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Tips and resources for educators of newly arrived ELL students

Teachers Alison Dempsey (left) and Maria Koutras listen as parents of the childr

The UFT has compiled a selection of tools, resources and tips to help educators support newly arrived English language learners. While this list is by no means comprehensive, the guidance and ELL strategies below can be integrated into your curriculum to benefit the newcomers in your classroom.

Professional Learning

Colorín Colorado is the premier website for ELL educators and families. It includes videos and articles that can be used by individuals or by school level professional development teams in planning professional learning. You may find these resources from their website particularly helpful:

CUNY's Initiative on Immigration & Education offers asynchronous and synchronous professional learning on topics such as Translanguaging for Multilingual Immigrant Students, Trauma-Informed Practice and Teaching Immigration in Elementary and Secondary Schools. 

Instructional Resources

Social Emotional Learning Resources

Colorín Colorado also offers resources for supporting the social-emotional needs of newly-arrived students: 

Helpful Tips for Teaching New Arrivals

  • Recognize that there may be a silent period and that students will be able to comprehend more language than they can produce.
  • Assign a “buddy” who speaks the home language. (Note that it is not the peer’s role to translate all instruction!)
  • Speak at a slower, but still normal pace and provide more wait time when asking students to respond.
  • Use gestures and facial expressions.
  • Provide a visual for the lesson topic and key vocabulary.
  • Provide a video preview of content (e.g. Brain Pop, Teacher Tube).
  • Assign active roles in the classroom e.g. photographer, timekeeper.
  • Encourage use of home language during class activities, both oral and written.
  • Allow responses using visuals/video/recordings in English or the home language.
  • Provide word banks, sentence and paragraph frames.
  • Utilize differentiated questioning to elicit responses according to proficiency level e.g. yes/no; one word; short phrase; full sentence.
  • Utilize translation apps, but not for all activities.
  • Encourage newcomers to write/draw about themselves and their experiences.
  • Provide frequent brain breaks.
  • Be patient with your student and yourself – acquiring a new language takes time and effort! ​