Meeting the needs of English language learners through online learning

For this assignment, you should develop a 30-minute lesson plan on the subject of your choice to meet the needs of English Language Learners as well as others in your class. Include the following:

1) Objectives
2) State Standards
3) Methods for meeting student needs
4) Specific activities
5) An assessment (formal or informal) to evaluate content mastery

Length: 30-minute lesson


Lesson:  How to Use Verbs in Your Writing -- This lesson requires an understanding of the English language, but is adaptable for ESL students. The lesson meets the writing needs of college students. ESL students may have grammar needs that English speakers have already acquired, but the lesson includes adjustments for ESL learners.

Objectives: The objective of this lesson is to help students recognize the importance of the subject and verb in a sentence and how choices of verbs and the placement of them affects clarity. This lesson is focused on only one aspect of writing. The entire course addresses other mistakes that students make in writing and how to correct those. It is appropriate for ESL students as well as others. Higher educaiton students often need to write with more clarity, having picked up academic writing styles that are not that well-written (Zinsser, 2006).

State Standards:  This is a lesson for higher education levels. However, the course meets the following Common Core Standards:  (1) Reading and writing grounded in evidence from the text, (2) Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary (California Department of Education, 2013).

Methods for meeting students’ needs:  This lesson provides examples and assessments of basic writing and grammar for all students. The online nature of this lesson provides methods for meeting the needs of ESL students.

The specific activities for this lesson are based on Boom's Taxonomy (Overbaugh, n.d.) and Horton's (2012) e-learning designs.

Bloom's taxonomy is illustrated in the pyramid on the left and a revised pyramid is on the right, which shows strong verbs in place of nouns. Bloom's taxonomy aligns with Horton's "absorb," "do", and "connect" activities, providing a successful scaffold for building an e-learning lesson (Overbaugh, n.d. & Horton, 2012).

Absorb -- Do -- Connect

Absorb activities
Absorb relay information (Horton, 2012).  The most common types of absorb activities include presentations, readings, stories by a teacher, and field trips (Horton, 2012). Some of these may be characterized as passive learning, especially if students are watching a slide presentation or listening to a story. Absorb activities prepare students to do something or provide short “upgrades” from previous learning (Horton, 2012). These activities are good at explaining and demonstrating a sequence of events (Horton, 2012).  Absorb activities can be pre-recorded, an advantage for many instructors and learners. Students can access information at anytime, and stop the presentation if needed, which meets the needs of ESL students. Absorb activities are the foundation in Bloom's taxonomy of "remembering" and "understanding" (Overbaugh, n.d.).

The video for this lesson gives the learner control over the speed of the presentation as well as three forms of absorbing the information:  hearing, reading the text, and watching graphics (Horton, 2012). This helps meet the needs for various learning styles, levels of learning, and ESL students (Herrington, n.d.). Learners grasp new ideas by seeing, hearing, and reading the examples (Horton, 2012). To keep the presentations interesting, they should be short and involve the students in "do" activities immediately (Horton, 2012).  In fact, it is important to give students a "Do" activity early in the presentations, before it gets boring (Horton, 2012). Students need to apply the newly learned information to real-life situations by practicing problem (Guy, 2009). ESL students can slow the presentation down, or go back to the beginning to understand the message.

Do Activities 
"Do" activities require learners to do something with the information they have acquired from an absorb activity (Horton, 2012). For this lesson, the "do" activity would be embedded in the video presentation. Students would be given a sentence to correct, and the answer would be immediately following, reinforce the learning. "Do" activities can also be presented before an absorb activity to provide a basis of knowledge or a starting point so the student realizes what he/she needs to learn (Horton, 2012).  This lesson plan follows Bloom's taxonomy of learning -- remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating (Overbaugh, n.d.).

Connect Activities -- Assessment
Many times the student is left to make a connection with the newly learned information (Horton, 2012). Connect activities link new knowledge with old knowledge, which applies constructivist learning theory (Haythornthwaite, 2011). Connect activities are also ways to evaluate if students have learned to apply new knowledge (Horton, 20120). Bloom's taxonomy describes these as "analyzing" and "evaluating" activities, built on "remembering" and "understanding" (Overbaugh, n.d.).  When learners create original work, they connect activities from the initial steps of remembering and understanding, to applying and creating (Horton, 2012 & Oberbaugh, n.d.).

The examples will use sentences from peer-reviewed journals. Practice activities will give students a chance to participate in a “Do” activity -- editing sentences. The course will be available at any time and through any mobile device, making it easy for students to access the material (Herrington, n.d.). The final connect activity requires students to edit a 300-word writing sample.

Writers in academia often use nouns instead of strong verbs, making the writing less effective, according to Sainani (2013).  The students will be absorbing through a slide presentation, examples, and then "do" activities to engage them in applying the new information, and "connect" activities to further use the acquired knowledge (Horton, 2012). The second part of the lesson gives examples of when the verb is buried in a sentence, making the reading cumbersome. Students will have the opportunity to see this in examples from peer-reviewed journals, and be given activities to correct passages of writing. Once again, the final activity requires students to edit a 300-word essay.

The following table describes two learning activities, describing the elements of each as "absorbing", "doing", and "connecting". The learning objectives and state Common Core Standards are also included. I would use an online learning platform for this lesson.

Learning Activity

“Do” Activities
“Connect” Assessment Activities
Learning Objectives
State Common Core Standards
Write with Strong Verbs
Slide presentation with voice-over. ESL:  First a review of nouns and verbs.  Next examples of nouns that should be verbs: “obtain estimates versus “estimate.”
Ten sentences with needed corrections, students correct them, answers follow.
 Correct a 300-word essay.

Learn to write with more emphasis on action by using verbs.
Practice with complex text and academic vocabulary
Keep Subject and Verb Near Each Other
Slide presentation shows the placement of the subject of the sentence near the verb which improves readability
Ten sentences where the verb is hard to find. Studnets sill move the verb to the subject.
Correct a 300-word essay.
Learn to improve readability by keeping the subject and verb close in the sentence structure
Practice with comple   text and academic vocabulary

This is an example of the "do" video activity (Sainani, 2012).

This is based on an open online course offered from Stanford University. It is an example from Sainani (2013):


California Department of Education (2013). Common Core State Standards. Retrieved from:  http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc/

Guy, R. (2009).  The Evolution of Mobile Teaching and Learning. Santa Rosa, CA: Informing Science PressHerrington A., & Herrington, H. Authentic mobile learning in higher education. Retrieved from http://www.aare.edu.au/07pap/her07131.pdf

Haythornthwaite, C., & Andrews, R. (2011).  E-Learning Theory & Practice. London, England: Sage.
           Lave, Jean (1988). Cognition in practice: mind, mathematics and culture in everyday life. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Herrington A., & Herrington, H. Authentic mobile learning in higher education. Retrieved from http://www.aare.edu.au/07pap/her07131.pdf

Horton, W. (2012). E-Learning by Design. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer

Overbaugh, R. & Schultz, L. (n.d.). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved from http://ww2.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm

Sainani, K. (2013). Writing in the Sciences. Stanford University. Retrieved from: https://class.stanford.edu/courses/Medicine/SciWrite/Fall2013/about

Sainani, K. (2012). Tips on Scientific Writing Part 2. ACS Webinars. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-NZFSrqHB0

Zinsser, W. (2006). Writing Well. New York, NY: Harper Collins

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