Many of the students in my classes speak Spanish at home and are perfecting their language skills to become fully biliterate. Others have been in the program since kindergarten or preschool. They speak English, Chinese and Vietnamese at home, and have learned Spanish at school. In our classes, we focus on literacy skills and U.S. History content.
Social justice and approaching history from many perspectives is at the forefront of our discussions, activities and lessons.
In my Dual Language classroom, we strive to celebrate the diverse identities and backgrounds of all students in our class. At our school, many students are survivors of trauma in their lives. This means that all our instruction comes from a trauma-informed approach. I work hard to push my students to try new things, while doing so within a safe and supportive space.
Teenagers are often incredible fighters for justice in our world. They have seen how racism, poverty and violence impact individuals and communities. A huge part of teaching middle school is helping students develop their voice. They are transitioning into adults and their thoughts, experiences and wisdom are often stuck in their brains, hearts and some times on social media.
This project empowers 8th graders by giving them the literary tools, practice and support to create, revise, record and publish their poetry in Spanish and English.
Students will work with a Spanish-speaking poet laureate to write and revise their poems based on topics important to them. After finalizing their poetry, they will work with vocal coaches to practice reading their poems with emotion and clarity. Later, students will visit a professional recording studio to record their poetry. We also will edit and publish an anthology of their poems in Spanish and English. Finally, students will participate in a poetry reading at our final assembly. They will share their poems and we will enjoy music by a local group that is inspired by the words of the poetry from each group of students.
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