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 students will be included in standardized testing requirements 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 new 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 ELL's. Wixie makes it easy to help your language learners master content and reach your curriculum standards.
Powerful Research and Writing
Wixie provides an abundance of scaffolding for ELL's as they start to produce and share their writing.
Wixie includes a Graphic Organizer folder in the Templates library that contains a variety of interactive thinking maps, including templates for sequencing, timelines and fact and opinion writing.
Graphic organizers are extremely helpful for emergent writers. For, unlike a daunting blank page, concept maps provide a much less intimidating and familiar structure to help students prioritize and organize their thoughts.
Wixie also includes a variety of additional writing supports including:
- Story starters, Cloze paragraphs, and repetitive pattern templates
- Sticker sets for sight words, colors, and popular children's books like The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Poetry templates that allow ALL students to share their voice and feel like successful writers
And, the best part is that there are so many ways you can share their writing in Wixie. Students can share their projects as images, web pages, slideshows, 4-page printed booklets, and even as digital slide shows.
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 multi-page digital masterpiece that will foster their oral fluency and confidence!
Students can also use the text-to-speech feature in Wixie to listen to the correct pronunciation of words and to help them hear errors in their own word order and sentence construction.
Depending on the various language development stages, students can also use the Team feature in Wixie to work collaboratively. One student can be the narrator, while the other student(s) illustrates and adds text. Everyone can contribute to the overall end product, which allows each student to participate, but at their appropriate level.
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 ELL's who need to tap into what they know and have lots of ways of representing it.
Everyone wants to have their story heard
Further their motivation and effort by choosing projects and performance tasks that have value beyond the individual learning goal. With Wixie their work is automatically online for easy sharing via email and your classroom web site. Project work can also be printed as comics, greeting cards, and more making it easy for students to take projects home to read and share with family.
Using Wixie with your ELL's provides them with powerful tools to showcase their language and understanding, helping them connect to content and to the goals of your standards.