HOW IT WORKS
Beginnings is a program about learning and sharing immigrant
experiences. Ninth-grade ESL students read Adrienne Rich's poem
“Prospective Immigrants, Please Note” and Bette Lord's story
“China's Little Ambassador.” The
students learn new vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and literary
elements and techniques.
reading about Rich's and Lord's immigrant experiences, students go to Web
sites provided by the teacher and learn more about the authors. They then write a compare/contrast essay in which they either write
about the lives of the writers or the themes and stylistic devices
employed in their work.
students are assessed using a teacher-designed rubric which incorporates
writing process and technology integration.
WHAT YOU NEED
Beginnings requires 6-7 class periods to complete. The students use
the text, Voices in Literature, by Mary Lou McCloskey. A computer with Internet access and a Web browser is needed. The
students will need a working knowledge of computers.
Students will read a variety of literary texts and respond with
compare/contrast essays and essays for critical analysis.
will understand and utilize new vocabulary.
will use the Internet to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a
variety of websites indicated in the lesson plan.
use Microsoft Word to process data and report results.
students practice and develop reading, speaking, critical thinking, and
writing skills. They synthesize information and produce their own work.
This activity is suitable for ESL students of all levels because they can
work on the same project, which relates to their own immigrant
experiences. Lower-level ESL students' writing may be less sophisticated
than that of advanced students. In a mixed-ability classroom, peer editing
can be utilized.
best features of Beginnings are
the topic--immigrant experience--and the use of technology to acquire
additional information about the writers the students are introduced to in
the textbook. This program contributes to the students' cognitive ability,
as they collect and synthesize materials that are relevant for their
essays and challenges their analytical skills. At the same time, it
fosters students' affective achievement, as writing about others'
immigrant experiences makes them feel connected to those who have
“walked in their shoes.” Their forerunners' success stories will in
turn encourage them to similarly survive and achieve.
can further motivate students by sharing your own immigrant experience, if
Linda Wang has
been teaching ESL for two and a half years. This is her second year at University Neighborhood High School, where she
also teaches Chinese. Linda has introduced many students in the
school to the art of calligraphy. She believes in the
whole-language approach and feels that learning materials should be
relevant to students' lives. She creates a classroom where students fully
participate in learning through group work, peer evaluation, and peer
teaching. She sees herself as a facilitator in the classroom.
ESL, English Language Arts
class periods to complete: 6-7
grade level: 9
grade level: 12