Designing a summer school curriculum that builds background knowledge to increase English learner vocabulary





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The research question addressed in this project was, how does one design an effective summer school curriculum for first grade English learners that builds background knowledge to increase student vocabulary? The motivation behind the capstone was the frustration the teacher felt when teaching summer school to English learners who needed more than another day behind a desk in a classroom. It details the design of a curriculum that supports an already existing summer school curriculum but offers ideas for building background knowledge through hands-on learning activities, read alouds, independent reading and the implementation of Thinking Maps. The author follows the backwards design approach, by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins but also integrates rubrics that follow the WIDA (World Class Instructional Design and Development) CAN DO descriptors. Fundamental to the entire paper was the research on schema theory and how learners acquire and store new information.

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