Supporting Language Output

One of the most challenging parts of the language acquisition process - for learners of all ages - is producing output, or in other words speaking and writing. We as teachers need to provide students with low-stress output opportunities where they can utilize their language skills in meaningful ways. Improving these speaking and writing skills takes time, but the strategies on this page are a great starting point to helping Emergent Bilingual students feel more comfortable expressing themselves in English.

Creating a Low-Stress Environment

To ensure students are comfortable speaking and writing in English, teachers should create a supportive, welcoming environment. Students must have low-stress opportunities to use their budding language skills. Watch the video above to see how a teacher of Newcomer EBs creates a welcoming environment.

Structured Conversations / QSSSA

In Structured Conversations, teachers guide students on who to speak with, what language to use, and which topics to speak about.

QSSSA is a great protocol to help guide students in their speaking opportunities. The video above shows how a secondary math teacher utilizes QSSSA in her classroom.

Sentence Stems & Frames

Sentence Stems and Frames (also referred to as Sentence Starters) are important tools to help support EB students' speaking and writing. These scaffolds give students a starting point when they are creating new sentences. Frames provide a bit more structure and allow students to fill in the sentence, while Stems give students a sentence beginning that they can then complete.

T-Chart, Pair, Defend

T-Chart, Pair, Defend is a writing and speaking routine that encourages students to look at two opposing viewpoints related to a given topic. This routine incorporates whole class brainstorming, listing reasons or examples, and paired conversations. Watch the video above to see this strategy in action in a classroom.

Language Experience Approach

The Language Experience Approach is a group activity that relies on students' common experience. The teacher elicits verbal input from students, which s/he then writes into a short text. This text can the be used for phonics instruction or error correction, and students can practice reading it. The text can also become an exemplar for students when they create their own writing.

Writing with Micro-Progressions

Shared by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts in their book "DIY Literacy," micro-progressions provide students with examples of writing at multiple levels of proficiency. Teachers can create exemplars and rubrics so that students know what they can add to their own writing in order to strengthen it. These rubrics can be very useful when conferring with students about their writing.