Game day helps ELL students with speaking, social skills

Bellefonte Area School District  |  Posted on

Melissa MacNeely, ESL teacher at Bellefonte Area middle and high schools, created a new opportunity during the 2021-22 school year for English language learners (ELL) that not only helps improve their speaking skills, but immerses them in the school community with new friends.

Through a program during Raider Period on Day 5, her students are able to participate in a game-day type activity that allows them to play Charades, Scrabble, Uno and other card games, and more. This year, there were about 10 students who participated, which included about six English language learners.

“In nonacademic classrooms they can be anxious,” MacNeely said. “They don’t always want to raise their hand or are afraid to make a mistake, but this is casual. It’s just a great, fun, nonthreatening environment and an opportunity to interact with others, and work on those skills.”

Students are allowed to invite a friend or classmate also from the high school to join the activity and with approval of their Raider Period teacher.

“One goal is for my ELL students to also interact more with kids they don’t really know and get them into a different mode to meet people,” MacNeely added. “This lets them communicate in a different setting than in the classroom where they can discuss different things.”