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Service Learning Project -- "Y"

Working with an ELL to improve her reading and writing skills ENG 581 -- Reading and Writing for ELLs
by

Daniel Flannery

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of Service Learning Project -- "Y"

Double click anywhere & add an idea Project Themes Welcome to AmericA! FAMILIAR FACES BACK ON TRACK! Like losing a limb A Warm RECEPTION When Y. came to Drexel Hill from China in mid October,
she was greeted with open arms by many of her classmates. Her classmates would takes turns writing messages to her on
her elecronic Chinese/English translation dictionary at the lunch
table. She would write back answers to them the same way. LOST IN TRANSLATION Y. made a lot of friends this way. She became very popular.
She was able to communicate with her easy smile and her hand-held translator. Other 7th grade girls found her worthy of their hugs. MORE on the HUGGING PHENOMENOM SWEEPING MIDDLE SCHOOLS NEW CHINESE STUDENTS IN SEVENTH GRADE! EXTRA! EXTRA!
READ ALL ABOUT IT! SUBTITLE: THE DAY THE HUGGING ENDED The new Chinese students and Y. didn't actually bow to each other,
but there was a noticable shift in Y.'s body language toward other students
after they arrived.


In an interesting twist, we had three new Chinese students come to DHMS
in January, and they are all from the same city as Y., Fuzhou, a large city on
the southeastern coast, between Shanghai and Hong Kong, and very close to
Taipei, Taiwan. Here's a look at Fuzhou's skyline: Here's a look at Fuzhou's skyline: It's city of 7 million souls. Y. 's BFF GOES BYE-BYE When Y. first came to DHMS, another
ELL named A. took Y. under her wing. A.
was a non-English speaker from Morocco
three years ago. Now she is an A predator
in the social food chain at DH and she
made Y. her BFF.

But then one day... One day, Y. and one of her new Chinese friends were speaking
Chinese together at the lunch table. They were laughing and
they were looking and pointing at A. Now A. is no shrinking violet,
so she went over to Y. and her Chinese friend, Y. Y. She demanded
to know what they were talking about.

Well...

Y. wrote into her translation dictionary "your hair."

A. said, "What about my hair?" (into the dictionary)

Y. typed back to her, "Your hair is messy!"


It turns out that A., who is an olive-skinned Moroccan girl,
was wearing her hair "out" that day. Call it a cultural difference, or a phrase that

was misunderstood in translation, but that was the end

of a beautiful friendship. A. is still upset about the fact that Y. "changed" when

the new Chinese students arrived and she lost her BFF. BROKEN TRANSLATOR
On the day before the Math PSSAs,
Y.'s translation dictionary was crushed at a girls'
track practice when one of the girls stepped on Y.'s
bag as she was getting out of the way of two runners.

Y. was crushed, too. Y. went into a bit of a funk, especially
in her content-area classes. She had been working
hard to translate some or all of the adapted
worksheets and handouts she was given.

Now, she could sometimes borrow Y.Y.'s
translation dictionary, or she could use the teacher's
computer to translate (seldom), or she could copy (but not comprehend) what her native-English speaking
classmates had written.


And she could no longer use her translator
to ask her friends questions or tell them things. And she was at a complete loss while taking the Math PSSAs. Y.'s father had a new translation dictionary
sent over from China a few weeks ago. YES! Now Y. is back on track in her
content-area classes and she is a
lot less frustrated.

She and Amina have become friends
again and now that she is on the girls'
track team, she has made even more
friends. Y. began her L2 writing career by copying the capital
and lowercase letters of the alphabet. Before long, she
was making index cards to describe objects around the
classroom in English. Soon she was using sentence
starters to describe things that she liked and activities
that she enjoyed doing.

She began reading in her L2 by learning to associate
letters and sounds. Then she began to read picture books.
Now she can read multi-paragraph stories.


She has made wonderful progress in just six months.
Just as importantly, she is a happy seventh-grade girl.




Y. in her own words: This is sweet orange! All studence are good. I like a rainbow ice cream, please. Taken from a lesson on
adjectives last week.
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