Why isn’t the Bedrock manual laid out like a regular curriculum?
It was very difficult to make a rigid trajectory for literacy development with DHH students because of the vast differences in their language backgrounds, mode of communication used, access to English, ASL ability and so on. Therefore this manual is instead developed in such a way to give teachers a way to build a beginning foundation for a life of literacy use. Additionally since it was necessary to be used by teachers of varying grade levels a set, rigid sequencing was not helpful. Instead teachers are given large blocks of necessary literacy development information and ways to develop some concepts with some lesson examples. The bulk of the work is left for the teacher to do so that she can adapt it for her particular student(s). However, with this beginning guidance, she will have a greater chance at being successful since the path becomes hopefully clear as she reads through the manual.
It is often the case that we still see students in middle and sometimes high school who have not developed basic literacy skills. For example, they often read but without good understanding and write little because they are unsure of how to put what they are thinking in an English form. Though they are cognitively capable, our multi-faceted approach in Deaf Ed, the lack of materials and quick training of pre-service teachers leaves huge gaps in our understanding of comprehensible literacy instruction for DHH students—especially at the outset.
This seriousness of this cannot be overstated. Therefore the Bedrock manual is intended for teachers, and others who are interested in working with DHH students. Though it is not a typical curriculum in the sense that everything is laid out for the teacher it is flexible so that it is as appropriate for the Kindergarten-Second grade teacher as it is for the teacher who has struggling students in higher grades.
The goal is to provide teachers with a way to think about the basic components necessary for literacy in English. In other words what are the things the students must have as basic elements so that he can continue to build on these for the rest of their lives?
What will the Bedrock manual help teachers do?
Understand the necessity of orienting literacy instructions with detailed information-particularly for those students who have little access to Spoken English.
Support students in building foundations in English literacy:
· Develop a basic literacy vocabulary
· How to read with comprehension from the start
· How to write independently (with a visual tool to bridge between though, ASL an English writing) so they can express whatever they want from the beginning AND learn to love writing
· Begin developing basic grammar components
A basic sequence for instruction- using Bedrock
For the student who is brand new to English, or seriously struggling and at risk in their literacy development, here is a basic overview of “where to start” in the Bedrock program.
The development of a core group of words is first from Unit 5. A fair entry level of words to work with is about 50. The teacher can choose those words she thinks will give her a good starting point. This entry level of words gives the teacher something to work with in creating her daily sentences for the fluency reading comprehension activity outlined. Literacy components can be done simultaneously as long as the student has at least 50 core words they can immediately recognize.
Additionally, spelling practice (and visual techniques to aid memory) for developing the ability to write these (and subsequent) words is outlined in Chapter 6.
Literacy Building Units
These can happen simultaneously as you are working on the Big Three (Vocabulary development, Reading, Writing). Both units can be done with pictures initially.
· Unit 3 on Schema Development
· Unit 4 on Beginning Word Categorization
Beginning Reading- Unit 1
Once the student has 50 basic instantly recognizable words form the list the teacher can introduce reading with explanations in this chapter.
Beginning Writing- Unit 2
Independent writing can begin as soon as students can equate an ASL handshape with an English letter or number. This is the intervention tool that will allow them to bridge their inner thoughts to print regardless of how many English words they know.
When the student has developed the ability to write simple basic ideas in English (2-4 concepts per sentence) the teacher can begin doing the various grammatical units.
Basic Grammar Units - Units 8-15
The grammar units presented here are more for informational purposes for the teacher. The goal is to support the teachers understanding of how difficult and complicated grammar instruction can be and to provide some basic ways to begin developing the macro structures necessary (see below).
The first “big” structure grammatical unit to start with is #11 (sentence structure), followed by Unit #13 (sentence subjects), #14 (sentence predicates). The units on Negation and Tense are most advanced and students need to have sufficient experience before starting those.
Grammatically speaking, we need students to understand the “structure” or how the basic unit works to make a complete idea (aka simple sentence). You can’t talk about the inside parts (e.g. nouns, verbs etc.) until the broad structure is solid. Students have to have an idea where to put things.
The grammatical Units #8 (pronouns) and #9 (prepositions) can be taught as separate units. They provide only the beginning sense of what how these words groups work….but will instantiate cognitively flexibility so that the student can add more sophisticated structures as time goes on. Another purpose of the manual is to help teachers see the need for rethinking the approach to grammar instruction.
Unit 10 on Morphology can be added as the teacher feels the students are ready. They can be taught concurrently with other units if desired.
For a full curriculum on grammar please see the information on this website related to the BILINGUAL GRAMMAR CURRICULUM (Czubek & Di Perri).