This unit will consist of three parts. The three activities are all designed to open the students up to the possibilities of language and writing. Part one involves free expression in journal writing through introduction of brainstorming or clustering. Because the students have a limited ability to express themselves in writing, I will use clustering just to get them comfortable with thinking of words as being written, not spoken. One problem is that the Hispanic and Black students have a problem with language in general. The Hispanic student is not comfortable conversing in English and will revert to Spanish whenever possible. By doing free expression in writing, more new words will be used to augment their limited vocabulary, and they will need to use less Spanish in the classroom. Part two involves the reading poems of two authors, Maya Angelou and Julia Alverez, who have written about everyday life experiences which are relevant to the students. Part three of the unit, the students will view particular pictures and answer specific questions about them. This lesson is to stimulate language usage effect, inference, mood, and imaginative interpretation. Also, in part three, we will read a short selection titled “The Wild-Boy of Aveyron” and have students
The intent of this unit is to make writings so valuable to the students that they will want to express themselves with some kind of writing daily. The unit will be used during the second marking period when the students have settled down and are into “my routine” of teaching and expectations. The teacher may extend the time limit of this unit if he or she so desires.
Clustering is one of the activities I will use to open the students up to a better enjoyment of writing skills with language. With the students using clustering or brainstorming, it will be a way for them to think and talk about their topics. They will collect information and ideas usually more than they will finally use, and then pick, choose, and organize what they want to say. Knowing my students, I can visualize them enjoying themselves once they learn to do this method. The students can relate to things they know best because it is something that belongs to them.The optimum would be to have the class take pen in hand and do the unit for the complete four marking periods; however, this is not feasible because I am an enrichment teacher and must follow certain guide lines at specific times, such as preparing students for test taking skills, which takes up much time.
The journals will be a separate notebook for self-expression and composing. For want of a better name, journals could be called “My Idea Book” or whatever fits the student’s fancy. Hopefully, in time, we will develop the art of sharing with the group. Of course, this will be entirely optional. The setting of specific goals and attaining those goals will help the students achieve some degree of confidence. With this new confidence, I could conceive of peer editing if the class so desires. I am aware that I must have all types of “good” materials in my classroom if I am to initiate this unit to turn the students on! During the teaching of this unit, teacher and student will be cognizant of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and paragraph formation. The student’s writing paper for the journals will be blank sheets of unlined paper. The rationale for using this type of paper is to give my students a feeling of freedom . . . to write as much or as little as they deem necessary, without attention to or worry about containment and orderliness.