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Teaching Multicultural Literature : A Workshop for the Middle Grades
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Channel Talk


[Teacher-talkmsmultilit] multicultural literature #7

From: Lindsay Ball <brynnsmom21_at_gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2012 22:36:16 -0400

Laura Alvarez shows in workshop #7 how to use activities to engage her
students. She teaches a bilingual 4th-5th grade class and does a unit on
immigration stories. I really enjoyed watching Ms. Alvarez's strategies
and activities. She build upon them to get her students ready to
participate in a debate and write a letter to someone who can help change
the problems they see in immigrations.

Ms. Alvarez has many activities that lead students to really think about
how immigration affects the people around them. She has the students read
novels about immigrations and also write an immigration reports on a family
member. I like the immigration reports because if it isn't already,
immigration becomes personal to each student.

Using the immigration stories and novels, Ms. Alvarez helps students build
many skills. One activity she has them do is find the problems the
immigrants face. These are things that affect the immigrants every day. What
I really like that she does is the next step. The students take the
problems and write problem statements. They simply write out the problems
into complete statements. It is a simple activity, but it is a great skill
builder, and then the sentences are used for the debate. I like this
because students learn that they can find information in a text, analyze
it, and form an opinion that they can defend.

When I heard Ms. Alvarez tell her students that they were going to
participate in a debate, I pictured it differently. I imagined intense
arguments and defenses. I wondered how elementary students were going to
be able to do this. But what I saw was so simple. I realized that I can
do this in my classroom, and perhaps I think that I can't do debates or
essays or other complex assignments because I am trying to make them too
difficult. If a 5th grader can read a novel, form a thesis statement for
the text, and debate with another student, so can an 8th grader.

I learned a lot from watching Ms. Alvarez teach.

Lindsay Ball
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Received on Wed Apr 25 2012 - 07:05:09 EDT



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