September 20, 2013

Massive Open Online Course for Educators around Common Core State Standards and ELLs

Understanding Language will be offering a short Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for educators this fall. Below are some relevant details about the course. We hope that many of you can join so we can learn from your rich experiences in classrooms, schools, districts, and networks!

Course Title: Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering the Language of the Common Core State Standards
Dates: Oct 21, 2013- Dec 09, 2013

Description: The Common Core State Standards for English ELA and Mathematics emphasize improving the quality of student-to-student discourse as a major feature of instruction. The new standards specifically describe the importance of students understanding the reasoning of others and engaging in meaningful conversations using evidence for claims. Yet this type of student-to-student discourse tends to be rare in classrooms. Common classroom activities such as whole class discussions, jigsaws, and think-pair-shares, can have the appearance of constructive interactions, but they often do not provide adequate opportunities for all students to engage in academically rich, back-and-forth dialogs.

This short course for educators looks closely at student-to-student discourse and addresses how to facilitate student engagement in the types of interactions required by the new standards. It organizes a massive collaboration of educators who wish to support students, particularly English Language Learners, to co-create and build upon each other’s ideas as they interact with the content. Starting with the notion that in order to improve the quality of student discourse, educators need to listen closely to existing talk, the course asks participants to gather, analyze, and share examples of student conversations from their classrooms. The overall goal is for participating educators to better understand student-student classroom discourse and use what they learn to facilitate higher quality interactions that build disciplinary knowledge and skills.

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