It’s been a big week in the world of the Common Core and ELLs! We’re going to tell you about two new online resources focused on implementing the standards with English language learners and we’d love to hear about ways you might use them in your own setting.
Education Week Series: Helping Diverse Learners Master the Common Core
The first resource is a new series from Education Week entitled Moving Beyond the Mainstream: Helping Diverse Learners Master the Common Core, available in a free digital edition online. This report features classrooms across the country and includes timely articles about the challenges educators face as they adapt the standards for students with disabilities, ELLs, and gifted students.
English Language Learners
From an ELL point of view, one of the highlights of the series is an article by Lesli Maxwell featuring one of our loyal blog readers, Barbara Page! The article focuses on the ongoing collaboration that she is spearheading between ESL teachers and classroom/content-area teachers around the Common Core in her Beaverton, Oregon middle school and what that collaboration looks like on the ground.
Lesli also has an excellent article exploring the academic language demands of the Common Core, which features perspectives from a range of educators and experts in the field, discussion of the role of ESL teachers in the Common Core, and some of the ways that ESL professionals are uniquely prepared to help their colleagues address the language demands of the standards.
Students with Disabilities
From a special education point of view, the report does a great job laying out some of the unique challenges posed by the CCSS to special education students and professionals, which include the approval, use, and calibration of accommodations and assistive technology in assessments (such as “read-aloud” assistance and the debate about its effect on literacy outcomes), as well as the adjustments that will be needed to take the CCSS into account during the IEP process.
While many of the challenges presented by the Common Core are quite different for students with disabilities and ELLs, some of the concerns about access, equity, and assessment validity overlap as advocates try to figure out what the landscape will really look like once the assessments are in full swing.
And finally, the report features an interesting discussion of what the standards will mean for gifted and talented learners, with concerns from educators about having enough time for differentiation for all students, as well as from parents who feel that new Common Core-aligned curriculum being used in their children’s school is more scripted than previous approaches and is diminishing engagement.
Understanding Language: Videos from Persuasion Unit
Our other featured resource this week comes from Stanford University’s Understanding Language initiative. In previous posts, we have discussed Persuasion Across Time and Space, a middle grade unit for intermediate ELLs from Understanding Language, and we mentioned that videos would soon be made available from the districts where the lessons are being piloted.
A six-part video series showcasing the unit being taught in Denver is now available online from the Teaching Channel. The series is presented in a very user-friendly format, and the videos include teacher interviews as well as background information from Understanding Language’s Aída Walqui and George Bunch about the unit and intent of the lessons.
We look forward to following the discussion around these materials and to hearing what you think as well!