Show, Tell, Build

Building upon the theoretical and practical foundation outlined in their previous book, Educating English Learners, the ELAN Authors show classroom teachers how to develop a repertoire of instructional techniques that address K–12 English learners (ELs) at different English proficiency and grade levels, and across subject areas. 

Show, Tell, Build is organized around two decision maps for planning and implementing differentiated instruction for ELs: the Academic Subjects Protocol (for teachers of academic subjects) and the Language Arts Protocol (for teachers of language arts). The instructional tools and techniques described in each chapter help teachers provide communication support for ELs through showing and telling, and develop their language proficiency through building their skills. The book also discusses the demands that academic language poses for English learners and ways to assess students’ proficiency in English.

Show, Tell, Build provides classroom teachers, English language development specialists, literacy coaches, and school leaders with valuable knowledge and skills to support ELs’ academic success.


Part I - The The Academic Subjects Protocol: Show and Tell Tools and Techniques

Part I includes ten Show and Tell Tools and Techniques. Show and Tell refer to the two types of communication support, nonverbal and verbal, that are key to the Academic Subjects Protocol. 

Part I begins with an overview of the Academic Subjects Protocol, concisely discussing the major factors involved in teaching academic subjects to English learners. Following this overview of the ASP are descriptions of and instructions for using the four Show and six Tell tools and techniques.

The Academic Subjects Protocol (ASP) is one of two protocols aimed at differentiating grade-level instruction for English learners we presented in Educating English Learners. It focuses on academic content areas other than language arts or literacy for the language needs of English learners. The ASP consists of a series of tasks and instructional decisions specific to English learners that teachers and curriculum experts make while designing challenging grade-level lessons. We break these decisions into two phases and a total of five steps that result in the delivery of the right types of support(s) that meet the needs of English learners in lessons originally designed for their non-EL peers.

Resources from Chapter 1
1. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt “Graphic Organizers” 
2. TeAchnology “General Graphic Organizers Worksheets”
3. TeAchnology “Graphic Organizer Maker”
4. Inspiration Software, Inc. “Visual Learning Overview”
5. The History Place “Great Speeches Collection”
6. Reading Rockets “Using Graphic Organizers in Literature-Based Science Instruction”
7. “Graphic Organizers to Help Kids with Writing” 
8. “Graphic Organizers to Help Kids with Math”
Additional Resources
9. Add visuals to graphic organizers, presentations, charts, worksheets, and other materials (as easy as A, B, C–and free!):
A) search for visuals on Google Images: Go to, enter a topic (e.g., “solar system”), click on “Images” then “Tools” then “Usage rights” and select “Labeled for reuse” in the drop-down menu. These images may be used without requesting permission for classroom materials that you develop.
B) use your phone to photograph classroom items and activities or have students use a digital camera to photograph them and add the photos to text that needs visual support (e.g., photos showing students acting out specific classroom procedures).
C) save old textbooks, magazines, and other printed materials with photos and drawings and cut out their visuals. Ask friends to collect these items for your classroom. Put them on index cards and label them, or ask students to do it.
Resources from Chapter 2
1. Lankow, Jason, Josh Ritchie, and Ross Crooks. Infographics: The Power of Visual Storytelling. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
2. E-learning Infographics “The Ultimate Math Cheat Sheet Infographic”
3. Eaton, Thomas. Infographic Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything. London: Cassell, 2014.
4. Higgins, Nadia. The Solar System Through Infographics. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2018.
5. Gray, Theodore. The Elements. Touch Press Inc.
6. Gray, Theodore. The Elements in Action. Touch Press Inc.
7. Gray, Theodore. Molecules. Touch Press Media
8. University of Colorado Boulder “PhET Interactive Simulations for Science and Math.” 
Resources from Chapter 6
1. Cotton, Kathleen. Classroom Questioning. School Improvement Research Series. Portland: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1988.
2. Hill, Jane D., and Kirsten B. Miller. Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners, 2nd ed. Alexandria: ASCD, 2013
3. Gast, Ged. “Effective Questioning and Classroom Talk.” National Society for Education in Art and Design
4. Fries-Gaither, Jessica. “Questioning Techniques: Research-Based Strategies for Teachers.” Ohio State University
5. Finley, Todd. Edutopia “Generating Effective Questions”
Other Resources
1. Languages International. ESOL Teaching Skills TaskBook. Questioning Techniques.

Part 2 - The Language Arts Protocol: Build Tools and Techniques

Part II includes ten Build Tools and Techniques. Build refers to English language development, targeted to English learners’ oral proficiency and literacy levels, which is the basis of the Language Arts Protocol.

As with part I, part II starts by laying out the elements of the Language Arts Protocol, highlighting key elements in teaching language arts and literacy to English learners. The ten Build tools and techniques descriptions and instructions are categorized by which of the four language domains is the primary focus for English language development:  listening, speaking, reading, or writing.

Like the Academic Subjects Protocol, the Language Arts Protocol (LAP) involves a series of planning decisions that generalist teachers follow to meet their English learners’ needs. Also like the ASP, the underlying premise of the Language Arts Protocol is that lesson adjustments are made based on a gap; a gap between the language demands of grade-level instruction and English learners’ current level of proficiency. The difference between the ASP and the LAP, then, lies in that the adjustments in language arts or literacy instruction require closer attention to language, calling for targeted instruction in all four language skills (i.e., listening, speaking, reading, and writing).

Resources from Chapter 17
1. Akhondi, Masoumeh, Faramarz Aziz Malayeri, and Arshad Abd Samad. “How to Teach Expository Text Structure to Facilitate Reading Comprehension.” Reading Teacher 64, no. 5 (February 2011): 368–72.
2. Dymock, Susan. “Teaching Expository Text Structure Awareness.” Reading Teacher 59, no. 2 (October 2005): 177–81.
3. Peregoy, Suzanne F., and Owen F. Boyle. “English Learners Reading English: What We Know, What We Need to Know.” Theory into Practice 39 4 (Fall 2000): 237–47.
4. Read, Sylvia, D. Ray Reutzel, and Parker C. Fawson. “Do You Want to Know What I Learned? Using Informational Trade Books as Models to Teach Text Structure.” Early Childhood Education 36, no. 3 (December 2008): 213–19.
5. Williams, Joanna P. “Instruction in Reading Comprehension for Primary-Grade Students: A Focus on Text Structure.” Journal of Special Education 39, no. 1 (2005): 6–18.
6. Williams, Joanna P., et al. “Close Analysis of Texts with Structure (CATS): An Intervention to Teach Reading Comprehension to At-Risk Second Graders.” Journal of Educational Psychology 108, no. 8 (March 2016): 1061–77.
Resources from Chapter 20
1. “General Graphic Organizers Worksheets.”
2. Inspiration Software, Inc. “Visual Learning Overview.”
3. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “Graphic Organizers.”
4. Haynes, Judie. “Graphic Organizers for Content Instruction.” EverythingESL.
5. McKnight, Katherine S. The Teacher’s Big Book of Graphic Organizers: 100 Reproducible Organizers That Help Kids with Reading, Writing, and the Content Areas. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
6. Jacobson, Jennifer, and Dottie Raymer. The Big Book of Reproducible Graphic Organizers: 50 Great Templates to Help Kids Get More Out of Reading, Writing, Social Studies and More. Jefferson City, MO: Scholastic, 1999.

The conclusion revisits how the 20 tools and techniques work in the context of a lesson and offers a recap of the tools’ and techniques’ place in our two protocols, offering suggestions for expanding your use of the tools.