1. Students will need copies of the following works of literature for this curriculum unit:
"Ode to an Artichoke", Pablo Neruda
"Fleas Interest Me So Much", Pablo Neruda
"The Word", Pablo Neruda
"Vision", Octavio Paz
"Water Night", Octavio Paz
"At the Hearth", from Between Two Fires, Laura Esquivel (trans. Lytle)
"The Torquoise Ring", from The Emerald Lizard
"Paletón and the Musical Elephant", from Where Angels Glide at Dawn
"Five Eggs", from The Emerald Lizard
"Juan Bobo", from The Emerald Lizard
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
2. A sampling of additional writings by these and other Latin American authors for students to read as they design their final project.
3. A world map so that students can learn the geographic locations of the authors in this unit.
4. Students will need a writing notebook for daily writing practice and a separate notebook of some kind to be used as a journal for this unit and others during the year.
5. Teachers will be responsible for creating daily handouts which will include assignments, practice with metaphors and similes, character analysis exercises, scoring rubrics, and final project guidelines.
Part VII: Appendix: TESOL Standards and Differentiated
The National TESOL Association has issued its own objectives for Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (New Haven has adopted the more inclusive category of ELLs for this subgroup of students). These standards are for grades PreK-12, with an overall objective of English language proficiency. With certain exceptions, all ELL students take the CMT tests and need to show progress. For grade 7, students are expected to attain proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Standard 1 requires that "ELLs communicate for social, intercultural, and instructional purposes within the school setting". Standard 2 requires that "ELLs communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the area of Language Arts".
Teaching ELLs is part of a spectrum of teaching challenges that run from Talented and Gifted to Special Education within the heterogeneous, "mainstream", peer-related classroom. Differentiated Instruction means different things to different teachers: while I have chosen the readings for this unit, Mr. DeLucia may supplement or delete readings and assignments for various students according to his needs for differentiated instruction. This curriculum unit will probably be offered during the end of the first school quarter, before Thanksgiving, giving Mr. DeLucia time to assess his students and determine ways of grouping students appropriately for reading and writing exercises. All students will hear the poems and stories read aloud during class, and all students, except for those with special education limitations, will be assigned in-class reading and writing and additional homework. Modifications for individual students will be incorporated into various lessons, as needed. These modifications will include word banks, repetitions of key phrases, and class handouts with reinforced practice exercises. We will also have students work in predetermined groups so that stronger students have an opportunity to "teach" others in their group; in some cases the group members will be responsible for arriving at answers to questions and will receive a group grade.
Assessing student achievement is a continuous process for teachers and especially significant for Truman School because it is considered a Tier Three (low performance) school. Beginning in the fall semester, 2009, Truman teachers will be required to participate in the Common Formative Assessment program which ties academic objectives with student proficiency. Mr. DeLucia and I have already started to discuss how we would like to assess student performance within this curriculum unit. In addition to the reading and writing assignments within each section, we think the students should read on their own at least one poem or folktale written by an author or similar to those we are studying. We will also require students to keep a continuous journal that will be read by the teachers, but not by other students without the writer's permission. We will have a bulletin board showcasing student writings during this unit; if the writings show sufficient merit, we will assemble them as a unit booklet for the class as a whole to enjoy and share with administrators and other teachers.