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Nawnaw Nawnaw is offline
 
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New Chinese student. How can I help her?
Old 01-09-2016, 08:40 AM
 
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Hi! I'm a new teacher this year and I could use some advice.

There's recently been a new student added to my first grade class and she is from China. She knows very little English and I want to help make her transition into a new place with new people (who don't speak her native language to boot!) to be as easy as possible.

Any advice on things I can do in the classroom for her? Things I can do to help her communicate with her peers? I don't want her to feel totally alienated.

And yes There is some English spoken at home, but she doesn't know much yet.


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Old 01-09-2016, 10:34 AM
 
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Most Chinese students have a strong will to learn. I do say most, because I worked at a school for 10 years and had a few new to the country students and one flat out refused to learn English, despite mom buying everything she could from the book order/me giving her stuff to help her.

I would just make sure she has someone to play with at recess. Being that young, kids tend to pick up the language quickly. Do a lot of picture stuff with her. You can also do something for Chinese New Year (early February this year).
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:12 AM
 
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I have had two different students who came from China and started K without speaking any English in the past couple of years. This year I have two students who don't speak English-one speaks Spanish and the other is Arabic. Last year I also had two who didn't speak English-one spoke Spanish and the other spoke an African language.

You can expect a period of mutism. That is normal. Don't worry-there is a lot of learning going on as the child absorbs everything going on around him/her. There is no set length of time for that period of mutism. The Chinese girl I had went through it rather quickly. The Chinese boy took longer. It will depend on the child's personality, his/her previous exposure to English and additional exposure to English via TV, and whether or not the child attended school in his/her home country, and how long the child has been in our country.

Play is universal and, after overcoming initial shyness, most students will at least start to parallel play. Many students like chasing games-some form of tag. They can jump rope, swing on swings, play on the playground equipment. I am fortunate that we still have free-choice center time in K where I teach. It is easy to provide play opportunities-blocks, dollhouse, art... even working with play-doh. You don't have to speak English to play and have fun.

You might try teaching the entire class how to do tangrams during math. The seven piece puzzle originated in China. Your Chinese student might not be familiar with the puzzle, but it is a positive connection to his/her home country for your other students to make.

Encourage other students to have the child sit with them at lunch, play during recess... Pair up a strong kind student with your new student.

Chinese New Year is coming up on February 8th so it is a great time to learn about the culture. If you PM me your e-mail address (don't post it on here), I can send you a simple PPT I made for Chinese New Year. I would have just posted it on here for you but the file is too big. On the slides I have the children compare the Chinese New Year holiday to a holiday they celebrate. I found some videos showing dragon dancers in a parade and lion dancers so I share them with my class. We even do a little parade. I made a banner with Chinese Gung Hay Fat Choy for two students to lead the parade. I used a box to make a dragon head and attached red plastic tablecloth for the tail. I have some streamers and some musical instruments. We do it as a combination social studies lesson/teacher-directed PE. My students love learning about other countries.

Keep in mind when teaching reading that the Chinese language isn't based on an alphabet system like English. They don't read from left to right so it is important to teach the child to track underneath the words when you are reading to train his/her eyes and brain. You can put a directional arrow showing where to start and dots under the words. Provide lots of opportunities for the student to listen to books in both languages. When reading familiar fairy tales to your class, add in Chinese ones. For example, Lon Po Po is a Red Riding Hood story from China.

You will want to work on building language so do lots of naming activities. Make little books-School, Family, Toys, Pets, Farm Animals, Zoo Animals, Feelings...you get the idea. You can show photos, cut and paste pictures or have the child draw. You can write the word underneath the picture to label it. I have a dotted letter font that I use when I make my books. You can draw the dotted line letters for the child to trace or write the word with a highlighter and have the child trace over the letters. I also say the letters as I am writing as a casual introduction to letters.

Do you have an iPad that the student can use? There is an app called Write My Name. The teacher types in the child's name and can record herself saying the letters and name. The child traces the name with his/her finger. When finished tracing, it will say what the teacher recorded. There are lowercase and uppercase letters and words for the child to trace, too.

Another good app is abcPocketPhonics: Letter Sounds and Writing by Apps in My Pocket Ltd. It models how to write the letter/says the sound. Child traces the letter. It works with a few sounds. Then will say two or three letter word-isolating each sound for the child to pick the sound to make the word.

Sight Words 1-100: Kids Learn by Teacher Created Materials is a good app for sight words.

Sentence Reading Magic Deluxe for Schools by Preschool University is an app where you can pick two, three, four...word sentences. One activity is sentence building where it shows the picture, has the word cards and says the sentence. The child has to manipulate the word cards with his finger to put the words in the correct order. He/She can tap on the word cards to hear the words. When the cards are in the correct order, it becomes one card with the sentence on it.

Our phonics program has nonsense words; however, ELL should not do nonsense words. Rhyming words will also be a difficult concept for your ELL student.

It is hard, but when I can, I try to frontload concepts with my ELL students before I introduce them to the whole class. It is even better if you can do it in his/her home language. The best way to teach ELL students is to teach the concepts and test them in their home language while they are being immersed in the regular classroom. We don't have that set up so it is up to me as the classroom teacher to do it. I don't speak Chinese or Arabic and my Spanish learning goes back 30 years. I use Google Translate a lot. It is not always an accurate translation, but it is helpful. It can take from 2-5 years for the ELL students to be fully assimilated. When they start to speak and write in English, we sometimes forget that that doesn't mean they have full understanding of concepts in our language. Their cultural background may be quite different and there are some concepts which might seem easy to us but make no sense to them so don't assume anything.

You will be surprised when one day your new students says an expression he/she picked up from the other students.

I am truly amazed by how quickly they learn. They are very brave. I think I would have curled up into a ball in the corner of the room and spent my day crying.
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:27 AM
 
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I LOVE working with ESL students, but I know it can be a challenge when you have a whole class of other students to deal with.

iteachk has a lot of great advice!

Something you might do is make some picture cards with basic needs and the English phrase on them: I need to go to the restroom. I need a drink. I need a pencil. etc. She can start by just pointing to a picture, and you can help her repeat the words.

A strategy that we've used in reading is to copy the pictures from the book the class is reading and then write on it to label simple vocabulary related to the story. If you can pre teach and tell the story in a simplified way, that would be great!

Listening to audio books or using Tumble Books during independent time would be great. If her parents speak some English I would have them read her a book everyday for homework.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:10 PM
 
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I work with the newcomers at my school and this website has been very helpful to me:
http://staff.harrisonburg.k12.va.us/...hp?pages_id=16

Hope it helps!


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