The study of animals and their habitats was the focus of the English Language Learners (ELL) Experience, a weeklong summer camp for Westfield students that provides meaningful enrichment activities to help students continue their English language acquisition.
This year’s ELL program ran from July 8-12 at Wilson Elementary School and welcomed 15 students in grades 1-5 whose native languages are Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Portuguese, and Chinese.
“Our daily lessons had the literacy components especially designed for ELLs, with an emphasis in reading and oral production,” says Edison world language teacher Mercedes Poyntz, who runs the program with fellow world language teacher Jillian Martinez.
Also on hand to assist with the program was 2018 Westfield High School graduate Sydney Swingle, an incoming sophomore at University of Delaware who is studying to be a teacher with an emphasis on English Language Learners while minoring in Spanish.
Poyntz says a writing component, using guided worksheets, was among the ELL lessons incorporated into the week, along with social and emotional learning opportunities. The weeklong camp concluded with a trip to the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange to allow campers the chance to see firsthand some of the animals they had studied.
“We are pleased to offer our English Language Learners this opportunity to extend their learning while having fun,” says K-12 World Languages and ELL Supervisor Enrique Pincay. “Our teachers collaborated daily to offer meaningful educational experiences to enhance the social and academic language skills our students need to be successful.”