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Each week we share one strategy that you can use to meet the needs of your diverse multilingual learners in secondary content classes. This week’s strategy is specifically for secondary social studies teachers but could be adapted for use in many content areas.

Instructional Strategy: Conversation Roundtable

Language Objective: I can listen to what my peers say and take notes using a graphic organizer and sentence frames.

Simultaneous Round Table: How-To

Before the Activity

Choose a topic that students can discuss and prepare a graphic organizer. The graphic organizer should have a space in the middle for the question/topic and enough spaces around for students to record all of their peers’ thoughts. Decide on student groupings.

During the Activity

Present the question/topic to students. They jot down their thoughts in one of the spaces on the graphic organizer. Students take turns sharing their thoughts with their groups. As they share, their peers write what they hear (each group member’s thoughts will be in a different box on the graphic organizer). Once all students have shared, the group decides on what their answers had in common and come up with one group answer/response. They write this in the middle box of the graphic organizer.

Extra Support for MLs

  • Provide word banks and sentence frames.
  • Allow students with lower levels of proficiency to “shadow” another student the first time you do this activity.
  • If students need to respond in another language, use Microsoft Translator so everyone in their group can understand them.

Example: Utah Studies

LT: I can share the most important events on Utah’s path to statehood and defend my choice.

Students answer the question “What were the most important events on the path to statehood for Utah?” They write about one or two events that they would choose and explain why they chose them to their group, taking notes about what each group member says. At the end of the discussion, the group decides on one or two events as a group.

Helpful Links to Learn More

We would love to know how this tip worked for you! Please share any experiences with your PLC or ML supervisor, or email Tani Brown (Secondary ELD Curriculum Specialist) at


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