a Pamphlet for/by ESL Students
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.
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.
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
Computers with Internet access are used, along with
Microsoft Word or Microsoft Power Point, and a color printer, colored
pencils, and a digital camera.
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.
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
students' interest in developing their English language skills.
Teachers should provide students with a few sample pamphlets. Also,
sensitivity, empathy, and respect for cultural differences among the
students must be
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.
Grade level: 9