WestEd and the Common Core

In speaking with my colleagues about the Common Core, one of the main concerns is finding lesson examples of the Common Core Standards. However, on April 18 through the 19th I attended a quarterly WestEd board meeting and Dr. Aida Walqui, who is Director of Teacher Professional Development at WestEd, was a guest presenter.  Dr. Walqui is also an English Language Learner curriculum expert.  Dr. Walqui’s presentation focused on a five-week ELL unit that is titled: Persuasion Across Time and Space: Analyzing and Producing Complex Texts.

Even though the unit consists of ELL lessons, Dr. Walqui states that the lessons are being piloted in Chicago in mixed ability classrooms with great success. The unit is specifically written for seventh and eighth grade students, but high school and elementary teachers can adjust the lessons accordingly to meet the needs of their students and it gives teachers an idea of what Common Core lessons should look like. To give readers an idea of the five-week lesson plan they are as follows:

Lesson 1
Advertising in the Contemporary World:

An Introduction to Persuasive Texts

Can You Live With Dirty Water

Lesson 2
Persuasion in Historical Context:

The Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg Address

Lesson 3
Ethos, Logos and Pathos in Civil Rights Movement Speeches:

Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream”

Robert Kennedy “On the Death of Martin Luther King”

George Wallace “The Civil Rights Movement: Fraud, Sham, and Hoax”

Lesson 4
Persuasion as Text:

Organizational, Grammatical and Lexical Moves in Barbara Jordan’s All Together Now

Barbara Jordan “Altogether Now”

Lesson 5
Putting It Together: Analyzing and Producing Persuasive Text

The Girl Who Silenced the World for Five Minutes

For the past few weeks I have been reviewing the unit and find it to be teacher friendly and student engaging. Persuasion Across Time and Space: is a unit that I will use in my classroom next school year. If interested, one can download the entire unit at no cost from Stanford University’s Understanding Language Program. http://ell.stanford.edu/teaching_resources/ela


Manuel Chavez

Manuel Chavez

San Manuel, AZ

My name is Manuel Michael Chavez Jr. My greatest contribution to education is being able to relate my 20 years of work experience to my students, which I obtained while working for Magma/BHP Copper, one of the largest underground copper mines in the world. My intentions had been to work for Magma Copper Company for the summer and return to school the following fall to pursue my dream of becoming an educator. Twenty years later, I was still employed with Magma Copper and had held various underground mining positions with the last position being a heavy equipment mechanic. In 1999, the mine announced complete closure and I had been forced and given a second opportunity to pursue my dream. What a bittersweet life-changing event in my life. I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science degree in education from NAU and have been teaching for the Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District in Southwest Arizona for nine years and am pursuing National Board Certification. In 2009, I was selected as an Ambassador for Excellence for the Arizona Educational Foundation and currently sit on the Board of Directors for Sun Life Family Health Care Clinics and the WestEd organization. It is my belief that by intertwining my classroom lessons with my own life experiences and providing my students real world life scenarios, students become engaged in the lessons and develop a desire to learn.

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