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Strategies for Remote ESOL Teaching

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I, like most of us in the teaching profession, have been 100% overwhelmed since last March. I haven’t even thought about updating this blog since then given everything that we have been asked to do as teachers.

Teaching ELLs has been SO difficult during this period of mostly remote schools. My school is back to do a hybrid model with the kids in school for some of the time, which is better than nothing. I thought I would share some things I’ve found that have helped me connect to connect with and teach the ELLs on my caseload.

First, after reading a lot of different facebook group posts from fellow ELLs teachers I have come up with this:

Daily Agenda

ESOL daily agenda

You can grab a copy of this here.

This agenda goes on my ESOL class website. It is the first thing that kids see when they navigate there. Here’s a screenshot of the front page of my website:

ESOL daily agenda slide
ESOL website homepage

Using a Google Sites:

I created my site using Google Sites (we are a Google school). The agenda is embedded into the front page of the site as Google Slides. If you would like to check out my site you can: bit.ly/phsesol

Each day I update the following elements of the agenda. At our school we call the agenda a “playlist” as we were trained using the Modern Teacher platform.

Elements of the agenda:

  1. Date
  2. Question of the day– Students answer the question of the day in the Daily check-in form (for an explanation and example see #7 on this list). All questions come from my Question of the Day product, available on Teachers Pay Teachers.
  3. It’s also… is a weird holiday. I get these from this website.
  4. Quote of the day- I use either Brainy Quote or I have the Wonder app on my phone. This produces a new quote each day.
  5. Announcements- This is where I put anything that is happening at school, on Zoom, or with the schedule. You can see in the first example that we had spirit week via Zoom and in the second example we were having a change to our hybrid learning schedule.
  6. Playlist/agenda- You can see that there are two different playlists. now is “study center” and one is “ESOL”. That’s basically I have two different sets of students in one block. Some students are only with me for academic support in their other classes and so follow the “study center playlist.” The students who are still receiving English language development instruction follow the “ESOL playlist.” I link everything I am doing right into the playlist so the kids can click and do the work. I am also using Google Classroom, but I often just link them directly to the website/assignment/Google Drive folder etc., and circumvent that step. The more directly the kids can access the work, the better.
  7. Daily check-in– I ask the students to fill out this daily check-in form for both attendance purposes and so that I can make sure that I have information about each kid, each day. It has been super hard to keep up with everyone’s needs during remote learning since I’m not always seeing each kid each day, or if I am, sometimes I still don’t have time to connect with them personally. I change the meme scale sometimes, or omit it altogether. I create a new Google Sheets for the form responses each week and then I can see how the kids are doing in a handy sheet. I also made a new copy of the sheet each week, change the dates, and share the new form with kids. That helps prevent the number of responses from getting overwhelming on the Google Sheets.

For the other elements on my “playlists” see the next post on where I explain my reader’s dialogue assignment and student reading logs.

Happy teaching,


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