Speak up! Developing academic discourse through literacy skills for the middle school common core classroom

Academic discourse is an academic conversation presented orally or in writing that requires the speaker to use academic and specialized vocabulary and possess an indepth understanding of the topic at hand. Students must learn the nuances of academic discourse to voice their thoughts and ideas in a formal, mature manner. If students can do this, they will have a better chance of being successful in college, careers, and beyond. The outcome of this project is a handbook for teachers to lead students through the challenges of academic discourse. Each activity is in lesson plan format and includes recommended adaptations for 4th and 5th grade students, English Language Learners, and students with special needs. The first part of the handbook is dedicated to planning units, lessons, and writing objectives for content outcomes and language outcomes. Strategies to incorporate collaborative discussion are presented in lesson plan format with support materials. The next part of the handbook includes lessons and support materials to teach students to write and present an argument, informative/explanatory, and response to literature essays. Each of the lessons are intended to be dynamic interactions between the teacher and the student. The last part of the handbook consists of rubrics for public speaking. The lessons and minilessons are all designed to address the Common Core State Standards in a creative and engaging way.