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).
I’ve embedded it at the end of this post, but I think this is the “money” quote from the talk which would be most useful for teachers. I’m going to share it with students and have them respond to the prompt right below it:
What does Anne Lamott say are the keys to being a good writer? Do you agree with what Lamott is saying? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and anything you have read.
In it, an archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recommends that people begin to journal about current events to create a resource for future historians. She mainly is targeting present historians, but the advice can easily be applied to non- professional historians, also – like our students!
I could easily see this idea as being a “hook” to have students begin to blog about current events.
The article shares several pieces of advice. Here’s one:
Doing something like this semi-regularly on a class blog would be easy to do and easy to archive.
This year, I was successful in implementing a bit more rigor in my Beginning ELL class, so I’m modifying the Intermediate Final and using it there (for most, though not all, of the students – students who arrived late in the year will do a far more simple assignment).