ELL Accommodations for Lesson Plans

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, teachers will learn some strategies for differentiating their lesson plans to provide accommodations to English language learner (ELL) students in content-area classes.

Accommodations

Providing accommodations, or support strategies, while creating lesson plans can be a challenge for even the most experienced teachers. How do you support ELL students while still teaching the curriculum to all students? Do you need to write two separate sets of lesson plans, one for native English speakers and one for ELLs?

Adding accommodations to lesson plans does not need to be a struggle. Accommodations should not modify the curriculum or the standards that you expect students to learn. Rather, they should provide support to ELLs to help them achieve their learning goals.

Let's take a look at some specific strategies that you can implement to your lesson plans in order to accommodate for ELL students.

Extra Time

Extra time is one of the easiest accommodations to implement because it doesn't take any extra preparation on the teacher's part. ELL students often need extra time to read assignment directions and reading passages - especially with written responses. Just providing them with extended time to complete assignments can help support them in their efforts to achieve their academic goals.

Read Text Aloud

When writing lesson plans that involve reading, keep in mind that many ELL students benefit from a read-aloud accommodation. This means that when students are expected to read text independently, someone is available to read the text aloud to the ELL students who need this accommodation. This could be the teacher, a co-teacher, or another student.

This accommodation is extremely helpful for ELL students who have low English reading proficiency. Following along with the text while the words are read aloud can improve comprehension and help model reading fluency.

However, teachers don't often have the time to read all text aloud to students. Partner reading is another option. You can also look for audio versions of the text.

Interactive Support

Simply allowing ELL students to work with partners and small groups during class can be a helpful accommodation to add to a lesson plan. For assignments where students are expected to work independently, consider the potential impact of allowing ELL students to interact with native English speakers. It's a great way for them to increase comprehension and practice speaking skills.

Writing Support

Students who are literate in their native language and have at least an intermediate level of English proficiency can benefit from the use of bilingual dictionaries. Allow students to use these dictionaries for all writing activities, including formal assessments.

Another kind of writing support is the use of sentence frames. These are pre-written sentences that allow ELL students to fill in the missing information, often using a word bank. Sentence frames help model proper sentence structure so students receive writing practice. The following are some examples of sentence frames:

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