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There are six new shifts in the ELA Common Core Curriculum: 1. Balancing Informational and Literary Text is first. 2. Building Knowledge in the Disciplines. 3. Staircase of Complexity, with an emphasis on teaching using scaffolding techniques. 4. Text Based Answers: teachers must be diligent in assuring that classroom experiences stay deeply connected to the text. 5. Writing From Sources is next, and writing needs to show the use of evidence to inform or make an argument. 6. Building Vocabulary: requires the student to constantly build up new academic vocabulary which they will need to succeed in the classroom. 21st Century Skills are also important concepts for success, and the four main skills, called The Four Cs, are: 1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving 2. Communication 3. Collaboration 4. Creativity and Innovation

Research has found that it takes between 5-7 years, on average, to learn a new language and ESL Students tend to progress through five stages of language acquisition. A recent NYS Bilingual Common Core Initiative labels these five stages (progressions) as: Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, Expanding and Commanding. Beginner students respond well to comprehensible input and scaffolding strategies. We start at the student’s language proficiency level and build on background knowledge and experience. We then expand on students’ home languages, culture, and prior knowledge to make content meaningful and to accelerate language transfer. Other strategies include scaffolding, pre-teaching vocabulary, and the use of graphic organizers and bilingual picture dictionaries. Technology is also important, and there are many great sites for ELLs.

There are so many changes happening in the field of education, and teachers need to keep up with the trends. Some of the changes include: - Common Core Curriculum - 21st Century Skills - New Teacher Evaluations - New Testing Formats New York State is on the cutting edge of these changes, and there are many great resources for parents and students. I try to stay on the cutting edge, too, and I have compiled many of these resources for use by my students and parents.

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