Glossary of Terms to Promote a Common Language


background knowledge:
Familiarity with certain words or concepts used in the text.

balanced literacy program:
A framework for literacy instruction that includes eight components: reading aloud, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, shared writing,interactive writing, guided writing (writing workshop), independent writing.

basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS):
The language ability required for face-to-face communication where linguistic interactions are embedded in a situational context. BICS are generally more easily acquired than cognitive academic language proficiency.

Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) Program:
Connecticut State Department Of Education program provides for mentoring and assessment of teachers with initial educator certificates.

behavior modification:
An approach to changing the behavior of individuals by applying techniques such as social and token reinforcement, fading, desensitization, and discrimination training. It is most often used in classroom management, skill development, and in special education.

behavioral objectives:
Objectives written with a focus on observable and measurable changes in the learner, which determine in advance the performances of students, strategies of teachers, and methods of assessment in a particular lesson, unit, or course. They often spell-out the conditions under which the desired change of behavior will take place, stating the minimum standard of performance by which the required behavior may be judged.

bell curve:
Normal distribution of scores derived from large populations, to cluster around the mean (arithmetic average) and to drop off from either side of the mean.

benchmark/benchmark group:
An example of student work or the performance of a group, which sets a standard for assessment.

best practices:
Suggested techniques for instructional delivery, which include effective strategies, and methodologies within each curricular area.

big books:
Oversized books that offer the opportunity to share the print and illustrations with a group of children in ways that one might share a standard sized book with just a few.

bilingual education:
A schooling process whereby students whose first language is one other than English receive content instruction in their native tongue while also receiving instruction in the elements of English.

Individuals who are fluent in two languages but rarely use both, and bilingual usage-individuals who may be less fluent but who use both languages regularly. In addition,determination of bilingual proficiency should include consideration of the four language dimensions-listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

block scheduling:
The practice of scheduling classes, usually at the junior or senior high school level, for periods of time longer than 45-50 minutes to allow time for students to deal with topics in depth or to work on projects together Elementary level ­ designates a 60-90 minute uninterrupted instructional period.

Bloom's Taxonomy:
See Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

A technique in which participants suggest many thoughts, ideas, and solutions, to a problem or issue in a spirit of openness so that no judgments or critiques are allowed. Quantity of input is valued over quality so that as later phases of problem solving occur there is some assurance that a wide range of options was at least initially considered.

Broad-Fields Curriculum, also see Integrated Curriculum:
A pattern of curriculum organization that seeks to unify separate subjects, concentrating on integrated themes.

browser boxes:
Baskets of books that the students either have read in guided reading or are new books on the same level. There should be several browsing boxes at any one time as resources for guided reading groups;color or level may identify them. All students will have at least one of these collections that they visit every day for independent reading.Collections are added to and revisited frequently.

building capacity:
The purposeful use of professional development to strengthen a school's internal foundations for effective teaching and learning and to promote ongoing school-based professional learning.


Danbury Public Schools
Danbury, Connecticut