Friday, January 31, 2014

Reading with SOL class (Second Other Language)

My ESL/SOL teacher approached me to work on an idea she had to expose her SOL students to more background information for better writing. She has found that the students have a difficult time coming up with examples of people and subject matter that applies to writing prompts because they use the same two or three references every time they write an essay. Our goal is to expose them to numerous individuals and their stories so they have a broader knowledge base for writing and relating information.

We decided our first book would be about Albert Einstein: On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne.
This is a wonderful story about Einstein's childhood and the things he did before he was a "genius" in the eyes of the world.

The first thing the teacher, Ms. Greene, did was show the students how to create a book for note-taking over the several stories to be read. She used a similar method as the one demonstrated in the video, but also gave the students a beautiful piece of card stock to glue to the outside for their "cover."

While I read our first story, Ms. Greene modeled taking notes on interesting information from the book and then we had the students tell us what other notes they had chosen as interesting. The students also listed and discussed characteristic of Einstein and what made him stand out from others. Then we showed this video of Einstein (Albert Einstein Warns of Dangers in Nuclear Arms Race) and discussed how English was not his first language and even though he was very smart, he had difficulty with the language just like they sometimes do.

The second book we read was Sebastian: A Book About Bach by Jeanette Winter.
This book introduced the students to Bach and his entire life, starting with his relatives and ending with his death. We were all shocked to learn that he had 20 children with only one wife and that he was a dedicated family man and composer. We also listened to Yo Yo Ma play Bach's music.

We've got several more books lined up to read throughout this semester. The students, Ms. Greene, and I are all looking forward to more read-alouds!

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