“Keep it or Junk it” an ESL Perspective

Dr. Pete Cobin, ELL Consultant with Washoe County School District, reviewed the lesson “Keep it or Junk it” and shared the following:

There are two things in particular that I noticed.

  1. The emphasis on “What are you thinking? How do you use this information?” requires students to grapple with how to use language to express their ideas.  This leads students to struggle with how to be more informative, and challenges them to go beyond staying on firm ground where they feel comfortable.  The result is that students are using language that is rather complex, and the text serves as a model for how to use this more complex language.
  2. The “Keep It or Junk It” activity begins with learning vocabulary and extends to discussing and arguing how the vocabulary relates to the main ideas.  As a result, the amount of paragraph level oral language shown is quite high.  The progression of language functions–from identifying vocabulary, to repeating it, describing it, making an example with it, explaining it, arguing about it–forms a nice WIDA-like strand across the range of proficiency levels.

I expect that these types of activities would not only provide for better comprehension of the reading, but would also prepare students for the language needed for a culminating activity for the unit. 

You can find out more about the lesson by clicking here.


About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at coretaskproject@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Academic Vocabulary, CCSS, Common Core State Standards, Complex Text, English Learners, Instructional Shifts, text complexity, Text-Dependent Questions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s