Supporting ELLs Through Project-Based Learning Transcript
Teacher: First thing, what are some of the species we had? Jar Jen 00:09, you said you were number one.
Narrator: If you’re not yet using projects and you’re serving a lot of English language learners, think about how I can transform my class into one where hands-on, small group work is the main mode of instructional engagement.
Teacher: This machine here is going to make copies of DNA, just like the copy machine makes all the beautiful handouts.
Narrator: The project is always hands-on. The project is always giving them something more than just words to grab onto. In my class, biology, it’s hugely important to be able to graphically represent what you’re thinking of.
Teacher: What our goal is today is to amplify DNA. What we need to do is make a lot of copies first.
Narrator: If that’s doing an experiment on plants or it’s creating procedure guide to how to extract DNA, they have an idea in their mind what that looks like. By the time they’re sitting down to do the project, they know what the stuff is, they’ve seen it, they have pictures, they have drawings. They’ve creating something. Now they’re putting words to ideas.
Teacher: Which word are you using to describe step one, step two, step three?
Narrator: Group work is a vital component of what we do. The real conversations happen when kids are able to talk to each other about what it is they’re doing. In our classroom, we have a lot of different conversations going on in a lot of different languages. We want English to be the common language at the table, but we also are encouraging, when possible, for students who speak the same language to talk to each other and develop understandings in their native language.
Teacher: I like how you have something similar to what Yon Ling 01:57 has.
Narrator: I want them to realize that if you know it in your native language as well as in English, you’re developing literacy in two places.
Teacher: What happens to the old DNA? Unzip.
Narrator: You’re doing the same thing you would do for other groups, but you’re adding to our consciousness that this group needs that attention. You’re also constructing in your projects and in your small group work opportunities for these kids to be supported by their peers and to support each other.