Ideas & Strategies - Homework and Practice


Sharing Notebook: Students write a letter to parents once a week in journal about what's going on at school, etc.; parents respond (at their ability level). This can be modified in many ways for grade level and proficiency, along with time constraints. For lower-proficiency students, class can brainstorm and write together with teacher model. Can be done in home language.

Home/School Connection: A strategy used in G.L.A.D., home/school connections are a form of homework that involves interviewing parents/family members (in any language).

Video available in Spanish for parent night Siete Secretos Escolares (Seven Secrets for School Success) in a fun, engaging, "telenovela" format.

Online Tips: Working with Spanish speaking students and parents at:

School districts experienced with ELLs and homework have common successful practices:

  • Placement of ELLs in summer school programs and after school programs such as after school homework clubs
  • Building time into the regular school schedule and making sure bilingual staff is assigned to support students with homework and projects whenever possible
  • Free homework help from online tutors
  • Project based learning functions as a bridge between using English in class and using English in real life situations outside of class. It does this by placing learners in situations that require authentic use of language in order to communicate (e.g., being part of a team or interviewing others). Wen learners work in pairs or in teams, they find they need skills to plan, organize, negotiate, make their points, and arrive at a consensus about issues such as what tasks to perform, who will be responsible for each task, an how information will be researched and presented.
  • Community based homework help clubs; in community housing projects, apartment community centers, and in local nonprofit organizations
  • Any homework assignments are additive not subtractive in grading; extra credit for homework, not punitive, not factored into students grade
  • Have multiple languages installed on school computers or at least show students how to browse the Internet using language features available on many websites such as or



Pair/share activities to practice new forms and functions orally in order to develop fluency:

Talking Stick and Clock appointments activities

Guided Practice is very important for all students, but especially ELLs. Here are some suggested Guided Practice activities:

  • Illustrated Notes: Individual or partners summarize new information by drawing or sketching in a picture form.
  • Graphic Organizers: Students produce their own version of teacher-presented Graphic Organizer, (Venn-diagrams, T-charts, ABC charts, etc.) before they are held accountable for new information or skill.
  • Vocabulary Practice: Revisit & practice new vocabulary frequently; vocabulary games are effective for example: One Word Only, Catch Phrase, Concept Swatter, Las Vegas Grammar, Jeopardy (template/example), 50 Quick Language Games
  • Songs & Chants: Key information, high-level academic vocabulary and concepts presented in a rap/song/chant format and revisted and practiced frequently. Include gestures while performing, (see below video for example) and pictures to increase understanding. Several chants are included (social studies chant  and science chants) for examples. Also a link to an audio chant from Forest Grove school district.

Solids, Liquids and Gases chant 

Interactive grammar practice: