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Common Core: Seven Opportunities to Transform English Language Arts Curriculum | Edutopia

Common Core: Seven Opportunities to Transform English Language Arts Curriculum | Edutopia | AdLit | Scoop.it
In the second of their series, Virginia Goatley and Brenda Overturf look at how the Common Core State Standards can help teachers build a new language arts curriculum.

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Enabling the CCSS version of exemplary adolescent literacy.
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Writing Standards: Finding One’s Way With Words

Writing Standards: Finding One’s Way With Words | AdLit | Scoop.it
2007 Winner of the Bechtel Prize by Anna Sopko   Content standards were developed by the California State Board of Education to encourage the highest achievement of every student, by defining …
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Digital Curation: A Framework to Enhance Adolescent and Adult Literacy Initiatives

Digital curation provides a way to transcend traditional academic fields of study and create instructional materials available to support adolescent and adult literacy initiatives. The instructiona

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Girls outperforming the boys in literacy skills

Girls outperforming the boys in literacy skills | AdLit | Scoop.it

Girls tend to outperform boys in writing at all stages, according to a study of literacy among school pupils.

 

The biggest difference in attainment between the sexes was recorded at secondary two (S2) level.

Official statistics further revealed that pupils from the most deprived areas performed less well in reading and writing than those from the least deprived areas.

The figures, published by Scotland’s chief statistician, were contained in the 2012 Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy.

It is the first time that literacy results have been published from this survey, which monitors national performance in literacy and numeracy in alternate years.

The survey, in which more than 10,000 pupils were involved, analysed attainment levels in school children at primary four (P4), primary seven (P7) and S2.

When writing skills were examined, the report found that around two thirds of writing scripts analysed from P4 and S2 pupils showed that they were performing well, very well, or beyond the relevant level for their stage. Performance was highest in P7 at 72%.


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Literacy project set to improve prospects for young people - News releases - News - The University of Sheffield

Literacy project set to improve prospects for young people - News releases - News - The University of Sheffield | AdLit | Scoop.it
Literacy project set to improve prospects for young people

A pioneering project to help local young people improve their literacy skills has begun thanks to a collaboration between the University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and local secondary schools.

The Literary Exchange and Achievement Programme (LEAP) is an innovative programme that partners undergraduate students of English and Education with groups of secondary school pupils to improve their reading comprehension abilities.

Over a period of several months the undergraduates and pupils will work together using internationally recognised methods to improve their literacy and help them achieve the results they need to progress with future education or employment. The project is part of the successful Storying Sheffield initiative in the School of English.

Project Officer Matt Colbeck explained: “The school pupils taking part in this project will get a unique opportunity to work with university student mentors, using research based techniques to help them improve their literacy.”

 
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, October 14, 2013 10:36 AM
Literacy project set to improve prospects for young people

A pioneering project to help local young people improve their literacy skills has begun thanks to a collaboration between the University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and local secondary schools.

The Literary Exchange and Achievement Programme (LEAP) is an innovative programme that partners undergraduate students of English and Education with groups of secondary school pupils to improve their reading comprehension abilities.

Over a period of several months the undergraduates and pupils will work together using internationally recognised methods to improve their literacy and help them achieve the results they need to progress with future education or employment. The project is part of the successful Storying Sheffield initiative in the School of English.

Project Officer Matt Colbeck explained: “The school pupils taking part in this project will get a unique opportunity to work with university student mentors, using research based techniques to help them improve their literacy.”

 
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The International Literacy Association Launches Coalition During First Leaders For Literacy Day On April 14th

The International Literacy Association Launches Coalition During First Leaders For Literacy Day On April 14th | AdLit | Scoop.it
NEWARK, Del., April 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Literacy Association (ILA), a global advocacy and membership organization dedicated to advancing literacy for all, convened its first Leaders for Literacy Day on April 14, 2015. The day brought together literacy leaders through both a panel discussion in New York City and a global virtual dialogue focused on defining best practices and scalable solutions to accelerate literacy outcomes for the more than 800 million illiterate people in the world.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150415/198945LOGO

The convening also marked a first step in the creation of a coalition of education, business, community and not-for-profit organization leaders who will examine what is working to advance literacy worldwide, what is not and what is needed to close the gap.

"It is clear that no single organization or entity can address the literacy gap alone. We know that we need to enlist and inspire a broader community of leaders if we want to change the status quo," said Marcie Craig Post, Executive Director, International Literacy Association, during the panel discussion in New York City. "As leaders, we need a willingness to collaborate with partners of all kinds – governments, the business community, NGOs, educators and families – to collectively, constructively and critically examine what is needed to create sustainable change."

Titled "Literacy For All: Accelerating Outcomes Through Collective Impact," the panel discussion took place at the Institute of International Education, located on UN Plaza in New York City, and convened more than 100 thought leaders to discuss approaches to advancing literacy:

"What really matters is context and a fundamental respect for families and communities. What works in one area does not necessarily work in another," said Susan Neuman, professor and chair of the Teaching and Learning Department at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University and former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

"When looking at literacy programs, we need to ask ourselves if we'd want this for our own children," said David Kirp, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

"As a company, we started to listen and we learned that we can't just provide solutions, we must allow communities to build them," said Steven Duggan, director of worldwide education strategy for Microsoft Corporation.

"When it comes to print versus digital content, it is not an either/or. We must privilege both," said Bernadette Dwyer, a lecturer in literacy studies at St. Patrick's College, Dublin City University.

Other speakers included Dr. Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education; Lily Valtchanova, liaison officer for UNESCO New York and International Literacy Association President Jill Lewis-Spector. Liz Willen, editor-in-chief of The Hechinger Report, moderated the panel discussion.

To extend the reach of this critical discussion, as part of Leaders for Literacy Day, ILA encouraged virtual contributions from across the globe through blog posts and social media engagement under the hashtag #AgeofLiteracy. Contributors included:

Andreas Schleicher, Director, Directorate for Education and Skills of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), writes about what can be done to promote better literacy skills for all: Literacy for Life.

Christie Vilsack, senior advisor for international education at United States Agency for International Development (USAID), explores the critical role literacy plays in addressing issues faced by developing countries: Young Storytellers and the Power of Literacy.

Vicki Phillips, director of college-ready education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, examines the powerful connection between teachers and students: Supporting all Teachers in Becoming Literacy Teachers.

Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities, attests to the power of collective impact in education and social change: #AgeOfLiteracy: The Promise of Cross-Sector Collaboration.

Pam Allyn, executive director of LitWorld, believes that nurturing a love of reading and writing empowers communities to create a thriving literacy culture: We Are All Leaders for Literacy.

Mariana Haynes, senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), looks at the challenges facing diverse learners—and how to overcome them: Birth-through-Grade-Twelve Comprehensive Literacy Program.

Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, wrote this post for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) about the importance of ed tech: Using Digital Tools to Increase Literacy Development: Innovative Best Practices in Chicago.

Rima Kupryte, director of Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), believes utilizing public libraries is the key to building literacy across the globe: How Public Libraries Can Help 120 Million Illiterate Young People.

David Evans, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), focuses on the need for educators to underscore for students the significant connections between science and literacy: Science and Literacy: Reflections on Time.

Twitter chats were also hosted throughout the day on key topics including student engagement, professional development, and advocacy.

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL LITERACY ASSOCIATION

The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a global advocacy and membership organization dedicated to advancing literacy for all through its network of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers and experts across 75 countries. With 60 years of experience in the field, ILA believes in the transformative power of literacy to create more successful societies, healthy communities and prosperous economies. ILA collaborates with partners across the world to develop, gather and disseminate high-quality resources, best practices and cutting-edge research to empower educators, inspire students and inform policymakers. The International Literacy Association publishes several peer-reviewed journals, including The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and Reading Research Quarterly. For more information, visit literacyworldwide.org.

SOURCE International Literacy Association

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How to Cultivate Communication Skills in the Classroom | Shake Up Learning

How to Cultivate Communication Skills in the Classroom | Shake Up Learning | AdLit | Scoop.it
  Pinterest Communication Skills are a Building Block Communication is one of the most essential twenty-first-century skills, but teaching these skills is not an easy task for teachers. Communication is a building block. Cultivating a culture of communication in the classroom creates a foundation for building the other, ‘C’s:’ collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. But what does …

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David W. Deeds's curator insight, May 1, 7:14 PM

Thanks to Tom D'Amico.

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3 Services You Can Use To Improve Your Writing via Jeffrey Bradbury

3 Services You Can Use To Improve Your Writing via Jeffrey Bradbury | AdLit | Scoop.it
By Jeffrey Bradbury

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18 Free Digital Storytelling Tools For Teachers And Students - eLearning Industry

18 Free Digital Storytelling Tools For Teachers And Students - eLearning Industry | AdLit | Scoop.it
Interested in some great Free Digital Storytelling Tools for teachers and students? Check 18 Free Digital Storytelling Tools for teachers and students.

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21 Communication Skills Every HS student should have before College and Career

This infographic highlights 21 communication skills that every HS student should have before College and Career. Book: http://amzn.to/2eSCUr3

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A Master Class with Shawn

A Master Class with Shawn | AdLit | Scoop.it

A story nerd, as I understand it, is someone who loves to get into the geeky details and “inside baseball” mechanics of storytelling. A story nerd knows what a Value Shift is. She’s intimate with concepts like “beats” and “reveals.” She knows the Five Commandments of Storytelling. A story nerd is kinda like a Trekkie except she doesn’t wear Vulcan ears or appear in public dressed as a Klingon.


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Gregg Morris's curator insight, April 19, 9:24 AM
Doesn't get much better than Steven Pressfield, Shawn Coyne and Seth Godin!
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#Quote of the day for #writers

#Quote of the day for #writers | AdLit | Scoop.it
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” —Virginia Woolf

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Resources for Writers - curated by Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris

Resources for Writers - curated by Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris | AdLit | Scoop.it
recommended books, blogs, tools and other resources for writers we find helpful, whether you are going indie or the traditional route

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Fantasy Story Starters: Writing Prompts for Kids | Scholastic.com

Scholastic's Fantasy Story Starters kids' writing activity generates fantasy and fairy tale writing prompts for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

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Deepèr Learning

OPINION / Learning Deeply Blog
What Does Deeper Learning Look Like . . . in First Grade?
By Contributing Blogger May 3, 2017
This post is by Anne Vilen, staff writer for EL Education.

Vilen.503.1.png
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Meet Tyjhamere, a student who is repeating first grade at Kuumba Academy Charter School in Wilmington, Delaware. Tyjh, prounced "Taj", is seven years old--energetic, curious, clever, and determined. Nevertheless, last year, Tyjh's attendance faltered, and he struggled to pay attention. He frequently acted out his frustration with the challenges of reading and writing by getting off task and just not doing his work. At the end of his first year in first grade, despite a whole school year of instruction, Tyjh was still stuck at a kindergarten reading level.

Puzzled by his lack of progress, teachers recommended that Tyjh be retained in first grade. Tyjh's mother did her homework and reluctantly agreed, as long as he could be placed in Kady Taylor's classroom. Taylor was happy to have Tyjh, and committed to creating an emotionally safe and academically focused learning environment for her new student. "Tyjh came with a lot of negative stories," she says now, "and in just two years of education, he had internalized all of them. We needed to make things different for Tyjh, so that he could grow in a new direction."

Coincidentally, at the same time that Tyjh was joining her classroom, Taylor was also tuning her own pedagogical approach by piloting EL Education's new primary grades curriculum in her classroom. (You can read here the backstory of EL Education's success scaling up deeper learning through its curriculum.) Like may primary grades teachers, she had been grappling with how to teach literacy in a way that sets students up for success for more challenging reading standards and teach it in a way that is developmentally appropriate for young children whose brains and bodies may not yet be ready to sit still and read. Her inclination might have been to back off the complexity of material she was asking Tyjh to understand. But Taylor leaned in and did just the opposite. The new curriculum introduced more challenging texts than she'd been using previously, but it was also infused with instructional strategies that leveraged Tyjh's inclination to chatter, move, and ask questions.

Taylor put the new curriculum to work for her students, and now, at the end of Tyjh's second year in first grade, she describes Tyjh as deeply invested in his own learning. "This child never gives up," she says. "Even if I ask him to redo his work seven times, he's determined to make it better--and he does." I sat down with Ms. Taylor to find out what transformed Tyjh into a confident, increasingly fluent, and persistent reader and writer. Here's what she said.

Challenge Students with Topics and Texts They Care About

"One of the things we know about young kids," says Taylor, "is that they learn through stories and play; they develop their sense of self through discovery." In previous years, reading and writing had been something Tyjh just wanted to be done with. But the new curriculum, grounded in the Characteristics of Primary Learners, and full of topics and texts that tickled Tyjh's curiosity, helped him and his classmates find meaning in the text not just through decoding, but also through play, song, and movement.

A module called What's Up in the Sky: A Study of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, offers a good example. It begins with the narrative text, Summer Sun, Risin'. Students learn to retell stories from this narrative text before listening to a close read-aloud of an informational text called What Makes Day and Night? The combination of fiction and informational texts allowed Tyjh to build on more familiar skills and stories in order to learn the scientific content and more challenging nonfiction reading skills embedded in this module. "Then we learned the Sun Song and the Moon Song. We sang it with hand movements many times in class to help us remember how things move in the sky and how the sky changes. Now Tyjh knows it by heart," says Taylor. "He can talk to other students about the book. He knows as much as they do! The fact that he can understand the content of the book and share it with others has really boosted his confidence."

Engage Students with Protocols that Give Them Ownership

The EL Education curriculum Taylor uses establishes a daily literacy routine that includes both content-based literacy lessons and foundational literacy skills. The repetition of this routine means that Tyjh knows what to expect each day and what his role is in the learning. In addition, Taylor infuses her lessons with protocols that regularly ask students to speak and listen to each other respectfully, and to learn first as a community and second as an individual learner. Tyjh has been able to channel social skills that previously had only brought him negative attention into deep conversations with other students about interesting topics.

Each module also focuses on a character trait that helps students learn and demonstrate their learning. Tyjh has embodied the character trait of "integrity" with a new willingness to take risks. Building on his success talking about a book, he stretched his comfort zone to participate in a silent gallery walk where students can only write responses to their classmates. Now Tyjh is willing to grapple even with very challenging reading, and to stick with it even when he fails the first time.

Build Confidence and Motivation by Teaching Content and Foundational Skills

For Tyjh, as for many early readers, the biggest stumbling block to learning to read was decoding. At the end of his first year in first grade, Tyjh was diagnosed with learning disabilities in reading and math. He had difficulty matching sounds to symbols, hearing phonemes, and reading and writing even the simplest sight words. These foundational skills were addressed systematically in the new curriculum's Reading Foundations Skills Block. And the special education teacher who supported Tyjh built on and reinforced the skills block lessons. Cracking the code of language by learning how to read boosted Tyjh's excitement about what he was reading. Finally, Tyjh didn't have to opt out of reading aloud in order to save face in front of his peers. The skills block instruction provided a foundation that enabled him to grasp big ideas about the world that can be found in books. Using the assessments built into the curriculum, Taylor saw Tyjh's grasp of decoding and comprehension gain momentum.

Empower Students with Meaningful Tasks

At the end of What's Up in the Sky, first graders are given a very challenging task. They have to write a three-stanza narrative poem describing what the sun sees and create an illustration to accompany it. "This would have been overwhelming for Tyjh at the beginning of the year, when he couldn't even spell the simplest sight words," recounts Taylor. "But after weeks of reading, thinking, talking, and writing about the topic, Tyjh was ready. He spent an entire week writing, editing, and revising his piece." The reading he'd done throughout the module gave him lots to say about what the sun sees. What's more, knowing that he would be sharing his knowledge and his final products with his mom and other parents during a special morning in the classroom motivated Tyjh to do his best work. The smile on his face as he presents his poster to an authentic audience beams with pride.

Vilen.503.2.pngWhat the Sun Sees

By Tyjh

It is morning.

The sun is yellow.

The sun is low in the sky.

The sun sees the cars go to work

It is afternoon.

The sun is bright in the sky.

The sun is high in the sky.

The sun sees kids playing.

It is dusk.

The sun is orange and low in the sky.

The sun sees people eating dinner.

The day is over.

Growth Mindset Fosters Motivation and Mastery

"After a year of working with this new curriculum," says Taylor, "I'm looking at a young man who can persevere through longer assignments, collaborate with his peers on group tasks, and take initiative when given a challenge. Those are the character traits that will help him eventually catch up academically and give him a strong start in second grade." Furthermore, Tyjh's Habits of Scholarship (as noncognitive skills are called in EL Education schools) are matched by his new academic performance. He's well on his way to mastering the first grade literacy standards.

For Tyjh, and for primary learners of all abilities and backgrounds, instruction that invites students to use not only their heads, but also their hearts and hands to read and write about the world is transformational. "Being able to grapple with exciting and difficult books, and also wiggle, talk, and sing," says Taylor, turns even young students into experts who are eager to share their knowledge and excited to keep asking questions, testing out new ideas, and trying their hand at new skills. That's deeper learning in a nutshell.

Photos: Kady Taylor

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Learning Deeply
About this blog:
In this blog, organized by Harvard education professor Jal Mehta and Washington-based education writer Robert Rothman, students, teachers, administrators, researchers, and policymakers explore the practice and policy issues around expanding deeper learning.
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The opinions expressed in Learning Deeply are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.
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Response: Helping English Language Learners To 'Survive & Thrive'

Response: Helping English Language Learners To 'Survive & Thrive' | AdLit | Scoop.it
This week's question is:

How do you help English Language Learners when your school has no ESL curriculum?


In Part One, educators Wendi Pillars, Annie Huynh, Regie Routman, William Himmele, and Pérsida Himmele shared their advice. You can also listen to a ten-minute conversation I had with Wendi and Annie on my BAM! Radio Show. You can find also see a list of, and links to, previous shows.

In this post, Mary Cappellini, Ekuwah Moses, Giselle Lundy-Ponce, Pamela Mesta, Olga Reber and Heather Wolpert-Gawron contribute their suggestions. I also include some comments from readers.

Response From Mary Cappellini

Mary Cappellini is an Educational Consultant and Author of: Balancing Reading and Language Learning: A Resource for Teaching English Language Learners, K-5:

There are many things you can do to improve the literacy of your English Language Learners, even if your school has no formal ESL or ELD curriculum. Here are 5 things I will highlight: Know your learners--both their language and their reading level, provide a balanced reading program with effective modeling and practice, teach academic vocabulary and content within a theme, and not only provide comprehensible input which includes environmental print and understandable talk but also expect appropriate output from your ELLs.

In order to plan for instruction you need to listen to each ELL talk, assess his/her language level and also assess his/her reading level. You need to know if s/he is a fluent reader in her/his primary language, which means that s/he will have the necessary literacy skills to transfer this knowledge to English. Use the information to track progress across the year on a developmental language and a developmental reading checklist and to help form groups.

More advanced readers may be less advanced speakers, and yet within a balanced reading program the children should be placed in guided reading groups according to their reading level, not their language level. Extra care should be used to choose appropriate books based on their developmental language level. If your ELLs are not yet speaking in the past tense, then books that are written in the present tense, like most nonfiction books, might be the best choice.

ELLs need modeling of effective reading strategies and effective language patterns by having you not only read but also chart the important information in read alouds and shared reading. And they need time to try out the strategies and the new language in small groups and independently, being able to refer to the charts not only for the strategies, but also the language patterns which they need to improve their speech.

Teach new academic vocabulary in thematic units, which focus on content area learning. ELLs need to see graphs of content learning, with adjectives, nouns, verbs and other parts of speech used to "tell" about what they are learning, whether about the ocean, space or the artic circle. They can then use that new language in different contexts or within the same theme or as they come across the same words again in their independent reading. They start to make connections between the academic vocabulary and the language that they are hearing and starting to say orally, as they are reading and writing.

By slowing down, making talk more understandable, and writing down the essential elements in a lesson and putting it up on the walls of your classroom, creating valuable environmental print, you are not only able to help highlight important information, but you provide comprehensible input which can help ELLs who are struggling to make sense of the main ideas. Providing opportunity for ELLs to speak with their peers of various language levels and to expect output from them comparable to their developmental level, you are able to help them within your classroom to survive and thrive.

 

 

Response From Ekuwah Moses

Ekuwah Moses is currently a Family and Community Engagement Facilitator in Las Vegas, Nevada and works for the Clark County School District. Previously, she served as an Instructional Coach, Literacy Specialist, Learning Strategist, and elementary classroom teacher. Moses is a published ILA author and has presented internationally. She is a new blogger and enjoys sharing experiences, authentic classroom photos and innovations in professional development with other educators. Follow her on Twitter @ekuwah or Facebook at "Cues from Ekuwah Moses":

Without an ESL curriculum, concentrate on saturating students in a readily available, active, and organic academic cueing system. These student-generated and literacy-rich environments don't just happen. They must be strategically planned and continuously modified with constant student participation and intentional collaboration. Attention to relevant environmental and visual cues is paramount. Use all available school hallways, classroom walls, or physical structures to exude and explain eye-catching academic language and functions. Specifically, refine your traditional charts and bulletin boards.

Teachers have been making or purchasing charts for decades; however, the visual process of co-constructing anchor charts with ELLs keeps the focus on learning and teaching academic language during tier one instruction, whether whole group or small group, and is not program dependent. Any school. Any budget. Any teacher. Active charting is a universal mechanism any educator can use to elicit productive discourse, embed academic vocabulary, and visually scaffolding content as students write to convey application and understanding across all curricular areas.  Co-constructed anchor charts empower teachers to bring back creativity and artistic expression to abstract lessons. The guidelines for successful charting are loose enough to yield high student achievement and respect a teacher's expertise. To masterfully support ELLs, it is imperative to add vivid visuals or images, personal relevance, multiple content-based examples, and tangible realia while charting. The teacher's consistent verbal and gestural cues to a chart's academic language and non-linguistic support guide the oral and written discourse of learners. The collaborative investigation and chart co-construction gives students access to ideas and content that would otherwise be too abstract and impenetrable. It's an ELL secret weapon!

Simple tweaks to the standard "cute" bulletin board can also yield exponential results with ELLs. The academic wall display, a reimagined bulletin board, is an environmental and visual cue to support increased academic discourse (oral and written) school-wide. Elementary teachers typically display their best class work in the hallways. Rethink what is displayed and how it is marketed. Eliminate wasted instructional time on holiday projects or cut-n-color activities that dominate the boards. Academic wall displays are still attractive and eye-catching; but, reload with prominent academic language used in the previous classroom instruction. View the display as a billboard advertising critical academic vocabulary; thus, providing a teacher the strategic opportunity to use verbal and gestural cues while walking in the hallway (maximizing the entire school day). An ELLs' eye is immediately and repeatedly drawn to the concise and bold title of academic language, vivid visual support of content, and application of that vocabulary in current student-generated work.  

The effective cueing system shifts the ELLs attention to specifically what they are learning, why they are learning it, and seeing vocabulary connections throughout the entire school day.   As ELLs gain more intentional repetitions of academic vocabulary, gain access to robust instruction and tasks (displayed in the hallway and co-constructed anchor charts), and are sufficiently cued to write to convey knowledge in all subjects, this will ultimately raise student responsibility for achievement. 



 

Response From Giselle Lundy-Ponce

Giselle Lundy-Ponce has been working in the field of PK-12 program development, education policy and advocacy for the last twenty-two years. Currently, her work focuses on policy and research analysis for the American Federation of Teachers and she leads the AFT's work on English language learners and Latino student achievement:

ELLs benefit the most when mainstream content is adapted to their needs, especially since it is not unusual for ESL curricula to have weak connections to grade-level content. So, while it is a challenge to create an ESL curriculum, educators do not need to start from scratch. Ideally, they should see creating an ESL curriculum that complements the mainstream curriculum as an opportunity to collaborate and innovate with their mainstream and specialized colleagues. Even when ELLs are not yet proficient in English, they can still be exposed to rich curriculum that explores grade-level topics such as the Gettysburg Address, ancient Egypt and the works of authors such as John Steinbeck, among others. Experts such as Diane August, Kenji Hakuta and Lilly Wong Fillmore point out that ELLs learn language best when they engage with rich content. Rich content, including fiction and informational text, inspires enthusiasm, inquiry, discussion, and ideas.

When creating a curriculum, keep in mind the following:

Align the curriculum to the academic standards and the English language proficiency standards used in that state (remember, standards are not curriculum)
Be cautious in selecting materials. In many cases, textbooks and curricular materials targeted to ELLs are heavy on visuals (illustrations, graphics, photos, etc.) and light on alignment to academic content; too often, they include very little complex text or academic vocabulary.
Start out with pilot lesson plans to see how they will need to be adjusted and revised rather than create a complete curricular unit without first testing it. When developing lesson plans aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), refer to the EQuIP Rubric:
Include diagnostic activities to make sure students understand the content/skills being taught
Include a rubric for how student work will be evaluated
Take into account the content knowledge and skills taught in previous grades, as well as the preparation needed for the next grade level. After all, learning is part of a continuum. Especially for students with interrupted formal schooling, specify which instructional scaffolds may be needed.
A few additional resources may be helpful:

In this comprehensive and insightful article, expert ESL teacher educator and ESL program administrator Julie Motta walks readers through adapting a unit for ELLs from existing curriculum. It includes a template and an exemplar, two must-haves for new educators or educators new to ELLs.

This link includes three lesson plan exemplars for ELLs in 1st, 4th and 8th grades, aligned to the CCSS:

In these articles and blog entries, experts share their views on the role of curriculum in the classroom, and on its importance for democracy and equity to thrive.

The Role Of Curriculum

Creating A Curriculum For The American People

 

 

Response From Pamela Mesta & Olga Reber

Pamela Mesta's experience includes ESOL, bilingual, elementary, early childhood, educational technology, professional development and interpretation/translation. She currently works as an ESOL Supervisor in a public school district and is also an adjunct college professor. Mesta has her B.A. in communications, her M.A. in education, and has done post-graduate work in ESL, educational technology and school administration. Her certifications include ESOL Pre-K-12, Elem/MS 1-6, Administrator I/II, and National Board Certification in Early Childhood.

Olga Reber's experience includes ESOL, EFL, professional development and interpretation/translation. She currently works as an ESOL Resource Teacher in a public school district and is also an adjunct college professor. Reber has her B.S. in secondary education/foreign language instruction, her M.A. in linguistics, and has done post-graduate work in educational technology. Her teacher certification is ESOL Pre-K-12:

Tip #1:   Know your learners!

Before planning instruction and assessment for your ELLs, it is critical to know their background. Information to research: Prior schooling/experiences: grade last completed and when, interrupted education, level of literacy in the native language (L1), exposure to English (formal or informal), previous grades/progress in school, etc.; Cultural background: values, beliefs, customs and the impact these may have on education; English language level: know how ELLs are tested and leveled in your state and obtain copies of your students' language testing. Consult with ESL staff in your building, as they can help answer many of these questions.

Tip #2: Teach language through content!

ELLs should not be removed from the challenges set forth in the standards, but rather supported in meeting them. With appropriate scaffolding, ELLs can participate in meaningful instruction before they can demonstrate native or near-native language proficiency. Use content and language standards to drive your instruction. This is the key to planning and delivering high-quality instruction in absence of a prescribed ESL curriculum, and can prove to be quite successful if implemented effectively. Start with your grade-level standards and content, along with the language standards supported by your state/jurisdiction. Build on students' background knowledge and prior experiences. Pre-teach essential academic vocabulary for each unit of study, and provide repeated exposure in a variety of settings. Use high-quality visuals, media and realia to help students make connections. Co-plan with ESL and related support staff to ensure that students are learning language and content concurrently.

Tip #3: Give students access to the core curriculum!

It's not as difficult as it sounds! The key to providing access is reducing the linguistic complexity that exists in the curriculum. First examine your curriculum, lessons and assessments and ask yourself, "How can I simplify the language while keeping the content intact?" Preview your content for multiple meaning words and cultural bias, as these could pose significant challenges, especially in the area of mathematics. Increase the frequency of key academic vocabulary exposure and the use of necessary language structures. Capitalize on the presence of cognates (words that have the same linguistic derivation/root). Create an effective communication and service plan with your ESL professional and related staff, and be sure to communicate this your ELL families. Examine service models, grading practices, content modifications and accommodations, and be open to change. Be sure that your assessments match your instruction. Seek additional interventions for your ELLs that support literacy and content development.

Continue to explore resources in your jurisdiction (supplemental materials, access to professional development, interpretation/translation support, etc.), advocate for your ELLs and embrace a growth mindset when it comes to supporting your ELLs.

For more information, check out our upcoming book: The Classroom Teacher's Guide to Supporting ELLs.



 

Response From Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Heather Wolpert-Gawron is an award-winning middle school teacher, blogger, and author of such books as DIY for Project Based Learning for ELA and History, DIY for PBL for Math and Science, and Writing Behind Every Door: Teaching Common Core Writing in the Content Areas.  Heather believes curriculum design should tell a story, and hopes teachers play a role in 21st Century lesson development.  She is passionate about educational technology and its role in helping students communicate all subjects:

Here are a few suggestions:

* Enhance history lessons using primary source pictures to begin discussions.

* Turn on captions for any Ted Talks that you might be watching. Also, watch the speeches with the sound off so that they can work on their facial expressions and gestures. Notice that when people move on a stage sometimes indicates the organization of the speeches themselves.

* Use Google's Add-on ReadWrite. That will read any text uploaded to Google Drive (albeit in a robotic voice) and will highlight the text as it reads along.

* Allow discussion at all times! Teach debate. Give them the confidence with oral speaking in the classroom that comes with the comfort of being allowed to take risks. So many students remain stagnant in EL programs because they aren't interacting with the material orally. Give them the confidence to speak up in class.

* Bring in the family. As consultant Lisa Dabbs says, bring the school to the families. Don't just call when there's a problem. Call home with praise, too. Don't invite families to the school for coffee, ask if there's an EL family that will host in their home. Break down the fear of school that might also be present in the family unit by making sure you are reaching out in ways that help them take your hand.

Responses From Readers

Joanne Yatvin (a past president of the National Council Of Teachers Of English):

Helping ELLS who enter high school knowing little or no English is very difficult; not only because they tend to use their native language socially in and out of school and stay silent in classrooms, but also because high school curricula demand more competence in English than they can reach in so short a time. Having a specialized class for English learning, in addition to regular classes, does help students somewhat, but it is rarely enough for the fast transition they need to be successful in high school.

On the other hand, helping ELLS learn English at elementary level is doable when teachers have the right training. Over five years I visited classrooms in four high poverty elementary schools, in rural Oregon, with large numbers of English language learners. Because those students came to school many different native languages, it was not possible to have special classes for speakers of each one. Therefore, regular classroom teachers were charged with doing the full job of teaching their ELLs English and the whole class the regular curriculum in reading, writing, math etc.

Early on, I found out that elementary teachers in this school district were required to take a weeklong course called Project GLAD (Guided Literacy Acquisition Design), so I decided to take the course myself. It was excellent, and it helped me to appreciate what the teachers I was observing were doing.

In the beginning, the essentials are partnering a new ELL with a native English speaker who would help the newcomer with the basic routines, such as finding materials in the classroom, standing in line in the lunchroom, and essential language such as "Where is..." What the teacher does, from the beginning and throughout the year is, as far as possible, to present new material visually and orally along with written forms, and to use stock phrases to accustom ELLs to the regular language structures of English and the basic information and skills of the material being taught. To help ELLs remember the information taught or important vocabulary, teachers frequently invent songs or rhymes for students to learn and repeat in chorus.

Another basic component is teaching is consistency: using the similar formats to present new material throughout the year, modifying them somewhat as students become more familiar with them. In addition, teachers continue to use visual presentations on a regular basis --mostly roughly drawn images to help ELLs understand new concepts and vocabulary.

 

Katy Torres:

Why would ESL students have a different curriculum than mainstream students? All students should have access to the same curriculum, created with UDL principals, and receive additional support based on their language proficiency levels and level of background knowledge. Mainstream teachers have a shared responsibility to support ELs.

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'Shakespeare in Love' gets lost in stage translation

'Shakespeare in Love' gets lost in stage translation | AdLit | Scoop.it
This theatrical version of the hugely popular 1998 film often feels more exhausting than beguiling.

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La. Tech professor receives International Literacy Association award

La. Tech professor receives International Literacy Association award | AdLit | Scoop.it
RUSTON – Dr. Carrice Cummins, endowed professor of education at Louisiana Tech University, has been awarded the International Literacy Association’s Special Service Award, which recognizes individuals who are working to advance literacy in schools and communities, is given periodically for unusual and distinguished service to ILA.

Cummins was the past president of ILA (then the International Reading Association), has served as a member of the ILA Board of Directors and several ILA committees and special interest groups, such as the Teacher Education Task Force and the Early Childhood Commission.

“At an early age, I knew that teaching was something I wanted to do,” Cummins said. “The second year of my teaching career, my teaching day was split between high school math and a third grade reading class. That was the year I knew literacy development was where I belonged.

“In that first reading classroom, there was a child struggling both at school and at home, and I experienced firsthand how our reading and talking our way through good books made her a stronger individual. I have been hooked from that moment on and this passion makes it easy to do whatever you can to enhance literacy development.”

Cummins said she was honored to be considered for the Special Service Award.

“The award is not one that is given automatically every year, but is reserved for times when the (ILA) staff feel that someone has contributed to the mission of the organization in an outstanding and significant way,” she said. “The recommendation came directly from the staff of the International Literacy Association and not from a special colleague of friend who works with me daily.

“To be recognized for the things you do naturally to support literacy advancement and acknowledged by those behind the scenes of an organization -- those who really do the work -- is truly a humbling experience.”

Dr. Don Schillinger, dean of the College of Education at Louisiana Tech, said the award helps recognize Cummins’ outstanding service to the community.

“(This) is indicative of her tireless service locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to promote literacy,” Schillinger said. “We are very pleased that this very prestigious organization has recognized Dr. Cummins’s service and commitment to providing educational opportunities to those who need them most.”

Schillinger added that Cummins exemplifies service, scholarship and a sincere concern for the well-being of learners from both to post-secondary to adult education.

“We are extremely fortunate to have her as valued member of our College of Education family and look forward to continuing to fully support the work her and her esteemed colleagues are doing to lead exciting and innovative literacy-focused efforts in our region and across the nation,” he said.

Lindsey Vincent, the director of Louisiana Tech’s SciTEC Center, was a student of Cummins and said she is well deserving of the award.

“Her energy, enthusiasm and love of teaching was infectious,” Vincent said. “She is certainly deserving of such an honor. I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn from and now work with such a talented and caring individual.”

The ILA is a global advocacy and membership organization dedicating to advancing literacy for all. ILA collaborates with partners across the world to develop, gather and disseminate high-quality resources, best practices and cutting-edge research to empower educators, inspire students and inform policymakers.

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Literacy skills are now more important than ever

Literacy skills are now more important than ever | AdLit | Scoop.it
By Emma Bannerman & Shawn Allen

Every year we ask our Grade 9 students to write a practice literacy test to identify their needs and to determine how we can best support them over the year prior to their Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. Our MDHS literacy team, made up of teachers in Grades 7-12, also analyzes student writing samples every year and collaborates on the best approaches to build the reading and writing skills of individual students.  The areas of greatest need are consistently vocabulary, making connections and making inferences. www.eqao.com offers sample questions for student practice. Although we offer an outstanding literacy preparation course (ELS20) in Grade 10 to address these areas of need, regular reading throughout the teenage years has the greatest long-term impact on student literacy.  

Reading leads to success.  It not only builds and expands student vocabulary in a range of subject areas, but it shows students how writers share their thoughts so they become better writers themselves. Reading also increases their knowledge of the world from multiple perspectives, allowing students to understand the world beyond our own backyard, informing them of world issues, personal struggles and stories of success.

Students begin to make connections to their own lives, furthering both their reading pleasure and their comprehension and analysis of complex issues.

We are pleased with the growth shown in our March 2014 literacy test results. Students worked hard on their literacy skills and it certainly paid off. However, we continue to reflect on the test and on the areas in which students struggle. Literacy test questions are not simply English class questions. The test includes diverse texts that we encounter everyday and content from across the subject areas.

Every year on the test, a graphic text that you might find in your workplace, a local newspaper or magazine, shares a considerable amount of information. Students are then required to answer a series of multiple choice questions to demonstrate their understanding of the graphic information and its implications. You can support the development of your child’s skills in this area by collecting graphic texts that you find and discussing their meaning.

The following links provide some samples of graphic texts that you may wish to review together.

(1) http://goo.gl/nSS9of

(2) http://goo.gl/xsMXi5

(3) http://bit.ly/1E9UKwM.

The last two links are from past literacy tests and the graphics may be found on pages 11 and 16 respectively.

 

In this information age, literacy skills are more important than ever before. It’s not simply a matter of reading and understanding. We also need to be able to interpret, synthesize and critically analyze the overwhelming amount of information available. We will continue to build these skills in our students and encourage students to embrace diverse forms of text and communication both in and outside of school. If we can be of any support to you in this endeavour, please contact us.

Finally, on another note, our drama and music students would like to invite all parents and community members to join us Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m. in the MDHS gym for our Remembrance Day assembly. We will observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m.

 

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Writing papers and research reports the Google way

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Research reports and papers can be streamlines and improved with a few handy Google tools. Here's a workflow your students can use.

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Understanding Dyslexia and the Reading Brain in Kids

Understanding Dyslexia and the Reading Brain in Kids | AdLit | Scoop.it
At a recent talk for special education teachers at the Los Angeles Unified School District, child development professor Maryanne Wolf urged educators to say the word dyslexia out loud.

“Don’t ever succumb to the idea that it’s going to develop out of something, or that it’s a disease,” she recalled telling teachers. “Dyslexia is a different brain organization that needs different teaching methods. It is never the fault of the child, but rather the responsibility of us who teach to find methods that work for that child.”

Wolf, who has a dyslexic son, is on a mission to spread the idea of “cerebrodiversity,” the idea that our brains are not uniform and we each learn differently. Yet when it comes to school, students with different brains can often have lives filled with frustration and anguish as they, and everyone around them, struggle to figure out what is wrong with them.

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Finding Good Books: A How-To Guide – Better Humans

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Guess what? The people who ask this are, inevitably, not writers. For real writers, ideas are never the problem. It’s the same for reading — those who ask how to find good books are (generally) the…

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A Contract with God — The revolutionary work of graphic storytelling that inspired a new art form

A Contract with God — The revolutionary work of graphic storytelling that inspired a new art form | AdLit | Scoop.it

A Contract With God explores the everyday extremes of human experience through the tenement building at 55 Dropsie Avenue. Residents strive, struggle, and schlep through the graphic short stories. Eisner explores the themes therein on multiple levels, with text and illustration that are cuttingly resonant. His characters fall in and out of faith in God, man, and love. Some are blindly optimistic and others rawly matter-of-fact in their realism. Some are both.


Via Gregg Morris, Melanie Hundley
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Teaching Students to Set a Purpose for Reading

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Literacy expert Sarah Tantillo shares tested strategies to help students detect the purpose of reading, including her What's Important Organizer (free download)
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3 Creative Tech Tools to Teach Writing

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What is ‘writing’? If you look it up in the Free Dictionary, you find this definition: The act or process of producing and recording words in a form that can be read and understood This…

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StoryTop Story Maker -- The digital storytelling tool

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Make cartoon-like stories and share them with friends or classmates. Free, mobile-friendly story book tool that doesn't require a login.

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Penguin’s Read A Book, Give A Book Opportunity

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There's a great commercial right now featuring a man who goes through his daily life and keeps encountering worthy causes: a puppy from the shelter, a teenager
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