This tool, which is based on a formula developed by Dr. Tara Fortune at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, demonstrates a simple but effective way to transform content objectives into language objectives. Teachers are asked to reflect on the linguistic characteristics, the function, and the vocabulary necessary for students to understand or express the content objective. Here, linguistic characteristics can mean the verb tense or other grammatical constructions that we expect students to use, function is the action they must engage in (e.g., to describe), and vocabulary can include both academic terms (e.g., chloroform, constitution) and discourse terms (e.g., however, in that case, as a result).
This tool allows teachers to plan for more explicit language instruction, whether they use it only for themselves or give it to their students prior to the teaching unit.
STEP 1: Identify what students should be able to do
STEP 2: Identify a core concept from your topic
STEP 3: Identify the language objectives
STEP 4: Write the task integrating content and language objectives