Dr. Harry Stein, Manhattan College
Academic Literacy is not only an idea it is a series of social studies teaching and learning activities for our classrooms, assignments, and evaluations. We need to link these activities to four other mandated ideas that affect teachers and students. These are school district mandated planning procedures, the mandated observation and evaluation of teachers, required teacher professional development, and the general philosophies that guide education in the fifty states and 12,000 public school districts.
Illustration #1 is a weekly Academic Literacy Planning chart. It is a supplement to normal district plans that call for the identification of State standards, content teaching/learning objectives, selection of materials, and assessment.
This planning chart identifies the four major elements in Academic Literacy, gathering and organizing information (I and II) critical thinking (III and IV) memory (V) and Writing (VI). Using the Activities Handbook teachers can identify which activities they might use as students interact with content materials.
At the bottom of the chart is a section showing how social studies teachers might coordinate with other faculty members. Some students also go the remedial reading and writing teachers. NCLB, NO Child Left Behind or Title I) staff. Some go to ELL staff, English language literacy. If they know what content is being taught in a social studies class they can find similar content and use it for their skill objectives. The inclass support teacher is assigned to be with special education students mainstreamed in a social studies class.
Illustration #2 shows the commonly used Danielson theory for teacher observation and evaluation. Academic Literacy activities are part of Domain 3 Instruction.
Illustration #3 is a framework for creating a permanent professional learning community in a school or district.
Finally, Academic Literacy is always a tool in carrying out an educational belief. The Aims of Education thinking of Eugene Maleska offers a wide variety of choices.