Discussion that is always enlightening–sometimes challenging–between social studies teachers and teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) and Special Education has been one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching Emerging America's Accessing graduate courses across the U.S. since 2016. Such opportunities are too rare.
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In a 10th grade classroom, a newly arrived student from Sudan, a returning student from a migrant worker family, and a student whose family came from Cambodia in the 1970s are among the 25 students in a US History class. These three students have been silent in all previous class discussions.
The novel Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz Ryan, offers an immigrant story that can engage all students in themes of loss of home, fairness to workers, and struggle in new situations. It is available in Spanish (print and audio versions) as Esperanza renace. Set in the Great Depression, it is an entry point to historical inquiry, and the following lesson has been written with access for English Learners in mind.
Visual Literacy: Making Lessons Accessible and Inclusive
Guest Blog Post by Wendy Harris, High School Social Studies & Teacher of the Blind at Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, Minnesota.
You want to get your students to work with primary sources, but you have students who struggle with reading English text. Maybe they have a learning disability, English is not their most comfortable language, or any number of other reasons. Sound familiar?
“As of last year, I started working with ELL students and have become far more cognizant of vocabulary. I’ve always taken for granted that students know certain vocabulary words, but now I find myself going over many words and to my surprise, it’s not just ELL kids who benefit from it!”
-Kevin, Spring 2019 Online Accessing Inquiry course participant
The following unit plan highlights how patterns of immigration are both similar and different for immigrant groups coming to America. The cornerstone of the unit is a diagram and PowerPoint Presentation detailing the progression of the immigrant experience that serves as a model for a variety of immigrant groups. Included in the set is a Universal Design for Learning chart and an extensive annotated list of primary source documents from the Library of Congress provide a visual reinforcement of the immigrant journey both before, during, and after their arrival in the United States.
This two-day lesson is based on students acquiring a better understanding of the effects the Great Depression had on migrant workers and their children as portrayed in the novel: Esperanza Rising. The use of photographs, as primary sources, will support understanding of this time period, as well as provoking oral discussion among English Language Learner students. As a summative assessment, students are asked to write a paragraph explaining their increased understanding of the time period through the use of primary source documents.
This elementary school lesson engages students with primary source materials that make vivid the journeys and lives of immigrant children in the early 20th century and today. It features video interviews with kids who have recently immigrated and archival photos of child immigrants from the turn of the 20th century.