I probably thought about this project a little too late in the school year, but I thought we would give it a try anyway!
Encouraged by Tara M. Martin's Cannonball-In Theory - to "quit dipping your toes in the water and waiting for perfect conditions or for fear to fade. Swallow the lump in your throat and climb the rungs of the high dive." - #REALedu, on March 22, 2019, I emailed our principal my ESL project idea. I asked if it was possible for me to take my English for Beginners second period class to our nearby elementary school to read with students who are enrolled in the Spanish immersion program. Since our class period is 90 minutes, I thought it would be enough time to get there, read with students, and get back on campus on time.
I was not surprised when my principal emailed me back with a green light to carry on with the project because he is very supportive of innovative ideas for our students.
There several purposes to this ESL project:
When I mentioned this project to my newcomers, they were super excited! Just the fact that they were going to be allowed to use their home language to empower other students made them feel like they matter. They immediately started planning what to say and what to do with their new reading buddies.
I also started a Donor's Choose project in order to get books for our students to use during our visit.
For our first visit, we thought about writing our own story to use as we introduced ourselves to our new friends. My students used WriteReader.com to create a book in Spanish where they shared all about themselves. Students added pictures and made the books interesting and compelling for our little friends.
I was amazed at their motivation and wonderful work. They dedicated an entire class period to make their book and were very proud of their finished project.