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The Art of the Discussion Prompt | IDDblog

The Art of the Discussion Prompt | IDDblog | AdLit | Scoop.it
Discussions are sometimes called the engine of an online course. Discussions provide an opportunity for students to engage with the course content, with each other, and with you—the professor—simultaneously, which means they have a lot of potential for meaningful learning and high retention.

There is no guarantee that students will really apply themselves by just creating a discussion. What you get out of a discussion assignment depends on what you put into it. Here are some tips for writing your discussion prompt, selecting your settings, and participating in the discussion.

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Kiruthika Ragupathi's curator insight, March 21, 2015 9:45 PM

good design advice on structuring discussions. Follow these principles to create better discussions in your online or blended classes.

Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, March 21, 2015 10:04 PM

Dialogue and conversation have different feels than discussion which is about winning one's argument.

 

@ivon_ehd1

Doug Ward's curator insight, March 22, 2015 7:47 PM

Good advice.

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Response: 'Every Teacher Is A Language Teacher'

Response: 'Every Teacher Is A Language Teacher' | AdLit | Scoop.it
Response: 'Every Teacher Is A Language Teacher'
By Larry Ferlazzo on March 17, 2015 3:35 PM

(This post is the last post in a two-part series.  You can see Part One here.)

This week's question is:

What are the best strategies to use when teaching English Language Learners in content classes?

The question above is my simplified version of the actual one sent by a teacher who requested anonymity.  Here is what was submitted:

I'm at my start of second school year teaching 8th grade social studies which is tested! My population of Spanish dominant students is the majority. Social studies was never taught at the elementary level. I feel hopeless. I'm using different strategies that include foldables class discussions essential questioning visuals primary sources ...etc etc!! I cant reach them! Sometimes I wonder if its me..other teachers say I work too hard. But I really want my student to learn about history but I have to be both a English teacher and social studies teacher at same time. I need help!


Part One in this series shared responses from four experienced educators: Judie Haynes, Mary Ann Zehr, Bárbara C. Cruz and Stephen J. Thornton.  You can also listen to a ten-minute conversation I had with Judie and Mary Ann on my BAM! Radio Show.

Today's guests are Margo Gottlieb, Maria Montalvo-Balbed, and Tracey Takuhama-Espinosa.  In addition, I've shared responses from readers.

Response From Margo Gottlieb

Margo Gottlieb is lead developer for WIDA at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and director, assessment and evaluation, at the Illinois Resource Center, Arlington Heights. Her latest publications include co-authoring and co-editing a compendium of books by Corwin on Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms; a foundational book, Definitions and Contexts, and six others, Promoting Content and Language Learning, English Language Arts and Mathematics for grade-levels K-2, 3-5, and 6-8:

Around the country, linguistically and cultural diversity is becoming part of the classroom mosaic. For English language learners to succeed academically, teachers must interweave the academic language of each discipline into their instruction. As educators begin a new school year, here are some tips for content teachers.

Partner with a language teacher in co-planning, co-constructing, and co-teaching as you share instruction, engage in classroom assessment, and assume joint responsibility for your language learners.
Incorporate the students' linguistic and cultural resources and expertise into lessons and units of learning so that all students can engage in authentic and meaningful learning experiences.
Use college & career readiness standards in conjunction with language development standards to gain a better understanding of the developmental and linguistic pathways to student achievement.
Pair the standards-referenced skills and concepts of a topic or theme with the academic language required of those understandings.
Formulate content and language targets to guide teaching and learning for a unit for all students. These targets provide a global view of key learning and guide the creation of objectives for individual or related lessons.
Maintain grade-level rigor of the content while differentiate language according to the students' levels of language proficiency. Differentiation includes consideration for the students' literacy in their home language as a scaffold for English language development and as a means to communicate conceptual knowledge.
Center on academic language use within and across language domains, such as during interpretative listening, interactive reading, academic conversations, and writing across the curriculum.
Plan, collect, analyze, interpret, and act on evidence for student learning through performance assessment that occurs within and across lessons.
Rely on students as contributors to and evaluators of their own learning as they engage in self-reflection and peer assessment.
Don't forget that school is a unique place where every teacher is a language teacher and every student is a language learner.


 

Response From Maria Montalvo-Balbed

Maria Montalvo-Balbed has developed and taught numerous professional development classes in the areas of diversity, cultural literacy development, and authentic engagement of English learners. She is a member of the ASCD Faculty and the Fisher and Frey Cadre, where she works with schools and districts to implement customized, research-based curricula and instructional strategies:

Of course, it goes without saying that strategies are only the best strategies when they are aligned to the learning purpose. To learn more, see ASCD FIT Model authors Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey.  

I do think the following areas of support are critical to a high functioning classroom that supports the needs of ELLs:

Systematic practice of the academic and social discourse. See Jeff Zwiers work for specific strategies on Academic Conversations.
Students need to be engaged in continuous and strategic practice of listening, speaking, reading and writing in all courses; not just in Language Arts.
The classroom teacher must be highly aware of how to set up social and metacognitive supports for ELLs. Teachers can easily do this by modeling behaviors, think-alouds, and processes, strategies for reading and writing and speaking in different contexts and to different audiences. The language overload of any course for ELLs requires that teachers use language scaffolds intentionally (See Virginia Rojas' toolkit for great ideas). Teachers must be very strategic about teaching ELLs (See ASCD Whole Child Education tenets).
The systematic use of visuals/non-linguistic supports.


 

Response From Tracey Takuhama-Espinosa

Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, PhD, is Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Universidad de las Américas in Quito, Ecuador. She serves on an expert panel for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to determine Teachers' New Pedagogical Knowledge, including the influence of neuroscience and technology on education, and is professor of a course on the "Neuroscience of Learning and Sustained Change" at Harvard University. She is the author of Making Classrooms Better: 50 Practical Applications of Mind, Brain, and Education Science (W. W. Norton; 2014) and Mind, Brain, and Education Science: A Comprehensive Guide to the New Brain-Based Teaching (W. W. Norton; 2010). Visit her at traceytokuhama.com:

While activities are important and this teacher is determined to find the right activities to reach her ELL 8th grade social studies students, activities are only as effective as the planning context in which they are devised.

Great ELL teachers are simply great teachers. A great teacher knows how to identify desired results before choosing an activity. The teacher should identify the objectives of each class and then try to express these objectives as competencies, or the combination of knowledge (dates, facts, formulas, people, places, etc.), skills, and attitudes (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Once clear and concise objectives have been identified, the teacher can then decide what she will accept as evidence that she is reaching these objectives, otherwise known as her evaluation criteria. Finally, she can then consider what activities to undertake. Choosing the activities ("foldables, class discussions, essential questioning, visuals, primary sources" or others) should depend upon the objectives of the class and cannot be chosen in a vacuum. It is likely that this teacher is not meeting the success she hopes for and is working harder than her students because she has not yet identified the main objective of each class and aligned her activities accordingly.

Language skills can be learned through content. Actually, the best way to go about improving English is by teaching it through meaningful content (Snow, Met & Genesee, 1989). One key way to teach is to focus on authentic lesson planning in which the context of objectives coincides with students' own interests. The great challenge of U.S. state curricula is its focus on heavily content-based ideas ("Analyze how the American Revolution effected other nations, especially France"; "Describe the nation's blend of civic republicanism, classical liberal principles, and English parliamentary traditions" [California State Curriculum, Grade 8, 2009, p.33]), rather than on greater, global, yet personal concepts ("Why do nations go to war?"; "What's worth fighting for?"; "How does being free as a person differ from a nation being free?"). For example, devising a debate on "what's worth fighting for?" and then relating it to the American Revolution would be a far more effective way to approach the 8th grade curriculum than through "foldables" or "visuals." Depending on the objective, different activities will be most appropriate.



 

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How To Change A Reluctant Reader Into An Active Reader

How To Change A Reluctant Reader Into An Active Reader




By MATTHEW FORTE, WRITING CONSULTANT
Monday, March 16, 2015 at 06:27 PM
 

Understanding Reluctant Readers:

Parents usually sigh in frustration when they discuss with others that their child “hates” reading.  However, kids don’t hate reading; instead they hate being forced to read.  Many school curricula have mistakenly placed an emphasis on quantity rather than quality reading.  For example, reading twenty minutes a night, or four books in a marking period are simply quantitative requirements that are forcing young students to check off time like a prisoner making hash marks during his sentence. 

Instead of presenting the requirements of time and text, find topics and other printed materials, whether hard copy or e-copy, of things that are of interest to them.  For instance, my 11 year-old son likes to read Sports Illustrated for Kids because he loves sports.  My daughter reads her teen magazines, which is her break from the intensity of her middle school workload.  Finally, my youngest son reads Harry Potter with me, and on his own.  All three of them read well, and for school; however, the task is not overwhelming to them because they are exposed to material that is of high interest to them, thereby providing them with lots of practice in an environment that is not forced upon them.

All of them groan when they are reminded to read, but all of them do it, because what they are reading is of high interest to each of them.  Once kids learn that there are many things of interest to them in a written form, and are presented with the evidence, then half the battle is over. 

 

Be an Active Reader:

Reading is not a passive activity.  It is tantamount that young readers are exposed to active reading habits such as reading titles and making an inference from it.  Formulating questions prior to, and after reading is an a way to actively interact with text.  Furthermore, taking notes in the margin and highlighting key terms are active reading skills that enhance and promote higher order thinking skills. 

 

Be a Role Model:

If your kids see you reading, then you are showing the value of the activity at home.  The newspaper, People Magazine, Romance Novels, are all forms of reading that can be used to model for your children.  In fact, when reading the newspaper, it is great to discuss what you are reading with your children.  This empowers and makes them see how information is something important, and can only be gained through interaction with a text.  I use current events from hard copy and online newspapers to discuss what is occurring in the world today with my children.  Don’t ever underestimate what your son or daughter can handle or understand.

 

Final Thought:

If we allow or present reading to be a negative experience, then we cannot be surprised when our children have negative responses to the request.  There is a ton of access to reading materials without having to drive to the store or library.   The key at the start is not so much the quantity, but the quality and the subject matter is of high interest to the target audience: your children

 

Writing for Success will help you with your writing needs.  Writing clearly with cohesion is a challenge for most secondary students. With personalized help, students can learn more in one session with an experienced teacher, than he/she can accomplish in a week within the confines of traditional classroom settings.  

Matthew Forte is currently a professor teaching Writing Skills at County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ.  He previously was a classroom English teacher for 11 years In the New Jersey public school system. He obtained two Masters Degrees in English/Pedagogy, and Education Administration. He has experience in tutoring students with college essays, and addressing multi-prong writing prompts.  Furthermore, Professor Forte has experience helping students with application writing for schools such as: the University of North Carolina, the University of Pennsylvania, Notre Dame, William and Mary, Rutgers and more. He has tutored students in middle and high school with their English classes and various reading comprehension and writing needs.   Please visit http://mforte1970.wix.com/thewritingpro for a free consultation.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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Leon Foxwings's curator insight, March 19, 2015 8:48 AM

This is much more useful than calling them stupid

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Writing Our Way Into Inquiry and Presearch | DMLcentral

Writing Our Way Into Inquiry and Presearch | DMLcentral | AdLit | Scoop.it

As we continue our efforts to think about writing literacies as a focal point of our inquiry work in a high school library, my colleague Jennifer Lund and I continue to see the power of an old school technology: pen and paper.


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National Teacher of the Year Plugs #CommonCore Test Alignment

National Teacher of the Year Plugs #CommonCore Test Alignment | AdLit | Scoop.it

2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki


What Teachers Can Learn from the New PARCC and Smarter Balanced Sample Assessment Items

 

CCSSO hosted a webinar with 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki on the recently released Partnership for Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced sample assessment items in English language arts.

 

Using the Common Core State Standards assessments to inform instruction won’t be so difficult because the exams match what English teachers already do — teach text analysis, said 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki.

 

Mieliwocki, a middle school English teacher, admits having concerns about students’ readiness for writing argumentatively, but gives high marks to the assessment samples recently released by the two consortia that are developing them to test what students are already taught.


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Say What? 5 Ways to Get Students to Listen | Edutopia.org

Say What? 5 Ways to Get Students to Listen | Edutopia.org | AdLit | Scoop.it

Ah, listening, the neglected literacy skill. I know when I was a high school English teacher this was not necessarily a primary focus; I was too busy honing the more measurable literacy skills -- reading, writing, and speaking. But when we think about career and college readiness, listening skills are just as important. This is evidenced by the listening standards found in the Common Core and also the integral role listening plays in collaboration and communication, two of the four Cs of 21st century learning.

 

So how do we help kids become better listeners? Check out these tactics for encouraging a deeper level of listening that also include student accountability:

 

Click headline to read more--


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Consolation for Life’s Darkest Hours: 7 Unusual and Wonderful Books that Help Children Grieve and Make Sense of Death

Consolation for Life’s Darkest Hours: 7 Unusual and Wonderful Books that Help Children Grieve and Make Sense of Death | AdLit | Scoop.it
From Japanese pop-up magic to Scandinavian storytelling to Maurice Sendak, a gentle primer on the messiness of mourning and the many faces a
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10 Ways Literacy Can Promote A Deeper Understanding Of Math

10 Ways Literacy Can Promote A Deeper Understanding Of Math | AdLit | Scoop.it
10 Ways Literacy Can Promote A Deeper Understanding Of Math

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Nancy J. Herr's curator insight, September 9, 2013 4:15 PM

Why not work on math and literacy skills together? These 10 suggestions are easy to follow and promote deeper understanding.

Judy Beemer's curator insight, September 10, 2013 12:09 PM

Good ways to incorporate writing and collaboration into math classes.

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10 questions you should ask yourself while reading - Daily Genius

10 questions you should ask yourself while reading - Daily Genius | AdLit | Scoop.it

When you pick up a book to do some light reading, an assignment, or some quick pleasure reading, how much do you actually comprehend? Do you zoom through the book hoping for it to be over as soon as possible?


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5 Apps to Support Close Reading - Minds-in-Bloom

5 Apps to Support Close Reading - Minds-in-Bloom | AdLit | Scoop.it

"Just as there are many models for Close Reading, there are a multitude of apps that will support your students in digging deeper into a text. I am sharing my 5 favorite free apps for annotating and note taking on the iPad. These apps will work with any book or reading passage and can be used for each step of the close reading process."


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6 Traits of Writing- a photostory - YouTube

http://youtu.be/6QcTWAnxdGM

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Dennis T OConnor's curator insight, November 29, 2014 6:38 PM

A narrated slide show that gives a good overview.  Good for back to school night! 

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The 8 Books You Have to Read if You’re Raising Boys

The 8 Books You Have to Read if You’re Raising Boys | AdLit | Scoop.it
The stories you share with your sons will be part of their lives forever.

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Educational Technology Guy: paper.li - easily create online "newspaper" - great for schools and projects

Educational Technology Guy: paper.li - easily create online "newspaper" - great for schools and projects | AdLit | Scoop.it
Paper.li is a free site that allows you to create an online "newspaper". You can set it to automatically collect, organize and publish content from the web, or manually create you paper. You choose online content around a specific theme, then place it into the online “newspaper,” displaying individual items as stories. The newspaper then gets its own unique link which can be shared with others.

The site can collect information from over 140 million websites. This blog has shown up on some people's Paper's too.

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Coaching Strategies to Enhance Online Discussions

Coaching Strategies to Enhance Online Discussions | AdLit | Scoop.it

"Prepare students for the challenges of online learning and interaction. Identify the skills students will need. Provide examples of successful and not-so-great discussions. Critique work together. The bunny slope is filled with beginners falling and skiing clumsily. Remind students that discussing content online is awkward and difficult."


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Response: 'Every Teacher Is A Language Teacher'

Response: 'Every Teacher Is A Language Teacher' | AdLit | Scoop.it
Response: 'Every Teacher Is A Language Teacher'
By Larry Ferlazzo on March 17, 2015 3:35 PM

(This post is the last post in a two-part series.  You can see Part One here.)

This week's question is:

What are the best strategies to use when teaching English Language Learners in content classes?

The question above is my simplified version of the actual one sent by a teacher who requested anonymity.  Here is what was submitted:

I'm at my start of second school year teaching 8th grade social studies which is tested! My population of Spanish dominant students is the majority. Social studies was never taught at the elementary level. I feel hopeless. I'm using different strategies that include foldables class discussions essential questioning visuals primary sources ...etc etc!! I cant reach them! Sometimes I wonder if its me..other teachers say I work too hard. But I really want my student to learn about history but I have to be both a English teacher and social studies teacher at same time. I need help!


Part One in this series shared responses from four experienced educators: Judie Haynes, Mary Ann Zehr, Bárbara C. Cruz and Stephen J. Thornton.  You can also listen to a ten-minute conversation I had with Judie and Mary Ann on my BAM! Radio Show.

Today's guests are Margo Gottlieb, Maria Montalvo-Balbed, and Tracey Takuhama-Espinosa.  In addition, I've shared responses from readers.

Response From Margo Gottlieb

Margo Gottlieb is lead developer for WIDA at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and director, assessment and evaluation, at the Illinois Resource Center, Arlington Heights. Her latest publications include co-authoring and co-editing a compendium of books by Corwin on Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms; a foundational book, Definitions and Contexts, and six others, Promoting Content and Language Learning, English Language Arts and Mathematics for grade-levels K-2, 3-5, and 6-8:

Around the country, linguistically and cultural diversity is becoming part of the classroom mosaic. For English language learners to succeed academically, teachers must interweave the academic language of each discipline into their instruction. As educators begin a new school year, here are some tips for content teachers.

Partner with a language teacher in co-planning, co-constructing, and co-teaching as you share instruction, engage in classroom assessment, and assume joint responsibility for your language learners.
Incorporate the students' linguistic and cultural resources and expertise into lessons and units of learning so that all students can engage in authentic and meaningful learning experiences.
Use college & career readiness standards in conjunction with language development standards to gain a better understanding of the developmental and linguistic pathways to student achievement.
Pair the standards-referenced skills and concepts of a topic or theme with the academic language required of those understandings.
Formulate content and language targets to guide teaching and learning for a unit for all students. These targets provide a global view of key learning and guide the creation of objectives for individual or related lessons.
Maintain grade-level rigor of the content while differentiate language according to the students' levels of language proficiency. Differentiation includes consideration for the students' literacy in their home language as a scaffold for English language development and as a means to communicate conceptual knowledge.
Center on academic language use within and across language domains, such as during interpretative listening, interactive reading, academic conversations, and writing across the curriculum.
Plan, collect, analyze, interpret, and act on evidence for student learning through performance assessment that occurs within and across lessons.
Rely on students as contributors to and evaluators of their own learning as they engage in self-reflection and peer assessment.
Don't forget that school is a unique place where every teacher is a language teacher and every student is a language learner.


 

Response From Maria Montalvo-Balbed

Maria Montalvo-Balbed has developed and taught numerous professional development classes in the areas of diversity, cultural literacy development, and authentic engagement of English learners. She is a member of the ASCD Faculty and the Fisher and Frey Cadre, where she works with schools and districts to implement customized, research-based curricula and instructional strategies:

Of course, it goes without saying that strategies are only the best strategies when they are aligned to the learning purpose. To learn more, see ASCD FIT Model authors Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey.  

I do think the following areas of support are critical to a high functioning classroom that supports the needs of ELLs:

Systematic practice of the academic and social discourse. See Jeff Zwiers work for specific strategies on Academic Conversations.
Students need to be engaged in continuous and strategic practice of listening, speaking, reading and writing in all courses; not just in Language Arts.
The classroom teacher must be highly aware of how to set up social and metacognitive supports for ELLs. Teachers can easily do this by modeling behaviors, think-alouds, and processes, strategies for reading and writing and speaking in different contexts and to different audiences. The language overload of any course for ELLs requires that teachers use language scaffolds intentionally (See Virginia Rojas' toolkit for great ideas). Teachers must be very strategic about teaching ELLs (See ASCD Whole Child Education tenets).
The systematic use of visuals/non-linguistic supports.


 

Response From Tracey Takuhama-Espinosa

Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, PhD, is Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Universidad de las Américas in Quito, Ecuador. She serves on an expert panel for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to determine Teachers' New Pedagogical Knowledge, including the influence of neuroscience and technology on education, and is professor of a course on the "Neuroscience of Learning and Sustained Change" at Harvard University. She is the author of Making Classrooms Better: 50 Practical Applications of Mind, Brain, and Education Science (W. W. Norton; 2014) and Mind, Brain, and Education Science: A Comprehensive Guide to the New Brain-Based Teaching (W. W. Norton; 2010). Visit her at traceytokuhama.com:

While activities are important and this teacher is determined to find the right activities to reach her ELL 8th grade social studies students, activities are only as effective as the planning context in which they are devised.

Great ELL teachers are simply great teachers. A great teacher knows how to identify desired results before choosing an activity. The teacher should identify the objectives of each class and then try to express these objectives as competencies, or the combination of knowledge (dates, facts, formulas, people, places, etc.), skills, and attitudes (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Once clear and concise objectives have been identified, the teacher can then decide what she will accept as evidence that she is reaching these objectives, otherwise known as her evaluation criteria. Finally, she can then consider what activities to undertake. Choosing the activities ("foldables, class discussions, essential questioning, visuals, primary sources" or others) should depend upon the objectives of the class and cannot be chosen in a vacuum. It is likely that this teacher is not meeting the success she hopes for and is working harder than her students because she has not yet identified the main objective of each class and aligned her activities accordingly.

Language skills can be learned through content. Actually, the best way to go about improving English is by teaching it through meaningful content (Snow, Met & Genesee, 1989). One key way to teach is to focus on authentic lesson planning in which the context of objectives coincides with students' own interests. The great challenge of U.S. state curricula is its focus on heavily content-based ideas ("Analyze how the American Revolution effected other nations, especially France"; "Describe the nation's blend of civic republicanism, classical liberal principles, and English parliamentary traditions" [California State Curriculum, Grade 8, 2009, p.33]), rather than on greater, global, yet personal concepts ("Why do nations go to war?"; "What's worth fighting for?"; "How does being free as a person differ from a nation being free?"). For example, devising a debate on "what's worth fighting for?" and then relating it to the American Revolution would be a far more effective way to approach the 8th grade curriculum than through "foldables" or "visuals." Depending on the objective, different activities will be most appropriate.



 

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Camala Mitchell's curator insight, August 13, 2015 11:13 AM

If you don 't a subscription to edweek.org,  you should definitely subscribe.  This is a very informative blog about Content Teachers and ELs.  

Brenda Contreras's comment, October 12, 2016 10:38 PM
Great responses from the experts in giving advice to this teacher and everyone out there with this same situation. It's all about been focused on the objective.
Brenda Contreras's curator insight, October 20, 2016 8:37 PM
Great responses from the experts in giving advice to this teacher and everyone out there with this same situation. It's all about been focused on the objective.
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Hopes of preserving Cherokee language rest with children

Hopes of preserving Cherokee language rest with children | AdLit | Scoop.it
In this Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 photo, Rainy Brake leads an early childhood development class at New Kituwah Academy in Cherokee, N.C. Although not a native speaker or enrolled member of the tribe, Brake is helping to ensure that the Cherokee language remains a living one. With fewer than 300 native Cherokee speakers remaining in North Carolina, tribe members hope to preserve their language and culture through this small school where their children are immersed in their people’s native tongue.

CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Tafoya grew up hearing Cherokee all around him — his mother, a grandmother and grandfather, aunts and an uncle all spoke the language that now is teetering on the edge of extinction.
Yet his mother purposely didn't teach him.
"She told us she had a hard time in school transitioning from Cherokee to English," Tafoya said. "She didn't want us to have the same problem so she never really taught us when we were younger."
Now the 37-year-old wants something different for his 6-year-old son, Moke, and his 2-year-old daughter, Marijane. Both are enrolled at New Kituwah Academy, a Cherokee language immersion school.

The language is "probably only the last real thing about being Cherokee that we have left," he said. "I mean, we have our different arts and stuff. But I think our language really defines us as it does any people."
With fewer than 300 native Cherokee speakers remaining in North Carolina, the clock is ticking to preserve not just the language, but a culture too. For the Eastern Band of Cherokee, hopes lie first with six fifth-graders who have attended New Kituwah (pronounced gi-DOO-wah) since they were babies.
"That's a big thing to hold on the shoulders of kids, that they're carrying the language," said Kylie Crowe Shuler, principal of the private school operated by the tribe. "And I don't want to beat that on them. I want them to enjoy it. And I think that they do."
The school, which opened in 2004, has about 90 students, with 55 in elementary and 35 in early childhood. Kituwah is a powerful word for the Cherokee and the name that they call themselves. The word can have different meanings, including mother town or the center. The area called Kituwah is located about 10 miles west of Cherokee.
From their earliest years, students learn only in Cherokee. Only in the higher grades is English introduced, mostly as a bow to parents concerned about what happens after their children leave the school.
The fifth-graders, members of the first class to attend New Kituwah, seem to grasp what's at stake.
"We're trying to keep a culture going," Haley Smith, 11, said in a recent interview.
Bo Taylor, 45, directs the Museum of the Cherokee Indian; he learned the language as an adult. One of the fifth graders is his 10-year-old daughter Abigail.
"I cannot emphasize enough this first class," he said. "These first kids, these parents that were willing to risk their child's futures and gamble with the belief that Cherokee was important, that's amazing because they were guinea pigs."
Next year, the fifth-graders will get to continue that schooling, thanks to a decision by the tribal council to fund New Kituwah Academy for grades 6-12. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited New Kituwah in January.
Cherokee had no writing system until the early 1800s, when the renowned Sequoyah wrote a syllabary to put its sounds on paper. While English has one symbol for every letter, Cherokee has one symbol for each of its 80-plus syllables. Unlike many other languages, which focus on nouns and adjectives, Cherokee focuses on verbs. One verb can reveal how many people are talking, what they're doing and how near they are.
The near demise of the language came largely thanks to the U.S. government. Most Cherokee were forced to make a brutal march from the Southeast to Oklahoma in the 1830s. A few stayed behind, keeping a desperate grip on their way of life.
Then, beginning in the late 1800s, officials set up boarding schools to eradicate the American Indian languages. Teachers punished students for speaking their native tongues.
Without New Kituwah or something like it, "the Cherokee language will for sure die," said Walt Wolfram, director of the North Carolina Language and Life Project at N.C. State University. "Lots of people remain skeptical about whether languages can be revived. But the (other) option is certain death. In that sense, Kituwah Academy is the only antidote for what will be inevitable."
New Kituwah is one part of the Eastern Band's effort to preserve the language, said Annette Clapsaddle, director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, which has given almost $2 million to the school. Other initiatives include Cherokee language programs at public schools and a Cherokee studies program at Western Carolina University, she said.
Throughout the U.S., Native American tribes in recent years have launched efforts to preserve their languages.
The Cherokee nation in Oklahoma opened the Cherokee Immersion Charter School in 2002, said Julie Hubbard, a spokeswoman for Cherokees there. Students start at age 3 and go through eighth grade, when they can transfer to a public school or to Sequoyah High School, where the Cherokee immersion students study together, she said.
New Kituwah has had problems finding teachers fluent in Cherokee. Most native speakers are in their 60s and 70s and struggle with health issues, school administrators said.
Tafoya said he worries that his children may fall behind in some subjects, but the benefits of New Kituwah outweigh any downsides.
His 2-year-old, Marijane, is picking up some Cherokee words, Tafoya said. When Tafoya picks her up at school, she'll ask "Gah-ZUH a-GAH-shgaa?" meaning where is Rain, which is Moke's Cherokee name. And she knows a favorite word of 2-year-olds in two languages: "No." In Cherokee, that's "Ha-DEE."
Taylor said he believes the immersion school was the right choice for his girls. "Cherokee, it goes to the core of who we are," he said. While some American Indian cultures are in jeopardy, New Kituwah offers hope, he said.
"We're singing our songs again," he said. "We're telling our stories. And the one thing that we have is hope."
Even though she forgets words sometimes, Haley is certain that she and the other fifth-graders will never abandon the Cherokee language.
"A lot of people ask us, what if we forget our language," she said. "And all you can tell them is it's a part of life. You can't just forget that."
___
Online:
About New Kituwah Academy:
http://nc-cherokee.com/education/hom/youth-adult-education-services/kituwah-preservation-education/
Cherokee Preservation Foundation: http://cherokeepreservation.org/
Link to documentary titled "First Language" about effort to preserve Cherokee language: https://news.ncsu.edu/2014/11/first-language/
Cherokee immersion school in Oklahoma:
http://www.cherokee.org/News/Stories/20140514CherokeeImmersionCharterSchoolgraduatesmorespeakers.aspx
__

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Google+ hangout on writing, with Paul Allison | Teachers Teaching Teachers

Google+ hangout on writing, with Paul Allison | Teachers Teaching Teachers | AdLit | Scoop.it

Paul Allison, an English teacher in a NYC high school, facilitates an in-depth conversation among 8 other English teachers and writing project leaders. The topic is a new matrix of language arts learning activities designed around the CCSS, which incorporate high-level tech competencies as well.

 

Here is Allison's intro to the conversation (posted on 9/2/12, before the video conversation took place on 9/5/12):

 

"I'm excited to invite teachers and their students into youthvoices.net/play -- our new game, a set of Challenges and Tasks that have this as the Object:

 

The object of the game is to become a social media power user through commenting on other players’ posts, responding to literary and informational texts, doing long-term research projects, composing, revising, and publishing with text and media, and becoming a self-directed learner.

 

Join us and help us build this new approach to curriculum in ELA, history and social studies, arts and media, and science.

 

Level One badges -- issued through P2PU -- are ready now. Level Two and Capstone Level badges will be ready later this week."


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Writing and CCSS: only 11 percent of high school seniors reach the “proficient” level in writing | Common Core State Standards

Writing and CCSS: only 11 percent of high school seniors reach the “proficient” level in writing | Common Core State Standards | AdLit | Scoop.it
A lack on interest might be at least partially contributing to current low writing proficiency among American students.

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Common Core in Action: Why Collaboration and Communication Matter | Edutopia.org

Common Core in Action: Why Collaboration and Communication Matter | Edutopia.org | AdLit | Scoop.it

When students graduate from high school, there is a collection of important (or core) skills we want them to possess. That's where the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor standards (CCRA) come in. With 32 anchor standards in total in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language, these anchor standards are generalized and quite broad. However, you can find more specific skills for teaching each of the anchor standards embedded within the grade-level Common Core state standards (CCSS).

 

So what we teachers need to know is that the authors of the Common Core believe the CCRA are skills each seventeen- or eighteen-year old should have if they are to be prepared for work and/or university upon secondary graduation. That said, the rest of this blog post is devoted to the following speaking and listening anchor standard:

 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

 

What is expected in this speaking and listening anchor standard? By the time students graduate, they will need to be able to talk in a productive way about all kinds of things with all kinds of people while also being inclusive, articulate, and convincing of the importance and value of their individual ideas and stances.

 

Let's think about how this looks in the real world: In work, we do this everyday; in university, we probably do it less yet it's becoming more common. Group work, collaborative teams, planning partners -- all these are seen in working settings and in many college classrooms.

 

So, how do we prepare children for this?

 

Click headline to read more--


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100 Search Engines For Academic Research

100 Search Engines For Academic Research | AdLit | Scoop.it
100 Search Engines For Academic Research (Probably time to use more than just google eh?

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Dean J. Fusto's curator insight, September 1, 2013 11:52 PM

Includes a good category system and a description of each search engine...helps to make the daunting list of 100 a bit more digestible.

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The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens | AdLit | Scoop.it
E-readers and tablets are becoming more popular as such technologies improve, but research suggests that reading on paper still boasts unique advantages

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An Indispensable Google Scholar Tip for Teachers and Academics (automatic citation)

An Indispensable Google Scholar Tip for Teachers and Academics (automatic citation) | AdLit | Scoop.it

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Web 2.0: cooltoolsforschools - Writing Tools

Web 2.0: cooltoolsforschools - Writing Tools | AdLit | Scoop.it

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Dennis T OConnor's curator insight, March 18, 2015 5:47 PM

Treasure trove of writing and research tools

Cindy Rudy's curator insight, March 18, 2015 8:41 PM

The background on this site makes it tough to read but the tool list is worth the eyestrain.

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Edinburgh’s literary history mapped at the click of a button

Edinburgh’s literary history mapped at the click of a button | AdLit | Scoop.it

"‘Lit Long’, a searchable interactive map of the city will take users to locations made famous by Scottish writers – and tell you what they wrote ..."


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Lead author Laurie Glezer says that once you’re a skilled reader, you don’t need to process the sounds of each letter in a word anymore, and that is “what allows for fast, efficient reading that li...


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