Authentic Communication for Learning
​in Math, Science, History-Social Science, Arts, & Electives

Content Area Learning. Even though communication hasn't been emphasized much in content areas other than ELA, learning in other classes can actually benefit a lot from the three features of authentic communication. Why? When students learn through building up a big idea, they tend to better remember the big and small ideas.  They also tend to think more deeply, and practice their thinking skills as they engage in communication activities. Also, especially in speaking, listening, and conversation activities, students have a chance to get feedback on how clear and strong their ideas are, and they can work to make their ideas clearer and stronger.

Language development & "Integrated ELD." Paradoxically, language actually develops more when you are not focusing on developing it. When fostering language growth, it is tempting to focus on the easier-to-see little trees (vocabulary and grammar) and test for these things, but it is essential to stay focused on the forests of meaning and building up of ideas. Therefore, in many cases, students actually learn more rich and robust language in math, science, history, social studies, arts, and electives, especially in settings where they are building up ideas with engaging tasks.

RESOURCES FOR AUTHENTIC CONTENT LEARNING 

Math Paired Conversation Protocol
This tool guides pairs through an effective conversation to collaboratively solve complex math problems.

Causes & Effects Visual Organizer
This visual helps students to engage in cause and effect thinking and assign values to their ideas.


Communicativeness Design and Observation Tool 
This tool helps teachers to use three features of communicativeness to improve language development activities across disciplines.​

Information Gap Activities
These activities provide different information to students in a pair or group who need to share it and listen to others in order to accomplish a task (a bit like jigsaws). In every activity, though, students should bridge gaps to build up important concepts/ideas.


- Opinion Formation Cards (cell phones in school) [Students form an opinion by talking to others about what is on the cards.]