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Awarded Grant Summaries

ELL Newcomers

Susie Bopp-Esch, Teacher, Columbus Middle School

2017-2018 School Year

Description and Need: 
My project has two parts. The first part is creating an active, engaging, and supportive classroom environment to help serve the needs of our newly arrived English Language Learners. These students need tangible hands-on measuring manipulatives and lab equipment to use in the classroom as support in learning concepts in science. This will help to build the background knowledge and assist our students with future learning when they get moved into regular education classes and beyond. Building academic vocabulary and lab equipment awareness is vitally important to successful learning. The second part of my project is creating a library of bilingual nonfiction reading books. I want to concentrate on bilingual nonfiction books related to social studies concepts that not only support instruction in the native Spanish language, but also support at-home progress in English and offer a parental connection to the school. Bilingual books allow the students and their parents to strengthen their literacy together. Also, this creates a positive connection between home and school by increasing parent involvement. Each book we purchase will purchase will focus on key vocabulary terms that are recommended in the areas of social studies. In addition, pocket dictionaries will be intended for classroom instructional support and at-home use for both homework and the parental connection. Building background knowledge helps to establish a foundation of learning upon which students may build and strengthen future learnings. Once again, the items I am requesting are science lab and measuring supplies/manipulatives, pocke Spanish/English dictionaries and bilingual nonfiction books. 

How project meets Instruction Goals and Mission Statement:
There are ten learning/instructional goals/standards for the newcomers English Language Learners program. My project covers all of the State English Language Proficiency Standards for sixth through eighth grade, but mainly ELP6-8.3, which English Language Learner can speak and write about grade appropriate complex literacy and informational texts and topics and 6-8.8, which English Language Learner can determine the meaning of words and phrases in oral presentations and literary and informational text. My project meets three instructional norms/goals of my school. We are to utilize visible participation by everyone. By having and using hands-on science equipment and manipulatives, all of our English Language Learners in my class will be visibly participating in concept formation because they will be working with objects in their hands, not just using paper/pencil. The second goal I will be reaching is to provide frequent and positive feedback. If we have equipment to use, I can monitor if they understand, by how they use the equipment. By having and using our bilingual books, in and out of the classroom, I can meet yet another instructional norm by building positive relationships with students and parents, in and out of the classroom. I believe this will give parents of English Language Learners a way to support their children at home. At this time also, building a bridge between parents, teachers, and school. Our district's mission statement is "Engaging all learners to achieve success." My project meets our mission statement in my eyes because "engaging ALL learners to achieve success", means just that. Engaging English Language Learners, as well as students whose primary language is English, is our mission. I am supported by research when I say to learn vocabulary you must practice it. Additionally, to understand science concepts, one must use hands-on equipment. Hands-on is engaging. 

Major Objectives: 
1) Increase our 8th grade ELL scores on Nebraska State Assessment in science section of the test (NeSA)
2) Increase our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students scores on the essential elements test they are given in regular education science classes
3) Meet a set criteria on a scientific lab fidelity guide by March 1, 2018
4) Identify all lab equipment we worked with in our room by March 1, 2018
5) Check out read with an adult 10 of our classroom nonfiction texts by March 1, 2018
6) Answer correctly comprehension checklist for each nonfiction book by March 1, 2018

Teaching Methods:
I will use a variety of teaching methods while implementing my project. We will use our science lab and measuring equipment in a small group setting while conducting science experiments. During those experiments our students will discuss which tool would work best for the method we need to use. For example using a beaker vs. a graduated cylinder. We will use the lab equipment for demonstrations and assessments.  As far as the nonfiction reading texts, we will use "I do, We do, and You do" as a classroom reading strategy. We will use the bilingual books as supplemental reading materials our students read from, so that I can measure proficiency levels of our readers. When reading aloud, we can use what is call the "close" procedure. I read and students insert the important or high utility words. 

Grade Level Impacted:
Sending bilingual books home with students will send a positive message home to all of our Spanish speaking population, thus all will indirectly benefit from this project. Specifically and directly, our newly arrived and our ELL students who are not proficient in English, grades 5-8, will be affected and positively influenced by this project. Our Spanish speaking population ratio at our school is approximately 45%.

Additional Materials:
I will need some small organizational tubs/totes, and a bookcase, a shelf, and or an additional file cabinet to store these items. There may be additional nonfiction books I would like to add to our library as some books may endure wear and tear. 

Project Evaluation: 
I will have my students, and the parents of my students, fill out a detailed survey about the bilingual nonfiction books in March 2018. I can compare pre and post NeSA scores. We can compare the pre and post essential elements quiz scores.