Language, Literacy, let's call the whole thing off.
November 18, 2011 7:29 PM   Subscribe

What are some language activities for ESL students when using chapter books.

So our school has become part of a franchise. For each level of the curriculum there is a chapter book to supplement (shadow in their language) the course books.

I have three classes doing this extra program. My boss is adamant that we a) not read in class (which I've ignored) and b) focus on language not literacy. As an example (which comes from the boss/company's book), writing a poem about the story is a literacy activity. Writing a *diamond* poem is a language activity because the structure of it depends on specific parts of speech.

I do have a book of activities, but it's meant to be given to the kids (ie there is the same page multiple times because you use it for multiple books).

What I've have so far is making a list of unfamiliar words, looking them up and finding the Korean, then writing a novel English sentence. We write a summary of each chapter. We're working on the diamond poem.

I have plenty of stuff for when you finish the book, but that doesn't happen for another 6 weeks (more or less).

So... in summary, I'm looking for language activities (or ways to modify literacy to more language based, like the poem) for ESL students when using chapter books. Age range is 1st to 5th grade. Each class is high level for their age group.

Please excuse any crappy grammar or spelling, one of my generous students shared whatever biological hazard she/he was carrying. My love to the parents who send the kids to school sick.
posted by kathrynm to Education (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry you have to work within this rather restrictive framework. When I taught ESL, I did focus on language, primarily, but I would throw in literacy activities too because they help second language learners, well, learn the language. But I suspect you and I are probably in agreement here.

Anyway, after racking my brains I did come up with a couple of activities:

-After each chapter, get the students to write a letter from the POV of a particular character in the book. In their letter, they must use specific verb tenses chosen by you: e.g. simple past, present perfect, "will" or "be going to" future, past progressive, various modals, conditionals, etc.

-Put the students in groups and get each group to write a playscript based on a specific chapter. The play must include written stage directions (hey, they'll be using imperatives!) and they should create dialogue as well (you can get them to write up a scene that takes place outside of the narrative, perhaps, so they're not just transcribing dialogue from the book). Then the students perform! (This will help with their pronunciation, if you need a "language" justification for this.)

I think you are 100% correct to ignore your boss's weird idea that you shouldn't read out loud in class, by the way. Good luck!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:34 PM on November 18, 2011

In addition to Hurdy-Gurdy's letter idea, since you are reading sequence, it's a good chance to introduce prediction making exercises. Getting the students to make educated guesses about where the story is going requires them to have a solid grasp of the story, and strengthen their language abilities.

Comics are another great way to test comprehension as well as give them a fun activity in class. Give each group (in a big enough class, single students in a smaller class) a chapter to illustrate. For more advanced students, encourage them to add narration text boxes and speech/thought bubbles.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:49 AM on November 19, 2011

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