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Katie Willard and Sarah Emmott

Everyones a Helper (Primary Grades)

By the end of the lesson students will be able to list personal strengths and struggles, students
will speak in English about their strengths and struggles in 3 sentences pronouncing 2 out of 3
Activities will help students:

Understand the concepts of strengths, struggles and what it means to help

Read and write complete sentences about themselves and their classmates

Create visual representations of the concepts they discuss

Develop an understanding of community

Feel safe and supported in their classroom community

TEKS: English Language Arts and Reading: Kindergarten
5(A): Students are expected to identify and use words that name actions, directions, positions,
sequences, and locations.
ELPS: Learning strategies:
C. use strategic learning techniques such as concept mapping, drawing, memorizing,
comparing, contrasting, and reviewing to acquire basic and grade-level vocabulary;
D. speak using learning strategies such as requesting assistance, employing non-verbal cues,
and using synonyms and circumlocution (conveying ideas by defining or describing when exact
English words are not known);
Language Objectives:
1. Beginning ELLs will identify academic vocabulary words (strengths and
struggles) by pointing out pictures given in the quilt made by classmates with 90%
2. Intermediate ELLs will discuss with classmates strengths and struggles that they
have experienced or face from their prior knowledge using vocabulary words like
strength and struggle correctly 90% of the time.
Essential Questions:

What are strengths and struggles?

What does it mean to really help another person?

How can you use your strengths to help other members of your classroom community?
strength [strength]
(noun) something you are really good at
struggle [struhg-uhl]
(noun) something you sometimes have a hard time with

help [help]
(verb) to use your strengths to support someone else who is struggling with something
community [kuh-myoo-ni-tee]
(noun) a group of people who share something, like an interest, a goal, or a living or working
space; a group of people who cooperate and learn to work together
For beginner and intermediate ELLs, provide a translated version of glossy the
night prior to the lesson.


Handout: Sometimes I HELP, Sometimes I NEED Help

Chart paper

Construction paper

Colored pencils

Oil pastels or crayons

1. What is a strength? As a class, make a list on chart paper of STRENGTHS you might have.
These are things you are really good at. Once you have a list, turn and talk to your neighbor
about how you each might use your strengths during the school day.
Place students in balanced groups with a wide range of English speakers in each
group (beginners to advanced English speakers).
Prior to discussion, instructor will print out translations of the questions and
vocabulary words for beginning ELLs, and print out only vocabulary translations of
Intermediate ELLs.
2. What is a struggle? As a class, make a list on a separate piece of chart paper of
STRUGGLES you might have. These are things you might have a hard time with. Once you
have a list, turn and talk to a different neighbor about times during the school day you might
struggle, and how a classmate could help you.
While students are writing down their struggles, for ELLs prompt them to write
them down by asking them about prior experiences with struggles and strengths. Also
have them refer to their translation sheet to help prompt beginning ELLs using proper
3. Now that you have two charts, go to your table and fill out the handout,Sometimes I HELP,
Sometimes I NEED Help. Talk with your table mates about what you are writing. Draw a picture
in each box using colored pencils; your pictures should show a situation where you are using a
strength to help someone else and a situation where you are struggling and need help from a
When dividing groups, select intermediate and beginner ELLs to work together
so they can assist each other with understanding the differences between strengths and
struggles. Hand out a picture dictionary to beginner ELLs so they can select English
words to use in their worksheet.
As they work, instructor will walk around the prompt questions pertaining to the
students strength and struggle that they have written down. Instructor will ask questions

like Why is riding a bike a struggle for you? or When did you realize that reading was a
strength for you?
44. Come together as a class and share your work. Go around your circle and explain how you
are able to help your classmates.
For beginner ELLs, they will actively listen to the conversations that are taken
during the class open discussion on strength and weaknesses. After listening, have
beginner show their worksheet and describe their strength using simple sentences or
one-two word phrases.
For intermediate ELLs, students will use complete sentences using a prompt
such as A strength of mine is because I.......
5 . On construction paper, publish the Sometimes I HELP part of your handout. Write your
sentence neatly, and illustrate it using crayons or oil pastels. When everyone has finished
publishing, your teacher will put these pages together to make an Everyones a Helper quilt
(see for an example). This quilt can hang
in your classroom all year. When you need help with something, remember to consult your quilt
and see if theres another classmate who can help you.
For beginner ELLs, given a translated worksheet in native language, the
instructor will assist in writing down words in English for the student to help with their
published illustration.
For intermediate ELLs, instructor will provide prompts such as I can help you
with...because.. and Sometimes I need help with..because.
ELL Extension (optional):
With a partner, explore your Everyones a Helper quilt for new vocabulary words. Write each
new word in their learning journals and draw a picture to help you remember what the word
means. Also have the students write down prior experiences that pertain to that word and also
any questions they have over it.
Extension Assignment (optional):
Learning about strengths, struggles and how we can help each other is important in every
community, not just at school. When you go home, talk to your family or other children in your
neighborhood about the activity you did at school. Have a conversation about your strengths
and struggles and how you help each other. The next morning in school, write or draw
something in your journal to show what you talked about and learned. Share these thoughts at
your morning meeting.
For beginner ELLs, instructor will send home translated worksheets and prompts
to generate family discussions about strengths, struggles, and how they help one
For intermediate ELLs, instructors will send home simple prompts for ELLs to
impose questions to their families about strengths and struggles.
Think about the conversations and activities in your class around learning each others
strengths and struggles and finding out how you can help each other. In a journal, respond to
the following questions:

1. Do you agree that knowing one anothers strengths and struggles

helps make a community safer, stronger and more productive? Explain why or
why not, and challenge yourself to use specific examples.
2. Who can you imagine yourself going to next time you need help
with something that is a struggle for you? Why? Who do you think you might be
able to help? How and why?
3. What do the wordsstrength, struggle, help and community
mean to you? Has your understanding of these words changed after these
lessons? Explain why or why not.
Translate questions for beginner ELLs and assist students with writing responses
in English.
Have intermediate ELLs highlight words in the questions provided that they do
not know the meaning to, and then provide dictionaries for them to read and add words
to their learning journals.
Explanation of Changes:
1. For TEKS and ELPS, there were none provided in the lesson plan. Use the
learning objectives we provided to help evaluate ELLs.
2. For glossary definitions, sending home the translated definitions the night prior
gives ELLs a good idea of what will be discussed in class the next day.
3. For activity one, placing students in groups allows for ELLs to receive assistance
from students that have a higher language proficiency. Placing them in groups also
promotes oral language through discussions with classmates. For the translations of the
questions and vocabulary for beginning ELLs, this helps assist them follow the lesson
and discussion that are taking place with groups. Same goes for intermediate ELLs and
their translations.
4. For activity two, asking ELLs about prior experiences will allow them to relate
English vocabulary to their personal lives and give them a better understanding of
strengths and struggles.
5. Activity three provides ELLs to be put into groups that have intermediates and
beginners so they can help each other with vocabulary and language proficiency.
Prompting the students with questions while they work like Why is riding a bike a
struggle for you? or When did you realize that reading was a strength for you? helps
them elaborate more on the vocabulary being used and gives them a better
understanding of it.
6. Activity four assesses beginners for their understanding of the lesson and
promotes oral language by having them describe their strengths and struggles using
simple sentences. For intermediates it assesses their language acquisition for how they
structure sentences and if they are doing that correctly.
7. Activity five assists beginner ELLs by giving them a translated worksheet and
providing help on their writing to help with their understanding vocabulary and the
translation of the words from native language to English. For intermediate ELLs, prompts
help assist ELLs in written language by setting up a prompt for them to correctly format

8. For the ELL extension, we added the learning journal to provide more extension
on vocabulary words for better understanding and for any assistance they may need
based on the questions they ask.
9. For the extension assignment, translated prompts and worksheets may be easier
to generate family discussions and promote the use of academic language in both native
languages and English to help ELLs balance their L1 and L2 on the concept of strengths
and struggles.
10. For questions on applying what ELLs have learned, translation of questions and
vocabulary can help assist ELLs on comprehension and extending their vocabulary for
L1 and L2. For intermediates, providing highlighters and dictionaries extends their
academic language in English and helps them learn new vocabulary words for their
responses. They can also record these words for further knowledge by writing them in
their learning journal.