Fact: 10% of students enrolled in our schools today are second language learners.
Fact: ELL’s need to spend at least 50% of their instructional time “producing” oral language.
Fact: ELL’s students will be assessed on the Common Core Standards in the majority of the states.
With these facts in mind, how do you start preparing students for learning in another language in a meaningful and deep way as the new Common Core standards propose?
I am not a language acquisition expert, but my experience teaching in a bilingual classroom and supporting educational technology has allowed me to see many successful learning strategies used with ELLs. Wixie makes it easy to help ELL's reach the goals of the Common Core State Standards.
Tackling Informational Text
Non-fiction is almost synonymous with Common Core when people start talking about the “big picture” differences from previous standards. Now, 50% of the complex texts read by students at the elementary level have to be informational.
Wixie includes galleries of Common Core-aligned templates designed to help students take notes and organize their thinking. They can also use symbols, like those in the Mind Maps folder, to create their own graphic organizers.
Writing Different Types of Text for Different Audiences
Wixie is an easy-to-use constructivist-based “production” (NOT consumption) tool that allows students to type as much text as they want in natural format (no bullets, limitations) AND add a gazillion graphics to support their text. Students can share these single or multi-page creations as images, html docs, ebooks, printed booklets, and more!
Wixie offers a lot of writing supports as well in the form of graphic organizers. For example, teachers can discuss the difference between the two versions of a story, like the Little Red Hen and a southwestern adaptation of the classic folk tale, Burro’s Tortillas.
Teachers can access a Venn Diagram to complete as a whole group activity and then task students to create a pictorial representation using one of the book compare/contract templates in Wixie while they are in an independent learning center.
Speaking and Listening Skills
Students can record up to 5 minutes of audio per page, making Wixie a snap for adding narration in a private, non-threatening space using a computer or tablet. Students can create a multipage digital masterpiece that will foster their oral fluency and confidence!
Depending on the various language development stages, kids can also use the collaborative and/or cooperative features in the programs to work together on projects. One child can be the narrator, while the other child illustrates and adds text. Everyone can contribute to the overall end product, which prepares students to be college/work place ready.
Let’s face it, successful businesses depend on team work to deliver products. Setting up an environment where students are tasked to share their piece of the learning equation prepares them for what they will experience when they graduate.
If ELL’s do not understand the academic vocabulary in their textbooks, they are going to be even more challenged and penalized when they tackle the new online tests and have to decipher academic words in the questions they find there.
Wixie provides a multitude of ways that students can experiment with vocabulary and make sense of the meanings of new words. Students can access academic vocabulary trading cards, activities for learning idioms, and other templates designed to support student’s acquisition of vocabulary through text, images and voice.
Rather than merely define words using paper/pencil, kids can truly bring them to life using their own synonyms, pictures, drawings and background knowledge—all the things that make learning stick, especially for ELLs who need to tap into what they know and have lots of ways of representing it.
Everyone wants to have their story heard!
Wixie provides digital tools for ELL's to showcase their language and understanding, helping them connect to their learning and the goals of Common Core.