Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Multiple Language Levels

 Hello Friends,

Multiple Language Levels in the Same Class

I recently responded to an email from a fellow ESL teacher speaking of Multiple language levels in one class and thought it might be useful to others! So if you are interested in what I do with mixed language levels in the same class, read on!

It is so tricky to juggle classes with mixed language proficiency levels. If this sounds like your classroom here is my advice:

Teaching ESL with Multiple Language Levels

  • I like to check the Dutro ELD Matrix across language levels and identify language components that I can teach to different levels by just tweaking them a little.
  • Have students with higher language teach a piece of grammar to lower language students.  I also have the higher-language kids use sentence starters and language frames and work with the lower-language students.  After a sentence(s) were created the higher language students rewrote the sentence(s) using more words in each sentence, a higher level of vocabulary and grammar.  The way everyone got a workout!
  • I also ran centers by language levels.  While I taught one group a mini-lesson I would have the other group(s) work on a writing project, play games that practice grammar or language I had previously taught or a speaking project recording themselves on an iPad.
  • Games are fun ways for everyone to practice language.  I play a lot of card games with game boards and put all the students together.  I have 2 or 3 different card piles based on language level (which I color code for easy sorting).  Each student knows which pile to draw from, and practices the language appropriate for their level, but everyone rolls and moves their game pieces around the same board!  It is a great way to differentiate!
  • Teach cognates whole class!

Teaching Multiple Language Levels with Thematic Units

  • My favorite way of doing mixed language levels in one class is using thematic ESL units.  I teach a theme and use the same language functions, but change the grammar and vocabulary according to language level.  I have written a variety of theme-based units that you can find here:

I also love teaching ESL with themed-based science units.  They are super fun and the prep, experiments bulletin boards, etc. are basically the same. I just adjusted the vocabulary, grammar, and prompts by language level.  

esl science

Please try out some of these suggestions and let me know how they work for you!

What are some of your favorite ways to teach classes with mixed language proficiency levels? Let us know below in the comments!

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