Education Connections Tuesday’s Tip
What strategies and techniques do you use in your classroom to help all students develop their background knowledge and interact with primary source documents?
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) recommend that students be able to work with a diverse background of complex texts, both primary and secondary, in order to engage with curriculum through a variety of viewpoints, as well as to practice using text-based evidence to develop and support ideas and claims. The CCSS specifically require that lessons in History/Social Studies, Science, and technical subjects introduce students to the outside voices and views of primary source documents.
While finding primary source documents can seem overwhelming, the Library of Congress offers a great primary source analysis tool specifically to help instructors search and gather primary sources for their classroom instruction. The primary source database comes with sheets and guides for how to analyze different types of media, as well as sets and pre-grouped samples of primary sources by subject matter.
For EL students, primary sources can be extremely beneficial in in providing background knowledge that might not be available through textbooks or secondary source texts. Primary sources that are not text-based—for example, photos, films, paintings, music, maps, and cartoons—can help EL students across all English levels to access engaging non-linguistic insights and strengthen background knowledge.
For more ideas on how to include and incorporate primary sources in your classroom to help all students engage with lessons, take a look at this sample lesson plan.
Or, for another look at how to use primary sources with your EL students, try this short activity from TeachingHistory.org.
In the past few decades, education policy has gone back and forth in regards to the use and place of students’ home language in classroom instruction. However, recent research suggests that the incorporation of students’ home languages in the classroom, alongside English instruction, can help reduce the stress of the learning environment, allows instructors to use richer and more authentic texts, encourages students to think critically and make connections across languages (which can help deep learning and recall), and provides students with additional support to encourage continued learning and language development (Butzkamm, 2003).
For a discussion of why home language instruction and supports can be beneficial for your students, as well as how you can start including home language supports in your classroom, check out this article.
For some further information and discussion around the place of home language use in the classroom, be sure to hear this 7-minute interview from Larry Ferlazzo.
Finally, for a little more background on the research surrounding home language use in the classroom, try this resource from Colorín Colorado.
Butzkamm, W. (2003). We only learn language once-the role of the mother tongue in EFL classrooms: Death of a dogma. Language Learning Journal, 28 (1), 29-39.
Great for EL activities
Practical tips and steps, great stuff! Find them here at http://www.controlaltachieve.com/2017/01/docs-emoji-activities.html