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Issues in Addressing The Needs of English Language Learners in Context of Science


English-Spanish Dictionary or Math Glossary ... ... There are thousands of cognates shared by Spanish and English. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Issues in Addressing The Needs of English Language Learners in Context of Science

Issues in Addressing The Needs of English
Language Learners in Context of Science
  • Yolanda De La Cruz
  • Arizona State University
  • Presented at
  • Claremont Graduate University
  • November 17, 2007

The Big Picture
  • What are you are striving to accomplish?
  • Academic gains in science
  • English language proficiency
  • Enrich English learners science academic language
    in the native language
  • Close the Achievement Gap
  • Increase the percentage of English learners that
    obtain a High School diploma

  • High School Exit Exam
  • Nearly 40,000 seniors from the Class of 2006 did
    not pass the exit exam.

Numbers of Teachers in the California Workforce
  • .

Public School Enrollment, 1990 to 2015
Persistent Inequities
Distribution of Interns, by
School-Level Percentage of Minority Students,
  • Intern teachers are maldistributed 75 of
    interns are assigned to high minority schools.
  • Only 25 of interns are assigned to low minority

Students in the lowest performing schools are the
most likely to get novice and underprepared
Underprepared First- and Second-Year Mathematics
and Science Teachers, 2005-06
Number of Underprepared Teachers by Credential
What Do These Graphs Mean?
  • Persistent gap in academic achievement between
    Caucasian students and those from culturally and
    linguistically diverse groups
  • Many teachers are underprepared to make content
    comprehensible for ELs.
  • Few teachers trained to teach initial literacy or
    content-area literacy to secondary ELs.
  • ELs are tested in mathematics and reading under
    No Child Left Behind and in 2007-08, tests in
    science have been added to the battery of
    assessments they must take.

Components of Science
  • Life Sciences-focuses on the characteristics of
    living things, their structure and functions, and
    their relationships.
  • Physical Science-focuses on matter and energy.
  • Earth Science-focuses on astronomy and the
    contents and structure of the universe.
  • Scientific Processes-focuses on the use of
    scientific procedures such as observation,
    classification, description, hypothesis testing,
    measurement and data collection.

Description of Science Curriculum
  • Typically cumulative with increasing complexity.
  • Includes life, physical, and earth sciences and
    scientific processes.
  • In lower grades all sciences are covered in one
    year in upper grades typically one science is
    given in a year-long course.
  • Textbook language becomes denser and more
    decontextualized as grade level increases.

Whats Different in Science for English Learners?
  • Discourse structure may be vary different from
    students previous English experience.
  • Grammatical forms and structures in textbooks
    becomes increasingly complex.
  • All four academic language skills are required.
  • Scientific misunderstandings are remarkably
  • Study skills are similar to those in language
    arts and social studies.

Importance of Addressing The Needs of English
  • Most ELLs need 4-7 years to learn English before
    they reach average academic performance levels.
  • As ELLs, they are by definition not proficient.
  • But they are tested before they are proficient in

The following example from a high school biology
textbook, Invitation to Biology, illustrates the
vocabulary density that students must contend
  • The members of the kingdom Monera, the
    prokaryotes, are identified on the basis of their
    unique cellular organization and biochemistry.
    Members of the kingdom Protista are single-celled
    eukaryotes, both autorophs and heterotrohps.

Sections that Promote Science Excellence For
English Learners
  • 1. Learning Atmosphere Physical Environment
  • 2. Instructional Practices
  • 3. Science Content Curriculum
  • 4. Language Practices
  • 5. Family Community Involvement
  • 6. Assessment of Student Learning

1. Learning Atmosphere Physical Environment
  • A caring classroom atmosphere of mutual respect
    and support is facilitated by the teacher who
  • Knows each child as an individual,
  • Embraces languages, customs, and cultures of ELL
  • Provides culturally rich learning materials,
  • Encourages self-expression and provides positive
  • Builds student confidence and esteem,
  • Fosters an emotionally safe environment that
    allows students to feel secure and to take risks.

1. Learning Atmosphere Physical Environment
  • The classroom is visually rich to support student
  • Incorporates displays of student produced work,
    whenever possible,
  • Is colorful and thought stimulating,
  • Contains pertinent, real-world information and
  • Reinforces math-specific vocabulary and concepts,
  • Provides color-coded learning supports when
  • Room arrangement facilitates student interaction
    and group work.

2. Instructional Practices
  • Instructional practices foster cooperation and
  • Concepts are presented accurately, logically, and
    in engaging ways.
  • Multiple representations incorporate science
    learning levels concrete, semi-concrete, and

2. Instructional Practices cont.
  • The teacher employs student-centered
    instructional practices.
  • Approaches content from a concept-oriented
    constructivist method,
  • Surrounds students with different modalities,
  • Connects new concepts to prior learning or prior
  • Encourages students to refine and reflect about
    their own work and verbalize concept
    understanding in their own words,
  • Chooses homework to optimize individual content
  • Provides extra help and resources on an
    individual basis.

  • Activities for eliciting students prior
    knowledge about a science concept include
    brainstorming, making semantic maps, starting
    K-W-L Charts, and making visual representations.
  • Visual representations might include drawing
    steps of a process or even imagining and then
    recording an experience related to a science
    topic(e.g., imagining yourself traveling through
    the solar system).
  • All of these activities can be organized as whole
    class, individual, or cooperative group
  • It is important for students to record in words
    (written, oral, recorded), graphs, or drawings,
    the understanding of the science concepts they
    bring to the learning.

Contextualize to Subject Matter Scaffolds Activity
  • Task Think-Pair-Share
  • (bridging, schema building)
  • Write the following sentence stem for all to
    see. Take two minutes to jot down a few notes in
  • When I see or hear the word
  • periodic table,
  • I think.
  • Share your responses with a partner.

2. Instructional Practices cont.
  • Students are frequently partnered with peer
    learners to enhance learning opportunities.
  • To develop science content,
  • To aid English language development,
  • To insure sustained active participation in the
  • To welcome new students into an established
    learning community.

  • All students have prior knowledge about the world
    which has been gained through daily living and
    observation. Even young children understand
    there is a relationship between dark storm clouds
    and rain, and that when water is heated it boils
    and changes into steam. But their explanations
    of many scientific phenomena often verge on the
    magical, because of a naïve understanding of
    scientific principles. They have an incomplete or
    inaccurate understanding of the scientific
  • This naïve understanding can be so strong that
    it overrides scientific explanations of science,
    teachers can help them identify and write down
    their prior understandings of a scientific
    phenomena, then revise what they have written in
    light of discoveries made by participating in
    hands-on inquiry.

2. Instructional Practices cont.
  • Instructional activities are varied and support
    diverse learning styles and multiple
    intelligences, including for instance
  • Frequent use of models,
  • Music as a motivator and anchor,
  • Mind maps, poster-walks, and word walls
  • Key vocabulary and cognates presented in
    different forms,
  • Vivid adjectives,
  • Graphic organizers.

Graphic Organizers
Description-test describes or defines
information Organizers-webs, features charts,
comparison charts Enumeration-text lists
information about several related items, (e.g.,
events, characters, objects) and provides
supporting evidence or details Organizers-tree
diagrams, branch diagrams, webs, outlines,
comparison charts Comparison-contrast-text
comments on similarities and differences among
facts, people, events, and uses comparative
adjectives and transitional markers (e.g, on the
one handon the other, bothonly
one) Organizers-Venn diagrams,
comparisons Chronological or sequential-text
organized in a time sequence and uses temporal
markers, such as dates, prepositional phrases of
time, sequence words (e.g., first, next, then)
Organizers-timelines, story summaries Cause-ef
fect-text describes cause-effect reactions, how
one thing occurs as the result of another and
uses causative words (e.g., so, as a result,
therefore) Organizers-flow charts, sequence
chains, and cycles Problem-solution-text
presents a problem, and one or more solutions,
word choice relates to options, alternatives,
consequences, and results Organizers-decision-ma
king diagrams, semantic maps
Compare and Contrast
Different Alike Different
Sequence or Chronological
Cause and Effect
Possible Solution
Possible Solution
Possible Solution
Possible Solution
Four Square Lab Report
Question proposed ______________________________
_________________ ________________________________
_______________ Materials _____________________
__________________________ _______________________
Periodic Table Activity
  • 1. In a Think-Pair-Share grouping, answer the
    questions from the proceeding slides
  • 2. Does the simplified language dummy-down the
  • 3. Why or why not?
  • 4. Website for science Power Points
  • http//

(No Transcript)
Elements are arranged
If you looked at one atom of every element in a
group you would see
Each atom has the same number of electrons in
its outermost shell.
  • An example

The group 2 atoms all have 2 electrons in their
outer shells
Be (Beryllium) Atom
Mg (Magnesium) Atom
Chunking Example
  • Each group has distinct properties
  • The Periodic Table is divided into several groups
    based on the properties of different atoms.
  • Highlight the sections you are studying within
    the periodic Table.

3. Science Content Curriculum
  • Glossary of science terms is always available for
  • English-Spanish Dictionary or Math Glossary
  • http//
  • http//
  • Content is aligned to appropriate grade-level,
    science content standards and professional
  • Content is based on diagnosed student needs.

3. Science Content Curriculum cont.
  • Content is systematically designed to incorporate
    sound learning principles.
  • To incorporate increased complexity,
  • To present a cohesive big-picture through
  • To connect concepts through bridging and
  • To emphasize multidisciplinary understandings,
  • To reflect on inherent patterns by comparing and
    contrasting concepts.

3. Science Content Curriculum cont.
  • Curriculum is challenging, relevant,
  • age-appropriate, and well-paced
  • To include contextually-based problems,
  • To incorporate student realities,
  • To involve interactive problem solving.

Integrate Learning Strategy Instruction
(Handout-How to Teach Strategies for the Steps of
the Scientific Method))
  • Ask the Question/Identify the Problem.
  • Make A Hypothesis.
  • Collect Data.
  • Record Data.
  • Answer the Question/Solve the Problem.

4. Language Practices
  • Language support is offered without supplanting
    English instruction.
  • Support is aligned with students diagnosed
    language needs.
  • Language used is appropriate to age and grade
    level and presented in a socially meaningful
  • Science-specific vocabulary is explicitly and
    implicitly taught and reinforced through

Science Activities Can Include
  • Demonstrations
  • Observations
  • Structured discussions
  • Exploration of scientific phenomena
  • Gathering and organizing data
  • Systematic experimentation

  • These activities provide practice in the process
    of science which are as important in science
    instruction as the conceptual basis of scientific
  • Practicing scientific processes allows students
    to act like scientists in systematically
    investigating a problem or phenomena.
  • Observation is the basic process used in
    conducting scientific inquiry.
  • Other important science processes are
    classifying, measuring, communicating,
    predicting, and inferring.
  • More complex processes include controlling
    variables, interpreting data, making hypotheses,
    defining operationally, and investigating through
  • Science processes require active engagement of
    students minds and many also lend themselves to
    hand-on activities.

Lab Reports
  • In addition to practicing science processes,
    students need hand-on experiences in scientific
    expermentation, an essential part of the
    scientific method.
  • The information should be included in the
    students lab reports on the experiment. The
    steps of the scientific method can be used to
    prompt students to conduct their experiments and
    record their observations accuratley.
  • Lab report templates
  • http//

4. Language Practices cont.
  • Teachers are knowledgeable about the second
    language acquisition theories and best practices.
  • Ideally, dual language instructional support
    should be offered.
  • When dual language teachers are not available,
    sheltered instruction should be utilized to
    provide strong language support by addressing
  • through ESL.

What can you do?
  • Visuals
  • Realia
  • Collaborative interactions
  • Partners or small groups

Water Cycle
Develop Academic Language Activities
  • Listening. Listening and taking notes (either
    graphic or verbal)
  • Describing. Observing and describing observations
    orally observing the steps of a procedure,
    drawing them (or taking notes), then describing
    them posing questions and formulating answers
    discussing steps discussing the steps while
    conducting the experiment. Working cooperatively
    to build a model, then presenting the group
  • Reading. Reading graphs and charts, finding
    information in science textbooks, encyclopedias,
    and library books reading and following
    directions for procedures and experiments
    sharing lab reports and other class writing about
  • Writing. Writing answers to questions posed by
    the teacher or classmates writing lab reports on
    experiments working with a group to research a
    science topic and writing a group report about
    it writing about personal or imaginative
    experiences related to science.

5. Family Community Involvement
  • Schools connect to students family-life by
    embedding contextual experiences and skills in
    teaching and curriculum.
  • Projects are relevant and promote family
  • Opportunities are available for English-speaking
    higher grade-level students to mentor ELL lower
    grade-level students either in an in-school or
    after-school program, as appropriate.

5. Family Community Involvement cont.
  • Teacher engages in frequent communication with
  • About activities and events in which parents can
  • About student progress.
  • Teacher utilizes services provided by a community
    liaison and is knowledgeable about community
  • Parents are informed about the benefits of using
    their most cognitively advanced language at home.

6. Assessment of Student Learning
  • Classroom assessment is designed to foster
    student success.
  • Assessment methods allow students frequent
    opportunities to demonstrate mastery in a variety
    of ways.
  • Various assessment techniques are used to measure
    student understandings.

6. Assessment of Student Learning cont.
  • Grades are oriented to promote and emphasize
    valid step-by-step logical reasoning processes.
  • Assessment data and results shape instructional
  • Flexible time allotments are given to demonstrate
    concept mastery.

Areas that Require Work
  • Scaffolds for entry, engagement, and extension in
    mathematics and academic language
  • Enrichment of curriculum
  • Native language science instructional materials
  • Teacher fluency with science, science pedagogy,
    and discourse in English and language (for
    bilingual teachers)
  • Understanding student work

Understanding the Complexity of ELLs Culture,
Language, and Knowledge
  • We need to build on background knowledge
  • Identify cognates(Spanish-English) in science
  • Language production patterns
  • Develop language within science
  • Vocabulary building (enrich)
  • Clarify the academic language

Instructional Sequence
  • 1.Preparation. Brainstorming and creating graphic
    organizers illustrating knowledge
  • 2. Presentation. The teacher can conduct a
    demonstration that will cause students to
    confront their existing schemata by observing a
    phenomenon that appears contrary to their
  • 3. Practice. Students explore by trying out the
    experiment themselves, They begin to discover for
    themselves the causes, effects, characteristics,
    and variables associated with the experiment.
  • 4. Evaluation. Students generate opinions and
    explanations for the phenomena they have
    observed. Their ideas are written down.
  • 5. Expansion. Systematic inquiry using the
    scientific method for working through the

One Simple Strategy Students as Language
  • Majority of scientific terms and the processes of
    scientific inquiry derive from Greek and Latin
  • 90 of scientific vocabulary drives from the same
    roots and has cognates in the other language

  • Words that look alike or sound alike from one
    language to another
  • There are thousands of cognates shared by Spanish
    and English.
  • False cognates are a pair of words in the same or
    different languages that are similar in form and
    meaning but have different roots.

Cognate Activity
  • In your groups, look over the list of words on
    Handout 1.
  • As a group, infer the rule or rules that govern
    the spelling changes to convert the Spanish form
    to English
  • Be aware of internal spelling changes required
    because of English spelling patterns and
    generalizations, such as double consonants.

  • Have your students collect cognates
  • As they do, ask what they notice about them
  • Point out the characteristics of words in English
    and Spanish that are related
  • False cognates are a pair of words in the same or
    different languages that are similar in form and
    meaning but have different roots.
  • Compare true versus false cognates

Science Cognates
  • Adaptación
  • Anfibio
  • Bacterias
  • Camuflaje
  • Dióxido de carbono
  • Carnívoro
  • Citoplasma
  • Adaptation
  • Amphibian
  • Bacteria
  • Camouflage
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Carnivore
  • Cytoplasm

What does it mean?
  • Projects and direct instruction that help
    students recognize these patterns deepen their
    awareness of language and enhance their overall
    linguistic and academic development

Integrating Content and Language
  • Research indicates
  • Need to develop one through the other
  • ELLs should be talking about content to make it
  • Use of cooperative groups
  • Developing academic English or CALP
  • Why?

Summary of Teaching Guidelines for Science
  • Identify science themes that have application
    across life, physical, and earth sciences.
  • Students identify their prior knowledge about t
    of misconceptions that need to be corrected.
  • Focus on hands-on activities using science
    process skills, experimentation, and a variety of
    science resource materials.
  • Develop academic language through discussions,
    listening,describing observations, reading
    graphic and text science information, and writing
    about science.
  • Use a variety of instructional approached to
    dispel student misconceptions.
  • Integrate learning strategy instruction with all
    science activities.
  • Use the instructional sequence (Preparation,
    Presentation, Practice, Evaluation, and
    Expansion) to help students reconstruct their
    scientific knowledge.

  • California High School Math Standards
  • http//
  • Further Information
  • http//
  • Science lesson Plans
  • http//
  • Science Power Points
  • http//

Websites cont.
  • Cognates
  • Spanish Cognates Dictionary
  • http//
  • Learn Spanish Cognates
  • http//
  • Resources

Websites cont.
  • Science Lessons
  • http//
  • Basket Science Interactive-in Spanish English
  • http//
  • Ministerio Espanol de Educacion y Ciencia
  • http//
  • of lessons
  • http//
  • Biology Corner
  • http//

Websites cont.
  • A to Z teacher Stuff-Science lesson plans
  • http//
  • Interactive Activities
  • http//
  • PBS teacher Source-Science support.
  • http//
  • Lesson Plan Library
  • http//
  • Graphic Organizers
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//

More Websites
  • Interactive Periodic Table
  • http//
  • American Chemical Society Resources
  • http//
  • Lesson Plans 9-12
  • http//
  • National Science Digital Library
  • http//

Im still unclear about.
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