My job is to open the world to students--to bring to life culture, diversity, and the beauty of knowing another language. Every day I greet over two-hundred 13 and 14 year old students with a smile, and an ¡Hola! ¡Buenos días! Welcome to Spanish 1b!
Quirky, intelligent, sassy, curious and diverse are my middle school students.
Diverse. Out of 200 students, my classroom community captures many subgroups of Spanish language learners. Five percent of students are bilitarate Heritage Speakers who can read, write and speak the language. Fifteen percent can speak or understand the language but cannot read or write. The other and largest majority-- 80% of my students--are first-time language learners; all of these individuals sit before me, together in one beautiful hodgepodge of learning experiences. There is beauty in our classroom because of the unique backgrounds every face brings.
Within the diversity lies curiosity. My students are thirsty for knowledge, eager to learn and curious about everything related to a new language. They have a unique drive to ask good questions, meet high expectations, and rise to the challenge of acquiring new vocabulary, grammar and expression--at all levels, every single day!
One of the challenges faced in a diverse classroom is a large need for academic differentiation, especially among the 20% of my students who are heritage learners with a need for advanced modifications to the typical Spanish 1 curriculum.
If “language is best taught when it is being used to transmit messages, not when it is explicitly taught for conscious learning” (Krashen) then our students deserve appropriate books to help transmit valuable messages.
Some of my heritage students read to learn, yet other heritage speakers are still learning to read--at even basic grade level. In order to develop better fluency, increase reading comprehension, advance target vocabulary in Spanish and to build strong literacy, my heritage students need adequate and appropriate resources.
By providing our classroom with 60 copies Sobrevivientes, I will finally be able to supplement my heritage speakers' daily Spanish 1 instruction with age and level appropriate material--true differentiation! During our small group pull out time, I will be able to use this book as a vehicle towards literacy development. As a result, my curious readers will be transported to 1972, and they will relive the crash of Flight 571 and the snowy survival its passengers braved. They will gasp, they will laugh, they will cheer. With your help and this book, they will thrive!
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