5 Chapter Five: Academic Language

Academic Language

Once you have begun your intermediate level clinical courses at GSC, you will be required to address academic language in your lesson plans.  You will identify the essential academic language that will deepen students’ understanding of the skill/concept being taught.  All academic language should be directly related to your lesson objective.

Example:  If teaching a reading lesson which focuses on cause and effect, avoid selecting vocabulary from text.  Instead, focus on vocabulary related to the strategies readers use to determine cause and effect, such as: cause, reason, effect, result, signal words, text structure.

GSC’s Aligned Lesson Plan Section

Scaffolding Academic Language

State which instructional strategies you will use to support individual students’ academic language proficiency and how these supports will be removed as students demonstrate proficiency.  How will you meet each student’s language needs?  Your goal is for all students to use the academic language in discussion and written work related to the lesson objective.


  • Students who are reading below grade level (A.B., F. H., and T. P.) will be provided with a graphic organizer that presents a visual representation of each word.  Observation of students’ decreasing reliance on this tool will provide evidence that it is no longer needed.
  • In this first lesson, a word wall will present both picture cues and definitions of academic language being addressed.  As students demonstrate proficiency, the word wall will be removed.
  • To support students’ acquisition of the academic language introduced in this lesson, students will participate in a ‘Turn and Talk’ in which they will be requested to explain these terms to their partners.  This discussion format will be repeated in subsequent lessons until observation reveals students’ appropriate contextual use of the academic language. 

GSC’s Aligned Lesson Plan Section

GSC’s Aligned LOFT Evaluation Criteria:

GSC’s Aligned Lesson Plan Rubric Criteria



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GSC Lesson Planning 101 by Deborah Kolling and Kate Shumway-Pitt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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