My students are in the midst of creating an interview page for the staff, as well as doing research projects. Busy times, but I want them to be aware of the world around them. 4REAL, also on the web, speaks of the work people are doing around the world to provide relief to women and children.
My students are keen to discuss their research project topic; War, Eva Olsson, the Holocaust, Rosa Parks. (She died last week-one student is doing research on her!).
I used this in class because I wanted to reach the students.I know they listen to such music and I wanted to talk about it -using their language.
In class we talked about the language of K'naan's songs from his Dusty Foot Philosopher CD. We discussed the fact that many students say, "What the hell?" all the time, especially when a teacher dares asks them to do work! The work ethic is interesting in Canada. What with outsourcing, the developing world developing, and work being sent off-shore, overseas companies providing help lines, an East Indian company providing homework help to North American students. Many of my students tend to tackle the "easiest problems". I am trying to generate some ethics and standards in their value systems. Trying to teach ethical behaviour on-line and in their behaviour as consumers. They wanted to share with me all the place they can get bootleg music. I spoke to them of intellectual property and rights. I hope I made an impact.
It was an interesting discussion that evolved around K'naan's life, work and his music. I played the songs, asked them to see if they could figure out who this man is and where he comes from. Several recognized the language and knew it was Somali. I am trying to encourage them to use their ears more and their mouths less often. Some have the attention spans of crickets! I am trying to get them to sit still and sit and listen they did! Such an interesting group
Many of our ESL kids have either fled other countries, or have come to Canada for the work that their parents do. Language is such a barrier. I find that a simple lesson becomes lost but for the meaning of one or two lost words. Or in students that are tired and need more sleep. I worry for them. The 4REAL video is terrific. It was taped in Somalia, explains some of the Civil War, but, mostly, the tragedy of civil war to civilians. It shows the work that people are doing to help victims of war. I hope to show it to the kids Friday. People helping people. I am sure it will lead to some more literacy opportunities. Many have written poems and stories and their responses to the Remembrance Day unit.
Many of the kids are so keen to work on their web pages at school - when I can help them with the HTML- that they type their creative and expository writings, or their research projects at home, then e-mail them to me, in order to effectively use computer lab time. Then they sit in the lab, work away at details, and show their works to chums, who then teach it to another friend, and so on. Their energy is inspiring.
Electronic communication if more effective with parents. I can "talk" to them, take photos of their kids doing "good" things, check in with them briefly, without leaving 3 or 4 phone tag messages. I am pleased with the progress of the group. The Virtual Tour is coming along. Kids are coming to me to ask to take photos. They are taking photos of the D&T work. They are finding reasons to read and write and think.