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Bricks and Mortar: Strategies that Work in Building True Academic Language Proficiency Jennifer Hamilton, ELL Instructional Specialist Alexandria City.

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Presentation on theme: "Bricks and Mortar: Strategies that Work in Building True Academic Language Proficiency Jennifer Hamilton, ELL Instructional Specialist Alexandria City."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bricks and Mortar: Strategies that Work in Building True Academic Language Proficiency Jennifer Hamilton, ELL Instructional Specialist Alexandria City Public Schools, Virginia Robin Liten-Tejada, ESOL/HILT Specialist Arlington Public Schools, Virginia WIDA National Conference, October

2 Objectives To share strategies for building academic language proficiency that  go beyond merely introducing words and definitions to students  integrate language and content  incorporate reading, writing, listening and speaking  provide language for higher order thinking skills 2

3 Why the focus on academic language? Current emphasis in research on best practices for ELLs New standards emphasize higher order thinking, but need the language to express higher order thoughts APS Program Evaluation indicated area in need of improvement 3

4 How? 4

5 So what is academic language exactly? 5 Academic language is the set of words, grammar, and organizational strategies used to describe complex ideas higher-order thinking processes abstract concepts. (p.20)

6 What does that mean? What features of academic language do you find in this excerpt? Zwiers, J. (2008). Building Academic Language: Essential Practices for Content Classrooms (p.28). San Francisca: Jossey-Bass

7 Aspects of academic language Figurative language to express abstractions Long sentences Transitions/connectives ◦ Rather, In addition Passive voice Nominalization ◦ we hold the belief that Condensed complex messages ◦ Pluralist future 7

8 Bricks and Mortar Words Bricks imagery metaphor revolution emancipation hypotenuse reciprocal mitosis gravity Mortar therefore as a result contains consists of thus infer dependent maintain correspond 8

9 Dimensions of Academic Language 9 Vocabulary Syntax Discourse

10 Syntax: sentence frames help students understand how the words are used in sentences manipulatives Vocabulary Syntax Discourse Strategies for teaching Syntax (how words are used in sentences): Analyze how that word is used in a sentence. Use sentence frames for both oral and written practice. Build sentences with manipulatives. Lastly generate original sentences.

11 Otherwise (conjunction) connecting word that means if you don’t do something, something else will happen “I have to pay $15 tomorrow, otherwise the jacket will be given to someone else.” Linda must pay the rent, otherwise she will lose her apartment. You need to study tonight, otherwise _______ _________________, otherwise _________

12 Did my Level 3 student use “otherwise” correctly? Many countries have an economy completely bad. The person who has a big family for the bad education, and that person cannot find a job, the only alternative is to emigrate. Otherwise his family will die or only have for eat once a day. 12

13 Teach Cause & Effect signal words because since so therefore consequently as a result Using the content being studied… Reinforcing language and content!!

14 Effect + Cause Sentences ___effect (what)__because ___cause (why) __ since The student opened his eyes because Ms. L-T dropped the book. The student opened his eyes since Ms. L-T dropped the book.

15 Cause + Effect Sentences __ cause (why)_______, effect (what)_____ Because Ms. L-T dropped the book, the student opened his eyes. Since Ms. L-T dropped the book, the student opened his eyes. Because Since

16 __ cause (why)_______ effect (what)_____ Cause + Effect Sentences, so. Therefore,. Consequently,. As a result, Ms. L-T dropped the book, so the student opened his eyes. Ms. L-T dropped the book. Therefore, the student opened his eyes. Ms. L-T dropped the book. Consequently, the student opened his eyes. Ms. L-T dropped the book. As a result, the student opened his eyes.

17 ___ effect (what)__ because ___cause (why) __ since __ cause (why)_______ effect (what)_____, so. Therefore,. Consequently,. As a result, Cause + Effect Sentences __ cause (why)_______, effect (what)_____ Because Since

18 Night, by Elie Weisel Cause & Effect Sentence Practice Cause (why the effect happened)Effect (what was the result) The inmates had marched for hours The inmates were exhausted Father and son stayed togetherthey were able to survive for a while longer The inmates were given small rations the inmates became emaciated Rabbi Eliahu had lost his sonRabbi Eliahu was searching for his son everywhere, hethey.

19 Syntax: sentence frames help students understand how the words are used in sentences manipulatives Vocabulary Syntax Discourse Strategies for teaching Syntax and Discourse: Use academic sentence starters to analyze text

20 Strategies Background building ◦ Content specific (ex. the Civil War) ◦ Pre-teaching key vocabulary (Tier 2 and Tier 3 words) Scaffolded instruction ◦ Modeling use of target language ◦ Gradual release of responsibility through structured activities ◦ Graphic organizers Explicit academic language instruction ◦ Sentence frames ◦ Oral and written use of target language ◦ Use of target language in context of reading discussions Cooperative learning ◦ Paired and small group tasks for reading, discussion, and some writing tasks

21 Sample Sentence Frames & Transitions According to _______, “______” The author argues/claims that _____ Based on the text, the reader can infer that the author believes _____ Consequently, the author claims that _____ With this in mind, the author argues _____ Considering the evidence, the author deduces that _____ Although some people believe ______, the author claims that ______ In contrast to popular opinion, the author argues that ______ While popular opinion states that ______, the author claims that _____ Whereas others have argued that ______, the author believes that _____ Instead of “The author says…” To Show Contrasting Ideas: For example, For instance, In addition, Furthermore, Moreover, Based on the evidence, First, (second, third, finally, etc.) In summary, General Transitions:

22 Summarizing Arguments with Academic Language 22

23 Syntax: sentence frames help students understand how the words are used in sentences manipulatives Vocabulary Syntax Discourse Strategies for teaching Vocabulary through interdisciplinary reinforcement: Content teachers collaborate to determine “words of the week”

24 Multidisciplinary Content Vocabulary for Level 2 ELLs Crucial stage in English-language acquisition, acquiring content vocabulary, developing language structures Teachers created strategies to teach mortar words and phrases across the curricula of language arts, science and social studies 24

25 Mortar Phrases Selected Sixteen paired mortar phrases were selected from Building Academic Language based on teachers’ informal observation of phrases most used in mainstream academic content classes. In addition, academic brick words and phrases from English language arts, science and social studies SOL word lists were also chosen. 25

26 Interdisciplinary Pre-Assessment Students all took a written interdisciplinary multiple-choice assessment to establish a baseline of their prior knowledge and use of these phrases. 26 SAMPLE QUESTION Animal scientists have established that the relationship between dogs and humans has existed for thousands of years; __________, canines and people have long been living together. a) furthermore b) precisely c) in other words d) meanwhile

27 Written and Spoken Evidence Phrases introduced weekly and practiced in each class through cloze activities, skits, picture writing prompts, games Using the phrases in writing encourages more advanced sentence structures—complex sentences—and more advanced punctuation— semicolons and colons. Spoken and written evidence demonstrates that students are consistently using the phrases, and speaking and writing more academically sophisticated sentences: SAMPLE Harriet Tubman helped fellow slaves to escape to freedom; more precisely, she was a successful conductor on the Underground Railroad. 27

28 Syntax: sentence frames help students understand how the words are used in sentences manipulatives Vocabulary Syntax Discourse Strategies for teaching Vocabulary through interdisciplinary reinforcement: Content teachers collaborate to determine “words of the week” Look at a writing sample from Maureen’s class. How many academic mortar phrases are used correctly?

29 Is breaking the law ever justified? 29

30 Objectives To share strategies for building academic language proficiency that  go beyond merely introducing words to students  integrate language and content  incorporate reading, writing, listening and speaking provide language for higher order thinking skills 30

31 Cocktail Party How can you use the information we shared today? 31

32 Contact Info 32 Jennifer Hamilton, Robin Liten-Tejada


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