Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Using the CAN DO Descriptors in Grades 3-5


This month, teachers have been sharing ways that they differentiate classroom instruction and assessments for their ELLs.  In each post, they have highlighted the levels of a particular student and listed a corresponding CAN DO Descriptor before sharing their instructional and assessment ideas.  So far we have heard from preschool and high school teachers who work in ESL, bilingual and mainstream content area settings. As the school year winds down, consider how you can use these blog posts as a way to start conversations among teachers who teach the same group of ELLs.  How do we pass on what we know about our students’ strengths to next year’s teachers?  How can the CAN DO Descriptors help us contextualize our students' ACCESS for ELLs scores?   

For more information on the CAN DO Descriptors for PreK-12th grade, click here.

This week we wrap up our series with some ideas from Soledad Rios.  Sol is a dual language teacher who works with students at various grade levels.  Here are some of her ideas for providing instruction in English that are matched to what each student can do at their level in each language domain. 

Student E was born and raised in the United States.  He is now in third grade.
CAN DO Descriptor: Expanding Level 4

Infer from and act on oral information.

CAN DO Descriptor:
Expanding Level 4

Discuss stories, issues, and concepts.

CAN DO Descriptor:
Expanding Level 4

Find details that support main ideas.

CAN DO Descriptor:
Expanding Level 4

Take notes using graphic organizers.

Differentiation Ideas for Student E (third grader)
+ He could benefit greatly by contrasting and comparing two characters from teacher’s oral reading, using a graphic organizer.

+ He will benefit by presenting reports on research or topics of interest. “The Aztecs.”
+He will benefit by drawing on inferences from the text with the teacher’s help.
+ He will benefit by practicing with more graphic organizers to be able to write clear, organized and cohesive messages.
Student F moved to the United States in first grade.  Now she is in fourth grade.
CAN DO Descriptor: Beginning Level 2

Follow two-step oral directions.
CAN DO Descriptor: Beginning Level 2

Describe pictures, events, objects, or people using phrases or short sentences.

CAN DO Descriptor: Developing Level 3

Identify main ideas and some details.
CAN DO Descriptor: Beginning Level 2

Copy words, phrases, and short sentences.

Differentiation Ideas for Student F (Fourth grader)
+ She will benefit from exercises that contain oral directions involving strategies represented visually. Look at four answers choose the best one.
+She will benefit talking about story structure.  She could talk about characters, setting or events. Consider giving her sentence frames.

+She will benefit by highlighting main ideas or supporting details.
+ She will benefit by completing passages using word banks.
Student G was born in the United States.  He is now in fifth grade. 
CAN DO Descriptor: Bridging Level 5

Carry out oral instructions containing grade-level, content-based language.

CAN DO Descriptor:
Bridging Level 5

Answer opinion questions with supporting details.

CAN DO Descriptor:
Expanding Level 4

Match graphic organizers to different texts.

CAN DO Descriptor:
Expanding Level 4

Summarize information from multiple related sources.
 Differentiation Ideas for Student G (Fifth grader)
+ He will benefit by analyzing, interpreting and evaluating information on charts, graphs and tables as directed orally.
+He will benefit by debating on school-related topics or current issues and participating in literature circles.  

+ He will benefit by making predictions and connections between familiar content and real-life situations.

+ He will benefit by writing a research paper on interesting topics (e.g. habitats).

Thank you, Soledad, for these wonderful ideas! 
To read other blog posts featuring the CAN DO Descriptors, click here and here for high school and here for preschool.  

Written by: Tammy King


  1. Thank you for sharing an easy to read chart of the domains in reading, writing, listening, and speaking for each student in class. It will be an easy format to replicate and provide differentiated instruction.

    1. Anon,
      I am glad you found this post to be helpful. Thanks for sharing! If you haven't already, check out some of my other posts on transformations and the CAN DO name charts. Just use the search window at the top of the blog to navigate to them.
      Kind regards,