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Ms. M. from Brooklyn NY is requesting Technology through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

ESL Students Share Oral Histories through Class Film Project

My students need one digital camcorder and two packs of camcorder tapes.

  • $436 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

As a second grade ESL teacher, I am lucky to spend my days surrounded by some of the most amazing storytellers in New York. Yet none of my students speak English as their first language. Every student in my class of twenty second graders is an English language learner from a Spanish-speaking home. All of these students live in a high-need urban community, and several of them experience extreme poverty on a daily basis. Although their English levels and years in the country vary, they all have captivating stories to tell about their families and immigration experiences when given the chance. As their teacher, I feel that it is my duty not only to improve their academic performance, but also to give them the chance to feel that their voices matter. This proposed social studies project would give my students a voice by allowing them to record their families’ oral histories through the medium of film.

My school is filled with very dedicated teachers, but we do not have the resources to afford most projects outside of the normal curriculum. Some teachers even use their own funds to pay for everyday supplies such as copy paper. ESL students especially need additional visuals and scaffolds to learn effectively. Content area subjects such as social studies are especially good opportunities to create integrated projects that require ESL students to express themselves creatively using several different forms of communication, and audio-visual media such as film are extremely useful to this end. Recently, my students learned about oral histories in social studies. They voiced an interest in writing their own oral history reports about their families for our upcoming social studies unit on immigration. I believe this is a very relevant opportunity to give students the chance to record these histories on film so that their stories will be documented for years to come. Yet given the current funding obstacles and limited technology at our school, I am not able to afford the resources needed for this type of interactive project for my students.

I am proposing to lead my ESL students through the process of creating a class video compiling their families' immigration stories. This video project would require students to write and conduct formal interviews with family members and other teachers at the school, write short scripts to tell the stories they find, and then to record these stories on film. Students would then be able to showcase their work by inviting the rest of the school to watch the video they create, and each of them would be able to keep a copy of our class video project. I have the necessary video editing skills to demonstrate the compiling and editing process to students on our classroom computers. In order to create these projects, however, my class needs access to a digital video camera and cassette tapes. These supplies will allow my students to create memorable projects that will boost their confidence levels, contribute to their social studies knowledge, and allow them to practice their English skills in meaningful ways.

Your help will ensure that my ESL students have the opportunity to share their stories with the world. This film-based oral histories project will show my ESL students that, despite their limited English skills, they all have worthwhile stories to tell.

Ms. M.
Grades PreK-2
Nearly all students from low‑income households

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3 donors3 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 20 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
CANON ZR930 MINIDV CAMCORDER • Best Buy $269.99 1 $269.99
PREMIUM CAMCORDER TAPE MINIDV 60MIN Sony Camcorder Tapes; Premium MiniDV, 60 Min., 2/Pack • Quill $16.19 2 $32.38

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Total project goal


2 Donors


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