This week in class we teamed up with another group of students to tackle the challenge of lesson planning for language learners. First, the science students were exposed to what it feels like to be completely out of our element even when talking about science because we had a lesson given to us in a different language. After we worked together as groups and tried to get through the questions and quick quiz we switched back to English and discussed the difficulties of what we had just done. Then with combined groups, science and TESOL candidates, we started to take on the task of co-planning a science lesson together.

After we had identified what we believed to be a successful plan we shared out with the other groups and spoke about difficulties that we faced together when creating the lessons. The resource below was handed out and will be invaluable in the future when trying to alter lesson plans to make them accessible for everyone.

Steps to Embedding Language in Content Lessons

  1. Establish: What is the content of the lesson? What exactly are students learning about? What is the essential concept?
  1. Ask yourself: what are the linguistic demands of this lesson? What will students be doing with language in order to learn the content? What will they be expected to do with language to show they learned the content? List the linguistic demands. Do students need explicit instruction or practice in those language skills, vocabulary, tasks, structures?
  1. Think: what are my students’ language needs? What are their proficiency levels? What do they need to know how to do with English in the context of this lesson that will prove useful in other contexts?
  1. Choose: What is one language point I could target (or teach explicitly) within this lesson’s linguistic demands, my students’ needs, and application of the learning in English in other academic contexts?
  1. Write: the language objective. It can be vocabulary, grammar, language function, language skills, language learning tasks, for example. Use the Himmel article from colorincolorado.org for help. The objective is for you, to focus on a point of language that makes sense in this context and is useful in other school contexts. Student will (be able to)… process or performance? Use Bloom’s taxonomy for active verbs.
  1. Create: a short exercise or mini-lesson to help your students acquire the point of language you decided to focus on in this context.
  1. Check: does the language objective and work I created…

Enjoy your weekend!

MJ