Subject: Investigating Ethnic/Cultural Diversity in the Community
Grade Level: 2
Abstract: The hometown of the Power Rangers, popular TV and movie action characters, has been destroyed by evil forces. The Rangers post an Internet plea for help in locating a new home base that is ethnically and culturally diverse. In order to convince the Rangers to adopt Montgomery County as their new home base, students must find out specific facts about different ethnic and cultural groups in the community, and present these facts in a persuasive case to the Rangers. Students use the Internet and e-mail to obtain current facts about Montgomery County, and send their invitation back to the Rangers.
Learner Description/Environment: This project is designed for two reading/language arts classes for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students at Weller Road Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland. There are about 16 students in the two classes. The students come from a variety of language backgrounds, including Spanish, Chinese, Thai, and Filipino. The classes are for intermediate-level ESOL students. Many of the students were born in the U.S.; the most recent immigrant arrived at the beginning of first grade. Reading levels of the students range from emergent (kindergarten level) to second grade. Two ESOL teachers will work with the students.
Time Frame: The classes meet for one hour each weekday. Three class periods per week are dedicated to this project for a five-week block of time. The project takes place at the end of second grade (May/June).
Rationale: Montgomery County is home to an extremely diverse population; the ESOL students themselves represent much of that diversity. Many of the children would like to know more about their own backgrounds and those of their friends. Understanding and valuing different groups is essential in a multicultural society. The Power Rangers are used as a "hook" to stimulate the students interest and present a problem-solving situation for engaged learning. Technology is critical to allow students to access the latest facts about the community through Internet web pages, correspond with community experts by e-mail, and organize and present data through word processing and the Internet.
Learner Outcomes: Students will be able to read data presented on the Internet; sort that data according to established criteria; record data on preset data sheets; determine other questions that need to be answered; write e-mail letters to community members to obtain answers; organize data into a persuasive argument corresponding to a preset outline; and explain to others how the students completed their projects.
Alignment with Standards: ESL Standards for Pre-K12 Students (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.)
- Goal 2, Standard 1: To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to interact in the classroom.
- Standard 2.2: Students will use English to obtain, process, construct, and provide subject matter information in spoken and written form.
- Standard 2.3: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to construct and apply academic knowledge.
- Goal 3, Standard 1: To use English in socially and culturally appropriate ways: Students will use the appropriate language variety, register, and genre according to audience, purpose, and setting.
- Standard 3.3: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to extend their communicative competence.
Grade 2 Social Studies Curriculum Objectives (Montgomery County Public Schools)
- C201.00: Describe the characteristics of our community.
- C205.00: Indicate ways in which people in the community honor people and their skills through special events.
- C212.00: Recognize the United States as a home for people of various ethnic/cultural origins.
Outcomes for Reading/Language Arts (Montgomery County Public Schools)
- Outcome 1: Demonstrate positive attitudes toward reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
- Outcome 2: Demonstrate ability to read, write, listen and speak for a variety of purposes and audiences, in a variety of forms and situations.
- Outcome 3: Demonstrate ability to use skills and strategies to construct, extend, and examine meaning.
- Outcome 4: Demonstrate ability to develop global understanding, interpretations, and to respond critically and personally to written or spoken communication.
- Outcome 5: Demonstrate ability to self-evaluate learning.
Structure of the Learning:
Content: Students will learn about different cultural groups in their community in order to persuade a group of superheroes to come to Montgomery County.
Process: Students will obtain current data by accessing Internet sites posted by community groups, and by e-mailing community leaders. Students will record the data they find and organize the data into a persuasive argument corresponding to pre-set criteria.
Product: Students will place data into a web page, which will be uploaded.
Assessment: Student progress will be assessed throughout the project. Each day, teachers will review e-mail correspondence and data logs filled out by students to assess the accuracy and appropriateness of work products. Students will use a checklist to assess their own work in creating a final persuasive argument for the Power Rangers. Students will also rate their performance in carrying out tasks cooperatively with a weekly and unit self-assessment. Teachers will use notes of observations and students self-assessments to monitor cooperative performance.
Project/Unit Evaluation: At the end of the unit, this section will be updated to reflect answers to the following:
What worked well?
What wasnt as successful as I had hoped?
What would I modify or change before I use the unit again?
Author: John Rebstock (John_Rebstock@fc.mcps.k12.md.us) School: Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Maryland Created: April 28, 1998 - Updated: May 21, 1998 URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w98/projects/jrebstock/present.html