Teacher Reflections

Strategies for Teaching Social Studies to ELLs

As we near the beginning of the school year, I thought it would be helpful for me to brush up on some strategies and develop a few more tools for the teaching toolbox this year. Below are some guides that I found helpful, see links below. 

  • ELLs and Social Studies (NYU) 
    • Analyzes difficulties with multiple meanings of common social studies words
    • Provides strategies to deepen students comprehension of challenging texts with examples of application: T-Notes, analogies, cause-effect chains, concept circles
    • How to brainstorm to activate prior knowledge 
    • Previewing content vocabulary 
    • When, if ever, to use multiple choice questions 
    • Teaching students to self-assess
SOURCE: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/


    • Making Social Studies Meaningful for ELL Students (Long Island University: Szpara & Ahmad) 
      • An academic paper but contains a number of research-based specific suggestions for teaching ELLs: 
        • Develop a Socially Supportive Classroom Environment: 
          • Learn students’ given/ethnic names 
          • Learn basic greetings in various languages 
          • Explicitly voice high expectations for all students 
        • Explicitly teach Cognitive Academic Language 
          • Give instruction in literacy skills
          • Teach how to decode new terms 
          • Teach how to skim & scan 
        • Reduce Cognitive Load and Increase Accessibility of Complex Content Knowledge: 
          • Translate key words in English instructions for DBQs 
          • Utilize visual supports 
          • Use graphic organizers—write down all important information 
      • Visualizing Social Studies Literacy 
        • Excellent specific examples of how to incorporate visuals that will increase accessibility for ELLS: 
          • Picture Dictionaries & Picture Books 
          • Historical Photographs 
          • Paintings & Illustrations 
          • Propaganda Posters 
          • Charts & Graphs 
          • Realia 
          • Timelines 
          • Graphic Organizers 
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