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Stanford-Led Common Core Project for ELLs Previews New Resources

For those of you hungry for resources, advice, ideas, or guidance on how to prepare educators for teaching the common standards to English-learners, the team of prominent experts working on exactly this issue has begun to roll out new draft materials.

The group—led by Stanford University education professor Kenji Hakuta and Maria Santos, the former head of programs for ELLs in New York City's public schools—gave a preview of several resources under development at a Seattle meeting of the Council of the Great City Schools earlier this month. Gabriela Uro, who heads up ELL policy and research for the council, is a member of Hakuta and Santos' "Understanding Language" team.

Among the documents the team shared is a draft of six instructional principles to help guide teachers who work with ELLs as they implement the more rigorous math and English/language arts standards. The very first principle, for example, calls for leveraging ELLs native language and culture.

As part of that draft document, the team also wrote specific "teacher actions" under each instructional principle to highlight actual practices teachers should use in their classrooms. They did the same for principals and other school-level administrators, as well as for districtwide leaders, articulating very specific actions education leaders should take to help ensure ELLs get full access to the more demanding standards.

The team gave other presentations as well, including one on a working draft of an instructional unit in middle school English/language arts that will be an exemplar for teachers to emulate. The team is seeking school districts to review the draft unit and provide feedback before the unit makes its official debut later in June. There's also a presentation on the language challenges that ELLs will face with the new math standards.

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