Leveraging Opportunities for Instructional Excellence: Implementing the Common Core

CCSS Instruction for ELs

**Understanding Language (n.d.). Theoretical and pedagogical shifts required for teachers of ELLs in an era of new standards. Stanford, CA: Author. Available for members at this link.

This one-page document outlines instructional shifts necessary to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English learners (ELs). Among these shifts is an understanding that language acquisition is a complex, social process of apprenticeship, rather than a linear, individual activity. The shifts also emphasize that lessons should be interrelated (as opposed to being centered on disparate ideas or texts) and learning objectives should interlace content and language. With appropriate instructional scaffolding, ELs must be exposed to complex texts and given opportunities to explore the audio, visual, spatial, gestural, and linguistic meanings of texts and language.

**Understanding Language (2013, January). Key principles for ELL instruction. Stanford, CA: Author. Available at http://ell.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/Key%20Principles%20for%20ELL%20Instruction %20with%20references_0.pdf

Based on papers and discussions from the January 2012 Understanding Language Conference at Stanford University, this piece outlines six principles—and the supporting research—for EL instruction under the CCSS. The authors argue that teachers, coaches, EL specialists, curriculum leaders, principals, and district leaders should incorporate these principles into the design and delivery of every instructional lesson and unit.

Fillmore, L.W., & Fillmore, C.J. (n.d.). What does text complexity mean for English learners and language minority students? Stanford, CA: Understanding Language. Available at http://ell.stanford.edu/sites/ default/files/pdf/academic-papers/06-LWF%20CJF%20Text%20Complexity%20FINAL_0.pdf

This paper addresses implications of the more complex texts demanded by the CCSS for ELs and language minority students (LMs), as well as for the educators who work with these students. Complex texts require students to master academic language, which poses a particular challenge for students who have traditionally struggled with English fluency. The authors use Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail to demonstrate what language complexity looks like and to highlight strategies that teachers can use to help ELs and LMs access these texts.

**This document is considered a priority reading.