Thinking back on my time in school one of my passions was story writing. In fact, I remember spending weekends writing stories about The Black Stallion. There were two benefits to it for me: First, I could spend quality time with my parents on the computer, and second, I could use the perforated holey sides of the paper for toilet paper for my barbies. It was a win-win situation.
As in any classroom, I have an immense mixture of students; personalities, abilities, strengths, and characters. My class is composed of 60% ELL students who may lack the vocabulary that allows them to be great writers. This, however, does not change my image of them or the expectations that I hold for them. As a teacher I believe that challenging students is the best way to help them improve and succeed.
During the last few months we have been working away at our big project of writing a fiction story. My school uses the narrative writing format as designed by Barbara Mariconda. It provides students with a structure to follow, but still allows for creativity to flow. The process has been long and tedious, but the final projects have blown me away! These are nine year olds writing, and when I think about what I was writing at nine, well they do not even compare. However, the one thing that I found especially fascinating was the fact that I could not tell the difference between an ELL learner and a non-ELL learner. Maybe you can? See for yourself. Below are two examples of my students’ final masterpieces.
Each day the capabilities and determination of my students amazes me. This was another proof to me that when students are challenged, held to high expectations, supported, and loved their capabilities are endless!