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Literature Synthesis 

In our lesson study, we are looking at how developing academic confidence can support language fluency. One of the key ways of developing academic confidence in the classroom was through laughing. Since we are in a virtual setting, it may seem like having laughter shine through black boxes and no speaking seems hard. However, laughter can still be shown in the chat box. Grundlingh (2020) suggests that even through writing down laughing (ex. Haha vs. jaja), it shows a students identity and joy which lens to more safety in the classroom and more willingness to push themselves and develop deeper language fluency. Furthermore, Krall (2018) suggests four key ways to increase academic confidence in the classroom: 1. Pushing back on speeding through content. 2. Pushing back on having the students find the “correct” answer 3. Switching grades to demonstrating understanding 4. Creating a safe classroom space through restorative circles. 


Another way of creating academic confidence and language fluency is through intentional lesson planning. As someone who does not feel that using standards all the time this is very useful and can strip humanity out of the classroom, Rao & Meo (2016) shares a way that standards can be used intentionally to support students and how it can pair with Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design for Learning is differentiating learning to meet students needs by creating a variety of ways by providing multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement (Kieran & Anderson, 2018). Pairing UDL and standards can be done through having the standard be at the top of the pyramid when designing a lesson. Then making clear what we want students to know and then what they need to do to show us that we know they know the skill. From there, we can backwards plan the lesson to create scaffolding to get students to this point. In addition, Kieran & Anderson (2018) state that “ UDL-reinforce[s] students who were developing language skills through providing balanced levels of support and challenge as well as promoting high expectations” (1205). By having a clear objective and multiple means of accessing content, students are able to have agency over developing language fluency. This will also build academic confidence. 


Based on these findings, our group wanted to base the lesson around utilizing a standard as the top of the pyramid and working backwards from there. We also want to utilize the different thinking maps from Finnegan and Miller et al (2019) for students to use that structure while developing a deeper understanding of fascism. Furthermore, it is critical for students to have multiple avenues to access the knowledge and we are going to have a visual and written way of accessing the content. 



Finnegan, L. A., Miller, K. M., Randolph, K. M., & Bielskus-Barone, K. D. (2019). Supporting Student Knowledge Using Formative

Assessment and Universal Design for Learning Expression. The Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship, 8(2).


Grundlingh, L. (2020). Laughing online: Investigating written laughter, language identity and their implications for language acquisition.

Cogent Education, 7.

Kieran, L., & Anderson, C. (2018). Connecting Universal Design for Learning With Culturally Responsive Teaching. Education and Urban

Society, 51(9), 1202–1216.

Krall, G. (2018). Necessary Conditions. Stenhouse Publishers.

Rao, K., & Meo, G. (2016). Using Universal Design for Learning to Design Standards-Based Lessons. SAGE, (Special Issue), 1-12.


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