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Academic Language 101

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  1. Implementation Conference November 2, 2012 Academic Language 101 Dr. Melanie Hundley Vanderbilt University

  2. Task 2 Questions How do you define academic language? vocabulary of content vocabulary of school How should teachers address academic language in their classes? teachers should pay attention to the words kids need tell the students the definitions of the words that are hard

  3. Agenda Two Questions Setting the Stage—Student Voices What is Academic Language? Multiple areas of academic language Academic Language in planning Academic Language in assessment Resources for Academic Language Overview of Academic Language in edTPA

  4. School is where you go to learn a secret language but they don’t tell you that it’s there. You have to figure it out on your own. It’s like an initiation to a secret club. Maya, 8th grade. Student Voices Secret Language

  5. Language is the primary vehicle for learning, instruction, and overall intellectual development. It is not only a means for communicating information, it is also a vehicle for deepening their understanding of important ideas. Kersaint, Thomspon, & Petkova, 2009, p. 46.) Research Voices Language of School

  6. Academic LanguageDefinition edTPA the language of the disciplinethat students need tolearn and use to participate and engage in meaningful ways in the content area the oral and written language used for academic purposes the means by which students develop and express content understandings. SCALE

  7. Academic LanguageChallenge edTPA The more experience we get with our content area, the more expert we become; the harder it is to “see” academic language. blind spot familiarity SCALE Cathy Zozakiewicz

  8. Definition Academic language is the oral and written language that students need in order to understand (read, listen, think) communicate (listen, speak, write, connect) perform (think, read, write, listen, speak, create) Academic Language is necessary to participate in the content think question talk learn

  9. Zwiers’ describes academic language as “the set of words, grammar, and organizational strategies used to describe complex ideas, higher-order thinking processes, and abstract concepts” (p. 20). Research Voices Set of words Grammar Organizational Strategies Terms Linguistic Processes Patterns Thinking through the tasks ELA Lesson Plan Questions Math Lesson Plan Questions

  10. Academic Language Set of words Grammar Organizational Strategies What are the words & structures that students need to know to understand & make meaning in your content area?

  11. I eventually figured it all out but, for a while there, all these words and terms and names that I didn’t understand were flying around. I felt pretty clueless. Amy, professional year • Pedagogy. Curriculum. Unpack. Reflect. I was pretty lost in my first education classes. I needed the secret decoder ring or something. Sam, professional year Student Voices Pre-Service Teachers

  12. Academic Language Program Examples Think about your program. What terms, ideas, structures do you use? What terms/structures are unique to your program? Context—The Program Context—The School Observation Example Lesson Plan Lesson Plan Example 1 Lesson Plan Example 2

  13. Academic Language Common Core State Standards Emphasis on texts & writing across content areas Developmental vocabulary of discipline tools trajectory CCSS Writing Standards CCSS 3 Text Types

  14. Academic Language Set of words Grammar Organizational Strategies “What I realized as I worked with my content was that I really had to show my students how to organize the stuff they were learning. ” (Scott, 2011) Social Studies Thinking through the tasks

  15. I was wrong. I thought that y’all were just over-emphasizing something that students really just knew if they just paid attention. So, I assigned a writing prompt and the students wrote almost nothing. It was like they didn’t understand what I was asking them to do. (Ben, 2010) Student Voices What my students needed to be successful

  16. Writing Prompt • Discuss Steve and Frankenstein.

  17. Student Work • They are books. • Monster is about a boy. Frankenstein is about a monster.

  18. I revised the prompt thinking that just doing that would solve the problems. I was careful about the verbs I chose to replace discuss. I wanted to be more specific about what they were actually going to do in the writing.(Ben, 2010) Student Voices What my students needed to be successful

  19. Writing Prompt • Discuss Steve and Frankenstein. • Compare and contrast Steve in Monster and the monster in Frankenstein.

  20. Student Work • Steve in Monster got no future in the world he in. He broke the law got caught in a store spent jail and on trial. His future done gone away tho he ant convcicted. It don’t matter that he might notta done it. He got nothin now jail done shaped him. He cant escape his maybe action. Like the monster in Frankenstein he got no choice in what people do. Both Steve and the momster shaped by they society.

  21. The response was better. The students kind of knew what to do but there was still something missing. So, this time I used several scaffolds to help the students. A Venn Diagram. Sentence frames. Sentence Combining. (Ben, 2010) Student Voices What my students needed to be successful Venn Diagram Sentences

  22. Revision • Steve, the main character in Walter Dean Myer’s novel Monster, was not convicted of the crime he was accused of but he still has no future because of the appearance of being a convict. He is in a world that judges young men by the color of they skin. News stories about them. It will not matter to society that he was not convicted; he will always be a monster because of who he is. As a young, black man who has been in jail and on trial. He will be judged as monstrous because of how society will see him. He will always have the stigma of both trial and jail and won’t be able to escape that. Similarly, the monster in Frankenstein will always be judged by his outward appearance. He looks scary and people don’t know what to expect from him. Both Steve and the monster are products of their society and are judged and condemned by their society. It doesn’t matter that they may be innocent; they have the appearance of being monsters by society’s standards. Neither one of them will be able to escape the views of society.

  23. Student Voices Making Academic Language Visible I can do the work for a class as long as I know what the teacher means by what she says and what she asks. When a teacher makes things clear for me, I think I am a good student. Leah, 12th grade

  24. “When we teach a subject, or any topic or text within that subject, we must teach the academic vocabulary for dealing with it—not just the words, but also the linguistic processes and patterns for delving deeply into and operating upon that content” (Wilhelm, p. 44). Research Voices Terms Linguistic Processes Patterns Terms Linguistic Processes Patterns

  25. Support for Language Tasks Students need to be able to participate in the learning environment in order to be successful. Access Vocabulary Command Terms Scaffolds/Tools Structures for making meaning Student Notes Task Practice Command Terms Burke Term List

  26. Student Voices Making Academic Language Visible Most of the time I don’t even know how to start or what to do. It’s more than just sometimes not knowing the words in the directions. It’s knowing what I am supposed to use when I talk in the class or when I write something for class. Matt, 12th grade

  27. List command terms that you might use in your classroom that could cause students problems. • Annotate • In English—you add notes and/or commentary to text, usually explaining something or going deeper into the specific meaning, make connections, identify and/or explore key literary elements • In Science—add brief notes to a diagram or graph Task Think about when you were in middle and high school. What words in the directions caused you problems? Think about your content area. What words could cause student problems?

  28. Student Notes Example

  29. So?How do we put it together? Academic Language in Planning and Assessment

  30. Focus on Student Learning edTPA Academic Language Justifying instructional decisions Vision of Teaching Planning Use knowledge of students Build content understanding Design assessments to monitor student learning Instruction Student engagement Student thinking Subject-specific pedagogy Assessment Analysis of student learning Provide feedback Academic Language Analyzing Teaching Academic Language Using data to inform instruction

  31. edTPA There are language demands that teachers need to consider as they plan to support student learning of content, which include: Vocabulary Language functions Syntax Discourse

  32. edTPA Terms Academic Language Discourse Language Demand Language Functions Syntax Academic Language Discourse Language Demand Language Functions Syntax

  33. edTPA Terms Academic Language Discourse Language Demand Language Functions Syntax Academic Language Oral and written language used for academic purposes

  34. edTPATerms Academic Language Discourse Language Demand Language Functions Syntax Discourse Structures of written and oral language How members of the discipline talk, write, and participate in knowledge construction Discipline-specific Distinctive about features/way of structuring language (text structures) English Math Science Social Studies

  35. edTPATerms Academic Language Discourse Language Demand Language Functions Syntax Language Demands Specific ways that academic language is used by students to participate in learning tasks reading writing listening and/or speaking demonstrate/perform

  36. edTPA Terms Academic Language Discourse Language Demand Language Functions Syntax Language Functions content and focus of the learning task Represented by action verb within the learning outcome (describing, comparing, summarizing, etc.) English Math Science Social Studies

  37. edTPA Terms Academic Language Discourse Language Demand Language Functions Syntax Syntax Set of conventions for organizing symbols, words and phrases together into structures (e.g., sentences, graphs, tables)

  38. Yet another consideration… Characteristics of textual resources

  39. In social studies, long sentences with multiple embedded clauses are common. • Frequent use of pronouns it and they as referents. • Cause and effect statements are frequent. • Because there will be more people in the world in the future, we will need more land on which to build towns and cities. • Various verb forms are used: • “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.” Augustus is supposed to have spoken these words as he lay dying. He was Rome’s first emperor, and started the first of its great building programs. He claimed that he had had over 80 temples rebuilt. Social Studies

  40. Use of passive voice • Multiple embeddings • Long noun phrases serving as subjects or objects • If…then constructions and logical connectors (if, because, however, consequently) • The Calvin cycle is sometimes referred to as the “light-independent reactions” because, unlike the light reactions, it does not require light to begin. However, this does not mean that the Calvin cycle can continue running in a plant kept in the dark. The Calvin cycle requires two inputs supplied by the light reactions, ATP and NADPH. Science

  41. Comparatives: • 6 is greater than 4 • María earns six times as much as Peter • Lin is as old as Roberto • Prepositions: • (divided) into, divided by, • 2 multiplied by 6 and X exceeds 2 by 7 • Passive voice: • X is defined as a number greater than 7. • Reversals: The number a is five less than b. • Logical connectors: if…then • If a is positive then -a is negative. Mathematics

  42. Vocabulary • Text, character, plot, theme, thesis, characteristics, genre, metaphor, simile, gerund • Narrative Structures • Quotatives • Descriptors • Inferential language in metaphors • The use of “like” or “as” in similes • Literary Response • Generating/Justifying an opinion • Citing evidence English Language Arts

  43. Teacher Candidate Rephrase English/ Language Arts Terms & Phrases What are the key words and phrases my students will need to understand, read and use in the learning activity? Which of these words/phrases will be new to my students?  Which of these words/phrases have different meanings in other contexts? Which might be confusing for students? Is there a non-jargon, student-friendly way to explain this to students? Handout

  44. Teacher Candidate Rephrase Terms Phrases Using Language How (i.e., for what purpose) will students be using language in the learning activity? What key words/phrases will students need to understand in order to follow the directions in the learning activity? What key words/phrases will students need to understand in order to work with texts in the learning activity? What key words/phrases will students need to understand in order to talk about the texts? write about the texts? create similar texts?

  45. Math Example (Emily) Mathematical Vocabulary & Representations What are the key mathematical words and phrases my students will need tounderstand anduse in the learning activity? Which of these words/phrases will be new to my students? Which of these words/phrases have different meanings in informal/non-mathematical conversations? What are “kid-friendly” ways of describing each of these? Handout Emily’s Notes

  46. Math Example (Emily) Mathematical Vocabulary & Representations Which newmathematical representations (including notation) will students need to learn to “read” and use in the learning activity? What “non-mathematical” words or phrases will my students need to understand in order to make sense of the task scenarios in the learning activity?

  47. Math Example (Emily) Genre (i.e., Purpose) and Linguistic Features How (i.e., for what purpose) will students be using language in the activity? Which key words/phrases will my students need to understand in order to follow directions during the learning task, and which of these will be new to my students? Write some sentences (to develop into sentence frames) that capture how you expect students to be using academic language to achieve a particular purpose during the learning segment. What are “kid-friendly” ways of describing each of these?

  48. Academic Language Tools Sentence Frames Sentence Stems Phrases Sentence Frames are tools that can help give students the words and the structures to use as they are initially developing fluency. Since the square root of __ is __, then __ squared must be ___. (Math) The __ is an important symbol for __ because __. (ELA) In the experiment, the __ acted on the __ and caused a __ . (Science) The war was caused by __ , __ , and __ because __ .(Social Studies)

  49. Academic Language Tools Looking at one task Sentence Frames Generate hypothesis Language Arts Math Social Studies Science In order to do this task for each content area, requires that students Know what a they are being asked to do Have something to say Have the words to say it, or Have the structures to write it