8 Strategies for Teaching Academic Language "Change your language and you change your thoughts." -- Karl Albrecht Understanding Academic Language Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields. Think of academic language as the verbal clothing that we don in classrooms and other formal contexts to demonstrate cognition within cultures and to signal college readiness. Where to Start It would be a mistake to think that academic language is a garbage pail category involving any word, depending on the context. If you are new to incorporating academic language into your lessons, a good place to begin is with Tier 2, high-frequency, general instruction words (such as paraphrase, summarize, predict and justify) that learners need to know for completing an activity, but that are not a lesson's primary learning objective. 1. 2. 3.
Finland’s Formula for School Success (Education Everywhere Series) Pasi: If you look at the 15-year-olds, or 16-year-old Finns who are leaving the basic school, most of them have been in special education throughout their schooling. Which means that special education is actually nothing special. So it's you are a special child or student if you haven't been, if you haven't ever used special services. Pasi: We are putting a lot of emphasis on the early detection of any difficulties and problems that the students in our schools may have. Teacher: [speaking Finnish] Two times two times two, how is this value notated? Student: [speaking Finnish] Two to the power of three. Olli: We as subject teachers cooperate with the special teacher in cases where we see that an individual student has problems with their studies. Outi: [speaking Finnish] And now we are going to read through all the words which we know already. Outi: [speaking Finnish] I have a feeling that the students come here because they want to, they like to come here.
8 Idioms to tell someone to “shhh” or be quiet Do you ever have the need to tell someone to be quiet? In some situations, you might have to tell people to quieten down and stop talking just before someone is about to speak (in a presentation, a meeting or conference) or a play is about to start in the theatre. In those instances, you would politely ask people to stop talking. However, there are many more situations when you don’t want to politely ask the person or people to stop talking, especially if they have really annoyed you or you are fed up with the noise they’re making or the things they are saying. In which case, the idioms below would come in extremely useful! It’s a lot easier to be polite than impolite in a foreign language no matter how proficient you are in that language. So, I wouldn’t expect you to be able to use these idioms naturally especially when angry, impatient or irritated. And what better way to do this than to share this fabulous infographic prepared by Kaplan International. Kaplan International English 2.
Curiosity killed by class? When you become a father you get used to being asked endless questions about the intricacies of our complex world. The road is paved with unending questions. Why does this…? How does that…? I have been recently reading an excellent book, ‘Trusting What You’re Told: How a Children Learn from Others‘, by Paul Harris of Harvard University. The research Paul Harris links to shows that children from working class families don’t ask nearly as many questions as children from middle class families. Paul Harris initially links to a study undertaken by Dorothea McCarthy, in Minneapolis in 1930: “Dorothea McCarthy observed 140 children in Minneapolis ranging in age from 18 to 54 months. Harris accounts for the crucial variable of confidence in this study, but he then links to the more modern research of Tizard and Hughes, whose British research in 1984 produced much more nuanced results. As a father and a teacher I am keeping an open ear to the ‘why‘ questions that come my way.
How to Start a Great Writing Center As a high school student at Brimmer and May, an independent school in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, I spent many helpful hours in the writing center. Rather than line edit my work with the all-intimidating "red pen" (a badge of honor for many teachers), talented staff members posed deep, prodding questions to help me realize how I could improve my prose, structure, and analysis. I'm excited about returning to my alma mater next year to teach history and serve as the school’s writing center director. To gain better insight into how to do my job well, I recently reached out to Prof. Richard Kent, director of the Maine Writing Project (a site of the National Writing Project), and author of A Guide to Student-Staff Writing Centers: Grades 6-12. In assuming my new position, I'm keeping the following points in mind. 1. A writing center is a place for all writers of all abilities, and writing center tutors are often writers of all abilities themselves. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Say What? 5 Ways to Get Students to Listen Ah, listening, the neglected literacy skill. I know when I was a high school English teacher this was not necessarily a primary focus; I was too busy honing the more measurable literacy skills -- reading, writing, and speaking. But when we think about career and college readiness, listening skills are just as important. This is evidenced by the listening standards found in the Common Core and also the integral role listening plays in collaboration and communication, two of the four Cs of 21st century learning. So how do we help kids become better listeners? Check out these tactics for encouraging a deeper level of listening that also include student accountability: Strategy #1: Say it Once Repeating ourselves in the classroom will produce lazy listening in our students. Of course you don't want to leave distracted students in the dust so for those few who forgot to listen, you can advise them to, "ask three, then ask me." Strategy #2: Turn and Talk Strategy #3: Student Hand Signals
Authentic video in the classroom: Ireland II | Elisabeth Horn My second example of utilising authentic video in the EFL classroom is based on the same 50-minute travel video as my first. Of course, one can apply this to any video, but this time I will stick with Ireland. How I do it now will, however, differ from my last post because now I’ll concentrate on the language and vocabulary awareness in detail (but I wouldn’t use both methods on the same video in the same class, though). This approach is, however, associated with a lot of painstaking preparatory work for the teacher, because transcription of the video material needs to be done, at least for some of the clips. It takes about 1 hour to take down 5 minutes of video material, so one needs plenty of time to get a complete transcript. I rather enjoy transcribing videos and sound; oddly enough I experience the process as relaxing, especially if there is no deadline approaching. The “game board” that the students start out with looks like this: 1. 2. 3. 4A Road bowling 4B Janus the fertility god
Time Management: Planning for the Adventure Image credit: iStockphoto As we leave summer and approach back to school in a frenzy, the "To Do" list can become overwhelming. As teachers, we find ourselves pulled in different directions -- setting up our classrooms, learning student profiles, meeting with parents, lesson planning, collaborating with administrators -- the list seems eternal! There is one important element that we sometimes forget: focus. In the words of Dave Burgess from Teach Like a Pirate , my favorite summer read, "Time is our most precious commodity, and it is definitely a finite resource." Think of planning for the school year as planning for an adventure. Prioritize Just as the possibilities on an adventure are endless, so are the tasks for your classroom. Make a List and Set a Timeline The brain of a teacher is rapidly firing with simultaneous tasks and concerns. The Teacher Brain Image credit: Edudemic Enlist Students to Join Your Crew Unlike workers at most cubicled jobs, you're not alone at a desk all day.