Monday, February 3, 2014

Teaching Friendship & Understanding through Literacy

“What is friendship? How can you be a true friend if it means giving up something that is important to you?"

I passed out a picture of a sandal to every student. The students had to find a partner with the matching sandal. Each pair of sandals had the same vocabulary word: camp, sandal, as-salaam alakum, shalwar-kameez, Afghanistan, Peshawar, Pakistan, Lina, Feroza, resettle, and relief worker.

Students paired-shared and discussed with the class their vocabulary words.

I posted some of the vocabulary pictures on the board. I read the book, "Four Feet, Two Sandals,” by Karen Lynn Williams. 

To help students and Emergent English Language Learners to participate and to develop listening  skills (CCSS) they were encouraged to hold up their sandals when they heard their word being read in the story.

After the story, students were actively engaged discussing the themes from this story: “What is friendship? How can you be a true friend if it means giving up something that is important to you? Think of a time when someone shared something special with you. What do you have that you can share with others? Does it have to be a thing? Many families had to face many losses, loss of home, country, family and friends. What can you do to help others that have lost something or someone? What language do you speak at home? At school? How would you feel if you moved to a new school and no one spoke your language? How could you help a new classmate that could not speak English?  Could you give me some examples how you could teach them English?”

One student said enthusiastically, “I would point to these pictures in the book and teach them how to say these words. I would teach them my language!”

The students paired-shared how they would help a new student feel welcomed in their new classroom and school!

At the end of the story Feroza carried one of the sandals and ran up to Lina as she was leaving for America. Feroza gave Lina the matching sandal. Will the two friends meet again? 

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