It could not have been expressed better than Cox & Boyd-Batstone (2009) when they stated, “We believe that all children – children who come to school already speaking English and those learning it as a new language – deserve the best that literature and teaching has to offer” (p. V). A central aim ought to be to enable students to discover and articulate their responses to literature, and such responses can only begin with the acknowledgment of creating meaning from text or literary work, which is exactly what Engaging English Learners Exploring Literature, Developing Literacy and Differentiating Instruction book is based on by Cox & Boyd-Batstone (2009). Throughout, their book they provide a balance between theoretical and practical dimensions and showcase reader-response methods of teaching with literature that any classroom teacher can use when teaching any English learner. However, in order to accomplish and triumph in the battle of teaching and welcoming a newcomer in classroom; the student must gain understanding and comprehension to a certain level in order to create and develop their own thoughts and ideas. Organizing for your newcomers is a lesson plan that involves a bit of organizational skills within the classroom that by having the proper set-up it can make a world of difference to the student as well as the teacher.
The teacher can aid this strategy to make it effective by implementing an area in the classroom that will welcome the newcomer’s in by selecting a corner in the room, and setting it up with a desk and or table and chairs. At all times maintain the area nice and neat, comfortably to make it an enjoyable learning area. Also, labeling everything is a must so that students, tutors, and volunteers can easily find what they need. A good strategy would also be to display schedules and pictures in this area, so that students know what is expected of them. For example, draw page numbers on the schedule to show what work you want done by the students. Significantly, students should feel free to access this area when they cannot follow the work being done in the classroom.
Gathering and providing access to materials and supplies that will equip the students with the right tools to learn is also a plus within this lesson plan. Giving the students the proper tools definitely helps them learn especially for English beginners, pictures are a great source to learn as it’s said “a picture says a thousand words” that phrase could not of come any handier than now. Putting some of the following items in the learning area little by little to avoid confusion is:
• Computer with programs appropriate for newcomers
• Photocopies of activities for newcomers
• Crayons, scissors, pencil, eraser, paper
• Commercial books-with-tape readings
• Labels for classroom objects and places
• Blank index cards to be used as flash cards and picture flash cards
• A picture dictionary
• Manipulative objects for beginning vocabulary or phonics learning
• Texts that have been written especially for ESL students in the content areas
• Books that are well illustrated and have controlled vocabulary
Integrating all these materials and allowing the student access to all these will allow their learning process to flow smoothly for the student as well as for the teacher. It will eliminate questions due to the fact that students will be doing hands on learning at these types of stations within the class. Establishing a regular routine will also enable the strategy to work and flow smoothly after a chaotic rough beginning. Because, everything at first will seem confusing for the beginner students and it will be disorganized, it is important to maintain a schedule to follow. The teacher must assist in the beginning with organization, timing, spacing, and materials, as in any other instructional activity…the teacher leading and the students following. Stick to a schedule and have it in a place…