Part 3 of Implementing the Common Core with ELLs

CCSS-Aligned Materials for ELL Students

Where to Find High-Quality Curricular Materials for ELLs in the Public Domain

While it is often noted that there is a lack of high-quality CCSS-aligned curricular materials for ELLs, there is a slowly expanding base of materials that are in the public domain. In this section I’ll share information about a few high-quality materials you can view, download, and use today. The materials are grouped by English materials, Spanish materials, and materials in languages other than English or Spanish. I did not include picture books in this section since the focus is on materials in the public domain, but picture books also provide an avenue to support some ELLs working toward the CCSS, as seen in this blog post. Despite the growing number of dual language programs in the United States, publicly available CCSS-aligned materials in languages other than English have yet to catch up to the demand.

Materials in English

  • Colorín Colorado has an extensive selection of classroom video modules and supporting lesson plans that offer a model of Common Core-aligned instruction with ELLs in elementary, middle, and high school. Additional blog posts, lesson plans, and curriculum guidelines are also featured.
  • Stanford University’s Understanding Language initiative has designed some CCSS- and NGSS-aligned units for ELLs in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.
  • The Teaching Channel has a six-part video series on the ELA unit from Stanford University’s Understanding Language.
  • The Center for Applied LinguisticsEducation Connections website, a portal for educators working with English learners, offers a wide range of CCSS resources for students and helps build connections among educators for sharing best practices.
  • Scaffolding Instruction for English Language Learners: Resource Guides for English Language Arts and Mathematics, housed on the EngageNY website, provides guidance and exemplars so that educators can use curricular materials and provide scaffolds for ELLs. The resource guides, applicable for ELLs in K-12, provide a description of each scaffolding strategy used and then share the research basis for such approaches. The guides provide examples of lessons which embed research-based scaffolds. Their creation was led by Diane August at the American Institutes for Research.
  • New Jersey’s ESL Curriculum Exemplars, created through a state, district, and WIDA partnership, provide sample unit plans at each of five grade level clusters (PreK-K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). In each of the CCSS-aligned units, academic language, key vocabulary, and language structures play a key role and are framed around the essential question, “What language do students need in order to comprehend and engage in ______ (a content related or unit topic)?”

Materials in Spanish

  • The Santa Ana Unified School District in CA has produced some publicly available CCSS-aligned materials in Spanish for students and teachers in grades K-5.
  • The Santillana USA publisher has developed some CCSS-aligned Spanish language texts and activities on their Spanish Classroom Blog.
  • The New York Times publishes articles in Spanish that you can draw from for examples of informational, complex text.
  • The Cervantes Institute provides short story reading passages at three different Spanish proficiency levels as well as pre-reading and post-reading activities.

Materials in Languages Other than English and Spanish

  • The New York State Department of Education is translating mathematics curriculum modules into the top five languages in the state, which are Spanish, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Arabic, Bengali, and Haitian Creole.

As you can see, there are more and more materials being produced for ELLs. The majority of materials are in English, but there is a growing number of resources that can support the CCSS in Spanish. Languages other than English or Spanish have yet to catch up, but please let me know if you know of other high-quality materials that are publicly available.

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About the Author: Diane Staehr Fenner is founder and president of DSF Consulting, a woman-owned small business that supports English learner (EL) achievement by providing technical assistance, professional development, research, and curriculum design to districts, states, and organizations. She earned her Ph.D. in Multilingual/Multicultural Education from George Mason University with an emphasis in Literacy. In addition to her work on policy and practice issues at the national, state, and local levels, she has an extensive instructional background in K-12 education, including ten years teaching and assessing ELs in Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia as well as experience teaching English as a Foreign Language through a Fulbright Scholarship. Dr. Staehr Fenner is an author of many works in the field of EL education. She authored the well-received Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators (Corwin, 2014). In addition, she writes a popular blog for Colorín Colorado and has recently published articles on EL education for ASCD and the International Literacy Association. She is the lead author of Evaluating ALL Teachers of English Learners and Students with Disabilities: Supporting Great Teaching (Corwin, 2015) and Preparing Effective Teachers of English Language Learners: Practical Applications for the TESOL P-12 Professional Teaching Standards (2012). She frequently presents on the topics of EL advocacy and collaboration, teacher preparation of ELs, and practical strategies for implementing College and Career Ready Standards for ELs at state, national, and international conferences.