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Vocabulary Activities and Pictographs

Molly, Laura, and Allison all have level 1 and 2 ELL students in their science classes this year. All three are focusing early on vocabulary with their students. Each of them are doing a great job of including their students while also increasing their students' science vocabulary. Here, one of Allison Zima's students can be seen using a English-Vietnamese translator obtained from the library to translate vocabulary terms from his glossary. He is following the terminology by drawing a visual to represent that term(a pictograph).
CP Biology Vocabulary

Science and Math Cognates

A very complete list of science and math cognates that could assist teachers of Level 1/2 Spanish and French speakers.

Specific Challenges for ELLs in Science

ELLs may lack of background knowledge in science. Our “hands-on" approach is different from what they are used to. Drawing conclusions on their own may be difficult for ELLs. In their own culture students may not have been trained to make guesses.

Challenges that ELLs face when studying science:

  • The vocabulary of science presents a huge difficulty. There are a special set of terms for the student to learn. Even simple words that the student may know, could have another meaning in science.
  • Material is covered very fast
  • Directions are often multistep and difficult.
  • There are too many concepts explained on each page of a science text.
  • Cooperative learning may not fit in with students experiences in learning.
  • Visuals may be confusing and difficult to understand.
  • Sentence structure is complex and the passive voice is used in textbooks.
  • What was taught in class does not always match the assessment.
  • ELLs are not used to science labs or equipment
  • Students lack background in scientific method
  • There is no standard form of delivery of information


Challenges for ELLs in Content Area Learning

by Judie Haynes

Teaching Math and Science to English Language Learners

This very brief reading points out some of the challenges that ELL students face in mathematics and science. While their properties and laws may be universal, communication breakdowns still occur and their prevention can be planned for in advance.

and problem solving hold special promise and challenge for languageminority
students. Scientific inquiry and mathematical problem solving
are suffused with talk: questioning, describing, explaining, hypothesizing,
debating, clarifying, elaborating, and verifying and sharing results."

Lesson Adaptations and Accommodations: Working With Native Speakers and English Language Learners in the Same Science Classroom

Diana C. Rice, N Eleni Pappamihiel, Vickie E Lake. Childhood Education. Olney: Spring 2004. Vol. 80, Iss. 3: pg. 121, 7pgs.
This is a very extensive article that provides classroom examples for how to scaffold vocabulary used in the science classroom.

Preproduction and Early Production ELL students need to see visuals

What kind of science resource would this be if we did not include a Periodic Table. Of course, this periodic table would be particularly helpful for levels 1-3 ELL students. It reflects each element with a picture.