My students are elementary English as a Second Language students in a rural, public school in North Carolina. We are an A+ Arts school, so most of our lesson have a visual arts, dance, or music component. Most of my students speak Spanish at home, and all of them are eager to learn. They love to wiggle and move, and we rarely have a day when they're expected to sit still through an entire lesson. They love group work and collaborating with classmates to create something special. Usually, you'll find them spread out on the floor working or huddled around a group of chairs.
Like all children, my students love to work together with partners and friends, and they are very creative when given the chance to make something!
Writing assignments are so much more engaging when students have an arts component to support their understanding. We almost always have an art component integrated with the content of what we're learning. I let students take books home to supplement the books they get from their classrooms. Most of my students don't have access to quality literature at home, and many of their parents only read in Spanish.
My students love reading, but sometimes the texts available in their regular classes aren't that interesting to a typical fourth or fifth grade boy. Books that are more engaging are often above their reading comprehension level. They already love several other graphic novel series, and I know that the Ricky Ricotta books, Manga Math Mysteries, and others can spark their interest. They love having something cool to read on the bus ride home!
Graphic novels allow students to comprehend higher-level texts while engaging them with strong visuals and vocabulary support.
Most of my students speak Spanish at home, and some are newcomers who can read Spanish but not English, so they need graphic novels and classics in Spanish to connect their Spanish literacy skills with English.
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