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There are times when the whole class will come together to participate in a focus lesson or a class discussion, observe a demonstration, or share their learning. At other times, the teachers will pair students to brainstorm ideas, clarify their understanding, or accomplish a task. Teachers will ask students to work in groups, whether for small group instruction or to complete an assignment. While individual conferences and assistance are vital supports for students who do not yet have the language proficiency to participate fully without help, it is within the small group configuration that you will find the most effective opportunities to differentiated sources, processes and products. In small groups students practice language, process understanding, and learn from each other. Varying grouping configurations allows the teacher to provide both the supports that the English language learners require, and to offer the challenges that stimulate the more proficient students.Sometimes teachers will want to pull aside a small group of English Language learners for a quick preview of the content the teacher is about to introduce to the class. In this group the teacher can build background knowledge or introduce vocabulary that the native English students already possess. Teachers might highlight particular language structures that are needed to understand the lesson and express the ideas or language structures such as if…then to express cause and effect in a science experiment, or first…then…finally to retell the sequence of events in a story. Teachers might also work with a small group after a lesson to review the concepts, assess the students understanding, and re-teach anything the students may have missed. These mini lessons can be grouped by language proficiency level.


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