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ELL Ideas: Learning About the Environment

By: Colorín Colorado (2013)
Field Trip

These articles, websites, and books provide a great way for students to learn about the environment through language-rich activities.


Going Green with English Language Learners

David Royal has been teaching ESL for over thirteen years. He has taught in Taiwan, Hawaii and China, and is currently an Associate Director of the University of South Florida's English Language Program. His website,, pulls together resources for ESL teachers interested in bringing global and environmental issues into their classes. In this article written for Colorín Colorado, he describes the ways he ties environmental awareness into his language instruction.

New Freedom Park and the Immigrant Families Who Designed It

New Freedom Park is a Denver community park and garden which opened in 2012, built through a partnership between Denver Parks and Recreation Department and The Trust for Public Land. The local community of refugees played a significant role in the park's design and planning, and in this interview with Colorín Colorado, the park's Project Manager Wade Shelton describes the process of engaging the refugee community in the park's design.

Recommended Books and Websites

Booklist: A World Filled with Wonder

I Know the River Loves Me

Whether it's Earth Day or any other day, young readers will find themselves drawn to the stunning environments and creatures portrayed in these books. From the waterfalls and hummingbirds of the Iguazú to the Truffula Tress of The Lorax, these bilingual books will get kids thinking about the Earth and their place on it.

Recommended Earth Day Websites for ELLs

These websites include student-friendly ideas and activities, as well as environmental lessons targeting language development.

Ideas for ELLs: Earth Day and the Environment

With both Earth Day and Arbor Day this month, The New York Times' Learning Network dedicates this edition of "Ideas for ELLs" to the environment. Compiled by Larry Ferlazzo, the resources include videos, classroom activities, and a recent student opinion survey, "What's the Coolest Thing You've Ever Seen in Nature?"

Comments and Recommendations

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Would you like ideas on this topic from other educators? Join the conversation about ELLs on our free social network on Ning, the Colorín Colorado Community!