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An Introduction to Teaching Social Studies in the Bilingual Classroom

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  1. An Introduction to Teaching Social Studies in the Bilingual Classroom Prepared by Global Language Solutions, LLC for the Institute for Second Language Achievement (ISLA) at Texas A&M - Corpus Christi and the Texas Education Agency (TEA)

  2. International BINGO • Sign your name in the center “free” box • You will need a pen or pencil and your BINGO sheet for this activity • Ask your classmates the questions on the BINGO sheet. If they can answer “Yes,” ask them to sign the box • You may only sign a classmate’s BINGO sheet one time • When you get 5 signatures in a row, call out, “BINGO!”

  3. Objectives • Address TEKS for social studies and Spanish and English language arts • Focus on the effective teaching of social studies content through the use of appropriate methods for developing bilingual proficiency in students

  4. Social Studies TEKS Grades K-6 • Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines—nature of people and their world, the heritage of the past, and contemporary living and culture • Kindergarten—introduction to basic social studies concepts • Grade 1—home, school, and community • Grade 2—community, state, and nation • Grade 3—communities (past/present, here/there) • Grade 4—Texas in the Western Hemisphere • Grade 5—United States studies • Grade 6—Contemporary World Societies

  5. Structure of the TEKS • Eight Strands—integrated for instructional purposes • History • Geography • Economics • Government • Citizenship • Culture • Science/Technology/Society • Social Studies Skills

  6. Description of the Social Studies Curriculum • Promotes knowledge and cultural understanding, democratic and civic values, and skills attainment and social participation • Stresses historical and geographical literacy, important concepts about human society, approaches to solving problems

  7. Description of the Social Studies Curriculum • Teaches democracy’s development, values and current practice in the U.S.A • Designed to teach procedural knowledge (study skills and social skills) needed for participation in cooperative and democratic activities

  8. What’s Difficult about Social Studies for ELLs? • Curriculum assumes prior historical, geographical, and civic knowledge and culturally based values which may be unfamiliar to students • Specialized vocabulary often refers to abstract concepts • Discourse is primarily expository; language functions include both lower and higher-level thinking skills

  9. What’s Difficult about Social Studies for ELLs? • Reading texts include sentences with multiple embedded clauses, complex past tense forms, and extensive use of pronouns • Decontextualized language is used in relationship to unfamiliar concepts • Students may have had little experience locating information, using maps and graphs, and using effective strategies for listening, reading, and writing

  10. Teaching Guidelines for Social Studies • Assess students’ prior knowledge about social studies topics • Select high priority content objectives from the TEKS; include both lower and higher-order thinking skills • Provide academic language activities in which students read, listen to, discuss, make presentations on, and write about social studies content • Teach and have students practice learning strategies with all social studies activities

  11. Addressing the Textbook • Work with a partner • Fold a scratch paper in half • On the left side of the paper brainstorm all the things that make reading your social studies textbook difficult for ELLs • On the right side of the paper brainstorm all the things that make reading your social studies textbook easy for ELLs • Debrief • Consider how you can incorporate more of the things that make the textbook easy and overcome the things that make the textbook difficult

  12. Addressing the Textbook • Provide opportunities for spoken and written connections to the textbook • Provide supplementary reading materials that are related to the textbook and allow students to choose and read independently • Utilize a before, during, and after approach when reading the textbook • Guide students in how to read the textbook, including the organization and the format

  13. Adapting Written Materials • Use a predictable text structure (i.e., topic sentence followed by supporting details) • Reduce the number of pronouns and synonyms • Simplify the vocabulary, but retain key concepts and technical terms • Use active and simple verb tenses • Provide contextual definitions for new vocabulary terms • Avoid indefinite terms, such as “it,” “there,” and “that” • Minimize the use of negatives, especially those like “no longer” or “hardly”

  14. Adapting Written Materials • Rewrite the following sentences to make them more comprehensible for ELLs: • The Declaration of Independence was signed by John Hancock. • There were many reasons people left Europe for America. • The discovery of tobacco as a cash crop to be traded in Europe guaranteed that the colony would do well. • John Smith is remembered for his pragmatic leadership.

  15. Well-Equipped Classroom • Current world map and globe • Realia, visuals, and hands-on materials • Culturally relevant reading materials • Audio-Visual materials • Classroom reference library • Social Studies Center

  16. Social Studies Center • Flags of different cultures • Thematic books • Realia from different cultures, coins, etc. • Photographs • Visuals of heroes and famous people • Timelines • Posters • Music from different cultures and different historical periods • World map

  17. Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills Conversational Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency Textbook language The Nature of Language Proficiency: BICS CALP Cummins, 1979

  18. Levels of Language Proficiency • Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) • Everyday language • Communicative • Universal across all native speakers • Not related to academic achievement • Usually attained within 2 years

  19. Levels of Language Proficiency • Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) • Abstract, decontextualized language • Non-interpersonal • Related to literacy skills and academic achievement • CALP in L1 and L2 overlap despite differences in surface features • Usually develops in 5 to 7 years or longer depending on individual and contextual variables

  20. Iceberg Analogy BICS CALP

  21. The “Dual Iceberg Representation of Bilingual Proficiency”

  22. Cummins’ Four Quadrants Cognitively Undemanding (BICS) Context Embedded Viewing Talking Context Reduced Doing Transforming Cognitively Demanding (CALP)

  23. View • Pictures and primary source documents • Active video viewing

  24. Pictures

  25. Suggestions for Implementation • Generate random vocabulary • Describe the picture • Interpret the picture • Brainstorm a list of possibilities • Talk and write answer questions specific to the picture • Read the passage and make connections

  26. Active Viewing • As students view any video clip, they should take notes on an active viewing handout • Any graphic organizer or scaffold used with a video will allow students to gain more information

  27. Do • TPR • Picture Stories • BINGO

  28. Total Physical Response

  29. Picture Timeline • Arrange the items, dates, descriptions, and pictures in the correct chronological order to create a timeline • Take turns telling a partner about the important acts and events that lead up to the American Revolution

  30. Talk • Information Gap • Games

  31. Information Gap • Work with a partner • One partner will be A and the other will be B • Stand back to back with your partner • Use the stem questions to ask your partner for the missing information and record the answers you get • Use the information on your sheet to answer your partner’s questions • Check with your partner at the end to make sure you have all the appropriate information

  32. Games • What kinds of games have you used with your students? • Why were those games effective?

  33. Transform • Language experience • Human sentences • Journals

  34. Language Experience Approach • The “experience” to be written about may be a drawing, something the student brought from home, a group experience planned by the teacher (i.e., field trip, party, etc.), or simply a topic to discuss. • The student is asked to tell about his/her experience. • The student then dictates his/her story or experience to the teacher, aide, volunteer, or another student. The writer copies down the story exactly as it is dictated verbatim. • The teacher reads the story back, pointing to the words, with the student reading along.

  35. Language Experience Approach • The student reads the story silently and/or aloud to other students or to the teacher. • The experience stories are saved and can be used for instruction in all types of reading skills. • When student are ready, they can begin to write their own experience stories. • Students can rewrite their own previous stories as their language development progresses, and then illustrate them to make books for other students to read.

  36. Human Sentences • You will be given a card with a word on it • Arrange yourselves in order to make a sentence that is historically accurate and grammatically correct • Have a spokesperson read the sentence aloud

  37. Dialogue Journals • Make sure each student has a notebook to use for journal writing • Be sure students know they can write about anything in their journals, that they won’t be graded, and that noone but the teacher will read them • Be sure to respond to each journal entry • With pre-literate students, you must write your response while they are watching, sounding it out as you write, and point to the words as you reread your response

  38. Dialogue Journals • Never correct student entries. You may ask about something that is unclear or you may choose to model a correct form in your response if that seems natural • Try not to dominate the “conversation.” Let the students initiate topics

  39. Vocabulary • Word Sorts • Concept Definition Map • Verbal-visual word association

  40. Word Sorts • Sort the following words into these categories (-tion, -sion, -tation): Revolution, tension, frustration, taxation, representation, vision, plantation, mission, participation, solution, passion, transition, nation

  41. Concept Definition Map

  42. Verbal-Visual Word Association

  43. Linking Instruction to Assessment • Tests are appropriate for varying levels of Spanish and English language proficiency • Use a diversity of measures, such as: portfolios, observations, anecdotal records, interviews, checklists, and criterion-referenced tests to measure content knowledge and skills • Take into account students’ backgrounds, including their educational experiences and parents’ literacy • Add context to assessment tasks with familiar visual prompts, questions for small group discussion and individual writing, and activities that mirror learning processes with which students are familiar • Allow extra time to complete or respond to assessment tasks • Make other accommodations, such as permitting students to use dictionaries or word lists

  44. Practical Ideas on Alternative Assessment for ESL Students • Jigsaw

  45. CASH Graphic

  46. Module Assessment • Complete the assessment provided in the handouts. • Participants are expected to get at least 70 percent of the assessment items correct to demonstrate mastery of the content of this module.