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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Beginnngs

Project URL: http://teachnet-lab.org/unhs/wang1.htm

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.

After 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.

The 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.

STANDARDS

ESL: Students will read a variety of literary texts and respond with compare/contrast essays and essays for critical analysis. 

Students will understand and utilize new vocabulary.

Technology: Students will use the Internet to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of websites indicated in the lesson plan.

Students use Microsoft Word to process data and report results.

 

THE STUDENTS

The 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.       

 

OVERALL VALUE

The 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.                

TIPS

You can further motivate students by sharing your own immigrant experience, if possible.

 

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.       

 

E-mail: LLSKW@AOL.COM

Subjects:  ESL, English Language Arts

Estimated class periods to complete: 6-7

Beginning grade level: 9

Ending grade level: 12

 
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