Guide to ELA Classroom Activities that Promote Life Skills, College and Career Readiness
The Guide to ELA Classroom Activities that Promote Life Skills, College and Career Readiness was produced by World Education. It builds on a previous publication (The Life skills, College and Career Readiness Guide for ESOL Learners, October 2011). The guide “provides suggested classroom tasks that combine the academic knowledge and skills described by the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education…with behaviors and composite skills needed to succeed in college, workplace, and civic life, expressed here as Essential Competencies.”
Seven Essential Competencies required to succeed in the college, workplace, and civic life are identified. Based on the seven Essential Competencies, the Guide further defines a series of Tier One instructional tasks appropriate for 0-8 GLE, NRS low-high ABE, and college and career readiness standards (CCR) A-D and Tier Two instructional tasks appropriate for 9-12 GLE, NRS ASE, and CCR D-E. These instructional tasks are focused on three goals: (1) meeting life skills; (2) promoting college readiness; and (3) promoting career readiness. The Essential Competencies drive the instructional tasks. A cross-reference is provided between the Tier One instructional tasks and the applicable CCR English language arts/literacy (ELA/Literacy) Anchor Standards.
The Guide also includes a set of lesson plans illustrating how a Tier One task is facilitated across several class sessions as well as a sample Tier Two project that culminates in short essays and class presentations.
The resource is intended for an adult educator audience. The resource contains instructional tasks that can be implemented in the adult education classroom. These instructional tasks are focused on three goals directly related to adult education students: (1) meeting life skills; (2) promoting college readiness; and (3) promoting career readiness.
Educators might use this resource to support CCR standards-aligned teaching that integrates life and workplace skills development. It is a good ‘beginner’ resource that shows educators how to think about the CCR standards for ELA/Literacy in relation to classroom activities with which they may be familiar.
While the resource lacks details about the three key advances inherent in the CCR ELA/Literacy standards, it shows adult educators how to re-conceptualize their teaching and classrooms in light of the CCR standards. It provides ideas for integrating Essential Competencies and the CCR standards at various bands of learning. It could be useful for showing educators how to start the process of bringing the key advances in instructional practice into their classrooms and lesson planning and employ transitional activities in their classrooms. To supplement and further enhance the resource, it would be beneficial for users to pair examples of level-appropriate complex texts with text-dependent tasks that support building coherent bodies of knowledge
The tables of Tier One Tasks (pp. 13-17) and Tier Two Tasks (pp. 18-20). Tier One Tasks “require that students apply several CCR standards to achieve a focused, short-term outcome, such as writing a set of notes or a one-paragraph summary of an at-level text. Some of these tasks might also require real-world applications, such as actually entering work places or college campuses to observe classes, conduct interviews, or shadow jobs.” (Tier One Tasks relate to 0-8 GLE; NRS low-high ABE; and CCR A-D.)
Tier Two Tasks are “project-based and designed to culminate in sophisticated products such as argumentative essays, reports, and/or slide presentations.” A cross-reference is not explicitly made to CCR standards in the Tier Two Tasks. (The document states that nearly all standards will come into play.) (Tier Two Tasks relate to 9-12 GLE; NRS ASE; and CCR D-E.)
These tables and examples provide teachers with a set of guides and ideas that serve as an excellent starting point for standards and life skills integration. The text resources required to complete the indicated tasks are not suggested. Thus, teachers would also need to find and apply learning-level appropriate texts to each of the tasks. This extra step, however, would help move the resource from a focus on skills development to a focus on literacy development.
The sample units provided on pages 23 and 29 are also useful tools for educators. The two sample tasks, both centering on the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, show how complex text can be used with students at different levels.