English Language Learners in the CS Classroom

In our Q2 CSD workshop in Nashville today we discussed this topic. Here are some thoughts

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Peer Tutoring is a great way to make sure ELL students are not left out.


Chunk topics into smaller more manageable tasks. Use bilingual vocabulary cards. Frayer Models work great too. Frayer Model includes the word in the center, each quadrant has one of the following: definition, picture, example, non-example.


Use Google Translate for the Activities Docs. In my class, the ELL student pastes the questions or instructions in to Translate-to Spanish, talks together, then put their answers in Translate to English and then pastes or types their responses in English into the activity sheet.


I find it so hard to believe that there is no translate feature built-in to the code programs. I mean, these are International programs - -it would be awesome if there was a translate button where students could choose their language and the translations take into consideration the specific vocabulary and tech-terms. I have found that Google Translate is inadequate in translating tech-specific terms and vocabulary.


Katherine, what a great idea. We have other translating pieces for our students, that would be a great feature as well!

I also will print out the English.Spanish version for the ESL students. This way they are learning English, and are still able to understand what the assignments are.

**_On a Side Note: I did find out in a meeting for my PLC’s that we need to stick with the actual accommodations according to the students IEP and or 504. If we are adding to that, when testing comes around, they will Not have the accommodations that we are giving them. Feels like a Catch 20.

yes, maritia.sparks Google Translate works well for ESL students in my class too :slight_smile:

I struggle with Google Translate because of the different dialects in Spanish.
I do a ton of partner work.
I would really like to have a read aloud feature… talk about differentiation!

A great tool would be to translate the language on code.org. At the very bottom of the home page there is a tab which sets the language for the entire website. You could also change the language in your browser’s settings.

If they understand spoken English but read English poorly they could use the audio feature in lessons.

I think when the student logs in or on the home page if you scroll down, there is a box on the left side of the screen that allows different languages to be selected.

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Peer to Peer - students helping to translate for new arrivals is helpful. Keep a personal translate list has been very useful for my students in the past. Using Google translate is helpful but is time consuming.

In the education environment ELL students come from a variety of languages and experiences. At this time there are many ways to support these students and in this post I hope to address/list out some of the possibilities through classroom management and the use of technology.

With many new ELL students, finding a mentor student or friendly face that speak the same language can often soften the transition into a new school setting or classroom. If such a student is not available utilizing a student with strong note taking and comprehension may be able to provide enough support to assist any student.

If you are able to utilize technology many ELL students can begin to utilize Google Translate between the teacher and student allowing for directions to be some understanding. As more technology becomes available teachers should continue to look for browser extensions and programs to assist in reading, studying and understanding content that is new and possibly foreign to them.

Low tech educational options may be the availability of a translation dictionary and vocabulary cognates. These can be provided in the form of skeleton notes or more visibly as wall anchors.


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Mrs. Guttery,

On a majority of the Studio levels there is a read aloud feature built in - go to the top right hand corner and click on the play button. Hope that helps!


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Pre-Teach the vocabulary, possibly the vocab sheets that come with each unit.

In general, over-focusing on vocabulary or pre-teaching / insisting on vocabulary first is less successful than focusing first on concept development and peer interactivity. Then, once their are experiences and constructive understanding, teaching the English words will make more sense more quickly. Above, the Freyer diagrams are mentioned and they, or similar approaches, are proven, effective ways to develop concepts alongside vocabulary - for both native Eng speakers and speakers of other languages.

If you have students who do not already have a successful process for translating and transliterating when they are frustrated or need it, then you should work with them to come up with one. If they have been in an Eng speaking school for at least a semester, they should have a process that they can use in all their classes. So, if you’re not sure what to suggest, there for sure is a teacher in your school who can help you out with that.

Good luck!

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Use the translate feature in Google Chrome for students that do not speak English (Right click on the web page and select Translate from the popup menu)

We utilize the overall translate feature at the bottom of the code.org page however found that activity guides were not translated. One way around this is to make a “copy” of the document as a Google Doc. One the Google Doc opens up you can selected Tools>translate and then you can choose the language you prefer.

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