Vol. 10, Issue 1, October 2009

Solutions for NYS TESOL professionals

TESOL professionals ask and answer questions about problems related to work.

From: Gail E. Militello

Problem: Please share your transition services for elementary, middle, and high school LEP students in the first year that they become proficient.

Tina Villalobos

TESOLution from: Tina Villalobos

One of the first items is to give a list of my students to the reading teacher. She usually tests them so that we can see if they qualify for services. This also shows whether they qualify for AIS (Academic Intervention Services). (This does not help my kindergarteners since they don’t get AIS/Reading or first graders since they don’t get AIS.)
Secondly, I ensure that the teachers know who exited the program. Many teachers will give extra support to the students if they know they just exited. I have them listed this year as first year and second year transitional for myself (at state test time) and for the teachers. If a student is struggling, they know that I can pick them up on certain days or for extra help.
Lastly, I try really hard to supply services to these students for a few days a month to work solely on upper level writing and vocabulary. I work on writing paragraphs and any skills needed to pass the state tests.  I don’t always have room in my classroom, but when I can I bring them in certain days to work while I have my advanced classes. I do the same kinds of writing and reading comprehension activities I do with my advanced, I just expect them to write more and with more variety.
There was one year that I couldn’t take my transitional groups during the day at all, so that year I did homework checks. Each morning I would do a quick view of their homework to see if it was done, and many times they would sit at my table and do it because they didn’t understand it, and receive a sticker or star on a chart. Then, I would reward them after so many completed homework checks. This helped them see that I was still making sure they were doing their homework and allowed me a few minutes in the morning to isolate those students that didn’t understand the math or work from the day before. After a few months, I also knew who I had to check homework for every day, even if I didn’t have a full homework check. (I would put out a sign once or twice a week and the kids knew to come in, open up their homework, and line up to be checked… being spontaneous and unexpected helped!)


Gail E. Militello is an Instructional Specialist for ELA and ESL in the Williamsville Central School District in East Amherst, New York

Tina Villalobos teaches ESL K-5 in Hicksville and to adults through SUNY Farmingdale’s LIEOC. She has been published in the “Getting to know the NYSESLAT” test prep books by Attanasio and Associates and assisted in developing new curriculum for the SUBE English language program. She hopes to begin her doctorate next year, as well as, complete her reading teacher certification requirements.

If you have a question or problem you would like addressed contact TESOLutions at: dialogue@nystesol.org.