Wacky Wednesday - Building Connections! September 23 2009

In my corner of the world, we have Hispanic and Russian English Language Learners. They are amazing kids! Imagine being dropped into the middle of somewhere, everyone expecting you to function, and you have no idea what people all around you are saying.

I've spent many professional development hours over the last couple of years, studying and practicing strategies that work with ELL students. I used to feel stressed about it, like I had to be two people, teaching the English Language Learners and then teaching the rest of the students. Consequently, I'll never forget the way our trainer opened the session on the first day.

"When you think about it," she said, "aren't we all English Language Learners?"

This question broke down a wall in my brain. When I looked at all of my students as English Language Learners, I could approach them with strategies that built connections between living words, ideas and images, instead of just hammering dry word lists and abstract concepts.

This is one of the reasons I like the increasing number of Spanish/English and ELL focused products available at Teaching Resource Center. And once parents and students see you providing those connections in your classroom, the more likely they'll do so at home. I've had a surprising number of students who don't read in their native language. I always ask parents upon first meeting them if their native language is spoken at home, and most of the time the answer is yes. However, there is a general impression that students learning English as a second language should not read or write in their native languages.

At this point in the conversation, I talk about building connections between letters, sounds, words and pictures. I emphasize that building those reading and writing skills in their native language helps students acquire the skills needed as they learn English. My case is strengthened by two elements; the first is the multi-language decorations spanish-alphabet-posteraround the room, and the second is the student's improvement in basic skills in the English language through using their native language.

So to help our teachers build connections with their students, our Wacky Wednesday Deal of the Week is our Spanish Alphabet Poster and Set of Spanish Alphabet Cards, for a total price of $21.90! AND YOU CAN GET IT FOR FREE! Leave a comment below and be entered to win - there's at least one winner every week!

 Would you like more ELL resources? Read my book review of Personal Readers, which helps ALL English Language Learners!

And if you get the Spanish Alphabet Poster, you're going to need The Alphabet Poster in English, too. Last week, we introduced "The Alphabet Poster...Uncut!" as our Wacky Wednesday deal (by the way, it is still available53530370-beginning-sound-poster-1 at the fabulous price of $5.95!). Because of all of the wonderful comments, we didn't give away a poster...

We gave away 5 posters! Wonder what will happen this week... 

Remember, Leave A Comment and be entered to win the Spanish Alphabet Poster and Set of Letter Cards!

Additional Resources

Bilingual Everyday Words
Spanish Word Wall
Print Rich Classroom Labels

Monthly Calendar Pocket Chart - English/Spanish