English language learners have had many different experiences with education, culture, and family. Many MLLs are new to the United States, but many others are not; some can read and write in their first language, but others have had little or no formal education at all. Some children have spent the majority of their lives in refugee camps; others were born in the U.S., but may live in a close-knit community where everyone speaks Spanish or Russian or Vietnamese and have therefore had very little experience with English.
Because English language learners come from countless different backgrounds, it is not feasible to predict how long it will take each MLL student to achieve social and academic proficiency in English. Depending on a student’s previous education background, the effectiveness of the ESL program, and many other factors, it can take between 4-8 years, if not longer. Most experts on the subject agree that MLL students should remain in ESL programs as long as is necessary, rather than for a predetermined amount of time. In Minnesota, funding is provided for MLL students for a maximum period of five years – however, in SPPS, we continue to provide service to students for as long as they need it.
Elementary MLL services are expected to be aligned with the content areas. MLL teachers in Saint Paul Public Schools provide English Language Development in the areas of Literacy, Math, Social Studies, and Science.
Learn more about the SPPS English Language Learner Department's expectation of "The Language of School". Download this document.
English Language Development in Literacy
Elementary MLL teachers who are providing English Language Development (ELD) services within the area of literacy are expected to use the ELD Focus Sheet to align language objectives and teaching strategies to the teaching focus of the shared reading and small group reading.
There are two different formats of the ELD Focus Sheet:
The Daily ELD Focus Sheet allows for daily planning for one session. Download this form
The Weekly ELD Focus Sheet allows for weekly planning for multiple sessions. Download this form
Highlights of the New ELD Focus Sheet: These ELD Focus Forms are for planning and documenting ELD instruction that supplements only the Whole Class Shared Reading. Language Domains: You can now record which language domains your lessons target (Writing, Reading Listening, Speaking). Sequence: You can now record when your lesson will occur in the sequence of the Whole Class Shared Reading sessions (Pre-Teaching, Mid-Teaching or Re-Teaching). The ELD Focus Sheet is now available in pdf template fillable form. This means you may use this form electronically rather than printing and handwriting your forms. The template version allows you to type in the cells without concern about disturbing the formatting and layout of the form. The templates will open using Preview, however we recommend that you use Adobe Acrobat Reader. To save them electronically, you need to rename ("save as") the document.
Reminders: When you are writing your language objectives always keep in mind the following questions:
“What language do the students need to access the reading content?”
“What language do they need to be able to listen to, talk about, read and write about the content?”
The ELD Focus Sheet was created by the MLL Department as a parallel document to the Reading Focus Sheet created for classroom teachers by the Center for Professional Development. Use of the ELD Focus Sheet is required for MLL teachers to document ELD instruction addressing planning and lesson delivery with scaffolding during small group instruction that supplements Whole Class Shared Reading. The top portion of the form targets teaching “language through content”- language objectives aligned to the reading content objective. The bottom portion of the form addresses lesson planning with scaffolding learning. Resources such as the “Types of Support for English Language Learners” should be used.
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