As the number of multilingual learners (MLs) in classrooms continues to increase, teachers in all disciplines must be prepared to meet their needs as part of regular, core instruction. Federal law dictates that MLs have equitable access to grade-level standards, and this cannot be the sole responsibility of ESL teachers. Currently, many content area teachers aren’t adequately prepared to meet the unique needs of MLs and need more training, resources, and support to serve their ML students. Fortunately, the Adolescent Literacy Model (ALM) can help by providing a school-wide model for embedding research-based strategies in all disciplines so that all students have frequent and more structured opportunities to read, speak, write, and listen about content grounded in vocabulary. The added layer for ML students is the need to understand and develop English language proficiency. When engaging in intentionally selected ALM practices alongside their native English-speaking classmates, MLs have the opportunity to improve their English proficiency as they learn important content.
In an effort to help teachers better understand how to adapt and scaffold ALM to meet the needs of their multilingual learners, this post builds upon a previous blog post, Meeting the Needs of Multilingual Learners with ALM. For this post, we partnered with three multilingual expert educators to create a series of four short videos focused on helping teachers meet the needs of their ML students. This video series can be found on our YouTube channel @CtlonlineOrg in the Scaffolding the ALM to Support Multilingual Learners playlist. The videos can be watched in any order, though we recommend starting with Episode 1 and working your way through. At the end of each video, you will find links to additional resources and articles you can explore on your own to dig deeper into learning how to support your MLs. Access to the links can be found in the slide deck, linked underneath the video in the description section.
Below is a brief summary and link to each episode.
We’ll help teachers understand how to use the EL tab on Infinite Campus to access important background knowledge about multilingual learners. We’ll also share examples of how teachers can use this information to scaffold instructional support based on students’ English proficiency levels.
We’ll focus on how to use, scaffold, and pair specific strategies within ALM’s subdomains of Vocabulary Development (Alphablocks, Frayer Model, Interactive Word Wall), Writing to Learn (Admit/Exit Slip, Quick Write, See-Think-Wonder) and Academic Dialogue (Paired Verbal Fluency, Block Party) to help teachers thoughtfully plan for helping students to build vocabulary, interact with peers, and deepen content understanding in a purposeful, supportive way. An added bonus will be the use of visual representations and some general tips for supporting ML students.
While Episode 2 focused on scaffolding materials and resources, this episode focuses on strategies for scaffolding your instruction, including guidance on when to translate for students, as well as cognitive load considerations. We’ll share ideas for frontloading vocabulary and the use of the Interactive Word Wall, as well as QSSSA, a structured strategy tightly aligned to ALM and beneficial to all students, but especially for MLs.
We’ll bring it all full circle and focus on helping teachers better understand how they can use student grouping strategies as a scaffold for their MLs. Teachers will learn how to group students in various ways based on their backgrounds and needs, as well as the lesson goals. We’ll also share three strategies for successful collaboration for all students.
While we know that every student and every class is different, we hope that the information and ideas in this video series provide some additional knowledge and suggestions you can immediately implement in your classroom that will help not only your ML students, but all students.
Collaborative for Teaching and Learning. (2022). Foundations of content literacy: An instructional framework for comprehensive literacy instruction in all content areas. Collaborative for Teaching and Learning, Inc.