March 27, 2019
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA--Walnut Valley USD supports students who are new to the school and country and whose primary language is not English.
The English Language Development (ELD) academic program gives these students the opportunities they need to develop their English skills and be successful in school.
At Diamond Bar High School, English teacher Esther Cho works with about 40 English Learners every day across three classes.
On Wednesday, her ELD I class created a word wall to front-load vocabulary words before reading the final chapters in “Day of the Dragon King,” a popular Magic Tree House series book by Mary Pope Osbourne.
Each student was assigned to create three index cards with vocabulary words that included a definition, context sentence, and drawing.
As Cho read the sequential passages aloud, her students added their cards to the poster that will serve as an additional resource.
Next, the teens joined a partner interview activity by asking each other personal questions related to the academic vocabulary.
“My hope is that these reading and vocabulary strategies will help them be successful on the next test,” she said.
Cho said she feels that it’s important to connect and learn about the cultures of her students as they assimilate to a new country.
Sophomore Jeannie Yu just arrived in the United States a month ago from Korea.
“The language is very hard, but I’m trying,” she shared after the first period class on March 27.
“I want my English to grow,” said freshman Ian Dang, 15, who immigrated from China a few months ago.
Dang is working diligently to learn the language in class and by reviewing additional vocabulary words at home each night.
“I love teaching ELD!” said Cho who relates to her students because she grew up as an ELD student herself.
Cho says connecting with students is the key to success.
“This class isn’t just about drilling them with English,” she said.
The ELD program provides a foundation and social skills, such as reading social cues and picking up cultural mannerisms, for the teens.
“And it’s nice to hear about things they’re interested in from their native country,” Cho said.
Students provide support to one another in class as well as around the campus.
“They take care of each other and make sure that no one sits alone at lunch,” Cho said.
“The people here are very friendly and have helped me a lot,” shared junior Catherine Lin, 16, who arrived from Taiwan in August.
“The best thing is learning English – that’s why I’m here!” she said.
Lin feels that she is continually improving through the ELD class and because schoolmates converse with her in English.
“And even if we speak something wrong, they still understand and talk to us.”
Diamond Bar High School teacher Esther Cho works with English Learners on March 27.
Diamond Bar High ELD students create word wall to support learning.