Welcome to ELL Support Services

  • ELL (English Language Learner) Support Services

    ELL (English Language Learner) service at JohnsonElementary is a collaborative effort that involves the ELL specialist,the student’s classroom teacher, and other specialists the student maylearn with throughout the year. ELL teachers seek to offersupport primarily during the Language Arts block (Reader’s and Writer’sWorkshops). Students may also receive support as needed duringcontent-area times such as math, social studies or science. Thoughteachers licensed in ESL (English as a Second Language) are the primarylanguage-support providers, a bilingual Educational Assistant, under the guidance of a licensed teacher, may also work with students to develop needed language and/or cognitive skills.

    The ELL teacher and the regular classroom teacherwork together to assess and teach students. The school’s adoptedstandards drive the planning and instruction in this collaborativeeffort. ELL students and native English-speaking students work toachieve the same standards in every discipline. Johnson has adopted theAmerica’s Choice curriculum at every grade level which allows allteachers and students to work toward common goals for teaching andlearning. ELL teachers, mainstream teachers and even specialist(in Science, Technology and Music) collaborate using these standards toplan the most effective methods for meeting the needs of the ELLstudents. Once planned, the ELL teacher often takes the lead in givingadditional support though small group instruction or one-on-oneconferring.

    Students learning English benefit from small-groupinstruction during the Reader’s Workshop hour. The workshop begins witha short lesson (“mini-lesson”). The whole class, including the ELLstudents, participates in the opening lesson each day. Following thewhole-class instruction, students break out into stations forindividualized learning. The core instructional mode during thisworkshop time is “Guided Oral Reading”. In Guided Oral Reading studentsare placed in flexible small groups based on their needs and/orinterests. A teacher then guides the group in practicing oral readingskills and comprehension strategies. The ELL teacher often works withthe English language learners during this Guided Reading time. Groupsmeet from 2-5 times each week depending on the needs of thestudents. Students may be regrouped several times throughout theyear.
    When students are not receiving small group guidedreading instruction they are either reading independently orparticipating in literacy center work with other students in themainstream classroom. The ELL teacher may use this independent worktime confer with ELL students individually. In a conference, teachersoften formally and informally assess the students’ reading skills andcomprehension strategies. Conferring also allows teachers to addressthe individual language needs of students learning English.

    ELL teachers at Johnson may also provide support forstudents during the Writer’s Workshop hour. Writer’s Workshop, likeReader’s Workshop, begins with a short mini-lesson taught by theclassroom teacher. ELL students participate fully during the lesson.After, students work independently on their writing pieces whileteachers (both classroom and ELL) confer with individuals about theirideas for the piece and skills for writing it. ELL studentsparticipate in the same units of study as their classmates and worktoward the same standards for completing their pieces. ELL teachersoffer additional support to language learners throughout the writingprocess through conferences with students and collaboration with theclassroom teachers.

    ELL students may receive content-area support in thecontent classroom or in the Guided Oral Reading group. In thecontent classroom students work towards the same learning andperformance standards as their classmates. The classroom teacher plansaccording to these standards. Within the classroom, the ELL teacher orEA assists individual or small groups of ELL students in theircomprehension of concepts and specialized vocabulary.
    Students might also receive support in learning moreabout content topics within their Guided Oral Reading groups. ELLteachers integrate content into Reader’s Workshop by choosing relatedtexts for reading practice. For example, if the science teacher isteaching a unit on water, an ELL teacher might choose a nonfiction bookon the water cycle for the Guided Reading group work. Content and ELLteachers collaborate to understand which standards need to be met howbest to guide ELL students in reaching those goals. ELL teachers makeuse of language arts time to either reinforce previously learnedcontent-related concepts and vocabulary, or preteach concepts inpreparation for upcoming material. ELL students maintain a focus onlanguage development through their work with content-related texts.

    Our bilingual Educational Assistant works closelywith our Spanish-speaking families. She translates the school’s andteachers’ weekly newsletters and other written notices, interprets atparent-teacher conferences and family nights, and maintains an openline of communication with the Hispanic community in the school. In herhome-school liaison role she often visits families at home and refersmembers to community organizations for addition social or economicassistance. Johnson Elementary partners with the East Side FamilyCenter (ESFC) to provide similar language support for our Hmongfamilies.