The Process - Part II
~ "Reading is like breathing in; Writing in like Breathing out" ~ These were the words that helped me understand that the language lessons I provide to my students go hand-in-hand with the language I require them to produce. I understand that my job as an educator is to make my students fall in love with language, words, stories, and imagination. I must maintain classroom walls dripping with language produced by them as a resource as they develop their language domains. I encourage you to read Ms. Allyn's article HERE.
So, with this in mind, here's the next part of the process that led to my newcomers producing the amazing writing I mentioned in Part I.
First, I want to state that this was an improvised lesson and planned overnight.
I was in my English II inclusion class when I looked over our Vietnamese newcomer's shoulder who was looking up on Google "What is a summary?" to complete his assignment.
I realized that even if he translated the word "summarize" into his home language, he still didn't know the skill. I did not doubt that I had to cover this skill in my newcomers' class.
I started the day with our newcomers by having students write their "I can statement" which stated that we were writing a summary.
I didn't want to intimidate or discourage students from having to write. I wanted them to feel successful from the beginning. I explained that a summary is just "telling the story in your own words". No grammar complications. Some might say that I need to offer more structure or a more grammatical approach. However, I advise NOT to complicate the process for beginner students. They are in the entering stages of producing language, so we don't want to make them feel that there are too many hurdles to jump through to share our thoughts on writing. In the next lesson, you'll see how editing processes allow room for grammar and more to better their writing.
I read the story out loud again, but this time it was the entire story. I had students follow along with me on the screen or in their paper magazines. Once in a while, I'd stop and they would have to say the word I left out. Again, as I'm reading, there's interaction with simple Q&A, hand gestures, body language, sounds, laughter, and excitement.
Next, I posted a blank piece of chart paper and told them that to be able to summarize the story, we needed to pull the most important words from the story since we were NOT using the article to summarize it. The list of words we were pulling from the article was about to become the foundation of the events of the story we want to tell in our own words.
To keep them engaged and accountable, I had them also write the words on a black piece of paper so they would have them with them.
I told them that I was going to read again and STOP at the end of a paragraph to make a list of ONLY the most important words needed to retell important events. I'd circle the paragraph and say, "Tell me what is an important word that can help us make a sentence." - Students would blur out words (some good - some not so good) but I'd validate the words that would go with the events that were essential/important in the story. As a teacher, you must know that there are parts in the text that are not essential to the story. If you take that part out of the story and it doesn't affect/change the meaning/plot of the story, then it's not important. Otherwise, you'd end up with way too many words for students to follow.
As students were telling me words, I'd write them on the chart paper until I ran out of room and we got to the end of the story. I tried using a different color marker for each paragraph so they'd remember that it was a different event or paragraph in the story.
I pointed to each word and I read them out loud. Then, I had them read them with me.
A few days ago I shared on social media some amazing writing my newcomers produced after a lesson. My students received many compliments. I was asked about my "magic" to have newcomers writing so much.
There is no magic.
But, there sure is a LOT of...
I want to share my planning and lessons process to get newcomers to write...and write a lot!
I'll make this post as simple as possible because YOU need to take this and make it your OWN. Add your details, ideas, and character to it so it works for the students YOU teach.
This lesson is almost towards the end of our first semester. I've served this group of newcomers for several weeks (15 weeks).
Be sure to check the previous lessons that contributed to becoming amazing writers. I'll be posting several lessons a little bit at a time.
The Process - PART I
I introduced the cause-and-effect topic to my students by co-creating an anchor chart. I say co-created because we created it all together. It was not super fancy, but it was multilingual!!!
I wrote the following sentence on the chart and had them read it with me.
"Something happens BECAUSE something makes it happen."
I had students translate the sentence and had volunteers write the translated sentence below the English version. We had the sentence written in 4 different languages. I explained that the CAUSE is the why (reason) and that EFFECT is the what (result).
To practice understanding this concept before applying it to text, I had this Jamboard presentation with four sentences to identify the cause (why) and the effect (what). These were simple sentences wit images that helped with comprehension. I gave students sticky notes to place on the anchor chart which part of the sentence is the cause and which is the effect. We did a couple together to model after I read each sentence aloud, chorally reading, and students read alone. I went around and checked their answers before they placed them on the chart. As I went around, I had students read the sentence to me. I was able to assess who was understanding the concept and who needed more support.
My book, If You Only Knew: Letters from an Immigrant Teacher was published a year ago!!!
My book was published in September 2022 and in a year, close to 5,000 copies have been sold throughout the US and Canada. Thank you all for your support and for reading & sharing our stories.
Just a couple of months ago, Sonia Rao, shared this wonderful article about my book. I'd love for you to read it and share it with those who may be wanting to buy a book that can inspire and affirm our immigrant students in the US.
Read the article HERE - This Cabarrus ESL Teacher Wrote a Book About her Experiences as an Immigrant
To get several copies of my book, please, go to the Seidlitz Education Website
The book is also available on Amazon.
Thank you for reading!
We are going strong! #PLC4Newcomers
Our PLC for teachers of newcomer students for this school year is going strong. From January to May, we've had a wonderful time meeting on a monthly basis and learning from fantastic guest speakers who willingly joined us to share their expertise with us. Below you'll find links to our meetings as we wrap up our 2022-2023 school year. Be sure to share this YouTube playlist with all your teacher friends. All sessions are available HERE. If you decide to join our monthly meetings, complete this form: bit.ly/PLC4Newcomers2022
Stay tuned for our summer meetings!!