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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Creating a Pamphlet for/by ESL Students

Project URLhttp://teachnet-lab.org/mbhs/btao/handbookcontents.htm

How it works:
This program is a follow-up activity to the "Beginnings" unit in Voices of Literature: Silver by McCloskey and Stack. It motivates ESL students to share their American school experiences in writing while they learn to use technology to create a pamphlet. These writing activities can be used as preparation for the second task of the New York State English Regents.

The students meet in the classroom daily for the first few days. The teacher helps them to brainstorm the common misunderstandings and other problems they have encountered in American schools due to cultural differences. Later, they navigate the Internet for more information on cultural taboos and social etiquette in their home countries and the United States. They take notes and integrate information gathered  from discussions between pairs of students. They also e-mail teachers who have immigrated to America from other countries. Using what they have learned, they produce a four-paragraph report titled "Common Misunderstandings." Afterwards, they work in pairs to compose a list of ten tips that would help fellow newcomers in New York City high schools. After each pair of students presents their list to the class, the twenty-five best tips are selected. Once these speaking and writing activities are accomplished, the basic components of the pamphlet are introduced.  In the computer lab, the students again work in pairs to design and compose their pamphlets, with each group given a different task. They present their pages to the class for feedback and revise their writing for the final version. Finally, they are required to write a letter to the school principal, the superintendent, and The New York Times' Web Learning Network to introduce their pamphlet.

Standards addressed:
The students listen, speak, read, and write for information and understanding. They integrate facts and ideas to communicate personal experiences, and use oral and written language to present opinions on experiences, ideas, and issues. Finally, they produce a report and a letter demonstrating an understanding of the rules of the English language.

Materials used:
Computers with Internet access are used, along with Microsoft Word or Microsoft Power Point, and a color printer, colored pencils, and a digital camera.

The students:
This program was initially developed with Chinese and Dominican high school students in New York City, but it can be adapted for any ESL student population. 

Overall value:
This program captures the students' interest in writing and prepares them for Task II of English Regents: reading and writing for information and understanding non-literary texts. The students are motivated to share their personal experiences in American schools with prospective newcomers. The incorporation of technology enables students to experience the whole process of composing and designing a pamphlet. The e-mail to the teachers and the letters, the report writing, and oral presentation of the pamphlet motivates the students' interest in developing their English language skills.

Tips:
Teachers should provide students with a few sample pamphlets. Also, sensitivity, empathy, and respect for cultural differences among the students must be emphasized.
 

 

About the teacher:                      
Beiqi Tao has been an ESL teacher at Murry Bergtraum High School for eight years. She is a TeachNet Project mentor. Teaching is a great joy to her, and she enjoys introducing her students to the excitement of cyberspace.

Email: btao83028@aol.com

Subject areas:                            
ESL
Technology

Grade level:
9

 

 

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