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help with Chinese student
Old 01-30-2013, 12:50 PM
 
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I teach 4th grade and have a new student in my class. We do not have an ESL teacher in our district, we are very rural. He has moved here from China and neither speaks nor reads any English. He knows no letters, numbers, colors, etc. in English. We are working with him with flash cards and 1st grade materials trying to name and have him repeat everything we can. I'm flying by the seat of my pants here.

So, my question to all you experts out there is, what else should I be doing? Are there good programs I could be using (online or off)? Suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks!


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Old 01-30-2013, 04:39 PM
 
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Hi! Does he read in Chinese? If he is educated and can read and write in Chinese, encourage him to read in his native language. You don't want him to stop reading while he's learning the basics of English. Allow him to also write in Chinese. You won't be able to read it (I'm assuming) but that's OK...in time you'll ask him to write a little English. I'm sure he's going through culture shock right now.

Flashcards are fine, (not a big fan of flashcards) but really, let him absorb lots of vocabulary in the classroom. If you don't already, label objects around the room. Include visuals on the word wall. Speak clearly and use simplified language. Don't give him "babyish" materials. Pair him up with certain buddies who can help him throughout the day. It's OK for him to copy from a friend. Expect a "silent period," it's OK. he is making sense of everything around him. He won't be able to read and write until he learns vocabulary. Teach him the alphabet.

I apologize for rambling...there really is so much, I could just keep going on. As far as programs, I don't know of any good programs. ELL kids learn SO much just by being emersed in an English speaking environment. Look up WIDA "can do descriptors." This is a great resource for teachers. You'll see what ESOL students at different stages are able to do. Use this chart for planning his activities and assessments. (If you can't find it I can send it to you) Still assess him, by the way. Keep in mind what he is capable of right now, provide comprehensible input, modified activities and then reassess. If your class is learning about "weather," teach him basic weather vocabulary, and assess him on that. Teach him what a cycle is and have him draw a picture, perhaps labeling it using a word bank. Use lots of word banks and visuals...that would be my biggest piece of advice.

It always saddens me, as an ESOL teacher, to see the entire class learning about something, and then a newcomer sitting in the back on a computer with headphones, or being taught ABC, 123, while everyone else is involved in learning the curriculum. Involve him in it all. His English skills will grow.

I know it seems overwhelming...breathe Just let him be part of the class. You'll be amazed how much he'll learn.

When you are "reading" with him, focus on building background knowledge and building his vocabulary. It's hard finding age appropriate fiction books at a beginners level, I find it easier to locate non-fiction books that are emergent but don't look babyish. English Explorers by Benchmark Education is a fantastic book series for ELLs. I wrote a grant last year and was able to buy $500 worth of nonfiction books to use with my newcomers.

National Geographic Young Explorers has an online magazine that is awesome. The magazine is read aloud while the words are highlighted. it is a good resource because it has both non-fiction and fiction passages.

I'm sorry for going on and on. I know you'll do great and he'll make lots of progress. Good luck and let me know if there is anything specific you might need.

Last edited by elltch; 01-30-2013 at 06:47 PM..
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:19 PM
 
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Wow! Thanks! Where do I find books in Chinese? We are a very rural area.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:37 PM
 
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Tumblebooks might help with learning some English. There is one book read/written in Chinese

http://www.tumblebooks.com/library/a...tegory=Chinese

He could listen to the story in English http://www.tumblebooks.com/library/a...?ProductID=226
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:07 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry about finding books in Chinese; I wouldn't know where to look. I thought, if he has books already, encourage him to read them. If you use book boxes, have some appropriate books in English and a few from home in Chinese in his book box. Encourage his parents to continue speaking to him and teaching him Chinese literacy skills. Too often, newcomer parents think that the child should not continue speaking, reading and writing in their native language, but actually it's just the opposite. The English will come, but it's as equally important to maintains his native culture.

Tumblebooks is a great resource for listening to reading. It might even be free, I'm not sure.

I'd like to clarify my stand on flashcards. They do have a purpose. If you give him, say 10 new vocabulary words a week, put those words on flashcards for him to practice at home. He can use those to help him in his writing, etc, then assess him at the end of the week on those words. Can he "identify" the words matching them to a picture? Start using those words to build basic sentences. If the words for this week are "weather words," a simple sentence he could write would be It is sunny. It is windy. Take him to the window, or outside and ask him...What is the weather like today? and ask him to point to the picture, ask him to the word.

So I do use flashcards too, I didn't want to leave the impression that I thought flashcards weren't affective, because they can be. That's how I've used them....introducing new vocabulary, having him matching the term with the picture, practice using the words is basic sentences, drawing an illustration to show he understand the concept, etc. The giving an assessment at the end of the week. Maybe he can take those flashcards and write them in his own "Vocabulary Journal."

Some good vocabulary to teach newcomers are: colors, body parts, clothing, days of the week, school words, family names, food, number words (very important in math that he has a list of numbers with their number words). I've attached a couple of examples for you that might work to get him started on basic vocabulary. During Sc & SS I'd also give him a several content specific vocabulary terms...


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Old 01-31-2013, 03:09 PM
 
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Here's some weather vocab...
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Resources
Old 01-31-2013, 10:22 PM
 
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Here are the online resources I've collected that support teachers of English Language Learners.

Your new student will be in the "silent period" for awhile while getting up the courage to try his limited skills out loud, in public.http://mssu.academia.edu/AndreaHellm...guage-learning

http://mssu.academia.edu/AndreaHellman/Talks

http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/about / links to info, articles and blogs

Dave's ESL Cafe

Colorin Colorado http://www.colorincolorado.org /

ESL-Library

TEFL

Boggles World also called LanternFish ESL

www.esl-kids.com

http://a4esl.org

http://www.syvum.com/online/games.html

www.senteacher.org

Boggle's World

Judy Haynes

Pearson Education
www.tlsbooks.com

kirstennelson.wordpress.com/esl-resources

http://www.brycs.org/documents/uploa...lation-FAQ.pdf
laws and info on translations - incluides refugees

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/20...cmp=clp-edweek
civil rights laws and translations and ELLs

http://genkienglish.net/about.htm lots of ideas, songs, etc. for teaching English—started in Japan

Look up Stephen Krashen, too. He's from USC and has done great stuff with ELLs. Also check out WEDA
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