How are the ELL modifications to Word Generation in San Francisco expanding access to the materials?
Nearly 60% of the English Learners in California have been in the U.S. for seven or more years. Many were born in the U.S. and have only attended American schools. These students are typically enrolled in mainstream classes and may sound fluent in Englishwhen overheard in hallways or during informal discussions during class. However, these long-term English Learners (LTELs) are often quiet as discussions become increasingly academic. They may have very sophisticated ideas about the topic of discussion, but frequently lack the language necessary to confidently respond in front of their peers.
Word Generation is designed to provide all students with opportunities to debate and discuss high-interest and controversial topics. By skillfully applying talk moves, teachers encourage most students to engage in these discussions. However in San Francisco, it became apparent that many of the long-term English learners were not participating in the discussions. SERP and the San Francisco Unified School District teamed up to create discussion activities with highly scaffolded response frames. While the intent of Word Generation is to encourage authentic discussion, long-term English Language learners benefit from such scaffolds that help them with complex language functions such as prediction, justification and identifying cause and effect. Discussion activities include turn and talk, numbered heads and inside/outside circle. For more information on these activities, contact Patrick Hurley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, SERP has committed to providing a newly modified version of Word Generation Series Three for English learners for the public in time for the 2012-13 school year. This newly modified series will be based on a set of Word Generation activities field tested in Austin, TX recently by CREATE (the Center for Research on the Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners). SERP also plans to create an online course through which teachers learn about best practices for English learners.