unitedstreaming and ELL

As the implementation representative for schools in North Carolina and Texas, I often hear from English Language Learning (ELL) teachers about how they are using unitedstreaming to reach their students in more diversified and creative ways.  Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Sashi Rayasam, the ELL Director of Durham County Schools in North Carolina, about how she incorporates unitedstreaming materials into her instruction.

For Ms. Rayasam, much of her ELL instruction takes place within the general classroom; accordingly, projecting full-length videos for ELL students specifically is not always an option.  In addition, she has found that some of the narrations that coincide with the videos can be too quick for students to comprehend.

As a result, Ms. Rayasam has turned to the extensive library of static images, clip art, and video segments available to her through unitedstreaming.  She has found that these thousands of visual tools help her to provide ELL students with a more thorough comprehension of discussion topics.   

For example, Ms. Rayasam realized that, while many of her students were familiar with the images associated with Thanksgiving, they did not have the cultural context necessary to help them connect these images, thereby limiting their level of discussion.  By embedding images and video segments of the Native Americans, Pilgrims and their meal together in a PowerPoint presentation, Ms. Rayasam was able to reinforce the text she prepared, while allowing her the flexibility to narrate the presentation at a pace understandable to her students.  She commented, “My students are of a TV generation but are often so far removed from things that are very culturally American.  unitedstreaming resources give the students some context and cultural knowledge.  Right after watching the videos and presentations, the students discussed them.  They really seemed to enjoy it.” 

Did You Know? 

  • You can search for only Spanish titles by going to the Advanced Search function at the top of every page.
  • You can automatically enable closed captioning whenever closed captioning is available by going to Preferences.
  • It is possible to play English closed captioning with Spanish videos.  Follow the steps in this attachment. Download using_close_captioning_to_teach_englishspanish.doc
  • Writing prompts are great tools to get students thinking and writing and you can write questions in whatever language you choose.  Plus, when you create writing prompts through the Writing Prompt Builder, students and parents can access the writing prompts from home. (The Writing Prompt Builder is located in the Teacher Center.) 
  • Lesson 3d of the Interactive Training Lesson – Differentiated Instruction – explores strategies for how to use unitedstreaming to teach English language learners. 
  • If you click on the Resources tab of Lesson 3, you’ll also find instructions for how to embed videos in PowerPoint, as well as create WebQuests and use Inspiration.  (Interactive Training lessons are located in the Professional Development section of the site.)

Jessica Corlett
Discovery Education, unitedstreaming


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