These booklists for children celebrate a wide range of cultures, languages, and experiences. They are perfect for read-alouds and bedtime improve my writing skills essay, as well as for author studies!
The meaning of even a single word is rather more complex than one might imagine. Editors of the American Heritage Dictionary, 1980, p. Teacher, do we need our pencils today? Puerto Rican elementary students would urgently ask when I came to their classroom to escort them to my English as a Second Language classroom. I was a student teacher in a Massachusetts elementary school, and it took me awhile to figure out the correlation between the pencil and hallway behavior. The students knew that if they had to bring a pencil they would have to do writing in the class, and they dreaded it. If they didn’t need a pencil, we would be working on projects or doing more verbal work, and they liked that.
What they weren’t expecting was that half-way through my student teaching, I bought 10 boxes of pencils and kept them in my classroom, so they never had to bring a pencil to class — I had plenty to go around. I do believe I have added quite a few writing activities to my bag of tricks and improved my ability to differentiate writing tasks based on student ability. As I improved my ability to ensure that each student would be successful in the writing activity, their confidence increased, and they were less likely to engage in disruptive behavior. There is a very important correlation between writing and language development. First the student must have an idea, then think of the appropriate way to say it, then start to write it and spell it correctly, and then create another sentence to continue to communicate the idea. If we add the students’ worry that they are making huge, embarrassing errors or that their ideas aren’t very good in the first place, then we begin to understand the complexity involved in writing in a second language. With that said, teachers have a big task in improving ESL student writing skills, but the payoff for instructional dedication can be great.
A researcher on adolescent literacy at the University of Minnesota, David O’Brien, did a study on improving the reading skills of adolescent students. All of the students were involved in a six week study and during that time they were responsible for creating brochures and other types of communication on computers. Additional positive academic results have been seen in the “90 90 90 Schools. This is a most remarkable combination in the educational world. The researchers examined these schools and found one common denominator among them — they all focused on developing writing skills.
Now that I have hopefully convinced you that all your hard work will pay off, I would like to introduce some effective writing activities. How to differentiate writing activities:With some pre-planning, a teacher can create a writing assignment that will allow every student to be successful. ELL students at Level A copy a sentence or short passage exactly as it is written. This helps beginning-level students who are not very familiar with the language, but may be able to interpret some of the information as they copy it. Level B students receive a paragraph or two that has blank spaces in the text.
The students write the word or phrase that completes the sentence. This allows the student to write an amount that is not overwhelming and helps them comprehend the information. Level C students write on their own, but perhaps they receive paragraph prompts or are allowed to look in a book, but must put the idea in their own words. After some practice with this system and getting to know your students’ English language skills, you will be able to create a system that works best for your class. In this approach, the teacher presents information to the students, or they have an “experience” of some sort — for example, a field trip, or acting out a scene in a book. Then the students tell the teacher what to write on the board to explain the experience. Experience something — for example, the students have listened to the story, “The Little Red Hen” and then acted it out.
The teacher stands by the board or a large sheet of paper and says to the students, “Tell me the story of the Little Red Hen. As each student tells a part of the story, the teacher writes it down on the board, just as it was stated. For example, a student might say, “The Little Red Hen work so hard and nobody want help her. This continues until each student has spoken or the story is finished. Then the teacher tells the students, “Let’s read the story together and listen to see if the story makes sense and if there is anything we want to change. After reading the story, the teacher asks students if they want to change anything. For example, one student may raise her hand and say, “I think it should say, “worked” not “work.