System 44
Accelerate English Language Learners with System 44

Happy June! That time of year that we celebrate, wrap-up, refine plans, and then take some time to rest. However, we know before the rest can begin, sometimes we need to think through questions we may have or data inquiries that are sparked by end of year data. Are there students that may benefit from participating in System 44 that we have not previously considered? Would System 44 benefit ELL students? How can we begin to think this through more as a team?

As we finish the school year and complete plans for next year's implementation, you may want to look at System 44 to see how it is particularly suited to address the needs of English language learners. I have worked with several districts using System 44 to accelerate their ELL student's language acquisition. Their success has made a huge impact in the lives of their students, so I wanted to share some of the specific ways you may want to think about this further for your implementation.

Utilize the Software Support
Consider taking more advantage to use clips of the support to reinforce the built-in supports such as the direct instruction and additional practice for students. Remember that you can click on the software link from the Code or Word Strategy Lessons from the Resources for Differentiation, RDI, lessons when you access them digitally. Review to notice the following:

  •  Illustrated Vocabulary
  • Pronunciation Modeling and Self-Monitoring
  • Articulation Video found with Watch
  • Word Repetition
  • Repeated Readings
  • Multiple exposure to high-utility words

System 44 also has features that support students if Spanish is their first language. This is a software setting that must be activated, and students must choose to use the button for support.

  • Vocabulary word translation
  • Spanish pronunciation tips
  • Spanish summaries of Success videos

As you review, think about ways to preview the lesson with ELL students, review as needed with any red flags on specific skills as found on the Student Software Performance Report, and consider students to share their favorite word of the week or other word/fluency instructional shout outs. The software contains much-needed repetition, so it is best if students get daily time on the application. 

Navigate the Resources for Differentiated Instruction
The Resources for Differentiated Instruction (RDI) book has a section specifically centered on English Language Development. Teachers are so busy that many times this section is missed. It has wonderful resources, so I would challenge you to read those pages!

In the RDI, each series has a yellow Differentiated Support page. This lesson provides teachers with specific instruction and suggested resources for integrating phonics with meaning with vocabulary development, extending language skills with word study, and fluency development. Additionally, and very important for English language learners, is the articulation and contrastive analysis support.

I wish I could say I was fluent in another language besides English, but that would not be true. So, from a monolingual teacher, I know that I would benefit from the contrastive analysis information about the linguistic transfer of other languages. For example, I was helping a Vietnamese student in class a couple of weeks ago. We were working on /sh/.  She repeatedly dropped the blend in favor of just the /s/ sound. Because I learned in the contrastive analysis that this was a tendency for Vietnamese speakers, I understood her error and leveraged the articulation video to aide my instruction. I was able to teach her to watch out for that tendency. Pages 446-466 in the RDI contain extensive information in Contrastive Analysis, including a listing of English/Spanish cognates.


Ten Practical Tips I've Picked Up Along the Coaching Journey

  • You don't have to start instruction with the 44Book, especially with newcomers. You can use the RDI book for instruction utilizing S.M.A.R.T. and Code lessons. Depending on the make-up of your class, you can also use the 44Book with one small group and the RDI with another.
  • Students will probably be hesitant to speak out loud in class, including practicing orally on the software. Diligently build a safe zone and teach students the importance of repeating the sounds and words.
  • Be creative and make it fun! Remember, variety is the spice of life! Examples: Sight Word Bingo, Kahoot games, Bamboozle, Quizlet, Padlet.
  • Vocabulary and sight words (see RDI routine on page 532) are critical, but they can get boring to students. See bullet #3!
  • Students enjoy listening to the eBooks, but they may not necessarily understand the content. Guided reading in a small group is useful to make sure students gain meaning and understanding of what they are reading. Multiple reads are important.
  • Utilize the practice pages found in Resources will allow the teacher to see how they are doing independently after completing software topics. Sometimes the directions are tough to understand, so helping to unlock the prompts will be necessary.
  • Use the Decodable Digest for fluency practice and vocabulary work.
  • Listen to software recordings with your students and let them know what to do to improve. They will be proud as their language grows!!
  • Learn more about the student's first language to understand strengths that they bring to the new language acquisition as equally as preparing for the errors that they may make because of the contrastive properties.
  • Conference with students regularly, celebrating successes and sharing data.  These students will gain confidence each time they see how successful they are being, and helping set realistic goals will urge them onto continued achievements.

Looking to Next Year
After taking a fresh look at System 44 instruction to support English language learners, meet with administrators to discuss the best placement options and scheduling for students. Consider discussing questions such as, Which programs are designed to help ELL students? How can we possibly get them ready for state tests when they can't speak and read English well? Consider System 44 to help your ELL students next year.

Then, as you return to being prepared for next school year, you may want to set time to plan to review what the research tells us"

  • Systematically teach phonemic awareness and phonics
  • Monitor the vocabulary load to prevent cognitive overload
  • Build fluency and prosody.
  • Teach non-transferable skills such as spelling patterns, speaking and listening comprehension, sentence structure and grammar
  • Teach Spanish cognates explicitly

I think System 44 Rocks! What is something specifically you have utilized within System 44 to support your English language learners? Please share.