Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

Our Children are Learning to Survive

Yolanda U. Trapp

Contents of Curriculum Unit 02.01.06:

To Guide Entry

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The Education for all Handicapped Children Act, PL 94-142 of 1975, revamped as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990, guarantees students with disabilities the right to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

The federal “Least restrictive environment (LRE)” mandate aims at guaranteeing that children with disabilities are educated with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. It also calls for additional personnel or related services to assist the child in the educational setting.

Clinton Ave. Elementary School developed two years ago goals that center on maximizing the learning capacity of each student who comes to school. There we developed steady and consistent long term goals that are used for funding, staff development, hiring, teacher and administrator assessment, and policy making, as well as short goals that are revised on a regular basis to reflect growth and support continued attainment of the long goals.

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Least Restrictive Environment (Placement)

Our school first implemented this educational philosophy two years ago. The students with disabilities are placed in regular classrooms and this inclusion is accomplished making accommodations as necessary to enable the exceptional students to succeed. They learn how best to interact with their peers without disabilities, and their peers learn in turn how to interact with them. The exceptional students get the chance to be in a group with every other student, regardless of individual differences.

The special education laws require that each student with special needs have an “Individualized Education Program,” or IEP, which specifies the goals and objectives set to improve the student’s level of achievement and how these goals and objectives will be achieved. The IEP is written by the Special Ed. Teacher, who offers constant guidance to the regular teacher with frequent meetings as a counselor in planning the IEP’s. These IEP’s are adapted annually with a PPT Team. (Pupil Personnel Team). As a Special Ed. Teacher I play a very critical role in the proper education of exceptional students. As subject matter specialist I join the regular teacher to provide support or modifying strategies, developing interventions even for students who are not Special Ed. With the regular teacher I also adapt assignments or teaching methods to accommodate the needs of the student. I may suggest ideas to teachers who are working with students with disabilities or other learning problems. We meet every two weeks or when necessary as an LRE Team for these purposes.

This year, I have twelve bilingual students with special needs, full time Special Ed. Integrated in different regular classrooms (level k to 4th gr.). The IEP’s showed at the end of this school year that the students accomplished or mastered the goals and objectives written and documented on the IEP’s. Specific tests and observations were given every two months and discussed during the LRE meetings when necessary. As effective Teams we have frequent communication and interaction. Assessments and goals setting provide accountability. Finally, the School based support team. (SSST) discusses and makes recommendations during the year on high-risk students. This role requires a complete and professional understanding of testing and evaluation procedures.

As a Consultant Special Ed. Teacher, I work with the disabled or non disabled students right in the regular classroom.

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The unit I prepared has been developed for kindergarten, first and second grade and 3d and 4th grade students. I am a Special Education bilingual teacher who works with a multi-age grade students. I have taught for eleven years, the past eight in New Haven with students who have special needs and are also bilingual. They receive part-time support from aids when they are with me. The total number of students I work with are twelve, five of them present more disabilities than others. It seems to be the most demanding position in the profession, but is also the most rewarding. Routines are clearly understood and followed. Students learn to help others and serve as positive role models. There is a vast variability in student’s needs. More advanced students learn together in mixed-age groups while less developed students are given the time they need to master skills at their own pace. At other times, children are put into groups of differing levels of ability to learn from each other. I have faced the challenge of balancing the teacher’s future preparation to deal with these children, and the student’s learning needs. The activities and experiences I am offering in this unit are based on the developmental readiness of the students.

My students, and many in the school come from different ethnic backgrounds, whose lives seem totally unrelated. That makes them feel like “outsiders”. The complex world of ethnic and minority language children bring is rich and full of potential for reflection. I have often argued with progressive educators, friends, and colleagues over issues of curriculum content and the role of the past in the development of educational programs, but at one point we unanimously agreed: that we have to include in our teaching the way different groups of students experience and learn, developing activities that emphasize meaning, facing the student’s background of experiences, and preserving their native or primary language.

The primary language of an immigrant child needs to be considered seriously. Heidegger said that “without the language that maintains a connection with the past, without the ability to name, the past ceases to exist or to have any reality for a person”. (Heidegger, “Sein and Zeit” 1971).

The child’s perspective on immigration and second language literacy is well known to me, for my childhood was shaped by three uprooting experiences-first, in a temporary transplant from a German _ speaking home in Germany to South America, Argentina, as a 6 year-old -- and later, in my permanent immigration from Argentina to Chile as an eight year old. However, it was not until I began here in the United States to teach immigrant children myself that I embarked upon a serious reflection about my personal experience and the importance of the children’s world, recognizing the effects of social backgrounds and reconsidering their own feelings, helping them to look at alternative ways of handling situations.

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We learned that we had to discard deficit notions and genuinely value and utilize student’s existing knowledge. Furthermore, we must remain open to the fact that we will learn from our students. They are the “Survivors”, and if they are not, we can help them to “Survive”, creating an environment where any student regardless of gender, color, language disability, can be involved in the regular learning activity that goes on in the classroom and receives the special assistance needed to gain the basic skills she/he is lacking. I put myself in the shoes of the student coming to a new place with new rules, procedures, language, culture. The stress and frustration I felt, when it also happened to me. The way I tried to adjust myself to the other kids. I always spoke with “an accent”. I personally coupled that with a sense of being an “outsider”. After all these years I am able to identify the mechanisms and to clarify the implications in an immigrant student.

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This is an exciting opportunity to write a Unit about other cultures outside the United States, through use of children’s literature. Students learn best when they are appropriately motivated and self-confident. My commitment to students is to have in mind to include all children, regardless of their ethnic background, gender, race or disabilities. For these purposes I selected a series of stories written by people whose cultures and language are very different from theirs. As their experience of the “others” is expanded, my student’s hearts and minds will be opened also. My intention is that they will be better able to empathize with others and to appreciate the different languages and differences between them.

In the following stories students will find youthful, sometimes first-person narrators whose interests and dreams are familiar to theirs but whose cultural background and language may be quite different. They will generate discussions as we build self confidence and help students to survive in their struggle of learning a new language and adjusting themselves to the environment. Reading is the skill we need most when we want to belong to society but writing is also essential. Allowing students to appreciate the uniqueness of various cultures, opens the possibilities for future understandings. It will help to see and appreciate the richness of the increasing diversity within the communities and our world.

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Lesson preparation

I would read the story to myself a time or two before reading it to the group, and plan oral reading techniques that would reinforce the meaning and beauty of the prose. When reading I would be expressive, but wouldn’t exaggerate unnecessarily. I also would let the meaning guide my pauses. It is not necessary to stop at the end of each line. The mechanics would also guide my pacing and rhythm. Some lines are meant to be read quickly, others need to be read slowly, or require their own special pace and beat. Dramatic interpretation involves children physically and emotionally. I would look for actions that can be easily represented. Modeling is absolutely necessary. It is one of the instructional approaches, it encourages students to read passages out loud, and also helps students who are not readers, to listen, one of the literacy components (listen repeatedly to books, gain fluency in the native language)

Before beginning the lesson it is important to find out the prior knowledge of the students, building background, as indicators of instruction, giving them the sense that each kid is like others and different from all others.

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Children’s Books for the Unit.

Title: 1 “Mother Scorpion Country”

The first book I chose for this Unit is “Mother Scorpion Country” , “La Tierra de la Madre Escorpion” by Harriet Rohmer and Dorminster Wilson (1987), illustrated by Virginia Stearns. It is a legend from Central America, Nicaragua. It tells us the story of Kati and Naklili, tragic lovers, that remind us of “Orpheus and Eurydice;” yet the mood of the story is warm and loving. The dual perspective of the young couple provides a fascinating insight into the nature of life and death. The legend is based on an old manuscript that had been handed down to the Bishop John Wilson of the Protestant Moravian Church by his grandfather, Dorminster Newton Wilson. It was first a story of the Miskito Indian (an oral tradition) from Nicaragua. The story is filled with the culture and traditions from the Nicaraguan Coast. It is a “survival” legend, where love endures.

The author Harriet Rohmer had the idea to record and publish stories of the Atlantic Coast. Soon she received many Storytellers in her house in Bluefields, Nicaragua where she was staying. When she was about to head back to the United State, the Bishop offered her the old manuscript of the legend. It took her time to clarify details, reworking the language and the plot, all with the intent of staying as close as possible to the original story while making it lively and appropriate for today’s young people.

I chose this book for independent readers. (transitional 4th graders). The Lesson. Plan will integrate Language Arts, (reading and writing) Social Studies, History, Geography, and Science. Among the skills that the whole Unit will cover are challenging the mind to give a closer look for supplying information, building background, developing vocabulary, strategies and key words, previewing and predicting, and setting a purpose for reading. It will include opportunities for personal responses to the literature through summarizing, writing and critical thinking.

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The Lessons are based on the three national goals developed by Teaching of English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL).

Effective communication
Achievement in the content areas, and
Achievement in a variety of cultural contexts.

Within these goals, this Unit has the New Haven Public School Standards in mind centered on the vision of achievement in more than one language. One in which native speakers and speakers of other languages work together for mutual benefits.

Title 2 “The Story of Colors”

A wonderful book that has been recently published is “The Story of Colors”, “La Historia de los Colores”, by Subcomandante Marcos. Illustrated by Domitila (Domi) Dominguez and translated by Anne Bar Din.

This wonderful folktale reveals aspects of the indigenous people of Chiapas, a Jungle in San Cristobal, Mexico. Written by “Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos” a fake name of Rafael Guillén who attacked a military installation on New Year’s Day 1994. Wearing a ski mask, he erupted on the world scene by declaring war on the Mexican. Since that time, Marcos because of his charm, intelligence and mystique has become a post-modern revolutionary hero. He collected this folktale from the Jungles of Chiapas, and for reasons of conscience and political circumstances, subcomandante Marcos refuses all privileges of copy right for the text of this story.

The beautiful illustrations belong to Domitila Dominguez one of the most significant of the indigenous artists in Mexico. She has developed a very personal and post-modern style mixed with her own Mazatecan culture.

The story, (a folktale) tells us about the old vision of the world, when only Night and Day existed and the gods were only sleeping or fighting because they were so bored in a world without colors. The black ruled the night and the white ruled the day. There was a third color, gray which painted the dusks and the dawns, but wasn’t considered as a color. Finally the gods decided in a meeting to make more colors. Red came first after one of the gods fell and hit his head. Green came next; they found it in hope. And so on until they had all the colors they needed. But they did not know how to use them. Some colors splattered all around. At that time the gods got tired and looked for a way to keep the colors in one place and safe. They found the perfect place: a macaw, and that’s why this bird has all the colors on his feathers. And just in case men and women forget how many colors there are in the world and how many ways of thinking, the macaw goes strutting about to remind that the world will be happy if all the colors and ways of thinking have their place.

The lesson Plan I prepared when reading this book is for 2nd and 3d grade, for advanced or independent readers. Students will engage in conversation, provide and obtain information, express feelings, and exchange opinions.

This folktale is also a kind of “Survival” story. As people fight to conserve their culture, and a vision of the world; they see it flowering with holiness not measured in dollars or politics.

Title 3 “The Snowman”

Another recommended book for this unit is “The Snowman”, a beautiful story by Raymond Briggs. It was published the first time in 1978 but it has been reprinted over and over again. It is a story without words, originally published in Great Britain in hard back by Hamish Hamilton, London.

The story tells us about a child who builds a snowman in his yard and during the night the snowman comes to life. The boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight above beautiful cities and over the ocean and strange lands where the child meets Santa on a fantasy dream visit. They have to return home, but the next morning the snowman isn’t there anymore. The sun melted him. The child had in his pocket the scarf Santa gave him at the North Pole visit. Sadly he does not know if it was a dream or if it was real. The snowman did not survive but the boy remembers him all his life.

This is an excellent book with beautiful illustrations for emergent kindergarten readers. Could be also appropriate for students learning English as a second language, (ESL) or (EOL) English as other Language. The book supplies an appropriate level of challenge while supporting what children already know.

A suggestion to connect the story to the “survival” theme, is to identify the four seasons and draw pictures of activities associated with each season. Introducing the concept that Nature “survives”, that everything goes to an end but that Nature is in constant renovation will give us a sense of eternity. We will also talk about the shape of the story “The Snowman” and how a particular feeling or emotion is carried in it. As an extended activity we will watch the videotape which won an Academy Award for the Best Short Film in 1982.

Title 4: “Subway Sparrow”

And here comes my personal favorite book as a symbolic “survival” story. “Subway Sparrow”, by Leyla Torres, recommended for 1st and 2nd grade, and Early Readers who have established one-to-one correspondence, and choose to read independently, taking risks in reading and with unfamiliar texts.

The story tells us about a bird, a sparrow who is trapped in a New York subway train. Who will help it? There are four people in the subway car and only two speak English -- the young girl and the teenage boy. The gentleman in the hat speaks Spanish and the woman knitting is Polish. Together they must try to catch the bird before the train reaches the next platform and a waiting crowd of people. Illustrated in vivid, brightly lit watercolors, “Subway Sparrow” paints a hopeful urban canvas showing how four strangers rise above the language, age and cultural barriers that divide them.

“Little bird, what are you doing down here?”

“O jejku, co ty wrobelku robisz pociaco?”

“Hey, there is a bird on the train?”

“Un pajarito en el metro!”

The author, Leyla Torres is originally from Bogota, Colombia. She now lives in New York City where she is a freelance writer and artist. This was her first picture book.

The Content Objectives for read this book are to: introduce English Second language students to different languages and cultures, understanding the nature of language and cultures thorough comparisons, and participating in a roleplay only with gestures, interpreting what the group is performing.

Basic Goals -- Objectives -- Lesson Plans, (for each level) Notes, Resources, Bibliography of the whole Unit are in a separate section.

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Basic Goals, General objectives

“These lessons are intended to help achieve the goals set out in the goals for bilingual education:

(Directions in language)

Note: “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001 legislation. The law lists the following as:

To develop the proficiency, confidence and fluency in reading in a second language (English) needed to meet the literacy demands of the 21st century.
To improve comprehension by using a variety of strategies, including self-correcting, questioning, predicting, reviewing and reading ahead.
To become a fluent reader responding to a variety of written materials;
To apply prior knowledge, abstract thinking, curiosity, imagination and creativity in at least one language other than English.
To gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures;
To understand the nature of language and cultures through comparisons
To understand and interpret spoken and written language on a variety of topics (according to their level).
To use the world language both within and beyond the school setting for personal enjoyment, enrichment and active participation.

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Lesson Plans

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This eight week literature course is built around short stories, legends and novels whose themes ideas mirrors every child’s culture. (as determined by the group’s ethnic background.) It is designed as a classroom reading program for emergent, early and fluent readers who have been previously identified. My experience when teaching this Unit, along with the characteristics of my students (their prior writing experience, observed library skills, attention spans, and ability to work together in groups) guided the number and selection of the texts and objectives. I estimate that the whole Unit (divided in segments according to the books read) would take me from 5 to 8 weeks, given an instructional period of 45 minutes, every day.

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Lesson I

Subject: Language Arts, Social Studies, ESL, EOL, Methods.

Grade: 4

Title: “Mother Scorpion Country” “La Tierra de la Madre Escorpión”, by Harriet Rohmer and Dorminster Wilson. Illustrated/Virginia Stearns.

Stories from Central América. Nicaragua.

Assessment Domain:

Direct assessment of writing

Graphic organizer used

Reading Comprehension passages.

Multiple choice (5 points each)
Open-ended questions (10 points each)
True -- False (10 points each)
Yes or no (10 points each)
Fill in the blanks (5 points each)

Multicultural Principles:

Develop multiple perspectives
Keys concepts: communication, culture, diversity, ethnic groups, and perception.
Develop cultural perspective
Key Concepts: community, gender, religion, physical disabilities, race, socio-economic status.

3- General Objectives:

The students will:
Develop an appreciation of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious group.
Describe settings and experiences that reflect the ethnic and life styles.
Identify language, important information, characters, settings, events, relationships, and point of view.
Reading Objectives

The student will:

Demonstrate strategic reading skills, before, during and after specific reading tasks.
Demonstrate an awareness of values, customs, ethnicities and beliefs included in a selection

5- Writing objectives

The student will:
Use an analytic rubric to assess revised work
Create a different story adding a new character
Describe in writing the main ideas, characters and solution of the story.

6. Instructional Behavioral Objectives

After reading the book the student will be able to:
Compare elements of the story with other legends of Central/South America. Ones they have already read in another part of the curriculum. (like: “La Hija de la Serpiente Marina”, by Margaret Lipper)
Describe differences and similarities of their own background comparing it with the legend.
Summarize beginning, middle and end of the legend.
Translate questions from Spanish to English about the legend. (10 points each)
Judge the value of the legend.
Recognize a list of new vocabulary in a multiple-choice assessment (5 points each)
Identify the correct answer in a True-False assessment (10 points each)

7. Enabling Objectives

The students will:
Perform a scene from the story.
Describe people, setting and elements of the legend through elaboration (e.g. color, shape, size, smell)

8. Performance Objectives

The students will:
Draw five pictures that depict the events in sequence of the legend.
Make a complete list of all the characters in the story (primary andsecondary)
Make a list of all the settings in the legend.
The terminal objective is that Students will demonstrate knowledge of the Nicaraguan legend by Harriet Rohmer.

Procedure: Child reads alone after the teacher sit children in different groups Bilingual and English speakers together no more than 4 to 5 on each table. One will be the leader. The student who is an advanced reader will read the story to the others. ( teacher needs to assess levels of reading first). This is a good opportunity to comment positively on strategies the teacher observes children using as they read and to focus on some teaching points that have become significant during the reading. The advanced student may move to another group.

Often rereading and discussion is sufficient. Some related activities:

Read another book with similar challenges and support ( “La Hija de la Serpiente Marina”, adapt. Margaret Lippert)
Creative experiences through music, drama, art.
Set up a response center (Bilingual). Where students ask to each other some impressions and respond to.
Discussion on:

Connection to themes in other stories, story characters.
How illustrations supported and extended the story.
What made characters or events predictable.
Extended Activities:

A copy of the book can sent home with the children for further practice
Vocabulary is essential. Familiarizing the students with new words learned and practicing them in informal conversations. It takes practice to listening and facilitate a discussion.
Later, a copy of this book should be put in a book box for the group.
Assessments: see next pages in Appendix. According to each objective and rubric.

Materials and resources
Tape and Book “ la Tierra de la Madre Escorpion” by Harriet Rohmer, Children’s Book Press. CA. 94608.

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Modified lesson II- Alternative Strategies.

Subject: Language Arts. ESL, EOL, methods.

Grade: 1st gr. Level: non readers/emergent

Title: “The Story of Colors, “La Historia de los Colores, by Subcomandante Marcos, illustrated by Domitila Dominguez. Translated by Anne bar Din.


To discriminate between various sounds and to prepare them to recognize all the colors. (Spanish-English)


Before starting, according to alternative instructional approaches to read and to guide students who don’t speak English or are at risk, the teacher has to put emphasis in three topic areas: Alphabetics, Fluency, and Comprehension.


Phonemic Awareness, using flashcards and sightwords.
Phonics Instructions and teaching the sound of each letter.

Fluency, Comprehension

Vocabulary Instruction
Text Comprehension Instruction
Teacher Preparation and Comprehension Strategies Instruction (NICHD,2000a).

Centers, Centers, everywhere. We need centers that engage learners and provide the space, resources and means for students to practice what they are learning in order to move them on toward independence. The Centers I am describing are samples for places where children can look at the book and learn the colors guided by the teacher and helper, with Modifications.

Reading Center

Reader’s Place:

All learners need a place to cozy up with a book, in this case, the one we chose to recognize colors. The place could be arranged with an old bathtub or a loft, a bean bag chair or the backseat from an old car, or just pillows or a rug, adding some boxes or shelves with bought, borrowed or classroom-made books.


Cluster students in groups of four or five and give them (each) a set of colors made from construction paper. Have children look at the book in pairs. Encourage them to take turns talking about the pictures or making up stories.

Read the story aloud to the children, page by page. Stop in each different color and ask them to show you the card that matches with the color of the page. Focus on one color, and collect a basket of cards made that are alike. Make visual matching first and then let them repeat the word in Spanish and English.

Show the children a picture from the book for 10-15 seconds. Put the book down, then ask children to tell you what color they saw. (visual memory). For comprehension skills about the story use language games, and word walls, first in student’s native language, because children’s minds are trained in their first language. Teachers can teach, using the book for phonemic awareness, while also explicity teaching vocabulary words, their meaning and their pronunciation. (EOL)


Build different learning styles when beginning the lesson, use questions, pictures, prediction charts, role playing, films, semantic maps, brainstorming, discussion, story maps, hypothetical problems, tapes, and visualizations.


Use children’s ideas when recording the student’s responses. Because the dictated responses are read over and over and used as a basis for teaching language and writing skills, the text should be grammatically correct. This is the best way to maintain in students a positive self-image in the teacher’s approach to error correction.


Activity Sheets
Hands on manipulatives (colored cards and pattern blocks)
Graphic organizers
Story “The Story of Colors” “La Historia de los Colores” by Subcomandante Marcos. (Bilingual version, English/Spanish).

Time: according to each child’s achievement.

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Lesson III

Subject: Language Arts, Science (or Social Studies)

Grade: Kindergarten ESL method
Time: 45 minutes everyday. Total 1 week

Title of the Book: “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs

Goal: to teach an abstract concept using a story without words, while enhancing student’s oral and written skills in English.

Concept: “Surviving”


The student will be able to describe the story in her/his native language.
Express his/her own thoughts and ideas about the story.
Understand the concept of “Surviving”


The teacher will “read” the entire story aloud (with her own interpretation in the native language and English, maintaining eye contact with the students, pointing to the pictures to help students understand the meaning of the story, confirming any predictions they may have made.
The teacher “reads” the story a second time, asking students to listen as they follow her hand with their eyes. The teacher may use pantomine, hand gestures, and facial expressions. Explaining a third time the pictures, will allow students to feel confident and willing to participate. She may encourage the children to talk about their own experiences in relation to the topic to be covered.
The teacher may ask questions about the story and, using the pictures in the story to prompt responses, could ask students to retell the story in their own words, praising them and taking advantage by introducing easy words in English, related to the topic. She may use the storybook to reinforce comprehension, vocabulary, or other skills and strategies.
Just as students have individual learning styles, many have preferred speaking styles, the teacher may keep track of who does best, who lights up for drama, who leans toward discussions, and oral reports.
The teacher may introduce the abstract concept of “Survival” in connection to the Snowman story. She may use the book to explain that everything goes to an end but also everything is able to “Survive” in our memories.
Classroom Close-Up

Finally as an extended activity that all students can share, students can watch the video-tape “the Snowman”, using this activity as assessment for the Objectives.

Book “The Snowman”, by Raymond Briggs. Video-Tape: “The Snowman” based on Raymond Briggs’s Book. An Academy Award Nominee. (1982) New Edition 1999.

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Lesson plan IV

Book: “Subway Sparrow” by Leyla Torres.

Subject Areas: Language Arts, Social Studies

Approximate Time Frame: 45 min. three times a week

Grade: 3rd for Early Readers (transitional, English)

Theme: a sparrow is trapped in a New York subway train. Who will help it? There arefour people in the subway car and only two speak English.

Goal: To demonstrate how four strangers rise above the language age and cultural barriers that divide them.

Objectives: The student will;

Recognize language patterns and vocabulary
Enrich his/her knowledge about different languages people speak in the story.
Draw conclusions about the story
Extend his/her thinking in changing the end of the story


Using the story as a point of departure, students will discuss in groups and think deeply about the traits or qualities each character uses when dealing with the language.
Ask students to write a short paragraph about their own experience in school, focusing in an incident or situation which made them a deep impression
To encourage spoken English words. Ask students to talk about a crucial episode from the point of view of another character in the story
(a) Choose four children who would like to perform the characters from the story
(b) Pretend that each child speaks a different language and is not able to communicate with his/her peers
© Let students use different communication skills like gestures. Body language and a variety of other possibilities, conveying meaning rather than sounds
(d) The rest of the students may come aware about strong imagesand reactions that the situation generates
(e) As an open - ended activity the questions of differences and similarities in language could generate a lively discussion.

Teacher must expose their students to quality literature and higher order thinking skills. This can be done through the use of graphic organizers, modeling “thinking aloud” and stopping often in the text to questions and summarize, that permit formal and informal assessments. (standardized or criterion referenced tests).

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General Modifications for LRE, EOL, ESL students

Here are simple changes that every teacher can make to help ensure the success of her/his students in all subject areas.

Plan a variety of activities during the day to address all learning styles. Utilize small groups, learning centers, videos, physical, movement, etc.
Arrange seating to meet vision and hearing needs
Schedule short breaks for students who need to move
Observe and monitor each student’s progress to determine if additional modifications should be made
Offer a variety of tasks
Place the child next to a peer who can help immediately
Encourage eye contact
Build success into the task
Use mnemonics to cue recall
Have the child repeat directions
Review activities periodically
Be consistent
Give the child an opportunity to be a leader
Reward the child
Provide activities that are appropriate to the individual child’s developmental level
Y. Trapp

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The title of this chapter refers to a statement made by Dr. Luis Reyes (“we speak in many tongues, but we are not confused”) in response to “The New York Times magazine”, article entitled “A Confusion of Tongues” Reported in Puerto Rican/Latino education Roundtable, c/o Centro, Hunter Collage, New York City, June 15, 1983.

For in depth reviews and analyses of the history and purposes of “English Only” see A. Daniels, ed., “Not Only English: Affirming America’s Multilingual Heritage (Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1990).

See, John B. Kellogg, Forces of Changes, Phi Delta Kappan ( November 1988) (pp.199-204)

See Howard Giles Klaus R. Scherer, and Donald M. Taylor, “Speech Markers in Social Interaction”, Eds., Social Markers in Speech (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University press, 1979).

See Lindy L. Twiss. The Reading teacher vol.50, No.7, April 1997. International Reading Association. (pp. 602-604)

Cristina Igoa “Second Language literacy and Immigrant Children”. The Power of the Two Languages Macmillan/Mc. Graw-Hill School Publishing Comp. New York, 1993. (pp. 37)

The National Education Association, among many other organizations has taken a strong stand against the, “English Only” movement. See “Official English/English only “More than Meets the Eye”. Washington, DC. NEA, 1988, and Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science 508 (March 1990).

See Yolanda U. Trapp Curriculum Unit, Yale New Haven Teachers Institute Vol. V 1998.

Harriet Rohmer, “Mother Scorpion Country” “La tierra de la Madre Escorpion”. Stories from Central America, (1978) (Pp.32). Library of Congress.

Subcomandante Marcos, “The Story of the Colors”, “La Historia de los Colores”, Moris Press Limited, Hong Kong, 1996 (Pp. s/n).

Leyla Torres, Subway Sparrow, Library of Congress catalog, copyright 1993.

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Multicultural Resources for Teachers and Students

For Students:


Teenage Refugees from Haiti Speak Out. This is one of eight volumes in the In Their Own Voices series which tell the stories of young political refugees from around the world The Rosen Publishing Group, New York, N.Y. 10010 ( grades 7 and up).


Our Song, our Toil, The story of American Slavery as told by Slaves. Recounts the lives of American slaves in their own words. These vivid accounts and illustrations make clear the courage, dignity and hope that prevailed in the face of inhumane treatment and endless suffering. ( Grades 4-6 ) The Millbrook Press. 2 Old new Milford Rd. Brookfield, CT 06804

Native Americans

Hectunka’s Harvest, a tale of the Plains Indians by Jennifer Berry Jones. Illustrated by Shannon Keegan A Sioux Indian legend about hard work, greed and punishment is adapted and retold in this book. Large, captivating drawings illustrate the relationship between humans, animals and nature that is the basis of this tale. Roberts Rinehart Publishers. 5455 Spine Rd, Mezzanine West, Boulder, CO.80301

For Teachers

Teaching about Haiti. Network of Educators on the Americans 1118 22nd ST. NW. Washington, DC. 20037 Is a study guide that helps students place the county’s ongoing political crisis in context. Haiti’s history and culture are presented through essays, interviews, folktales, poems and songs.

The Middle East.

The Arabs: activities for the Elementary School Level combines aspects of Arab culture with interdisciplinary hands-on projects that teach about respect for self, others and the planet. Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 9 Beverly, CA 94709.

The Arabic World Mosaic is a curriculum supplement that presents Arab society as a series of concentric circles that begin with the self, the family and the home and extend to the community, the environment and the world as a whole. Many of the stories and activities are based on real people in the Arab community. “Access Cultural Art Program” 2651 Saulino Court Dearborn, MI 48120 Native Americans.

Video Grandfather Sky, follows teen Charlie Lone wolf as he struggles to understand and identify with his Native Americans relatives, whom he calls “postcard Indians”. This contemporary drama provides a realistic view of present day Navajo life and has an “open” ending to promote students discussion. (grades 7 and up). Length 50 min. Chariot Productions, 2819 third St. Boulder, CO 80304.

Silent Tales. Teachers of hearing impaired students should find Gopen’s Guide to Closed Captional Video, a valuable, time-saving resource. The guide offers informative descriptions of more than 5,000 videos in 23 categories, including extensive documentary and educational listings. A “Descriptive Video” category appears in large type and contains programs that are made accessible to blind and visually impaired people. Caption Database, Inc. 1 Walkers Way, Framingham, MA 01701.

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Bibliography for Teachers

Alvarez, Julia. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, New York: Penguin Group 1992. Fifteen interconnected stories, capture the threshold experience of the new immigrant where the past is not yet a memory and the future remains an anxious dream.

Ferré, Rosario, Vecindarios Excéntricos. Vintage Español, Vintage Books, New York, 1998. A story of men and women, of love and loss, during a period when the middle class of the island disappeared (Puerto Rico).

Santiago Esmeralda, Cuando Era Puertorriqueña, Vintage Español, Vintage Books, randon House Inc. 1994. The author describes her childhood and her life divided into two cultures and Languages, and memories of her family.

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Bibliography for Students

Briggs, Raymond. The Snowman, Random House, Inc. 1978 first edition. Summary: when his snowman comes to life, a little boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight above beautiful cities and strange lands.

Lippert, Margaret, La Hija de la Serpiente Marina. Legend of the Brazilian Tropical Forest adapted by her. It tells us how the Sea Serpents’s gift of darkness to his daughther brings night to the people of the rain forest. Troll Associats, USA. 1993. Folklore Brazil.

Rohmer, Harriet. Mother Scorpion Country. “La Tierra de la Madre Escorpion” Stories from Central America. Library of Congress Catalogin In- Publ. Data USA, 1987. Summary: A brave young Miskito Indian follows his wife from the land of the living to the spirit world. Bilingual version

Subcomandate Marcos: The Story of Colors. La Historia de los Colores. A folktale from the Jungles of Chiapas, Library of Congress-Cataloging -- in Publ. Data, 1999. A folktale from the Jungles of Chiapas, reveals some of the down to- earth wisdom of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. They fight to conserve their culture.

Torres, Leyla. Subway Sparrow, Farrar Straus, and Giroux, 19 Union Square West New York 10003. Library of Congress, 1993. Summary: A sparrow is trapped in a New York subway train. Four people try to rescue it but only two speak English. Together they show us how strangers rise above the language, age, and cultural barriers that divide them. (for all ages).

Tomie de Paola. La Leyenda del Pincel Indio. The Putnam and Grosset Group, Library of Congress, 1993. Summary: Little Gopher follows his destiny, as revealed in a Dream-Vision, of becoming an artist for his people and eventually is able to bring the colors of the sunset down to the earth. Folktale of Indians of North America, retold by Tomie de Paola. Beautiful illustrations. (for 2nd grade). Spanish version.

For 1st and 2nd grade:

Nigel Gray. A Country Far Away, an Afro-American story. 1988.

Barbara Joose. Mama, Do you love Me? This universal story is set in the Artic, the characters are Native American. 1991.

Lovie Ai- Ling. Yeh-Shen, a Cinderella Story from China. (it is belived this is the oldest version) 1982.

Erick Kimmel: The Greatest of All. A Japanese Folk Tale. 1991.

Bridget Goom: A family in Singapore. Series called “Families the world Over”. 1986.

For 3rd and 4th Grades;

Amanda Loverseed. Tikkatoo’s Journey. And Eskimo Folk Tale. 1990

Albert Lamorisse; Le Ballon Rouge. 1976-1999 edited in France by Mame Tours.

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(Terminal objective: Demonstrate knowledge of the Nicaraguan Legend in Spanish and English.)

Comprehensive Questions for Mother Scorpion Country

1. What is the legend about?

2. What happened to one of the main characters?

3. Where does the legend take place?

4. How does the main character (he) feel?

5. What happens at the end of the story?

6. Do you agree or disagree with the legend? Why?

7. Write a different ending to this legend.



(Behavioral objective: Recognize a list of new vocabulary in a multiple-choice assessment.)

Multiple Choice

Mark the correct answer for each sentence (5 points each correct answer).

1. The Miskito Indians were from

San Salvador
None of the above
2. Naklili was

Kati’s husband
An island
A boatman
A lagoon
Mother Scorpion
3. When Kati woke up she was in

A coffin
An island
At home
Watching TV
4. At the end of the story Naklili went to

His home
Mother Scorpion’s island
A game
His relatives
The sea
5.The name of the main character is

Mother Scorpion


(Performance objectives: identify important information, characters, settings, events, and relationships in the legend.)

A Comparative Study Scoring Rubric

Title of the legend

Author’s name:

Name of student assessed:

Use the following rubric to evaluate your classmate’s retelling of the legend.

(chart available in print form)

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