Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Common Core Science Standards and ELLs--How Will Instruction be Different?

Stanford University has launched its own support service for teachers of ELLs to assist them in  delivering highly effective instruction to this population.  In fact, as mentioned in earlier posts, you may subscribe to their newsletter by email.

Here, I pulled out their look at the science standards and how the traditional lesson layouts will change dramatically especially for ELLs. 

Science teachers will need to develop and use well designed and thought out models to use in class.  Visuals are vital for many students and especially for ELLs.  These models can come from the internet (see my blog for ideas here if you like), real life, videos, etc.  Further, once the model is found, teachers need to use it through the lesson.  Constant repetition within context does wonders in assisting students in making connections between the content and the object.  The more "academic links" the teacher builds for the students, the more likely the information will be understood and retained.

Teachers will also need to create clear explanations for science lectures.  They will need to clarify key concepts, create student friendly explanations in delivering lessons, allow students time to explore the terms and their impact on the lesson, have students talk to each other about the meanings of key terms (Think-Pair-Share), incorporate a wide variety of proven teaching strategies known to make content accessible to ELLs (and others), and, to hold all students accountable, do random calls on students to see that at least 80% or higher understands the concepts.  For the 20% who might still be unclear, teachers can check with them as the others continue meeting lesson objectives.  The teachers wouldn't need more than a few minutes (5 at most) to clear up any confusion.  Once the problem is resolved, those students would re-enter their groups to continue the class work.  Remember that with the new standards, teachers need to have students think, analyze, work in teams, etc. to design solutions for scientific problems/projects.  Students will be using each other (fellow team members) to resolve issues and through random call-ons, all students will be held responsible for learning.

Another wonderful side of the new standards is that the skills students have learned in English, social studies, and mathematics will prepare them to do well in engaging in argument from evidence here.  ELLs will be using all of the language skills in EVERY class so as they succeed in science, they continue to grow in all the other content classes since very teacher will be a language teacher as well as content teacher.

Below you will find a video on how the teaching of science will change as well as a paper on the topic "Language Demands and Opportunities in Relation to Next Generation Science Standards for ELLs" by Helen Quinn, Okhee Lee, and Guadalupe Valdés.  STANFORD UNIVERSITY ON MEETING NEEDS OF ELLS

If you would like to attend a FREE WEBINAR on SCIENCE COMMON CORE given by Stanford, go to the REGISTER link on the site below.




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