WiDA Can Dos


Here’s info I learned about the standards as well as my reasoning for why they are useful:

As a future ESL teacher (fingers crossed!), It will be my duty to ensure that English Language Learners not only obtain English Language Proficiency to function in the classroom but also develop the skills needed to apply this proficiency in all content areas throughout their entire academic career. Teachers across the country already have a common set of content and performance standards indicating what children should know and what they should be able to do at various stages of their academic career. These standards, however, assume that the students are all at or about the same level of English Language Proficiency therefore already know how to generally function in a classroom. For this reason, these standards aren’t necessarily applicable for teachers of ELLs, at least not alone. Instead, teachers of ELLs need their own standards incorporating milestones regarding English Language Proficiency itself as well as milestones indicating how ELLs should apply their language skills into core content classes.

Luckily, there are the WIDA ELP Standards (5)! These standards provide the foundation for teachers of ELLs to identify not only where their students should be with their ELP but also how to assist students in incorporating their growing knowledge of the language in Social and instructional language, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. These standards are available in two different frameworks, Summative and Formative, which are essentially the building blocks that help teachers plan their curriculum and assessment English Language Learners. The frameworks consist of ELP standards, language domains, grade level clusters and language proficiency levels. Having two frameworks enables teachers to measure not only how students are doing in activities daily but also how they are doing and how they are progressing in the long run with their ELP.


ELP Standards setup and into to CAN DOs

Before I can suggest practical uses for the CAN DO descriptors, I need to make sure I have a complete understanding of the standards and their implications so I will do my best to demonstrate my comprehension: So, the WIDA ELP standards were created so that teachers of ELL have a way of measuring ELP in a classroom in general and also within 5 content areas. These 5 standards are in 2 different frameworks, summative and formative. Each framework has the same 5 standards. The frameworks are used for planning instruction and assessment. The frameworks them selves are made up of ELP standards, language domains, grade level clusters and language proficiency levels. With the frameworks and standards are Performance Definition which essentially indicate where a student is on a spectrum of 1- Entering to 6- Reaching of what they will process, understand, produce or use. The definitions are based on 3 criteria- linguistic complexity, vocabulary usage, and language control. Within each Performance definition there are certain CAN DO descriptors that teachers of ELL can use to make his or her own lessons, share with fellow teachers to help them differentiate their instruction to accommodate the needs of the ELL or even share with the student and their family. There are MPI strands within every standard, which can also be used to create individual lessons.

That being said, sounds like CAN DOs are essential for effectively collaborating with fellow teachers regarding ELL students. They serve as a simpler way to bridge the gap between ELL instruction and content instruction. With CAN DOs, ESL teachers can let fellow teachers what proficiency students have in reading, writing, speaking and listening and help them differentiate their lessons accordingly.


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