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Using Pictures and Visuals With ELLs

Making Content Comprehensible for Second Language Learners

When planning lessons for English language learners, teachers must brainstorm a variety of ways to make cognitively complex academic language and concepts comprehensible to second language learners. An excellent way to make content comprehensible is to provide pictures, drawings and visuals that will support academic vocabulary development. Students at all levels of proficiency will benefit from the use of pictures or visuals, but students at the lower proficiency levels will most benefit from having a visual representation of unknown vocabulary words. Teachers can use the following resources to find appropriate pictures and visuals:
 
Google
Google is an excellent resource to locate pictures of academic vocabulary and concepts that will be taught to English language learners. In the upper left hand corner of google.com, teachers can click on "images" and search for pictures of the academic vocabulary word that will be taught. Pictures can be printed out in black and white, or color, and shown to English language learners prior to a lesson or during a lesson. 
 
Complete National Geographic
National Geographic has released over 120 years of its pictures, articles, maps and graphics onto a DVD. The National Geographic software is an excellent resource for teachers due to the high quality and one-of-a-kind pictures present in the National Geographic magazine. Teachers can search on the DVD Rom by using key words for pictures that they are searching for. The National Geographic software can be purchased by on Amazon.
 
 
Flickr.com
Flickr also has many pictures that can be used by teachers when teaching academic vocabulary and content to English language learners. Teachers can sign up for a flickr account, or can sign in through yahoo email.
 
EnchantedLearning.com
Enchanted Learning has a variety of visual and graphic organizers that can be used during Science, Social Studies and other areas with English language learners. For teachers who have been trained in Project GLAD, many of the visuals and graphics on the Enchanted Learning website can be used to create a pictorial input chart.