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Rebekka Fry
ELLs will:
learn English at the same time as the Curriculum
see themselves as an equal member of the Learning
feel that their culture and language are valued and be
encouraged to become bilingual and bi-literate
have confidence to express their opinion and know they
have a voice
know that they are able to think creatively, critically, and
can generate new knowledge
meet high expectations when they are involved in setting
appropriate goals
have opportunities to choose pathways that honour their
strengths and interests
ELLs will be greeted and have a school tour.
The ESL department will conduct the family
interview and initial orientation (with the
help of necessary interpreters and other
The ESL department will work together with
guidance and other subject departments to
create a timetable for the student
Teachers will receive the STEP and additional
information to properly welcome the student
in their classroom
On the first day of school, all students in the
classroom say their name and one thing they would
like to share. ELLs are encouraged to participate,
but may skip this if they are uncomfortable
All students learn each others names in the first
week to make future group work easier
Students who arrive later in the school year receive
a warm welcome and get a chance to learn names
of the students around them in their first week
All students learn to
play a string instrument,
so everyone is at a
new beginning together
The results of the initial assessment help me
pair ELLs with other students in the class
My seating plan incorporates pairs of
students who will be asked to work together
ELLs will either be paired with a student of
the same background/culture or with a
strong student in the class
Depending on their STEP and prior knowledge
of music, ELLs will get their individual Music
Theory and Music History goals
Students will get extra time and One-on-One coaching to
understand note names
Aslong as students are comfortable with the first 7 notes of the
Alphabet, they can easily learn note names and transfer this skill.
They just need more gestures, explanations, and repetition

Students have the freedom to sit and observe when I am

teaching posture, bow hold, left hand position, etc. until
they are comfortable
All students will get teacher support and individual
conversation time, so the ELLs do not stand out (this often
makes them feel more comfortable)
There are many opportunities to work with the students around
them, while I work with individuals
Especially when other students speak the same language, I encourage
them to find a space in the room to re-locate and work together in
their language (both for playing and Theory)
Depending on the class, I give more or less opportunities for group
work (depending on the comfort level of ELLs, their prior experience
in schooling and the outcome of student product)
Group work usually means having the group play a piece of music together.
They often have to make their own decisions about style (like where to play
loud or soft) which is a safe way for ELLs to express their opinion or
expertise about the music at hand.
The groups also works together to ensure that everyone can play the music,
and students are free to decide who plays which part (usually some parts are
easier and others harder)
Some written work gets simplified (e.g. point form instead of
sentences) while more complex Theory might get eliminated for ELLs
on a lower step
Some accommodations that ELLs can access any time include
Anchor charts that
include bow hold,
left-hand position,
note names, musical terms
Translation tools (they often have their phones and are allowed to
use them for translation any time)
Word walls/templates for written work
Possibility to ask their student buddy questions at any time (I
often give a few seconds/minutes in between songs to give
students the chance to clarify/practice ELLs always make great
use of this time)
Make eye contact with me and I will come over and help (I will
come anyway if a student is struggling)
ESL teachers in the school can help (and even come to me if they
need help with the content first)
There are several time in the course where
students can pick their own songs, which
they would like to learn
Igive options, but students can always find their
own materials and get them approved
Students who want to play music of their
culture, or a different culture, are
encouraged to do so
Iaccept music that is printed, but also a
recording, which the student wants to
match by ear
Another Part of the Music course includes
listening to Music and talking about it
This is usually done as a whole class, until the very
end, when students will have a written project
While we mainly talk about Western Elements
(Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, Timbre, Texture, Form)
we can use these to analyze music from anywhere
this can start a great discussion about the differences
in Western Music and other music (like the use of
quarter tones, or instruments we do not know)
This is where we encourage ELLs to bring in their
music and, if comfortable, tell us something about it,
before we analyze it
Music presentation
When I was in high school, we all had to research our
background and prepare a presentation on the music of
one of the cultures in our family history
Often, parents got involved in teaching students about
their background, and helping them pick some favourite
We were even asked to bring a small food dish for the
class, which often included parent involvement
Many students really liked this project, as they learned
more about themselves and saw that we all came from
somewhere are some point
It is my goal to incorporate a project like this into one
of my music classes soon!
Since Music is its own language, it can sometimes be a great
transitional tool for a student who already knows music from
their time prior to Canada
The new language can also be an additional challenge for an ELL
who is trying to catch up and learn yet another form of
communication (they will need time and patience, but usually
enjoy it in the end)
Music involves a lot of group work, which helps meet new
students (often even from different grades, as this is an open
Even students who speak almost no English can succeed in
music, since they can copy many things by watching them. This
is a nice break from having to do paper-and-pencil work
Students can incorporate their own culture and music and often
fiddle around with their own songs when practicing at home.