Summer 2018


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Melissa Erikson

Content Expert

Anne Kaufman


Participation in academic conversation and disagreement with peers is a key vehicle in development of critical thinking and academic language. Ninth-grade English Learners and mainstream students often have difficulty building on each others’ thoughts during discussions, rather than sharing their ideas developed in isolation. Students need multiple experiences of direct instruction of content-embedded language and content coaching to develop these advanced discussion interactions. In order to answer the question How to prepare mid-level ELs to demonstrate critical thinking and advanced discussion skills?this project designs curriculum for a structured debate Paideia seminar questioning the role of borders. This two-week long curriculum plan will both introduce key concepts for a migration unit as well as instruct in text comprehension, academic language and discourse skills using transfer between modalities. The curriculum follows the Paideia discussion process of formative pre-seminar activities for content and language, the examining viewpoints seminar based on Robert Frost’s Mending Wall,and concludes with a post-seminar extension activity and class reflection. The goal is to support all students to independently engage in higher-level academic dialogue. (176 words)

Project Type



Curriculum, ESL/ ELLs, Discussion

Included in

Education Commons