Opportunity to Support Middle School ELL students

ELL students from Culler, Goodrich, and Park attended UNL in the spring of 2015 to participate in a Digital Festival. UNL education majors facilitated the event with various activities throughout the day. ELL students got a tour of the campus, participated in icebreaker activities, and ate lunch in the cafeteria. This was a great experience for all involved. The UNL students got an opportunity to interact with students from many different countries who speak various languages. The ELL students got an opportunity to see the University and start to envision their future as a college student.

We are asking for help to fund this project again this spring. Here is the link to our Fund-A-Need proposal.


Lincoln High Staff Meetings November 12, 2014

As part of the cultural proficiency journey, teachers at Lincoln High attended period staff meetings throughout the day on November 12, 2014. One focus was second language acquisition and how to support the ELL students (levels 1-5)  and the students who have a home language other than English. We discussed input (receptive language) and output (productive language) and how to support students at any given proficiency level. We shared some ideas of strategies to support these students and allowable accommodations. To see the presentation, click here.

Strategies and Accommodations Shared by Staff

illustrated directions-many photos of process

directions given orally and on the board

speak slower and check for understanding

enunciate clearly

demonstrations (modeling)

show videos to promote understanding

use nonverbal cues, gestures

word walls

word banks

notes with visuals and drawing options

small groups, pairs (sometimes with same language, sometimes with English-speaking peer models), preferential seating

provide extra help, one-on-one support

extended time

shorten assignments, provide alternative assignments and assessments

have students translate words in their language

use bilingual/picture dictionaries, Google Translate (for vocabulary and simple phrases), dictionary phone apps

encourage students to access resources online

text on tape, listen to reading

use sentence starters/frames

use graphic organizers

use rewordify.com

have students present a speech in their native language, followed by English (grade the presentation -Native, the content -English)

use cooperative learning strategies

encourage self-advocacy skills

contact bilingual liaisons-make sure that I make the first phone call home

learn about the different cultures




Using Wonders Digital Resources to Promote Language Acquisition

ELL teachers have a multitude of resources to help support language acquisition in their instruction. The important thing to remember, with any resource, is that it is a vehicle for teaching language. Digital resources can play an important role in supporting 21st century learning skills and also creating interactive opportunities for students to speak, listen, read and write in English. We recently had a professional development session that highlighted useful strategies for teachers to use when planning with Wonders digital resources while keeping language acquisition at the forefront. Some of the keywords that we highlighted are illustrated in this wordle:

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 3.07.04 PM

  Retrieved from: Wordle http://www.wordle.net/

Planning for ELL students and utilizing a multitude of materials is a little like telling a story. Teachers need to begin by understanding where their students are at in their learning both with receptive and productive language processes. They also need to know what is happening in the general education classroom and then make educated decisions about where their students are and where they want them to go in learning. The benefit of using the digital resources from Wonders is that if problem and solution is being taught in the third grade classroom, this skill can still be taught in ELL but adjustment in text complexity and instructional approaches may be modified to help provide access to students at Emerging language proficiency. As a result, using digital resources, you may be able to teach problem and solution but instead of using the 3rd grade text, teachers may find that a second grade text is more appropriate. They will have access to all of this through the digital site. Here is a road map for planning that we discussed. It highlights one example of how teachers need to utilize planning materials and digital resources to create access to learning for students.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 8.39.06 AM

To see the complete powerpoint that explains this process more in depth, click here.

To download a copy of a lesson plan checklist for using Wonders digital resources, click here.

For directions on how to download leveled readers from Wonders, click here.

To access the weekly planning guides for K-2 and 3-5 as well as the language continuum support guides, click here to get to our McGraw-Hill Reading Site.

We hope these are helpful resources to support teachers. It is always important to remember that materials are a support. The impact of the materials depend on the scaffolding, differentiation and intentionality of language instruction that is provided by the teacher.  Happy planning everyone!

Secondary Curriculum Reading Assessments (Target Objectives)

Reading Target Objective Schedule 2014-15

Level 1 Class A (Inside Materials)

  • Quarter 1 Text Structures (T.O. 3)
  • Quarter 2 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 3 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 4 Text Structures (T.O. 3)

Level 1 Class B (Reading Focus)

  • Quarter 1 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 2 Text Structures (T.O. 3)
  • Quarter 3 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 4 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)

Level 1 Class C (Content Focus)

  • Quarter 1 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 2 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 3 Text Structures (T.O. 3)
  • Quarter 4 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)

Level 2 Class A (Inside Materials-Middle School)

  • Quarter 1 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 2 Text Structures (T.O. 3)
  • Quarter 3 Text Structures (T.O. 3)
  • Quarter 4 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)

Level 2 Class A (Edge Materials-High School)

  • Quarter 1 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 2 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 3 Text Structures (T.O. 3)
  • Quarter 4 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)

Level 2 Class B (Reading/Content Focus)

  • Quarter 1 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2) and Text Structures (T.O. 3)
  • Quarter 2 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 3 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 4 Text Structures (T.O. 3)

Level 3 Class A (Inside Materials-Middle School)

  • Quarter 1 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 2 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 3 Text Structures (T.O. 3)
  • Quarter 4 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)

Level 3 Class A (Edge Materials-High School)

  • Quarter 1 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 2 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 3 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 4 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2) and Text Structures (T.O. 3)

Level 3 Class B (Reading/Writing Focus)

  • Quarter 1 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 2 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 3 Persuasive Writing
  • Quarter 4 Expository Writing

Level 4 Class (Inside Materials-Middle School)

  • Quarter 1 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 2 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 3 Persuasive Writing
  • Quarter 4 Expository Writing

Level 4 Class (Edge Materials-High School)

  • Quarter 1 Elements of Fiction (T.O. 1)
  • Quarter 2 Main Idea and Details (T.O. 2)
  • Quarter 3 Persuasive Writing
  • Quarter 4 Expository Writing

Secondary ELL Resources

There are many resources available for secondary ELL teachers to support them in all of the different classes at each language level. Teachers can access the latest draft of the scope and sequence for each class at each language level in Docushare. To access the different classes in level 1, click here. For the classes in level 2, click here. For the classes in level 3, click here. For level 4, click here.

In addition to the scope and sequence for each class, there is also folder in Googledocs containing various resources. Teachers can find a comparison chart for the different reading leveling systems and lists of texts that could be used at each language level. To access this folder, click here.

As we continue to work and improve the reading and writing skills of our ELL students, we have resources to support guided reading groups in secondary ELL classrooms and writer’s workshop in all ELL classrooms. To find more information about guided reading, click here. To find more information about writer’s workshop, click here.

School Psychologists Presentation

School communities have staff who perform a variety of roles to make sure that educational needs are met for students.  We now have students who are past participants in the English Language Learner program as well as current participants in the ELL program in every building in our school district. This requires a level of  understanding of language influences in learning by everyone in a building, sharing in the goal of increasing graduation rates for students and also making sure that each individual child is reaching their highest academic potential.

We recently had the opportunity to visit with school psychologists during their PLC. Some of the topics we covered were:

(See also Making Family Conferences Successful)

The key focus in the conversation was how to gather information, in partnership with parents, bilingual liaisons, teachers and administrators and ask ourselves how language influences learning that is happening. Sometimes through this process of gathering information there may be additional influences besides language acquisition that begin to surface. When interviewing parents, some things to consider would be as follows:

  • Is the student also having difficulty speaking/reading/listening/writing in first language?
  • Does the student struggle with retaining information even after it’s been taught/explained multiple times?
  • Can they follow directions at home in first language?

Development in first language foundation and parent insight is a powerful piece in determining an appropriate plan for how to support learning when students seem to plateau in their learning. Any student that is being considered for the SAT process who is also an English Language Learner, should have a ELL parent interview conducted in order to begin to understand a child’s development in their foundation!


On the Same Page: The Chronicles of ELL Coaching

History of ELL Coaching in Lincoln Public Schools

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Action Plan from 2010-2011

Action Plan from 2011-2012

Action Plan from 2013-2014

Resources developed for our district’s professional development

Menu of Professional Development Options for 2014-2015

ELL Foundations Class Presentation (Example comes from the third class in the series for new ELL teachers)

Planning for Reading Instruction with K-1 ELLs Presentation (Example comes from ELL district professional development)

Math Strategies for Elementary ELL Students Presentation (Example comes from General Education professional development)

Resources developed for teachers to enhance language acquisition instruction in our classrooms

Lesson plan from a guided reading model lesson

Math Word Problem Sentence Frames

Model Video to share a Word Study strategy with teachers

Video highlighting the use of content/language objectives in an ELL classroom  (if you have trouble opening the video, try using a Firefox or Safari browser)

District Wide Communications

Before launching the current ISELL site, we had several versions of newsletter communications with our school district.  

2008 Newsletter                 2011 Newsletter



Instruction for English Language Learners: Teacher’s Curriculum Council

Because ELL students are now being served in all elementary schools, as well as 5 secondary centers, there have been a lot of questions from schools about how best to provide instructional support to meet their needs.  The Teacher’s Curriculum Council meets monthly and recently requested information about instructional strategies for English Language Learners.  A presentation was given with the primary purpose being to share the resources available through the ELL program’s ISELL page.  As part of the presentation, participants were given basic information relating to the program and an opportunity to explore the ISELL page.  Check out the powerpoint and scavenger hunt to learn more about all of the wonderful resources that are available.


Click here to view powerpoint.

Click here for scavenger hunt.

How do I access Guided Reading Texts for ELL through Library Media Resources?

Lincoln Public Schools’ Library Media has a large collection of guided reading texts ready for ELL teachers to check out for use in their classrooms.  The books are a range of levels and genres and can be used to support language acquisition through guided reading.  You can either check out these books through your library media specialists at your buildings, or you can come down to LPSDO and search the collections in person.

To locate the titles online, you can follow this pathway:

1. From the Lincoln Public Schools Home page, click on library media services under the instruction tab.

2. On the right hand side, there will be a selection of several different catalogs to search from. Select the Professional Library  Catalog.

3. Type in DRA as the keyword. You will see a list of books. To refine your search, look at the bottom left hand corner of the screen.There will be a box with choices for ways to sort your selections. Scroll down to Collections and select it. Some options will drop down for you to choose from. Select Leveled Readers.

4. All of the guided reading texts that are for ELL teachers should come up for you to select from.


Please contact Library Media Services or your ELL Instructional Coaches if you have any questions.




Courses Offered for ELL Teachers: 2013-2014

Two different courses will be offered to ELL Instructors for the 2013-2014 school year.


Foundations is a class developed for K-12 ELL teachers who are new to ELL in Lincoln Public Schools. The class will focus on:
* what ELL teachers teach                              * how they teach it
* how to use the materials that they are provided to support student learning           

Participants will also partner with an ELL coach to work on implementing class content into their daily practice using an “I do it, we do it, you do it” model of support.

The class dates are:  Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 11, and Dec. 16th.  Please note, the October date on the flyer is incorrect.  If you are interested in more information on class times and location, you can click here or contact Holly Tracy at htracy@lps.org.


SIOP I is a class developed for K-12 ELL Educators. The class will focus on
learning the first 4 lesson components of the Sheltered Instruction Observation
Protocol (SIOP) developed by Mary Ellen Vogt, Jan Echevarria, and Deborah Short. Participants will also have the opportunity to work with an ELL Instructional coach to apply the newly learned components in their classrooms.

Click here for dates and times this course is offered or contact Molly Williams at mwillia1@lps.org for more information.