Friday, April 12, 2013

Academic Language Tools for All Grade Levels

How can teachers address the many academic language needs of students in reading, writing, speaking, and listening within every day lessons?  How can language development along with the teaching of content be skillfully woven into every lesson without losing sight of non-ELLs? 

Though it may seem at first to be an impossible feat, it isn't.  Using academic language tools, every class lesson has the potential to reach not only the English language learners but also all the other students including those with special needs.

The goal of the kit is to move students from informal speech (the language they use with their friends) to formal language ( the language which can only be acquired in school with the teacher).  The expansion of vocabulary is addressed as students move from tier 1 words to tier 2 (more sophisticated vocabulary), and occasionally to tier 3 (the highest).  As the base vocabulary becomes more richer or more academic, so do the writing and reading skills develop as well.  If teachers want their students to succeed in common core, they will need to scaffold and nurture growth in those areas is their students are to be successful beyond high school.

This kit includes questioning techniques teachers should use in moving students away from conversational language.  For example, students need to know how to pose questions in an academic setting or within an academic discussion.  Question and sentence frames are included in this kit along with classroom activities to promote their use in any classroom.  Activities like Think-Pair-Share, quick writes, cooperative learning (number heads together, jigsaw, etc.), prominently positioned question charts for easy reference, etc. make the process an enjoyable one for both students and teachers.

Summarizing, comparing/contrasting, sequencing/ordering, classifying, analyzing, inferring/predicting/hypothesizing, justifying, persuading, problem solving, synthesizing, evaluation, and cause and effect are all addressed here in this pdf along with suggestions for boosting vocabulary in all areas.

Here are some more graphic organizers:  thinking maps  and a free graphic organizer gold mine.



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