This is How to Get Your ELLs to Say it in English

This is How to Get Your ELLs to Say it in English

I’m a big fan of sentence frames. In the mainstream classroom, ELLs may seem to speak English well, but they are lacking in academic language. Sentence frames are ideal for rehearsing academic language and reinforcing new vocabulary.

Sentence frames let you tap into what the students already know about a topic and make it interactive. Repetition is essential, since it helps students retain more information. Enable peers to assist each other by assigning frames as pair work.

Leave a blank in a complete sentence and let student verbally complete it. You can be as open-ended as you like, depending on whether you are eliciting words, or testing them.

Use pairs to pretest one another. Give the sentence frames:

  • A: “Do you know anything about (topic) ?”
  • B: “I think it could be _____ because I learned _____.”

If your topic is the solar system, then the first sentence frame for student A might be:

  • A: “Do you know anything about the solar system ?”

Student B could answer:

  • B: “I think it could be the sun because I learned that solar means sun.”

Have the students repeat the sentence frames by switching roles A and B.

Use sentence frames as: an oral activity, written assignment, or review for upcoming test questions.