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English language learners are a part of many classrooms, and we, as teachers, need to happily make accommodations to help every member of the classroom reach their goals. Reading stories in the classroom is a common day-to-day activity and looking at a story with specific goals in mind can help a teacher come up with a good set of activities to help reinforce the desired outcome. I chose the story book Aliens Like Candy which is at a second grade level because I am strongly interested in working with this age group. I read through the story several times, and decided to look through Utah’s Core Standards to find goals that were consistent with my story book and thought of two tasks that go along; an alliteration activity and a graphic organizer.
Our first task focuses on alliterations. A common aspect of Aliens Like Candy is alliterations and sound effects. Introducing our students to alliterations as a new term allows them to a good foundation for future learning. This task would be learning to identify alliterations in our story and creating some alliterations verbally after reading. This task relates to Vygotsky’s theory of sociocultural by focusing on the zone of proximal development. Our second grade students are becoming capable of learning new vocabularies and are keen at identifying sound patterns in stories. This task pushes them to read words that are unfamiliar which advances their knowledge of phonics and increases their confidence because they are able to practice in a safe and loving environment. An English language learner might not feel comfortable reading by themselves, but as a teacher, you can include choral reading and modeling how to say certain sounds to help the students feel more comfortable.
Our second task would be filling out a graphic organizer. The graphic organizer would have 5 sections to fill out. The center box would be a spot to fill in the title of our story. Then there would be four other sections to fill out “Who, Where, What, and When.” An example of a filled out graphic organizer is attached below. After reading through the story as a small reading group, we would discuss the story accepting input from all members of the group showcasing their comprehension. Then I would pass out the graphic organizer and read through each of the sections before tackling the assignment together filling in each box with lots of chances to practice informal conversation skills. If time permits, we would then draw pictures to illustrate our graphic organizer to further meaning. At this point during the year, second graders should know what each of the sections in our graphic organizer means, but they might struggle to apply their knowledge to a new book. This activity should give them an opportunity to stretch their mind a bit without getting too frustrated which fits perfectly within their ZPD. An English language learner might struggle with expressing their thoughts throughout this activity and might not know exactly what the organizer wants from them. As a teacher, you can help your students by scaffolding and thinking out loud with each of the sections; for the “where” section, you could say, “Let’s try and remember where our characters were doing stuff. Where did Liam start and who did he see? Etc.” This task follows closely with two Utah core standards: “Reading Literature Standard: 1. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text,” and “ELL Listening ELP Level 2 Emerging: Process recounts by identifying the “who,” “where” and “when” of illustrated statements.”
In conclusion, we need to remember to consider each of our students as we make meaning through stories. Reading through the story beforehand and being prepared to help our students meet their challenges and push through them is a key part of teaching. Learning about alliterations and filling out a graphic organizer is a way to make meaning for all students.
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