WIDA Can Do Descriptors for Grade 1

Instructor: Bill Sands
WIDA Can Do Descriptors for first graders include a number of tasks that ELL students should be able to accomplish. Read on for more information on how these descriptors are organized and what types of tasks they include.

WIDA Can Do Descriptors: Grade 1

WIDA Can Do Descriptors for the Key Uses edition outline examples of tasks and assignments that English language learners should be able to complete at various points during their academic progress. This progress is charted as students move through six language proficiency levels that outline descriptors for writing, speaking, reading, and listening. These descriptors are further organized by four key uses.

Key Uses

The WIDA Can Do Descriptors focus on four communicative purposes. These Key uses break down as follows:

  • Recount: This skill area relates to a student's ability to retain information and retell stories and events. Examples of this ability can include providing a summary of a story and sharing personal experiences.
  • Explain: This key use asks students to show that they understand the 'why' and 'how' of important classroom concepts. This may include providing descriptions of life cycles or explaining how an experiment works.
  • Argue: In addition to retaining information, students will need to form their own opinions and persuade others. Sample activities for this area include building arguments and supporting their claims with evidence.
  • Discuss: This skill area ensures students can interact with their peers to discuss ideas and compare knowledge. Sample tasks can include group discussions and activities.

WIDA Levels for Grade 1

There are six levels for the Can Do Descriptors. Descriptors range from Level 1 (beginners) to Level 6 (the most advanced students). An overview of how each language skill and key use is addressed at each level is provided below.

Level 1: Entering

This is the most basic level, as students can complete simple tasks but not much else. Students should be able to respond to simple yes-no questions about a story or their likes and dislikes, but they may need to resort to gestures when expressing themselves because they lack the writing and speaking skills to communicate properly. Students may be able to identify important words and phrases in a text, but will primarily understand content through the use of pictures and illustrations.

Level 2: Emerging

Students at this level have begun to show progress, even if their skills are not yet fully developed. These students can respond to more complex questions ('This is good,' 'That is correct,' etc.) and can perform basic matching tasks related to the labeling of important story information and common items. Emerging students possess the ability to describe objects and places with the help of illustrations. They can also use short sentences to state likes and dislikes and relate basic facts about a topic.

Level 3: Developing

Intermediate students possess the ability to draw connections between important concepts and ideas. They can classify words and phrases into groups based on similarities or differences, and they also have the ability to answer questions about a story's content. At this stage, students begin developing the speaking skills needed to explain associations between two objects and relate why something is happening. They can also describe feelings and experiences in writing.

Level 4: Expanding

Students at the expanding level can follow the narrative of an oral story and recognize the main ideas in excerpts and passages of text. They are also able to distinguish fact from opinion, express the reasons behind their feelings, and use examples or explanations to support any claims and ideas they might express in writing.

Level 5: Bridging

Bridging students can understand multi-step directions, recount entire texts - whether through performances or drawings - and write personal narratives. These students can also describe cause-and-effect relationships and understand step-by-step processes outlined in a text. Students at this level have the ability to sustain conversation by asking questions and can identify claims and supporting evidence used by others.

Level 6: Reaching

The most advanced students are capable of complex analysis and are able to understand why certain events have transpired in stories. They can also predict plausible endings to a story and compare and contrast two texts covering the same topic. In addition to identifying the tools used by an author to support an argument, students can defend their own positions and use persuasive language effectively.

Resources for ELL Students

Study.com has a number of resources for teachers with ELL students. This Resources for Teaching English Language Learners course includes informative video lessons on everything from accommodation types and relevant legal issues to the use of assessments for ELL students.

This Activities & Resources for Teaching ELL course includes lesson plans, discussion questions, and games designed to help ELL students develop their speaking and vocabulary skills in a variety of topics.

You may also want to consult this Activities for Teaching English Language Learners course, which contains even more activities and exercises.

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