Maria Villarreal is giving us the news, Paris Hilton style. She and her classmates are playing an improv game where they're producing a television news cast as an unlikely crew of characters. The sportscaster is a textbook computer nerd, constantly wiping his nose and pushing up his glasses. The weatherman is a hillbilly, whose forecast is, "Looks like a good day for growing crops." Drama and improv is one of the electives at Summer Quest, a program run by Colorado's Vail Mountain School and designed for middle school students who are learning a second language and need a way to keep up their English and math skills over the summer.
In the small town of Carbondale, CO lies the Colorado Rocky Mountain School where Latino students from around the area attend three weeks of workshops to express their personal and cultural beliefs through filmmaking. Now in its sixth year, the Latino Youth Filmmaking Project not only allows student filmmakers to learn the basics in short film production (such as script writing and operation of filmmaking equipment), but also allows them to collaborate during the filmmaking process.
Twenty-seven boys dressed in black dress pants and white button- up shirts scrambled onto the stage at the Wenjack Theatre at Canada's Trent University to have their picture taken last night. The boys, aged 13 to 15, arrived in Peterborough from the all-boys' Yokohama Junior High School, in Japan, through a program that aims to help visitors improve conversational English and learn about life in Canada.
In her "Learning the Language" blog for <em>Education Week</em>, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "While I'm physically back in the office, I have on my mind the memory from vacation of spotting a common loon, a bird that many consider to be the symbol of the wilderness, swimming close to her newborn chick … In honor of that loon and her chick, and with a belief that environmental education helps to boost the chances that bird species like the common loon will thrive, I point you to Larry Ferlazzo's July 19 blog entry, 'The Best Sites to Introduce Environmental Issues into the Classroom.'"
Squirrels, nut trees, berry bushes, and even a snow-filled yard were on display at Columbus School in the City of Poughkeepsie, NY where nearly 100 students are taking part in the district's three-week summer English as a Second Language program. With the city's Hispanic population growing, the summer ESL program offers students a chance to improve their English while also taking traditional academic classes.
Ramon Aguillon wanted his players to learn about more than soccer in his first summer as Indiana's Zionsville High School girls coach. So he had them partner with a local church to host a soccer camp, emphasizing the need to work with Latino children in the community. "As a coach, one of the things I really wanted to emphasize this year was not only the soccer-playing aspect, but also the leadership aspect for the players. The girls are not only learning about soccer but about life skills and leadership to help other people in the community as well."
In her "Learning the Language" blog for <em>Education Week</em>, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "In Appalachia, a lot of school districts have enrolled English-language learners in the past ten years that had no experience with such students, according to a report about ELLs in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia that was just released by the Institute of Education Sciences … The report, 'Preparing to Serve English Language Learner Students: School Districts with Emerging English Language Learner Communities,' documents how some school districts have moved beyond an ad hoc approach to a more comprehensive, integrated approach."
Sylvia Garza grew up in the barrios of a Texas border town helping her grandmother make and sell tortillas for 12 cents a dozen. It was only Garza's father, a taxi driver who dropped out in the sixth grade, who wanted more for his favorite daughter than a high school diploma, she said. Garza, a Spanish teacher at Texas City High School, has spent the past three decades encouraging children to pursue higher education and helping them find scholarships. For her efforts, Garza, 55, has been named the national teacher of the year by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.
The Burlington School District's summer session for English as a Second Language students began last week. The district has 117 ESL elementary students enrolled in summer school, which focuses on literacy and math skills. Older students from the district volunteer to help the ESL students hailing from countries such as Bosnia, Somalia, and Vietnam.
Eyebrows rose in curiosity as a Puerto Rican tapas was distributed at Virginia's John Kerr Elementary School. The food was the last chapter of the students' lesson on the language and culture of Puerto Rico. Brenda Colon provided the tapas and information on her native island. She was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States when she was 7. She was one of the guest speakers assisting with the school's Around the World, an English for Speakers of Other Languages program.