University High School is seeing great improvements with our ELL students due largely in part to staff utilizing best practices with ESL strategies. Amanda Smart (University High English I and ESL Reading Class instructor) is a good example of this school’s practice. Ms. Smart is using stations with her classes focusing on the listening and speaking domains. Since she has been using the stations approach, she has seen great improvement in vocabulary acquisition and comprehension. In her stations, she uses a lot of manipulatives, especially with prefixes, roots and suffixes, which she has color-coded for easy recollection. All four ESL domains (reading, writing,listening and speaking) are focused on in each small group station. She also has her students working on the computer program “My Reading Coach” at least 3 days a week. However, she has found the best strategy to be hands-on manipulatives, flash cards, visual aids for novel studies, and slowing down her pace and speech patterns. For every station, her closing product is a reading or speaking activity utilizing the current academic vocabulary.
“I hope that by using the strategies from Sheltered Instruction, TELPAS scores will improve,” Smart says. “Every day is an adventure with ELL students. They always want to learn and that is exciting for me.”