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.
Here is Marlon's book
Here is Ruth's book
Here is Jorge's book
Here is Yanet's book
Here is Ana's book
Here is Ani's book
Here is Oliver's book
Here is Brandon's book
Here is Brian's book
Here is Whitner's book
Here is Avizaid's book
Our first trip to W. M. Irvin elementary was a success!!! Even though it was pouring down rain, we were super excited to go off campus and go support our new friends.
My students were shocked when they realized that I was driving our activity bus! I wasn't scared to drive since I drove school buses for several years before I started teaching.
Right below, you'll see wonderful pictures that show our students in action. The little ones were super excited to see high school students coming to visit them and read with them. Believe it or not, my high school students were very nervous. It was their first time teaching little ones and it is something they have never done before. However, at the end of our visit, all my students were sharing with one another ideas they have for the next visit. They were sharing all the details they learned from their new friends.
We are super excited to continue visiting our new friends at Irvin elementary every Friday and continue making an impact using and strengthening our home language.
Thank you for reading!