I don't know how much this will help you, but its worked pretty well for me. I teach at a suburban high school in the largest district in KY. We have an ever-growing hispanic population. In fact, a quarter of our school population is comprised of students for whom English is a second language.
I always had trouble with ESL students. They do other work in class, talk to each other, and do little artwork. This year, however, I've had great luck reaching them. I offered a new "Folk Arts and Crafts" class this year. The intent was to give non-artistic students a creative outlet, but I ended up with lots of ESL students in these classes. We started the year with a fiber arts unit and my ESL students, being from crafty cultures, are doing great work!! They are my star students. I even had an ESL student who I've taught for the past two years ask me for the first time the English name for a material we were using in class.
So, my advice is giving them something they know in order to give them a chance for success. Good luck!!