] Overthrowing Education: Hi, I'm Boche Frankel from Overthrowing Education, a part of the Education Podcast Network. Just like the show you are listening to now, shows on the network are individually owned and opinions expressed, may not reflect others. Find other interesting education

[00:01:29] Rachel: Welcome to the Edge of Gals podcast. We are your cohost, Rachel 

[00:01:33] Katie: Johnson and Katie Atwell. We are here to bring you tips and tricks to help you integrate technology into your classroom.

[00:01:44] Rachel: In this episode, Katie and I are going to explore how to support our English language learners in our classrooms. 

[00:01:52] Katie: We're going to give you some different suggestions as well as some different tech tools that you can use to really help with language acquisition. Let's get started[00:02:04]

[00:02:07] Rachel: this week, Katie. Thought it would be a really good idea to talk a bit about supporting our English language learners and their language acquisition, cuz we've talked about it a few times on the podcast before in various different episodes. So we did really wanna dedicate a full episode just to this learning.

[00:02:26] Rachel: Yes, 

[00:02:27] Katie: as many of you know, I am very passionate about teaching English as a second language or an additional language. So we thought we would kind of bring my two passions together, technology and English language learners. And Rachel has just recently done some learning. 

[00:02:42] Rachel: Yeah, so I just finished my additional qualifications in.

[00:02:46] Rachel: Okay, let me, let me get the full name of it. I think it's teaching English Language Learners part one. So I just finished that and I actually took that through York University and I have to say I really appreciated their sort of style with [00:03:04] additional qualifications. I don't appreciate their platform, their platform's, crap, if I can say crap on our, our podcast, but.

[00:03:12] Rachel: I did appreciate it because they, they actually went through and basically an un grading style and so all the learning I'm kind of doing about un grading, it was just pass or fail. And I have to say it's the most relaxed I felt taking an AQ course, even though I still kind of wanted to know how I was doing.

[00:03:30] Rachel: Yeah. I 

[00:03:31] Katie: took my reading through York and so I felt the same way. So it's this like, this fear of not having the number or the mark to kind of keep me motivated, but the feedback that I had from my teacher was still really good, and so kind of kept me on that track. But it was definitely a new experience for me.

[00:03:49] Katie: I've never done a course 

[00:03:50] Rachel: without a mark. Yeah. And I, I really liked it, and I know we're getting off topic here, so we'll, we'll get back to the English language learners in a second, but just with the learning I've been doing around UN grading, I think going through that [00:04:04] experience was so beneficial for me because now I can take that and know how I felt going through it and, and take that forward and in my practice.

[00:04:14] Rachel: Yeah, I loved it. 

[00:04:15] Katie: So, um, as we get started, we'll kind of lay out some of the common acronyms that we use here in Ontario just to kind of help our listeners follow along. We use ELL to describe the person. So an English language learner. I know right now there are a lot of different terms to describe it.

[00:04:33] Katie: So multilingual learners. Tends to be one that is used quite extensively in a lot of the, the circles where we talk about this sort of stuff. Ontario, we still use that ELL terminology. Uh, we also use ESL as the program, English as a second language, although arguably many of them have third and fourth languages.

[00:04:54] Katie: So I've heard, uh, English as an additional language. As a way to refer to the program as well, which I think is definitely more accurate in [00:05:04] terms of how we could describe the program, because many of our students come with more than one language. So what would 

[00:05:09] Rachel: that be? E A L 

[00:05:11] Katie: E A L. English as an additional language.

[00:05:14] Katie: Nice. Yeah, which I like better, but currently in curriculum and ministry, we still refer to it as e esl, so that's that. Um, the other thing that we use quite often is called the step continuum, where step stands for, uh, steps to English proficiency, and it really kind of gives you a snapshot as to where the students are in terms of language and literacy education, which opens it up to the fact that we have two different continua, one that we refer to as o L.

[00:05:46] Katie: and one that is O L L B. And so you're probably wondering what those are. So I should tell you that. So that is the observ observable language behaviors, as well as the observable language and literacy behaviors. So the difference there is the O L L [00:06:04] B is for students who are coming from backgrounds with limited formal education or perhaps gaps in their formal education.

[00:06:12] Katie: And so they're not great appropriate l. In their first language. So lots of different, uh, students that we have in our classrooms and in our different program areas. And so it's, it's important to kind of understand some of the possibilities for a lot of the, the people who are in your classroom. 

[00:06:29] Rachel: And then the O L B is for.

[00:06:32] Rachel: The rest of our students, so the rest of our English language learners, the ones who haven't had gaps in their schooling or disruptions to their prior schooling. So they're more for those students who have a good understanding in their first language so they can read and write and speak. Very well at sort of that academic level for their first language and they're now learning English.

[00:06:57] Katie: Yeah. And so that's important because it means they, they already have skills and strategies that they can pull from in order to [00:07:04] help guide them in their language learning for English. Whereas the ones who, um, do not have literacy in first language, you know, they're kind of developing that at the same time as English.

[00:07:14] Katie: So it's, it's, it's very different. And I've taught both and love them both. So, uh, you're just using different strategies, which is kind of 

[00:07:23] Rachel: neat. And I have to say, I'm so proud that I understand everything you're talking about, and I feel like I can contribute to the conversation , because I understand a lot of these.

[00:07:34] Rachel: Different terminologies and the continua and the steps and just those definitions and how they all interrelate together. So if you haven't taken that aq, if you're on Ontario, I would highly recommend it. Even if you don't plan on ever teaching just the ESL courses or the, and within the ESL program, because I have to say what I've.

[00:08:01] Rachel: From that AQ gives me a much better [00:08:04] understanding of my English language learners in my mainstream classes. 

[00:08:08] Katie: Yeah, and and the reality is that they are in mainstream classes and a lot of strategies that you will get from a course like that, it's really gonna help every single one of your learners, not just your English language learners.

[00:08:21] Katie: So it, it, but it kind of gives you that perspective and that understanding of, of perhaps where they're at and where their struggles are and how you can support them. 

[00:08:30] Rachel: Yeah, I, I would equate it with taking your special education part one, you may not ever plan to teach in special education, but the strategies you learn from there, again, that benefits all of your students.

[00:08:42] Rachel: So I think those two kind of go hand in hand. And really they should be taught in teachers. I don't know why they aren't required courses as you're going through. Yeah. 

[00:08:53] Katie: I think there's been such a shift in population and immigration that we really do need to make that a mandatory course, right? Like we're all going to interact with, with English [00:09:04] language learners at some level, and so why are we.

[00:09:07] Katie: Not preparing new teachers for the reality. Yeah, for sure. So on that note, we thought that we would talk about how you can support English language learners in your classroom technology and otherwise, and just to kind of share some little tidbits that, uh, we've learned 

[00:09:24] Rachel: along the way. Yeah. So Katie's gonna be our wealth of knowledge here.

[00:09:29] Katie: No, you have a wealth of knowledge too. 

[00:09:32] Rachel: I'm, I'm getting there, but I'm, I'm a lot further behind, obviously in my learning around language acquisition than 

[00:09:39] Katie: you are. Yeah. I'm language all day every day. Right. Even when I was teaching Spanish, it's teaching a language, so it's, it's kind of neat that, uh, I love teaching language.

[00:09:48] Katie: I don't know. I'm a nerd. 

[00:09:49] Rachel: It actually goes back to what you have said before in other podcast episodes that we are all language teachers. Yeah, we really are. Whether it's teaching English or teaching another language, or even in science, like it's a whole other language because [00:10:04] there's a ton of vocabulary that goes into it.

[00:10:06] Rachel: So yeah, I, I really like that seeing and, and that one stuck with me, um, since you mentioned it. Yeah. It 

[00:10:12] Katie: really is like no matter what course you think of, There is such specialized vocabulary, like even math, like take a look at the words that you use on a daily basis in a math classroom. It really is like a different language, and so it's kind of shifting your mindset from, you know, this, wow, math is universal.

[00:10:32] Katie: Well, Yes and no. It's maybe numbers and, and being able to see them, but the language that they use to kind of describe math and the word problems and the things that you put into it, it really is a different language. So it's just kind of making you more aware and, and think about the words you use and, and how you can make them accessible for all of the students in your classroom.

[00:10:54] Rachel: Yeah, and I think that kind of then goes to really kind of understanding that difference between the types. Language that we even use on a day to day [00:11:04] basis. So you've got your conversational language and your English language learners are probably more proficient there because that's just something that they're using constantly on a day to day basis versus your academic language, which you know, they're not gonna be probably as proficient in because it is very sort of specific to those particular academic kind.

[00:11:30] Rachel: Subjects. So that's also, I think something really important to keep in mind is when you're looking at the language in your course, like what if it is conversational, what if it is academic and, and how you can kind of support both 

[00:11:43] Katie: as well. And just because a student can speak and understand what you're saying, please don't make assumptions about their reading and writing because they could sound like a native speaker.

[00:11:54] Katie: But that's all about survival, right? When you're a student in the school system and you're wandering around in a country, you need to be able to communicate in that language. And so [00:12:04] speaking, that is going to be a survival skill that for many of our students, kicks in more quickly than the reading and writing.

[00:12:10] Katie: And you know, I have young children. And so my kids will come home and they read in English, and I support them in their reading instruction and their writing and whatnot. But not all families have that. And so it's important to remember that they, they probably may not have extra English literacy support at home.

[00:12:30] Katie: They don't have somebody to help them sound out words or correct them when they're making errors or to take a look at their writing and, and tell them about their spelling or grammar. So don't make assumptions based. How a student sounds. Get to know them. 

[00:12:44] Rachel: Yeah, for sure. I think that definitely a very valid point.

[00:12:47] Rachel: I even think about my proficiency in French is, is pretty bad. , I, I only took French up to, actually, I took it up to grade 11, but in grade 11 I had a teacher that I didn't mesh with very well. And so I ended up dropping the [00:13:04] course and, you know, for me for being a highly academic student, like that was

[00:13:09] Rachel: Yeah, that was so weird. But I think about even, you know, I know some key phrases and some survival type things that I can get away with if I'm, you know, visiting a French speaking country. But I, I think about, you know, my ability in speaking, reading and writing, and they all vary so much. Like I can read.

[00:13:31] Rachel: For sure. Then I can write, because I think reading, it's just about like deciphering what you're looking at versus writing. You have to like think about all the grammar structures and writing it down versus speaking it, and I, I don't speak it very well at all, so, Even that in my own kind of experience is so varied across those three streams.

[00:13:52] Katie: And you know when you're literate in your first language and you can look at another language and kind of pick it apart based on things that are similar or things that you might recognize, that's huge. But then go that next step and [00:14:04] think about students who are coming from no literacy and looking at words on a page like they don't.

[00:14:10] Katie: That extra language to kind of pull from and they don't have, you know, that sort of understanding of structure and writing, right? So, you know, just because a student can speak, just, you know, check in, see how they're doing, check with, you know, if you have an ESL lead teacher or even the ESL core level teachers and, and, and check in to see, you know, what is the student really good.

[00:14:33] Katie: What should I support them with? Yeah, so, uh, we thought that we would share some different tools that can definitely be used to support these learners in your classroom. Uh, there are many out there, and we'll kind of focus on the ones that I guess we're allowed to use within our board and that we know best.

[00:14:52] Katie: So the first one is Google Read and Write. We've spoken about this one before. We've talked about this one. And with respect to, to students. Individualized education plans who need that extra [00:15:04] accommodation and, and this one is actually great for our multilingual 

[00:15:08] Rachel: learners as well. Yeah, there's some really neat tools in there.

[00:15:11] Rachel: So I automatically kind of think of, you know, highlighting a word and then you can look up the definition, you can go to the picture dictionary, you can translate it. So there's lots of really great features within Google. Write, read, and write for sure. Just even. Trying to decipher some of that language that's on 

[00:15:31] Katie: the page.

[00:15:32] Katie: If you are in a mainstream classroom and you want them to write a report, but perhaps their writing and typing isn't so great, the option of voice to text is definitely an appropriate accommodation. And so what you can actually have them do is to open a doc and do this voice to text and they can speak into their computer and it will write what they.

[00:15:53] Katie: And then they can go back and insert all of their punctuation or depending on how comfortable they are, they can say the punctuation throughout. But it's, it's a good way to kind of [00:16:04] scaffold in writing activities for these learners that are still kind of on that language journey and getting comfortable with writing in English.

[00:16:13] Rachel: Not only that, I think it's, it might be important to point out, and you can tell me if I'm totally off on the wrong track here, Katie, but using the first language, So maybe your students are very sort of at the beginning sort of steps. So step one or two out of our six step levels within our sort of framework that we work within.

[00:16:35] Rachel: But they're only just starting to begin learning English. So maybe that voice to text is in their first language first. And that's totally fine. Make use of their first language because you gotta think like, this is how they're thinking and engaging with your curriculum. And just because it's not in English doesn't mean it's not 

[00:16:56] Katie: valuable.

[00:16:56] Katie: No, I actually, and, and I do this even in my English classroom, so it's a matter of, Hey, we're gonna brainstorm some ideas. I don't [00:17:04] care what language you brainstorm in, right? It's if we need to take some time to translate some key phrases that come to mind, because you only know it in your first. Like I value that you, you had that knowledge to begin with.

[00:17:16] Katie: I don't care what form it comes out in. So if it comes out in your first. Perfect. Write it down. And it's also, if you show that you value that, you'd be amazed at how much more open these students are and how much, much more willing they are to take risks because they see that their teacher is willing to let them work in another language and embrace it.

[00:17:38] Rachel: I think it's, there's a big misconception out there too that. You know, they should be learning in English, so everything must be done in English. And it doesn't need to be no, like, like you said, value their first language. If, if that's where they wanna put their initial thoughts down in first. That's okay.

[00:17:57] Rachel: Yeah, and I think we just, we really need to state that as that is okay. Yeah. 

[00:18:02] Katie: And to be honest, it doesn't even matter [00:18:04] where they are in the step continuum, because at the end of the day, like if they're new to Canada, but maybe a step five, but they've done all their learning in their first language and they have some knowledge of that subject area, let them still rely on that knowledge they have.

[00:18:18] Katie: There is value in the education they already bring with them and their lived experiences. So don't you know. Look at, uh, the use of the first language as a weakness. If anything, they're pulling that strength and what they already bring with them and, and sharing that 

[00:18:35] Rachel: with you. Yeah, and that's what, what I really appreciated about the course and the way that a lot of the literature around language acquisition is based is look at it.

[00:18:46] Rachel: The strengths and the assets that students are bringing and learn how to leverage those to help them gain acquisition in English. So, 

[00:18:55] Katie: I mean, there's a lot of different things, but Google Read and Write is a great start, right? One of the things you can also do is, I mean, offer Google, read and write for [00:19:04] everyone.

[00:19:04] Katie: You can create vocabulary lists right from it. Like there's a lot of great things you can do. Make sure that you're, you're kind of being consistent. So if you're going to let them look up pictures, so in a picture dictionary, why not use some of those images in your lessons? So if you're creating either a text, like a lecture or a reading, or slides, whatever, incorporate some of those images throughout to help with visual cues, just to kind of keep them on track because it can be exhausting to learn in another.

[00:19:35] Katie: You know, your brain is constantly processing and at some points of acquisition, you're still thinking in your first language or trying to translate into your first language. Like my university was all in Spanish. I am not a native Spanish speaker, so sitting in a class for two to three hours with a prof who only speaks Spanish, you know, at first, I'm not gonna lie, I was thinking and just translating right away into English and trying to make sense of it before, you know, I had the fluency to be able to keep up and start [00:20:04] thinking in Spanish as well, but, You, you really need these visual cues to kind of help it be less exhausting for your students because the processing 

[00:20:13] Rachel: time is huge and I think that's why I ended up dropping French in grade 11 is because my grade 11 French teacher.

[00:20:21] Rachel: She only spoke French in class, and it was just such a huge cognitive load on me that I wasn't getting the kind of grades that I expected of myself. And so maybe some of those un greeting practices might have helped me learn a little bit more. And yeah, so it was just, yeah, sitting in class and trying to process what she was saying.

[00:20:45] Rachel: Just, it frustrated me so much that I 

[00:20:48] Katie: gave up. And now imagine being like a 90 student in your home country coming to Canada, sitting in these classes where typically you might be strong, but here because of the cognitive load of that language process. You're not getting the marks that [00:21:04] you used to get and, and it's, you know, it's a really kind of, it's a self-esteem hit and a confidence hit too.

[00:21:10] Katie: It's, it's just such a whirlwind. 

[00:21:12] Rachel: It is. And I think that's where having a really good understanding of who your students are and really, really getting to know them and know what their strengths are and how to leverage those in your classroom are gonna. So beneficial to helping those students acquire the 

[00:21:28] Katie: language.

[00:21:29] Katie: Another tool, which I think we've all heard of before, is Google Translate and they actually have an extension and I find the extension helpful. So if students are allowed to get the extension in your board or district, Let them add that to their Chrome browser, because what that will actually do is it will allow them to translate, Google meets Gmail, everything into their first language, and so if they turn on closed captions in your class and you happen to be doing a Google meet, like my students, even though I was speaking English, it was showing up on their screen in [00:22:04] Chinese.

[00:22:04] Katie: Or Turkish or whatever their first language is, and so they could connect what I am saying to their first 

[00:22:12] Rachel: language. Yeah, that's a great way of just decreasing that cognitive load for them right away. So instead of processing and trying to translate the language in their heads, you're bringing it down a little bit so that.

[00:22:24] Rachel: They're seeing the translation already, and then they can focus on the content and not necessarily on just trying to figure out what the heck you're saying. 

[00:22:32] Katie: Yep. And Google translates great because if they're using just, you know, the Google Translate site, they can actually speak into the computer. And it will write it for them.

[00:22:42] Katie: And then also do a translation. So if you have students who aren't litter enough to be literate enough to be able to type in their first language, they, they don't have that barrier or that inability to get that language translation, and then they just click the little speaker and it will speak it out loud in their first language or English or whichever.

[00:23:01] Katie: So, As much as I try to [00:23:04] hesitate from having my students use Google Translate, there are times and places where it 

[00:23:09] Rachel: is appropriate. And I don't know if you heard this, this was one of the announcements at the Anywhere school event, but I know you were saying they use Google Translate in Google Meet, but I know that Live Auto translated captions are gonna be coming to Google Meet.

[00:23:26] Rachel: I don't know what the release date is, but that'll be handy that it's already built in then to Google Meet versus having to use an extra extension. Yeah, 

[00:23:35] Katie: no, that's fantastic. I'm glad to hear that and that will definitely help support many of our learners, especially if we end up remote at any point again, which hopefully crossing my fingers and knocking on wood, we do not

[00:23:47] Katie: Yeah, 

[00:23:47] Rachel: we'll, we'll see how that goes. . 

[00:23:51] Katie: Another option I wanted to give, it's another dual language dictionary or translator, um, but it just does it by phrase or by word, word reference. When I was teaching Spanish, this was the one that I would always give to my students, [00:24:04] and so I actually brought it into my ESL classroom and it's actually pretty accurate.

[00:24:09] Katie: What I love about this tool is you can look up a word. , but it gives you the translations and definitions in multiple contexts. And this is super important because one word in English could have like 4, 5, 6 different meanings. And so it really gives students the opportunity to critically think about what they're reading.

[00:24:30] Katie: Look at context and find the right definition, and that's a huge part of learning a 

[00:24:35] Rachel: language. Yeah, I like that. Especially given that there are so many words in English that have multiple different meanings and even. You know, as my son is starting to acquire some language and vocabulary as he's growing up, you know, even he doesn't understand why some words are used in multiple different contexts.

[00:24:57] Rachel: So that's pretty cool. I've never seen this tool before, so I'm kind of excited to dive in and explore a little [00:25:04] bit more. 

[00:25:04] Katie: Yeah, this one is definitely one of my, And they do have an extension and an app for phones as well. So there's lots of kind of different ways that it can be used, but um, definitely something that kind of promotes acquisition a little more in the sense that you have to do a little more thinking about it and, and it's making sure it's accurate based on context.

[00:25:26] Katie: So, yeah, definitely one to consider. All right. 

[00:25:28] Rachel: I, I'm bringing one myself. I 

[00:25:30] Katie: know. I'm excited. , 

[00:25:33] Rachel: I'm excited too because I can actually contribute to the, the conversation a little bit. The one that I wanna talk about is something that's circulated on Twitter a few times, and it's from Jake Miller. Who we had on, I think it was, what episode was that?

[00:25:49] Rachel: 49 or 51. We'll link it in our show notes anyway and you can go back and take a listen if, if you want to. But the tool that I wanna talk about is translations in Google Sheets. And so he's got a really great [00:26:04] edgy gift that goes through how to do this in Google Sheets, and so we'll add that link in our show notes.

[00:26:11] Rachel: But what's really neat is you could use this for creating vocabulary lists really quickly with your students. So they could write down the words maybe in their first language, and then translate them to English very quickly just with the use of a formula or vice versa. So maybe it's a set of words in English that they're picking out from whatever lesson or whatever you're working on, and then they could list them all in one column and then translate them into their first language.

[00:26:39] Rachel: So you could use it either, either way. Yep. 

[00:26:41] Katie: And so this is great if you're doing like vocab lists, like one great suggestion is, you know, with your whole class, create a vocabulary list for all of the important terms. You can have student friendly definitions and then you can. One column for each of the different languages that are represented in your classroom.

[00:27:00] Katie: And then you have this whole classroom resource and it [00:27:04] gives a little bit of pride and value in, in all of the different languages that are 

[00:27:07] Rachel: represented. I like that actually. And I, I really like that. So have one list that's crowdsourced as a classroom. Yeah. Cause then it's showing that representation of different cultures within your class as well.

[00:27:21] Rachel: So if you're wanting to find ways to really kind of honor that and make your classroom more inclusive, like that's a really quick and easy way of 

[00:27:29] Katie: doing it. And it also makes it so that, um, one of the accommodations that we often allow students to have is a dual language dictionary. Why not let them bring in this dual language vocabulary list that you have crowdsourced and created as a group?

[00:27:44] Katie: Because first of all, you know the word is going to be represented, whereas many dual language dictionaries are hit and mess, especially context. And so you now have this resource that you have done together. You know it's accurate, you know, it will help support them. They've also already been exposed to it, so they probably [00:28:04] already know it, but it may just give them that confidence knowing it's there to be able to do better and perform better on different 

[00:28:11] Rachel: evaluations.

[00:28:11] Rachel: Yeah, the more I think about this, I really, really like it, and I like that idea. You know, it's even a great way for your students who are native English speakers and don't speak another language to. Just gain some empathy and understanding of the different sort of learners and, and different cultures that are represented in your classroom.

[00:28:31] Katie: It gets them asking questions. I find that when we do multilingual kind of vocab lists or conversations, it opens a conversation where people are like, how do you say that again? And then, You know, it kind of shows this empathy for one another and this interest in each other's language and respecting the fact that having another language is okay.

[00:28:51] Katie: It doesn't show weakness, it's, it's kind of fun. Right. So I think that's a big part in building community. 

[00:28:59] Rachel: Yeah, I love 

[00:29:00] Katie: it. Such a good idea. Another option as well. Which I think you [00:29:04] could even use with your spreadsheet moat. Use moat to record pronunciation of names of words for feedback. Like Moat is an amazing extension that can really make things more accessible for all of your learners, especially English language 

[00:29:22] Rachel: learners.

[00:29:23] Rachel: Yeah. So even though there's not like a button integrated into Google Sheets, you can still record a mote through the extension. It's a mote, I think they call 'em a mote note or, or mote, padd or something like that. I forget what the correct lingo is, but you just create that. You copy and paste the link into your spreadsheet and away you go.

[00:29:44] Rachel: Wouldn't that be neat to have your column of vocab words in English with a column right beside it, with, you know, someone pronunciation and someone saying it, and then have the different languages and different columns with the pronunciation, and having your students who speak those languages fill in all of those.

[00:30:02] Rachel: Those gaps. So that [00:30:04] would be really cool for even your students who are, you know, only speak English as, as their only language, like they could go in and listen to the pronunciation and of different words. I know that would pique my interest and, and I would wanna end up clicking on a bunch of them. Yeah.

[00:30:20] Rachel: Because I'd be curious how it's said. 

[00:30:22] Katie: No, definitely. And I. The ones. So I have mostly a lot of Chinese students and many of them struggle because from what they've told me over the years, they don't really use their tongues as much when they speak. So their tongues are mostly at the bottom of their mouth and it kind of stays there.

[00:30:38] Katie: So English can be very challenging because we use our tongues and we move our mouths like crazy . So when we're pronouncing different words, it can be very challenging. And so listening. And then I always give the reminder of, oh, if you're going to do that sound, move your tongue this way, or move your mouth this way.

[00:30:57] Katie: And it's amazing how something like that, it really helps them. And then they can practice at home, [00:31:04] especially if they have like a resource where they can hear it and then record themselves practicing it and then listening to the both. They really do want to be able to pronounce. It's, it's really a confidence thing, so having that built in will definitely 

[00:31:17] Rachel: help.

[00:31:17] Rachel: That's kind of like rolling your RS in Spanish, right? Yep. I can't do 

[00:31:22] Katie: that.

[00:31:26] Rachel: Katie's a pro at it, but I can't do that. It took me a while. I'm not even gonna attempt it. 

[00:31:31] Katie: It was the French I took up to grade 13 French, and then I also took Spanish and Italian in high school, but I could never roll my R until I stopped taking French and took over with the Spanish . 

[00:31:44] Rachel: It's like my husband's family is German, so I've.

[00:31:47] Rachel: Kind of, you know, picked up a few phrases here and there over the years, but even the ick, like the, the, that sort of sound, sound, I can't do it 

[00:31:56] Katie: very well, but I think that also brings it back to names, right? So some names have different sounds that you're not used to. [00:32:04] And it is amazing how pronouncing their name and making the effort can really go a long way for your students and their confidence in how they view you.

[00:32:14] Katie: So even if you do a crowd source of their names or the pronunciation, like have them record themselves saying it. And then a teacher can listen back as many times as they need to to help practice it. And 

[00:32:25] Rachel: that's a really good sort of use of moat again. So moats and Google Slides is so easy to do because you get the little button right at the top.

[00:32:33] Rachel: It's easy for the kids to click on and just record, and it automatically inserts that audio into the Google slide. So I would say that's one great way. They've also got moat integrated in Google Forms now. So if you do a Google form, With a bunch of kind of questions like that standard kind of student survey at the beginning of the school year.

[00:32:54] Rachel: That would be a really good question to add in is just, you know, pronounce your name for me and, and get that pronunciation. But [00:33:04] I know other teachers have also used like Flipgrid and Flipgrid intro introductions and having the students say their name. So you could do something like that, or Screencastify and Screencastify submit.

[00:33:16] Rachel: There's so many options to get that sort 

[00:33:19] Katie: of information and I think make sure everybody has access to listen and not just the teacher, because peers want to be able to say names properly too. Right. I find a lot of my English language learners will either just eventually give in and just say, Say it however you want, miss, and I'm like, no, that is the wrong answer.

[00:33:38] Katie: But it's, it's so sad to see them kind of exasperated and, and frustrated and answering to whatever it is. They, they're, they end up being called. 

[00:33:47] Rachel: I know, I, I've had a few semesters where I've had a few student names that have been really challenging for me to say, and I, I just keep telling him like, just keep correcting me, keep correcting me and keep correcting me.

[00:33:58] Rachel: Like I will get it eventually. I am so sorry. I'm trying my best. So [00:34:04] I think having those recordings though would, would help me a lot with the ones that I do struggle with. And yeah, just, just getting a kid's name right is so important to building that relationship with them. I remember I actually, this was number of years back, I had a grade nine math class that I took over from another teacher, and I forget the student's name.

[00:34:31] Rachel: So I won't even try and remember it here, but I was saying it one way through the entire semester, and at the very end of the semester, she's, she's like, that's, no, this is how you say it. Like, why didn't you tell me this, you know, at the beginning of the semester? So I felt absolutely horrible, which is why now I constantly am like, am I saying it right?

[00:34:54] Rachel: Like, correct me please, because I, I don't want a student to ever feel like, I don't know their name and I don't know how to say it. 

[00:35:02] Katie: No, and that goes for last names too. And [00:35:04] I know there are lots of difficult last names, but the last thing you want to do is to be called something. Your whole high school career, you graduate, you're walking the stage and they still can't say your name properly.

[00:35:15] Katie: There's value in names and it's a big part of who we are. And you know, it's important that we embrace all of the different cultures and languages represented in our classrooms, and we make that 

[00:35:27] Rachel: effort. Wow, we could talk about this for ages. 

[00:35:30] Katie: I know honestly really could. One thing 

[00:35:33] Rachel: that I do wanna kind of bring up a little bit and talk about a little bit is differentiation.

[00:35:38] Rachel: And the reason I kind of wanna bring this up is because I feel like all of my learning that I've done over the past sort of year, With taking this additional qualification course as well as getting embedded with the Modern Classrooms project framework and stuff, I feel like I now really, really understand and know how to differentiate my class, which is so important to supporting all of our [00:36:04] students.

[00:36:04] Rachel: So I think the modern Classroom's framework. Amazing for differentiation, and I'd highly, highly recommend going to check it out, but it's even things like, you know, the student watching the instructional video, there are so many different things you can do to accommodate your English language learners, your students who have individualized education plans like any of those learners, there's so many different things you can do and.

[00:36:32] Rachel: The different practice or guided notes, you can create different versions with say, sentence stems or sentence frames to help guide that sort of writing as they're kind of working through the step continuum. 

[00:36:45] Katie: And I think as we move to D Stream, these practices are going to become even more helpful, right?

[00:36:51] Katie: Like we wanna make sure everyone's on the same page. Why not scaffold it in right from the very beginning? So start with sentence frames. Start with with ways where you. slowly building the skills and increasing [00:37:04] independence as you go, that's, that's going to help English language learners, but it's going to help every single student in your classroom as well.

[00:37:10] Katie: I'm 

[00:37:10] Rachel: even thinking about science labs and kind of even scaffolding some of the critical thinking and analysis kinds of questions. You know, we always, as science teachers get really frustrated because our students are not, Kind of structuring it the right way, but why don't we include sentence stems in there to get them thinking about it.

[00:37:32] Rachel: I mean, we do it with a hypothesis. We do the if then because, and that's a very helpful sentence frame, but we should be doing it with like all of the questions. I think we would see huge growth in terms of students being able to write and analyze if we did something like that for all of 

[00:37:51] Katie: our learners.

[00:37:52] Katie: Yeah, and it's important to remember. Education is different everywhere. And so students are coming from all around the world and it's taught and valued in a different way. And so [00:38:04] some cultures embrace memorization and rote learning. Some are problem solving and critical thinking, and so we kind of have to make sure, like it's our responsibility, make sure everyone's on the same page, they know what the expectations are.

[00:38:18] Katie: They know the style of questions and the style of thinking and what our goals are, and so, you know, doing these sentence frames, doing these kind of scaffolds at the beginning of the year to kind of introduce it and get them comfortable, like it's, I think that should really help success rates in all classrooms, especially science, where it's such a different world.

[00:38:37] Katie: And another thing to consider is writing an output. Like why not have a different option for some of our learners? Like why not have an oral option? Or if you're going to be doing presentations, would you be willing to let them record a presentation ahead of time to kind of take off some of that pressure until they get comfortable?

[00:38:59] Katie: Like there's different ways that we can kind of scaffold it in, help them [00:39:04] gain some confide. And then slowly take away those structures that are there to kind of support and guide them. 

[00:39:11] Rachel: Yeah. So it's not about, you know, never having them write correct. Right. Because they, they need to practice writing in English, but it's about how do you scaffold that?

[00:39:20] Rachel: How do you get to that point where they're writing? Very well in English. So what sort of things can you do to support that and build up their confidence and their self-esteem with writing? Yep, 

[00:39:31] Katie: exactly. You know, what are some words that we use often and let's practice using those in a sentence and you know, get them comfortable, get them speaking those words.

[00:39:43] Katie: It's really repetition for a lot of them in different. So reading it, speaking it, uh, writing it, you know, having conversations about these topics. That's how they really make those connections to the vocabulary and this new learning. My biggest advice is don't be afraid to accommodate and use the people in your building.

[00:40:03] Katie: [00:40:04] Like it doesn't have, you don't have to be an island. I love working with teachers and I may not be able to understand everything in your class, but I can at least give you from an English lens or, or like a language lens. What might be a struggle and you know, things to consider because I've worked with these students for so long, like making sure that students understand the questions and the items or things that you think are every day in common.

[00:40:32] Katie: It might not be common for everybody else, like I think I've mentioned it before. Like the use of the word diving board. If a student has never seen a diving board before, how do they access that? How do they know what you're asking them to do? So it's, it's, you know, practice in a class. Use the same kind of examples throughout your lessons that you're going to be looking for in an evaluation.

[00:40:53] Katie: We don't need to trick them. 

[00:40:55] Rachel: No, for sure. I would agree with accommodations. Like use them. Use them as much as the students need in terms of [00:41:04] supporting them. Because really our goal is for them to learn and for them to acquire the language. And I think it's important to kind of point out, like it's not gonna take away from the rigor of, or academic nature of your course.

[00:41:19] Rachel: In fact, it's gonna help them. Learn that material better with those accommodations. Totally. I feel kind of preachy there, but that's, that's kind of how 

[00:41:29] Katie: I feel. I feel the same. Rachel . 

[00:41:34] Rachel: I think though some, sometimes people are scared. I know of using some of those accommodations, like giving them extra time.

[00:41:40] Rachel: Um, I kind of think about the I IB courses that I taught at my previous school. You know, some of our English language learners. They don't actually get the accommodations on the IB exams, but because we're, you know, also teaching Ontario curriculum and doing assessment and evaluation in Ontario, we're required to give them, say that extra time for [00:42:04] any of the tests or quizzes that we do during the year.

[00:42:07] Rachel: And I've heard from a lot of teachers, like they don't wanna give them the extra time because they're not gonna get it on the IB exam. So we're doing them a disservice. To give them that extra time when they're gonna be in a time crunch on that exam. But I think the goal then is like giving them the extra time and helping to scaffold them down to what they're going to experience on the exam and building that through your course.

[00:42:33] Rachel: I, I don't see any kind of issue with that, but I know. A lot of people really kind of hesitate to do that 

[00:42:40] Katie: and, and I always hazard with saying extra time, because time is great if it's just processing. But if it's vocabulary and they have no idea what you're asking them to do, they're gonna stare at that sheet for so much time and not know what to do with it.

[00:42:54] Katie: So it really is making it accessible. And then, you know, Yes, scaffold the time. They're not always going to need extra time. It all kind of depends on the content and the [00:43:04] processing speed and, and what's going on. But language does take more time to process, and I've noticed 

[00:43:09] Rachel: that even with English language learners that I've had in the past, you know, sometimes on one test they'll take the entire.

[00:43:17] Rachel: Time accommodations, so the entire double time that I give them. And then on other ones, I guess, where they're understanding the language and processing the language better, they might not take any extra time at all. And it, it sort of really varies as we kind of go through the 

[00:43:33] Katie: school year. Totally. And if they're already exhausted from other things, it might take them more time on one evaluation over another because it really is processing right?

[00:43:41] Katie: They, they're going in many different languages and phrases and everything in their heads, so don't. Underestimate the power of time, but also don't rely on that as your single accommodation. 

[00:43:52] Rachel: I think it all goes down to knowing your learner. Yes. And really, really understanding your students and understanding your ell.

[00:44:02] Rachel: So not only looking [00:44:04] at, say like for example, in Ontario we have. Profiles that we can look at in terms of their language acquisition. So that's kind of one tool we can use. We can look at variety of other things. We can, you know, ask them getting to know you kinds of questions. We can go talk to our lead teachers in for ELLs.

[00:44:26] Rachel: You know, there's so many different resources and so many different places that you can go talk to, to get information about that particular student and what their individual needs are going to be, because I think every single one is, is different. So you, you have to, you have to get to know every single one of your 

[00:44:44] Katie: students.

[00:44:45] Katie: And we always tell our students, you know, ask questions. No question is, you know, is a bad question or don't be afraid to ask for help. The same thing goes for educators. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Like, honestly, people are out there, there's so many that want to just share their knowledge and support you and [00:45:04] support students.

[00:45:04] Katie: So, you know, take advantage of that. We don't have to do it 

[00:45:08] Rachel: alone. All. On that note, I think we're gonna wrap up our conversation here, so hopefully we've given you some good sort of suggestions on some of the technology that you can use to leverage in your classroom to support your English language learners as well as all of your students within your classroom.

[00:45:28] Rachel: And so what we'll do is we'll include all of the links and resources that we talked about here today in our show notes so you can access our show notes for this slash 55. That's edu G a l 

[00:45:44] Katie: 55. And if you've like what you heard and wanna share it with a colleague or friend, please do so and make sure that you subscribe on your favorite podcast app so that you don't miss out on any future content.

[00:45:57] Katie: And we'd love 

[00:45:58] Rachel: to hear your suggestions. So if you have any other tools or different ways that you [00:46:04] support your ELLs in your classroom, Let us know. Go on our Flipgrid at and you can leave us a video message there, or you can also leave us a message on our 

[00:46:17] Katie: Thanks for listening and see you next week.

[00:46:25] Katie: Thanks for listening to this episode of our Ed Gals podcast. Show notes for this episode are That's eed. G A l We'd also love to hear your feedback, so leave us a message on our website, 

[00:46:43] Rachel: and if you enjoyed what you heard, please subscribe and consider leaving a rating or review on your favorite podcast app.

[00:46:51] Rachel: Until next time, keep being awesome and try something new.