NoRedInk is a powerful tool to help your English language learners master English grammar and become more confident writers. Teachers have found the following strategies useful for getting the most out of the program and meeting their learners' needs.
Use diagnostics to identify learners' needs
NoRedInk makes it easy for you to give your ELLs some extra practice with the language points they're mastering. To find out what your students need to practice, assign a Planning Diagnostic. Click here to see step-by-step instructions along with a list of NoRedInk Pathways sorted by difficulty level.
There are several pre-made Planning Diagnostics available here. The Grade 4-6 Diagnostics are a useful starting point for English language learners.
You can also create your own Diagnostics from scratch. When you're selecting content for your Diagnostic, you can use the drop-down menu on the right to choose a grade level filter. This will allow you to choose topics at an appropriate level for your students.
Once you've identified the areas your students need to work on, you can decide which Units to teach over the year. For more information about how to structure a Unit, please see this article.
Start with the basics
All NoRedInk Pathways list their component topics in a meaningful scope and sequence. This means that the topics in Part 1 of a Pathway cover fundamental concepts and subsequent parts will build on these foundations. Make sure your English learners master the material in Part 1 of a Pathway before moving on to more advanced topics.
To find the beginner-level topics on NoRedInk, go to your Assignment Library by clicking "Browse and Assign." In the Standards & Tests section, you can explore topics by recommended grade level. The topics that appear in the K-3 grade band, such as "Adjectives," the questions tend to have simpler sentence structures and vocabulary. These are likely to be the most accessible topics for ELLs.
If you click on a specific activity in the Assignment Library, such as Practice, Quiz, or a Diagnostic, you will also have the option to filter topics to assign by recommended grade level. For example:
Here are some Pathways that may be especially helpful for English learners:
- Commonly Confused Words I
- Plural vs. Possessive Nouns
- Singular vs. Plural Possessives
- Verb Tense I & II
Pre-teach and reteach concepts
NoRedInk works best in conjunction with direct instruction. Before students begin working on the site, take some time to go over the material they'll be practicing. Even if your students are familiar with the language points they'll be tested on, they'll benefit from a quick review of the rules.
Consider whether the Pathway you're assigning requires students to have any prior knowledge of grammatical concepts or terminology. For example, topics in "Adjectives" will be easier if students already know what a noun is. All NoRedInk topics come with lessons explaining the concepts that students will practice, and you can look at these to see if there's any vocabulary you may need to pre-teach.
To find lessons for the topic you're working on, go to the Assignment Library and search for the topic. Click to view the lessons associated with the topic. (Note that many topics have more than one lesson. Click "view all lessons" to see the complete set!)
Help students consolidate their knowledge by revisiting topics they practiced earlier in the course. Even if students have already mastered a topic, you can assign a Refresher Quiz to give them some extra practice and make sure they're still confident with the material.
Model answering questions for the class
Before students start their individual Practice, go through a few questions as a whole class to make sure students understand both the instructions and the question interface. This will help students feel more confident using the site and stop them from getting stuck because they don't know how to answer the questions.
To preview a topic, click the icon in the Assignment Library. You'll be able to work through questions just like your students do. Project the questions on the board so your students can see what they need to do.
Click here for more information about previewing topics.
Look for topics with tutorials
In addition to lessons, some NoRedInk topics have interactive tutorials. These tutorials break concepts down into smaller steps and also include one or two practice questions to help students check their understanding before they start practicing. For these reasons, tutorials are a great tool for ELLs.
If you see the icon next to a topic in the Assignment Library, that topic has an interactive tutorial.
When you assign Practice on a topic with an interactive tutorial, students will automatically see this tutorial before they begin practicing.
If students want to view the tutorial again while they're practicing, they can click the question mark icon next to the directions.
Click here to see the full list of NoRedInk topics that have interactive tutorials.
Make the lessons for the topic accessible to students
To give your English learners some extra support, let them refer to the lessons while they're practicing. You could project the lessons on your board, print them out for students, or even get students to take pictures of them on their phones.
Students can also access lessons by clicking "Learn" at the top of the page. More information on how students can practice independently is available here: How do I practice topics on my own?
Assign short assignments
Try not to assign too many different topics at once; an assignment with a large number of topics can easily become overwhelming! Instead, let your English learners focus on mastering just one or two topics at a time.
If you teach an inclusion class or mixed-ability ELLs, you can differentiate assignments to ensure that all students are working on the material that will help them most. For more information, see this article: How do I create work for my whole class or for specific students in my class?
Set time limits for Practice
Because NoRedInk Practice requires students to keep going until they answer enough questions correctly, some students may spend longer on a topic than others.
If you're worried about students spending too long on Practice, give them a time limit. Tell them to practice for a certain number of minutes and then stop. They can always come back later and start from where they left off; their progress will save automatically.
Try using NoRedInk as part of your classroom routine. 10-15 minutes of focused practice a few times a week can go a long way!
Encourage peer teaching
Let your students work together on NoRedInk so they can learn from each other.
If you teach an inclusion class, proficient English speakers can help students whose level of English is lower. Your more advanced students can reinforce their knowledge by explaining concepts to their peers, and your ELLs will get the extra support they need.
You can also encourage English language learners to help each other! Once ELLs have mastered a topic, they can share the strategies that worked for them.
Click here to see some other strategies for using NoRedInk in the classroom!