Content Area Learning Strategies that Help Students Take Responsibility for the Learning

CCSSO Adolescent Literacy Toolkit


Judi Allen, Director of History & Social Studies, Malden Public Schools

Jane Skelton, Director of English, Malden Public Schools

Wikispace Design:

Michele Magner, Technology Integration Specialist, Malden Public Schools

Judi Allen, Curriculum Director of History & Social Studies

Course Dates:
June 22, 23, 24, 25, 2009 from 8:00 to 3:30

Course Materials

Participants should bring their text book(s) or whatever content they use at the beginning of the year
§ Curriculum map
§ Teacher Text
§ Resource materials



Class Readings

Introduction and Course Description:

This course is designed to equip participants with essential knowledge and skills to effectively plan strategic instruction at the secondary level (grades 6-10). The primary focus will be on integrating key instructional strategies that support student learning. There will also be a focus on differentiated instruction, formative/authentic assessment, and scaffolding to support the gradual release of responsibility model of teaching. Course participants will master instructional strategies and design lessons that integrate these strategies into their particular content area. In addition to the 4 days in the summer, participants will attend two 3-hour follow-up days in the fall to share resources, best practices and their reflections. The course content will be learned through experiential, participatory and process-oriented strategies that can be used across all content areas.

Course Objectives:
At the end of this course, you will be able to:
  • Integrate key instructional strategies into content curriculum
  • Explicitly teach and model a literacy support strategy using a best practice, the gradual release of responsibility
  • Develop an understanding of the conceptual ideas related to the gradual release of responsibility
  • Develop lessons for strategic instruction that supports students’ critical thinking and their ability to learn

Essential Questions for the Course:
  • What are the skills and factors that influence comprehension, and particularly of content area text?
  • Why is it important to understand ‘best practice’ strategies to promote students’ active engagement with content area text?
  • How can we best emphasize vocabulary instruction and word analysis within the content area classroom?
  • How do we develop independent learners through strategic instruction and authentic assessment?