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Common Core Standards: Equaling the Playing Field for ELLs

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Susan Gordon

on 11 June 2013

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Transcript of Common Core Standards: Equaling the Playing Field for ELLs

Compete Engage Guide Elevate Motivate In the Common Core, text difficulty is treated as central to learning CCSS specifies cognitive skills that have to be executed and establishes how hard the texts have to be to accomplish grade level standards Because ELLs tend to lag in reading, this means they often spend most of their school time reading with texts that they can "read" but that may be below their levels of intellectual functioning Complexity of ideas/content
Match of text and reader prior knowledge
Complexity of vocabulary
Complexity of syntax
Complexity of coherence
Familiarity of genre demands
Complexity of text organization
Subtlety of author's tone
Sophistication of literary devices "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." (Einstein)
Readability is about the language that is used, legibility is about how the information is presented- both separate from the ideas themselves Complexity of ideas Scaffolding Challenging Text But some ideas are complicated Abstract versus concrete
Extensive versus brief (hierarchies of information
Many connections versus few connections
Confusability (e.g., irony, paradox Inspire
1. Building knowledge through content -rich nonfiction
2.Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational
3. Regular practice with complex text and its academic language Text Dependent Questions Can only be answered with evidence from the text.
Can be literal (checking for understanding) but must also involve analysis , synthesis, evaluation.
Focus on word, sentence, and paragraph, as well as larger ideas, themes,or events.
Focus on difficult portions of the text in order to enhance reading proficiency.
Can aslo include prompts for writing and discussion questions. Three Types of Text Dependent Questions When you're writing or reviewing a set of questions, consider the following three categories:
Questions that assess themes and central ideas
Questions that assess knowledge of vocabulary
Questions that assess syntax and structure Creating Text Dependent Questions Step One: Identify the core understanding and key ideas of the text.
Step Two: Start small to build confidence.
Step Three: Target vocabulary and text structure.
Step Four: Tackle tough sections head-on.
Step Five: Create coherent sequences of text-dependent questions.
Step Six: Identify the standards that are being addressed.
Step Seven: Create the culminating assessment. Vocabulary Which words should be taught?
Essential to understanding text
Likely to appear in future reading Which words should get more time and attention?
More abstract words (as opposed to concrete words)
collide, move, apart, plates, fault, collapse
Words which are part of semantic word family
secure, securly, security, secured Syntax Questions

Syntax can predict student performance as much as vocabulary does
Questions and tasks addressing syntax are powerful. Close Reading Defined Requires prompting students with questions to unpack unique complexity of any text so students learn to read complex text independently and proficiently
Not teacher "think aloud"
Text dependent questions require text-based answers - evidence.
During the course of every close reading, virtually every standard is activated through the use of text dependent questions and writing tasks. Best Practices Past reading standards have focused on cognitive skills and ignored text difficulty Placement may facilitate reading, but hold them back otherwise
Shifting to more challenging text will allow ELLs to work with materials more at their intellectual level Other Approaches
Provide sufficient fluency
Use stair-steps or apprentice texts
Teach comprehension strategies Challenge Text Structure Texts can be hard because they are organized in complex ways
The structure of what is read can help students determine importance
Need to make sure that students know common text organization schemes (description; compare/contrast; problem-solution; sequence; enumeration
Need to guide students to use headings and subheadings to help students learn the scope and sequence of information
Need to examine particular texts to see if organization holds a special key to the meaning and to guide students to attend this structure Tone Awareness Author's tone expresses their attitude towards subject or audience
Text can be hard because the author's tone might be subtle when the author intends it to be satirical
Help students to recognize the tone of the text (e.g., formal, informal, intimate, solemn, playful, serious, ironic Sentence Structure Guide students to interpret complex sentences (clause and phrase analysis)
In dense prose, help find the subject and verb
Complex punctuation, such as split quotes Teach Vocabulary Texts can be hard because of unfamilar vocabulary (difference between academic vocabulary and key vocabulary in a text)
Less widely known words tend to be harder than known words
Sometimes known words are used in different ways as well
Metaphorical language
Carefully analyze text for challenging and important vocabulary
Distinction between concept and vocabulary
Students need opportunities to check word meanings as they read Common Core and ELLs
CCSS are a set of learning goals for all students
There are not special provisions for ELLs
The new standards may pose some special challenges to ELLs as well as some opportunities that could help them English Learners have long been challenged in U.S. schools They have to learn the curriculum at the same time that they are learning English (especially difficult in literacy
If they lag in literacy, they may be given instructional interventions aimed at foundational skills--even if their foundational skills are adequate
They may be over-placed or under-placed in special education because of language differences
Students may feel alienated/isolated/anxious in school because of linguistic and cultural differences
Students, as they learn English may be thrown into an intermediary role between parents and school Challenging Text The CCSS Requires Three Shifts in ELA/Literacy

Common Core:
An Equal Playing Field for ELLs Support for ELLs Align Instruction with the new standards
Scaffold instruction so it is comprehensible for ELLs
Assist Ells in developing academic language they need to meet the new standards
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