Capstone Project Title
Jana Lo Bello Miller
Although speaking and listening skills are included in the Common Core State Standards, they are often underemphasized in English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms and across disciplines. Research shows the benefits of cooperative and discussion-based learning for students, yet students are often not provided with the instruction and practice necessary for success in these areas. Especially in middle school, students thrive when given opportunities to connect with others. This project, a unit of study designed for a middle school ELA classroom, was designed to provide students with the academic discussion tools necessary to deepen literacy skills. Written through a culturally responsive lens, the lessons found in this unit aim to elevate the authentic voices of all students, welcoming and celebrating diversity of thought and communication style. The unit is intended to be implemented for four consecutive weeks at the beginning of the school year in a 6th, 7th, or 8th grade classroom, with the skills taught being reinforced throughout the year. With a rubric grounded in state standards as well as the principles of Accountable Talk, students are assessed on their ability to engage in rigorous discussions with their classmates. They are expected to provide evidence to support their thinking as well as respond to and challenge the thinking of others. The ultimate goal of this unit is therefore not only to strengthen discussion and literacy skills, but also to support the creation of a classroom culture rooted in community
Curriculum, Literacy, Multicultural Education, Teachers/ Teaching
O’Brien, Emily, "Elevating Student Voices Through Rigorous Academic Discussion: A Unit of Study for the Middle School English Language Arts Classroom" (2023). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Projects. 936.
School of Education Student Capstone Projects