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UNIT CONTEXT AND RATIONALE


Background

Unit Rationale &


Purpose

Unit theme &


References

The context of this unit is a 4th grade sheltered Math ESOL class. There are eight
students in the class, with seven of them of Hispanic origin, and one of them of
Somali origin. They are all at a beginning to intermediate level of English language
proficiency, as per their last WIDA Access scores. None of the students have IEPs or
504 Plans. This unit appears in the first semester during the second quarter. This
unit was chosen for the students primarily because learning fractions and
measurements is part of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards for 4th
grade. We chose to teach this unit along with cooking and recipes, because we felt
this would be an engaging way to frame learning fractions and measurements, and
it would be a great way to activate prior knowledge.
This unit was primarily grounded in cognitive and constructivist theory. In
cognitive/constructivist theory, the process of learning is just as important as the
product of learning, and learners transform, elaborate, store and recover
information (Diaz-Rico, 2008, p. 48). Cognitive- based lessons have both content
objectives and learning strategy objectives, and focuses on how student
involvement in learning enhances engagement and comprehension. This unit
enables students to perform authentic, real-life, and highly interactive activities to
help students to learn content. Additionally, for students to be engaged, they must
be given opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning, which they are
required to do throughout this unit. We will differentiate for the students being
English language learners through scaffolding, modeling, using graphic organizers,
and implementing kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learning activities. We will
differentiate for the individual learning needs of students by meeting them in their
zone of proximal development, and by allowing opportunities for whole-class work,
group work, pair work, and individual work, so that every students learning
preferences are attended to. Students prior knowledge will be activated
throughout the unit and afford students the opportunity to build and apply skills
learned from one lesson to another. Also, the sheltered instructional model and the
small class size will allow us to provide extra language support on a one-on-one
basis and increase the wait time for verbal responses. Students will be assessed
mostly formatively and informally, but there will also be formal and summative
assessments. Technology will be integrated through the use of the Promethean
board, and utilization of different video and Internet resources. We will know that
students are competent and learning what they are supposed to be learning through
our formative and summative assessments, and by their ability to continue to
perform tasks even after some support from the teacher has been pulled back.
Everything will be modeled and explained, but students will be expected to take
increasing responsibility for their own learning. Materials used will include those
needed for cooking and measuring, math journals, a Promethean board, and graphic
organizers. This learning will be extended by the fact that students will learn skills
that help them understand the outside world better, in that they will be able to
assist with activities at home like cooking.
The theme of the unit is using cooking and recipes to learn about measurements
and fractions. Measurements and fractions are important to learn not just because
they are a part of math curriculum, but also because they are used in so many real
life situations. Students will be able to see how math connects to their real life, and
will likely remember the content much better since it was taught in an authentic
way.
Diaz-Rice, L.T. (2008). Strategies for teaching English language learners (2nd ed.).
Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.