Chapter 4-Connecting Content & Language

“Learning is a social process that occurs through interpersonal interaction within a cooperative
context. Individuals, working together, construct shared understandings and knowledge.”
-David Johnson
Claudia Guerrero
John Mendoza
Bernadet Caceres
On the index card write down what a
language rich environment looks like.
Stand up – hand up- pair up
Discuss with your partner what you wrote on
your index card.
A language rich environment is mostly spoken of in
literature on the first language acquisition of
infants, children whose home environment engages
in meaningful conversations allowing the students
to begin school with a large vocabulary and strong
ability to engage orally.
For English language learners, they find themselves
starting all over again in learning a new language.
They need to hear language used for a variety of
purposes, engage in conversations, with different
partners and see language.
In a language rich environment, students need to
hear language models from a variety of sources.
Teachers, peers, books, videos, and other sources
of information can serve as models of language.
Students need to be immersed in authentic
language tasks that make language
comprehensible. They need opportunities to share
their thinking with one another and to rehearse
oral language for academic purposes.
A language rich environment is not a quiet classroom.
Has desks organized in a way that allows student so see eyeto-eye and provides spaces where students can come
together and talk in larger groups.
Students are placed in learning pods of 4-6 students.
Room organization is important, one where the teacher can
quickly transition students form a pair-share to a small group
activity without asking students to leave their seats.
Many times students serve as language models for
other students. Through peer interactions,
students develop vocabulary, learn content, and
engage in oral discourse.
ELL’s need opportunities to interact with different
peers daily, if they are paired with the same person
it may limit the exposure to language that they
We want all students to feel like an expert and have
something to contribute in the classroom.
Therefore, teachers need to be intentional on how
they pair up the students.
It is important to know your students language to
be able to pair them with one that is slightly above
their level.
It is important to mix partners often, giving all
students an opportunity to serve as language
models and learners.
Teachers can provide students language frames to
help them initiate a dialogue with their peers, or
provide a prompt and allow students to use their
own language.
A language-rich classroom includes knowledge of
where students are in their English language
development with formal and informal
When students interact orally, the teacher has the
opportunity to listen and learn providing good
information for teachers to build upon.
Teachers need to model academic language that
will build toward encouraging students to talk
progressively more while the teacher talks
progressively less.
A Language-Rich environment encourages
Risk Taking
ELL students need to believe the whole class
is working as a language community,they
need to feel safe and know they will not be
ELL students must feel successful as they
build confidence as a speaker of English
Ex. Gallery Walks (telling stories through
pics, speak what they see)
Teachers invite students to interact with text
There is a clear obj. for the Read Aloud
Students are allowed to contribute their
Intentional stopping points are practiced by
teacher to check for understanding
Pair-Share: students will share their
understanding of the text, practicing with
peers instead of a group is low-anxiety
context for practicing oral language
ELL need to see language:
ex. Visible access to the text being read
w/young learners using Big Books or large
charts of text.
Older readers, T. can use copies of the text
or view via a document camera.
S’s are able to make sense from oral and
written language.
WORD WALLS- provide pictures, full sentences
that use the word, full texts w/the word underlined.
ELL should be able to understand the words and
use the words when speaking and writing
Classroom library serves as a valuable resource for
English language learners.
Through books, students are exposed to a large
amounts of language.
Variety of texts – trade books, magazines, chapter
books, newspapers, Web resources, pamphlets,
brochures and other printed materials.
Providing multiple sources of text helps students
access information in different ways and they learn
knowledge can be presented and learned through a
variety of ways.
Modeling proper written language support
English language learners when speaking and
writing in English.
Picture – Word – association
Sentence strips – sentence starters
Anchor charts –
Vocabulary word walls
The key in creating a language-rich
environment is to immerse students in
language from:
talking to peers
seeing examples of language around the
In different forms of text
ELL’s need to be highly exposed to language
They need daily opportunities to practice
using the language that surrounds them.
Create spaces for peer-to-peer interaction using
small-group and whole-group settings.
Encourage peer-to-peer interactions.
Listen to the language and knowledge students
bring to the learning experience.
Incorporate interactive read-alouds.
Provide daily shared-reading opportunities.
Introduce words orally and in print.
Have an abundant classroom library.
Encourage daily opportunities to read
Create an explicit language environment.