#ReadYourWorld

mia-pse16

by Mia Ariela Allen

Mia is founder and Director of Professional Learning for Denver-based 4Ed Consulting.  Mia currently is working with school districts nationally and internationally to develop language-rich learning environments.  Mia is also a professional development facilitator and content developer for English Learner Portal.

As English Learner Portal prepares to celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day mcbpon January 25th, Mia shares her thoughts on supporting our students with literature.  Hear the other English Learner Portal team members share their favorite multicultural children’s books by visiting https://englishlearnerportal.teachable.com.

 

Reading the world always precedes reading the word, and reading the word implies continually reading the world, Freire & Macedo (1987). Literacy: Reading the word and the world.

Even if your students have not been exposed to all of the recent news stories about or even photos of refugees, they may have heard about the crisis impacting young children and families around the world. Many of our nation’s refugee families, are resettling in communities across the United States. 

When we are talking to our students about the global refugee crisis, it is very important to reinforce your own student’s safety.  The journey that many of our newcomers have had to take was incredibly dangerous. As you consider the students in your class, you will want to first consider these journeys and how to relate the stories about refugees to their experiences.  As our students are able to begin to relate to these journeys to their own sense of safety, it will be important to first help students create their understanding of who a refugee is, where refugees may come from, and what newly arrived refugees might need to feel safe and welcomed in their new communities.

Children’s literature is an excellent way to support difficult discussions and to foster empathy and understanding about the refugee crisis.  These children’s books focus on two central and common themes; the refugee journey to safety and their experiences within the new community. 

imnewhereI’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien

K-1st Grade Selection

This simple story is told through the eyes of three newcomer children; Jin from Korea, Fatima from Somalia, and Maria from Guatemala.  All three children share the struggles of feeling safe, welcome and comfortable in their new American schools.  Each student shares the challenge of communicating in English both in the classroom and on the playground.  This simple and approachable story helps facilitate wonderful classroom discussion on community, collaboration, and caring for one another.

 

colourofhomeThe Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman & Karin Littlewood

1st-2nd Grade Selection

Hassan, a 1st grade student from Somalia talks about feeling homesick in his new community.  Hassan and his family have just recently arrived in the United States after fleeing war and spending time waiting in a refugee camp.  Like many newly resettled refugees, Hassan misses speaking Somali, his home, his community and is struggling to communicate in his new language, English.  Hassan is especially missing his cat, Musa, who he had to leave behind. When Hassan arrives in his new home, he believes he has left all of the colours of his world behind.  This incredibly vivid story helps our students feel empathy and gain a better understanding of some of the experiences a student their age may have overcome to begin a new life in a new community.

steppingstonesStepping Stones- A Refugee Family’s Journey

3rd Grade and Beyond Selection

Our final selection is a beautiful story told by Margaret Ruurs and accompanied by the art of Nizar Ali Badr.  As Ruurs highlights in the forward, the rock painting illustrations were created by Nazir, an artist in Syria.  The l rock illustrations highlight the story, in both English and Arabic, a journey to safety.  Much like the other stories, the newly resettled family is both hopeful and thankful for their new home and community.

 

Additional selections to consider for your classroom library

  • Ada, A.(2002), I Love Saturdays and Domingos
  • (1998). Mariante’s Story: Painted Words & Spoken Memories.
  • Anzalüda, G. (1993).Friends from the Other Side
  • Applegate, K. Home of the Brave.
  • Beckwith, K. Playing War.
  • Bunting, E. (1993) Going Home
  • Burg, A. Serafina’s Promise.
  • Cha, D. Dia’s Story Cloth: The Hmong People’s Journey to Freedom
  • Choi, Y. (2001). The Name Jar
  • Cohen, S. Mai Ya’ Long Journey.
  • Danticat, E. Mama’s Nightingale: A story of immigration and separation.
  • Deitz-Shea, P. The Whispering Cloth
  • Del Rizzo, S. My Beautiful Birds
  • DePrince, M. Taking Flight: From War Orphanto Star Ballerina.
  • Duncan, D.
  • Flores-Galbis, E. 90 Miles to Havana
  • Garza, C.L. (1996). In My Family: En mi familia.
  • Gillick, M. Once they had a country: Two Teenage Refugees in the Second World War
  • Gutiérrez, R. K’naan.
  • Hampton, M. The Cat of Kosovo
  • Hoffman, M. The Color of Home
  • Jimenez, F. (2001). Breaking Through
  • Jimenez, F. (1997a) The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child
  • Kuntz, D. Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey
  • Lai, T. Inside Out and Back Again.
  • Laure Bondoux, A. A Time of Miracles
  • Lofthouse, L. Ziba Came on a Boat.
  • Lord, M. A Song for Cambodia
  • Martinez, V. (1996) Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida.
  • Mead, A Girls of Kosovo
  • McCarney, R. Where will I live.
  • Mikaelsen, B. Red Midnight.
  • Palacios, A. (1997). One City, One School, Many Foods.
  • Park, F. My Freedom Trip.
  • Paulsen, (1995). La tortelleria
  • Pinkey, A. The Red Pencil.
  • Ruurs, M. Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey (Arabic & English Edition)
  • Sanna, F. The Journey.
  • Simon, R. Oskar and the Eight Blessings.
  • Smith Milway, K. The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World
  • Soto, G. (1997). Buried Onions
  • John, W. Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town
  • Tsang, N. (2003) Rice All Day
  • Young, R.
  • Wild, M. The Treasure Box.
  • Wilkes, S. Out of Iraq: Refugees’ Stories in Words, Paintings and Music.
  • Williams, M. Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
  • Williams, K. Four Feet, Two Sandals.
  • Woodruff, E. The Memory Coat.

 

Do you have a favorite multicultural children’s book you’d like to share in our online collection?  Make a video of you sharing your favorite and reasons why and send it to info@englishlearnerportal.com.  We’d love to have you!

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If you aren’t already part of our mailing list, please sign up HERE to receive freebies, announcements, and just to get to know us!  Looking for new ideas and graduate credits? Visit our Online Professional Development School!  Please visit the ELP website to meet the team and learn more about our services.

 

Teacher-Student Conferencing: The Essential Component of English Learner Writing

susan

by Susan Zimmerman-Orozco

Susan is an elementary ESL teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools and consultant with English Learner Portal. 

 

I love co-teaching with the Lucy Calkins program. I get to use my expertise as the purveyor of academic language. At the same time I’m  learning from my co-teacher, my mainstream students, and the Lucy Calkins writing guide.

Once or twice a week I plan and teach a whole-class lessons that ESOL-izes concepts that I know are mystifying my English learners, or it anticipates confusion in upcoming lessons girlswritingby providing background knowledge I know my students and other diverse learners will lack. As the self-appointed expert in academic language instruction, I’m always ready with daily language objectives, strategies, and activities to provide support that will extend my students’ language skills. I’m especially proud that, at the same time, I’m probably extending the academic language of 70% of the rest of my diverse classroom.

Arguably, however, the most valuable component of the Lucy Calkins approach to writing, and where I feel I make my most valuable contribution, comes from the frequent opportunities it provides for teacher-student conferencing.  In the traditional Writing Process approach, dedicated teacher-student conferencing doesn’t appear until quite far along the continuum, after students have brainstormed, created drafts, peer edited, and revised their work. English learners, though, as we know, need quite a bit of hand-holding and scaffolding to be successful writers, especially if we want them to advance in their proficiency by adding more academic-level vocabulary and complexity to their writing.

In our co-taught classrooms, daily, once a whole-class lesson is presented, students wrconferencereturn to their places, usually with a writing partner, to work on their current writing. In our class, we maximize teacher-student conferencing time by grouping students at two large tables, each with a teacher. This configuration that allows us either to review student work in progress and make suggestions or to troubleshoot individual student needs as they arise, especially to answer their plaintive, “How do you spell…?” even though we invariably respond for the 100th time, “Sound it out, ” or “Look on the word wall.”

Our groups are fluid. Some students just prefer to work on their own, and we have some highly productive student partners who produce inspiring writing conferencing only with each other. I often work with non-English learners, and my amazing co-teacher, Tara, is tchrgirlwritingso beloved by some of my English learner girls that they usually make a bee-line to her group.  The point is that there are two of us, and we are both committed to getting our kids the individualized help they need to succeed as writers.

Furthermore, and frankly, as a school with a highly diverse population,  some of our students come to us better prepared than others to work independently. As Tara commented, “Conferencing in a group limits unwanted behaviors that would distract others. In a group setting, sitting all together at the table, I can conference with one student, get him or her on the right track, and quickly move on.”

She continued, “I feel all of our students need support, and more than anything they need reassurance that they’re doing the right thing.” Referring to some of our students with behavior concerns, she added, “Sometimes kids who are the most reluctant writers act out because they don’t want to fail.  If I’m there with them, insisting they can do it, and helping them, I can show them that writing doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and they CAN succeed.”

I know I’m not alone in feeling that the Lucy Calkins Writing program in particular, and tchrmodelingprobably teaching writing in general, is challenging when English learners comprise a large portion of our class.  I feel fortunate to be able to support my students, and my colleagues, by co-teaching writing. I can’t think of any other content area where my particular expertise in academic language has been more beneficial, not only to students, but also to my colleague.  

One of the most satisfying and unexpected outcomes of working with my co-teachers this year has been watching them evolve into educators who  have become sensitized to and skillful in structuring their classrooms to better support their English learners. More and more often I look around my co-taught classroom at my colleague as she’s presenting the whole-class lesson, smile, and think, “My work here is done. I don’t think she even needs me…”  For an EL educator, it’s the best feeling…ever!

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If you aren’t already part of our mailing list, please sign up HERE to receive freebies, announcements, and just to get to know us!  Looking for new ideas and graduate credits? Visit our Online Professional Development School!  Please visit the ELP website to meet the team and learn more about our services.