The Best Advice To Content Teachers About Supporting English Language Learners


As always, good advice from Larry Ferlazzo at


Educational Websites by Content Area: Great for Building Background Knowledge in English Learners!


Frontloading, academic language, and so much more!  Find it at





Get the guide at:

6 Strategies to Support ELLs in Science


Practical Ideas that would also work in other content areas:

English and Science Content


Education Connections

Education Connections Tuesday’s Tip: Supporting EL learners in science instruction

Forum: Tuesday’s Tips (Education Connections)

Erik Halvorson

Education Connections

How do you prepare all students to learn and participate in your science lessons and units? What tools, strategies, and methods do you use to make sure all learners are supported and encouraged during science learning?

For EL students, science courses often have the advantage of offering hands-on learning opportunities, observations, and real-life examples. Yet science learning also poses special challenges for ELs, especially when it comes to vocabulary learning, terminology use, and classroom confidence. Reviewing critical terminology and modeling the scientific questioning process before a lesson can be an essential first step to helping students engage with the material and the steps of scientific inquiry.  It is also important to consider how lessons require students to interact through writing, as well as through sharing in small and large groups, and to make sure that students are supported throughout lessons and feel confident to share out during the lesson, even as they continue to develop their academic English language skills.

For some ways to ensure your science lessons address the needs of all students, including English learners, take a look at these resources from Colorín Colorado.

Or, to see how one instructor carefully tailors her science lessons to the needs of her EL students, check out this short video from the Teaching Channel.

ELT: Using Primary Sources for Background Building


Education Connections Tuesday’s Tip

Erik Halvorson  Education Connections

What strategies and techniques do you use in your classroom to help all students develop their background knowledge and interact with primary source documents?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) recommend that students be able to work with a diverse background of complex texts, both primary and secondary, in order to engage with curriculum through a variety of viewpoints, as well as to practice using text-based evidence to develop and support ideas and claims. The CCSS specifically require that lessons in History/Social Studies, Science, and technical subjects introduce students to the outside voices and views of primary source documents.

While finding primary source documents can seem overwhelming, the Library of Congress offers a great primary source analysis tool specifically to help instructors search and gather primary sources for their classroom instruction. The primary source database comes with sheets and guides for how to analyze different types of media, as well as sets and pre-grouped samples of primary sources by subject matter.

For EL students, primary sources can be extremely beneficial in in providing background knowledge that might not be available through textbooks or secondary source texts. Primary sources that are not text-based—for example, photos, films, paintings, music, maps, and cartoons—can help EL students across all English levels to access engaging non-linguistic insights and strengthen background knowledge.

For more ideas on how to include and incorporate primary sources in your classroom to help all students engage with lessons, take a look at this sample lesson plan.

Or, for another look at how to use primary sources with your EL students, try this short activity from

Downloadable Whitepaper Academic Language and Academic Achievement


The importance of academic language cannot be overstated.  Read more here:  WP-LexiaLearning–Academic_Language.

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