How can disciplinary literacy practices in social studies help us to cultivate the skills people need for life?

by Stacie Woodward Disciplinary Literacy and Social Studies Consultant, Oakland Schools Social studies education should prepare students not just for college and careers, but for life---particularly, civic life.  All students deserve to leave high school with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that enable them to effectively do things like serving on juries, deciphering the platforms of political candidates, spotting fake news, and engaging in problem-solving and informed action to better their own communities.   Perhaps now, more than ever, the experiences in social studies classrooms need to focus on building the critical thinking, problem-solving, and participatory skills vital to engaged citizenship. Thankfully, after years of marginalization of the social studies and the narrowing of the curriculum as a response to the demands of high-stakes testing, there is an emerging emphasis on shifting toward this type of powerful social studies education. In 2013, the College, Career,

Disciplinary Literacy Is Easier When Using a Resource that Supports Content Area Literacy

Disciplinary Literacy Is Easier When Using a Resource that Supports Content Area Literacy  By Wendi Vogel, Kent ISD Science Consultant and Disciplinary Literacy Task Force Member Essential Practices for Disciplinary Literacy Instruction in the Secondary Classroom: Grades 6 to 12 focus on literacy in the content area. This brings up a lot of questions around how teachers all over the state might access resources that already utilize Disciplinary Literacy Essentials (DLE) instructional practices in an equitable manner. Then, thinking from a system's lens, how does a district provide this opportunity for each teacher in grades 6-12? Nationwide, there are science education researchers, classroom teachers, and science education specialists using grant funds to develop Open Education Resources (OERs) . These resources focus on phenomenon or problem based learning, which is DLE #1. An entire science unit is written around a phenomenon or problem students will make sense of and be able to

Intersections of Culturally Responsive Mathematics Teaching and Disciplinary Literacy

Intersections of Culturally Responsive Mathematics Teaching and Disciplinary Literacy By Cherron Ramsey, Wayne RESA, and Dr. Kristi Hanby, Wayne RESA   It never fails; year after year secondary mathematics teachers hear the same questions from students: when am I ever going to use this and why do I need to know this?  When we hear this same refrain repeated annually, it’s possible we may come to think of it as commonplace and unavoidable.  But it may be worth asking ourselves what is behind that question. Let’s take this question at its face value and consider its foundations.  What are students experiencing in their own day-to-day lives and why does the mathematical work they are doing in classrooms feel so disconnected?  Perhaps this question continues to be at the forefront of students' minds because they truly don't see the connection or relevance to the mathematics content they are asked to complete.  As mathematics teachers, we may realize the importance of determining if

Literacy in Math

Literacy in Math by Darin Stockdill, PhD Design Coordinator, CEDER In this post, we’re taking up the following important question: “Why is literacy important in a math classroom?”  One approach I take when considering this kind of question is to immediately flip it on its head and ask, “ Why would literacy NOT be important in a math classroom? ”  Of course, answering either version of the question ultimately depends upon the definition of literacy being used.  In other words, whether or not one thinks literacy is important in a math classroom depends largely upon how literacy is defined.  When many people hear the word literacy , they often first think of reading, and when we think of reading, particularly with respect to learning to read, we often think of reading narratives, especially fictional stories.  Perhaps this is because many people learn to read in school and at home with alphabet and picture books, and then move on to short chapter books.  So our notion of learning to re

Charting a New Course: Supporting Student Engagement within the ELA DLEs

Charting a New Course: Supporting Student Engagement within the ELA DLEs By Victoria Les, St. Clair County RESA; Liz Lietz, Macomb ISD and Mary-Lu Strimbel, Wayne RESA Educators have spent the last school year painstakingly navigating through the storm of pandemic learning. Just as a storm at sea is brought on by the dynamic relationship of the ocean surface, wind, and atmospheric pressure, the 2020-2021 school year created conditions which upset the balance between school safety and educating our students. Teachers and administrators have been in survival mode doing their best to build virtual relationships with students, find access to high-quality texts, and create opportunities for collaboration. As ISD/RESA professionals who support educators, we have been riding this wave of uncertainty and doing our best to be a life-boat during these stormy seas. We fished through our resources to provide professional learning opportunities teachers would find timely, and help teachers chart th