Mini-Course Portfolio

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Arr.GIF Mini-Course: Academic Language Building for ELLs in Content Classrooms

Arr.GIF ETAP 623 Fall 2017 Section 7619



Topic & Purpose

Topic: Academic Language Building for ELLs in Content Classrooms

[ Introduction ]

Secondary education is a complex endeavor. Fast-paced schedules, specialized courses, rigorous content, high staked assessment, and variety of instructional methods place a high demand on students. For students, who must navigate these complexities while acquiring [academic] English, the demands intensify significantly (Dutro and Levy 2008).

English language learners in secondary schools face tremendous challenges when confronted with high demands from all the different aspects of secondary education. To best support the needs of ELLs and help them develop academic language, we need to provide them an environment that is literacy rich and enable them to make connections among the different content studies. Instead of relying on ENL and ELA teachers to help ELLs build literacy, all other content teachers need to and can effectively contribute to this endeavor, especially for academic vocabulary words and language functions that span across all content areas.


[ Learning Outcomes ]

The purpose of this mini-course is to assist content teachers of ELLs:

  1. Become motivated to incorporate language objective and language/ literacy strategies in lessons.
  2. Remember state mandates related to classroom instruction and test accommodations.
  3. Analyze and interpret basic ELL data for instructional purposes.
  4. Implement bilingual protocol for instruction (bilingual content teachers).
  5. Define academic language and academic language functions.
  6. Incorporate language/ literacy objectives in lesson plans.
  7. Apply language/ literacy building strategies in lessons. (Stage 2)
  8. Evaluate language/ literacy building features in lessons.

Needs Assessment

[ Instructional problem ]

  • Based on class observations by administrators and literacy coach in our school, as well as DELLSS coach from the NYCDOE, many teachers of ELLs in content classrooms in our school have not been integrating language/ literacy objectives or strategies in their lessons.
  • Also based on class observations, bilingual content teachers have not been implementing the bilingual protocol, suggested by DELLSS coach from the NYCDOE, for instructional practices.
  • There have been new teachers joining the team as teachers of ELLs, many of whom are unfamiliar with (1) state mandates regarding classroom instruction and test accommodations; (2) ELL data available to inform instruction; (3) language/ literacy strategies to incorporate in lessons; and (4) the bilingual protocol to implement for daily instructional practices (bilingual teachers).
  • According to DELLSS (the Division of English Language Learners and Student Support) of NYCDOE, it is important that the school implement action plans to improve the quality of education for ELLs in our school.


[ Stakeholders ]

  • Teachers of ELLs in bilingual content classes
  • Teachers of ELLs in ENL content classes
  • Teachers of ELLs in ENL classes
  • Teachers of Commanding ELLs in Mainstream classes
  • School administrators
  • NYCDOE (New York City Department of Education)
  • DELLSS (Division of English Language Learners and Student Support)
  • ELLs in the school
  • Parents
  • School community


[ Project Role & Responsibilities ]

This mini-course serves as an online resource center for teachers of ELLs in the school, providing job aids and professional development.


[ Resources ]

  • Workshop materials generated/ compiled by the literacy coach
  • ENL coordinator, Assistant Principal of ENL Department, Data Specialist, Native Language Arts Teachers
  • DELLSS Office Coach
  • NYCDOE webpages
  • NYSDOE webpages


[ Constraints ]

  • Project Deadline (Stage 1): December 13, 2017
  • Scope of Project (Stage 1): broad and general, according to stakeholder (supervisor) request
  • Participants' motivation to implement the bilingual protocol, language objective, and language/ literacy strategies for instruction
  • Devotion of time for learning from the participants for self-paced online learning
  • Allocation of time by school administration for workshops


[ Project Goal ]

The goal of this mini-course is for content teachers of ELLs in secondary schools to become skilled in serving ELLs and helping them develop academic language.


[ Evidence to Collect ]

  • results from field test: assessments, reflections, and performance tasks
  • results from assessments, reflections, and performance tasks
  • classroom observation reports
  • follow-up surveys & interviews



Analysis of the Learners & Context

[ Learner Profile ]

1) Primary Audience: teachers of ELLs in my school

  • Veteran teachers who have been teaching ELLs for 3-10+ years
  • New teachers to our school with some experience teaching ELLs
  • New teachers to the profession with little experience teaching ELLs
 Characteristics:
 - Having high levels of education and cognitive processing skills
 - Mixed expertise levels in content instruction due to years of teaching experience
 - Mixed motivation levels in implementing the bilingual protocol
 - Mixed skill levels in generating language objectives
 - Mixed knowledge levels in language/ literacy strategies
 - Few participants observed and interviewed have been able to clearly identify language/ literacy objectives in their lessons.
 - Few participants observed and interviewed have incorporated language/ literacy strategies in lessons.
 - All participants are comfortable using instructional technology (powerpoint, smartboard, video clips, internet, etc)

2) Secondary Audience: teachers of ELLs in other schools


[ Learning Context ]

  • Online self-directed learning
  • Blended of online and workshop
  • Workshops conducted by Literacy Coach, Bilingual Coordinator, AP of ENL Department

Performance Objectives

  • Given a set of multiple choice and short answer questions, participants will be able to state correctly mandates pertinent to classroom instruction and test accommodations for ELLs, define academic language and academic language functions, and recall components of the bilingual protocol.
  • Provided with sample ELL data, participants will be able to analyze the data to differentiate overall language levels, levels of sub-skills, home languages, grade levels, and SpEd status.
  • Provided with prompts, participants will be able to summarize the benefits of incorporating language/ literacy building objectives and strategies in their lessons.
  • Provided with reflection prompts, participants will be able to reflect on their own instructional practices regarding how they have been helping ELLs develop academic language/ literacy in their classes and what they can do to better assist ELLs for language development.
  • Given a sample text, participants will be able to identify academic vocabulary and an academic language function to integrate in the instructional plan, based on which participants will develop language/ literacy objectives for the lesson.
  • Given sample lesson plans, participants will be able to evaluate and critique the language/ literacy building features in the lessons and propose ways to improve the lessons for language/literacy development of ELLs.

Task Analysis

[ Essential prerequisites ]

Computer Skills:

  • able to navigate the internet for content, links, files, and other resources
  • able to access, view, download Word & PDF files
  • able to edit Word & Powerpoint Files

Lesson Planning Skills:

  • understand the basic structure and components of a lesson plan
  • able to transfer newly learned knowledge and concepts into lesson planning


[ Supporting Prerequisites ]

  • understand the importance of equality of educational opportunities for ELLs
  • understand the high demands of learning challenges confronted by ELLs
  • understand how the school and teachers need to comply to state mandates regarding the different ELL programs & test accomondations
  • willing to devote time for professional growth



Instructional Curriculum Map & Unit Sequence

Instructional curriculum map (pdf file): File:Yu 2017, Academic Language Building, Curriculum Map.pdf


Yu 2017, Academic Language for ELLs, Curriculum Map 2.jpg