My classroom is devoted to recent immigrants and refugee children that are new to the district. The schools in our district are among the most ethnically diverse in the state of Kansas. The number of students who speak Arabic and Swahili have risen dramatically. The district is enrolling more children who have never known life outside a refugee camp.
As the newcomer classroom teacher, I must work intensely with ELL students to get them acclimated to their new homes in America and help them learn English.
My students are in grades 2nd-5th, with many different levels of math and reading in their native language. I need leveled readers so that students can have materials accessible to them to practice the new skills they are learning.
Learning a new language can be hard and intimidating. The StoryStarter Lego kits allows the students to create a scene and then be able to refer to that scene to communicate their ideas. They will continue with the scene to then write a story.
The high level of communication in a classroom that is using StoryStarter is the vocabulary rich environment that a ELL student needs.
StoryStarter will help strengthen vocabulary and it also encourages students to speak in front of others. They will be able to use their model as a reference while speaking.
Once students assemble their bricks into a LEGO model, students will talk about their model with their peers. They then will be able to practice writing complete sentences and connecting ideas using
transition and linking words. Students will create a story complete
with all the story elements – characters, setting, problem, and
solution. The students will also be able to work in groups to create a complete story that will then be written out. Groups will be able to practice reading the story while their LEGO creation can be recorded on the iPad or through a document camera.
StoryStarter comes equipped with a teaching guide created by LEGO curriculum specialists that aligns with the Common Core State Standards. Speaking, listening, and technology are all pieces of the Common Core. By using StoryStarter in my classroom, my students will be able to expand on these skills while feeling successful.
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