Strategies for

While good teaching practice impacts all learners, specific supports are necessary to enhance instruction for MLs/ELLs.

8 Traits of a ML Supportive Lesson

The arts naturally create an environment where students are highly supported while engaging with challenging content. Making strategic choices in instruction can help MLs increase comprehension and maximize language production.

Activity Before Content

When students begin their process by doing an activity rather than listening to a verbal explanation, they have an experience that language can be built upon.
Language Experience Approach

Make Connections

Build and connect to students’ prior knowledge to motivate and engage them in new learning. Make personal, cultural, or academic connections.
Story Dice Strategy

Be Mindful of Teacher Input

Change how you teach, not what you teach. Age-appropriate content should not be modified (what), rather the way it is presented should be adjusted as needed (how).
How to Write a Movie Script

Set Appropriate Expectations for Student Output

Expectations should be challenging, yet realistic, based on the students’ proficiency level. Consider how supports can enhance student production at the various levels.

Address a Language Objective

Consider how language is being used to achieve the goals of the lesson. What language is essential in the moment? (Hint: It may not just be vocabulary.)
Crafting Language Objectives

Link the Learning

Demonstrate how language and concepts addressed in the lesson are relevant to real-life, other content areas or a larger context. This makes the learning authentic and meaningful.

Repeat and Reinforce

When concepts and vocabulary are used in context, they are more apt to be understood and remembered. Include multiple exposures to key concepts and language throughout the lesson.
Dancer’s Toolbox

Allow for Ample Practice

If students do not immediately use new concepts and language points independently, they may not retain them. Provide time for students to try out and get feedback on new ideas.

8 Traits of an ML Supportive Lesson

For a detailed breakdown of language supports, download a PDF of the 8 Traits of an ML Supportive Lesson chart developed by Language and Literacy Specialist Jennifer Stengel-Mohr.
8 Traits of ML Lesson 8 Traits of ML Lesson
a cartoon of 4 students gather to look at a rectangular image.

Using Visual Supports

MLs can get lost in a sea of words when language is the only modality. Visual supports are used to teach a word, concept, abstract idea or can be an inspiration for artmaking.
Tips for Using Visual Supports
A teaching artist speaks to a class seated at cafeteria tables and gestures with her hands.

Questioning Strategies

Differentiating and scaffolding questions leads to higher order thinking and deeper collaborative discussions while increasing access for MLs.
Questioning Strategies
Four students are collaborating in a group. One student passes a microphone to another student. Behind them hang a poster of

Using Small Group Work

How do you effectively structure small group collaboration to give MLs the confidence to take risks, develop new ideas and work cooperatively with the support of their peers.
Tips for Small Groups