The Lessons are based on the three national goals developed by Teaching of English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL).
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 1
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.