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ERIC Number: EJ1001316
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun
Pages: 0
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1784
Cross-Discipline Teaching for English Learners
Upczak-Garcia, Anne
Educational Leadership, v69 Online Jun 2012
The author works as a biliteracy teacher in a bilingual school that serves students from K-5th grade. She and her coteacher provide instruction in both English and Spanish to 4th and 5th graders. They have two language arts blocks so that students receive literacy instruction in both their native and second languages, and they teach math, social studies, and science in English. She and her teammate, Jeanette Scotti, strive to deliver comprehensible, meaningful instruction to all students. Rather than using a pull out or "push in" model, they create an environment that supports all learners all day. It's a challenge, but one the author takes on every day because she believes her students have much to offer. It's her job to help her Spanish-speaking students transfer their knowledge from their home language to English and feel safe and strong expressing themselves. It's also the job of teachers who work with second language learners to help them gain content knowledge and work with it in their second language. Nancy Commins (2011) puts it well: "As educators, our job is not just to teach students to read and write well, but rather to fill the conceptual reservoir as deeply as possible, whether students can read and write--or not. Reading and writing are simply a means to the end of conceptual development. (p. 96)" Bilingual and multilingual students have a plethora of tools they can use to fill this conceptual reservoir. Teachers need to create a structure in which students can use those tools to strengthen their literacy skills and blossom. One planning structure that works well for this is thematic units. Integrated thematic units focus on core content that teachers teach across disciplines throughout the day. If outer space is the core content for the unit, the author doesn't just teach about space during her science block, she also plans lessons in language arts, social studies, and even math that focus on space while developing skills in those disciplines. Making connections throughout the day gives English language learners multiple opportunities to acquire meaningful language and content that's both academically and linguistically useful.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A