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short_bread
 
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Needing help while I'm conferencing
Old 03-05-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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Hey everyone,

I have a first grade class and I am just starting to run serious scheduled conferences with them in writers workshop. Writing workshop comes at the end of the day so we don't have much time which is not ideal... but anyways...

I've taught my students what their job is during writing. I've taught them how to use the word wall, to stretch their words, label their pictures etc...

Now that I am starting conferneces, I need some strategies to remind them of what they can do if they need help and I am conferencing. I want them to refer back to their strategies that I have taught them.

I have ELL students who really need a LOT of support, but its not fair to my other students that I spend all my time with them. Yet, they will just sit there and wait until I come to them. Once I tell them to "sound it out" or "use the word wall" they are right back on track. Problem is, I don't want them to have to wait for me.

Any good visual ideas for this?


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MelissaBrown
 
 
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MelissaBrown
 
 
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Middle School Reg. & Honors Writing Teacher
Old 04-01-2012, 05:34 PM
 
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My bests ideas are as follows, and I recommend using all:

1. Teach the "professional participators" and best writers (for that skill) in class to do that job for you. If necessary, provide them with a laminated card with the appropriate sentences to say. Teach THESE students to come to you with a statement of the problem rather than the ESL students (only for time's sake, as these students tend to be more direct and verbal) once all provided options have not worked.

FYI: I teach in a school where we have an approximately 85%-95% ESL population, so I think I understand a great deal of your frustration; I have experienced the same hair-tearing experiences for the last 11 years. : D

2. Assign stations (instead of independent work) with 3 person groups (chosen by you) with at least one "good" writer (again specific to the skill being worked with that day), an ESL student, and another class member. That way, when there are questions, the other group members can be the first line of answers and/or continuing-to-work motivators. Tell students that no group changes stations till all students have the correct answers written, in their own handwriting. This way, the ESL student will at least be exposed to correct answers, even if only pressured by his/her peers to copy the correct information.

3. Ask the ESL students, in a group, privately, with no other students even in the room, what would work best for them in the described situation. I find, even in young children, that they will want to do their part in solving the "problem", if only because they want to please the teacher. A warning: have some answers "ready" to offer to them-things to pick from to "try" as well as inviting their own ideas-or there may be a VERY quiet meeting. Also, encourage their parents to help them learn more self-sufficient learning/independent-work classroom skills, if the parents are receptive. Please know that it will be likely that you will have to try all of the ideas on the list (and then some) before you find something that works for each one of your students. Also, please be sure that the children know that THEY are not the problem; TIME is the problem.

4. Provide the ESL children with the most used instructions, complete with pictures and step-by-step instructions. Teach them to try these before sitting and doing nothing. Make sure that they all understand the laminated page before being instructed to employ it.

5. Group the ESL students together in a group (contrary to instinctive wisdom, I know, but I have seen this bring even the most reticent speaking and working student to more active state in very little time). Allow them to help each other in their native language even though answers and tests must be in English.

6. Know that despite your (and our) best efforts, there may be some children who refuse to be reached. Do your best with them and know that you are at least planting seed that may someday bloom in another teacher's class.

Good Luck.
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