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Topics - charstretch

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Beginning Readers / Using comics for language acquisition
« on: November 15, 2011, 02:54:02 PM »
Here is my PowerPoint presentation on the benefits of using comics - even ones without words - as classroom tools to help language acquisition and reading fluency. It includes an activity where students get into groups of 3 or 4 and create their own stories from random images taken from comics. Please let me know what you think!


Colorín Colorado is a site that offers instructional packets, informational handouts, book reviews, booklists, and all kinds of resources for educators, families, libraries, and anyone else interested in working with English language learners.

Their site is focused on Spanish-dominant speakers learning English, mostly for toddlers through young adult age.

I think it is a particularly useful site because of all of the resources it offers (in English and Spanish), and I think most of the resources could be adapted for speakers of many different languages.

Human Is: A Science Fiction Story / Human Is lesson ideas
« on: September 07, 2011, 11:38:42 PM »
I would read Human Is with adults with intermediate to advanced fluency in reading English.

First, I would ask my students what they think that being human is or what does it mean to them. After introducing the author, Philip K. Dick, and his well-known style of science fiction writing that explores reality/realities, I'd ask the students to read the text once through. Then, I'd ask them to get into groups of two or three people and pick out words that could fit into one of two categories: emotional language or technical language. Since the story hinges on the way the main protagonist, Lester Herrick, goes from one extreme to the other, being able to piece out these distinctions is essential to comprehension of the story.

This could not only help build vocabulary, but it could also lend itself well to discussions about archaic language, as well as futuristic words, that seem out of place in daily conversation. You could discuss grammar and why certain word choices and word placement stand out more than other, more "natural"-sounding choices.

You could also talk about personification. The stove and robotic pencil are both described as taking action as if they were other living beings, which could then lead into a discussion about the distinctions between humans and inanimate objects, as well as being human versus being inhuman. I would ask students what they thought the military saw as being inhuman in Lester's behavior, and what his wife saw as inhuman in his behavior before he went to Rexor IV. I'd then ask them their own thoughts about what was inhuman or human about his behavior, as well as the other characters from the story. Did they think Jill's actions were ethical? What did they think of the military officials' intentions? What would they do if they were in that situation? And then, again, I'd ask them what they think that being human means.

I think that these discussions might be more effective in small groups rather than one big class discussion, since many students might be more likely to speak up in a smaller group setting. That, of course, depends on the class and the small group.

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