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In-Service Development Plan

A presentation for mainstream teachers on how to differentiate writing for English learners

Ellen Kelly

on 3 November 2013

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Transcript of In-Service Development Plan

In-Service Development Plan
To teach mainstream teachers how to differentiate writing instruction for English learners (ELs).

Specifically, teachers will learn about:
the stages of writing for ELs
issues Els have with writing
instructional strategies to assist with writing
assessment methods for writing progression

The stages of writing for ELs
According to Diaz-Rico (2013),
the stage of writing development for ELs varies according to whether they are beginner, intermediate or advanced in English learning.
Issues ELs have with writing
Areas where English learners may struggle in writing are:
Academic Register
Teachers can help by guiding learners to choose a tone suitable for school writing.
Teachers can help combat plagiarism by giving students “support and accurate feedback at various stages in their writing, and offer[ing]specific guidelines and training in “textual borrowing” strategies” (Diaz-Rico, 2013, p. 197).
Using dictionaries and the library
Teachers can explicitly teach dictionary skills to students, plus work to help them understand how and when to the use the library.

Instructional strategies to assist ELs with writing
Instructional strategies for writing must be
and consider each EL's academic and language background.
Assessment methods for writing progression
Writing assessment can be:
Ex: portfolios, student journals (for free writing or outlining), writing conferences, or student-assessment self checklists.


Ex: standardized tests which compare students against a norm or standard, assessing a student’s work against others in the same grade level.

In-Service Development Plan: Differentiating Writing for English Learners

Ellen Kelly

TESOL 508 – Teaching Reading and Writing

November 2, 2013

Professor Alisa Guo

Differentiating Writing for English Learners
Beginner ELs
Beginning ELs are typically in the
transitional phase
, meaning they:
Generally have an
understanding of the

sound-symbol principle of the alphabet.
Can “engage in interactive journal writing
with their teacher or complete simple frame sentences such as “I like ______ because ______.” (Diaz-Rico, 2013, p. 191).
Are capable of copying words and sentences or making their own books by copying and illustrating simple books.
Advanced ELs
Advanced ELs can
write responses
to many academic assignments, like “personal or literary essays and completed worksheets, laboratory manuals, and test questions” (Diaz-Rico, 2013, p. 192).

writing errors often mirror that of a native speaker’s
– “topic focus, parallel sentence structure, and paragraph cohesion” (Diaz-Rico, 2013, p. 192).
Intermediate ELs
Intermediate ELs are more advanced and are able to attempt:
personal and expressive writing
(i.e. letter writing)
academic writing
(i.e. note taking, short essays, and lists)

They may struggle with:
within their writing
Errors at the sentence level
, like “adverbial and adjectival phrases and clauses, sentence fragments and run-on constructions, and collocation errors (incorrect verb + preposition combinations” (Diaz-Rico, 2013, p. 191-192)
4 Instructional Writing Strategies
Melissa Schulz (2009) recommends 4 instructional writing strategies, as shown in Table 3:
Language experience
Shared writing
Interactive writing
Independent writing
Each writing strategy has a different purpose, but all are closely interrelated.

Other strategies
Dr. Melissa Holmberg (University of Phoenix, 2013) recommends:
the teachers outlines the assignment, speaks it aloud as he or she is writing it, and has the students jump in if they want to help. This helps show what a good writer thinks, how they process, and how they self-correct when they make errors.
Experience with BME (Beginning, Middle, End)
students write a word, sentence or paragraph to describe the beginning, middle and end of the essay. (This activity is particularly helpful for beginner writers)
Higher level work with writing
, such as including an introduction, multiple paragraphs in the middle, and a conclusion.
Whole group activities
, followed by
small groups
based on ability.

A Note on Error Correction
Diaz-Rico (2013) argues that teachers consider their writers’ general language proficiency before making decisions about error correction…

Now it's your turn to discuss:
Which of the instructional strategies listed previously do you find most helpful?
Are there any additional strategies you would recommend?
Beginner writers should be encouraged to express their ideas (whether or not they are grammatically correct), to try new formats, make more complicated sentences, and take risks.
Teachers should not focus on correcting beginning students’ grammar, but instead encourage fluency –tactfully leading students to perfect their vocabulary, grammar, and usage.
If teachers decide to hone in on errors, they should focus on only a few types of errors at a time.
Which assessment methods do you use in your classroom for assessing writing progression?
Can you recommend any others?
In summary
Differentiating writing instruction for ELs involves:
Knowing about the stages of EL writing development
Understanding issues ELs may have with writing
Choosing appropriate instructional strategies
Assessing students informally and formally in writing, considering their level of English proficiency and academic background
Thank you for viewing this presentation!

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An Example Lesson on BME
"I might have one group doing BME with just a couple words or even pictures for each beginning, middle, and end.

Another group I might have them writing a sentence for beginning, middle, and end.

Then in the last group, I might be having them write an entire paragraph. And then moving on from that, the BME will – could evolve into a higher level where it’s five, six, seven paragraphs depending on the student’s ability level."
-Dr. Melissa Holmberg (University of Phoenix, 2013)
Full transcript