ELL Classroom Strategies

· Manipulatives

· Visuals(photos, pictures, drawings)

· Body movement and pantomime

· Facial expressions and gestures

· Clear expression and articulation

· Short, simple sentences

· Eye contact with students

· High-frequency vocabulary

· Reduction of idiomatic expressions

· Personalized language and nouns favored over pronouns

· More description through synonyms

· Prior content introduction (preview)

These are nine exceptionally effective instructional strategies that will help increase student performance and the ELL strategies that you can apply:

Classroom Instructional Strategy

ELL strategies based on SIOP model of instruction.

Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol


objectives and



Set content and language objectives for your lessons. SIOP is a researched based model used to instruct ELLs. You do this by figuring out which linguistic functions and structures the students will need in order to effectively participate in your lesson.

Set goals that are specific but flexible and make a contract with your ELL student to attain the learning goal.

Feedback needs to be corrective, timely, criterion-referenced, and through self- evaluation. Rubrics are more meaningful than number scores.



Use regalia (real objects) visuals, graphs and charts. Match your actions with your words to convey meaning. Give directions by pointing, gesturing, showing and explaining. Use filmstrips, and audiocassettes with books. Have ELL's do hands on science experiments, perform pantomime, draw pictures and sequence stories.

· Help generate mental pictures

· Make physical models

· Use kinesthetic activities (TPR) total physical response

· Use graphic organizers



and advance


Cues and questions should focus on what is important rather than what is unusual. Filter out unnecessary information. Tier questions based on stage of second language acquisition. If a student is between Speech Emergence and Intermediate Fluency. Questions should be: Why? How? Explain?

ELLs need “wait time” when they are answering questions.

ELLs will benefit by having access to questions before the lesson. This will help access prior knowledge. KWL charts are effective. Also using the SQ3R strategy is effective. Survey, Question, Read actively, Respond, Recite.



Cooperative learning groups foster language acquisition in ways that whole class instruction cannot. A cooperative learning group will require ELLs to carry out a role. Small group work will increase the amount of talk time better than larger group instruction. More personally relevant and “real world” activities will increase fluency. ELLs will feel less self conscious about being correct in a small group. Anxiety and lack of self-confidence can impede language acquisition. English dominate peers can model correct English. Jigsaw activities will also benefit Mustafa.


and notetaking

Reciprocal teaching is an effective method for ELLs. Summarizing, Questioning, Clarifying, and Predicting.

Keep-Delete-Substitute Strategy

Use summary frames (attached)

Verbatim note taking is not effective. ELLs should take notes while listening to lessons. Give them an example of teacher prepared notes with pictorial representations. Webbing is a great way for ELLs to take notes. Give him time to stop and draw a picture of the content being taught.

Homework and Practice

Parents should be encouraged to use their native language to relate personal experiences on classroom topics of study. ELL parents can feel helpless because their English is limited; however research suggests that a strong foundation in the primary language will help in second language acquisition.

· Communicate a homework policy in parents’ native language.

· Design homework assignments that clearly articulate the purpose and outcome.

· Show examples of mainstream students completed homework assignments and have a peer provide explanations.

· Some assignments should be for practicing skills so that they become automatic and other assignments should be design to prepare ELLs for new information that will be introduced in class.

· ELLs do not need to receive the same homework as mainstream peers. He should do homework that requires him to use what he already knows and is learning.



and Providing


ELLs need to gain an understanding of the relationship between effort and achievement. They need to hear teacher and peer stories about times in life when effort pays off. They can share their experience learning English. ELLs would benefit from using an Effort Rubric so they can chart effort and the progress they make in learning new skills/concepts. This way they can start to make the correlation between effort and achievement.

Provide rewards and recognition for reaching academic goals. Effective verbal praise specifies the particulars of the accomplishment. For example, saying “good job” is not effective. It is more effective to say, “I can see that you used three details to support your topic sentence. That is a well written paragraph.”

· Identify performance goals

· Personalize recognition

· Use pause prompt praise strategy

· Use concrete symbols of recognition(awards, certificates, coupons)

· Recognize that ELLs are on double duty. They are learning academics and increasing English language proficiency at the same time.





ELLs can have a difficult time understand “if-then” reasoning. They may struggle with inductive (figuring out grammar rules while reading) and deductive reasoning (applying grammar when writing). There needs to be pictures attached to key vocabulary and concepts. ELLs need to ample time to generate and test hypotheses. They need large amounts of repetition. The most successful way to do this is through hands on models and manipulatives. ELLs should be creating vocabulary notebooks that include visuals to associate with new concepts.




Provide explicit instruction

Compare and contrast familiar concepts that are cognitively undemanding. Allow ELLs to do this orally first and then increase the cognitive demand to include more academic language.

Use graphic organizers with visual representations. Inspirations 9 is an effect software program that contains many varieties of graphic organizers for all content areas.

Connecting visual representation to written and verbal language will help ELLs construct meaning and make connections.


Echevarria, Jana, Vogt, MaryEllen, Short, Deborah, J. (2004) Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners, The SIOP MODEL, Pearson Education, Inc.

Hill, Jane D., Flynn, Kathleen M, (2006) Classroom Instruction that works with English Language Learners, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Virginia USA