Review Your Student’s WIDA Screener or ACCESS Scores
If you are your school or district’s ESL teacher, you can find this information in WIDA-AMS at https://www.drcedirect.com/all/eca-portal-ui/welcome/WIDA. After reviewing their scores, they should be written in a Can Do chart for their mainstream teachers. The Can Do chart tells teachers exactly that- what they can do in each of the four domains of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The Can Do charts are also broken down between grade levels. Here is one for grades 6-8:
The student’s name should be written in each level and domain that reflects their scores. For example, say you have Rocio Hernandez and she is written in as a level 1 for listening and a level 2 for speaking. Then you know that Rocio can follow one-step commands, match social language to a visual, and identify things from oral statements and questions using gestures. For level 2 speaking, you should expect to see her use some high frequency words and phrases, express main ideas, describe situations with modeled sentences, describe everyday routines and needs, and communicate socially.
After understanding a student’s abilities from the Can Do chart, the ESL teacher and the mainstream teacher should also be able to look at the next level and use this to set goals for their students. As the year goes on, teachers should try to integrate things from the next level into their lessons through Model Performance Indicators, or into daily interactions with the student. Each student will progress at different speeds and levels, so it is important to differentiate and use different MPIs (Model Performance Indicators) as needed between students.
Choose Your WIDA Standard
The WIDA standards are very simple. There are 5:
• Social and Instructional Language
• The Language of Language Arts
• The Language of Mathematics
• The Language of Science
• The Language of Social Studies
If your school requires you to put a standard in a lesson or whiteboard protocol, this is what you will write. The MPI is the most important part of the standard, and should be individualized for each student as needed.
Make Your Model Performance Indicator
The MPI has three parts: language function, the topic, and the support. The support is where you can get flexible and change between students. One student may benefit from a different support depending on their level and domain strengths. Similarly, the language function may need to be changed as well. Rocio may only be able to retell facts (language function), while Jimmy may be able to analyze and draw conclusions.
To look at more examples or find out more information on MPIs, you can go to the WIDA blog at http://widaatwcer.blogspot.com/2011/11/transformations-part-2.html.
Choose the Domain and Bloom's Verb
Will you be focusing on listening, reading, writing, or speaking? Your MPI depends on this. Once you decide, see the chart below. The left side is verbs used for speaking and writing, and the right is for listening and reading. These verbs are also called the language function.
Content and Student Supports
The content is essentially the standard that you are teaching. Maybe you are focusing on the TN ELA Standard: 11-12.W.TTP.3 Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. How will you support your EL students in doing this task? How will you help them write this narrative so that they are successful and understand the task and skill fully? This is where your supports come in. The more advanced the student is, the more you can gradually release the supports so that they can try more on their own.
Here are some example supports to choose from:
Sample Prompt: You have read an excerpt from Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, in which Tom fools his friends to whitewash a fence for him. At the end of the excerpt, Tom has learned that in order to make a person want something, “it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” Write a narrative, set in modern times, that teaches the same lesson that Tom has learned. Be sure to use both the voice of a narrator, as well as dialogue, in your story. Follow the conventions of standard written English. Write your narrative in the space provided.
Here are some example MPIs for each level:
Beginning: Fill in the blank using a word bank that shows something that is "difficult to attain" in a plot chart with an L1 partner.
Intermediate: List words or statements from a word bank that show something that is "difficult to attain" in an outline with sentence frames.
Advanced: Write a narrative that shows something that is "difficult to attain" using sentence and paragraph frames.
How does the progression of proficiency level get more rigorous for an EL doing this assignment? When making your MPIs and teaching skills, keep your student's needs and strengths in mind. Each of your ELs learn language in different speeds through the different domains.
I teach high school ESL and peer coach high school ESL teachers in my district. I enjoy sharing my strategies and materials online and love learning new things from other teachers of Emergent Bilinguals! Let's learn together!