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English Language Learners

Curriculum and Instruction

Next Generation ESL Project: Model Curriculum Units (ESL MCUs)

The Office of Language Acquisition (OLA) led the field-based "Next Generation ESL Project: Model Curriculum Units" in a key partnership with the Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (MATSOL), along with Northeast Comprehensive Center/WestEd and the support of other organizations such as the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and WIDA. The project included participation of over 30 districts across the state, as well as collaborations and consultations with local and national curriculum experts.

Collaboration Tool

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Download the fully functional version of the Collaboration Tool
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Download the accessible version of the Collaboration Tool: (DESE's own links)
This is a multi-layered, multi-purpose tool designed to help curriculum writers operationalize WIDA Standards in conjunction with the Frameworks. The goal of the Collaboration Tool is to support curricular planning with the intentional, simultaneous development of language and the analytical practices embedded in the Frameworks. It highlights the need for collaboration between language and content educators and helps teachers prioritize and strategically plan around Key Uses of Academic Language in the context of key academic practices (Cheuk, 2013) common across content area Frameworks. The Collaboration Tool and related processes are planning resources that, among other uses, can help educators prepare to create clear, standards-based language learning goals for developing curricula using the ESL unit template.


Interactive Guide to the Collaboration Tool

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Download the fully functional version of the Interactive Guide to the Collaboration Tool
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Download the accessible version of the Interactive Guide to Collaboration Tool: (DESE's own links)
This interactive guide will walk you through how you can use the the Collaboration Tool in curriculum development, starting with Focus Language Goals.


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Next Generation ESL Curriculum Resource Guide
This document provides:
  • Information about the project's context, the curriculum design framework, and how to use that framework to develop additional ESL units.
  • Description of a continuous improvement cycle prompting critical questioning and strategic decision-making that can be used to improve instructional design.
  • A collection of collaborative templates, tools, processes, protocols, and other resources used in the development of ESL MCUs (e.g., Collaboration Tool, unit template, unit lesson plan template, language unpacking tools, unit and lesson-level protocols, etc.).
  • Resources for professional learning communities (PLCs) to support collaborative ESL curriculum development.
  • Information about other key topics related to the project, such as text complexity, Universal Design for Learning, guidance related to instruction and assessment of dually identified students (ELs with a disability), critical stance, social justice, and other significant components of effective ESL curriculum.

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ESL Model Curriculum Units and videos of 8 units in action.
To access the Next Generation ESL MCUS, please visit the Model Curriculum Page. Eight units are accompanied by videos demonstrating a snapshot of the unit in action.

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Professional Development
For information on professional development related to the Next Generation ESL Model Curriculum Units as well as other offerings related to English Learners, please visit the OELAAA Professional Development page.


Other Useful Resources:

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Current Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks
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Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (CCSSO)
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Understanding Language Initiative: Language, Literacy, and Learning in the Content Areas (Stanford University)
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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessments
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WIDA Standards Framework


Last Updated: October 23, 2018
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