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Lesson of the day, Be Intentional in your Planning

Written by Writing for Change
January 14, 2013

This morning I will be meeting with my support team Holly French and our tech teacher Ruth Maas to finalize the video clip to be shared at Digital Learning Day and revise the lesson plan to share at the event before submitting both for review to the Digital Learning Day committee. No stress here on a Sunday morning!! Things happen for a reason, and to have this opportunity to share our work of the SDAWP project and students at CVMS has once again given me reason to evaluate my teaching, and my purpose for this work. This morning I was researching about English Language Learners and the instructional challenges that need to be considered as we implement the Common Core Standards. I found this article from Stanford University Graduate School of Education where they have developed six key principals for ELL instruction in the face of the new standards.

“The Understanding Language District Engagement subcommittee has released a set of six key principles to support ELLs in meeting the rigorous, grade level academic standards found in the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. The principles are meant to guide teachers, coaches, ELL specialists, curriculum leaders, school principals, and district administrators as they work to develop Common Core State Standards-aligned instruction for ELLs. These principles are applicable to any type of instruction regardless of grade, proficiency level, or program type. ” Principal One: Instruction focuses on providing ELLs with opportunities to engage in discipline- specific practices which are designed to build conceptual understanding and language competence in tandem.  Learning is a social process that requires teachers to intentionally design learning opportunities that integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening with the practices of each discipline.”

One of the interesting things about adding a blog component to our classroom instruction, is that requires me to plan so much more intentionally. I do want to build a classroom that has a positive writing community, but one of the pitfalls of blogging with students is it tends to get a “Facebook feel” on the wall. Students need to be taught explicitly how to respond using an academic tone, rather than a conversational tone. My friend Christine Sphar said it beautifully in a SDAWP leadership meeting yesterday, “Facebook is BICS, the conversational side of English Language Learner speech, you are aiming to build the CALP  or academic language of our English learners, and blogs provide that academic space.” Here is a slideshow of a lesson I have done and will need to repeat many times to help students write powerful academic comments.

Today I am trying to figure out how to take the essence of this lesson to a 20 minute demo with the teachers who will be at the Digital Learning event. Again, feeling a little stressed. I will post that lesson later in the week after we get the revisions completed. Happy Sunday everyone!

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