The psycholinguist Frank Smith once said, "One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way."
My 3rd grade students are hard-working, motivated immigrants and children of immigrants who have incredible potential.
They vary from very beginning level to intermediate level English language learners, and are learning all subjects including reading, writing, math, science, and social studies in English. The students in my class speak Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic as their first languages. The 3rd grade curriculum is very rigorous, and this is also an intense testing year, so my students are very busy learning and exploring all realms of 3rd grade content.
The complex and interesting thing about 3rd grade ENL students is that the amount of knowledge and curiosity in their heads does not always align with the work they produce, because while they have an incredible understanding of content, the language barrier stands in their way. Working to break this language barrier and allow their thinking to shine is the goal.
During the school day, my students spend a good portion of their time in the classroom's meeting area, where they sit on the floor for an interactive lesson before working independently on the skill we are learning. I believe that having carpet squares for the students to sit on in the meeting area will increase their comfort and therefore increase their ability to focus during lessons. Additionally, during independent reading & writing time, having access to carpet squares allows the students to have flexible seating options which can help motivate them to work if they have a choice in their learning environment.
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