Utilizing Project 2061 and SIOP for ELLs learning science in the mainstream classroom.
Kester, Corinna M.
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With the growing number of English language learners (ELLs) within the United States’ school systems, it is important to design content area curriculums that will benefit all students’ needs. Within content area classrooms, such as science, these needs are language based as well as academic based (Wright, 2010). By comparing the academic achievement of mainstream students and ELLs, it is evident that there is an achievement gap (Santau, Maerten-Rivera & Huggins, 2011). There is a possibility that the existing curriculum and materials used in science classrooms may not be suitable for ELLs learning content alongside their native English-speaking peers, which may exacerbate the achievement gap between these two groups. This curriculum project first illustrates what literature says about effective science instruction for ELLs and outlines the modification and development of a science unit about pond life to address the needs of ELLs. The purpose of this project was to create lessons that will work towards making mastery of sixth grade science concepts more attainable for ELLs learning science in mainstream classrooms. Designed for a school district with a high concentration of ELLs who are predominantly Spanish-speaking, five units with fifty lesson plans were created with the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model to address the needs of ELLs. Further, Project 2061 was utilized to evaluate materials within these lessons.