City Through Poems, Songs, and Artwork

Author: Alla Dolderer

School/Organization:

Northeast High School

Year: 2021

Seminar: Cities through the Lens of Race, Class, and Gender

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: artwork., authentic sources, city, community, ESL, global, immigration, local, poetry, songs

School Subject(s): ESL

This unit is designed for high school students with limited English language proficiency, but can be adapted to the needs of mainstream student population. The unit explores life in a city, what it means for different people and what it entails, in context of genuine materials, such as poems, songs, newspaper articles, and artwork. Throughout the unit, in context of highly structured activities adapted from the QTEL model (Quality Teaching for English Learners) that I described very thoroughly in the “Teaching Strategies” section, students are going to explore such complex phenomena as, for example,  separation of living spaces by race and class, and opportunities provided by the city to different people across race, gender, class, immigration status and time. By tapping into the complexity of city life I want my students to think about their own place in the world. What was their place in their respective native places of residence? What is their place in this city, Philadelphia, and why do they live in this particular place? These are some of the questions that can be explored during the implementation of this unit, concurrently with developing critical thinking skills and learning listening, reading and writing strategies.

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Full Unit Text
Content Objectives

Problem Statement

As I’ve been working with Level 1 students (“entering” proficiency level, according to WIDA guidelines; students with minimal English language proficiency in other words) for 5 years in a row, I find myself on a constant lookout for new pedagogical approaches to make rigorous high school curriculum accessible to my students. The eternal conundrum with recent newcomers is that while their cognitive development requires rigorous, intellectually challenging material, their English language proficiency is either very limited, or null altogether. Indeed, when sometimes some of my students make strides in English languages acquisition, I am required to move them up a level to a more difficult class, which sometimes happens even in the middle of a school year, so I always strive to make my instruction extremely structured, and all the tasks highly scaffolded, to make it possible for my students to progress at a greater rate to make this movement. What it means is that I have to think very carefully about supports that I have to provide for my students to accomplish every task, no matter how easy, and that there will be no confusion on a student’s part about how to approach a single task.

But, unfortunately, limited English language proficiency is not always the only problem my students face. A great deal of my students come from countries torn by internal conflicts, or countries where education is not given a priority. As a result, many students have very low literacy levels in their native languages, and are not ready to tackle high-school level material. They can possibly benefit from elementary-level materials as this is where their reading comprehension skill is, but of course the high school curriculum cannot accommodate this. Indeed, while in the US we always have kids who have been falling behind for years, especially in urban areas, it is still illegal not to go to school for a number of years, as some of my Syrian students did, or go to school only until midday, as some of my Haitian students did. As a result, these students have a lot of catching up to do, and are often lost in their classes, feeling increasing detachment from school. Another obstacle is the inability to see much value in getting good grades. Some students are only after a high school diploma, and are often unwilling, even when able, to put effort into completing assignments to the best of their ability. This unsettling trend is sometimes evident among my students, especially those who stay in the same level for 2 or more years. It makes me very upset to observe this detachment and feel helpless in overturning it with what I believe to be exciting failure-proof lessons.

One thing that I do know to be true, though, is that it’s foolish to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. That’s why I intend to use my participation in this seminar as the unique opportunity to both research and apply research-based and innovative pedagogical strategies, and use new material and media to teach literacy skills. When it comes to pedagogical strategies, I utilize the district-mandated “I do,” “we do,” “you do” instructional model, which has a very easy-to follow structure and a sound basis. However, a few years ago I participated in the extended QTEL (Quality Teaching for English Learners) training, and while I do incorporate some of its components into my instruction, I’ve never really used this model as it is intended. Indeed, at this point I have a very vague idea of the very nature of the model, and I find the prospect of cracking the book once more very exciting. However, this model have been extremely successful nationwide, and SDP’s Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs tirelessly pushes it as the one pedagogical format that ALL the district’s ESL teachers should consider to follow. For example, this year the lesson plans for the first four weeks, thoroughly aligned to standards and curriculum, were issued by the above-referenced office for both ELD1 and ELD2 students (entering and emerging levels, respectively, according to WIDA guidelines),  and these plans were designed according to the QTEL format.

When it comes to material, over the years I’ve come to realization that the media to which my students respond best include artwork, poetry and music, and this is the media that is often scarce in any curriculum, however great. The fantastic Edge Fundamentals curriculum I teach, though contains many visuals and has a certain number of songs and poems, still focuses mostly on teaching reading comprehension strategies on context of fictional and non-fictional texts of various genre. Though I find this curriculum to be extremely well-structured, rigorous, and engaging, I still always wished that it would include more various media, especially media close to students’ lives, such as pop and rap songs. I would like to remediate this shortcoming by introducing more poetry and songs, together with artwork.

But, of course, even the most engaging lesson will fall short of reaching students if it’s not connected to their lives. That’s why I think that the participation in the seminar “Cities through the Lens of Race, Class and Gender” is especially beneficial for teachers like me, who work with extremely diverse populations of students. Indeed, my students come from all parts of the world, and can yield unique insights that go beyond urban experiences in the US. However, there are also many similarities between their experiences and what they experience here, in the US. Though the long-standing practice of separation of living spaces based on race may be something more or less unique to the US, the separation by class is practice integral to every society. Gender can also easily factor into this equation, when the safety of a family unit is not available to a woman. By exploring these similarities and differences, I want my students to also think about their own place in the world. What was their place in their respective native places of residence? What is their place in this city and why do they live in this particular place? These are some of the questions that we can explore in context of artwork, poems, and songs.

Content

First of all, I want to specify general objectives I intend to address in my unit. By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Engage with poetry, discuss, interpret, and make personal connections to it. Students will form a general understanding of intonational patterns of poetry and its conventions (or lack of them to serve a distinct purpose). Students will collaborate in groups to interpret poems by creating images and making distinct connections.
  2. Search for city-related images in a specific database, and then analyze these images according to a specific criteria. In addition, students will be able to match the descriptions of images to the images and justify their reasoning for doing so.
  3. Listen for specific information to a genuine listening text (podcast in this case) and recall this information accurately and coherently.
  4. Make intelligent predictions about the article’s content based on clues such as headings. Read and comprehend the article’s assigned sections in order to answer comprehension questions. Synthesize information from the article to write an informational letter to a friend or a relative on a specific topic (immigration).
  5. Compare and contrast songs for both meaning and structure. Write their own themed songs about impressions of Philadelphia, featuring such song elements as verse and chorus.

In my unit, I intend to utilize only authentic materials. Though a lot has been said about the value of authentic materials in classroom instruction, I found that using authentic materials with students who have limited English language proficiency can be extremely difficult, if not outright impossible. Indeed, usually authentic materials, whether it is a news article, a poem, a news report, or a podcast, to name a few, present a quite formidable linguistic challenge to the newcomers in particular. Even if students have been in this country for a few years, they may not have acquired enough tools to deal with this sort of linguistic challenge. This way, I attempted to research the types of authentic materials appropriate for the ESL students, especially beginners, and the ways to teach them.

So, what are “authentic materials”? Synthesizing research on the nature of authentic materials, Aladini and Farahbod maintain that, “Authentic materials have been defined as materials produced to fulfill some social purpose in the language community, that is, these materials are not produced for language teaching purposes (p. 83).” They also note that, ironically, even though these materials are not designed for classroom usage, they are most beneficial for the ESL students. Roberts and Cooke, in their turn, note that some categories of  English language learners (they specifically referred to migrants) live in extremely insulated communities where the opportunities for practicing of English language are either scarce or non-existent. They urge teachers of such students to reenact real-life interactions in classroom context as much as possible in order to reflect “interactional realities of the world outside” (p. 621). At the same time, Roberts and Cooke caution educators to confine authentic materials to teaching only survival-type material, such as filling in a Wal-Mart job application or welfare assistance form, as such practices only “socializ[e] migrants to take their place as low-paid, low-grade workers” (p. 623). Instead, they propose a different kind of authenticity, “that of the development of self-expression and authentic voice” (p. 622). They urge educators to not only replicate the types of experiences that students may encounter outside of the classroom, but also use authentic materials that serve as conduits for self-expression and creativity, and widen the horizon of possibilities for the ESL students.

Poetry is definitely the type of authentic material that allows such self-expression and creativity. However, poetry is often perceived as being too difficult for the ESL students due to its structural complexity and figurative language. Indeed, Newfield and D’abdon (2015) write that “… poetry occupies a limited space in mainstream education, because it is considered too difficult, elitist, or remote from the concerns of everyday life” (p. 511). Aladini and Farahbord (2016), who focus exclusively on the benefits of poetry in teaching of second language learners, caution that “[p]oems should be appropriate in terms of language complexity, language familiarity, figures of speech and length” (p. 86). Newfield and D’abdon, (2015), in their turn, also caution against using poems that are hopelessly outdated and removed from the lives of students. Instead, they argue for the usage of poems relatable to students’ lives. They also argue for the reconceptualization of poetry as a multimodal genre (that taps into a range of meanings– spoken, visual, gestural, bodily, sonic, and spatial), pointing out that such a reconceptualization “could play a constructive role in the motivation and self-esteem of learners struggling to acquire competence in English” (p. 511). Indeed, all too often such practices as close reading of a poem or analyzing it for figures of speech result in fostering a life-long hatred of anything poetic. Instead, poetry should be the kind that “inspires both desire and energy in language learners to improve their language skills” (Aladini and Farahbord, 2016, p. 87).

Another type of authentic material that I intend to use in my unit is podcast. Often, in the ESL classroom listening skills are either slighted or not addressed at all. When they are addressed, it is often in context of unlikely exchanges where one person states something in slow, robotic voice, asking few or no questions. Such scenarios present little value to second language learners often forced to complete such difficult tasks as scheduling an appointment, getting information in a store, or, say, talking to a teacher about one’s progress. During these exchanges, a lot of information is often misheard or misunderstood, and students fail to employ simple strategies such as clarification request or rephrasing, in order to make sense of what is said by the interlocutor. In addition, one of the most used approaches to test listening skills is to ask students to answer comprehension questions. Nguyen and Abbott (2016) point out that while such practice is valuable in many ways, it does “little to help learners develop their listening competence, as [it tests] listening rather than teaches it (p. 75). Instead, they are proposing a process-oriented approach to teaching listening skills, as it is better suited to give students tools to deal with difficult real-life listening texts. This approach features 3-parts — bottom-up, metacognitive and dual focus on listening-for-comprehension and listening-for-learning approaches. In a nutshell, the bottom-up approach includes knowledge of segmentals (sounds) and suprasegmentals (intonational patterns) to construct meaning. Metacognitive strategies help the listener to make sense of what is heard by arming them with concrete tools. Finally,  dual focus on listening-for-comprehension and listening-for-learning is essentially a 2-part cycle of activities aiding both comprehension phase and acquisition. In my unit, I intend to utilize this particular listening format to aid comprehension of a podcast.

But authentic materials, of course, are not limited to poetry and podcasts. In my unit, I also intend to use extensively artwork and songs.

I think that my unit ought to begin with a series of lessons related to poetry. As I already mentioned, poetry is the kind of medium that, in many respects like art, allows self-expression and creativity. I’ve chosen three poems that I want to, first, analyze with students, and then compare and contrast their content in an attempt to illuminate the writer’s perspectives on life in a city. The first poem is “The Tropics of New York” by Claude McKay; the second is  “Ideal Cities” by Erika Meitner; and, finally, the third one is “I Live for my Car” by Wanda Coleman. Though all three poems are extremely different, they are united by one common theme—the life in a city. The first one is the easiest in terms of its grammatical and lexical structure, content vocabulary and the overall content. It taps into wistfulness and nostalgia that an immigrant (the author is Jamaican-born) feels when sees an array of beautiful tropical fruit and fragrant spices exhibited in the windows on a shop. Because of its easy structure and relatable content, this poem is especially appropriate for using with ESL students, especially the new arrivals with whom I work. They can certainly relate to the feeling of homesickness that can be sparked by such seemingly inconsequential things as fruit and spices native to one’s home country. The poem “Ideal Cities” by Erika Meitner is essentially wishful thinking, tinged with nostalgia. I believe my students can relate to its content because they come from countries where a close-knit community is a “normal” occurrence. Indeed, in the US people often get mad when they hear loud music and especially so if a drunken old lady dares to touch their child. But my students often talk about very loose boundaries between neighbors, and a sense of camaraderie they miss in their neighborhoods—whether they come from cities, towns, or rural area. The third poem I’ve chosen is a little difficult because it has some challenging vocabulary words that have to be pre-taught and discussed prior to introducing the poem, and also largely punctuation-free stanzas without proper conventions, such as capitalization, that remind of stream of consciousness. But I think it may be appropriate to introduce and discuss this poem’s content, as well as teach proper punctuation. One idea is to introduce rules of punctuation and then “improve” the poem by rewriting it according to the newly introduced rules. But the poem also opens an avenue to the discussion of both the necessity of having a car in the US even when living in the city, and the presence or  lack of the same necessity in my students’ home countries. Do they absolutely need to have cars in their home countries, or is it a luxury? What are the alternatives to having a car in their home countries? Finally, all three poems can be compared and contrasted by answering the following questions:

  1. What do all three poems tell about cities? Is their portrayal different or is it similar? Why?

Another powerful medium to engage ELL students is artwork. Students can be encouraged to either look for artwork on the Philadelphia Museum of Art website, or a teacher can provide artwork for analysis. In case if students are asked to look for their own images, they have to be provided with very explicit instructions for image selection, such as that the image can be either a painting, a lithograph, or a photograph, and has to show a city scene or its interpretation. The reason for this note is that most of the artwork on the museum’s website related to the city does not actually feature a city scene. As to artwork selected by the teacher, there are 5 images that I found especially fascinating for various reasons. Here are their descriptions:

Image 1: Natalia Sergeyevna Goncharova “The City” (1920)

The two dominant colors of the painting, maroon red, the color of the brick, and blue, the color of the sky and water, dominate the image. The maroon red is overpowering the image, together with the images of brick and walled spaces.

Image 2: Peter Grippe “The City” (1945).

This piece of artwork reminds me of something my teenage son may do and has done. To me, it looks both juvenile and deep. The drawing looks like a map of a neighborhood, with black and white human figures suggestive of, perhaps, safe and unsafe neighborhoods. It also reminds of a maze, with intricate and confusing pathways and dead ends. It does not look like a place where one wants to settle down!

Image 3: Wharton H. Esherick “Of a Great City” (1927).

In this lithograph, the city is portrayed as a great and cultivated place. All things seem to be possible in the city, as suggested by the image. Indeed, there are images of a piano, a library, and a painting in the huge room, and a tremendous window with a city vista.

Image 4: Iver Rose “City Streets” (c. 1935).

This drawing, to me, is suggestive of some sort of a disaster, though it is completely unclear about what is really going on, hence open to interpretation. There is a huge building in the background that appears to fall down. A lot of light comes from it, appearing to blind people in the foreground. The people in the foreground, in their turn, are all a jumble of bodies. Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they enlightened or waiting for some catastrophe to crush them? All of these questions can be discussed in groups among students.

Image 5: Joseph Pennell “The City, Evening” (1905).

This is the only image out of 5 images supplied that portrays city is a conventional way. The drawing was made in 1905, but it has many similarities with a present-day portrayal of a city. The only really glaring difference is smoke that seems to go from everywhere. I guess back in the days there were a few rules about the amount of smoke permitted. The image on the whole has a very warm, mysterious, and familiar ambiance about it.

There is one podcast that I would really like to introduce to my students. It tells the story of a man who had been living his life peacefully with his wife and children, working as an immigration agent, before he decided to bring his brother to the US. When he submitted his birth certificate together with the application, the genuine one was discovered instead, from Mexico. The man, totally oblivious to the fact that his parents counterfeited his birth certificate many decades ago, sees his whole life crumbling away. I believe that this incredible story can be relatable to many of my students. Even when they cannot relate to a guy who was raised in the US as a kid and made a wonderful career in this country, also raising a family, they certainly can relate to a person completely stripped of all rights, who has to figure out his life from step zero. Indeed, as many of my students have had traumatic experiences either in their native countries or even here, in the US, or have been separated with their families, they can relate to a man who had been proclaimed a criminal without committing a crime, and was facing separation with his wife and children simply because his parents chose to make a counterfeit birth certificate for him when he was still a baby.

Because the podcast is very lengthy, I can only introduce several passages for listening and reading. Students can interact with both form and meaning in context of these activities. Activities can include filling in the blanks in the script while listening, as well as analyzing the grammar and lexical structure of sentences and discrete phrases. But the most important skill that can be targeted by working with the podcast is, of course, listening for meaning. A few listening strategies can be introduced to students that will teach them how to deal with a real-life, genuine listening text without understanding every single word. It is an extremely important skill to hone, especially within the ESL student population, as too often ESL students, particularly the beginners, are put off by real-life listening texts, and are quite unwilling to attempt listening as they have already formed the notion that they won’t be able to understand anything. However, introducing and practicing a few listening strategies in context of a podcast, such as listening for gist and listening for discrete words, can arm students with confidence.

Another authentic resource that is related to the podcast is the newspaper article from “The Atlantic” titled “The Undocumented Agent” by Jeremy Raff, the author of the above-mentioned podcast. It tells the same story about the same guy, Raul Rodriguez, only a different medium is used – a newspaper article. Of course, to read such a difficult article of such a length is beyond the capacity of my students, so dividing it into sections is a must. I think dividing it into themed sections is the best strategy. Students can read in groups only sections assigned to them, and then ask questions about sections assigned to other groups in a jigsaw activity. Students can write an informational letter to a relative or a friend afterwards about the mishaps of this guy and / or a comment on the immigration system in general. I think working on the same content in a different medium can be especially beneficial for ELL students, as the necessity to digest content is partially lifted by the previous listening lesson.

Finally, the last set of authentic materials that I want to introduce is songs. Students will listen to city-themed songs and analyze them in a variety of activities. These songs are extremely different from each other. The first one, “Downtown,” was written and first sang in 1964 by Petula Clark. It is essentially the ode to the downtown, a place where people can forget whatever troubles them just by looking at the bright lights, listening to happy music and seeing some shows. Of course, such escapist view is utopian and flighty, but I believe that many people can relate to feeling happier just by mingling with the crowd and feeling the buzz from the voices blended with the noise produced by passing traffic. The second one, “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder, was written 10 years later, in 1974. It is a story of a black boy who was born and raised in Mississippi in s hard-working and loving, but poor family, who leaves for a better opportunity to New York, only to find that there is no place for him there, and shortly to be put in jail because of his gullibility – he innocently runs a parcel, unknowingly to him full of drugs, for a friendly and personable man, and then gets apprehended by police. His  dreams are ruined, his young life is already taking a sinister course. The third one, “Empire State of Mind,” by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z, is the most recent – written in 2009. Now, this song is both an ode to New York as a city where all dreams come true, and the acknowledgement that a simple black man from Brooklyn can, in fact, make it there and anywhere else! This one song goes so well with the other two as it both glorifies New York as a “happy place” where streets will make you feel “brand-new” and “big lights will inspire you,” and also a place where a person from a racially and socially diverse background can make it. This way, these three songs can be used in so many ways during a series of lessons—they can be compared and contrasted in terms of their messages and also in terms of their structure, as all of them feature verse and chorus. These elements of a song can be can be introduced to students, and then they can write their own themed song about impressions of Philadelphia featuring these elements.

Teaching Strategies

In this unit, I intend to utilize only one teaching format—Quality Teaching for English Learners, or QTEL. It is essentially the instructional model adopted and pushed by the School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP’s) Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs. Indeed, the QTEL professional development is both well-paid and extensive (1 full week over the summer and multiple Saturday sessions over the school year), and content teachers who do not have requisite knowledge to address unique needs of the ESL population are especially encouraged to apply. On the SPD’s pd proposal document is it specified that “ QTEL, at its core, is a pedagogical framework that supports “scaffolding up” instead of “watering down” curriculum for ELs with a focus on discipline-specific approaches to teaching language and content simultaneously” (p.5). Indeed, the school district has invested a lot of money and hope in this pedagogical model, in the attempt to help struggling teachers to adequately address needs of the growing ESL population.

So, what is the basic structure of lesson planning and delivering that this model proposes? In a nutshell, each lesson features three moments—1) Preparing the Learner; 2) Interacting with Content; 3) Extending Understanding. It is important to understand that each “lesson” may take several days to be accomplished. Each moment has multiples lesson planning suggestions, and in the huge binder given to all the participants during the professional development, there are multiple examples of lesson plans developed according to this principle, together with graphic organizers with sample questions, pictures etc.

Instructional Purposes of Each Moment

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Content Extending Understanding
1. Activate prior relevant knowledge.

2. Focus attention on concepts to be developed.

3. Introduce vocabulary in context.

1. Deconstruct text, focus on understanding a chunk.

2. Reconstruct chunk to whole text.

3. Establish connections between ideas and text.

1. Deconstruct text, focus on understanding a chunk.

2. Reconstruct chunk to whole text.

3. Establish connections between ideas and text.

There are six full lessons described in the book, with fully-developed activities for each of three moments. Here are the descriptions of each lesson’s architecture which I name “Sample Outline” because each part can be omitted / added / substituted to fit particular material taught.

Sample Outline #1

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Texts Extending Understanding
Think-Pair-Share

Novel Idea Only

Clarifying Bookmark 1

Semantic Star

Double-Entry Journal

Round Robin

Reaching a Consensus

Collaborative Poster with Rubric

Gallery Walk

Quick Write

Sample Outline #2

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Texts Extending Understanding
Quick Write

Pair-Share

Base Groups

Expert Groups

Expert Group Round Robin

Base Group Round Robin

Developing a Narrative

Presentations

Sample Outline # 3

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Texts Extending Understanding
K-W-L

Round Robin

Extended Anticipatory Guide

Dyad Share

Reading with a Purpose

Reading Aloud in Four Voices

Round Robin 1 and 2

Reaching a Consensus

Mind Mirror with Rubric

Presentation

Self-Evaluation

Gallery Walk

Sample Outline #4

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Texts Extending Understanding
Semantic Map

Gallery Walk

Whole Class Discussion

Map Comparison

Round Robin

Map Description Card Match

Collaborative Chart

Presentation of Evidence

Individual Writing Task

Sample Outline #5

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Texts Extending Understanding
Three-Step Interview

Extended Anticipatory Guide

Clarifying Bookmark 1

Working with Vocabulary in Context

Reading Prediction

Round Robin

Small Group Discussion

Focus for Reading

Expert Group Discussion

Expert Group Third-Person Report

Gallery Walk

Revisiting Extended Anticipatory Guide

Writing an Informational Letter

 Sample Outline #6

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Texts Extending Understanding
Anticipatory Guide

Image reflection and Response

Round Robin

Dyad Jigsaw Reading

Skim the Text

Reading with a Focus

Dyad Share

Reaching a Consensus

AB Dyad Share

Novel Question Posting

Clarifying Bookmark

Background Pictures (Option 1)

Viewing with a Purpose (Option 2)

Teacher Read Aloud

Listen and Draw

Round Robin

Double Entry Journal, Chapter 1

Round Robin

Summary Log

Class Discussion and Chapter Summary

Story Graph, Chapter 3

Double Entry Journal, Chapter 4

Round Robin

Inference and Prediction Matrix

Matrix Mixer

Four Corners

Reading with a Focus, Chapter 5

The Tomb Description Chart, Chapter 6

Character Transformation Jigsaw

Round Robin Base Group Round Robin

Reading in Four Voices

Predict Pair Share

Reading with a Focus, Chapter 10

Partner Read and Share, Chapter 11

Round Robin

Final Transformation Jigsaw Reading

Base Group Round Robin

Reading with a Focus

Class Share Out

Child Labor Collaborative Action Poster

Writing an Informational Paragraph

Additional Extending Understanding Options

It is evident that each “lesson” is a compilation of carefully-structured  activities that foster deep processing of knowledge. A very important and useful feature of this training is that each activity for each moment can be adapted to a new content  and a completely different subject matter. The folder distributed during the training is full of both blank and pre-filled worksheets, which is a very useful feature for a teacher, as blank worksheets can be adapted immediately to the new content, and pre-filled worksheets can be modified to suit new teaching purposes.

So, what are advantages of the QTEL model? According to the Evaluation of QTEL study, it is the model that benefits all students, not just ELLs, and in doing so “QTEL helps teachers provide instructional scaffolding so that students can participate in lessons and engage with grade-appropriate concepts in a new language” (p.3). According to the study, the QTEL teaching model has shown that the difference in scores across many indicators of both teachers and students has reached statistical significance. In addition, the model has proven itself to be highly effective in addressing unique needs of all students by arming teachers with requisite tools.

Classroom Activities

Lesson 1: What City Gives and What is Takes Away

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Text Extending Understanding
K-W-L

Round Robin

Extended Anticipatory Guide

Dyad Share

Reading with a Purpose

Reading Aloud in Four Voices

Round Robin 1 and 2

Reaching a Consensus

Mind Mirror with Rubric

Presentation

Self-Evaluation

Gallery Walk

 

Moment 1: Preparing the Learner

Task 1: KWL

Objective: Students will utilize a KWL Chart IOT talk about their experiences and ask questions

Directions: In the first column, write down what you know about living in a city. What things do you absolutely need? Why life in a city attracts people? What are the reasons for this attraction? What things does a city take away?

In the second column, write 2-3 things that you want to know about city life.

See Lesson 1 Appendix A

We will come back to filling in the third column later!

Task 2: Round Robin

Objective: Students will take turns IOT share their KWL chart

Directions: After students have completed the first two columns, they work in groups of four and in Round-Robin fashion, first sharing what they know and then what they want to know.

Sentence starters for Round Robin

See Lesson 1 Appendix B

Task 3: Extended Anticipatory Guide

Directions: Please agree or disagree with the following statements.

Objective: Students will put “A” or “D” IOT agree or disagree with a statement

See Lesson 1 Appendix C

Task 4: Dyad Share

Objective: Students will utilize formulaic expressions IOT agree or disagree with the statements from the anticipatory guide

Directions: In groups of 4, take turns agreeing or disagreeing with the statements from the Anticipatory Guide.

See Lesson 1 Appendix D

Moment 2: Interacting with Text

Objective: Students will read and comprehend the poem IOT answer questions

Task 1: Reading with a Purpose

Purpose: This task helps students read actively. Students, especially English language learners, may not realize the readers’ first interpretations may be personal and that questioning the text helps to build understanding.

Directions: Form groups of four and assign different poems to different groups. Ask students to individually read the group’s poem, thinking about the following questions as they read and taking notes to help them answer:

  1. What does the poem say to you?
  2. What two or three questions come to mind from the reading the poem that you most would like to know the answer to.

Task 2: Reading Aloud in 4 Voices

Objective: Students will take turns IOT read the poem

Purpose: Teacher’s designation of the meaningful chunks of text that together form the architecture of the poem helps to scaffold students’ reading and understanding of the poem.

Point out that one of the questions that students probably asked themselves as they read was why the poem had been typed using four different font styles (plan, bold, italicized and underlined). Explain that one part of the answer is simple: Students will now read their group’s poem collaboratively, each student selecting one type style to read aloud. Tell students there is another reason for this particular way of typing the poem that may reveal itself as they read collaboratively.

See Lesson 1 Appendix E

Task 3: Round Robin 1 and 2

Objective: Students will read aloud their answers IOT share them with the classmates

Having the echoes of the poem in their ears, group members do a round-robin sharing of their answers to the first question: What does the poem say to you?

See Appendix F

Extending Understanding

Task 1: Reaching a Consensus

Objective: Students will express their opinions and collaborate IOT reach a consensus

Purpose: This task enables a group of students or participants to reach a consensus on a theme or idea proposed by the teacher. Consensus activities engage students in negotiating and providing reasons for their ideas.

Invite students to agree on one of the characters in their poem to discuss. Groups should consider the following questions:

What is going on with the character?

How did he or she feel? Why?

Task 2: Mind Mirror with Rubric

Objective: Students will write quotes and phrases and draw symbols and drawings IOT analyze the poem

Ask the students to work in their groups of four and create a mind mirror for their character that shows the character’s situation, thoughts, concerns, and dilemmas. The mind mirror should minimally contain:

  • Two quotes from the speech, properly marked with quotation marks
  • Two original phrases about the speaker written by the group
  • Two symbols that relate to the poem
  • Two relevant drawings

Encourage students to be creative and colorful. Students might, for example, decide to use a quote to trace a hairline or two eyebrows.

See Appendix G

Task 3: Presentation

Objective: Students will read the content of their Mind Mirror IOT present it in front of the group

After students have finished their mind mirrors, invite them to present to the class. One group should read their poem in four voices before presenting their mind mirror. A second group who read the same poem only presents their mind mirror.

Task 4: Self-Evaluation

Objective: Students will utilize a rubric IOT self-asses their performance

At the end of the allotted time for product development, ask groups to stop work on their mind mirrors and use the rubric to self-assess their product. Ask groups to determine whether their product is outstanding, passing, or needs revision and to write on a large post-it three reasons to justify their assessment.

After groups present, students should also write an individual self-evaluation of their part of the presentation that includes specific goals for improvement.

Task 5: Gallery Walk

Objective: Students will utilize a rubric IOT assess performance of other groups

Display mind mirrors with self-evaluation post-its around the classroom. Invite groups to walk around and observe all mind mirrors, letting them know that at the end of their tour, each group will evaluate a mind mirror produced by another team who read their same poem.

Lesson 2: City Image Analysis

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Texts Extending Understanding
Semantic Map

Gallery Walk

Whole Class Discussion

Image Analysis /  Comparison

Round Robin

Image  Description Card Match

Collaborative Chart

Presentation of Evidence

Individual Writing Task

Task 1: Semantic Map

Objective: Students will brainstorm ideas IOT form an understanding of a subject

Purpose of Task: The purpose of the Semantic Map is to begin the lesson with a task that will tap into prior knowledge and bridge into the lesson.

Explain to students that that they are going to create a semantic map or graphic organizer about “paintings”, and that the semantic map will include knowledge from their own lives. Teachers will provide students with chart paper and colored markers and ask them to brainstorm a semantic map that responds to the following questions:

  1. What are elements of a painting / drawing?
  2. What do paintings say about their creators?
  3. What have paintings / drawings been used for across history?

Encourage students to produce products with sub-themes and categories that organize their ideas.

Task 2: Gallery Walk

Objective: Students will write comments on post-it-notes IOT respond to their classmates’ ideas

Purpose of Task: Develop students’ awareness of what constitutes quality work as well as taking note of patterns and trends within the classroom so the students can envision how they might accomplish tasks in the future

Students post their Semantic Maps around the room. The groups rotate to view the products and leave comments and/or questions on post-its. Students are required to initial their post-its.

Task 3: Whole Class Discussion

Objective: Students will analyze images and brainstorm ideas IOT deepen understanding of a subject

Purpose of Task: To synthesize the previous task and prepare students for the materials and concepts in the subsequent interacting tasks.

Debrief observations and any questions from the preceding gallery walk.

Distribute images of most famous paintings. Lead a class discussion about the following question:

What do you know about how artists make paintings?

Interacting with Texts

Task 1: Image Analysis

Objective: Students will answer questions IOT analyze images

Students are asked to view different pictures with a specific purpose in mind. They are given focus questions to consider as they examine the visual sources.

Distribute to students a set of the five city images. Give each student a copy of the assignment “Image Analysis.” Review the directions and ask partners to work together to fill in the graphic organizer for all 5 images.

Alternatively, you can ask students to search for images themselves and then analyze them.

See Appendices Lesson 2 A, B and C

Task 2: Round Robin

Objective: Students will read their responses IOT share them with their peers

Purpose of Task: Build understanding of the text based on different student responses

Ask partners to work with another pair to report their answers from the graphic organizer in a round-robin format, one at a time. Each person contributes their answers for one of the images while the others add novel information to their graphic organizers.

Task 3: Image Description Card Match

Objective: Students will read and comprehend descriptions of paintings IOT match them with the paintings

Purpose of Task: This activity enables a group of students to reach a consensus on a theme or idea proposed by the teacher.

Distribute to each group one set of the five images. Explain the task directions: Students read the cards aloud in their groups and as a group try to match each card with the corresponding image.

See Lesson 2 Appendix D

Extending Understanding

Task 1: Collaborative Chart

Objective: Students will analyze images and collaborate IOT fill in the chart

Purpose of Task: Students take the de-contextualized knowledge from the images and texts matched and weave it into a structured narrative.

Explain that students will create collaborative charts to display the evidence they used to match the images and card descriptions. Draw the following template on the board and distribute to each group a piece of paper and four markers of different colors.

See Lesson 2 Appendix E

Remindstudents to use evidence provided by the images as well as the description cards. Ask students to use a single color when adding to their group’s chart and to sign the group’s chart.

Task 2: Presentation of Evidence

Objective: Students will provide evidence IOT justify their answers from the matching exercise

Purpose of Task: Develop students’ awareness of what constitutes quality work.

When groups finish, have them post their charts. Invite one group to present their findings to the class. Poll the other groups: Did everyone agree on these matches? If there are disagreements, invite another group to present their different conclusions to the class. Continue hearing evidence from groups until a class consensus is reached.

Task 3: Individual Writing Task

Objective: Students will utilize an essay formula IOT write an essay on a prompt

Purpose of Task: To have students practice answering open-ended questions and writing an essay in response to an exam-like prompt.

Ask students to individually respond to the following question: After examining these five images about the city, what do we know about portrayal of the city in the 20th century?

Provide sentence frames for students to pre-write to answer this question. Give 5-10 minutes for writing and then ask students to exchange their writings with a classmate and make comments or ask questions.

Finally, bring students back as a whole class and discuss the form of writing. Introduce the essay model and brainstorm the thesis statements. Model writing an essay using this model.

Lesson 3: Immigration Stories

Preparing the Learner Interacting with Texts Extending Understanding
Three-Step Interview

Extended Anticipatory Guide

Clarifying Bookmark 1

Working with Vocabulary in Context

Reading Prediction

Round Robin

Small Group Discussion

Focus for Reading

Expert Group Discussion

Expert Group Third-Person Report

Gallery Walk

Revisiting Extended Anticipatory Guide

Writing an Informational Letter

Preparing the Learner

Task 1: Three-Step Interview

Objective: Students will answer questions in groups IOT share immigration experiences

Purpose of Task: Connect topic to students’ own experiences.

Ask students to sit in groups of four and form two pairs that will interview each other. Explain that you will provide two questions and that the interview will take place in three steps:

Step One: At the same time, and using the questions provided, one student in each pair interviews the other student,

Step Two: Now partners trade roles.

Step Three: Working as a group, each student reports to the other three the information provided by their partners.

The questions for the interview focus on immigration experiences of students—either they experienced themselves, or heard about. As virtually all of my students are immigrants, they all have those stories. Even if they do not want to talk about themselves, they have stories to tell about their friends.

  1. What happened to that person during his /her journey here?
  2. How did it change his / her life?
  3. What is a positive or a negative experience overall? Why?

Task 2: Extended Anticipatory Guide

Objective: Students will put “A” or “D” IOT agree or disagree with the statements

Purpose of Task: The statements in the Extended Anticipatory Guide focus students’ key attention and key ideas and concepts that will be developed in a lesson. The guide is also a vehicle for teaching students the importance of being aware as a reader of one’s own position in relation to a text.

See Lesson 3 Appendix A

Interacting with Content

Task 1: Clarifying Bookmark 1

Objective: Students will utilize metacognitive strategies IOT comprehend the text they read

Purpose: Develop students’ capacity to monitor and remedy their own comprehension difficulties.

The Clarifying Bookmark task asks students to deliberately think about what they need to do when they have a difficulty understanding a text (metacognitive strategies).

Students will work in dyads. One will listen to (or read in a script) a paragraph in the text and will then stop and think through the passage s/he just read. To help clarify a part of the text that the student does not completely understand, s/he will choose one of the strategies (what you can do) available, and may articulate her / his thoughts by choosing one of the language routines. Then the other student reads the second paragraph aloud and engages in the same type of practice.

See Lesson 3 Appendix C

Task 2: Working with Vocabulary 

Objective: Students will provide definitions, examples, and drawings of words IOT form deep understanding of content vocabulary

Purpose: Help students build understanding of vocabulary words prior to reading,

Because this text is different from the informational text that was intended by the designers of this lesson, I intend to simply provide a list of  most important content vocabulary, and design a worksheet where the students will have to provide definitions for each vocabulary item and make a drawing of something representing this word.

See Lesson 3 Appendix C

Task 3: Reading Prediction

Objective: Students will make predictions and generate questions IOT comprehend what they read

Purpose: Build active reading by predicting and questioning the text.

Students will predict that they think will be learning about in a Jigsaw Project and will generate some questions about it.

See Lesson 3 Appendix D

Task 4: Round Robin

Objective: Students read from their Prediction Chart IOT share their predictions with classmates

Purpose: Build understanding of the text based on different student responses.

Ask students to share their predictions and questions using a Round Robin format. Explain that they should add to the right-hand column of their matrix all the ideas from their group members.

Task 5: Small Group Discussion

Objective: Students will answer each-other’s questions about the text IOT check / deepen their understanding

Purpose: Engage in a text-based conversation that builds understanding of topic.

Ask students to try to answer each other’s questions. Tell them to record on the bottom of the matrix any questions their group members were not able to answer for each other.

Task 6: Whole Class Discussion

Objective: Students will read aloud their predictions and questions about the text IOT share them with their classmates

Purpose: Build understanding of the text based on comparing and contrasting students’ predictions.

Invite some students to share their predictions and questions. Discuss how different students came up with their prediction. Remind students that they should evaluate their own processes for learning and how they can improve them.

Task 7: Focus for Reading:

Objective: Students will answer questions assigned to their section IOT aid comprehension

Purpose: Guide and focus students’ reading on key ideas and citing of evidence to justify findings.

Ask students to take notes to answer the following questions:

Group 1: Text “Identify of a man”

Group 2: Text: “The Family Situation”

Group 3: Text “Grounds for Citizenship Rescission”

Group 4: Text “Grim Prospects for the Future”

See Lesson 3 Appendix E

Task 8: Expert Group Discussion

Objective: Students will collaborate IOT generate a summary response

Purpose: Help students learn how to negotiate and reach agreement about discipline-specific content.

In each group, after students have finished reading their selection, ask them to discuss the three focus questions. As they reach consensus on an answer, ask them to collectively generate a brief summary response. Ask students to let you know as soon as a response is ready, since you need to approve it. Make sure you establish “quality control,’ that the statements are indeed brief, since they need to fit in the matrix.

See Lesson 3 Appendix F

Extending Understanding

Task 1: Expert Group Third-Person Report

Objective: Students will utilize all the elements of a Factual Recount IOT write a Third-Person Report on a topic

Purpose: Allow students to assemble the elements and language of an informational report in a collaborative setting.

Ask each expert group to generate a third-person report about the section they read about. The report about the person should include the most critical information form the text.

See Lesson 3 Appendix G

Task 2: Gallery Walk

Objective: Students will read other classmates’ work IOT check / correct their comprehension of the text

Purpose: Develop students’ awareness of what constitutes quality work.

Ask each expert group to move as a group for the gallery walk. As they read the third-person reports, they should take notes in the appropriate calls in their Handout #6: Jigsaw Matrix. Groups can add or change information to the cell of the text assigned to them as they learn from their peers.

Task 3: Revisiting Extended Anticipatory Guide

Objective: Students will revisit the anticipatory guide introduced during the “Preparing the Learner” moment IOT revise their understanding

Purpose: Teachers can use the Extended Anticipatory Guides as the basis for a variety of writing tasks, including comparison / contrast between what the students knew before and after reading the assigned tex. In this way the guide can also be used as a form of authentic assessment.

Ask students to review their original responses to the anticipatory guide, indicating whether these were supported or unsupported by the information they learned. Ask students to write evidence for each finding. Ask students to share some of their answers.

Task 4: Writing an Informational Letter

Objective: Students will answer a number of Wh- questions and a letter format IOT write an informational letter

Purpose: Provide an authentic opportunity to use textual evidence in meaningful and purposeful ways.

Tell students that they are going to write an informational letter to a friend or a family member about the immigration policy and the effect it has on people’s lives. At a minimum, they must answer the following questions:

  1. Who is the main hero of the story? Who are other people in the story?
  2. Where does the story take place?
  3. When it all happen?
  4. What happened to the main hero of the story?
  5. Why did it happen to the main hero of the story?
  6. How did it all end? What is the resolution?

Bibliography

Aladini, F., & Farahbod, F. (2020). Using a Unique and Long Forgotten Authentic Material in the EFL/ESL Classroom: Poetry. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 10(1), 83+.

This article gives a brief overview of research on the nature of authentic texts and their pros and cons when it comes to their usage in classroom. The authors give their unique perspective on teaching poetry in the EFL context at one of the universities in Iran. The authors argue that teaching carefully selected and matched to the student ability poetry may raise the student motivation level to a considerable degree, and give practical suggestions as to how to approach teaching of select poems.

Evaluation of Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) Professional Development. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED529843.pdf

This 204-page document is evaluation of QTEL professional development. After explaining the nationwide shortcoming in addressing the unique needs of the ESL population and critiquing the existing models of ESL instruction, the study goes on to cite the official study data in regards to both improvement in scores of ESL students and teacher knowledge of working ESL practices.

Genova, H., & Stewart, M. A. (2019). “My life, my stories”: Reading, writing, and belonging in the ESL classroom. English Journal, 108(3), 34-43.

In this article, Genova & Stewart explain in detail the process of creating the SLA unit that  integrates Ortega’s five ingredients for a successful classroom: 1. Comprehensible input; 2. Pushed output; 3. Negotiated interaction; 4. Attention to the language code and 5. A positive attitude toward the second language. The proposed unit features four parts that are explained in detail: 1. Country Poems; 2. Pictorial Autobiographies; 3. Memory Paragraphs; 4. We Came to America Poems.

Nguyen, H., & Abbott, M. L. (2016). Promoting Process-Oriented Listening Instruction in the ESL Classroom. TESL Canada Journal34(1), 72–86.

This article argues that in a typical ESL classroom all too often the emphasis is placed on the pre-listening phase. As a result, a lot of information is anticipated and students do not obtain tools for dealing with real-life listening texts. Instead, the article argues for the process-oriented approach: implementing bottom-up, top-down and metacognitive practices.

Newfield, D. and D’abdon, R. (2015), Reconceptualising Poetry as a Multimodal Genre. TESOL Q, 49: 510-532.

This article explores usage of poetry in South African schools—more precise, its marginalized and outmoded place in school curricula and what can be done to overturn this reality and make poetry a learning tool. The article aims to reach this end via multimodal approach that taps into all meaning-making dimensions—spoken, written, visual, spatial, gestural etc. When learning poetry through this approach, students may not only significantly improve their literacy skills, but also forge personal connections with poetry that can also lead to empowerment.

Quality Teaching for English Learners QTEL Informational Sheet. (2019). Philasd.org. Retrieved from https://www.philasd.org/multilingual/wp-content/uploads/sites/118/2019/03/Quality-Teaching-for-English-Learners-QTEL-Informational-Sheet.pdf

In this document released by the SDP’s Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs, QTEL is described as professional development aimed to remediate the inadequate preparation of the SDP’s staff to meet the needs of rapidly growing ESL population within the school district. According to the document, QTEL is the kind of professional development that will give teachers tools to scaffold classroom instruction in such a way that it meets unique needs of the ESL population.

Roberts, C., & Cooker, M. (2009). Authenticity in the Adult ESOL Classroom and Beyond. TESOL Quarterly, 43(4), 620-642.

In this article it is argued that migrant students live in a very insulated environment where they often do not interact with the outside world outside of their immediate communities, and that’s why it is up to the ESL teachers to structure the classroom instruction in such a way that it compensates for this shortage. To meet this end, the teacher has to 1) use authentic materials; 2) allow students to develop authentic voice.

https://ccsd.instructure.com/courses/1403050/pages/qtel-purposefully-planning-a-lesson-in-three-moments

This source features the explanation of three moments of QTEL lessons together with variations in how to present material in each of the moments.

Student Reading List

Clark, Petula (1964). Downtown. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx06XNfDvk0

This is my favorite song about city that I first heard in the movie “Girls, Interrupted.” It portrays downtown as the panacea from all psychological ailments—feeling down, lonely, bore etc. I believe the sentiment expressed in this song is still true for many people, city dwellers or not, as downtown of every city never stops bustling with life, emitting goodwill and positive emotions.

Coleman, Wanda (2002). I live for my Car. Retrieved from https://www.culturalweekly.com/i-live-for-my-car/

This poem is about the absolute necessity of having a car in the city of Los Angeles, even for a person who can barely afford it. The poem is especially attractive for analysis as it lacks the conventions of writing – capitalization in the beginning of a sentence, certain punctuation marks etc.

Keys, Alicia and Jay-Z (2009). Empire State of Mind. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxZFCh9GBhg

This song portrays New York City as place where all dreams come true. The script is full of vernacular expressions and slang. There is very abundant imagery of city streets and, and the vide clip is very glamorous and appealing to the young people.

McKay, Claude. The Tropics of New York. Retrieved from https://poets.org/poem/tropics-new-york

This poem reveals the longing for the homeland of Jamaican-born poet after he sees an array of tropical fruit on the streets of New York. The poem is very simple, short, and full of emotion—the ideal poem for reading and analyzing in the ESL classroom.

Meitner, Erika. Ideal Cities

This beautiful poem is Meitner’s vision of what an ideal city is like, which is basically everyone knowing, liking, and respecting each other. Meitner’s ideas, though idealistic and naïve, are worth of discussion in the currently divided nation where people often avoid talking to their neighbors because of their personal or political views, or just because somehow it has become culturally inappropriate, especially, in the North.

Raff, Jeremy. (2020). The Nowhere Man. Retrieved from https://www.thisamericanlife.org/694/get-back-to-where-you-once-belonged/act-two-23

This most interesting podcast tells a story of a man who had been living his life peacefully with his wife and children, working as an immigration agent, before he decided to bring his brother to the US. When he submitted his birth certificate together with the application, the genuine one was discovered instead, from Mexico. The man, totally oblivious to his parents counterfeiting his birth certificate many decades ago, sees his whole life crumbling away.

Raff, Jeremy. (2020). The Undocumented Agent. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/02/a-former-border-agent-at-risk-of-deportation/606418/

This is essentially the magazine article retelling the same story from the podcast (see above). It appears though, that it provides some extra information on the case. I intend to use parts of this article in my lesson, previously dividing it based on topics.

Wonder, Stevie (1974). Living for the City. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc0XEw4m-3w Living for the City – Stevie Wonder

This song deals with racial injustice in the US. A family portrait is given of a decent black family—father working 14-hour shifts and mother scrubbing floors,  barely making ends meet, trying to raise their three kids. Though the daughter is pretty and one of the sons is intelligent, the future is bleak for them because of the racial injustice. Overwhelmed by the New York’s grandeur, the third son agrees to run something across the street for a friendly man—only to be apprehended by the police and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Appendix

Lesson 1 Appendix A

What I Know What I Want to Know What I Learned
 

 

 

 

 

1.

2.

3.

 

 

Lesson 1 Appendix B

Lesson 1 Appendix C

 

  1. It is easier to live in a city than in a village.

 

  1. Some people cannot achieve in a city as much as others for reasons NOT depending on them.

 

  1. You always miss your native land, no matter in what place you are.

 

  1. An ideal city is where people accept you for who you are.

 

  1. An ideal city is where everyone knows each other.

Lesson 1 Appendix D

Formulaic Expressions 1:

 

S1: I will read statement 1. It says _______________. I agree / disagree with it because ______________. So, I’m going to mark it agree / disagree. What do you think?

S2: I agree / disagree with you because _______________. So, for statement 1, I will mark agree / disagree. Now let me read statement 2. It says _______________. I agree / …

 

Formulaic Expressions 2:

 

S1. Ok, I will begin by reading statement 1 “…” Based on what I know, I would say this statement is true/ not true, so I will agree / disagree. One reason for my opinion is that …

 

S2. I agree / disagree with you. The reason for my agreement / disagreement is that I know that … Now I will read statement 2 “…” Based on what I know I would say this statement is true / not true, so I will agree / disagree…

Lesson 1 Appendix E

Poem 1: Wanda Coleman “I Live for my Car.”

 

can’t let go of it. to live is to drive. to have it function

smooth, flawless. to rise with morning and have it start

i pray to the mechanic for heat again and air conditioning

when i meet people i used to know i’m glad to see them until

i remember what i’m driving and am afraid they’ll go outside and

see me climb into that struggle buggy and laugh deep long loud

 

i’ve become very proficient at keeping my car running. i

visit service stations and repair shops often which is why

i haven’t a coat to wear or nice clothes or enough money each

month to pay the rent. i don’t like my car to be dirty. i spend

saturday mornings scrubbing it down. i’ve promised it a new bumper

and a paint job. luckily this year i was able to pay registration

 

i dream that my car is transformed into a stylish

convertible and i’m riding along happily beneath sun glasses

the desert wind kissing my face my man beside me. we smile

we are very beautiful. sometimes the dreams become nightmares

i’m careening into an intersection the kids in the back seat scream

“mama!” i mash down on the brake. the pedal goes to the floor

 

i have frequent fantasies about running over people i don’t like

with my car.

 

my car’s an absolute necessity in this city of cars where

you come to know people best by how they maneuver on the freeway

make lane changes or handle off-ramps. i’ve promised myself

i will one day own a luxury model. it’ll be something

i can leave my children. till then i’m on spark plugs and lug nuts

keeping the one i have mobile. i live for it. can’t let go of it

to drive is to live

 

Poem 2: Claude McKay “The Tropics of New York”

 

Bananas ripe and green, and ginger-root,

Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,

And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit,

Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,

 

Set in the window, bringing memories

      Of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills,

And dewy dawns, and mystical blue skies

In benediction over nun-like hills.

 

My eyes grew dim, and I could no more gaze;

A wave of longing through my body swept,

And, hungry for the old, familiar ways,

I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.

 

Poem 3: Erica Meitner “Ideal Cities”

 

 

Ideal cities are cities where the neighbors

Play soul music all night long and don’t care

Who they bother because who doesn’t like Holly Ghost or Loose Booty?

Ideal cities have at least one drunk lady

Outside the liquor store mornings, who asks you to hold

Her cigarette so she can lean in to touch your baby

In ideal cities, the pharmacist knows your prescriptions by heart.

In ideal cities, your neighbor sells pot to the copy

For a living, even though you’ve never seen him do it and most days

He wears a caftan to glue rhinestones on the cement frogs

In his yard.

On trash night in ideal cities your other neighbors

Swap stories in the alleys.

Ideal cities

Have margins that aren’t pretty or bleak

And are without proper representation

But have no grievances.

My ideal city

Has a wish list written on the back

Of an envelope scrap, and ATM slip.

My ideal city is peripheral and claims

Uneven sidewalks. In the ideal city

My neighbor is a taxi driver.

My neighbor is at sea.

My neighbor thinks

His house is haunted

While his wife’s away

On business.

My neighbor

Gives a robber a glass

Of Chateau Malescot St. Exupery

And a hug.

In the ideal city my neighbors

And a multi-generational

Family and one guy

Who puts chairs

In the street

To save a spot

For our moving truck.

Lesson 1 Appendix F

Lesson 1 Appendix G

Lesson 2 Appendix A

Stepper for Finding Artwork Related to the City:

Step 1: Go to https://www.philamuseum.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIk4-mvo-p6AIVFZSzCh1kXQ7HEAAYASAAEgL5l_D_BwE

Step 2: Type in the word “city” in the search window

Step 3: Scroll down and select the category “Artworks.” Click on “View all artworks” shown in red.

Step 4: Explore the artworks. Select FIVE pieces of artwork that you like the most. Use the worksheet to describe them.

Lesson 2 Appendix B

Image Analysis

 

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

When was the image taken?

List all the details that you see on the image.

What do these details tell you about the image?

What do you think the author wanted to tell you with this image?

Which details prove it?

Pick ONE word that describes city as portrayed in this image.

Why did you select this image? Provide 2-3 reasons.

 

Lesson 2 Appendix C

Image 1: Natalia Sergeyevna Goncharova “The City” (1920).

(Not shown here due to copyright concerns—please refer to the Philadelphia Art Museum website if teching a lesson).

Image 2: Peter Grippe “The City” (1945).

(Not shown here due to copyright concerns—please refer to the Philadelphia Art Museum website if teching a lesson).

Image 3: Wharton H. Esherick “Of a Great City” (1927). (This image does not have copyright).

Image 4: Iver Rose (c. 1935) “City Streets” (This image does not have copyright).

Image 5: Joseph Pennell (1905) “The City, Evening.” (This image does not have copyright).

Lesson 2 Appendix D

Description 1 The two dominant colors of the painting, maroon red, the color of the brick, and blue, the color of the sky and water, dominate the image. The maroon red is overpowering the image, together with the images of brick and walled spaces.

 

 

Description 2 The drawing looks like a map of a neighborhood, with black and white human figures suggestive of, perhaps, safe and unsafe neighborhoods. It also reminds of a maze, with intricate and confusing pathways and dead ends. It does not look like a place where one wants to settle down!

 

Description 3 In this lithograph, the city is portrayed as a great and cultivated place. All things seem to be possible in the city, as suggested by the image. Indeed, there are images of a piano, a library, and a painting in the huge room, and a tremendous window with a city vista.

 

Description 4 This drawing, to me, is suggestive of some sort of a disaster, though it is completely unclear about what is really going on, hence open to interpretation. There is a huge building in the background that appears to fall down. A lot of light comes from it, appearing to blind people in the foreground. The people in the foreground, in their turn, are all a jumble of bodies.
Description 5 In this image, smoke seems to go from everywhere. There is a bridge in the foreground and some houses on the other side of the bridge. The image on the whole has a very warm, mysterious, and familiar ambiance about it.

 

 

Lesson 2 Appendix E

Image Name Card Number What Evidence did you Use?

 

Lesson 2 Appendix F

Essay Formula for the “Extending Understanding” Moment of the Lesson

  1. Introduction:
  • Definition of a city;
  • General information about the city in the 20th century;
  • A thesis statement that makes a certain claim about the nature of the city in the 20th
  1. Main Body Paragraph 1
  • Topic sentence that introduces the first aspect of the 20-century city
  • Supporting evidence from the images
  • Explain supporting evidence from the images in your own words
  • Concluding sentence:
  1. Main Body Paragraph 2
  • Topic sentence that introduces the second aspect of the 20-century city
  • Supporting evidence from the images
  • Explain supporting evidence from the images in your own words
  • Concluding sentence:
  1. Main Body Paragraph 3
  • Topic sentence that introduces the third aspect of the 20-century city
  • Supporting evidence from the images
  • Explain supporting evidence from the images in your own words
  • Concluding sentence:
  1. Conclusion
  • Summary of the main points;
  • Restatement of the thesis.

Lesson 3 Appendix A

Handout #1 Anticipatory Guide: The Immigrants’ Rights

Opinion Finding Evidence: Explain using your own words
Agree Disagree Agree Disagree
1. If you unwillingly misrepresent yourself as a citizen (ex. fake birth certificate your parents forged and kept a  secret), the government may pardon you and retain your citizenship.
2. If you do all the right things and prove yourself a good person, you can eventually get citizenship, even if you came to the US illegally.
3. Border patrol agents always follow the rules.
4. You can live in the US your whole life as an undocumented citizen.
5. If your spouse is a US citizen, you can always receive your citizenship through your spouse.
6. The US government cannot extradite you from the country if you lived here for over 40 years.

Lesson 3 Appendix B

 Clarifying Bookmark 1

What I Can Do What I Can Say
I am going to think about what the selected text may mean. I’m not sure what this is about, but I think it may mean…
This part is tricky, but I think it means…
After rereading this part, I think it may mean…
I am going to summarize my understanding so far. What I understand about this reading so far is…
I can summarize this part by saying…
The main points of this section are…
I am going to use my prior knowledge to help me understand. I know something about this from…
I have read or heard about this when…
I don’t understand the section, but I do recognize…
I am going to apply related concepts and / or readings, One reading / idea I have encountered before that relates to this is…
We learned about this idea / concept when we studied…
This concept / idea is related to…

 Lesson 3 Appendix C

 Vocabulary from the article “An Undocumented Agent”

 

The Word Definition Example What it Means
Part 1

  1. Cargo
  1. Scrutiny
  1. Intensify
  1. Deportation
  1. Crisp
  1. Chalk Up
  1. Wetback
  1. To Demean
  1. Recruit
Part 2

  1. Enforcement
  1. To separate
  1. Ambivalent
  1. A traitor
  1. Empathy
  1. To haunt
  1. Integrity
  1. Supplement
  1. Eligibility
  1. Divorce
Part 3

  1. Incredulous

 

  1. Fraudulent
  1. Evasive
  1. To petition
Part 4

  1. Patience

 

 

  1. Confident
  1. Kidnapping
  1. Extortion
  1. Asylum
  1. To eradicate
  1. Rife with
  1. Fraud
  1. To Vote
  1. Leniency

 Lesson 3 Appendix D

Reading Prediction

                       My Prediction and Questions My Group’s Predictions and Questions
 

 

 

 

 

Questions we Still Have After Our Group Discussion
 

 

 

 

 

 Lesson 3 Appendix E

4 Texts 4 4 Groups

Text 1: Identity of a Man

One afternoon in April 2018, Raul Rodriguez was working on his computer at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Los Indios, Texas, when two managers entered the building. Somebody must be in trouble, he thought. The managers usually arrived in pairs when they needed a witness.

For nearly two decades, Rodriguez had searched for people and drugs hidden in cargo waiting to get into the United States. He was proud of his work as a Customs and Border Protection officer; it gave him stability and a sense of purpose. Even in the spring of 2018, when public scrutiny of CBP began to intensify—the agency had officially started separating children from their parents—Rodriguez remained committed to his job. Though he wasn’t separating any families at the border, he’d canceled the visas and initiated the deportations of thousands of people in his years of service.

As a child, he’d admired immigration agents’ crisp uniforms and air of authority. When he grew into a teenager, though, agents began to question him more aggressively, doubting his citizenship despite his Texas-issued birth certificate. He chalked it up to simple prejudice, no different from the white students at Sharyland High who provoked him to fistfights by calling him “wetback.” He decided he’d defy their stereotypes by one day becoming an agent himself. He would enforce the law, but without demeaning people as he did it.

Rodriguez joined the Navy in 1992. As a recruit, he cleaned floors and toilets, cooked, and drove a bus. Visiting his parents in Mexico, he wore his uniform. They didn’t say they were proud, but the looks on their faces made him feel as though growing up in Texas really had been worthwhile. And whenever he headed back across the border in uniform, he approached the agents on the bridge and thought: Now they’re going to have to accept me as an American.

Text 2: The Family Situation

By then, Rodriguez had already met his current wife, Anita, at the training academy they attended in Glynco, Georgia. During training, they’d found that they had a lot in common. Anita had grown up in Southern California, where immigration enforcement was a part of everyday life……

She moved from Arizona to South Texas, where Rodriguez was already stationed. After he separated from his [first] wife, he and Anita married and had two kids of their own……

Anita told me that when people of Mexican heritage become agents, their family members tend to be ambivalent. “On one hand they’re very proud of us, because to work for the government—that’s a lofty thing in Mexico,” Anita said. “But then on the other hand, traicionero—you’re a traitor, because you’re deporting your own people.” Rodriguez says he never let that stop him: Too much empathy could lead an agent to bend the rules. But some cases did haunt him….

Rodriguez’s integrity award sits above the TV where he watches the local news every morning from the treadmill. He spends the rest of the day tending to his sheep, cows, and chickens, rarely leaving his property, because a traffic stop could ultimately lead to deportation. “I don’t have any legal status in the U.S.,” he told me. “I’m deportable.”

Rodriguez and Anita have refinanced their house and raided the kids’ college fund to supplement Anita’s income from her job at the Department of Homeland Security. Fired just shy of retirement, Rodriguez lost his eligibility to receive a $4,400-a-month pension along with his citizenship. Rodriguez feared that the stress of his new reality could lead to divorce.

Text 3: Grounds for Citizenship Rescission

Rodriguez was incredulous. He wrote in a handwritten statement that morning, “I have always believed I was a United States Citizen and still believe I’m a United States Citizen.” His mother had died in 2013, so his father was the one living witness who could clear things up. Rodriguez offered to arrange for investigators to meet with Margarito [his father] later that day. He called a nephew and told him to get his father from Mexico to the meeting spot—a Starbucks near the border—even if he had to drag him there. A few hours later, Margarito arrived to speak with Rodriguez and the investigators.

Margarito was evasive when officials first showed him the acta. “I need to know the truth,” Rodriguez told him. “Tell me the truth.” Margarito looked down at the table. Rodriguez had been born at the adobe house outside Matamoros. He explained that about two months later, one of his sisters had arranged for a midwife to register a false birth certificate.

The fraudulent document had come to light because Rodriguez had petitioned for one of his brothers in Mexico to get a green card. An officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that issues green cards, flagged the petition because Rodriguez’s Texas-issued birth certificate had been registered by a midwife who was later convicted of fraud. Rodriguez now had no legal status in the country, and was fired from Customs and Border Protection for failing to meet a basic condition of employment: U.S. citizenship.

Text 4: Grim Prospects for the Future

He applied to become a lawful permanent resident as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, and was forthright in his interview. Yes, he told the official, he had made a false claim to U.S. citizenship, but only because he hadn’t known the truth. Yes, he had voted in a federal election as an undocumented immigrant. He expected no special treatment, just the pension, health benefits, and safety from deportation he felt he’d earned through his nearly two decades at CBP. With some patience, he was confident that he could get his status sorted out. By last fall, he had been waiting for a response for almost a year and a half.

If deported, he would live on family property in Tamaulipas. The State Department’s “Do not travel” warning to U.S. citizens says of the area: “Murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault [are] common along the northern border.” As an agent, Rodriguez had put traffickers in jail, and his face is widely recognizable from his years on the bridge. “I don’t know how long I can survive,” he told me.

Despite those risks, Rodriguez dismissed the idea that he should apply for asylum—a legal pathway to U.S. residence that the Trump administration has sought to eradicate, claiming it is rife with fraud. “I’m not going to do it that way. I’d rather get deported,” Rodriguez said. “I’m going to practice what I preach.”

Rodriguez “lives by the rules … and even now he says that if the government chooses to deport him, he’s going to go,” Anita said, her voice catching. He would turn himself in before he would hide from ICE. “I can’t let that happen. What am I going to do? What are my kids going to do? What is he going to do over there? He’s a federal officer.” Anita researches Rodriguez’s case most nights and keeps a close watch on other military veterans in the news facing deportation.

In October, Rodriguez received a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Services. His green-card application had been denied because he had falsely claimed to be an American citizen and illegally voted. The letter argued that Rodriguez did not qualify for leniency, even if he did not know about his status at the time. (USCIS declined to comment on specific cases.)

Lesson 3 Appendix F

Jigsaw Matrix

  Text 1 Text 2 Text 3 Text 4
Who are the people involved?        
What happened to these people?        
How is the people’s life affected after what happened?        

 Lesson 3 Appendix G

  Standards:

CC.1.2.9–10.H Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing the validity of reasoning and relevance of evidence.

CC.1.3.9–10.J Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

CC.1.2.9–10.J Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college- and career-readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

CC.1.4.9–10.E Write with an awareness of the stylistic aspects of composition. • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic. • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms of the discipline in which they are writing.

CC.1.3.9–10.B Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly, as well as inferences and conclusions based on an author’s explicit assumptions and beliefs about a subject.

CC.1.4.9–10.F Demonstrate a grade-appropriate command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

CC.1.4.9–10.V Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CC.1.5.9–10.D Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning; ensure that the presentation is appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.