ELL Curriculum Implementing a Unit Plan A2 Coursework

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¶ … ELL Curriculum

Implementing a unit plan across the curriculum and evaluating its effectiveness for the English Language Learner (ELL) program at our high school will require a systematic approach. Currently in our school, we are facing several problems that need to be addressed. Firstly, the level of coordination with the mainstream curriculum is minimal. Although our ELL teachers acknowledge that there is occasional coordination between them and the mainstream teachers, most of the time they work separately from classroom teachers and devise their own curriculum plans without their input or assistance. Nevertheless, for the most part the students are not stigmatized or labeled because the groups of students to whom they teach different levels of, for example, guided reading, are not aware who is and who is not in an ELL grouping.

Secondly, at the beginning of the year, scheduling the children, who are at different stages of language and reading abilities, is a definite challenge. This is because classroom teachers' individual schedules, Title 1 schedules, lunch, and special class schedules all need to be accommodated in order to set up the ELL schedule. and, the original schedule often has to be readjusted in order to better meet the needs of the children as they progress, and when new students come later in the year.

Thirdly, our ELL teachers do not have their own classrooms, despite the fact that they are full time instructors who work for the entire school day. Currently, they meet with students in their respective classrooms, which can be very difficult because when the office or the teachers are making their schedules, they do not always keep ELL considerations in mind.

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With such a high percentage of ELL students our school, it is critical that these problems are addressed, and that our ELL program is effectively evaluated to determine where improvements can be made. A review of current practices and assessment tools is also essential in order to provide solutions to the problems that are uncovered.

Curriculum Imperatives

TOPIC: A2 Coursework on ELL Curriculum Implementing a Unit Plan Across Assignment

Second languages are acquired "by understanding messages, or by receiving 'comprehensible input'" (Krashen, 1985, p. 2). Therefore in order to adapt a reading lesson plan to ELL learners requires assessing where the reading materials are in terms of the students' current level of knowledge of the language. Krashen (1985) suggests that the reading materials should be slightly ahead of where the ELL student's reading level currently rests in order gradually ensure a progressive level of acquisition. However, it is important that the focus is on materials that are only "slightly" ahead of the current reading level because if they are too advanced the students will only become frustrated.

In science, math and social studies, standard lesson plans can be adapted to ELL students by making certain modifications. For example, there should be more visual learning incorporated into the lessons so that the students are able to associate an image or a concept with a word or phrase. Here is an example of a science lesson plan for an ELL student:

Science Objectives

The students will learn about the cycle of water and its three physical forms: liquid, solid and gas. They will also gain an understanding of the systematic processes of nature.

ELL Objectives

Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of new vocabulary words related to the lesson. This will provide a foundation for future scientific lessons using similar vocabulary words. Also, students will be able to articulate their discoveries verbally.

Materials

Refrigerator

small plastic glasses or a jar water source rulers balance scale tea kettle hot plate mirror

English Language Proficiency Standard 4

English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Science.

Lesson

Lesson Introduction

This instructional plan is designed to increase 3rd grade ELL students understanding and knowledge about the cycle of water and its three different physical forms: liquid, solid and gas.

Lesson Focus

Teacher will show provide each student with an ice cube in a small cup

Teacher will ask the students what the cube is made of and ask them to put them in the glass and observe what happens.

When the ice has melted, teacher will discuss with the students the difference between the solid form of water and the liquid form.

Teacher will have the students leave their glasses of water on a shelf and ask then what they think might happen.

When the water has evaporated, teacher will discuss with the students what has happened and compare this to their answers to what they thought would happen

After the discussion, teacher will heat water in the tea kettle and, when boiling, hold the mirror over the opening in the spout and observe what happens.

Teacher will then discuss with the students how water becomes steam and is able to move into the air.

Assessment

To demonstrate the students understanding of what they have learned, students will be asked to draw water in each of its three forms and label the drawings appropriately.

Students will then be asked to describe the three physical forms of water and compare and contrast them.

Students will be given a vocabulary test to test their knowledge of the following vocabulary words: Solid, Liquid, Gas, Vapor, Absorb, Evaporation.

This lesson plan was adapted from Cindy Miller's "Water Magic" Lesson plan, available online from http://www.col-ed.org/cur/sci/sci95.txt

Assessment of the Unit Plan

When developing appropriate assessments of content knowledge for ELL students, several factors need to be taken into consideration. The first is that there are many changes that content area assessment is undergoing in terms of evaluating ELL students. For example there are changing assumptions about content-based ELL and traditional learning approaches that influence assessment techniques. Some examples include: the scaffolding technique and visible criteria. The scaffolding technique involves the teacher showing the student how to complete a certain task and then gradually turning the task over to the student so that the can learn from observing. Visible criteria lets the student know exactly what they will be graded on before they complete the task (Fitzpatrick et al., 2003). For example, I may tell the student that their writing assignment will be graded 25% on creativity, 50% on correct use of the English language and 25% on structure, organization and grammar. That way, they know what is most important to me and how much they should focus on each aspect.

Another change is a greater focus on the integration of language and content. This integration requires teachers to make a decision whether to evaluate the student on solely the content itself, or to include the language used to communicate the content. The teacher may also decide to use a combination of both types of assessments (Fitzpatrick et al., 2003).

ELL teachers will also have to factor in the idea that authentic content area assessment of ELL students also requires an understanding of two different types of knowledge: "declarative knowledge" and "procedural knowledge." The former is best assessed through oral interviews and the latter on observation of the performance of scientific procedures. For most ELL students (and all students, really) scientific facts and inquiry procedures are best learned when hands-on experienced is involved. These concepts also apply to social studies and mathematics instruction and evaluation (Fitzpatrick et al., 2003).

Recommendations for Existing Assessments

There are numerous assessment tools available that have the potential of being used effectively in this ELL program evaluation. After careful review, I have chosen the following assessment tools to be used as a part of the evaluation. I additionally recommend the creation of our own assessment tool based on the unique needs and situations of our school and our students.

The Multicultural Competency Checklist (MCC)

The MCC is an assessment tool designed to evaluate and facilitate the development of multicultural programs. The checklist is comprised of 22 items which are designed to evaluate the program based on the following six areas:

1) Minority representation

2) Curriculum issues

3) Counseling practice and supervision

4) Research considerations

5) Student and faculty competency evaluation

6) Physical environment (Hays, 2008)

According to Hays (2008) "Categories were constructed via analysis of the multicultural literature on training programs. A training director or the faculty as a whole may complete the checklist (i.e., checking whether a particular competence has been met) and use the items as discussion points" (p. 98).

Indicators of Program Quality: An ESL Programming Perspective

This assessment tool was developed by Pelavin Associates as a means evaluating quality indicators in ESL programs for adults. The instrument can, however, be adapted to measure the quality of high school programs as well. According to Mansoor (1992), there are three primary questions that the instrument was created to answer. These are:

"1) Are there unique aspects of ESL programs that should be taken into account in development of indicators, and what adjustments and adaptations to generic indicators may be necessary?

2) Are the indicators appropriate for ESL programs, unnecessary, incomplete?

3) What problems or other issues would confront ESL… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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