Common Core State Standards

Content and Language Objectives in the ELA Classroom

Schoolchildren Studying In Classroom With TeacherA few weeks ago we added a post to the blog in which SIOP professional developers Amy Washam and Lindsay Young discussed the reasons behind having separate content objectives and language objectives. An English/Language Arts (ELA) teacher wrote back with the following question:

What about in an ELA classroom? Language is our content. Teachers often complain that the two objectives say the same thing.

Here are Lindsay and Amy’s responses and a final thought by SIOP author Jana Echevarria. (more…)

21st Century Academic Skills in School and Beyond

By Deborah ShortImage

Increasingly educators are realizing that the development of academic language skills among all learners is important for success in school, in college, and in a career. Academic language involves decoding meaning—determining what a text says, a question asks, or a task requires, and encoding meaning—expressing one’s thoughts so they may be shared with others. The skills needed for students and workers in the 21st century include analytical reading and writing, clear communication, critical thinking, and creativity. These skills are conveyed in the new Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics and in the Next Generation Science Standards as well.

Analytical reading and writing skills build on foundation skills of early literacy, basic reading comprehension, and simple sentence formation. Making inferences about what is read and crafting an argument in writing to express an opinion pull together a number of complex cognitive processes. We must sort through multiple ideas, tap background knowledge, provide details, elaborate, and justify.

Clear communication involves the use of precise words, planning for a specific audience, and the ability to be responsive to the feedback in a conversation. If someone does not understand an utterance, then the speaker must rephrase or provide an example or find another way to make the message clear. If the listener has a follow-up question, the speaker must think about a response and then provide it. (more…)