Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core
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500+ Creative Lessons To Teach Almost Anything

500+ Creative Lessons To Teach Almost Anything | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

Filling up the waning hours of the school year with meaningful, helpful lessons can be a challenge. Never fear, EduDemic is to the rescue. They’ve come up with dozens of lessons, trips, and creative ways to engage students from elementary school to high school. The links below are mostly to PDFs that you can easily print out and distribute to your fellow teachers.

Via Andrea Zeitz
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Educational Resources and Middle School Lessons with some great #commoncore planning templates #ccss #ccchat

Educational Resources and Middle School Lessons with some great #commoncore planning templates #ccss #ccchat | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it
Educate your students more effectively with the educational resources and lesson plans from The English Teacher's Friend. We offer lessons to middle and high school English teachers nationwide.

Via Darren Burris
Gayle Glade's insight:

They offer lessons for high school as well.

Rescooped by Gayle Glade from Common Core Online

Modeling and Simulation for High School Teachers: Principles, Problems, and Lesson Plans from Physics

Modeling and Simulation for High School Lessons http://t.co/3Qou7a7dYI #ccss #commoncore #ccmath #mathed #mathchat

Via Darren Burris
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Digital Literacy and Citizenship for Grades 9 - 12 | Common Sense Media

Digital Literacy and Citizenship for Grades 9 - 12 | Common Sense Media | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

Challenge high school students to take perspective on the opportunities and potential pitfalls of the digital world. These age-appropriate, 45-minute lessons use rich discussions and ethical debates to cover the digital literacy and citizenship topics including relationships, identity, respect, and privacy. The lessons highlight how teens can be mindful when curating their digital footprints and how they can take ownership of their digital roles by using today’s technologies to create, publish, and share their own creative work.


Click headline to access hot links to resources--

Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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Khan Academy & Pixar Unveil "Pixar In A Box" | Larry Ferlazzo | EduBlogs.org

Khan Academy & Pixar Unveil "Pixar In A Box" | Larry Ferlazzo | EduBlogs.org | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

Thanks to John Fensterwald, I initially heard about Pixar In A Box, a new project unveiled by Khan Academy yesterday:

its new online curriculum Pixar in a Box analyzes how the studio fuses art, tech, science, engineering, and math to develop top-shelf animated cinema. Created with middle and high school students in mind but available to everyone, Pixar in a Box’s interactive exercises, in-depth video lessons, and hands-on activities are an informative addition to Khan Academy’s extensive educational resources.

I’m not a math teacher, so can’t say much about the quality of the program. However, I can say that the videos seem much, much better than the usual Khan fare.

Here’s a an introduction to the Pixar In A Box:


Click headline to access hot links and watch video clip--

Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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ACT Writing Test Scoring Rubric (New and Analytic)

Via Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry, Darren Burris
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, October 23, 2015 10:11 AM

Interested in ACT's new analytic writing rubric? Since the beginning of ACT's writing assessment, student compositions have been scored holistically using a six-point guide. This year, ACT has adopted an analytic rubric which will be much more helpful as a tool for teachers and students in understanding where the writing succeeds and/or misses the mark.

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Free online content helps teachers meet Common Core demands

Free online content helps teachers meet Common Core demands | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it
A non-profit journalism website reporting on key education issues in California and beyond.

Via Darren Burris
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Vocabulary Exercises Supported by Educational and Memory Research

Vocabulary Exercises Supported by Educational and Memory Research | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

Teaching vocabulary within the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is an essential component of standards-based curriculum alignment. Making the critical words second nature to our students will enhance  achievement on assessments and will be useful in college and career.

Via Mel Riddile
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The New SAT Exam: Five Things to Know

High school students applying to college will take the new SAT exam beginning in 2016. The changes to the test are significant. Here's what you need to know.
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Math Cartoons in the Classroom: Lesson Ideas & Tips from 5 Educators

Math Cartoons in the Classroom: Lesson Ideas & Tips from 5 Educators | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it
Educators share practical tips and ideas on how they are using math cartoons in the classroom to invigorate their lessons and engage students in math.

Via Darren Burris
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Lesson Plan Ideas with Common Core Correlations - ProCon.org

Lesson Plan Ideas with Common Core Correlations - ProCon.org | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

"We offer these lesson plan ideas to help teachers cover important skills in English/Language Arts and Social Studies. Each SKILLS-BASED IDEA and CONTENT-BASED IDEA suggests specific ProCon.org topics and resources that are particularly well-matched to the lesson and designed to help you meet multiple curriculum goals."

Via Beth Dichter
Beth Dichter's curator insight, March 7, 2015 7:44 AM

Beth Dichter's insight:

ProCon is one of my favorite websites. The mission of the site is to promote 'critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisian, primarily pro-con format." There are 52 controversial topics that are available, and they have just released 20 lesson plans. Seventeen of the lesson plans are skill- based and three are content-based. The lesson plans are geared to learners in grades 5 - 12. Below is a list of two skill-based lessons and two content-based lesson, along with the grade levels.

Skill-Based (material quoted from site):

* Critical Thinking Quotes - Engage students in a metacognition exercise about critical thinking and also practice research and informational writing skills using ProCon.org's collection of critical thinking quotes. Grades 9 -12.

* Main Ideas of Visual References - Use charts and graphs on ProCon.org to engage students in a visual literacy exercise. Grades 6 - 8.


* Exploring Controversial Issues in Literature - To introduce a novel, use ProCon.org to help students build background knowledge and examine the novel’s controversial issue(s). Grades 5 - 10.

* Drug Ads Over Time: Analyzing Historical Images - Use ProCon.org's Gallery of Drug Ads to give students an opportunity to practice ad analysis and recognize how methods and messages have changed over time. Grades 5 - 10.

To access the 52 issues that have detailed information and provide references (and links) to the materials used click on the Home page and you will find topics in Education, Elections & Presidents, Health & Medicine, Media & Entertainment, Money & Business, Politics, Religion, Science & Technology, Sex & Gender, Sports, and World/International.

Kathy Lynch's curator insight, March 8, 2015 12:44 PM

Thx Beth Dichter!

Great skills building via content-based articles that center on hot topics in the news related to science concepts (and others).

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Three Ways to Promote Student Ownership of Reading

Three Ways to Promote Student Ownership of Reading | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it
here’s no arguing with Ryan’s (2009) observation that “coming to class prepared and with some background knowledge transforms students from passive to active learners” (para. 3). But how to get our students to this state of “transformation readiness” is an age-old issue challenging most instructors throughout their careers. I’m sure the struggle also extends to my own students, who are aspiring or practicing language-teaching professionals juggling multiple personal, academic, and professional demands. Research shows that reasons for not completing reading assignments also include factors such as reading comprehension, low student self-confidence, and lack of interest in the topic (e.g., Lei, Bartlett, Gorney, & Herschbach, 2010).

Reflecting on my own teaching, I find this is an area I continue to ponder and experiment with to attain desired learning outcomes. If you’ve been thinking about the same things, a quick look at Faculty Focus will turn up many excellent posts by instructors sharing how they get students to do the reading (e.g., Gee, 2014; Weimer, 2012; Van Gyn, 2013; also the Faculty Focus [2010] special report).

Beyond that, however, is a paucity of research in this specific area; moreover, that which does exist seems to focus mainly on extrinsic-oriented ways to enforce “compliance,” such as giving pop quizzes, adding extra writing assignments, introducing extra discussion credit points, or providing optional reading guides or questions (e.g., Hatteberg & Steffy, 2013; Lei, Bartlett, Gorney, & Herschbach, 2010; Sappington, Kinsey, & Munsayac, 2002). From the instructor’s perspective, such strategies don’t sound particularly motivating, nor are they likely to get our students excited about reading or developing a perspective that values learning. As we all know, grades do not necessarily reflect students’ engagement, and engagement is much more than mere compliance. Through giving more tests and assigning more papers, might we inadvertently be “helping” create more disengaged achievers?
When students choose a reading in which they will assume the role of discussion facilitator, they tend to approach the reading differently.
In response to Weimer’s (2015) question “Are there any other alternatives?” (para. 6), I find the following three strategies have worked, with acceptable varying degrees of success, among my graduate, undergraduate, and diploma-level students alike. Although different instructional, contextual, and learner variables may affect how well they work for you, the level of frustration arising from unproductive discussions because students (on average over 70%, Weimer, 2015) haven’t read the readings is likely to be reduced.

1. Providing choice to promote student ownership. Providing choice deals with “students’ perceptions that their teachers provide opportunities for participation in decision making related to academic tasks [and] allow for student input into class discussion” (Wang & Eccles, 2013, p. 14). In all my courses, students are always given options to (a) select a topic within the course’s scope where they’d like to develop expertise, (b) select from a list of two or three readings for consideration to assume the role of discussion facilitator, or (c) propose a relevant reading or readings to share with the group. As I have repeatedly discovered, when students choose a reading to assume the role of discussion facilitator, they tend to approach the reading differently and, in so doing, advance their own knowledge of the topic more deeply than they would in the role of discussant. This approach leads to greater engagement with both process and product of the reading exploration.

As Chan et al. (2014) noted, “Asking for input on and giving students choices about [readings and how to explore them] helps students understand that their input is valued, which sets the stage for successful student ownership” (p. 111). More importantly, the way we think about how such a sense of ownership emerges must go beyond what lies within the student; we need to consider how the different components within the entire learning system of a course interact. When our students can voice an opinion and make decisions about readings, they feel “ownership” because suddenly they have a personal stake in the content, process, and product of that choice. Granted, not all courses can offer such options, but where possible, you can ask yourself, Is there a way to add student choice about readings into my course that promotes a sense of ownership?

2. Providing different ways for students to demonstrate they’ve done the reading. How do you assess whether your students have done the reading? Through quizzes, exams, discussions, a summary or reflective writing piece, or final paper? I teach mainly upper-level courses, and so smaller classes make it easier to consider various “informal” ways students can demonstrate their engagement in and understanding of the recommended/chosen readings. I also don’t require students to purchase textbooks, because there are plenty of level-appropriate, interest-matching articles, either open access or accessible through the library. Over the past decades, I have tried, for example, the following approaches:
Have a sign-up sheet for two to three students to self-select a time/topic for facilitating a warm-up discussion as a team for each week. Members of the facilitating group may also work together to come up with questions to share with the class by posting them at least three days before the discussion. Sharing questions provides everyone a chance to mull them over and request elaboration if they’re unclear.
Alternatively, invite students to contribute questions to the discussion to be facilitated by the scheduled team. I require that these questions be posted to the group’s private website at least three days before the class. This allows (i) the session to address questions of concern and interest to the students, (ii) the questions to be thoughtfully integrated into the discussion by the student facilitators and the session to be planned by the instructor as a whole, (iii) all students to have an opportunity to think about the questions before class, and (iv) the facilitating team or the instructor to acknowledge contributions and channel thinking toward areas to focus on within the allocated time.
Encourage the student facilitators to consider how questions from (a) and/or (b) can be grouped and synthesized in organizing/planning the discussion segment. The warm-up nature of the task necessitates they be selective (through synthesizing/reorganizing and/or collective voting on, say, the top five questions for the warm-up) of the questions they wish to share with their peers. The warm-up discussion is meant to be quite informal and flexible, and students are encouraged to experiment with different formats to get everyone involved. While some students may choose to operate within their comfort zones using the traditional discussion style, I have also been pleasantly surprised at the many ingenious and often fun, engaging ways my students have brought a discussion to life. I often stress that at this stage of their learning, I want them to feel free to explore what they’re reading, and not to worry about task guidelines (often sought by students with lower tolerance for ambiguity or who prefer structures) to follow. Instead, encourage students to let their own and their peers’ needs (through the questions contributed by everyone) take center stage during the discussion. I often weave questions that don’t get picked up during the warm-up discussion into my teaching to ensure that students see their individual questions from their reading are valued.
The benefits of including a seemingly straightforward discussion-facilitation task go beyond getting the students to approach their reading in ways different from how they would if they were not facilitating. These include (as I always explicitly state in a one-page task information sheet) helping students:

learn to generate questions meaningful to them and that may be of interest to their peers, and to promote dialogic exchanges among their peers—both essential skills to the work of language-teaching professionals;
advance their own and their peers’ thinking regarding various topics/questions through exploring those put forward by the team and peers;
achieve a deeper level of thinking and take ownership of their chosen topic/reading; and
develop their skills as a facilitator or team facilitator, a life skill applicable both professionally and personally.
3. Providing a post-discussion summary post capturing key contributions. Instead of asking each student to submit a reflective post in writing or by audio-recording, which has its own pedagogical benefits and limitations, I have tried sharing a summary post. I call this my “reflective feedback,” attending to the principle of SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Specific: highlight contributions made by individuals during the informal warm-up discussion. A side note: I typically sit in a corner, observing and taking field notes, and am not directly observable by the students, whatever the seating arrangement. This strategy helps me be very concrete in my feedback in acknowledging both specific and overall contributions made by the students individually and collectively while also highlighting the takeaway points from each discussion. It is also a way to make learning observable in that those thoughts and ideas become shared objects about which further questions and thinking can be explored and built upon within oneself or among the group (Wells, 2000). Measurable: provide a summarizing post no longer than a page. Attainable: ask one or two follow-up questions requiring students to read the post and draw on their experience. Relevant: when possible, selectively link points to individual students’ interests, experiences, and previous sessions. Time-based: I always share the post the very next day on the private class website; this time frame creates a bit of distance from the event, but it’s immediate enough that the memory is still fresh. Finally, a trail of such summarizing posts also helps students write a brief, personal reflection at the course’s end about what they’ve learned.

In addition to class feedback, in my feedback to the facilitation team I usually include some guiding questions that members might consider asking themselves to help develop metacognition in learning through self-reflection (Lang, 2012).

Have I gained a better/different understanding of the topic through my chosen reading(s) and discussion with my peers? In what ways can my new understanding inform my practices?
Have I broadened my thinking or generated new thoughts or ideas not previously formulated? In what area(s) have my thinking and understanding reached new levels?
Have I helped my peers clarify their thinking on various questions/issues that concern them, and in doing so clarified my own thinking?
Contentwise, in what areas of my reading(s) do I need to clarify my understanding or follow up on? What are some ideas I can apply to my current or future work?
Processwise, what have I learned about my ability to promote dialogic exchanges? What can I do differently the next time I facilitate a discussion (an emic perspective) or participate in one (an etic perspective)?
Bonus Idea: Leave one topic open. Among the key topics listed in the course outline, I always leave one open for those who either cannot figure out at least one area of interest, or who are definite about a specific topic that’s not included. Consider having an open topic option to accommodate and value personal interests in the course content and encourage developing those interests. Weave throughout the readings the central idea of teaching for relevance, where “students feel a sense of autonomy when doing work that . . . relates to their interests and has personal meaning . . . provides opportunities for self-exploration . . . and the activities provided are meaningful, relevant, and related to personal interests and goals” (Wang & Eccles, 2013, p. 14).

I have discovered that instead of those methods commonly mentioned in articles for reinforcing reading compliance, taking an informal approach gives students (a) an option to choose readings meaningful or personally relevant to them; (b) an opportunity to take ownership of their chosen topic/reading(s) through facilitating a warm-up discussion; (c) a way to contribute input to the discussion’s process and product; (d) the experience of contributing to the success of each other’s discussion sessions, indirectly encouraging reading, collaboration, and reciprocal exchanges; and (e) a glimpse of what they can accomplish by embracing their role as facilitator, with process and product directly relevant to their interests and goals as language-teaching professionals. This combination of approaches dynamically embedded in the learning system can create powerful momentum and interest among students in what their peers have chosen to explore.

As Weimer (2012) pointed out: “Few (if any) instructional strategies are universally effective, and few (if any) accomplish all learning objectives equally well” (para. 7). I couldn’t agree more. As long as we do what we do, each course or instruction/learning session is a mini-adventure—a challenge requiring a unique combination of strategies. The perpetual state of change characteristic of what we do requires that we never stop experimenting by attending to the multidimensional nature of active engagement. What will you experiment with this semester to motivate your students to do the reading? Share your discoveries so we can continue to inspire and energize one another and help make this part of our teaching a meaningful and rewarding endeavor for both ourselves and our students during the course and beyond.

Baier, K., Hendricks, C., Warren G. K., Hendricks, J. E., & Cochran, L. (2011). College students’ textbook reading, or not! American Reading Forum Annual Yearbook, 31. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1LppErQ

Chan, P. E., Graham-Day, K. J., Ressa, V. A., MST, Peters, M. T., & Konrad, M. (2014). Beyond involvement: Promoting student ownership of learning in classrooms. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50(2), 105-113.

Faculty Focus. (2010). 11 strategies for getting students to read what’s assigned. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/free-reports/11-strategies-for-getting-students-to-read-whats-assigned/

Gee, J. (2014, March 27). Reading circles get students to do the reading. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/reading-circles-get-students-reading/

Hatteberg, S. J., & Steffy, K. (2013). Increasing reading compliance of undergraduates: An evaluation of compliance methods. Teaching Sociology, 41(4), 346-352.

Lang, J. M. (2012, January 17). Metacognition and student learning. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/MetacognitionStudent/130327

Lei, S. A., Bartlett, K. A., Gorney, S. E., & Herschbach, T. R. (2010). Resistance to reading compliance among college students: Instructors’ perspectives. College Student Journal, 44(2), 209.

Ryan, T. E. (2009, November 13). Why it’s so hard to get students to read the textbook, and what happens when they do. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/why-its-so-hard-to-get-students-to-read-the-textbook-and-what-happens-when-they-do/

Sapping, J., Kinsey, K., & Munsayac, K. (2002). Two studies of reading compliance among college students. Teaching of Psychology, 29(4), 272-274.

Van Gyn, G. (2013, May 6). The little assignment with the big impact: Reading, writing, critical reflection, and meaningful discussion. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/the-little-assignment-with-the-big-impact-reading-writing-critical-reflection-and-meaningful-discussion/

Wang, M. T., & Eccles, J. S. (2013). School context, achievement motivation, and academic engagement: A longitudinal study of school engagement using a multidimensional perspective. Learning and Instruction, 28, 12-23.

Weimer, M. (2012, February 17). Two strategies for getting students to do the reading. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/two-strategies-for-getting-students-to-do-the-reading/

Weimer, M. (2014, June 26). Getting students to do the reading. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/getting-students-to-do-the-reading/

Wells, G. (2000). Dialogic inquiry in education: Building on the legacy of Vygotsky. In C. D. Lee & P. Smagorinsky (Eds.), Vygotskian perspectives on literacy research. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Dr. Li-Shih Huang is an associate professor of applied linguistics, Department of Linguistics, and the learning and teaching scholar-in-residence, Learning and Teaching Centre, University of Victoria, BC, Canada. She is also the recipient of the 2014 Humanities Teaching Excellence Award.

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Via Charles Tiayon
Bryan Kay's curator insight, October 22, 2015 8:40 PM

I chose this resource to use for motivation or general ideas to become a better principal and educational leader.


Feedback is so huge in improving teaching. I want to provide feedback on a regular basis, especially in regard to literacy instruction. 

Lizeth Jimenez's curator insight, December 15, 2015 11:04 AM

This article talks about helping students become responsible for their own work and being proud of it. It talks about different ways of assesing students and encouraging them.

Laura Ellen G's curator insight, June 10, 11:51 PM

Assignments that actually inspire kids to read, like allowing them to choose the books for themselves. 

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7 Effective Strategies to Help Children with Reading Fluency

7 Effective Strategies to Help Children with Reading Fluency | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it
This article gives several strategies to help children (or adults) improve reading fluency with explicit directions on how to implement each one.
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How High Standards Further Understanding and Creativity

How High Standards Further Understanding and Creativity | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

At a recent Parent Forum regarding the Common Core Standards, a parent asked "Do the Common Core standards hinder creativity in the classroom?" As a high school English teacher, fostering creativity and innovative thinking has always been important to me; however, when taking a closer look at my lessons before the implementation of the Common Core Standards, I can honestly say that I may have been limiting the creative choice in my classroom.  Since the adoption of the higher standards, students are now being asked to critically analyze rigorous texts and create their own ideas and claims in response to these texts.


The learning in my classroom is vastly different today than it was just a few years ago. When looking back at my old lessons, I realize that much of the valuable learning time in class was made up of me re-enacting my favorite novels to my students. I would often tell my students what the "important" parts of the novels were (themes, characters, setting, tone, etc.).  Many times, the students could do very well on assessments even if they did not really understand the literature or appreciate the author's language, simply by listening to me and regurgitating the notes I provided for them.

Via Deb Gardner
Deb Gardner's curator insight, January 25, 2014 4:07 AM

Why does this high school English teacher prefer Common Core Standards? It's about the students!

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Teaching With Primary Sources Lesson: 1918 Influenza Epidemic

Teaching With Primary Sources Lesson: 1918 Influenza Epidemic | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

This lesson, using the 1918 influenza epidemic as a starting point from which to understand dimensions of the 1920s, was taught to two US History classes in demonstration lessons at Columbia River High School on February 10, 2012. Students gathered in the school computer lab to explore the document set, organized into a Prezi. Based on observations of the first class, the group revised the question tool for the second class. The format, inquiry model, and reflection tool seemed to serve the students well.


An interesting account for us (sometime) teachers: sometimes it's useful to use contemporary info.

Via Ed Rybicki
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English Teacher Rethinks Grammar Lessons -- With an App

English Teacher Rethinks Grammar Lessons -- With an App | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it
A high school English teacher developed an app in his spare time that takes a new, red-ink free approach to grammar lessons.

Via David Miller
Rescooped by Gayle Glade from common core practitioner

Art of Problem Solving's innovative online learning system!

Alcumus offers middle and high school students a FREE customized learning experience, adjusting to student performance to deliver appropriate problems and lessons. Alcumus is specifically designed to provide high-performing students with a challenging curriculum appropriate to their abilities.

Via commoncore2014@gmail.com
commoncore2014@gmail.com's curator insight, August 17, 2013 11:22 PM

Check out the hundreds of video tutorials that are great alternatives to Khan Academy!

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Response: Helping English Language Learners To 'Survive & Thrive'

Response: Helping English Language Learners To 'Survive & Thrive' | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | 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.

Via Charles Tiayon
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Rescooped by Gayle Glade from Common Core Online

High School Test Results Set New Baseline For Maryland Students

Via Darren Burris
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Rescooped by Gayle Glade from Common Core Online

Speech-Language Goals that Reflect the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) & Extended Standards

“on.asha.org/ASHAFree15 Speech-Language Goals that Reflect the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Extended Standards Walk away with ideas for ...”

Via Darren Burris
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Rescooped by Gayle Glade from Technology to Teach

7 Ways Students Use Diigo To Do Research and Collaborative Project Work ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

7 Ways Students Use Diigo To Do Research and Collaborative Project Work ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

Via Amy Burns
Amy Burns's curator insight, January 14, 2015 1:46 PM

Scoop.it and Diigo are my two favorite tools for curating sites!

Scooped by Gayle Glade

SPAWN a reading and writing strategy

SPAWN is a reading and writing strategy. Sources: Brunner, T. J. (2012). Now I get it: Differentiate, engage, and read for deeper meaning. New York: Rowman ...
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Common Core in Action: 10 Visual Literacy Strategies

Common Core in Action: 10 Visual Literacy Strategies | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it
Do you wish your students could better understand and critique the images that saturate their waking life? That's the purpose of visual literacy (VL), to explicitly teach a collection of competencies

Via Beth Dichter
Ann Francis's curator insight, July 5, 2014 9:42 PM


Ann Francis's curator insight, July 21, 2014 1:14 PM


Crystal Delatorre's curator insight, October 29, 2014 1:37 AM

A helpful tool to use in helping teach the common core standards.

Rescooped by Gayle Glade from Common Core Online

15 Ways to Use The Learning Network This School Year - The New York Times

15 Ways to Use The Learning Network This School Year - The New York Times | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it
Happy academic year 2015-16! Here’s what we’ve got on our blog and how you can use it, whether you’re a teacher, a student (of any age) or a parent.

Via Darren Burris
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Sustained Silent Reading in High School | Stacey Flores Blog | Edutopia.org

Sustained Silent Reading in High School | Stacey Flores Blog | Edutopia.org | Wilde Lake's List of Resources for Common Core | Scoop.it

The concept of having students read silently for a predetermined amount of time has been very popular within early childhood education. This same concept of sustained silent reading is almost laughable within secondary education for many reasons:

Who has time for this?Students need to be moving on to complex text.Students should primarily be writing in order to prepare for college.How can the educator allow students to read all class period long? They aren’t doing anything!High stakes testing is priority! Reading for enjoyment is out of the question.

I believe students, especially high school students, need to have silent sustained reading in their English class in order for them to improve academically in a variety of ways.


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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Gayle Glade's insight:

Important questions to ponder!

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