Teaching All Kids: Making Classroom Content Comprehensible to Children in the Language and Poverty Gap

Course Number: EDU 5515 C01
Instructor: Ana Rawson & Jennifer Course
Location: Cusick Conference Room, Brattleboro Union High School, Brattleboro, VT
Dates and Times: February 2 – June 30, 2019. In-person sessions on Feb. 2, Mar. 2, Apr. 6, May 4, 2019. Four additional after school sessions TBD.
Credits: 3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $1,330

NOTE: Please register with the Vermont Learning Collaborative. If you wish to take the course for credit, please notify the Collaborative, who will give you the link to Castleton's online registration form. Tuition is due and payable to the Vermont Learning Collaborative.

Course Description

ALL KIDS is a research based approach to build the capacity of mainstream teachers to establish an environment of equity for learning. The course presents strategies and theory on how to make classroom content accessible to English Learners, (ELs). Teachers will use a unit from their grade level and incorporate accommodations for language and other factors. Other professionals will design and present a project reflecting their learning in ALL KIDs. All work done for ALL KIDs needs to be authentic and of use in your work with students.

The strategies presented in the SIOP lesson delivery model, and brain based learning serve as tools for most children with challenges in language development, or who benefit from deliberate scaffolding. The emphasis and methods to build vocabulary benefit students who suffer from word poverty due to lack of background in rich language experiences Therefore, by applying the 8 components of SIOP content is accessible to a diverse range of students for whom content is difficult to access. 

An awareness of second language development is vital for teachers working with ELs. Teachers will receive a sound background in this area. Both oral language and literacy will be reviewed. This will act as a guide in learning to distinguish between cultural differences and disability for ELs.

In Teaching ALL KIDS participants will learn how culture influences learning in the classroom environment. They will identify barriers in classrooms that impede learning for ELs. This will extend to students who have experienced poverty as there are patterns similar in both these situations in the area of language. 

There are many modalities used in the course: discussion, film, real case studies, panels, models, and simulations designed to enhance understanding. It is a hands-on interactive course. This course is designed to model the components in both content and presentation. In other words we will walk the talk!

Course Objectives/Goals

Learning Outcomes and Competencies:
Teachers will be able to design a ten lesson teaching unit based on standards for their grade unit and aligned to the WIDA standards. Each lesson plan will demonstrate the inclusion of all SIOP components mastered in this course. A check off list of all needed concepts will be included and filed with each lesson plan where students track each needed concept. This learning objective ties into both classroom teaching and the cumulative project where teachers will demonstrate the knowledge they have mastered.

Teachers will be able to distinguish behaviors stemming from cultural differences from behavior problems. They will be able to connect specific cultural concepts such as Tannen’s eight linguistic elements that vary among individuals and groups. These will be reflected in lesson planning. They will demonstrate mastery of this objective in a reflective essay.

Teachers will understand the complex issues of difference and disability. Using readings from Katherine Collier, and specific guidelines teachers will be able to explain to their cohort teams how cultural differences are not equal to a learning disability. Teachers will orally present cases where there are concerns and explain the process they would follow as a classroom teacher.

Teachers will be able to analyze and work with stages of language acquisition for ELLs using the WIDA Standards. In their lesson plans they will choose the proficiency level of their ELLs and connect this to the language domains of speaking, reading, writing and listening. Activities in their lesson plans must reflect the accommodations required for various proficiency levels in all domains of language. This objective will be fully demonstrated in the culminating project where under WIDA standards teachers will include proficiency levels of their students and plan units using this gained understanding.

Course Expectations

Day 1

Stories from your experiences
Ostrich- a simulation to demonstrate working out a problem without language
Process of Ostrich with discussion
Reflection in journal on process, and learning
Conversational vs. Academic Language- Cummins
Stages of Language Development- WIDA
Understanding the levels of academic Language
Why learning to read in a new language is difficult
WIDA stages- and standards
These topics will be taught using simulations and cooperative learning activities such as jigsaws, round robin, heads together. These are based on the Kagan Cooperative Learning model.

Day 2 
Jigsaw on a variety of reading assignments for homework
Film on refugee students and families
Listening activity while watching film
A written reflection on the film is written, and then shared with the group
Teachers will create role plays of one external factor of culture. T
Then, they will replay them using a culturally sensitive approach. 
Linguistics- Big C vs. little c
How culture directly affects learning in the classroom
Collectivism and Individualism – Different Lenses
Creating a compare and contrast model between mainstream culture and others
Teachers will work in small groups with hand on activities pertaining to topics

Day 3
Teachers will work with the concepts they have read about in their text book. They will cover the following chapters in this class.
1. Lesson Preparation
Concepts covered in this component
Content objectives-clearly 
Language objectives 
Content Concepts
Supplementary materials
Adaptation of content 
Meaningful activities

2. Building Background
Concepts covered in this component 
Concepts explicitly link to students backgrounds
Links explicitly made between past learning and new concepts
Key vocabulary emphasized

3. Comprehensible Input
Concepts covered in this component
Speech appropriate for students’ proficiency level
Clear explanation of academic tasks
A variety of techniques to make concepts clear

Teachers will participate in activities to clarify and learn each concept listed. Then, discuss power points for each topic. They will observe model classrooms using the techniques discussed and rate teachers in the films on how well they were able to use SIOP. They will components into a lesson plan they use in their classroom.

Day 4 Teachers will reflect on how they can use the techniques applied in the film and from their reading to their own teaching.
Teachers will form groups using a collaborative teaching model, and develop the first three sections of the eight components built into a SIOP thematic unit. At the end of this process each teacher will have used the SIOP process and incorporated the first three 
Facilitators will create a framework for the next three SIOP components by showing parts of the SIOP video that match the readings assigned for homework and the work done on day four in class. The objective is how to incorporate these next three components into their teaching units and get feedback on their ability to do this correctly. Teachers will also read vignettes of teachers lesson plans discuss them in groups and then rate them using the SIOP rating matrix. The following are the next three SIOP components and the concepts taught within each component.

4. Strategies
Ample opportunities provided for students to use learning strategies
Scaffolding techniques to provide the right amount of support
A variety of questions or tasks promoting higher thinking skills

5. Interaction ( Kagan, Cooperative Learning)
This will be modeled throughout the course

6. Practice and Application
Hands on materials are provided for student practice
Activities provided for students to apply content knowledge
Activities integrating all language skills reading, writing, listening, and speaking

As a whole group teachers will engage in activities and demonstrations to practice 
sections of the assigned SIOP component. Next, using their established cohort groups teachers will incorporate these three components to the units they have started. Models will be provided by watching classroom teachers on the SIOP video who demonstrate how to use these components. Teachers will discuss and create their own example of lesson plans incorporating these components. They will also rate the lesson plans of other teachers presented to them in handouts by using the SIOP Rating Matrix.

Day 5
The last two SIOP components will be presented to complete the eight components of the SIOP Lesson Planning System. Teachers will engage in activities, and discussions to clarify each concept. They will watch the sections of the video where these components are modeled, for further clarity they will read lesson plans from model lessons and rate these plans using the SIOP rating Matrix.

7. Lesson Delivery
Content objectives clearly supported by lesson delivery
Students engaged approximately 90% to 100 % of period
Pacing appropriate to students ability level

8. Review and Assessment
Comprehensive review of key vocabulary
Comprehensive review of key concepts
Regular feedback provided to students on their output
Assessments of student comprehension and learning of all lesson objectives

Teachers will focus on activities in combination with the book Closing the Poverty and Culture Gap. This book will be read as a homework assignment in preparation for day five. 
Video on Why Reading is Hard for second language learners will be discussed along with activities to demonstrate the differences in literacy from first Language to second Language
Issues of Reading Development and Special Education for English Learners
Discussion with student panel from BUHS

Day 6
Teachers will present their final projects to the class incorporating all the components learned in the course. They will use a prescribed template for each lesson plan in their unit which corresponds to each concept learned.

Each participant will provide feedback with a rubric designed to complement the SIOP Model. Each presenter will receive both verbal and written feedback on their ability to use all eight components of SIOP, and a rating based on the quality of inclusion from class members and instructor. Teachers will have the opportunity to use this feedback to improve the unit of study they have created before turning it in for a final grade.

After presentations are completed teachers use guiding questions to report on their findings in Closing the Poverty and Culture Gap. While the information in this book will be used throughout the class teachers will focus on sharing their reflections from their journals, and sharing the work they have done on the essay questions provided as a reading guide. They will share observations about teach both children with diverse cultural backgrounds, and tie it into teaching children living in poverty.
Teachers will create compare and contrast organizers to share their observations and thoughts with the whole group.

Teachers will end the course with an evaluation of the course including both process, and content of materials.

For additional course and registration information

Ana Rawson
(802) 257-8600

Register online now!