By Dr. Elizabeth Stevens and Dr. Denise Johnson. Literacy 101: Understanding the edtpa Literacy Terms and Tasks

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1 By Dr. Elizabeth Stevens and Dr. Denise Johnson Literacy 101: Understanding the edtpa Literacy Terms and Tasks

2 edtpa for Elementary Teacher Candidates The edtpa Elementary Education assessment is composed of four tasks: 1. Planning for Literacy Instruction and Assessment 2. Instructing and Engaging Students in Literacy Learning 3. Assessing Students Literacy Learning 4. Assessing Students Mathematics Learning

3 What do our candidates do for the Literacy Tasks 1-3? Plan three to five lessons or three to five hours of connected instruction referred to as a learning segment Video record their teaching Analyze their teaching and their students learning Highlight students academic language development and use (Scale, 2015a, pp. 2-3)

4 Literacy Task 1: Planning for Instruction and Assessment For Task 1, candidates will write: A description of their context for learning (See Scale, 2015a, pp ). Three to five lesson plans with the same central focus. The central focus is a description of the important identifiable theme, essential question, or topic within the curriculum that is the purpose of the instruction of the learning segment. Commentary explaining their plans (FIVE PROMPTS). Candidates have nine single-spaced pages to complete the commentary and answer the prompts. Artifacts (e.g., copies of all planned blank assessments, copies of key instructional materials, and commentary). (See Scale, 2015a, pp Refer to evidence charts. )

5 Literacy Planning in Task 1 Candidates should: Choose one language function (i.e., action verb in the learning target/objective). Identify a learning task(s) where students use the language function. Plan an essential literacy strategy for comprehending or composing text. Make connections to related skills. Make connections between reading and writing. Explain how learning tasks and materials lead students to independently apply the essential literacy strategy and skills. Plan supports that meet the needs of students, for both individuals and in small groups. Provide language supports that address the use of academic language. Justify learning tasks and their appropriateness for students. Make connections to research and practice. Design assessments to allow students to demonstrate their learning. (Scale, 2015a, pp )

6 Components of the Lesson in the Learning Segment (Scale, 2015a, p. 69)

7 Task 1 and Academic Language in edtpa Academic language is the means by which students develop and express content understandings. Academic language represents the language of the discipline that students need to learn (read, listen) and use to participate and engage (write, speak) in meaningful ways in the content area. Academic language includes: Language demands Language supports (Scale, 2015b, p. 14)

8 Academic Language Academic Language Language Demands Language Function Vocabulary Syntax & Discourse

9 Language Demand Language demand is the way that academic language (language functions, vocabulary, discourse, syntax) is used by students to participate in the learning tasks through reading, writing, listening, and/or speaking to demonstrate their disciplinary understanding. The language demand can be represented in the product the student makes, such as an essay, paragraph, sentence, speech, lab report, reflection, play, poem, comic strip, magazine article, poster, etc. Language demand examples: List unknown words by writing them on chart paper (syntax) Recite definitions to partner (discourse) Identify the word s part of speech (syntax) Use the word correctly in a sentence (syntax) Use the words in sentence frames (syntax) Use the new words in a narrative paragraph (discourse) (Scale, 2015a, p. 67; Scale, 2015b, pp )

10 Language function is the kind of thinking, reading, writing, listening, and speaking, students are doing in the lesson. It is the action verb in the learning target. Language function examples: Describe how the character feels Summarize the meaning of Persuade your reader... Inform your reader Evaluate the text Justify your thinking Identify the problem Analyze the character Predict the ending of the story Compare two characters in a story Argue the point of view of the character Retell the plot Debate the issue Explain the events in the story Express an opinion (Scale, 2015b, p. 16) Language Function

11 Vocabulary Vocabulary includes any words the student should be able to define in order to comprehend the content of the lesson (i.e., Tier 2 and Tier 3 words) (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002). Tier 3 words (specific to the discipline): Onomatopoeia Simile Metaphor Proton Stalagmite Quadrilateral Tier 2 words (used across a variety of domains by mature language users): Characteristics Infer Analyze Compare/contrast Synthesize

12 Discourse Discourse supports literacy in the lesson by posing additional language demands for students during content learning. Discourse refers to how people who are members of a discipline talk and write. Each discipline has its own way of communicating what they know and how they show they know it. It is how they create and share knowledge. Discourse examples: Think-pair-share Fill out a story map Write a descriptive paragraph about a topic Write a persuasive essay Share opinions Class discussion Ask and answer questions Write a poem

13 Syntax Syntax supports literacy in the lesson by posing additional language demands for students during content learning. Syntax is the set of conventions for organizing words, phrases, and symbols together in structures. Syntax examples: Structure of a sentence (e.g., length, word order, grammar, arrangement of phrases, active or passive voice, etc.) Rules of language Sequence of events (e.g., using signal words such as first, then next, last) Subject (e.g., verb agreement) Conventions Formulas Thinking stems Charts Graphic organizers (Scale, 2015b, p. 15)

14 Literacy Strategy A literacy strategy is an approach selected deliberately by a reader or writer to comprehend or compose text. When students are able to select and use strategies automatically, they have achieved independence in using the strategy to accomplish reading and writing goals.

15 Essential Literacy Strategies Essential literacy strategies for reading comprehension are the behaviors or skills that individuals use to comprehend text: Analyzing characters or arguments Analyzing text structures Summarizing or retelling plot or main ideas Comparing characters or versions of stories Comparing points of view Arguing/persuading using textual evidence Inferring meaning Using textual evidence Describing a process or a topic Sequencing of events Supporting predictions using textual evidence Interpreting a character s actions or feelings Drawing evidence Retelling a story Identifying story elements, character traits, or themes Identifying characteristics of informational texts

16 Essential Literacy Strategies Essential literacy strategies for writing composition are the behaviors or skills that individuals use to compose text: Brainstorming writing topics Organizing ideas before writing Note taking from informational text to support writing about it Using graphic organizers for prewriting or revising Using a rubric to revise a draft Using a writing checklist to edit Using quotes as evidence to support an argument

17 Related Skills Related skills are literacy skills students will develop and practice while learning a literacy strategy in the learning segment. This is not to be confused with prerequisite skills, which are developed before the learning segment begins. Reading comprehension: Print concepts Decoding/phonics Phonological awareness Word recognition Fluency miscue self-correction Fluency Language conventions Word analysis Syllabic, structural, or morphological analysis (affixes and roots) Vocabulary meaning in context Text structure features (Scale, 2015b, pp ) Composition: Language conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation) Applying text structure features, Editing/revising Sentence fluency Organization (topic sentences, transitions, paragraph structure, etc.) Attributes of genre Using descriptive language Word choice Using active voice

18 Reading-Writing Connections Examples of activities that promote reading-writing connections: Reading and researching informational text to inform an essay Writing interpretations or analysis of informational text Writing in a journal Making predictions Making personal or text-text connections Note taking Writing book reviews Writing from the perspective of a character Writing alternative endings for a story Writing in a style that emulates a model or a mentor text Writing responses to persuasive essays that have been read Using stop and jot during a read aloud or shared reading engagement (Scale, 2015b, p. 31)

19 Language Supports Language supports are ways to help students with language (ex. modeling, feedback). The scaffold, representations, pedagogical strategies teachers provide to help learners understand. It is what the teacher does and the tools the teacher uses to support students learning and use of the language demands. Language support examples: List words on paper, show example Define using a dictionary, demonstrate how Speak definition to partner, circulate and listen Write the interpretation of word, collect and provide feedback Guided practice Use graphic organizers Model literacy strategies Create word charts Use sentence frames Realia (objects from real life) Provide content support (e.g., use of base 10 in math) (Scale, 2015a, p. 16)

20 Example Objective for learning task: Evaluate a friendly letter. Identified Language Demand Function: Evaluate Vocabulary: Greeting, salutation, body Discourse: Structure and elements of a friendly letter Language Support Discuss what evaluate means, model how to evaluate a well-written paragraph. As a class, define vocabulary and create word wall for vocabulary list. Model identifying the elements of a friendly letter using an example on the SmartBoard. Label each element and discuss the process. (Scale, 2015b, p. 16)

21 Example If the central focus is centered around retelling: Literacy strategy: Summarizing a story Related skills: Decoding, recalling, sequencing If the central focus is centered around persuasive writing: Literacy strategy: Using evidence to support an argument Related skills: Writing paragraphs, correct verb tense, conventions If the central focus is centered around information learned from reading informational text: Literacy strategy: Analyzing non-fiction text structures Related skills: Word recognition, using picture clues, vocabulary meaning in context

22 Central focus: Students will compare and contrast two characters in a story. Learning target: I can compare and contrast (literacy strategy) two characters using a Venn diagram and identify three similarities and three differences. Academic language examples: Language demands: Write, speak Let s pull it all together! Language function: Analyze (Compare and contrast is a form of analysis.) Syntax: Draw and fill in a Venn diagram Discourse: Write about the comparison in one paragraph, read paragraph aloud to peer Vocabulary: Characterization, character traits Language supports: Make a list of character traits with the whole class, show examples, peer work, circulate and provide verbal feedback, meet with small groups

23 Literacy Task 2 : Instructing and Engaging Students in Literacy Learning For task 2, candidates will: Demonstrate how they support and engage students in literacy learning in two video clips (from learning segment, not to exceed a total of 20 minutes). Video clip(s) cannot be edited once begun. Feature the whole class or a targeted group of students in video. Refer to scenes in the clips where they provide a positive learning environment and rapport with students. Write commentary responding to (FIVE PROMPTS). Candidates have six single-spaced pages to complete the commentary and answer the prompts (using time stamps from videos). (Scale, 2015b, pp )

24 Literacy Teaching in Task 2 Candidates should: Explicitly teach students how to use the essential literacy strategy and provide students with opportunities for guided practice. Model the essential literacy strategy in the lesson. Engage students in the learning task(s) to deepen and extend their understanding of the literacy strategy and related skills. Support students as they practice or apply the strategy to comprehend or compose text. Make connections between students prior academic learning, personal and cultural assets, and new learning. Elicit and build on student responses to clarify the essential literacy strategy using related skills. Justify use of principles of research. (Scale, 2015a, pp )

25 Literacy Task 3: Assessing Students Literacy Learning For Task 3, candidates must: Select one assessment that allows students to display a range of understanding of the specified subject-specific elements of the central focus. Define and submit the evaluation criteria (e.g., performance indicators that are used to assess evidence of student learning, rubric, etc.). Select three student work samples that represent the patterns of learning from the whole class. These students will be the three focus students. At least one focus student out of the three must have specific learning needs (e.g., IEP, ELL, struggling reader, gifted). Write commentary responding to FOUR PROMPTS in no more than ten singlespaced pages. Analyze and document the feedback they gave to the three students on the work sample itself, or in a video or audio clip. (This can be scanned student work or a video or audio file of no more than five minutes.) Provide evidence of students understanding and use of targeted academic language function and other language demands. (Scale, 2015a, pp )

26 Assessing Literacy in Task 3 Candidates should: Analyze evidence of student learning related to the essential literacy strategy and related skills. Provide specific feedback to students that addresses both strengths and weaknesses related to the learning objectives/literacy learning. Describe how they will support focus students to understand their strengths and weaknesses related to the leaning objectives/literacy learning. Provide evidence of students use of language function, vocabulary, syntax, and discourse in ways that develop content understandings. Explain next steps for targeted support to individuals or groups to improve their learning relative to the essential literacy strategy or related skills.

27 Contact Us Dr. Denise Johnson Dr. Elizabeth Stevens

28 References Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford. Scale. (2015a). Assessment handbook: Elementary education. Stanford, CA. Scale. (2015b). Make good choices: A support guide for edtpa candidate. Stanford, CA. Retrieved March 11, 2016 from

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