For the last two years, I’ve been teaching middle school EAL at a private international school in Kobe. Starting next August, however, I’ll be starting a new contract in a new school. I still haven’t been told what exactly I’ll be teaching, but I was offered the position because of my expertise in the field of EAL, with the expectation that I will be using my knowledge base and experience to teach non-native speakers in an immersive English environment.
One detail I do know is that the school uses the CCSS, which allows me to somewhat line up my work in this program and my plans for the achievement of standards come next term. As such, I am planning for and unpacking two standards based on reading informational texts for the middle school grade level and will plan to implement these as best as possible in the fall.
The first standard is CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2, which states that students must “Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.” The second standard is CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.10, which states that students must “By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.”
I chose these standards for two reasons. First, doing a reading assessment fulfills my required number of assessments needed for this term at my current school – at least 2 for each of the following are needed per semester: reading, language content, and use of language. Second, I want to treat this as a “practice run” for the coming school year when I will be observed teaching a unit in which I will need to assess for reading. This task should help me to gain more experience unpacking standards.
By achieving these standards, students will be able to gain several skills. They will be able to read texts and extrapolate important or relevant information. In doing do, they will be able to improve their reading comprehension and speed by filtering out unnecessary information. They will also be able to read, comprehend and interact with grade-level texts in order to complete assignments and possibly produce their own. Having scaffolding to assist them will also benefit the bi-lingual speakers as they will be reinforcing their mother tongues and building vocabulary in two languages.
In order to meet these standards, I would like to try the following activities and assessments. For CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2, one activity could be to compare an opinion text vs a fact-based text, and identify the language that sets them apart. The next activity would be to have students read several texts and be able to identify, based on the language used, whether they are opinions or unbiased reports. A summative assessment would be for students to write an informational text that is free from opinions. For CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.10, one activity could be to assign students independent reading. They would read an appropriate book of their choosing within a pre-designated amount of time. Another activity, or formative assessment could be to do “flash-readings” in class, in which the students play a sort of game to read a text for a short amount of time, then collaborate to answer a set of questions. That information would then be presented to the class. The summative assessment would come in the form of a presentation. Students could present individually or in small groups, depending on if they read the same book or not.
I believe these activities and assessments would allow students to reach the standards stated above. Furthermore, I believe these standards translate to any subject, so I trust that these skills will be beneficial for any class and their future as learners.