You can find the transcript at that link, and I’m embedding the video at the bottom of this post.
I’ve developed this prompt that I’ll give students after they read and watch the video:
What does Akhil Sharma say about generosity and belonging? Do you agree with what Sharma is saying? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and anything you have read, including Sharma’s essay.
Commaful lets you simply and easily create online slideshows of your writing, with the text accompanied by easily search-for and selected photos, videos or GIFs. Then, you can link to or embed your creation.
It doesn’t have music, unlike Adobe Spark, and the photo selection does not appear to be as robust. However, Commaful does have one huge advantage over Adobe Spark – you can create your stories without registering or logging-in. That is indeed a huge advantage, as any teacher will tell you.
Of course, another disadvantage is it’s unclear what kind of standards are maintained for Commaful’s content. I didn’t see anything inappropriate in a quick search, but who knows?
One other minor inconvenience with Commaful – after I embedded by five second creation below (it’s only two slides, but you can make ones with many, many more) and clicked on it here, I got a pop-up inviting me to register at the site to read stories. However, if you click it to go away, you can then continue to read the embedded story.
ose Carlos Haro Preciado is a student in Bret Gosselin‘s high school class. Jose has created a nice resource on How To Write A Poem, and I’m adding it to The Best World Poetry Day Resources – Help Me Find More. A little more about Jose: Jose Carlos Haro Preciado is currently a student at Coppell High School. He is from Mexico where he lived until moving to the United States two years ago as a sophomore. He is an ambitious student who uses his writing as a way to learn from the world around him. He believes that by hard work, he can learn to do anything well, including English. He plans to go to college to become an engineer and is a valued member of Coppell’s champion-winning varsity soccer team.
Writing Sparks lets students select a writing genre and then provides a good outline for students to then write the essay. Then can save it to a PDF file which, unfortunately, is not editable. So, if students were going to use the site, they’d probably want to copy and paste their writing into a Google Doc.
The useful outline is what makes this site stand-out a bit from similar tools.
I wrote my way out
Wrote everything down far as I could see
I wrote my way out
I looked up and the town had its eyes on me
There are variations of that verse in other parts of the song, and I think those parts could be pretty accessible to ELLs and they’d certainly enjoy it.
The mixtape uses lots of the original lyrics, but adds a lot, too. You can read all the lyrics here and I’ve embedded the video below (which only contains audio):
I particularly like the final lyrics to that version:
I picked up the pen like Hamilton I wrote my way out of the projects Wrote-wrote my way out of the projects Picked up the pen like Hamilton I wrote my way out of the Wrote-wrote my way out of the projects I wrote my way out Picked up the pen like Hamilton I wrote my way out of the
(I wrote my way out) Really, I saw like a hole in the rap game, so if I wanted to put my little two cents in the game, then it would be from a different perspective (I wrote my way out) I thought that I would represent for my neighborhood and tell their story, be their voice, in a way that nobody has done it Tell the real story
I’m thinking that I could use the music with my Intermediate English Language Learners and ask them to respond to this prompt:
What do you think the singer means by “I wrote my way out. I thought that I would represent for my neighborhood and tell their story, be their voice, in a way that nobody has done it. Tell the real story”? Who do you think has told the story of your community? Do you think you could be a voice of your community? If you think you can help tell your community’s story, how could you do it and what kind of help would you need? If don’t think you can tell your community’s story, please explain why not.
Pam shared about a project we did at our school where our Intermediate English Language Learner students wrote about their personal experiences and then other classes came to learn from them over a week’s time.
Those Intermediate ELLs then helped my Beginning ELL students to write their own stories.
Now, Pam and her Intermediate class have pulled together all of those stories into a downloadable PDF book, which I have permission to share here. The description of the process and all the downloadable materials in Pam’s original post, along with the Beginner and Intermediate models, should make it a lot easier for others who might want to do similar projects (‘ll also add this link to Pam’s original post).