Language Forms and Functions in an ESL Classroom

If Language Functions were a car, then Language Forms would be the tires, gas, engine, steering wheel and all the other parts that make that car drive. Teaching language functions has been the driving force (no pun intended, LOL) behind my English Language Development (ELD) instruction for several years and I love it! Students in every grade level, K-12 and beyond, use language functions across all content areas, so IMO, teaching Forms and Functions is an excellent way to build academic language and provide a pathway to language proficiency for English learners. 

My previous post was all about teaching Language Functions. Well, Form and Function go hand in hand, so let's dive into how Language Forms plays a role in ELD instruction.

Teaching Language Functions with English Learners

What are language functions? LFs are the "reasons" we use language; it's our purpose, or goal, when we express ourselves. Perhaps we want to express our needs or wants, explain a process, describe an experience, or persuade someone to do something. Whatever the purpose, we use language to perform these functions. 

Top 5 Things our ELs Need From Us

Hello Friends!

As we get ready for our students this fall, I want to shine a light on the top 5 things our ELs need from us this fall. It was a challenge coming up with a TOP 5, but these, IMO, are it.

Digital Word Study for the ESL Classroom

Incorporating Word Study into my ESL lesson plans is a "must-do" for me. This digital weekly WS program builds skills in phonics, spelling patterns, vocabulary, grammar and writing with beginning and intermediate English learners. It's also instrumental in building skills in all four language domains. Let's dig in!

Including Newcomers in Classroom Lessons and Activities

Are your newcomers included in daily lessons and activities? All lessons and activities? Or, are your newcomers working by themselves while the class is engaged in a lesson or activity?  Newcomers can and should be included in all lessons and activities, not sat at a computer or isolated from the class doing a different activity. Here are some tips for including newcomers in classroom lessons and activities.

Independent Classroom Activities for Newcomers

There are certain times during the school day, particularly during Language Arts, when students are working independently to build their reading and writing skills. I often get asked, "What can my newcomers work on during independent class time?" Let me start by saying, newcomers, or beginning English learners, should always be included in classroom lessons and instruction, and the lessons and activities should always have language scaffolds in place so that even our beginners are learning and participating alongside everyone else. They should never be put on a computer just to be "doing something." With that said, let's talk about some meaningful activities our newcomers could work on independently. Here are my top suggestions for independent activities to build language with newcomers during independent class time.

Building Sight Word Knowledge with Beginning English Learners

Focusing on sight word knowledge with beginning English learners is a great way to build literacy and language skills.