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July 12, 2022

Online Resources for Teaching English Learners

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change.”

– Richard Branson

The success of educating our English Learners(ELs) in this new and ever-changing educational environment demands an ability to change it up. So, as a nod to all the teachers out there having to adapt, revise, and change in very short order, I am taking some great articles for teaching ELs, pouring over the content, and providing this curated list of resources that are most applicable right now with a few embedded tools for your use. Here you go!


Topic: Using Technology to Support and/or Deliver Online Instruction

Takeaways: Some tools you are already using for all students might have supports that work well for ELs.Additionally, these tech tools should be built into daily routines whenever possible, even if this means doing so online. Educators will need to get creative to keep learners engaged, provide accommodations as needed, and may also need to resort to online language-learning tools.

Try: Newsela, Khan Academy, Voice Thread, Google Translate, Simple English Wikipedia, Explain Everything, BrainPop ESL, Ellavation, Read and Write for Google Chrome, Duolingo, Mango Languages, Tell About This

Tool(s)for YOU: Teaching Channel Hyperdoc Tip Sheet AND Triple E Framework: Engage, Enhance, Extend


Topic: Supporting English Language Learners

Article: Supporting English Language Learners by Elizabeth Brozek and Debra Duckworth

Takeaways: ELs benefit from being able to use technology to express themselves. Multimedia technology can be used to incorporate pictures or video into lessons giving students the necessary contextual cues to understand new ideas. Discussion boards can create an opportunity for students to be actively involved in academic and social English outside of the classroom environment. Be sure to provide scaffolds to support EL expression using these technologies (i.e. sentence starters, templates, etc.)

Try: Animoto, Dave’s ESL Café, Edmodo, Answer Garden

A Tool for YOU: Sentence Frames as a Scaffold for Discussions


Topic: Activating Background Knowledge

Article: Activating Prior Knowledge With English Language Learners by Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski

Takeaways: Versions of a K-W-L chart can help ELs activate background knowledge. Anticipation guides are useful to accomplish a similar goal. Using multimedia or preparatory texts can also jump-start lessons by reading a book, watching a video, or having a virtual presentation from an expert!

Try: Google Docs for Anticipation Guide Building, Non-fiction Picture Books, Scholastic Watch and Learn, Virtual Reality, Skype a Scientist

A Tool for YOU: KWHLAQ Form (OR try recreating this document in Padlet to make it more collaborative or facilitate whole group interaction.)


Topic: Vocabulary Learning Strategies

Article: Top Five Vocabulary Strategies For English Language Learners by Erica Hilliker

Takeaways: It’s imperative that you provide students with a preview of unfamiliar vocabulary. Using visuals or word walls can help you accomplish this. Fill-in-the-blank definitions or sentences provide a great scaffold for ELs at the use new vocabulary. Graphic organizers can be used in a similar way.

Try: Padlet, Pixabay, Flickr, Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

A Tool for YOU: Frayer Model Template

I hope you find a few valuable ideas, tools, and strategies to make your planning and instruction a bit easier. Thank you for your work and what you do for ELs and all students!


Additional Resources for Teaching EL’s:

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