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Component 3: Diving into Language

A weekly teacher-facilitated small group routine in which students translate and analyze the language of a short segment of text (1-2 sentences) selected from the anchor text because it contains a central theme and language (words, sentence or discourse features) useful to master.  This activity fosters metalinguistic skills, or awareness of and ability to reflect on language and its uses,  multilingual strategy use, knowledge of high frequency language forms and structures, and text comprehension. 

    Chart with translations.jpg
    Example chart created by TRANSLATE students as they collaboratively translated a segment of text. 
    What is this component? Each week students work with a partner/small group to analyze text segments and, in some units, to translate text from English into a home language. The text segment is drawn from the read loud text. As students work to make meaning of the text segment, they are noticing both the language structures and engaging in deeper comprehension of the anchor text’s themes and ideas. These lessons teach both Text Navigation Routines, or routines for managing the language of print that can be applied across future reading tasks, and have a Language Feature Focus, in which students are engaged in noticing a particular language feature (e.g., prefixes, sentence structures, connectives). 
    Some units place a heavy focus on the use of one translanguaging strategy: translation. After translation, students discuss the ways in which they translated the text, focusing first on the language. There is no ‘correct’ way to translate a text and the goal is not to achieve a direct translation. Instead, the aim is to notice how language is used. Next, students paraphrase the meaning of the segment and answer purpose questions to connect this with the meaning of the anchor text. 

    Why does this component matter? Multilingual students bring existing knowledge about language as a result of moving between languages. For example, students may notice how word parts are common across Spanish and English or that Arabic and English contain different sentence structures. However, we rarely use these metalinguistic skills in schools or seek to develop these further. This is a missed opportunity. Indeed, by developing our students’ metalinguistic skills we can aid them in becoming independent learners of language. 
    Through the Diving into Language lessons, students develop metalinguistic and metalingual skills that are particularly useful when comprehending English text. In fact, a central aim of this activity is to aid students in developing their text comprehension skills and to deepen their understanding of the unit’s anchor text. In addition, as students are given permission to use home language resources, they are supported to develop their multilingual identities and to view these skills as positive assets that aid learning in the classroom. This is often a significant shift for youth who have had few opportunities to use home language resources in classroom settings. 

    What skills and competencies does this component develop? The Diving into Language lessons give students opportunities to use a home or additional language in the service of supporting English text comprehension and developing a positive multilingual identity. 

    What do students do each week? Students complete the Diving into Language work weekly on Days 3 and 4. On Day 3, students complete a guided deep dive into a short segment of the text, and on Day 4 apply this knowledge through oral language activities and in the Extending and Applying Learning activities. 
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