Differentiating Instruction via Literature Circles to Support English Language Learners in a Science Classroom
Big Moon Tortilla
Keywords:elementary science, ELLs, literature circles, metacognitive strategies
It is important that preservice and in-service teachers use effective supports for English language learners (ELLs) in science classes to enhance learning. ELLs with limited English proficiency may need more supports to address language barriers that affect student learning. Literature circles can be used to enhance understanding of content when embedded into instructional strategies. This grant-funded study collected data on effective instructional approaches to support ELL students in upper elementary science classes from October, 2017 through May, 2018. During a lesson on phases of the moon, researchers incorporated literature circles into instruction embedded with metacognitive strategies to assess student learning outcomes. Student-participants: (a) took a researcher-designed, pre-assessment, (b) received direct instruction in phases of the moon, (c) were engaged in literature circles, (d) created “Phases of the Moon” booklets, and, (e) took a post-assessment. For the collaborative activity, students were grouped with peers who had similar English proficiency levels; and each group was given a book in English, a book in Spanish, or a book that had text in both Spanish and English. Students were asked to read, identify cognates/clarify unknown words, develop a summary/gist, and create questions to ask peers after a group presentation (Klingner & Vaughn, 1999; Palincsar & Brown, 1984).
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