When I was working in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, I was privileged to be selected for Sheltered Instruction training through the State Department of Education. In some ways, this training transformed my teaching practice. I found the training to be timely because a child had been placed in my classroom just before Christmas and he did not speak any English. Using the Sheltered Instruction strategies I learned, I was better able to manage my new student's learning. I used the SI strategies with my whole class, and as a result, all my students' learning improved.
I highly recommend attendance at any ELL professional development you can locate. Seek it out! Tulsa Public Schools has a notable list of resources regarding ELL instruction. Take a look at the lesson plan ideas and weblinks sections.
By the way, that student who entered my room in December, speaking NO English, was reading his first Harry Potter book by April! (He was already a fluent reader in his own language, which is an advantage.) I was so proud of him!
Do you have ELL students in your classroom? What teaching strategies have you used to increase their learning capacity? Do you have any great ideas to share? Please comment!