Thursday, May 24, 2012

COMMON CORE STANDARDS and ELLS--How Will This Support Instruction for ELLs?

With the arrival COMMON CORE STANDARDS in 46 states, the question on every teacher's mind is how will ELLs survive in this new arena?  Will they fall behind their English speaking peers or do well?  Will teachers be overwhelmed with creating additional modified assignments to meet the special needs of ELLs (and other struggling students), or will these standards make lesson design more effective and therefore easier to plan for and implement? 

With the natural excitement that comes from bold new ideas also comes some anxiety.  Colorin Colorado is an open advocate of ELLs and the teachers who support them. On this site, you will find webcasts on every area of instruction affecting ELLs, free new teacher tool kits, academic articles on every ELL issue, etc.  Since the site can be a bit overwhelming for the new viewer, it is highly recommended to use the SEARCH area to effectively navigate the site.  For this post, we will be looking at how Colorin Colorado can assist teachers in teaching ELLs under the new standards.

COMMON CORE ELA STANDARDS AND ELLS  "Key Shifts of the Common Core State Standards:  English Language Arts and Literacy" by Susan Lafond (2012) does an excellent job of taking the overwhelming and making it comprehensible.  There will be shifts in teaching and learning that will occur.  Students will be more independent.  They will be analyzing increasingly more complex text.  They will be working more with primary sources to look for evidence, etc.  Teachers will scaffold more, provide more informational/non-fiction text, facilitate learning, etc.  There will be a major shift in English classes in that fiction readings will be no more than 30% of the class.  Universities have been asking for this for years since many incoming freshmen need to take remedial courses in college writing when they enter as freshmen.  There will also be a push to build academic language levels for the ELLs.  Think of it as tiered vocabulary of 3 levels with level 1 being the simplest and level 3 being college.  Most ELLs are still at level 1.  The CCSS will do much to change this.

Take a look at the site and see if it works for you.  As I noted earlier, my June Newsletter (released on 5/31 at 9PM) will deal with this topic in greater detail.  To get the newsletter on time, please subscribe at NEWSLETTER link.



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