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Hi, all.

Today’s teaching tip comes from a book I’m reading by researcher Jeff Zwiers, who has done a lot of work on academic language.

In today’s tip, I talk about speaking and how passive intake doesn’t lead to proficiency.

In order to get our students to speak academic language, we have to provide scaffolded opportunities for them to use academic language in the classroom. And unless we are really listening and planning, our best efforts may fall short.

We all have heard about academic language and have a vague notion of what it is, but how comfortable are you teaching it? This book is an amazing resource, and I’ll be sending out nuggets of information I’m learning from it from time to time throughout the year.

Telling is just not enough. Students have to DO.

I had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Zwiers at Massachusetts TESOL a couple of years ago. He was so knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. The book outlines many ways that you can set students up for success, through word banks, teacher prompts and student prompts. Interested in the book? You can find it here: Building Academic Language: Meeting Common Core Standards Across Disciplines, Grades 5-12.

You can also learn directly from Jeff through his website and through a series videos he helped create for the Teaching Channel: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/improve-conversation-skills-ells-ousd

As always,  past videos can be found here.


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