The Maine Department of Education is pleased to conclude the 2015-16 “Content Corner” collection with this third release of instructionally-focused articles for Maine educators. The third collection of articles completes this year’s focus on effective practices that support student learning in the content areas.
For students to have adequate opportunity to acquire language and develop proficiency in a language other than English, maximum use of the target language in the classroom by teachers and students is critical. While the research-based recommendation is that target language use represents 90% of teacher and student discourse in the classroom, many teachers struggle to maximize the use of L2 (world language that the student is working to learn during instruction).
How do we know that students understand and are learning what we intend in our classrooms? When do we adjust our instructional sequence or delivery of content to meet student needs? To answer these questions, we first must answer this question: What is the role of formative assessment in our classrooms?
Walk into a circle time in preschool in September and in June when the teacher is “doing calendar.” It’s Wednesday. The teacher asks the children, “If yesterday was Tuesday, today is……?” The cacophony from the children includes the answers, “Saturday,” “Friday,” “Monday,” and pretty much any other day of the week. It doesn’t change whether it is the beginning or end of the year. Why? Preschoolers are not developmentally grounded in past and future. For the most part, they still live in the now. Days of the week do not make sense-no matter how many times the activity is repeated. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are not solid concepts for three, four and five year olds.
Making meaning of a complex text is itself a complex process. When students flex their literacy muscles to read something that is challenging for them, they grow as readers, as thinkers, and as writers. Helping students develop stamina and supporting a productive struggle with challenging texts through routine practices provides the foundation for strong writing skills.