It’s August 31st, teachers of emergent bilinguals! School starts in one week! You may be feeling dread and anxiety instead of energy and excitement. As I wrote in my previous post: fear not, I have a plan for ENL Stand Alone! Specifically, this year I am going to take you through a scope and sequence of linguistics skills that you will teach September through June.
Yes, you read that correctly: I have a scope and sequence of linguistic skills targeting vocabulary and world knowledge, phonics and morphology, as well as handwriting, grammar, and written expression. If you teach these skills consistently over this academic year, I’m confident that your students will increase their oral language, reading, and writing proficiency. My confidence comes from knowing the research: emergent bilinguals thrive on explicit instruction of linguistic skills.
My sequence is designed with adolescent English Learners in mind; however, the ideas can be adapted to younger learners.
The idea is, you’re going to first
- choose themes to create one to two week mini-units, or topics in a longer unit that represent a variety of content-based themes from New York State’s K-8 Social Studies, Science, and English Language Arts curricula.
emergent bilinguals need to learn about the world in order to gain sufficient background knowledge to access information in text.
- choose content objectives around those themes and topics within a theme. For example, if the theme is My School, My Community and the topic this week is ‘This is My School!’, the content objective is: Students will identify the name and location of their school and become familiar with the places and activities/functions in the building.
Now for the good part: You’re going to follow A scope and sequence of linguistic skills September through June!
The sequence is divided into 3 parts: phonological and phonemic awareness, and handwriting; vocabulary development and morphology; and grammar/written expression.
Starting in September and going through to early November, you have approximately six weeks of instruction to cover (I’m subtracting some weeks for beginning of the year assessments, getting the students settled into classes, and fall holidays).
Here’s what the kids need to learn:
These skills will comprise your language objectives week to week:
Phonological and phonemic awareness, and handwriting:
- echo and chorally repeat words, phrases, and short sentences;
- connect the meanings of new vocabulary in English with the Home Language;
- understand the concept of consonant, vowel, and syllable and begin to recognize the sounds and number of syllables in words;
These skills are specific to strengthening alphabetic knowledge, a cornerstone of emergent literacy:
- recite and write the alphabet out in sequence, in both English and the Home Language;
- practice writing both upper and lowercase letters with correct stroke sequence . It would be helpful if students have a notebook with ruled paper (also available on Shop DOE!)
- begin alphabetizing vocabulary words in order;
- establish a routine for writing their name, the date (in words), and the alphabet as a warm-up routine;
- establish proper writing posture and tri-pod pencil grip;
This might seem babyish – but our students desperately need foundational literacy skills and it’s amazing how much pride they end up taking in their handwriting and phonemic/alphabetic awareness when they are explicitly taught.
Vocabulary and morphological awareness:
For now, it’s simple. You will teach them new vocabulary around your theme/topic and focus on any possible cognates – words that have the same or similar sounds, spellings, and meanings.
This is going to benefit Spanish speakers the most, but I want all your students, no matter their language, to begin becoming aware of the words in English, and their translation equivalents in the Home Language. It would be wonderful to establish a routine for a class pictionary, in which students record a word and its translation to a picture.
Grammar and written expression:
- correctly identify and use content vocabulary, with the help of sentence frames/stems;
- identify things with demonstrative pronouns this/these
This is my mother. These are my parents.
- ask important questions with Can I, Do I need to/have to …? Who/Where/When/What is/are? ; What does —mean? ;
- use subject pronouns (I, you, he/she/it/we/they);
- possessive pronouns (my, your, his, her, our, their);
- object pronouns (me, you, him, her, us, them);
- use simple action verbs in present progressive, for example when describing pictures.
They are eating.
He is watching TV.
She is reading.
- speak and write statements with be, have, like, feel, need in the present;
- identify and sort vocabulary as nouns – person, place, thing: teacher, school, pencil
Stick with me week to week, and I will help you teach these first 6 weeks of skills step by step.
download the unit planner, sample lesson & Scope & Sequence
Use the aebll ENL Unit 1 Planner and aebll’s ENL Stand Alone Scope and Sequence to help yourself map out the linguistic objectives and activities for the first few weeks and beyond of the school year, and begin to assemble your first unit. Look at the sample lesson as a guide to pace yourself. Remember, we’re teaching a scope and sequence of linguistic skills this year – not English Language Arts! That’s why we’re laser-targeted on making time for these skills, while teaching them in a content-based theme that students can meaningfully connect to.
Let me walk you through this in my YouTube post!
Next week, I will discuss some ideas for quick, informal assessments to help you get an idea of your students’ language and literacy levels.
Enjoy these last days of summer! I look forward to your questions and comments below.