7 Steps Review

Based on 7 Steps to Building a Language Rich Classroom

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I will demonstrate how to build academic language in my classroom by planning at least three strategies, that can include one of the following:

  • Scanning
  • Randomizing and Rotating


I will speak using the following stems:

"Three strategies I will try in my classroom are..." or

"Three strategies I am ready to implement in my classroom are..."

Academic Conversations

Please rank the level/frequency of academic conversations occurring in your classroom on a daily basis.

1. Students rarely participate in academic conversations.

2. I see pockets of implementation.

3. I often observe academic conversations.

4. My students have academic conversations on a daily basis.

7 Steps to a Language-Rich Interactive Classroom

1. Teach students strategies and language to use when they don't know what to do.

2. Have students speak in complete sentences

3. Randomize and rotate when calling on students

4. Use total response signals

5. Use visuals and vocabulary strategies that support your objectives

6. Have students participate in structured conversations

7. Have students participate in structured reading and writing activities

Step 1: Teach students strategies and language to use when they don't know what to do

Teach students what to say when they don't know what to say.

Goal: To have students respond or ask for help and then respond.

Sample poster #1

Sample poster #2

Instead of I Don't Know Game

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Step 2: Speak in complete sentences


  • Students write the same way that they speak.
  • If we expect them to write in complete sentences, we should also expect the to speak in complete sentences.
  • Students will link new words to new concepts and will be able to practice using academic language structures.
  • Provide student with stems and starters.
  • Share this expectation with parents to be practiced at home.
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Step 3: Randomize and Rotate

In order to check for student understanding, randomizing and rotating should take place in every classroom whenever there is whole-class discussion. This strategy eliminates students raising their hands. More importantly, students grow accustomed to always being prepared to respond.

Randomize responses:

  • Use popsicle sticks
  • Use index cards
  • Use sticky notes

Systemize rotating:

  • Use class roster, cards
  • Count off
  • "Students with glasses"

*Respect student's need for support

  • Rephrase as necessary
  • Have a sentence stem ready

AVOID Phrases like:

"Who can tell me...?"

"Let's see who knows...?"

"Can someone tell the class...?"

Kagan's Numbered Heads Together p. 24

1. Divide students into groups of four.

2. Ask students to count off within the group (1-4) so each person has a number

3. Ask a question

4. Give groups a chance to talk to each other about the answer.

5. Ask one number to stand up in each group. For example: "All Ones, please stand."

6. Have the number One person report for the group.

7. Instruct the students to respond with this sentence stem if they have the same response as another group: "We agree that _________ because..."

Step 4: Use total response signals

Response signals are cues students use to indicate they are ready to respond. Response signals allow students to prepare for oral or written participation.
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Step 5: Use visuals and vocabulary strategies that support your objectives

Incorporating visuals in our lessons dramatically increase students ability to understand class lessons and discussions.

Vocabulary Strategy: Scanning

1. The student survey a text from back to front looking for unfamiliar words.

2. The teacher generates a list of three to ten unfamiliar terms based on the students' survey.

3. The teacher writes short student friendly definitions for the terms, giving definitions that match the way the word is used in the context of the passage.

4. The student practices pronouncing the words during a choral reading with the teacher.

5. The students read the passage.

6. The students use some of the words during the speaking and writing tasks in the lessons. For example, students might include words as they discuss the text with a partner, or they can use them in a written summary of the text.

Step 6: Structured Conversations

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Find the QSSSA

Teacher: “What is the first step you would take in trying to determine which definition is being used with this multiple meaning word in this text? Stand up when you can complete this sentence: “The first step I would take to determine which definition is being used in this text…”

Teacher: waits until all students are standing

Teacher: "using the sentence stem, take 10 steps to find a partner and tell them your answer. If you agree with them, say “I agree because…”, If you don’t agree, say, “I disagree because…” Okay ready, go."

Teacher waits until all students are finished sharing. Teacher randomly selects a name from a stack of cards.

Practice makes perfect

Plan a QSSSA that you will use in your classroom next week. Look on page 43-44 for examples.

Step 7: Structured Reading and Writing activities

Structured reading activities will provide students with strategies that will help make sense of the text. The thinking that goes on while reading a fair tale is very different from the thinking required when reading a word problem in math class.

All structured reading activities require students to write because it is not enough to just read. Writing about the text provides a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of the text.

Structured writing activities help students determine why students need to write.

By yourself... write down --What three strategies am I ready to implement?

1. Write it then stand up when you are ready to share.

2. Find a face to face partner and determine who woke up earlier today.

3. Share your thoughts with your partner using this stem:
"I am ready to implement, __________, _____________, and _______________."

The person that woke up the earliest starts.