Happy Summer Teachers of Emergent Bilinguals! This year, my goal is to help you plan out an entire year of YOUR content area: Stand Alone instruction of English as a New Language (ENL). Part of that planning includes content objectives for a content area.
Content objectives are based on themes and topics, standards, and skills. Last week I showed you how to start by planning themes to teach from September through June that are based on New York State’s ELA, Social Studies, and Science curricula.
Stand Alone is not English Language Arts!
The goal of ENL Stand Alone as a content area in its own right is English proficiency! Let’s define proficiency: Students need to listen, speak, read, and write for school in English with speed and accuracy. Stand Alone requires that we teach linguistic skills – vocabulary and world knowledge, phonics and morphology, as well as handwriting, grammar, and written expression – across the four language modes (speaking, listening, reading, and writing).
BUT WE CAN’T TEACH LANGUAGE IN A VACUUM.
That’s why world knowledge is included as a linguistic skill: Emergent bilinguals also need to expand their content expertise, so they can build background in ELA, Social Studies, Science, and Math.
That’s why we need content objectives for a content area.
After choosing themes that best fit the needs and interests of your students, decide on one or perhaps more central topics that fit in that theme. For example, in September and October, I suggest exploring the theme of My School, My Community. One to two weeks is going to be spent on the topic of key places inside of the school building: the classroom, the cafeteria, the principal’s office, etc. (download my free Google Slides lesson here!).
Other topics could be the different backgrounds and languages of the school’s students and faculty and the geography of neighborhood the school is located in.
Decide how much time you want to spend on a given theme, then choose central topics that best build up the background knowledge and vocabulary your students need to be better prepared for their core content areas!
Once you have your theme and topic, craft content objectives for a content area. A content objective is the knowledge and skill that the student will be able to do by the end of the lesson or unit.
Theme: My School, My Community
Topic: My School’s Neighborhood
Content objective: Students will be able to identify key locations in the school’s neighborhood and their function/importance to the community (the library, subway station, park, and supermarket).
That’s it! That’s your content! In terms of how to align this with Next Generation Standards, we’re going to choose standards from among the Reading, Writing, but more importantly Speaking & Listening, and Language Standards (see pp.6-7 in the standards).
But don’t worry about the standards just yet: For now, just decide on the content objectives for your first one to two week unit plan. Use this aebll ENL Theme and Content Planner to get you started!
Watch me walk you through the process in my youtube video.
Stay tuned for next week’s post on a scope and sequence of linguistic skills to teach through the year, and how to align your lesson/unit planning to New York State Next Generation Standards.
I look forward to reading your comments and questions below!