National ESL standards for Pre-K-12 students present three main goals: 1) to use English to communicate in social settings; 2) to use English to achieve academically in all content areas; 3) to use English in socially and culturally appropriate ways. Each goal has three standards some of which appear to be key standards for my unit:
1.2. Students will interact in, through, and with spoken and written English for personal expression and enjoyment.
2.2. Students will use English to obtain, process, construct, and provide subject matter information in spoken and written form.
3.3. Students will use appropriate learning strategies to extend their sociolinguistic and sociocultural competence.
Reading Comprehension Strategies
In 2004-2005 school year, Timothy Dwight elementary school joined the cohort of Cornerstone schools in the New Haven district. Cornerstone is a national literacy initiative that promotes best practices and teaches balance literacy. Included in the balance literacy approach is the teaching of comprehension strategies: connecting, picturing, wondering, predicting, noticing, and figuring out. These strategies are integrated throughout the curriculum. I anticipate that when I begin teaching this unit to my fourth graders next year they will experience no evident difficulties in using these strategies while reading stories about responsibility.
CMT Reading Objectives
I hope my teaching unit would become a sound addition to the core curriculum for the fourth grade. Because the unit incorporates working with stories I also decided to correlate the unit's objectives with the Connecticut Mastery Test's reading objectives (CMT, 4th generation). I would like to capitalize on its four reading comprehension strands/objectives:
- Forming a General Understanding: Understanding the text's general content (A);
- Developing an Interpretation: Interpreting and/or explaining the text (B);
- Making Reader/Text Connections: Connecting or associating the text with life outside the text (C);
- Examining the Content and Structure: Elaborating on the text and making judgments about the text's quality and themes (D).
I anticipate that some of the actual activities may in some way duplicate the questions of the CMT. All four CMT strands have several objectives that are important for this unit. (9)